When new leads come flooding in, outsourcing work is a smart scaling tactic that many entrepreneurs deploy.

Hiring a freelancer or two to help carry your burdens will empower you with more time, and they become the perfect people to reach out to when you eventually require full-time employees.

As a freelancer turned entrepreneur myself, I’ve sat on both sides of the table. Here are my tips on how to get the most out of your next freelance hire.

1. Give Clear Instructions

As always, prevention is better than cure, and in the case of hiring a freelancer, you should preempt problems by setting our concise guidelines. This includes laying out a clear scope of works so you know what you’re paying for, and they know what you’re expecting.

Also, make it abundantly clear that you want your freelancer to ask you questions if they get stuck, as having to explain yourself again is better than receiving incorrect work.

2. Crawl Your Network for Referrals

The process of finding a good freelancer is a chore in and of itself. Websites like Upwork and Fiverr are good places to start, but the best place to look is within your professional network.

Before you slog through a pile of job applications — each with a standardized, non-helpful resume template — think about how you can hack the process through referrals.

If you’re looking for a logo designer for example, send out a few emails to connections who have logos you admire and ask them who they used to design it. They may even be able to score you a discounted rate.

3. Write a Solid Contract

Writing a freelance contract is easier than it seems. It’s just a matter of nailing down the right points in order to protect yourself from being taken for a ride.

If you skip the contractual stage, you risk running into disagreements over things like payment and the scope of works. Plus, any confidential information you pass over won’t be protected under a written agreement, which could spell bad news for your business.

4. Give Realistic Deadlines

I get it, you want to have your work completed as soon as possible, especially if you have deadlines to keep.

However, if you rush your freelancer into completing work, the quality will inevitably suffer. Do everybody a favour and give them ample time so they can give it their all.

5. Ask for Suggestions

If you’re hiring a freelancer who specializes in his field (and indeed, you should), you may as well get some free consultancy while you’re at it.

Ask them for suggestions on how to improve the project you’ve given them, and if they have any criticisms of the work that came before it. They’ll usually throw in such advice for free.

6. Give Feedback

If your freelancer does a fair job, be sure to send them a detailed email with any constructive criticism that you may have.

Make it clear that you wanted to communicate your opinion because you plan on using their services again, and you want the second time to go even smoother than the first.

7. Don’t Be The Dreaded Client

In my time as a freelancer, I’ve dealt with my fair share of nightmare clients.

They’re the type to be blunt with their instructions and unhelpful when you reach out for more guidance. If they have any gripes with your work, they tend to voice it via passive aggressive comments, rather than with a thoughtful and constructive email.

Whatever, you do, don’t be that client.

Freelancers: Your Secret Weapon

Although hiring a freelancer can seem like more work (and more stress), they can actually be your secret weapon in meeting deadlines and taking on more clients. Hire wisely, and you’ll certainly benefit.

Do you use freelancers to empower your business? Share your experiences in the comments section below!