Partner up and start small
When Carol Taylor, Director Content Experience at Microsoft, was asked to increase freelancer use, she turned to Upwork for talent because the solution can handle fluctuating volume needs like hers and it provides support services.
Taylor’s team updated PowerPoint templates regularly, but they didn’t have anyone in-house to create new templates. Having never used freelancers before, she began with small projects like refreshing existing templates with new content.
Get help with processes
The initial projects were so successful that Taylor expanded the pilot to include designing new templates and graphics. This required engaging several more freelancers.
Her first step: build a highly-skilled talent pool. This included contracting a design consultant and a project manager. “We couldn’t scale as quickly without the project manager,” says Taylor. The person freed up her time by building talent pools and contracting talent. The project manager also took care of day-to-day activities including tracking milestones, delegating project tasks, and reviewing deliverables.
Invest time for prep
The initial, small projects highlighted that without standards in place, results varied. Before contracting more talent for the expanded pilot, Taylor’s team created briefs with guidelines and style templates as needed.
The time it took to create guidelines were well worth it. “The payoff was great,” says Taylor as projects ramped up quickly and quality remained high. Her team kept projects on track and responding to freelancers timely by using collaboration tools including SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and Power BI.
Taylor’s in-house team had the design and technical skills to know what type of talent they needed. However, there may be times when you must engage talent outside of your skill set. But don’t worry, as clients like Microsoft have found, you can get a freelancer to help with that too.