Finding top talent might feel like an impossible task during the creative shortage, but it doesn’t have to be.
Working with freelancers can be a great way to get the expertise you need without committing to a full-time employee, but it’s becoming harder to find the right fit for businesses during the creative shortage. Here’s a few things to consider if you’re looking to build your own network of trusted freelancers.
Finding reliable freelancers
Being able to rely on a freelancer’s ability to produce good work to deadlines is important, but being limited to one or two regulars can throw a spanner in the works when they’re away on other projects. Investing time into building a larger pool to draw from can come in handy in these situations.
Word of mouth is a powerful tool and a good place to start. Ask the freelancers that you already have a relationship with whether they might know anyone else that they’d recommend for your project. Similarly, ask your colleagues about their own contacts. Maybe they’ve worked with someone previously that has gone freelance, or they have their own network that they can reach out to.
If you’re looking for a creative, portfolios are useful tools to gauge their skillset and whether they would be a good fit for your project. However, note that a portfolio usually won’t tell you how long the outputs took to create, or if they were completed individually or as part of a team.
Going through a freelancer website has its advantages too, especially because you’ll be able to see the reviews that others have left. If the freelancer has their own website, there’s also a good chance that they’ll have client testimonials on there. The more evidence they have showing the quality of their work, the more likely they’ll be a good fit for you.
Don’t forget to expand your search and look beyond traditional channels. Check social media, professional networking sites, and consider hiring from different parts of the world.
Building trust while working remotely
How can you build trust with freelancers when you have little to no face-to-face time?
Start small and traditional. Once you’ve found a freelancer, host a quick thirty-minute video call to get a feel for who they are and how they work. This’ll be another opportunity to gauge their skill level, and gives you a chance to brief them on the project and set any expectations early on.
After you’ve agreed to work together, you can get them started with smaller tasks that won’t be catastrophic if things go wrong. Remember though: you should allow them as much independence as is reasonably possible within the demands of your project, giving them time and freedom to produce their best work.
If you’re short of time, scheduling regular check-ins can be a good way to make sure that the brief is fully understood – especially at the start of the project. This way, any communication issues can be caught sooner rather than later.
What to do when you’re let down by a freelancer
Despite all of the planning you’ve done, some things will inevitably go wrong. If the problem is fixable, such as a misunderstanding of the brief, your best bet is to work through it with your freelancer and allow them to sort it out.
However, there are times when the problem might not be fixed as easily. Maybe the freelancer is unable to deliver to the agreed deadlines, or their skills are a poor match for the project. This is another moment where being able to fall back on a network of freelancers will be useful. Tapping into a community of trusted creatives for their expertise can help to get your project back on track, with no damage done to your company reputation.
Building a network will take time, and requires you to keep an eye out for new freelancers to work with.