Not Actually Employees

Not Actually Employees


Just a couple of weeks ago, I had to hire a freelancer to do some writing work for me. It was something I couldn’t write myself because it involved hard science and a strong background in astrophysics. Yes, astrophysics. So, instead of making sh*t up and trying to make a fool out of myself, I called in the big guns.

As soon as I read through the first draft of the article, I knew that it wasn’t the style and tone I was going for. A major overhaul was needed and there was some miscommunication on both sides.

After a few back and forth exchanges of ideas and some redirection (and with the help of amazing collaboration tools!), I finally got the article I wanted. It took a while for us to achieve those results but I was thankful that we had a good co-working relationship to get us through the hurdles.

When you are working with freelancers, contractors, consultants, and just about anybody who is not an actual employee and who you don’t get to see around the office on a daily basis, there are bound to be some challenges. It takes a different approach to manage them and there were quite a few lessons that I had learned along the way.

Clear instructions:

Since you don’t see these guys around the office, the best way to give instructions is to send a detailed one via email. Send them clear instructions from the get-go so that they don’t feel like a headless chicken trying to figure out what to do with the information you sent. Send them a brief about the project that includes a background and what the purpose of the project is. Send them useful samples or links. Then, include specifics like what you want to see, specific colours and logos to use (for design work), text to include (for most marketing or ad copies), calls to action, list of suppliers to credit, etc. For chrissake, don’t just send them a link and send them off with a pat on the back and a “good luck!”

Clear expectations:

Set your expectations early. Ask if the project is doable and let them know that if they need help or clarification, you are available. The trick is to share your vision and let them piggyback off of that. Also, ask them when should you expect them to start working on the project. Alternatively, set a deadline or a timeframe and impose that. But don’t be too rigid that you end up being too inflexible. Be aware that setbacks happen – even inside the office. So be prepared to encounter a few setbacks when hiring freelancers as well.

Clear closure:

Give feedback to your freelancer. Don’t just take the finished project and run away with it. It is very good practice to let them know what happened to the project after they handed it over to you. If it was successful, let them know that it couldn’t have been possible without their talent and that you would like to work with them again on similar projects in the future. If it didn’t go right, thank them anyway and let them know how much you appreciate their work.

Please do not forget to please pay on time – acceptable work or not. You are responsible for people you hire so when someone isn’t a right fit, it’s not their fault. Provide constructive feedback and keep working relationships intact. Do not burn bridges. Your freelancer might not be right for this project but could be a perfect fit for future ones.

Have you tried hiring a freelancer, contractor, or consultant? What management tips have worked for you? Let us know in the comments. Stay humble and hustle hard!


Written by: Jaie O. – The Help