Client-freelancer relationship

Best practices to keep it healthy

Reading time: 2,5 mins

by Gergő Bárándi

When you think about hiring a freelancer (or an agency) to support your marketing processes you may worry about long term chemistry. But just like in every kind of professional relationship you should

  • set up clear expectations
  • communicate crystal clear
  • and develop trust for all parties involved

Setting up expectations

According to my experience, this is the most difficult part of starting to work with a freelancer.
You may set up the expectations for the freelancer you’ll work with, but it’s also important to set up expectations for yourself: how do you expect yourself to cooperate, how strongly you want to manage the projects, etc.

Expectations are mostly based on results, but you should consider to set up expectations for brand related behavior, following your system and last, but not least for sharing crucial business informations. These expectations should direct creative flows by providing a deeper understanding about the needs of the other party.

I always recommend to set expectations in the very early process, so before starting to work together, both of us may ensure that these expectations are real and suitable for all parties. I also recommend to revisit and review these expectations regularly.

In case these expectations are not set up clearly or not communicated at the very beginning, that should be a red flag for both involved.

Build official channel for communication

You may also consider to build a dedicated channel for communication. This should be emailing or some project management app (Slack, Trello, Monday, etc.), where both parties can directly communicate with each other. If you keep the communication in this channel you prevent losing informations or miscommunicate important things.

Please keep in mind that freelancers are private persons also, so please try to avoid to text us on our private social media channels.

I also recommend to set up at least a monthly meeting for performance review. You may benefit from these calls also, where we are most likely to share our ideas regarding the current results.

Setting up the roles & responsibilities

When you introduce a freelancer to your internal team you may want to avoid that someone will step on somebody else’s toe. This part is pretty clear and short, the recommendation is setting clear roles for your team members and the freelancer you work with. Freelancers are strong individuals but also have the ability to work in teams without bothering anyone’s workflow, just make sure that the tasks and roles are crystal clear for all involved.


This is the part of the process where you can make your external supplier to feel involved in your team and also this is the part where you may share the knowledge you have regarding your business and brand. The more informations you share, the better your cooperation will. At first, you may play a more hand-on role while guide the freelancer through your product, service, making sure they are well aware of the main priorities. Set up a personal meeting with your team and freelancer, with a strong recommendation to choose your office as the location, where the actual business happens. In case you have physical store, I also suggest to organize a visit there as well. This also helps creative workflow, since we are more involved, the more passion we can work.

From idea to execution

Also strongly recommended to build a process how to execute different tasks. The project management apps mentioned above may provide you a helping hand, where you set up each task and also able to add various part of a process like tags: idea, review phase, approved, in publishing etc. This requires some discipline and time but able to help us to avoid miscommunication. Once I’ve launched an approved campaign for a client, but they forget to tell me that they completely changed their message until that, so it was a bit unpleasant next day.

Communicate, communicate

Do it. Literally, in every relationship. Not just in business, in friendships, love, everywhere. Clear and effective communication is the key to success in projects. It’s at the basis of every email, presentation, and meeting. I strongly believe that it would help us to solve all our problems if we would communicate properly to help the understanding also. You have an idea? Make a phonecall. You dont like the ad content? Tell me honestly instead of looking for other ways to solve the problem.

Also very important to communicate clearly and properly. Stay on the message, make it two-way, and be responsible for what you say.

Reporting plan

The final part is about reporting. As I mentioned above, I strongly suggest to set up a monthly review meeting, but also ask for quick catch up calls more often in case you have doubts.

Beside calls I also provide you a visualized monthly report of your digital marketing activities, where you’ll see the most important metrics (spendings, revenue, ROAS) and other important stuff which you may put into context in case you have deeper understanding.

Wrap it up:

Working with a freelancer could be much easier than working with an on-site 9-17 employee. But like in every business relationship, we must follow guidelines for efficient cooperation.

  • Set up clear expectations at the beginning
  • Build a channel to communicate
  • Set up roles and responsibilities
  • Set up process for completing tasks
  • Communicate all the time