Industry Insights, Trends, and Best Practices (written by our Flexperts)

Behind the Scenes: Our Freelancer Vetting Process

Jul 11, 2018 Maria Rummel

We know that adding a new person to your team, whether full-time or freelance, takes both time and effort. In other words; money. This is why freelance marketplaces like Torchlite develop rigorous screening processes for their freelancers. The goal is to ensure clients are matched with the perfect person or team for their project, but not all talent pools are created equal. Some platforms allow anyone to fill out a profile making businesses do the work of wading through resumes and portfolios, trying to balance budget with professional talent. This is a great way for freelancers to get their start, but it's not always the best way to find the exact right person for the job. Increasingly, freelancer marketplaces are choosing to scale down the number of profiles, instead focusing on proven track records, strong portfolios, and excellent reviews. We wanted to give you an insider look at how we select our Flexperts, so you have a better understanding of the difference. 1. Profile Check All potential Flexperts are asked a series of questions before moving onto the application process. This serves as a "weed out" right off the bat. Our goal isn't to serve a million clients at a time. We want the very best for you, so we only accept the very best. And, while this makes our talent pool a little smaller than some of the big guys, we've found our clients consistently rave about the performance of our freelancers, and our retention rates for both clients and freelancers is enviable. 2. Application Next up, we get down to what really matters — proof. All potential Flexperts submit an application including a resume, multiple work samples, and references. The truth is, anyone can apply, but what sets a true professional apart is several examples of their work, including metrics, if applicable. 3. Review All applicants are reviewed by our team of industry experts, including our CEO. If we put our name behind someone, we want to make sure they pass muster up to the very top. After receiving an  application, our resourcing team reviews and considers any attached work samples, recommendations, and the applicant’s resume. And, we're not just interested in the work- we want to know about the person, too. We're looking for those soft skills that will make their addition to your team seamless. 4. Phone or video interview Call us old-school, but in today’s marketing age it’s important that teams know they’re working with a real person. We also want to know that our freelancers will be are available, responsive, and able to effectively communicate with our clients. We attract talent from all over the world, but only a handful make it through to the next round after speaking with us. 5. Availability and hours In order to help us match clients and freelancers for optimal working conditions, we will ask all applicants about their availability and hours. Torchlite does not require our Torchliters to be available at specific times of the day, or for certain amounts of time. However, we do take availability into consideration when resourcing accounts to fit our clients' needs. 6. Acceptance The final step of our vetting process ensures that each freelancer understands what it means to be part of the Torchliter community and work for Torchlite’s clients. This is an essential step of transparency and agreement between Torchlite and all of our freelancers that helps us both decrease the amount of time it takes to resource accounts and cultivate a community of top-notch digital marketing freelancers. If you’re a marketer looking to add our vetted talent to your bench, contact us today. We’d love to hear from you!

Read More

8 Ways to Work Better With Your Freelancers

Mar 09, 2017 Beth Smedinghoff

You need to get more done and you’ve decided a freelancer is the person for the job. Good choice! Freelancers are a great way to fill skill gaps and extend your team. They bring vast experience and a deep knowledge of their specialty to the table. As with any hire, it’s important to understand how to best collaborate, communicate, and work with freelance talent. Freelancers aren’t full-time team members, and they’re often juggling multiple clients at once. This flexibility empowers them to be experts in their field, but it also requires that you manage them differently than your full-time staff. To help you set your extended team up for success, here are 8 ways to build a strong working relationship with your freelancers. 1. Don’t just communicate, over-communicate Clear communication is essential in any working relationship, but it’s especially paramount when working with freelancers. Your freelancer isn’t in the office every day so they’re not privy to water cooler convos or even major announcements, unless you share the news with them. You are their primary source of information on all things related to your business and your marketing initiatives. Don’t assume they have any insight into changes, progress, setbacks, or glitches, and always err on the side of over-communicating to prevent misunderstandings. 2. Manage expectations Out of the gate, it’s important to establish total alignment on what needs to get done, how, and by what date. Help your freelancer better understand your goals so they can better help you achieve them. Clearly define the project from scope to schedule. It’s important to set your freelancer up for success by providing clear guidelines and sharing your expectations from the start. 3. Trust and empower them to do their job Freelancers are experts at what they do, which is why you partnered with one. They help clients across a variety of verticals achieve marketing success in their area of expertise. Empower them with the tools, knowledge, and deadlines they need and then trust that they’ll get the job done – and get it done well. Make yourself available if they have questions (see #6) and be open to receiving their feedback. This type of mutual trust will only benefit your business. 4. Tap into their expertise Along similar lines, be sure to take advantage of their expertise. Freelancers are specialists with extensive knowledge and experience around a central topic. Ask for their advice and opinions whenever possible. Perhaps they’ve run into a challenge you’re facing before or have feedback on a better way to get something done. Ask them what you could do differently or where they see projects like yours typically go off the rails and then take their advice. 5. Treat them like part of the team Your freelancers will be more effective if you view them as a partner, not just a cog in the wheel. When possible, copy them on team communications or include them on conference calls. Get to know them personally and encourage the rest of your team to do the same. Helping them feel connected to the team takes little effort on your end and is sure to produce major results. 6. Make yourself available When you first start working with a freelancer ask them how best (and how often) to communicate with them. Once you understand how they work, make a point to regularly check in with them. If your freelancer can’t track you down for approvals or questions it can lead to delays or cause the final product to miss the mark. Provide feedback, answer questions, and listen to their concerns just like you would a full-time hire. Similarly, let them know when you’ll be out of the office or on vacation so they can play accordingly. 7. Plan ahead Provide your freelancers with insight into your goals for the entire year, not just for a specific project. Giving them a better understanding of the big picture allows them to produce work that scales and delivers long-term results. Planning ahead also means giving your freelancer a heads up about potential shifts in strategy or deadlines. Freelancers often work on multiple clients at one time and aren’t always able to drop everything to meet an urgent request. If you can anticipate when you’ll need more of their time, it’s always helpful to give them a heads up. 8. Provide valuable feedback Tell them specifically what you like and what you don’t like. Freelancers are experts in their field but they won’t be an expert on your brand overnight, especially if you don’t provide concrete descriptive feedback. Review their work in detail and provide suggestions on how they can improve and better support your brand and business objectives. Keep this productive feedback loop going and they’ll start to understand your brand just as well as you do. At the end of the day, remember that your freelancer wants to help you grow your business. If you can keep the lines of communication open and build a strong, collaborative partnership with your freelancer, the results will speak for themselves. Know you want to extend your team with high-quality freelancers but don’t know where to find them? Torchlite Flexperts can help.

