Before Approaching a Freelancer, You Must Know These Things

I need _______. Can you do it?

I have seen that approach many times and honestly, whenever I see it, I cringe. It is far too often like a horror film where you don’t know what is waiting for you on the other side.

Most recently, I countered such a question with a few questions of my own. I asked what their budget was and what timeline they had in mind for the project. Not surprising, I received no answer. It left me scratching my head a little in that I wondered if they even had the answers.

If you have ever thought about approaching a freelancer to work on something for you, here are a few things you can do to save you both time, and save you money.

  1. Know your budget: If you already know what you would consider to be “too much” to spend on your project, do not be afraid to say this up front. If it is too low for the freelancer, they can merely pass up the job. You should have an idea of what you are, and are not, willing to pay.
  2. Know when you need it: Freelancers that only freelance, as in, they have no 9–5 job are a tad bit different than moonlighters. Moonlighters typically freelance after their regular job, and if they are good, they will communicate that with you up front so that you know when to expect to hear from them. Moonlighters have to really focus their time since it isn’t their only job and most likely have limited time to work on certain projects. Freelancers still have to focus their time, but have more time during the day to plan. If it is a rush job, state it up front. If not, that is fine, too. But here is an important key: even if you don’t have a hard and fast deadline, make one up. Projects always go better when there is a date on the calendar that has to be met.
  3. Have your assets ready to go: DropBox is a great tool and can be freely used for this type of thing. If you are needing a tri-fold brochure, you can already have your logo, copy, and some examples saved out on DropBox. Once you agree to a price and have the deadline all worked out, you can shoot over your DropBox link.

It seems like it should be self-explanatory, it really does. But you would be surprised at how many people go into this blind. Trust me, freelancers do not want to play any more games than you do.

Some of the best clients I had as a freelancer always had a list of projects that they needed and could tell me what they wanted from me. Specific direction with access to resources to complete the job all while knowing when I had to get the work finished in made for a successful partnership and I would always bend over backwards for those clients any time possible.

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