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Helpful tips when working with a freelancer

hands typing on a laptop keyboard

If you're considering working with a freelancer for the first time, you may have a few questions. What will it look like working together? How involved do I need to be? What should I expect of them? 

As a freelancer myself, here are a few tips I would give to someone who's never worked with a freelancer before:

Provide clear direction from the start.

It always helps to be specific about your expectations as soon as possible. Be upfront about everything, from your timeline to your budget. Also be clear about your needs. For example, if you need web content and you're working with a freelance writer, do you have any kind of starting point? Any reference materials that might be helpful? Or is the writer starting this project from scratch? Being clear about what you need upfront can reduce miscommunication which will save you time — and money.

Ask for an estimate. 

While you may have a set budget and an idea of how many hours you think something will take, you should ask a freelancer for their input. As a writer, I've found that many non-writers have absolutely no idea how long writing projects take and may severely underestimate (I'm sure designers probably feel the same way!).

Provide useful feedback.

You should expect to spend time reviewing your freelancer's work and providing feedback. Is there anything you need them to tweak or completely recreate? If you're requesting changes, be as clear as possible. As a copywriter, I find it helpful when people mark up documents or PDFs so that I can see exactly where they want things changed. Vague feedback like “I don't like this” won’t be helpful for them, which in turn, won't be helpful for you. 

Stick to the scope. 

I've seen how easy it can be for projects to start slipping out of the scope — like a project that was supposed to be an email campaign growing into adding social posts and print pieces. It's not necessarily a bad thing if your project grows into something bigger or even changes direction. However, you need to make sure you communicate this to the freelancer as this will affect their time and pricing. Don't expect them to add on work for free! 

Respect their time.

Many times, freelancers are juggling multiple clients, schedules, deadlines, and maybe even other jobs. Constantly rescheduling or putting meetings on their calendar without checking their schedule will only make things stressful and frustrating for both of you. If you anticipate any concern as far as their availability to connect, have a conversation ahead of time or set up regular meeting times to check in. (Side note: I love using Calendly! It allows clients to schedule a call around my calendar, which reduces a lot of back and forth.)

Hopefully these are a few helpful starting points if you’re thinking about working with a freelancer! And if you need someone to help you out with content, writing, or editing, visit my services page and let's chat!


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