Read More

Press Release: Torchlite Officially Launches First-Ever Marketplace of On-Demand Digital Marketing Experts Powered by Collaborative Technology

Mar 22, 2016 Torchlite

INDIANAPOLIS (March 22, 2016) – First-of-its-kind platform provides end-to-end analysis of social media, website and email performance, while enabling businesses to tap a marketplace of on-demand digital marketing experts to plan and execute online campaigns. Effective digital marketing requires two key elements: technology and the highly-trained experts who know how to use it. With the launch of its new platform, Torchlite today becomes the first company to combine both elements—tech and talent—to enable businesses to plan, execute and analyze digital marketing campaigns from a simple, unified dashboard. Torchlite founder Susan Marshall, a veteran marketer who previously held positions with Apple, Adobe and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, wants to help businesses overcome the increasing complexity of digital marketing by adding people back into the tech stack. “Digital marketing has grown into a complex process that, for many businesses, has resulted overlapping workflows, mismanaged talent, and a mishmash of tools that are disjointed and often redundant,” said Torchlite founder and CEO Susan Marshall. “Torchlite simplifies digital marketing by bringing tools, analytics and a marketplace of highly vetted experts together in a productivity platform that’s clean and approachable.” Results from a 2015 study by Econsultancy reveal that digital marketing has indeed become too complex for many organizations to use effectively. Among the top reasons preventing companies from investing in digital marketing, 24 percent of respondents cited a “lack of understanding about digital,” and 35 percent reported a “lack of staff to make the most of any digital investment.” Torchlite finds itself squarely at the center of three converging trends: the growing need for specialized digital marketing talent, burgeoning demand for software solutions that balance product capability with usability, and the shift toward a gig-based economy. With its new platform, Torchlite is the only company that enables businesses to tap a marketplace of highly trained digital marketing specialists, provides a project manager who coordinates campaigns, and gives access to a proprietary platform where business owners have complete visibility to track their marketing goals. Marketing leaders, agency partners and other stakeholders responsible for driving new customers and increased sales through digital marketing benefit from Torchlite’s collaborative platform in several ways: Unified Channel Data: Save time and gain insight by collecting intelligence from every digital channel, including Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, MailChimp and more, and viewing it within a single platform. On-Demand Talent: At any time, businesses can tap Torchlite’s vast network of vetted marketing specialists (called “Torchliters”) to plan and execute digital campaigns. Complete Visibility: A simplified dashboard provides a real-time view of campaign progress, while offering in-depth analysis and insights on customer engagement within each individual channel. Simple Collaboration: Workflow features simplify approvals and asset sharing, while encouraging discussion and rapid feedback. Streamlined Productivity: Task scheduling, checklists, calendars and notifications enable teams to spend less time managing and more time producing. “The proliferation of increasingly more specialized marketing technologies hasn’t just made it challenging for businesses to select the right tools, it’s also has made it exponentially more difficult to select the right people who can use those tools effectively,” said Jay Baer, marketing consultant and bestselling author. “By solving for both of these challenges, Torchlite has secured a unique and enviable position in an otherwise crowded marketplace.” About Torchlite Torchlite is a SaaS marketplace of highly vetted experts who are supported by a productivity platform. By seamlessly connecting digital marketing experts and business owners through our application, we make building effective digital marketing campaigns easy – driving leads, online traffic, customers and revenue. For more information, visit torchlite.com.

Read More

Visit the Torchlite Marketplace to learn more about how certified, professional freelancers support and grow businesses.