It’s no secret. People do their best work when they’re happy.
Most freelancers are already happy with the work they do, which makes sense. After all, you wouldn’t start working as a freelancer if you didn’t enjoy what you were doing, would you?
While doing what you love is important, it’s not a silver bullet. If you want to get the absolute best work from your freelancers, you have to give them a few things first.
#1. Give them Expectations
Knowing what to expect is so critical. Obviously, you’ve discussed pay. But what about communication? Have you told your freelancers how accessible you or your team will be to them? Are there things they should know about your company culture to ensure they fit in? Answering these questions before they’re asked shows your freelancer you’re putting yourself in their shoes, and are thinking about them.
Speaking of expectations, make sure you answer the question “who needs to do what by when”. That will get everyone on the same page, and add an extra layer of accountability for everyone.
#2. Give them Equality
Most freelancers ventured off on their own because they didn’t want to be an employee. Unfortunately, this comes with a social cost. Do your best to incorporate your freelancers into your company “family” as possible. Invite them to company events and get-togethers. If you send holiday cards, make sure they’re on the list. If you celebrate employees’ birthdays or special occasions make sure you find a way to loop them in. If they can’t join you for a slice of cake in the office, consider sending them a gift card for a cup of coffee.
#3. Give them Financial Security
Not knowing when you’re going to get paid is the biggest demotivator for a freelancer. Imagine how your employees would feel if they weren’t certain when payday was! Unfortunately, that’s how most freelancers live. Even when clients pay on time, they usually don’t notify freelancers that a check is in the mail.
But CrewPay does. After you make a payment we notify your freelancers that “A payment is on its way!”. We get them excited about you again with another email when the money is in their account.
Giving your freelancers that little bit of certainty around payments is sure to make them love you. When they love you, they’ll do their absolute best work for you because they want to keep you as a client.
#4. Give them Opportunity
Be sure to ask your freelancers where you can review them on social media. If your freelancers know a review is coming no matter what, they’ll step up their game. Positive reviews will help them land new clients and they know it. They also know what a negative review will do.
Similarly, if you’re happy with your freelancer, see if you can help them get more work. Offer to serve as a reference if they ever need it. Refer them to your network with some kind words on LinkedIn. Or, offer to introduce your freelancer to anyone they see you’re connected to. They may never take you up on the offer, but the gesture will go a long way for you.
#5. Give them Feedback
Obviously you have to provide feedback once concepts, drafts, or final work is delivered. If you want to really show your appreciation, let your freelancers know the actual results of their work. Tell them what happened because of the materials they made for your tradeshow. Share the compliments your customers gave you. Often times after they deliver their labor of love to a client, they never hear from it again.
If you do have constructive criticism, be sure to share it. But share it properly. “I don’t like this” isn’t good feedback. Constructive feedback sounds like “I don’t like this because ... and here’s an example of something I like better”.
By focusing on these, you're guaranteed to lock up “favorite client” status, which is how you make sure your freelancers give you their best work.