I can’t quite believe I’ve been freelance for 10years this year! Wow! I’ve learnt so much and worked with some wonderful people in that time – here are my seven top tips to making your relationship with one of us “free as a bird” freelancers feel good!
1. Freelance doesn’t mean Free – Be upfront about the fee/ daily rate you have available, always pay for meeting and scoping time as that’s time a freelancer can’t be working for anyone else. One freelance rate is not the same as another’s and mine has to vary massively depending on budget, travel and the job I’m being asked to do.
2. Black and White – Write a contract/ letter of agreement and get it to your freelancer ASAP. Not only does that make them feel secure but it covers both of you too.
3. Cash Flow – Don’t expect them to be out of pocket. Pay invoices within the terms stated (mine are 14days) and expenses too. I once waited for 3 months for an invoice to be paid which meant I had to borrow money for my tax bill as we were in the middle of renovations and I hadn’t budgeted for not being paid – not fun!
4. Management – Tell them how you want to manage them, when do you want catch ups over the phone or in person? Book them in as diaries get very busy for freelancers working on multiple projects. Do you expect them to update multiple people in your organisation or can you do that?
5. 24/7 – Agree out of hours contact. Personally I don’t think you can presume weekend and evening calls/ messages will be picked up even if you work that way so I think it’s fairer to organise and agree this from the off. I don’t mind a bit of this but if every contract does it I get very tired because I don’t have enough down time.
6. Creative Play – Be upfront if you want to use ideas but not with the person who gave them to you. Ideas of the creative mind belong to the person who thought and spoke about them. If you want to use them and run with them with your own team, it’s courteous to ask rather than promise something with a freelancer and then not deliver. Yes this has happened to me but not a lot.
7. How’s life? A freelancer doesn’t have colleagues or a boss who checks in and asks how life is, how their weekend was or what their opinion on the latest political situation is. They don’t have an organisation paying pension contributions or inviting them to Christmas parties. I love being asked how I am rather than being seen as someone who delivers work. Perhaps personal to me but I always try to treat the people I manage this way too.
Do you have any additional tips for being freelance? Would love to hear them!