Hiring a Freelancer? Give Them a Great Brief

If you’ve decided that one or more of your business tasks could be better handled by a freelancer, then you’ll want to get the best results. And that’s means giving them the perfect brief.

So what should a great freelance brief contain?

A Detailed Description of What You Want – and What You Expect From Them

Explain exactly what you envisage the finished product to be and how much responsibility you want them to take. Do you want to have input every step of the way or are you happy for them to use their initiative to deliver the final project in the way they think best? What format do you want the final product in and how would you like it delivered; will it be a jpeg sent by email or a poster, printed and ready for display, delivered to your studio by courier?

A Timeline and a Definite Deadline

If you need certain stages completed by specific dates – perhaps for a meeting, or to fit in with the schedule of a colleague – then ensure you make this clear upfront. If your deadline is three months away and the freelancer you hire is busy with other work, they may not have planned to start work on your project for another month. Asking them for initial sketches/ideas/chapters etc. in a fortnight’s time will only lead to exasperation on your part and theirs, so make your expectations clear.

Speaking of deadlines, don’t move them unless you absolutely have to; always ensure the deadline you give your freelancer is the genuine one, not an arbitrarily decided date; and build in a disaster buffer. That way, if things go wrong, you both know how much time you have to get them sorted. You don’t want shoddy work from a freelancer who’s rushed to meet a deadline that could have been moved.

Contact Details and A Communication Schedule

Make it clear who they should they contact about the work and how, particularly if different aspects of the project need to be discussed with different people. How often do you want to hear about their progress? Do you want regular updates, or are you happy to be out of contact – barring queries or problems – until the project is complete?

You may also want to include:

Payment Points and a Ballpark Budget

While you may be happier to wait for a quote, it can be useful to give the freelancer a rough idea of your available budget for the job. This means that if your expectations and theirs are too far apart, you can both save time by not proceeding any further. It’s also useful to mention any payment points you have in mind, unless you plan to pay the total fee on project completion.

Following these tips should allow you to write a great brief for your freelancer, meaning you’re both clear about what’s expected. This will keep your freelancer happy and help to ensure you get a result you’re happy with, too.

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