Managing Freelance Relationships

collaboration (3)

Managing Freelance Relationships requires Collaboration

Using freelancers is a great way to help grow your business. The nature of the work means you can relieve time pressures by giving certain tasks to a quality freelancer you can trust. For freelancers themselves the nature of work can be very attractive, particularly when managing work/life balance.

However, the freelancer relationship often provides quite a challenge to manage from both a client and service provider point of view. Freelancers often do so because they like freedom and flexibility of picking and choosing their work load. For the client it makes sense to use freelancers for a number of reasons. Sometimes these relationships can break down.

Freelancers are not Staff

The freelancer doesn’t want the same structure in their work life as someone who is a company member of staff. They forego the security of the guaranteed pay check as part of the risk for freelancing. They also often forego the upside benefit of any work they do such as bonuses or income generated by the client for a set fee.

Master/Slave Relationship

One of the strange issues with the freelancer relationship is the fact it is often a very master/slave type of relationship, with little flexibility. If you are in the client’s shoes and you outsource work to a freelancer then you have your expectations as part of the paid for service. If that freelancer was a member of staff then there are all sorts of other factors that come into play such as managing employee well-being, work life balance, job satisfaction and so on in order to strengthen levels of engagement.

Engagement and Quality of Work

When you engage staff on a deeper level we all know it generally results in better outcomes in terms of quality and productivity. In a freelancer relationship, where you outsource work in a mechanical fashion do you risk the upside benefits of getting more from your freelancer by not engaging on a deeper level? If your expectations are set to the lowest common denominator, i.e. here are the specifications of my requirements, then will you only get back what you want and no more?

Using freelancers is beneficial to everyone and as the freelance economy grows then more and more people will benefit from the superb opportunities this way of working brings. At the same time though, as the out sourcing party its worth considering your regular freelance relationships and considering how you can get the most from them. Is it deeper engagement? Is it bonus related payments? As rumours spread that George Osborne intends to clamp down on certain types of freelance relationship how do you think you could make the most of these relationships?

I’d love to hear your thoughts below.


Working as a business growth coach in Lancashire, I spend time with many businesses owners who want sustainable growth. Supporting them in developing leaders and strengthening relationship with their people, customers and suppliers. Please inbox me for more information.