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In the middle of streamlining your work and outsourcing non-essential tasks, talking about relationships may seem a little out of place. You chose to work with freelancers because they do their job well, not because they are fun to go bowling with.
However, you may be missing out on some very practical advantages of having good relationships with your international freelancers.
Let’s explore three compelling reasons to build better freelancer relationships.
Across the world for the last few thousands of years, most business has been transacted via personal relationships. It wasn’t until very recently that we had the opportunity to buy goods and services (and employ people) with whom we are not personally familiar. Much of business culture still largely hinges on personal relationships.
What does that mean for your business? Aside from the personal element of learning about new cultures and people, there are some solid business advantages to having a good relationship with your freelancers.
Referrals are still the leading source of business and subsequently the way that most people land new jobs. The more closely you work with someone, the more access you have to their network. By nature, freelancers tend to work with a wide variety of clients. You never know when they might be able to recommend you to a new client, potential hire, or another freelancer.
I work with a lot of creative people in India, mostly copywriters and graphic designers. When I require a new person to work with, my first step is always to go to the freelancers I have the best relationships with and ask them for recommendations. Because I have a close relationship with these freelancers, they feel that is is important to give me a high quality reference, as their reputations are on the line as well.
It’s an unfortunate fact that one of the dangers of working with freelancers is that they have the ability to stop working for you whenever they choose. Building a strong relationship with your freelancers is a form of insurance against losing people this way. If they enjoy working with you and know who you are, it is less likely that they will drop your projects or miss an important deadline.
Often times if you need something done fast, you need to call in a favor. If you are in a situation where you require something a little extra, or are looking to jump to the front of the line, the best way to do this is to preemptively have a strong relationship with your freelancers. Once established, you will find your special requests met as long as the relationships remain solid.
Using international freelancers is a great option, but it is extremely helpful to have a background in how business is done in other cultures. Building good relationships is a great starting place for the budding executive in sweatpants.