When you go online looking for a freelancer to hire, what are your expectations?

More and more people will start turning to online freelancers in Kenya to help them accomplish various tasks:

  • as more people become tech-savvy
  • as the internet pushes more businesses to take some of their activities online
  • as they fall in love with the idea of outsourcing some tasks
  • as the years go by.

But what about you? If you are already outsourcing work to freelancers, what usually is your expectation? What goes on in your mind every time you plan on getting someone from outside your organization:

  • to help you deal with a problem (for example an error on your website that needs fixing)?
  • to help you grow something (for example sales, likes, subscribers or links)
  • to help you free up your time (for example uploading, formatting and scheduling content to your website / blog / social media profiles or email device provider)?

You will find that most people new to freelancing will either:

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  • expect too little from freelancers
  • too much from freelancers

That is before they get enough experience to be able to reach a place where they can strike a balance between the two and go through subsequent hiring phases with expectations that are more in line with their budget.

Lofty expectations that can’t be met

I don’t if you have read about freelancers ranting about someone who hired them and just expected miracles. For example:

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Someone just pushing some money their way, If they are a developer, and asking them to come up with a really popular app (like WhatsApp, Instagram or Talking Tom)

Someone hiring them to build links and expecting page one / position rankings in a month or less (without even thinking about the difficulty score for the terms they want to rank highly for).

Someone hiring them to create a video and have the thing go viral in no time.

Someone hiring them to write content for their new affiliate niche site and wondering why they are just making small amounts of money every day from clicks to the articles they published.

Someone just paying $10 / KSh 1000 per article and expects an order of 50 articles to be complete in a week or less.

Sometimes I see stories like these and I can’t help but laugh. I sympathize with both parties sometimes, or just lean more to the side of the freelancer – because really some of the demands clients make just seem impossible for the timeline and budget they give (freelancers) in return for spectacular results.

Reasonable expectations

On the other hand there are companies, individuals, organizations and businesses that have worked with freelancers for a long time, they understand how to make things work:

Which is not to say that one needs to have lots of experience before they are able to reach a place where their expectations won’t:

  • seem like an insane request
  • rebuff contractors.

Just reading from other businesses or just asking the right questions before you bring someone on a project can always help both parties:

  • strike a relationship where neither feels pressured to do anything they don’t want to do
  • create and maintain boundaries that will help them ensure their work-life doesn’t spill over to other things creating even more pressure and anxiety
  • just jump right into the work and start hitting milestones
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A few tips to use next time you are out looking for a freelancer to hire

If there are three things I can tell someone interested in hiring freelancers right now, here is my list:

  • Know what you are looking for and why
  • Give the freelancers you hire enough time to complete their work
  • Treat them well and pay them well

Know what you are looking for and why

Be really specific. Be every detailed. Look at the problem you are experiencing (the task you want to hire out) critically. See, how it is affecting other areas of your business. How it might be slowing you from reaching your goals sooner.

Some questions that can help you while you are trying to figure out what it really is you need help with, include:

  • What do I lose when I delay solving this problem I have? What do I lose when I don’t outsource soon enough? What other problems might arise on account of me not getting a freelancer in to help deal with the problem I am experiencing?
  • What do I gain when I outsource this? And what new opportunities will open to me if the problem I have is outsourced successfully?
  • What can I learn from working with a freelancer in this task / project that might help in my bigger WHY (delivering the transformation customers buying from you expect)?
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Give the freelancers enough time to complete their work

Nothing is as bad as getting work that is rushed from your freelancer.

It is just a waste of everybody’s time when:

  • you give them little time, forcing them not to strictly adhere to quality standards expected by readers / clients / customers in your niche / industry / segment of the market.
  • you have to ask them to redo the whole thing because it has fallen short of your expectations.

If you don’t want to constantly ask for revisions, give the contractors you hire enough time to complete their work.

If you expect a quality tutorial post complete with multiple screenshots don’t use the same timeline you usually give to someone who only has to stick only one or two images to the article they write for you.

If you are out for links, trying to roll out a guest posting campaign, don’t let your excitement push your freelancer into using poor outreach methods that will just make the people they reach out to not respond or give them answer that will keep you from hitting your goals much faster.

Treat the freelancers you hire well (and pay them well)

To be courteous, to be cordial, they say it works wonders. Just being able to force your mind to ask ‘What would things be like if I were in that person’s shoes?’ can help you cultivate little ways to build trust between you and the people you hire.

And once someone knows you are looking out for them, that you are just not in this for self, your working relationship will blossom. And when it does, that is when all those expectations you have will become really easy to meet. And you will always be a great fulfillment working with contractors.

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