Even before you hire your freelancer, you should have asked him what his bandwidth is for being able to help you. How many hours each week can he devote to your business? Of course, there are many freelancers out there that will commit and tell you exactly what you want to hear because they want your business.
Unfortunately, not all of them can deliver on their promises. But, you don’t have to go too far into the work relationship before you discover if your freelancer was honest or not. Make the first project something simple, but with a definite turnaround time. Did they commit to that time and follow through? Was it an hour late? Several hours late? A day late?
Also, connect with them via phone or chat or email. How quickly do you get a response back? Now, I understand that if you’re in California and it’s 10pm and you’re sending an email, your New York freelancer is fast asleep. But during the normal business hours, you should be able to get in contact with your help.
You should be first in your freelancer’s life, even if he has twenty other clients he’s working with. For me, that is an important aspect of this business. If I was physically working at your office, you could walk right up to my desk and talk with me. You should still be able to do it virtually.
If you’re not getting quick responses and agreed-upon turnaround for your projects, your freelancer has taken on too much responsibility and it’s probably time to start looking for someone new.
A few weeks after I had been working with a new client, and he had given various secure information, we were chatting on the phone and he jokingly said “and please don’t steal my credit card” well after I had already been given access to it.
Trust seems to be an afterthought with many people. I think you just get so busy, and you’re so glad to have someone to help you that you just start throwing out instructions and information and you don’t stop to think about the information that you’re sharing with your freelancer.
Depending on the type of work you are doling out, it is quite possible that you will be sharing usernames, passwords, credit card info and more with your virtual help. Before you do, there are a couple of things you can request of your freelancer. The first is easy – ask them to submit to a background check.
Background checks are a good idea. They don’t cost much, and that can save you a lot. Don’t feel ashamed to ask for one. You’re trying to protect yourself and your business. And if you want the background check and the freelancer balks at the idea – walk away.
The second thing you can do is have your freelancer tell you about her home office setup. If she’s using Wi-Fi, is it secure? How is critical information stored on her computer? If paperwork is printed off, is it being shredded?
Trust between you and your freelancer will come gradually. You’ll begin to understand each other, how you work, how you communicate. But before that happens, use a few preventative measures to protect your information.
25+ years of business experience. 12+ years of virtual experience.