5 Tips for Keeping Good Freelancers

As a business owner, there are a number of tasks you should outsource. One of those items is writing.

If you aren’t a writer (and sometimes even if you are), it makes sense to hire someone else to produce content for you. This means that there is a good chance that you will work with freelancers.

Finding a good freelancer or team of freelancers can take some time. As a result, it makes sense to try to keep good people when you find them. As a freelancer, I know what it takes to keep me on board. Here are ways you can boost your chances of keeping good freelancers:

1. Pay Them

This is the best way of keeping good freelancers. Since your freelancers are working on a 1099 basis, you don’t have to worry about things like overhead and payroll taxes. That means you might have some wiggle room to pay a little extra for quality work.

Don’t break your budget, but do offer something fair. And make sure you pay promptly. Freelancers appreciate clients who are willing to pay quickly.

2. Avoid Regularly Short Deadlines

Sometimes things come up and you need content quickly. When you’re in an emergency situation like that, it’s nice to know that you have a freelancer who will come through. However, it’s vital that you don’t regularly ask for things in a panic and on a short deadline. This is a fast way to burnout.

Instead, do your best to plan ahead, creating a content so that freelancers know what’s happening. Ask freelancers up front what kind of lead time they prefer and honor that as much as possible.

3. Don’t Nitpick Just to Nitpick

My biggest pet peeve is the editor who is sure that s/he needs to ask me to change something. Some site managers feel like they aren’t doing their jobs if they aren’t asking a writer to change something. It’s one thing to ask for a major revision. It’s another to send something back for minor changes. My favorite was a client who regularly asked me to “add something about x” when that item was already in the article. It was like the client was asking me to say the same thing harder.

Keeping good freelancers is about understanding that sometimes there will be typos. We aren’t editors, and even though most of us do our best to read through our work and catch errors, there might be mistakes. As an editor, it’s your job to fix those small things and move on.

4. Stop Being Sneaky to Get More Content for Less

Okay, this is actually my biggest pet peeve. I once had a client who didn’t want to pay the fee I charge for articles of 1,000 words. He ordered articles of 500 words to get a lower price. When I turned in the first 500-word article, he asked for more detail in each section.

It was his sneaky way of trying to boost the count to 1,000 words and get more meat. I told him that the level of detail he asked for wasn’t possible in the shorter article, so he’d have to pay if he wanted me to add twice the content. He did, and I refused to take more work from him after that.

5. Be Flexible

The best way of keeping good freelancers, though, is to be flexible. Money isn’t always the reason freelancers stick around. I’ve accepted lower rates when I’m working with someone who is flexible.

If I can work with a client who is pretty easy going, has loose due dates, and lets me do what I want (within reason), I’ll work with that client. Sometimes, it’s more about freedom and flexibility, and fewer revisions, than it is about the money.