How to Successfully Work with a Creative Agency or Freelancer

There are only so many hours in a day.

As a small business owner, you realize the subtext of this early and often. You can’t maintain daily operations and achieve long-term growth goals without an extra hand (or two).

This is especially true for tasks that require a heavy dose of creativity. True, creative thinking can be learned and mastered over time with practice — like any skill. But when short on time, a little outside help goes a long way.

With outsourced creative talent on your side, here are some ways to maximize output and foster a successful business relationship.

Ask Questions and Set Expectations

When kicking off a partnership with a new creative agency or freelancer, be prepared to ask a lot of questions.

How do they prefer to operate based on experience with past and current clients? Who is your main contact and how can you best reach them? What do they need from you to be successful?

Use the onboarding period as an opportunity to establish rapport and learn each other’s working styles. Be curious as opposed to launching into the relationship with a strict list of demands.

With that said, you should express your expectations. In doing so, the agency or freelancer you’re working with can provide context as to what’s realistic and best outline next steps.

Provide (or Request) Detailed Creative Briefs

A creative brief is a document that outlines goals and expectations relative to a specific project. Think of it as a way to get everyone on the same page (literally) before the work begins.

If your creative agency or freelancer doesn’t provide these, try your hand at writing one yourself. At the very least, it’s a great exercise in defining objectives and the strategic goals required to reach them.

These briefs don’t have to be formal. When working with the Staples graphic design services team, for example, simply jot down initial thoughts around what you’re looking for and our experts can guide you towards bringing ideas to life.

Don’t Dictate, Collaborate

In theory, you’re working with a creative agency or freelancer for their expertise. And while it may be hard to loosen your grip on those business reigns, prioritizing control over collaboration will limit growth potential.

Therefore, making a point of asking questions sets the foundation for a relationship built on two-way conversation. If you carry that approach throughout the process, everyone involved will feel a greater sense of appreciation and motivation.

If you’re unhappy with work done for any reason, don’t jump to conclusions. Be clear and constructive about what you don’t like and why it doesn’t align with previously set expectations. In doing so, you’ll quickly be able to remedy areas of miscommunication and achieve results everyone can feel good about.

Be Timely with Feedback

Working with a creative agency or freelancer is a two-way street. Set them loose with minimal guidance and involvement, and the deliverables you receive will reflect that.

Additionally, know that whoever you’re working with is also running a business. Respect their requests and defined availability and make feedback a priority to keep projects moving forward and on schedule.

Hiring a creative agency or freelancer does require some hand-holding so if you’re hoping to handle design solo for a while longer, there are options. With Staples and, you can utilize templates or build designs from scratch for everything from newsletters to social media. It’s the all-in-one digital marketing platform that’ll save you time while growing your business.

By Staples Canada

August 17, 2021

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