In a start-up there are always 101 things that need to be done, and these are often things you can’t do yourself. Ideally, you should seek help from someone who can do all of this. #freelancers! They are the perfect rescue when you are too busy for certain to do’s, and their expertise is always a welcome help. Working with a freelancer usually goes smoothly, with one condition: that you provide a clear briefing. In this article we will give you tips on what a good briefing for a freelancer looks like.

It all has to do with expectations. If you clearly outline from the beginning what you expect from the freelancer, you are significantly more likely to get what you need. If the assignment is unclear, the freelancer might work out something you can’t use. And since the sun never rises, that’s money down the drain. Save yourself a penny, and invest some extra time in a clear briefing.

We list a handy checklist below!

1. Be clear about your goal

Divide that into two parts: talk about the long-term goals of your start-up, but also about the targets for this specific project. Make them SMART, for example “we want to increase our page views by 10% percent over 3 months”.

2. Provide enough background and context

Tell me about your company. What was the idea behind your start-up, what drives you as a founder? It always helps to tell about past collaborations, even the ones that didn’t work. This way the freelancer knows where it is best to stay away from or where there is room for improvement. Provide enough context: what is the origin of this project and where should it evolve to in the long term?

3. Create clear expectations about the end result

What do you want, and what do you definitely not need? Do you want only copy, or also links and images? Be clear about your deliverables. You can pass them along in the form of a checklist, but make sure you still give the freelancer enough room to do their thing. Of course, the idea is that you tell him what to do, not how to do his job.

4. Provide enough information

The more files and information you provide in advance, the less research the freelancer has to do and the less you have to pay. This way you avoid a lot of back-and-forth email. Try to deliver everything at once, rather than forwarding a different file each day. It’s more efficient for everyone. Provide enough examples of what you want so that the freelancer has a clear idea of your desired end result. Think of a design you liked, copy you liked, a website you would like to have yourself, …

5. Be open to input from the freelancer

Some freelancers take on any job and carry out what you ask to the letter. However, other freelancers will let you know if they disagree with you, and give many suggestions themselves. Keep this in mind when looking for a freelancer, and make sure you choose one that fits the project. Be open to input from the freelancer. He or she has a lot of experience from previous projects, which will be very useful in your project. Take advantage of it!

6. Sketch a clear picture of the target group

For which target group is the freelancer working? Who is the end customer? Make sure he or she gets to know the customer, so he or she can better empathize with his or her world. This has a positive impact on the end result.

7. Be specific about the timing of the project

Does it have to be finished urgently, or is it a long-term project? A good briefing includes a clear time frame. Above all, discuss with the freelancer whether your schedule is at all realistic.

8. What about interim feedback and revision rounds?

Include these in the briefing. When do you get an interim update, and how does that work? If you send the briefing through email, call or skype to see if everything is clear. This way, you also give the freelancer a chance to ask all the questions before they get started.

9. Be clear about your budget

The budget of a freelancer often depends on the briefing. To avoid surprises for both sides, set clear expectations here. Negotiation is usually possible, on both sides.

10. Give your freelancer enough freedom

A briefing serves as a guideline, but if it is too tightly drafted it can be counterproductive. Give your freelancers the freedom they need. If you forward too many sources, you may unconsciously be imposing too many restrictions. Know that you will get the best results by combining the freelancer’s expertise with your prior knowledge.