Entrepreneurs often need to hire freelancers for various projects. The upside is that with the help of freelance marketplaces and professional networks, you have access to many people who specialize in what you need.
Simultaneously, one aspect of working with freelancers can prove tricky if not handled properly: feedback.
As a knowledge entrepreneur, you have your vision of your brand and need contractors to reflect that in the work they do for you.
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How to give constructive feedback to freelancers as a knowledge entrepreneur
However, people can’t read minds. You’ll often find that others have very different ideas about how things should be done. Since you’re investing in this, you deserve to get what you want, yet it’s important to ask for it constructively.
Here are some tips for offering constructive feedback to freelancers that lead to a good relationship and positive results:
1. Always ask for a draft first
No matter how urgent the deadline, you have a better chance of completing a project if you don’t rush. Ask for a project draft, even when you’re happy with what the freelancer has done for other clients. Many entrepreneurs also add a deadline for the draft and one for the final version to have ample time to discuss things.
This way, you open the door to further communication and alterations when needed.
2. Agree on a timeline
Your time is very valuable, as is that of the freelancers you work with. It’s essential to know what your expectations are. Payment will probably be influenced by this as well.
You don’t want the process to drag, but you also want to ensure that you get quality work on a deadline that you are comfortable with. The optimal way to go about it is to agree on several meetings and leave room for more if they are needed. Having a timeline keeps everyone accountable.
3. Be very specific about what you want
When you offer feedback on that first draft, try to steer away from general statements. Saying “I’m not sure about this color” is vague and unhelpful. “This color does not go with the palette we use for your brand image; a warmer one would be more appropriate” is better as you not only give the reason for your comment but also propose an alternative.
Don’t be apprehensive about speaking your mind but make sure that everything you say is easy to understand and apply.
4. Provide examples
Inspiration boards like those you find on Pinterest are perfect for letting freelancers know what you want. Bring visual, audio, or written samples of what you would like to see at the end of the project.
It’s the best way to show others how you envision the end results. You can find your inspiration anywhere but make sure you let them know if anything is copyrighted and can’t be included in the actual project.
5. Allow for freelancer autonomy
Remember you chose that particular freelancer for a reason – probably you liked their previous work or felt that your visions match. Once you have stated your requirements and have provided examples, allow the other person to do the job without micromanaging.
Keeping in touch is good, and you should always be very responsive to requests coming from freelancers, but you must trust their abilities.
6. Communicate with respect
There’s a meme that says, “if you get locked out of your house, just talk to the door respectfully because communication is key.” While this will surely not make a door open by itself, it’s good advice when it comes to business relations and offering feedback to your collaborators.
Critique is not criticism. When you say “no” to something, make it clear that you are not questioning the quality of the work but how it fits your needs.
It’s normal to care a great deal about your e-learning business and be very particular about any project made by someone else. It’s important to choose your collaborators carefully and build a positive work relationship. You need to offer feedback with a constructive approach and make sure you do your part to ensure a successful collaboration.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.