It can be nerve-wracking to reach out to a new service provider. What kind of person will you be dealing with? What preconceptions will they have? Are they kind? Qualified? Will they listen to – and understand – your needs? Will they increase your confidence or reduce it? Will they stand behind their work? Will they be available when you need them?
While it’s impossible to know all the answers at the outset, there are a few things you can do on your side of the equation to help ensure you get the outcome you’re looking for.
- The first – and most important – action is to communicate, communicate, communicate! You own your project and you’re the person who will feel the impact of its success or failure. Don’t be afraid to over-communicate the outcome you’re hoping to achieve. If you’re not ready to hand the whole project to a stranger, try turning over a bite-sized chunk to see how it turns out. This will give you insight into your freelancer’s capabilities and turnaround time without putting your budget or deadline at risk.
- Be available. Your freelancer wants to do a great job for you. If questions come up mid-project, she’s going to need to call you for clarification. You might be facing a crushing load of work, but you’ll still want to set aside a little time (when you can) to weigh in on the problem. Because that bit of ambiguity she’s facing may change the trajectory of your whole project. Rest assured, your freelancer’s goal is to leave you delighted, not disappointed.
- Limit changes. You should have a clear idea of your project’s target outcome before you start shopping for freelance help. While it’s true that it may be necessary to make a change midway through a task, it shouldn’t cause a cascade of changes across your entire project. If it does, then your outcome hasn’t been carefully considered and you may need to go back to the drawing board. Scope creep isn’t cheap. If you’re asking your freelancer to revise the scope of the project, be prepared to increase your budget accordingly.
- Speak up! Your freelancer should be providing you with periodic updates, so if you’re not happy with the progress of your project, speak up! It’s much better to iron out problems early on while there’s still an easy fix than scrap a wayward project at the end and start again from scratch.
The bottom line: your freelancer wants to help you succeed. If you’re delighted with her work, then you’ll be more apt to provide her with a great testimonial or refer her to her next client. Together, you can achieve a great outcome on both sides of the relationship as long as the communication pathway is open and clear.
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