How to Let Go of Control When You Work With Freelancers

When you start a business, there’s a lot of pressure to do well.

In fact, you want things to go well so badly that you can turn into a control freak, especially when you’re dealing with freelancers, who may work and organise themselves in a completely different way to you.

As a business owner, you’ll have to monitor the business’s performance, but you’re not going to be able to control every little detail.

If you do, you’re going to make yourself unpopular as well as do yourself and your business a disservice by not focusing fully on your main responsibilities.

You’ve got to let go of some of the control, as hard as this may be.

But you can do it, if you do the following:

Accept that you can’t control everything

This is paramount.

It’s fine to set a deadline or two. That’s normal, but you’re otherwise going to have to go with the flow.

You can’t control every little thing that a freelancer or anyone else does, so sit back a little, let them do what you’ve hired them for and watch them come up trumps in the end.

You’ll start to feel more comfortable about the situation.

Think about your behaviour

Try to understand why you insist on being in total control.

Maybe you’re fearing a specific outcome and are feeling insecure in some way.

Micromanaging the team does no one any good though, so focus on the benefits of letting go of control.

For one thing, you’ll have more time to do your duties.

Evaluate the tasks only you can do (and delegate the ones someone else could)

You may be talented (as is your team) but you can’t do everything.

I’ll bet you’re taking on far more than you should, simply because you don’t trust others enough to do it.

Look long and hard at everything you’re doing and ask yourself: ‘Could someone else be doing this?’

There will likely be someone who can — and just as likely they’ll do a damned fine job of it, too.

If you can’t do something or don’t have the time to do it, delegate it and trust that the person will deliver, especially if they’ve been working at their trade for a long time.

Take small steps

You don’t have to let go of all the control all at the same time.

Take small steps and assign the freelancer a small part of the project.

A pro will smash it out of the park (in a good sense!) and you’ll find it easier to be less controlling knowing you can rely on them to get on with the job and perform their duties well.

Be aware that you can provide feedback if you don’t get the results you wanted, so it’s not the end of the world if they do a bad job.

Note too that, just because someone hasn’t done a job quite the way you wanted them to, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve done a bad job.

Have a follow-up system

You’ll feel better if you have a follow-up system in place to check any work you need to.

This isn’t an instruction to review work the very second it lands on your desk or enters your inbox.

What you should do is set up a place where people can submit the work. Then you must arrange a (regular) time to review it.

If you’re using a project management system, you could turn the notification setting on so you know the work is there ready for review.

Fight the urge to take back control

At some point, you’re going to face a powerful urge to take back control, especially if something doesn’t go the way you want it to.

Avoid blaming yourself and resist the temptation to put the task back on your own agenda. You’ve got to learn from what’s happened.

Work out what’s gone wrong and feedback to the person who carried out the task.

Decide if there is anything different you or they could have done differently and take these steps if you have to repeat the task.

A few final thoughts

You’re a business owner. You have a business to run.

Although you must monitor and analyse the business’s performance, you can’t control every little thing that happens in the company.

If you try, you’ll never be able to focus on your responsibilities as a business owner (and your business won’t be able to grow).

It’s imperative you learn to let go of control. No one likes a control freak.

It means being honest with yourself, learning to trust others and knowing there are ways to address any problems that may arise if things don’t go to plan.

It’s time to let go.

Everything’s going to be okay.

You’ll see.


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