Sometimes outsourcing to a freelance service provider is the most efficient way to get a specific piece of work done, whether that’s copywriting, programming or web design and so on.
In order for this to work the way you envisaged it, however, you need to make sure your freelancer scores high on the following traits. Many times employers end up with a raw deal because they weren’t too careful. Here’s what you need to look for.
It is the first thing on this list because regular and reliable communication is one of the best indicators of a freelance provider’s commitment to quality work and getting the job done. It can be done via daily email exchange, instant messaging (on a chat service like Google Talk, Yahoo or MSN for instance), internet telephony (through Skype and so on) or anything else that works for you.
With regular communication you ensure that the provider is kept up-to-date on your requirements, that you are able to work as a team if there are other freelance providers involved and that you get regular updates on what the freelancer is doing. Most problems with outsourcing to a freelancer can be traced back to poor communication.
The actual skills
The writer needs to be able to write well, the copywriter should be able to write copy that actually sells, the programmer should give you exactly what you asked for (minus the bugs and all) and so on. Find out about previous projects done and how they’re working out right now.
If possible, contact previous employers and ask them for personal experience regarding the freelancer, or check out the freelancer’s ratings and testimonials on the site you found them on). Portfolios, current work, websites are all basics in addition to which you ask to see the above.
Is there accountability?
So you’ve hired the professional copywriter, they’ve got the skills and the communication. What about when they actually send you a piece of work and it’s not what you wanted at all? Will they do revisions and rewrites? Will they redraft and if so, how many are they willing to do?
The idea is that the freelancer gives you content but you’re paying them for a specific product and if you do not get that product at the end of the day some portion of the blame rests with the freelancer. It’s as simple as that.
Therefore it is important to lay out some of the groundwork on this beforehand to minimize any grief later on. Find out about successful projects that the freelancer has worked on before and about the not-so-successful ones as well. How the freelancer talks about the projects that didn’t go so well will tell you a lot about their level of personal responsibility and accountability. And also make sure you go over backup plans with the freelancer beforehand.
Keep these guidelines in mind and finding that quality work, communicative and responsible freelancer should be a breeze (albeit perhaps a rather long one, but a breeze nonetheless).