5 Big Mistakes Agencies Make With Freelancers Work

By Jason Swenk on February 21, 2018

Are you frustrated when it comes to making freelancers work within your agency team? Does your agency experience high freelancer turnover that leaves you stuck, or sometimes screwed? The struggle is real! Learn the 5 big mistakes agencies make using freelancers and what you can do to avoid frustration.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • 5 big mistakes agencies make using freelancers.
  • How to avoid pitfalls in freelancers work.

Today I talked with Nathan Hirsch, CEO and founder of FreeeUp, the agency he formed after numerous frustrating accounts with the freelance/hiring process. FreeeUp connects businesses, of all sizes, with vetted freelancers. Today he shares the five mistakes he sees agencies make when using freelancers and is here to help us avoid those pitfalls.

 Making Freelancers Work: The 5 Big Mistakes Agencies Make

MISTAKE 1: Hiring one freelancer to do a multitude of tasks.

It can seem like a great idea to hire one talented person with a large skill set to manage a large portion of the agency work, but what happens when they leave? You are left scrambling.

INSTEAD: Diversify. This is important with your clients, finances and also with your freelancers. Split things up and diversify your delegation of tasks as much as possible. This will make replacement costs minimal when a turnover does happen.

MISTAKE 2: Sticking with one freelancer for all things.

It is easy to get comfortable with employees but freelancers do not hold loyalties. They are working for others so their availability and loyalty varies with their workload.

INSTEAD: Build up your agency’s freelancer rolodex. It is beneficial to have two to three freelancers available to your agency. That way if a large project comes down the shoot, you can request time from whomever has the bandwidth. When you rely on just one freelancer, you could be left scrambling if he/she is booked when you need them.

MISTAKE 3: Treating a freelancer like an inessential outsider.

It can be easy in the bustle of agency life to hand over projects to freelancers, get them back and move on; treating the freelancer like a commodity.

INSTEAD: You should have a goal of bringing them on full-time. Freelancers are, usually, freelancing until they can get something more stable. So when that opportunity comes along, they’re going to say yes to a permanent position. You’re goal should be let your agency be the one they say yes to.

Turnover is expensive and painful. Anything you can do to reduce it is in your agency’s best interest.

  • Until you able to offer a freelancer permanent employment, keep them engaged.
  • Treat your freelancers well and let them know how they’re contributing.
  • Keep freelancers involved and a member of your agency community so they want to stay with your agency.

MISTAKE 4:  Being vague with timing and due dates.

A lot of times we unintentionally leave deadlines up to interpretation. Ten hours be one ten hour day, or ten one hours days. You can’t know the freelancers current workload when receiving their estimates and sometimes it’s unclear which leads to disaster.

INSTEAD: Manage expectations up front. Get these two numbers from your agency’s freelancers when estimating a project for you:

  1. Estimated hours. How many hours it will take to complete and at what hourly rate?
  2. Due date and time. Make sure you’re clear with the client’s due date and build in your buffer. Make sure the date is clear and what time of day you should expect the work to be handed over.

MISTAKE 5:  Assuming the freelancer knows what you want.

Just because they are a freelancer in the agency industry, does not mean they know what your agency or clients expect. Remember, most freelancers are working with multiple agencies, all with different processes and procedures. If you have a problem with any of your freelancers work, don’t ignore it.

INSTEAD: Set expectations right off the bat. Days and hours of availability, preferred method of communication,etc… all those things your agency expects to see in it’s employees. Have these expectations written down and get the freelancer’s sign off.

Related: Solving Sucky Staffing Issues

Need Guidance and Support to Grow Your Agency 3X Faster?

Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier?

Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University.

Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

Next Steps for Your Agency

When it comes to your agency team, making freelancers work can really expand your team and help when you have lots of client work coming in. But are there other issues you are ignoring right now? Pricing? Hiring or firing team members? Take a step back, look for weak spots in your business and then think of how you can fix them.

No matter what challenge your agency is facing, I can help you get through all of it.

From my experience in the industry, there are many topics I can offer guidance from the different phases of growth you will experience to how you can build authority for your agency.

Growing your agency can be a major struggle for any agency owner and I can show from knowing when it’s time to hire a sales manager or expand your sales team, creating a process for performance based pricing which can be the best pricing strategy for your business and learning how to keep your big name clients happy.

Want more? Learn about my career and different experiences as well as tips, tricks and insights by checking out my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

Check out more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.


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