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Managing an independent contractor or freelancer isn't like managing a full-time employee. You may never see each other face to face. This may be the first time you've worked together, or you may work together on a regular basis. Whatever the case may be, the situation comes with different management challenges. Here are the dos and don'ts.

DON'TS
1. Don't be a micro manager. Especially if your freelancer is working off-site, you may be tempted to manage every step of the process. What is she doing anyway? For all you know, she's charging you $300 an hour to watch TV and eat chocolate frozen yogurt. The fact of the matter is you don't know what she's doing, and you can't control it. Hired guns don't necessarily work like your other employees. They may work all-nighters, in spurts, or do everything in the last couple of days. If you've done your research and found a great freelancer, you have to trust she will get the job done—by any means necessary.
2. Don't be a dictator. The relationship between an employer and an independent contractor is a particularly symbiotic one. You didn't have an employee to handle the project at hand, so you've had to hire someone outside your business to do it. This means that while this person is working for you, it's a bit more like he's a paid, lone wolf consultant than one more person who does your bidding day in and day out. Therefore, it's important that you listen to what he is telling you about this project and how best to do it. He's the expert. Tune into his creative solutions, and you may find yourself with a better product than what you thought you wanted.
3. Don't be a harpy. One of the most nerve-wracking aspects of working with an independent contractor is meeting deadlines. Still, regularly checking in with high-pressure tactics—i.e., sending hourly emails asking, "Is it done yet?"—means your contractor is spending all of her time—and some of your money—babysitting you and not meeting the deadline
. DOS
1. Nail down your work process before the project gets going. You shouldn't be reinventing the wheel every time you hire a freelancer. Have a phone consultation, agree on the terms, the project, and the deadline, and settle on the amount and method of payment. If you want to have regular meetings as the project progresses, set those up at the beginning. If there may be cost changes along the way, discuss that upfront. If you'd like to see how it's going along the way, create a shared calendar to stay on the same page. Talking through all the possibilities upfront will anticipate most problems before they happen.
2. Pay on time. One of the great agonies of being a hired gun—and I've been one for over 10 years—is getting paid. It's as if employers think that because you're not on their regular payroll, they can pay you however and whenever. In addition to settling on the fee, decide when and how invoices will be submitted, as well as when your freelancer can expect payment. 3. Trust her vision Especially if your contractor is a creative—say, a graphic designer or a writer—you are going to go out on a limb together. You may see drafts at an early stage or similar work that this creative has done for other companies, but art and prose are not the same thing as coding and accounting. Have faith in your knowledge that you hired the right person and that her creative mind will bring to life the vision in your head.

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If you don’t devote a small percentage of your time to working for free, you’re making a mistake.Don’t go all cold-blooded capitalist on me. Hear me out. Most entrepreneurs don’t do pro bono work. (By pro bono I don’t mean for charity, I mean for another entrepreneur.) A friend swears “pro bono” is Latin for “no way.” He says, “I’m against the idea of anyone working for free. As a more colorful person said, there are two kinds of articles on Huffington Post: Those that shouldn’t be written at all, and those that are too good to give away. I don’t think anyone should give away their profession.” You probably agree. You invested significant time and money into your business or profession. You provide value. You should receive value in return. But sometimes free is valuable. Aside from simply doing something nice for the sake of doing something nice (which has a value all its own) here are other reasons why occasionally working for free—or for a big discount—can still provide value to you in return:
You get to stretch. Your processes are solid. Your operations are optimized. You’re a fine-tuned machine. You’re also a little stale and stuck in your ways. People who can’t afford to pay you often have, um, unusual needs. Unlike most of your clients, they’re struggling. Help them and you’ll see and do some things you would otherwise never experience. Not only will you benefit from what you learn, so will all your other customers. And you might discover opportunities you never knew existed.
You get to be scared. It’s easy to forget how fortunate you are. Help a person whose business is on the brink of failing and you’ll remember the true meaning of “urgent.” The experience will help ground you… and help you see your own business from a different perspective.
You get to be creative. A person who needs help does not deal from a position of strength. Your standard techniques or strategies don’t apply. You’ll need to find new ways to leverage limited resources and transform weaknesses into strong points.
You get to flex an atrophied muscle. You’re successful. You have a team and infrastructure in place. You can throw money at certain problems. You can call in favors. Some customers do business with you just because it’s comfortable. People who need help have none of that going for them. Often they’ve made poor decisions and have limited choices. The only approach that might work is a practical approach. Using common sense and finding creative solutions are core strengths for a good entrepreneur—exercise those muscles.
You get to do the right thing. No, you can’t help everyone. No, you can’t give all your time away. Yes, you can help a few people who really need help—just like, somewhere along the way, someone went out of his way to help you. You remember how that felt. Pass it on.
You get to be a hero. You rarely get feedback when performing well is an expectation. Help someone who needs a hand and their thanks will be sincere and heartfelt.

CANNOT BEAT BEING A HERO

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