Building and managing remote Freelancer teams

Following on from our previous post regarding the challenges facing brand managers, we have created some guidelines to help you when working with Freelancer teams.

When working with distributed teams on your projects it is vital to understand how to manage the delivery. Selecting the right talent and structuring your project appropriately is the key to success.

To help, I will share some of my methods.  Let’s take an example project, say we need to localise our brand video and add a French voice over to the original.  Below are the typical steps I would take to manage this scope of work through.

Step 1 the project brief  

We need to start with the right foundations.  A robust project brief for each Freelancer we need to source is vital.  If we get this stage wrong it could result in confusion, additional cost or worse a failed delivery.

In this scenario, I would prepare two briefs.  One for my voice over artist and another for the video editor, who will ultimately apply the new vocals.

I usually have a colleague review my brief’s to ensure they make sense and contain all the key details to explain the project well.

Step 2 Freelancer sourcing

Finding the right Freelancer(s) can be difficult.  The idea is to locate the best talent in a large pool of resources, which is not always easy.  Make use of the many Freelancer platforms available today.  Don’t be afraid to register on a few and search for the perfect fit for your project.  Each platform will have different strengths and weaknesses so do some research to see what works best for you.

Review the Freelancer’s profiles, sample work and where possible share vetting questions to give you an idea of how they would approach your scope of work and what experience they have which is relevant.

I also like to arrange short calls with my shortlisted talent to understand a little more about them.  You can learn a lot about someone via a quick video call, which can help you determine if they are the right fit for your team.

In our scenario, I would certainly ask for sample voice recordings from my VO artists to check on quality, tone, and style.

Step 3 Structuring the project

Now this stage does not have to be complex.  Depending on your project you may opt for a detailed project plan but it is not mandatory for success.  The right Freelancers are very capable and used to working with minimal direction, so if you pick right then the management effort is usually less.

In our scenario, I would define a few high-level milestones and track activity against these.  Efficient and effective.

I always look at how to structure the deliverable milestones and link payments to them.  That way I can request say the first 30 seconds of my Voice recording for $150, check I am happy before committing the full $2000 to the remainder.  This gives you chance to pivot and select an alternative resource if things don’t quite work out the first time!

Of course, some projects are complex and simply must have a detailed plan.  In these instances, define the plan with the Freelancer team and ensure everyone is 100% happy and committed to the timeline.

Step 4 Engaging the Freelancers

Now it is time to think about contracts and of course NDAs.  Give your Freelancer sight of any documents as soon as possible to ensure they have no objections to signing.  If changes are requested and legal approval is required, it could delay your project start.  The sooner these details are firmed the better.

Another consideration is elements such as Font or software licenses.  Be clear on what your Freelancer needs to legally support you, so any gaps and associated costs are discovered early in your project lifecycle and can be resolved.

Step 5 Manage delivery

Now it’s down to execution.  My approach is to make expectations clear, support your Freelancers to understand what you need and when but try to avoid chasing or telling them how to deliver.  Not only is this likely to frustrate your Freelancers but you risk being too directive and potentially blurring the relationship of Independent Contractor.  Resource classification can be a minefield and steps need to be taken to reduce any risk of being deemed an Employer.  If unsure always seek expert help.

That said never be afraid to request an update and jump on a video call to see how your team is progressing.  Keeping in contact is a great way of building your professional relationships and trust, just remember not to mandate a meeting time but request one, Independent Contractors have the right to determine when and how they work.

Step 6 Nurturing

This step sadly is often forgotten.  You spent time and effort to build a team of rock stars only to forget the basics of building trust and take the team for granted.  Be genuine and show an interest in your team, where they have issues with the delivery offer support.  If the scope increases, agree on fair compensation.  This investment will pay back no end in the future as your team will want to work with you again.  Remember the best Freelancers are spoilt for choice, with many clients knocking at their doors.  You need to ensure working with you is an amazing experience or you may find you don’t get the chance to engage them again.

Step 7 Payment and closure

So your project is delivered, you saved a heap of money, finished 5 days early and the results were fantastic!  Just don’t forget to thank your team, release payment and confirm closure.  I always pay my Freelancers promptly and thank them for any great work.  To feel appreciated & respected costs nothing and we should all aim to treat other professionals in this way.  Additionally, if you sourced your Freelancer via an online platform, check if you can give them feedback on their work.  This is invaluable for Freelancers and really helps them secure future work.  If you can support their Freelancing success they are more likely to be around for your next project!

In conclusion, finding the best talent, building your relationships and appropriately managing the delivery will help you achieve success with your Freelancer team time and time again.  It will take effort and hard work but no change worth doing is easy, right?

Project Examples

So now for some inspiration!  Below are some of the typical project types I have helped deliver with great Freelancers.  Check out the linked blog posts, where available, to understand a little more about how each process works.

  1. Explainer videos
  2. HTML Emails design, coding and campaign execution
  3. eDetail aid design and technical delivery
  4. Presentation designs and polish work
  5. Translation and localisation
  6. Voice over
  7. Print and digital design adaptation/localisation
Taking action & where to get support

If this all seems too complicated but you know your campaign just won’t happen without it, you don’t have to go it alone.  A great project manager is a worthwhile investment on these projects, where a distributed, multi-skilled team is required.  The time you save due to their experience and expertise will easily cover any additional cost.

Your project manager will have a source of trusted talent and know who matches your specific project needs.  Working with someone proven like this, greatly reduces the chance of any major issues and ensures a smooth, stress-free delivery for you.

Projekt Rising offer a unique project delivery service, combining exceptional project management processes and knowledge, machine intelligence and the most talented freelancers on the planet to deliver an amazing customer experience.

Your time is precious …. We’re here to help it go further

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Posted in Use Cases.