You may have just received funding to complete a major project or simply decided it’s time to move ahead with a website redesign. You now need to find the right freelancers for the job. Whether it’s adding a few freelancers to your existing in-house team or building a freelancer-only team, you may be unsure where to start.
Before deciding on your freelancers, you first need to clearly map out your project. What are the “moving pieces?” What are the deadlines? Who needs to connect with whom and what are the responsibilities of each team member?
Some of these questions may not be fully answered until you have your team in place. Still, it’s important to examine all aspects of the project in order to know the skills you need from your team members.
The Distinctions of a Freelancer
Not all freelancers have the combination of skills that you may need. For instance, there are some copywriters who can offer you design and formatting services but yet not all graphic designers can write copy.
Similarly, some graphic designers will be able to create infographics but not all. Some graphic designers focus exclusively on logos.
In a world where many freelancers have several areas of skills, the only way you can discover whether a freelancer is right for you is by viewing their portfolio and communicating with them. It’s important to see proof so that during this preliminary stage of preparing for your project, you can evaluate your freelancer’s experience very carefully.
A few distinctions:
- Industry-specific: Would it speed up your project to have a freelancer who was already familiar with your industry? Or is it a project that doesn’t require such knowledge? If you don’t need specialized experience, you may shave off some time when it comes to finding the right team member.
- Generalist or Specialist: Do you need an HTML5 web developer or a web developer who can access HTML5 themes within WordPress and still get your website up and running? Or maybe you need a web designer who specializes in Amazon Web Services (AWS). Generalists can get the job done most of the time but there are projects that need a more specialized skill set.
- Time Zone: For many businesses, it won’t matter if their freelancer lives in Nepal or Nashville. But if your project is going to require fast communication between you and your team, you may need to hire freelancers who live closer to your time zone. Some freelancers may have as much as a 14-hour time difference with you, so it’s good to decide in the beginning of your search what you can deal with and what will end up holding a project back.
Once you define the distinctions of your project, you’ll be able to confidently enter into the freelancer search and find the person you need fairly quickly.
Team Building 101 With Freelancers
Now that you’ve found the right freelancers for your team, it’s time to put into place some rules and guidelines. This will help keep your project on track as you and your team communicates the project’s status and needs throughout each phase.
Here are some areas that will help build your team’s performance:
- Team and individual goals: You have the goal of completing your project but that large goal is comprised of sub-goals. Discuss the goals for the whole team and also the individual goals for each team member.
- Responsibilities and Accountability: This is one of the most important areas for every team project. Each member needs to have a clear understanding of what is expected from them, their area of specialty, their position on the team, the extent of their authority within the execution of their role, and a list of their assignments.
- Systems and Processes: For team collaboration, you need the right systems and processes. Make sure the onboarding process goes smoothly by notifying team members what they need to do. It could be as simple as explaining how to create a Gravatar account so their photo appears in Basecamp. Or it could be more complex like distributing a flow chart for decision-making. What’s important is that the entire team understands your process that enables them to complete their project tasks to your satisfaction.
- Relationships: Sometimes this can be overlooked in the pursuit of completing your project. The attitudes and behaviors of team members toward one another is vital for moving ahead. Respect and professional courtesy can go a long way toward avoiding hard feelings, which in turn can delay a project. Make sure you set a good example by being transparent with the team, admitting if you dropped the ball on a task, and openly giving credit for a job well done. Other team members will often take their cue from your actions and do the same.
The more clearly you can define expectations, the better your team can perform. Few things are more detrimental to a team’s progress than a team member not fully understanding their deliverables. Consistent communication will greatly help.
With some careful planning, you’ll find that putting together a team of freelancers can be very rewarding, with a diverse group of people contributing inspiration, motivation, and creative solutions for your business. The best thing that can happen after your project is finished is having a team member say, “This was fantastic! When can we do it again?”
We’d like to make that happen for you. If you’re in the market for building a team, why not review our freelancer directory? We’ve made it easy for you to find the right people for your special project. Let us know how we can help!