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Managing Freelancers Without Losing Your Mind

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Non-profits and small businesses often need specialized skills that don’t exist within their staff. You may depend on content creators such as designers, writers, photographers, and videographers to help with your website and other communication channels. Often these outside people aren’t managed very well, and projects can become an unpleasant challenge.

The key to great relationships with outside talent is understanding and empathy. This leads to better project outcomes and less stress throughout the process for all. This prevention shares research I’ve conducted with freelancers through interviews and surveys. Learn what content creators want from management!

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Managing Freelancers Without Losing Your Mind

  1. 1. FREELANCERS Managing Without Losing Your melissa eggleston
  2. 2. Quiz: Which freelancer said it? •  photographer •  videographer •  graphic designer •  writer @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  3. 3. “Ooohh, I really hope they like it." @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  4. 4. “The client is trying to make their story suck.” @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  5. 5. “I hope she likes them — because they’re great.” @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  6. 6. “They hire me but then don’t respect my profession opinion.” @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  7. 7. Confidence Continuum WritersVideographers Photographers Graphic Designers High Low @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  8. 8. Who am I? •  UX Specialist, Content Strategist, Author •  I’ve been paid to be all of these freelancers at one time or another in my life. •  I now often manage these types of freelancers. Photo courtesy of Advanced Aerial Photography because I would never get in a helicopter, ever.
  9. 9. Where did I get my information? Interviews (10) 1. 2. Surveys with open-ended questions (54) 3. Secondary research (online, print publications) 4. Personal experience (I’ve worn lots of hats.) @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  10. 10. Who have these freelancers worked for? @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  11. 11. Freelancer Experience (FX)
  12. 12. What is freelancer experience (FX)? All interactions a freelancer* has with you and your organization while working on a project. Technology People *writer, photographer, videographer, designer, etc. @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  13. 13. The Problem with Poor FX
  14. 14. The Problem Picture 1! Photo courtesy of Geoff Stearns
  15. 15. Photo courtesy of Tracy O
  16. 16. The Problem Picture 2!
  17. 17. Companies that have caught n @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  18. 18. Our Goal Everybody can keep their minds—and have more fun! @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  19. 19. Self-Empathy Required
  20. 20. Resistance? @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  21. 21. Resistance? @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  22. 22. Did not lern it on the soccer field @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  23. 23. Exercise Write down in one sentence a situation you have at work involving another person that really bugs you. If your work life is super smooth right now, congratulations! Think about a situation with your spouse, other family member or friend. @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  24. 24. Exercise •  What am I thinking? (hand on head) (examples: “This person is a jerk! This sucks. How am I going to meet my deadline now? Lame, lame, lame, lame, lame. I’m going to give him a piece of my mind, etc.”) •  What am I feeling? (hand on heart) (examples: anxious, frustrated, upset, worried, irritated, enraged, alone, tense, discouraged, dominated, lost, uneasy, etc.) •  What am I needing? (hand on belly) (examples: consideration, communication, awareness, participation, cooperation, inclusion, independence, space, clarity, understanding) @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  25. 25. Freelancer Empathy Needed
  26. 26. After we have self-empathy, we can move to... •  What are you, freelancer, feeling? •  What are you, freelancer, needing? @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  27. 27. “Empathy grows as we learn.” –  Alice Miller, psychologist @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  28. 28. •  Picture of a graphic designer!
  29. 29. 1. Ensure you are speaking the same language by giving examples, (“elegant” varies). Graphic Designer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  30. 30. Give them the final text because small changes affect the design. 1. 2. Ensure you are speaking the same language by giving examples, (“elegant” varies). Graphic Designer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  31. 31. Give them the final text because small changes affect the design. 1. 2. 3. Ensure you are speaking the same language by giving examples (“elegant” varies). Graphic Designer Do’s Provide descriptive feedback with the WHY if you don’t like something so they can solve it. @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  32. 32. Give them the final text because small changes affect the design. 1. 2. 3. Ensure you are speaking the same language by giving examples, (“elegant” varies). 