You’ve heard all the rage about working with independents. You’re ready to bring in external talent (or maybe you’ve already started working with freelancers).
Now you need to find the right Freelance Management System (FMS) to run an effective and efficient operation.
Why you need a freelance management system
Whether you’re working with one freelancer or a team of ten, for one project or monthly deliverables, it’s absolutely necessary to stay organized. External talent is, naturally, outside your organization, and that requires some extra attention to detail to keep things together and running smoothly.
Enter Operational Intelligence.
Operational intelligence with your freelancers in mind means considering questions like these:
- How is time being tracked and recorded?
- Where can your team and your freelance team connect for job information and assets?
- What is the expected process from beginning to end?
Overall, your operational process with your freelancers will include the tech you use, the workflow you follow, and the way success is monitored and measured through those systems.
Every business should establish a few internal processes when you decide to bring in external talent. Having an onboarding system for your freelancers sets boundaries and expectations, and helps you prevent most conflict down the line. Sharing communication preferences and a clear scope or project brief ensures both your internal staff and your freelance team are set up for success.
Types of freelance management systems
Once you feel confident in those early processes, you need to find a system to manage your freelancers and the projects they’re involved in. An entrepreneur who is starting to subcontract has very different needs than a Fortune 500 company that has a dozen departments. Fortunately, FMS solutions come in all shapes and sizes.
The DIY method
If your needs are minimal, consider piecing resources together. You can take advantage of Google Workspace to share documents and organize them into shared folders. If your company already uses Slack, Discord, or an internal portal for communication, add your freelancer to those channels. Your own HR department or a recruiter you’ve worked with in the past could help source talent and get them set up with the necessary paperwork. With those systems already in place, you can add support software like Asana or Miro to manage project management and collaboration for a reasonable monthly fee.
If your needs demand more automation, you can look into software tools or vendor management tools to handle multiple processes, from managing projects to paying your freelancers. Companies such as Bubty, Worksome, and Worksuite offer multiple packages to meet your needs.
Marketplaces offer you the ability to source talent, add and process jobs, and pay vendors directly. It’s sort of like a one-stop-shop, but does require some legwork on your end each time you want to start on a new project.
Here is a list of freelance marketplaces, and some of our fav Unco friends we like to collaborate with.
If you truly want to include freelancers as part of your long-term staffing strategy, your best bet is to work with an outside party (like Uncompany) that can look at the big picture and work with you to build and integrate your system efficiently. Uncompany is a hybrid marketplace and FMS. We will help find your talent, build you a custom pool, and then give you the tools (through our Portal software) to activate your pool. In other words, we give you the bike and teach you how to ride it. Set-up a call here to learn more about this custom pool option.
Finding the right freelance management system
Hopefully you have a better idea of what type of system you need. Now, how do you find the actual system that’s right for you?
- Determine your budget. Many systems are super robust and, consequently, super expensive. Before you set your heart on what appears to be the holy grail of management systems, make sure you know what you can afford – and what you really need.
- Assess your goals. If you need 4-5 freelancers twice a year, then it probably doesn’t make sense to pay a large monthly fee for features you won’t use, or use regularly. However, if your goal is to build a talent pool to consistently work with, then it might be better to invest in the larger solution upfront.
- Talk with similar companies. Ask colleagues at other companies or tap into your network to see what people are using for similar needs.
- Do your homework. Yes, do an initial Google search, but don’t stop there. Spend the time to actually call and talk with some of the platforms and partners to see if you are a good fit. This is a big investment, in time and energy as much as dollars.
How to know if your freelance management system is working
A new system always takes a little getting used to. Start with clear goals in mind and track your progress. Solicit feedback from internal and external workers so you can make adjustments as you need to.
If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that things can quickly change, so don’t feel stuck in a system that isn’t working for you.
And if you’d like to learn more about how Uncompany partners with our clients to make working with freelancers as frictionless as possible, please set up a quick 15 min discovery call to learn more.