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Running a business today is nothing like it was 20 years ago. If you wanted to hire someone, you had to take out an ad in the newspaper, print out flyers, or network through someone with connections.

The world of today is built on faster, more digital connections. Freelancers and contractors have grown in popularity. It’s not uncommon for a business to have a handful of dedicated team members, and hire a professional freelancer as needed. Our own coworking spaces are full of freelancers.

We present a few best practices for how to hire a professional freelancer today.


Best Practices for Hiring Professional Freelancers

Set goals and expectations

Everything you do should tie back to your overall business goals. Some stay fixed (like delivering high-quality consulting service to clients), while others change over time (like the need to revamp the website).

Before you go on a hiring spree, make sure you understand the position that needs to be filled and the purpose for bringing others onboard. Instead of “we need a new website”, how does a website help you achieve your business goals? Don’t just focus on “more blogs” but how they can bring more traffic.

You can also set expectations right from your first interview. Read our previous guide to conducting a good interview.

Create a brief

Once you’re ready to hire, create a brief. This simple document will help save your team and the freelancer hours of confusion and miscommunication. All it does is clearly outline the scope of your agreement. Including:

  • The type of work to be done
  • Project goals and objectives
  • Standard of quality
  • Deadlines and due dates
  • Rounds of revision
  • Logins and other permissions

For example, a brief for a freelance writer’s email campaign may include word count, the target audience, the brand’s tone and cadence, and access to any image assets.

A brief for a developer coding a new website may involve the expected layout, programming language, important pages to create, brand assets to include, and milestones along the way.

Briefs aren’t just requirements, they clarify the agreement between the contractor and the company. Check out this post on how to write an effective brief.


Communicate frequently

While email remains a staple in today’s business communication methods, new apps are taking the best features of email clients and streamlining them for the modern era.

Most popular is a web and mobile app called Slack. Similar to the instant messaging apps from the early days of the Internet, Slack has a user interface that emphasizes direct, real-time communication, with other features including:

  • Video and audio chat
  • Channels for each topic or team
  • File attachment support
  • Third-party integrations

The last one is key, as Slack supports connections to popular apps for file storage, project management, code repositories, and more. Some of the ones we recommend are:

Google Drive – Perhaps the most famous cloud storage app online, Drive is a great way to host your business’s documents, videos, images, and audio files. Business plans are cheap and reliable.

Salesforce – Companies around the world default to salesforce for their CRM solutions. It simply has every feature a company could need to track and analyze their customer database.

Github – For development teams and programmers, Github is essential. Repos are not only the best way to store and host code, but also encourage others to collaborate with you.

Gratify – Need to hire an expert on short notice? Hire a professional straight from Slack, and assign jobs, send payment, and leave reviews without ever having to leave the app.


Schedule check-ins

Once assignments and deadlines are set, agree on a day and time to frequently check back with your freelancer. Businesses can get overwhelmed with various initiatives, while freelancers can be sidetracked by other projects. Check-ins ensure both parties are accountable for the work and payment.

If both the freelancer and the client use Google Calendar, scheduling an event and sending an invite is a great way to receive an alert a few minutes before the check-in.


Final thoughts

Freelancers represent a shift in the new kind of business. No longer are teams tied down by their location or technology- we can connect with writers and developers from around the country and complete projects in half the time.

Modern technology and resources, such as co-working spaces and project collaboration apps, allow freelancers and businesses to collaborate more efficiently. It’s up to businesses to empower freelancers by following these new practices. Revisit your own tools, streamline your processes, and bring your business into the modern age.

Recruiting and managing new hires can be a major challenge. Fortunately, we’ve prepared a useful guide to help your company out. Be sure to read Talent Management: How Companies Can Attract and Retain Talent.

If you’re interested in how to hire the best talent for your team, read our post, Recruiting Top Talent.