How to manage your freelance team
So you took the advice from “Passion projects: When to outsource and how?“ and you now have a solid support team in place – but you have never been a manager before. Here are our tips for turning your freelance team into a well-oiled machine.
Plan, plan, and plan some more.
Before your team gets started, make sure you have a clear plan of what you want them to do. With tools like Slack and Trello, it’s never been easier to stay on the same page, remotely or no. Before your freelancers’ first day, make sure you know exactly what you want them to be doing.
Set timelines with goals and deliverables.
Before your freelancers get started, plan out what you want them to achieve and when. The goals you set might be unrealistic, but you can always use them simply as a jumping off point when planning your schedule.
Set up regular meetings and check-ins.
Arrange to meet or check in with your freelancers regularly. Rather than bombarding your talent with text messages or emails, arrange a time and place to check in. We love Slack for off-the-cuff daily working comments, but we advise scheduling regular scrum meetings with your team. “Scrum” is a term created by the software industry to describe a quick check-in with the full team during which the project and its iterative goals are discussed and defined. From that daily meeting, everyone comes away with actionable deliverables for the day. Here at Film Daily we have scrum meetings daily and recommend regular, short check-ins.
Give regular feedback.
Rather than leaving your freelancer out on their own, make sure you provide feedback on the work they deliver. If something doesn’t fit your brief, then follow up – rather than fixing it yourself. Your team are not mind readers; they’ll likely need a helping hand to understand exactly what it is that you want.
Reward good work.
Make sure you thank your team for a job well done. When your freelancer delivers a piece of work, thank them and communicate a time to expect a your response – then meet it. By creating a culture where your team feels valued, you incentivize them to keep working hard for you.
Don’t be afraid to discipline your team.
If a team member continually makes the same mistakes, or has a poor work ethic or no concept of punctuality, they need to know. They might be genuinely surprised to learn your observations about their work habits, and then make steps to change up their working style.
Use the three strikes rule.
No one wants to work on an unhappy team and no boss wants to pay a team member who makes them unhappy. Give your team member three chances and continual feedback. If the three chances are all missed, it’s time to part company. You always remember your first hire and your first fire. While it may be hard, remember that your team member probably doesn’t want to keep the job deep down, otherwise they would likely perform better.
Hire slow, fire fast.
When growing your team, hire at a rate that your business can afford. Push your current capacity just shy of its breaking point, and only then hire more staff. If you start lean, you’ll not only learn every facet of the business, you’ll also be able to advise your team on the best way to do things. On the opposite end of things, when you find that a team member is not performing, follow the three strikes rule above.
Have fun and make friends & long-lasting relationships.
Have fun with your team, enjoy working together, foster a great working relationship, and stay in touch. You never know who is going to become the next Paul Thomas Anderson.
Image credit: Mathias Jensen