How startups can make the most of freelance talent
Startups begin with a great idea, but it’s the people behind that idea that make sure a business gets off the ground in the first place.
Finding the right team of people, with the right skillset is key to the success of any business - especially in the early days. There’s an enormous talent pool out there for startup entrepreneurs to tap into, offering flexibility, creativity and a huge amount of enthusiasm which could be a lightning rod for your startup operation.
It’s a talent pool that has only been getting bigger in recent years thanks to the more global nature of work. The rise of remote and flexible working means people can work from anywhere, which means freelancers and businesses can form international relationships. Of course, this also means that as the talent pool gets bigger - so does the competition, but there are things that you can do as a business owner to set yourself apart and make sure you attract the best talent the freelance pool has to offer.
But how do you go about finding the right people? And once you’ve found them, how do you hold onto them when demand is so high?
It might seem obvious, but the answer to this question is as simple as offering freelancers the respect that they deserve by ensuring that their invoices are paid on time. The freelance workforce is full of incredibly talented and passionate individuals whose specialist skills can easily elevate your business, but a huge number of invoices to these freelancers are paid late which often immediately puts paid to any hope of building a successful and mutually beneficial long-term relationship between both parties.
The fundamentals of a good freelancer/business relationship boils down to two things: trust and transparency. Both of these things are absolutely essential to maintaining a good relationship between businesses and freelancers and mean that it’s much easier down the line to build bigger and better things from this solid foundation.
Confidence for both parties is absolutely key: a freelancer should have confidence that they are going to paid properly and promptly for their work, while business owners should be safe in the knowledge that they are getting exactly what they are paying for and that it is money well spent - especially as money is a bigger factor than usual at the crunch startup time. There isn’t any money to be wasted, so startup owners need to be sure they’re making the right investment when it comes to commissioning a freelancer with a project.
Negotiations over payment and invoicing are awkward, lengthy and distract both parties from getting on with the things that they are really good at. Keep things clear and simple and in written record, so there is no room for confusion or misunderstanding later down the line. Both parties should be up-front about their expectations from the start.
One way to do this is by trying to use an escrow-style deposit system where the payment is only released after you have received the work and you’re happy with it. This means that you know that your money is being well-spent, and the freelancer can see that you are serious about requesting their services.
A good relationship between businesses and freelancers is beneficial to both parties, providing you as the business owner with the things you need to set your business apart from the rest and providing the freelancer with a potentially long-term source of income, as well as invaluable exposure for their skills.
It’s a relationship like any other, where at the heart of it - trust is the most important thing.