How to Expertly Manage Freelancers & Agencies As You Grow
Are you tired of spending tons of time and money on freelancers and agencies… only to have them NOT work out?
Every business owner—myself included—has devoted huge amounts hard-earned profits into these hires, only to watch their investments go to waste.
It’s frustrating and disheartening to watch such costly efforts deliver such poor results.
So, why does this happen and how can you align your internal systems to expertly manage freelancers and agencies as you grow?
Stop Setting Up Your Freelancers & Agencies for Failure
After hiring Facebook Ads agency after agency without anything to show for it, I made a huge discovery: I was the only commonality. I was the one constant across all of those failed hires, and I was setting them up for failure!
#1 You're asking them to solve the wrong problem. You have some fundamental things you need to fix in your business before you're ready to work with an agency – we'll take a closer look at this in a future article.
#2 You hired the wrong person. More on hiring tips soon.
#3 You're not setting them up to succeed properly. That's what this article is all about – how to set your contractors and agencies up for success.
A few key fundamental shifts can set them up to save you time and produce the results you're after.
The Cost of Poorly Managing Agencies & Freelancers
The biggest downfall of poor agency management is, by far, burning through your hard-earned profits.
If you don't set up your internal systems to manage freelancers and agencies successfully, you are flat out burning through the profits you worked so hard to produce. And each time it doesn't work out and you head back to square one, you're spending valuable time and effort making the same mistakes.
TopGrading (one of my favorite books on hiring) puts the high cost of a mis-hire at 6 to 27 times the amount you pay the person. Don't fall into the same hiring trap I did! Stop spending your valuable time, money, and effort on *hoping* you get lucky and an agency works out.
Instead, use the framework below to better manage your outside hires, create better alignment on the things that matter, and move toward your goals much, much faster.
You can't afford to not do this.
The 5-Step Framework for Managing Agencies Successfully
Every business is unique, but after many years of coaching six and seven-figure entrepreneurs, I’ve learned there’s a very strategic framework for managing agencies and freelancers successfully.
It's not only important which elements you focus on but also the order you choose to do them.
Step 1: Define Success
“Success” is an easy word to leverage, but it’s worthless without underlying meaning. In terms of working with freelancers and agencies, we define success as the output and results you're ultimately working towards. These need to be set and agreed upon by both sides to have as the end result.
The output should be achievable, relevant, time bound and of course leading to the right results (AKA profits and growth!)
Step 2: List Specific Deliverables
It’s easy to say, “Let’s create an email campaign to drive sales.” Sure, it's a legitimate goal, but it’s way too vague to implement. This is why it’s so important to define the tangible deliverables you want to produce.
Don't risk the details getting lost in translation during a rapid-fire conference call. Instead, list the specific deliverables and their respective timelines and have them in a place that everyone can see and find.
Clearly defined deliverables create better alignment and clarity, as well as make accountability easy! Remove the emotion and guesswork from your day-to-day work so that you can start managing independent contractors without the stress and strain by putting the outputs in plain text that will be clear if they deliver those or not.
Step 3: Create Milestones
The key to successful execution is developing a map that connects your vision to your actions.
Your company’s “map” should contain large goals and smaller “subgoals” known as milestones. Milestones create check-in points throughout the process so that your team can evaluate progress, gather feedback, and stay informed.
Implementing and monitoring carefully defined milestones keeps everybody on track and prevents any unpleasant “final reveal” that falls miles short of your expectation.
Step 4: Establish a Cadence
You also need to establish a rhythm of communication and feedback with your freelancers. I call this “cadence” because it’s all about tempo and flow.
How often will you communicate? Through what platforms will you discuss progress? When can you expect to hear from your independent contractors? When will there be updates or reports?
Once you establish these baseline expectations, you can achieve consistency and trust that allows everybody involved to excel.
Make sure this cadence never misses a beat by using “BAMFAM”- book a meeting from a meeting. In other words, never end a call without first establishing your next point of contact. That is huge (for both sides).
This simple habit cultivates accountability, predictability, and authentic progress towards your goals.
Step 5: Execute & Iterate!
There’s not a single company—from giants like Amazon down to small local retailers—that hasn't experienced issues managing freelancers.
At some point, something will go wrong.
It could be an unresponsive contractor, lackluster results, or anything in between. When those challenges emerge, how should you react?
Make sure your choices send the message that mistakes and setbacks are okay, as long as you learn from them. Then, repair the system at the source.
Remember, as the CEO of a seven-figure company, everyone looks to you to set the pace.
You deserve a business that supports your dream life, not a business that becomes a job. You can achieve an unprecedented business trajectory with the right strategies and systems designed for your company’s unique needs.
That’s exactly why at 2X we dig deep into your vision to help you create a business model, strategy, and structure that helps you achieve more than what you thought was possible.