11 Best Tips for Briefing a Freelancer on Your Project Goals

11 Best Tips for Onboarding Freelancers and Briefing them on Your Project Goals

You hire a freelancer to ultimately make your life easier, but that doesn’t mean they automatically know what you expect from them. That’s why we asked 11 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

“What’s the most efficient way to brief a freelancer on your project goals? “

Tips for Onboarding Freelancers

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Put Together a Work Requirements Document

“You should provide a document that states the entire goal of the project and provides any necessary details on how to complete it successfully. The more specific and detailed you are, the better. Make sure your objective and the expected outcome are clearly defined, so when the contract is over, it is clear whether the service has been completed successfully. ” ~ Andy KaruzaFenSens

2. Schedule a Brief Working Session

“Sometimes the best way to understand a project is to jump right into it. Carve out a brief one- or two-hour working session (ideally in person but video conferences are fine), where you collaboratively discuss and sketch out ideas for a project. Often a sitemap, wireframe or outline can go a long way in defining project goals. When reviewed collectively, you ensure nothing is lost in communication.” ~ Ross BeyelerGrowth Spark

3. Explain the Strategy and Give Clear Feedback

“We have a network of hundreds of freelancers that we work with on projects for our clients. We use our custom software to help manage them, and we share as much information as we can about the strategy and background of the project. We also take the time to give each freelancer constructive feedback once their work is submitted so we can continue to improve their work.” ~ Kelsey MeyerInfluence & Co.

4. Use Video Communications

“Use a tool like Camtasia to record your screen with a camera recording as you explain what’s expected of the freelancer. Don’t just tell them; show them. This will reduce the margin for errors and make sure they understand the process clearly and correctly from the start. Upload your instructions to a project management system with tasks and notifications included to track the progress.” ~Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

5. Communicate With Phone Calls or Messaging Services

“Since freelancers are typically remote, I start with phone calls to skip some of the misunderstanding that comes from messaging and to speed the brief up. However, it does help to use a messaging service too as this provides a fast and efficient way to share documents, directions and expectations. ” ~ Murray NewlandsDue.com

6. Use Screen Captured Videos and Vocaroo

“When I took on a new virtual assistant for a small project, I noticed that she was extremely enthusiastic but just really had no idea what she was doing. It took her two days to get over the learning curve of being part of my team. By day three, she was creating value! I think showing her what I wanted using video screen capture and sending her voice notes on Vocaroo was essential.” ~ Cody McLainSupportNinja

7. Add Freelancers to Project Management Systems 

“Invite your freelancer to a project management system such as Asana or Trello. This will help with communication regarding goals, deadlines and milestones of the project so everybody is on the same page. Clear and simple communication through these applications will help achieve project goals in an effective way.” ~ Joey KercherAir Fresh Marketing

8. Set Them Up for Success with Specifics 

“For any freelance project, writing a thorough brief is one of the best things you can do to make sure you get the results you need. You need to provide them a project overview, business objectives, project objectives, examples (very important), deliverables and a solid timeline. The more specific you get, the better the freelancer will be able to execute the project.” ~ Wesley MathewsHigh Level Marketing

9. Put in the Prep Work

“We hire freelancers to save us time, but that doesn’t mean you can get out of doing work. The more effort you put into creating a detailed spec sheet, workflows and even rough mockups, the better your chances of getting the results you want. Your actual documentation can be whatever works best for you, but your goal should be to think through the details of your project.” ~ Mark DaoustQuiet Light Brokerage, Inc.

10. Treat Them Like a New Hire 

“Embrace the freelancer as if they’re a new hire. Bring them into the fold and really allow them to immerse themselves in the project. Give them some ownership over the project’s success by incentivizing them and encouraging them to dig in with you. You’ll not only create a highly effective relationship, but the freelancer will have a strong command over your goals and endgame. ” ~ Blair ThomasFirst American Merchant

11. Delegate

“If you’re in a leadership position, relaying project goals to freelancers is a time suck. Choose someone on your team who has a strong understanding of the project and let them onboard and brief the freelancer. In the end, this creates trust in the team, and ensures that the freelancer is briefed, while allowing you to focus on more important things.” ~ Nick Akey, MakerSquare

Two Talking Photo via Shutterstock

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.