How to work efficiently with freelancers: 10 tips to remember

Derek Abram
CEO of Prio
5 min read

Working with freelancers is a great way to gain new perspectives, bring in fresh ideas, and collaborate with a talented workforce across geographies. You have the liberty to hire anyone from across the globe as long as they fit the bill for your job requirements. Sometimes, working with a group of freelancers across different time zones can be overwhelming and challenging to manage. In this article, we explore how to work with freelancers, how to hire and manage freelancers, and how best you can work efficiently with freelancers to grow your business. 

The benefits of working with freelancers

As the work culture across the globe is gearing towards remote working and people are finding ways to balance work and life, the freelance workforce is growing with time. In fact, 59 million Americans freelanced in the year 2020 and that number is expected to grow (source: Upwork). If this number is growing, that means there is a demand for freelancers. Here are some of the benefits of working with freelancers:

1. Lower costs

Outsourcing your work to a freelancer in a different country can be more affordable than hiring a full-time employee for the role. Depending on where you choose to outsource from, you could save costs on onboarding new employees, setting up equipment and tech, training, and more. Working with freelancers results in avoiding these costs as they come with the relevant experience required, and with affordable hourly or project rates. You can also choose to work with freelancers only when the company needs to outsource work, saving costs on hiring new employees.

2. Access to specialized talent

Access to freelance talent is abundantly available with platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork giving employers access to freelancers from all over the world and in different industries. You can use these platforms or even groups on social media to hire freelancers from specific industries that you are looking for.  

3. Offer flexibility

A global talent pool of freelancers allows you to have a flexible workforce while hiring the best of the best. Additionally, you have the flexibility to hire freelancers from any part of the world as long as they fit your job requirements. 

4. Hiring international talent

Freelancers are in every part of the world which increases your talent pool by millions. You have access to talent from every country and any time zone, allowing you to hire freelancers that work best for your business processes and work culture.

How to get the most out of your freelancers

The advantages of hiring freelancers are numerous, but how do you work with freelancers? Here are 10 tips to ensure that you are able to manage freelancers efficiently:

1. Hire freelancers with the right skills

When hiring freelancers, you are looking to get the job done with minimal training. This means you need to hire someone who has the right skills and experience. An affordable rate might look attractive, but in the long run, it is important to take into account the experience the person brings to the table. 

2. Ensure your freelancer’s style matches the brand

Like any hiring process, freelancers also go through interview stages. During these interviews, get to know your potential freelancer and understand their way of working, work culture, and views. You can ask them questions about your brand values and business goals and see how they align or relate to them. This will help you gauge if their style matches your brand and if they’ll be a good fit for your company.

3. Align the budget on both sides

Money matters should always be discussed clearly. Ensure that both you and the freelancer are on the same page about the rates for the job. If your freelancer is in a different country, ensure that exchange rates are discussed and agree on which currency will be invoiced. Walk them through the invoicing and billing process of your company. Also discuss payment methods, bank charges (if applicable), billing dates, and any other relevant company processes that pertain to billing.

4. Ensure the project brief is crystal clear

Once your freelancer is on board, give them a project brief that is clear. To do this, set up a call with them to walk them through a written brief. Email the brief before the meeting so that they can note down any questions to ask if needed. If there are multiple people working on this project, invite any relevant team members that may be able to add value to the project brief for the freelancer. 

5. Set up transparent communication

If your business uses any communication tools such as Slack or Zoom, set your freelancer up on these tools or give them alternate means of communication with you. This could be an email or a phone number through which you can easily communicate with them in case of any questions or urgent matters. Ensure that a test communication is done to avoid any potential communication glitches, especially if you are in different geographies and time zones. 

Additionally, set up clear expectations with your freelancer. Talk to them about the project performance expectations, timelines, milestones, goals, and more. This will help them understand the role they are expected to play in the project and work accordingly. 

6. Use an efficient project management toolstack 

Managing freelancers can be challenging if there are multiple of them and they are all in different countries and time zones. Set your company up on an efficient project management toolstack. Do your research to find one that works best for your company. You can visit forums, talk to other business owners, and even try out different tools before you decide on one. 

7. Encourage time tracking

One of the best ways to manage freelancers efficiently is by tracking their time. Find a project management tool that allows your freelancers to accurately track their time on projects so that they can bill you easily and you can bill your clients easily. For example, Prio, an automated invoicing app for freelancers and teams, makes it easy to organize time entries by category, project and client. Workers can have multiple rates per project, and rate changes can be scheduled. This allows you to see the inline cost and income values by the week while also allowing you to manage multiple freelancers, projects, and clients all under one platform without having to worry about billing and cost calculations. 

8. Schedule check-ins on a regular basis

Schedule a weekly check-in with your freelancers to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Use this check-in meeting to talk about:

  • Project statuses
  • If the freelancer needs anything
  • If you are missing anything
  • Key milestones (if any)
  • Timeline revisits
  • Edits/feedback

9. Provide feedback

Give your freelancer feedback on their performance. A key way to ensure that the feedback is neutral is by balancing the positive and negative feedback if any. Talk about what aspects are being done really well and where there is room for improvement. Also, ask for feedback from them on your company’s processes for freelancers, what can be done better, what worked for them, and any other relevant information that can help you improve your business processes.  

10. Ensure transparent payment

Ensure you pay your freelancers on time and in the amount billed. If there are any delays or discrepancies, discuss them with your freelancers and solve them internally before the billing date to avoid any late transactions. Use reliable tools to help ensure invoices are approved and paid on time. For example, with Prio, you can predefine the invoicing process for each worker and client, so invoices are prepared on a schedule ready for your adjustments and approval. Clients receive access to a branded analytics dashboard, with the opportunity to approve and pay quickly.

Building freelancer trust with Prio 

Prio is your solution to managing and working with freelancers through faster and transparent payments. The tool makes it easy to organize time entries by category, project, and client, giving you access to insights on productivity and income values. It allows you to assign projects to remote workers and accurately track time spent on tasks allowing you to see your freelancers’ hourly totals for the day and week, and use this data throughout the app. Prio also automates invoicing by letting you predefine the process for each worker and client, so invoices are prepared on a schedule ready for your adjustments and approval. Pay your freelancers on time and gain their trust. Get started today with Prio to easily manage your freelancers.

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