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You Hired a Fiverr Freelancer: Now What?

Updated: May 7

Guide to Hiring and Working with a Freelancer

Have you recently hired a freelancer from a site like Fiverr or Upwork and aren't sure how to navigate the relationship? You're not alone.

Fiverr alone has over 4.2 million active buyers spending roughly $300 per engagement.

Despite the success of expert freelancer platforms like Fiverr, professionals seeking design or technical suppprt from freelancers often find themselves needing help to get the most out of their investment.

Whether you are having trouble getting a final product that matches your expectations even after a lot of back and forth, or are missing deadlines because of ineffective workflows, or just want to make more long lasting relationships with talented contractors, this article outlines the steps you can take to make your freelancer engagement a success, one where everybody wins.

Setting Clear Expectations

The best way to plan for a trip is to have a clear destination in mind. In similar fashion, the success of any design process begins and ends with the extent to which you set and communicate your destination or goal. The earlier in the process, the better.

Setting clear, measurable goals for the project enables people to work at the best. When freelancers understand what communication cadence to keep and what your project timeline is, then they are equipped with key information to guide their work. It's at this point that a freelance can decide for themselves, can I fulfill these expectations or not?

That's why it helps to define the scope of the project clearly. Plan for having a clear understanding of what the criteria for project success and milestones are. For example, if you were running a web development project you might have a launch date that needs to be met without sacrificing quality. One of the expectations you will want to communicate is successful completion of milestones by the agreed deadlines.

You can use the Fiverr or Upwork, etc. project brief features to add these details to your project so both parties are aligned. This level of detail in your project brief will help to attract the right kind of freelancers to your future projects.

If you have already entered into a contract without this level of clarity around expectations, there are a number of additional measures you can implement to course correct or collaborate successfully with a freelancer.

  1. Plan a meeting or share communications (email/platform message) where you outline important information for the project. Think timelines, milestones, criteria for success as discussed above

  2. Give space for the freelancer to ask clarifying questions and communicate their level of understanding of the project scope.

Taking these steps helps to ensure that both parties get what they need out of the engagement. Your freelancer will be protected from scope creep and you will avoid the confusion of working without a clear end goal.

Establish A Communication Plan

Once you have answered questions and built a working understanding of your expectations and the project goal, it is a good idea to begin to establish a communication plan.

This may sound more complicated than it is. A communication plan simply answers the question of how you will communicate to achieve the goals of the project and it ensures that both parties—client and freelancer—are aligned throughout the project's lifecycle,

For communication that helps you meet deadlines and fulfill project requirements to satisfaction, seek to establish answers to the following question:

How will we communicate?

Freelancer platforms often have built in messaging systems. Some platforms have terms of service that prohibit communicating with freelancers outside of that platform so be sure to follow policies to avoid account suspensions or restrictions. The messaging systems give you the ability for immediate communication, record keeping and customer support if things go wrong. If you are working in a context where you are able to communicate freely with a hired freelancer expert, establish your regular communication channels (email, video calls, messenger apps, etc.) and consider scheduling weekly check-ins via email or video calls. These check-ins should have an agenda which outlines what will be discussed, review of recent submissions, upcoming deadlines or any roadblocks the freelancer is facing. Strong agendas also include an outline of next steps or action items to be completed by the next check in.

After discussing key points or providing instructions, you can ask the freelancer to summarize their understanding of the next steps. The best freelancers will do this naturally, summarizing their upcoming workflow to ensure alignment.

Having established a robust communication plan, it’s essential to move into the next crucial phase: Managing Project Timelines. Effective communication ensures everyone is aligned inn expectations and responsibilities, but it is through careful timeline management that these materialize into concrete results.

Managing Project Timelines

Once you've set up regular check-ins and decided on your primary communication methods, it's time to focus on structuring the project into phases or milestones. These milestones are critical as they help both you and the freelancer track progress against the agreed timelines and budget.

Here are some typical milestones you might set, depending on the nature of the project:

  • Initial Draft Submission: For any creative or content-related project, the initial draft is a critical milestone where you can gauge the direction the freelancer is taking.

  • First Revision Completion: After reviewing the initial draft, the completion of the first round of revisions is a milestone to ensure the project is aligning closely with your expectations.

  • Beta Launch: In software or web development, a beta launch allows for testing functionality and gathering user feedback before the final release.

  • Project Review Meetings: Scheduled at critical junctures of the project to evaluate progress, discuss challenges, and make adjustments to the plan if necessary.

  • Final Delivery: The completion of all agreed-upon work and final acceptance of the project deliverables. This is the ultimate milestone before final payments are released.

It helps to write these out in a simple document or create a visual timeline view on Canva or powerpoint. With a framework for your project's timeline now in place, it is imperative to ensure that the work submitted meets your standards. This is where ensuring quality control and feedback come into play, serving as critical components to maintain the project's integrity and success.

Quality Control and Feedback

Quality control is the process of ensuring that the project's outputs meet the required standards and satisfy client expectations. This ongoing process helps to prevent errors, enhance the freelancer's work, and ensure that the final deliverable aligns with your goals. It's not common for a design project to be finished in a single take. Except to cycle through at least 1 feedback cycle and revision.

When reviewing work submitted by freelancers, you should first do an initial assessment to find out whether the deliverables meet the specified requirements outlined in the project scope and to check for errors or omissions. A more detailed analysis can follow if needed to inspect tone, clarity, aesthetics, brand alignment, usability, etc. It helps to provide feedback as soon as you can after receiving work submissions. This helps to keep the project timeline on track.

The best feedback is specific and avoids being vague. Name specific elements that do not meet requirements or need refining and call out the aspects of the work that are well done. Encourage freelancers to ask questions or provide their input on the feedback. This two-way communication fosters a collaborative relationship and often leads to innovative solutions and improvements. With this, your feedback will be constructive and will help you build a long term relationship with your freelancer.

When you make a strong connection with an expert freelancer, it is wise to integrate them into your broader business strategy. Freelancers offer cost efficiency and flexibility which can give your business a competitive advantage. Without the overhead of full time employees, your business is free to be agile, especially during periods of economic uncertainty or market instability.

Have you ever hired a freelancer expert and how did it go? Would you add any practices that helped to make your engagement fruitful? Leave a comment to share what we might have missed.


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