An affiliate guide to working with freelancers the smart way
All affiliates who are growing their business and delegate tasks to freelancers have found themselves in a situation where while assessing the work that somebody has submitted they think, “Well, it’s not what I’ve asked for. It does not meet the requirements whatsoever. How on earth could they do it in such a way?” At that, we’re not always eager to take responsibility for the result, and so we have to deal with missed deadlines and are generally dissatisfied with the work of some team members.
My experience in working with freelancers and teams spread around the world has shown that assigning tasks to various people is not as easy as it seems and that the end result and the execution time depends on the coherence and continuity of actions.
In truth, not only do you need to be apt in writing effective work statements, but you also have to communicate with contractors in a most productive manner. In this article, I’m going to give you some tips derived from my personal experience.
How to write an effective statement of work (SoW)
When delegating a task, it’s important that a freelancer is fully aware of what is expected of them and is actually able to do the job. For instance, you want to commission a banner or a script.
A bad example of a task description
I need a flickering banner with a computer, it will be placed on the website and it must generate clicks.
If your contractor who you haven’t worked with before just nods and says that everything will be OK and you don’t have enough time to describe the task in more detail, then you’re in for some troubles. What troubles? Well, you will have to communicate with the contractor a lot in an effort to persuade them to accept your adjustments and make some amendments for free. Why? Because the end result that you wish to get remains obscure.
An example of a proper task description
We need you to design a banner to be placed on the website. 200×400 size. The banner should look like this:
- a heading at the top “Your updates are ready for install”;
- a background image featuring a notebook (PC, not a Mac) and the home screen;
- the second caption at the bottom of the banner “Keep your safety with updates”;
- output file format: GIF;
- the file size must not exceed 300KB;
- font colors must correspond to the product’s brand book.
The following points can be added to the list: deadline, payment size, payment options to avoid commissions, how to make amendments and so on.
How to reach a common ground
Apart from writing an effective SoW, there are some other nuances that you should take into account.
Here are the three simple points you should be absolutely confident about when hiring a freelancer:
- The task has been broken down in enough detail.
- The contractor understands what is expected of them and you both understand it in the same way.
- The contractor is ready to complete the task in time and for an agreed-upon sum of money.
This list will help you avert the misinterpretation of task details and build a reputation of a customer who knows for sure what they want.
Chairs in the morning, money in the evening: How to negotiate payments
It’s worth noting that the financial aspect of the matter is very important to all parties to the agreement. That’s why it is advisable to negotiate it beforehand. I recommend using the following sample:
We don’t pay in advance if you don’t have any positive reviews or ratings. We can pay in installments after the first 50% of the task has been completed. We can pay by card, through WebMoney or ePayments. You can receive your payment after the work has been submitted at any time.
Below, you can find some characteristics of a client who definitely has a poor reputation among freelancers. If some of these characteristics can be applied to you, then you have some things to work out.
So, bad clients:
- don’t provide any details when describing a task;
- don’t explain to freelancers how their individual tasks fit in the overall context;
- are reluctant to answer questions concerning some details of a task;
- are impossible to reach at times (and they don’t provide any explanation);
- suddenly find out that they have forgotten to state a score of highly important nuances, and so you should just make some changes for free or do everything all over again;
- refuse to accept the work on the ground that they don’t need it anymore although the deadline has not yet passed. Frankly speaking, even if a freelancer missed a deadline but did provide a sufficient explanation, this is not a reason to reject the work, as any labor deserves to be compensated;
- pay through services that impose their commissions (thus, all commissions are at the expense of a freelancer);
- don’t pay promptly;
- change some key points in the task description on the day the work was supposed to be submitted without any compensation and prior arrangement.
You will probably be able to receive some services even if you a bad client, but don’t expect to get some cutting-edge solutions that will enable you to multiply your income.
“I haven’t commissioned that!”
The most common mistake people make after accepting the work is that they neglect tests and don’t check whether everything complies with the requirements. If you have commissioned something, you should always check the end result first before paying money and giving feedback. It happened more than once that I would pay a freelancer and then some problems or minor bugs that were difficult to fix would start to pop up. Some time has already passed, and a freelancer who has received the money won’t do it for free.
- Exercise your soft skills: you should explain a task to a freelancer who hasn’t been involved in your project before so that they can understand it perfectly and actually implement it.
- The more time you spend on describing a task and communicating with freelancers, the less time you will have to waste on arguing and clarifying small details when accepting the work and the fewer bugs you will have to fix.
- Make sure that a freelancer has got you right. If you have any doubts, ask some questions again.
- Stay in touch with freelancers so that they are able to ask all the questions they have and do everything right without wasting time.
- Pay promptly and in compliance with the agreement terms. Don’t pass on the burden of commissions to a freelancer.
If you like this article or if you have some questions left, you can always contact me on Telegram or via email.
See you soon!