4. Great design isn’t quick, e.g. logos cannot be made in 2 hours. Graphic Designer Do’s Provide descriptive feedback with the WHY if you don’t like something so they can solve it. @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  33. 33. Give them the final text because small changes affect the design. 1. 2. 3. Ensure you are speaking the same language by giving examples, (“elegant” varies). 4. Great design isn’t quick, e.g. logos cannot be made in 2 hours. Graphic Designer Do’s Provide descriptive feedback with the WHY if you don’t like something so they can solve it. 5. Organize feedback (14 emails in 1 day = not OK) @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  34. 34. Give clear instructions and expectations. 1. Writer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  35. 35. Give clear instructions and expectations. 1. 2. Talk to them in person or on the phone. Writer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  36. 36. Give clear instructions and expectations. 1. 2. Talk to them in person or on the phone. 3. Compensate them well or at least fairly for their time. Writer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  37. 37. Give clear instructions and expectations. 1. 2. Talk to them in person or on the phone. 3. Compensate them well or at least fairly for their time. 4. Realize that sitting on a project will delay it. Writer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  38. 38. Videographer Do’s @melissa_egg #LavaCon Photo courtesy of John Ben
  39. 39. Discuss (and have) a goal for the video. 1. Videographer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  40. 40. Discuss (and have) a goal for the video. 1. 2. Know that tiny video changes take time due to exporting, compressing, and uploading video. Videographer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  41. 41. Discuss (and have) a goal for the video. 1. 2. Know that tiny video changes take time due to exporting, compressing, and uploading video. 3. Give videographers a clear deadline. Videographer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  42. 42. Discuss (and have) a goal for the video. 1. 2. Know that tiny video changes take time due to exporting, compressing, and uploading video. 3. Give videographers a clear deadline. 4. Be organized, great videos are the result of careful planning not shooting on the fly. Videographer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  43. 43. Writer Do’s &Dont’s Photo courtesy of Lynn Friedman
  44. 44. Understand the image and look you want. 1. Photographer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  45. 45. Understand the image and look you want. 1. 2. Be clear on how and where you are going to use the images taken. Photographer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  46. 46. Understand the image and look you want. 1. 2. Be clear on how and where you are going to use the images taken. 3. Be specific about needs and ask questions. Photographer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  47. 47. Understand the image and look you want. 1. 2. Be clear on how and where you are going to use the images taken. 3. Be specific about needs and ask questions. 4. Expect that editing photos will take time. No, you won’t get them tomorrow. Photographer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  48. 48. Photographers & Videographers Need You to Know Time of day affects the quality of the shoot. @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  49. 49. Everybody @melissa_egg #LavaCon The They all talk about . Photo courtesy of Tambako the Jaguar
  50. 50. Everybody @melissa_egg #LavaCon The They all talk about . Photo courtesy of Tambako the Jaguar ✕
  51. 51. Be collaborative to get a better final product. 1. All Freelancer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  52. 52. Be collaborative to get a better final product. 1. 2. Look at past work to see if you and the freelancer are a good match. All Freelancer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  53. 53. Be collaborative to get a better final product. 1. 2. Look at past work to see if you and the freelancer are a good match. 3. Do not add to their “To Do” list without expecting to pay more. All Freelancer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  54. 54. Be collaborative to get a better final product. 1. 2. Look at past work to see if you and the freelancer are a good match. 3. Do not add to their “To Do” list without expecting to pay more. 4. Respond promptly with feedback to stick to the agreed upon schedule. All Freelancer Do’s @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  55. 55. Be collaborative to get a better final product. 1. 2. Look at past work to see if you and the freelancer are a good match. 3. Do not add to their “To Do” list without expecting to pay more. 4. Respond promptly with feedback to stick to the agreed upon schedule. All Freelancer Do’s Ensure they don’t have to track down payments. 5. @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  56. 56. Be collaborative to get a better final product. 1. 2. Look at past work to see if you and the freelancer are a good match. 3. Do not add to their “To Do” list without expecting to pay more. 4. Respond promptly with feedback to stick to the agreed upon schedule. All Freelancer Do’s Ensure they don’t have to track down payments. 5. Have one contact/point person for the project. 6. @melissa_egg #16NCT4G
  57. 57. Questions about keeping your mind? melissa@melissaegg.com

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