Dealing with freelancers can certainly be challenging. The process of finding the right person, setting expectations, planning their work and evaluating the results takes a lot of resources.
During my career, I’ve been both a freelancer and a someone who employs them. Two of the most challenging aspects of working with freelancers are keeping them motivated and managing their work. As a freelancer, however, the most challenging thing is managing expectations and making sure that everyone is on the same page.
These issues can usually be solved by over communicating and using the right tools to plan, track and evaluate the work. I’ve rounded up 5 tools that we use to control project and get a bird’s eye view of your resources. These tools work the best for hiring designers, copywriters, marketers, SEO specialists and developers.
Teamweek is the perfect tool for making a long-term plan for freelancers and for visualizing the tasks on a timeline. It enables a project manager to collaborate with freelancers more visually on a shared timeline. Teamweek integrates with your favorite task management tools like Trello, Jira, Basecamp, and Asana. These integrations allow you to quickly import all the tasks a freelancer has to complete to Teamweek’s backlog, from where you can simply drag and drop them on the timeline.
Toggl positioned on the market as the best time tracking tool for freelancers and companies. Toggl was born out of the need for a better time tracker and it’s here to get rid of spreadsheets forever. The tool positioned on the market as the best time tracking tool for freelancers and companies. Toggl was born out of the need for a better time tracker and it’s here to get rid of spreadsheets forever.
Bring your team of freelancers on board in seconds and get a clear overview of their time usage. Easily see what everyone’s working on in real time, find your most productive team members, or schedule their timesheets to your email so that you’re always up to date with your team’s work.
Our most recent project that required hiring a freelancer was fixing a few blog bugs for Teamweek’s blog. We found Trello to work the best for adding new tasks and communicating with the freelancer. We created different columns for the tasks in progress, the tasks marked as done and a column that served as a to-do list.
Trello is a versatile tool that improves the communication with the freelancer and enables you to add comments, attachments, and more. Same as Teamweek, changes appear in real time on Trello. So if your team’s working on a project together at the same time, the changes will appear without you having to refresh your page. You can also import tasks to Trello from your Teamweek timeline or from other management tools.
Slack is by far the most used communication tool by tech companies around the world. Slack is an all-in-one communication tool for teams. Besides the normal 1-on-1 communication, the tool also offers group chats where you can add your freelancers and discuss the project they are working on. You can share documents and search conversation archives when needed. They also offer video and voice calls but we personally wouldn’t recommend that feature. Which brings me to the tool number #5.
It’s crucial to have at least one video call with a freelancer before hiring them. It establishes a connection between you two and it makes the collaboration more human. But finding a right tool for that can be challenging.
For us at Teamweek it’s like a meme when I drop from a call in the middle of a sentence while using Slack or Hangouts for video calls. The only tool that hasn’t disappointed us thus far is Appear.in. The platform is free to use and you can easily create a new room by creating your own appear.in link that you can share with the freelancer or with you client.
Of course, there are more tools that can help you build a stronger relationship with freelancers. The tools listed above are perfect for planning, tracking and communicating. These are the tools that you can use in most of your projects where you hire freelancers and are applicable to any project. If you hire developers you will probably use GitHub for code sharing, or if you work with designers you can use InVision for sharing design work.
What is your favorite tool for managing freelancers, and what makes your process successful?
It’s so much easier to plan & estimate with a small team when I can see everyone & all projects at once.