Running your very own small business can be stressful, but remember: you don't have to do it alone! Assembling and managing your very own freelance team is a great way to maximize your productivity without leaving you feeling burnt out or stressed. But once you manage to hire the freelancer team of your dreams, how can you keep them happy and productive and also effectively manage them from a distance?
Keep reading to learn more about how you can manage a great freelancer team that will work hard, provide you with quality work, and help you bring your business to the next level.
Evaluate And Communicate Your Needs
Before you bring on a team of freelance employees, it is important to determine what your goals are for your freelancer team. Some questions you should ask yourself include:
- What specific tasks do I need freelancers to perform?
- For how long, and how often, will I need a team (i.e., several hours a week for the next year or for one two-week project)
- What is my budget?
- What qualifications must my freelancers possess?
Although this is an early step in your freelance management plan, it's very important. For example, managing a full-time graphic designer team on a long-term project will require a much different work schedule, pay rate, and management style than managing a part-time software development team working on a single project.
Be honest and generate a list of clear expectations that you have for your future freelancers — then, once you've hired your team, communicate these expectations directly to them. Not only is this an important step for letting your freelancers know exactly what you expect from them, but it will help set a precedent for clear communication between you and your team in the future. Believe it or not, managing your team begins even before you've hired them!
Communication Is Key
Once you've brought your dream team of talented freelancers on board, the hard work can begin. An important detail to keep in mind is that the most important aspect of any freelance management strategy is communication.
In a recent study, approximately 59% of U.S. workers cited communication as their workplace's biggest challenge, indicating that a seemingly simple inability to connect could actually have substantial effects on your small business.
To avoid confusion, set up times to talk with your team over the phone or through video-chatting software. Encourage your team to come to you, or another designated person, with questions. Try to respond to questions as quickly as possible to make your team feel heard and respected — and in order to help your projects get finished more quickly.
Because open communication makes it easy for workers to produce quality work in less time, making yourself available to your freelancers is a great way to boost their confidence and see great results.
Embrace Project Management Software
When you're not able to work face-to-face with your team because they work remotely or you're all scattered across different time zones, project management software can be a helpful tool. To avoid miscommunication and confusion, which can be major issues on small teams, project management tools allow freelancers to complete their work without experiencing any uncertainty about what they should be doing or how they should be doing it.
These tools essentially allow you to manage your employees while you work from home by assigning them tasks, surveying each freelancer's progress, and even collaboratively planning new projects.
Although the specific benefits of each type of product management software vary, most include some form of file storage as well as to-do lists, time tracking tools, and chat or collaboration features. No matter what you need it for, project management software is an incredibly helpful tool for helping small teams get more work done.
Provide Training And Resources
Just because a freelancer appears to be highly qualified or might be working with you for a shorter amount of time doesn't mean that they'll have everything they need to succeed as soon as they come on board. Freelancers need plenty of guidance in order to provide you with the product or service you hired them for.
Take the time for educating them on your brand's tone or voice; whether they're going to be running your social media accounts, providing customer service, or even helping you design a new website, ensure that all your freelancers know how to write, speak and act in the way that best reflects your brand's style and philosophy.
The more time you take for educating your freelancers on who you are and what you do, the more likely they are to produce work that meets or exceeds your expectations.
Keep It Professional
As a small business owner, your actions reflect those of your brand. More importantly, employees who feel happy and valued will feel excited about working with you and producing quality work! Treating your freelance employees well involves more than just showering them with praise.
Instead, assign clear, fair deadlines that your freelancers should have no trouble meeting, pay your freelancers routinely and on a set schedule, and provide respectful feedback that offers both compliments and specific ideas on how they can improve. Taking the time to help your workers improve will make them more likely to stick with you in the long term and forge a successful working relationship.
Whether you're just starting your own freelance business or you're looking to bring on a small team of freelancers for a specific project, managing a freelance team can be just as rewarding as it is challenging. As long as you set clear expectations for your team, encourage open communication, and provide your freelancers with all the tools and feedback they need to do their best, you'll be setting yourself and your team up for success.
If you're busy managing a team of freelancers and want to save time in other areas of your business, consider using a freelancer platform such as Indy and save time with generating invoices, contacting clients, and more. Get started with Indy today for free — no credit card required.