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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Five Tips for Identifying and Collaborating with a Freelancer - Part 3 of 3

If and when you make the decision to hire a freelancer, the following tips can be helpful when identifying the appropriate freelancer(s) and collaborating with them to meet your needs.
1. Know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Use a freelancer to fill in the gaps when necessary. For example, if your team is very good with the big picture, but needs help with the details, find someone that can develop a plan and timeline to deliver your vision and keep the team on track.

2. Develop a roster. Strategic versus nitty gritty. Specialized versus generalized. There is a time and place for different freelancers. Perhaps you need someone with 20 years of experience to help with your crisis plan, but they may not be the best use of your budget when you need a press release or media support.

3. Know what you want. A freelancer is not a mind reader. Be able to provide them with a good idea of what you’re looking for so there aren’t any surprises in the deliverable and you get the most out of your investment.

4. Provide details. A freelancer is most helpful when they have all of the details, good and bad, up front. If you’re not straightforward with them, the end result will not be ideal. Also, to save time and money in the future, once you’ve “company-ized” a document, let them know the changes you’ve made so they can keep this in mind next time.

5. Gain outside perspective. Take advantage of an impartial, educated perspective and ask for the freelancer’s opinion. A freelancer can sometimes provide an easy solution or unique way of doing things based on their experience or simply because they haven’t been as entrenched in the company or project.
Have any other tips to add? Please post them here as well.

Amy Smith is owner of Bear Smith Communications, LLC. Previously a managing supervisor at Fleishman-Hillard, she researched freelancing and started her own business after the birth of her first child last November. She can be reached at