How Your Small Business Can Do Right by Freelancers


It’s easy to see why so many small businesses regularly work with freelancers. For one thing, freelancers are generally more cost-effective than full-time hires for certain roles. For example, if you only have use for certain services on an irregular basis, there’s no sense in bringing on a full-time team member to perform them. Secondly, freelancers tend to come with less baggage. After all, it’s much easier to part ways with freelancers who don’t measure up than it is to let full-time employees go. However, this isn’t to say that freelancers are expendable. So, if your business wishes to hang onto its highest-performing freelancers, you’d do well to consider the following measures.

Outline Your Expectations 

As anyone who’s spent time in a professional setting can attest, some people are better at outlining their expectations than others. Whereas some bosses provide crystal-clear instructions with no room for ambiguity, others aren’t quite as forthcoming with details. Needless to say, the latter can be difficult to work with, particularly if they tend to be discerning with regard to what freelancers submit. If you fail to properly spell out your expectations at the outset, many freelancers are liable to make broad assumptions about what you want and complete their work without any clear direction. This can result in finished projects that significantly deviate from what you expected.

In the interest of avoiding such miscommunications, be as clear as possible when outlining expectations, giving directions and deciding on manageable timetables. Furthermore, make yourself accessible to freelancers who need questions addressed mid-project. Newer freelancers may be nervous about coming to you with questions for fear of seeming unprofessional. However, you can assuage this anxiety by encouraging them to ask questions at every juncture. 

Keep Yourself in the Loop 

It’s important for you and your freelancers to remain on the same page throughout the duration of each project. Unsurprisingly, long periods of no communication can result in projects getting off-track and bosses becoming frustrated. Regularly checking in with freelancers and monitoring their progress can help ensure that projects are delivered on schedule and require minimal, if any, revisions. Since most freelancers aren’t keen on making sweeping last-minute revisions to projects, keeping yourself in the loop can prove tremendously helpful to everyone involved.  

Be Mindful of Last-Minute Changes 

No one relishes having projects amended at the last possible second. So, if shifting expectations have caused changes in how much work a project will entail, you need to be mindful of how this stands to impact your freelancers. For example, if more work is now required, it’s only fitting that the deadline and payment rates be changed, as well. Expecting more work at an expedited speed for the same rate is exploitative and may prompt some contract workers to part ways with your business. 

Process Payments in an Expedited Manner 

Unlike full-time team members, most freelancers lack the financial security a stable income brings. For many contract workers, the amount they make varies from month to month, which can be particularly stressful for people with very little in the way of savings. You can help relieve your freelancers of financial anxiety by processing their payments in an expedited manner. 

While some businesses process payments on the same day each month, others hold off until receiving invoices. If your business prefers the latter, encourage freelancers to submit invoices as soon as they’ve completed their work. Some freelancers are hesitant to submit invoices right away, as they believe this makes them seem desperate or unprofessional. However, there’s no shame in desiring prompt compensation for services rendered, and it’s important for contract workers to understand this. If you’re looking for an effective way to expedite payments or keep track of invoices, seek out software solutions that offer a streamlined document review process

Dedicated freelancers can be a boon to any small business. In addition to helping you save money, the right freelancers can produce top-tier work for your business and effectively bolster your professional reputation. So, if you regularly benefit from the efforts of freelancers, it’s in your best interest to do right by them. Fortunately, keeping freelance employees happy and incentivizing them to continue working with you is much easier than you may think.