Outsourcing creative design services can be a cost-effective alternative for small companies and start-ups without the budget to hire a new full-time staff member or team. While outsourced creative talent may be more affordable than in-house staff, working with freelancers poses a unique set of obstacles. For the relationship between manager and freelancer to thrive, certain measures should be taken to ensure clear communication, teamwork and understanding.
Spending a little bit of extra time on the interview and hiring process can save you hours of frustration later on. There is nothing much worse than waiting on a freelancer to send you work as your deadline ticks by.
Finding talent is the easiest part. All you have to do is closely examine the applicant’s portfolio and CV. If you have any friends or colleagues who are more knowledgeable than yourself about a specific creative project, have them confirm your findings. After all, it is difficult to judge a layout artist from a bad one if you know nothing of how to screen their output.
It is a must that you set up clear communication channels between you and your creative freelancer. While most communication will likely occur over email, a bi-weekly or monthly call or Skype session will help you provide constructive critique. In relationships based solely on email communication, a sense of alienation can arise in the outsourced talent, which could cause them to lose motivation. By maintaining human interaction with your freelancer, he or she will inherently care more about meeting your needs and not letting you down.
While you can’t afford to pay or offer benefits to your outsourced artists you can make an effort to incorporate them as part of the team, especially for freelancers with whom you regularly collaborate with.
While it is not your job to be everyone’s friend, any effort that you put towards building a relationship with your outsourced talent will have a return in value. People work harder for people they like. It’s as simple as that.
When you first begin working with a freelance artist on an ongoing project, be flexible in negotiating the schedule. But, once the schedule is set, be firm if deadlines are not met.
Encourage your freelancers to set up a process for any ongoing project, so you can effectively manage where they are with a project at a given time. Having a clear, well-defined and smooth process will help avoid missed deadlines and miscues.
Providing constructive criticism to creative types who know a lot more about their art than you do can be a headache. While they may know more about the art of photography, they don’t know your business’s demands better than you. It’s your job to tell them the tough truths when necessary and also to let them know when they are doing an impressive job!