5 Best Practices for Working with Cannabis Industry Freelancers

CannaWrite, among many other cannabis businesses, is a freelance company providing contracted services to cannabis business clients. We also are a source for freelancers who are interested in cannabis-specific work, which makes us a company who works on both sides of freelancing relationships.

Freelancers are a Cost-Effective Solution for Talent

Let’s face it: it’s not too easy to build a full-time staff. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and you need to ensure that your revenue is strong enough to support someone’s salary, and expenditures can’t exceed available operating budgets.

Freelancers are a fantastic solution for cannabis businesses struggling with people time or a skills gap. From content creation like CannaWrite, to graphic design, to web development, to accounting, to business development – you name it – there is a freelancer for you waiting to serve the cannabis business.

Sometimes referred to as independent contractors, freelancers provide cannabis businesses an affordable way to get high-quality services without having to pay employee prices.

With that being said, freelancing is a privilege that both freelancers and their clients should be aware of.

I’ve been on both sides of the freelancing relationship, and here are some best practices for cannabis businesses working with cannabis industry freelancers:

1.       Set Expectations for Them

No one in the cannabis business is a mind reader, although we do have a pretty strong knack for getting on the same page as each other. If you are asking something of a freelancer, make sure they know the who, what, why, when and how before you expect them to deliver what you want.

While many freelancers, including CannaWrite, can help define the process of a project for clients, it’s up to the client to tell the freelancer exactly what it is they want. If a freelancer doesn’t deliver what you’re looking for, it’s not always the freelancer’s fault; it could have been faulty instructions on your part. Be thorough and ensure you give deadlines so that the freelancer can organize their work.

2.      Don’t Treat Them Like Employees

When you’re in a freelancing relationship, unless you have a contractual agreement that obliges one or both of the parties to something, an employment relationship does not exist.

Freelancers, as well as clients, have the ability to walk away at any time, unless you are contractually bound. This means that unless you have formed an employment relationship, the time, manner, and circumstances under which someone works cannot be dictated – unless you’re willing to pay for it.

Freelancers also do work for a lot of other clients, so they can’t always be expected to represent your team or be available for everything for your company. They often can’t do “favors” for your company that they wouldn’t be able to do for their other clients. Freelancers serve everyone, not just one person – it’s easy for freelancers AND clients to forget that sometimes.

3.      Pay Them For Their Work

This one is very important. CannaWrite recently removed our relationship from an emerging cannabis business because they failed to pay us for our work. The team delivered, but the receiving party had this project fall down her list of priorities, and this was her reason for not paying us for the work she had commissioned.

Simply, you have to pay people for the work they do for you. If you agree to something, the freelancer executes, it is the client’s obligation to pay in the manner agreed, and by the date specified by that person doing the work.

If you are not able to pay people immediately, ensure that you cover compensation and payment schedule with your freelancer PRIOR to commissioning work. Placing deposits on your work is a great way to ensure your freelancer is secure in their work.

Discuss payment methods and schedule at the beginning, so no one is left in the dust and no one is financially “put out” by others’ financial processes.

4.      Appreciate Them

Appreciation goes a long way and it doesn’t have to be expensive, or a grand gesture. Simply, those who feel appreciated feel encouraged and motivated, and they’ll want to continue the work by putting in their best for you.

At CannaWrite, the clients that take the time to appreciate from a simple “thank you” to a quick note of personal connection, to writing a note on how your work is making an impact in their work get our gold stars. To feel valued is strong encouragement to always put forth quality, time, energy and efforts for that client.

The same goes for freelancers. CannaWrite has built a team based on a mutual appreciation of each other as well as our collaborators. We take time to tell each other how they’re positively impacting our days and our work, and that motivates us all.

5.      Be Kind to Them

Freelancers have a prerogative and privilege that many traditional employees do not have: to walk away from professional relationships that do not suit them.

CannaWrite has had to cease relationships with a few people over the last couple years who did not meet the values of interaction we like to promote: respect, appreciation, and cooperation. While freelancers appreciate the work from new clients, we also thrive on our ability to cultivate positive connections. These positive professional relationships allow us to build the positive work environments we can’t always get in other work arrangements.

While freelancers don’t see you face to face all the time, they are important people with more connections within your industry than you may realize. Kindness ALWAYS goes a longer way than intimidation, bullying, or actively showing disrespect.

Maximize Your Work with Freelancers

When freelancing relationships are undertaken with expectations and a mutual understanding of how you’ll work together, it can be some of the most productive work you can get done. A lot of the times freelancers can get done more than you ever thought you could do, and they help you round-out your services.

Here are a few tips from CannaWrite on how to make the most out of your freelancing relationships:

  • Be clear with your expectations on your projects;
  • Don’t equate “freelancer” to “cheap worker”;
  • Agree on terms under which you’ll be working together in terms of payments, invoicing, and deadlines;
  • Be available for questions and for clarification on project instructions;
  • Be kind and patient with people who are learning;
  • ·Enter into your freelancing agreement with a positive attitude, and appreciate everyone for what they bring to the table

The most important thing is ensuring fit in your freelancing relationship. You simply can’t fit a square peg into a round hole. Do a few projects on a trial basis to ensure you’re working well together, and if it doesn’t seem like a good fit, respectfully move on.

Freelancing is a wonderful way to get first-class work done with some talented people around the world.