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Setting up a project has gone from three days to about half a day. Before using Shortlist I’d put together an email and then spend half an afternoon adding the email addresses one by one. Now it takes two minutes to send out


The Challenge

To streamline management, communication, and invoicing across Drops’ large and diverse freelance talent network

Behind the Drops app is a sizable network of freelancers who are translators, voice talents, proofreaders, and UI translators.

Drops began hiring through an online freelancer platform but decided to transition to working directly with their contractors. As their freelancer numbers grew, it became clear that the processes used to manage them weren’t as streamlined as they needed to be to cope with the increasing volume of communication.

Although communicating the necessary information was similar for most of their freelancers, Drops needed an easier way to communicate with people in groups (e.g. for project instructions), as well as individually (e.g. for invoices and agreements).

Before using Shortlist, individual emails would need to be written to freelancers to gauge their availability for upcoming projects. Google spreadsheets were used to track people and their responses.

“Our invoicing was all done in emails too. If I wanted to search back, I had to go through a bunch of different emails…and you know how that goes!” —

To make conversations easier, Drops created a dedicated Slack workspace for their translators and proofreaders. This helped them bypass some of the constant emails, but their freelance voice talents required a different style of communication, so conversations now had to be managed across both emails and Slack.

“At one point I was kind of going crazy. I started doing research with my colleague who was sharing the pain of invoices, and we went searching for different kinds of solutions.” 

There was now a breakdown between Slack, emails, and Google spreadsheets, with information scattered across all of these platforms. 

“In the beginning, I contacted everyone through emails. So after a while, I was at like 60 or 70 people who I was managing through emails. It was pretty much a nightmare. But now everything goes through Shortlist, I don't have to deal with emails at all. The time saved from going through 300 emails to checking a neat little list? That's been amazing.”

Ágnes Surján | Content Manager at Drops

Solution

A powerful, customizable platform to manage freelancer hiring, onboarding, invoicing, and everything in between

As designated Universal Problem Solver, Ágnes and her colleague presented Shortlist to the Drops founders as the solution they needed to save them hours of time (and sanity). She says, “We liked Shortlist the most from their website. We contacted them, and we just went for it. We really didn’t look into anything else.”

“I could work a lot faster than writing 70 emails per project. Write one and send it out to everyone, and still be able to communicate one on one. That pretty much convinced everyone.”

After a call with the Shortlist team, it was full steam ahead. For Drops’ unique use cases and freelancer needs, Shortlist partnered with the Drops team to customize the dashboard fields and naming conventions to ensure they could do everything they needed to with the platform.

“Shortlist was super helpful. The amount of customization that we could get and the onboarding that they gave us was amazing. I haven’t had an experience like this before, with any platforms.”

Shortlist and Drops scheduled regular check-ins every two weeks to make sure everything was running smoothly. This ensured that if there were any questions or problems they could be addressed and fixed quickly. It also allowed for fine-tuning of different tasks and further education for the Drop team on advanced tips and tricks to help them get the most out of the platform.

Once everything was up and running, Drops sent out invitations for their translators to join their shortlist platform. With one click, they could invite all their existing translators to start the onboarding process and add their information. Most of their freelancers had never used a platform like this, but they found the onboarding to be simple and straightforward to set up from the contractor side.

“Shortlist was super easy for our translators. All of them had very positive feedback. So from the beginning, it was very easy for everyone.”

Hiring new freelance talent is now a breeze. Prior to Shortlist, Drops would put up an ad and get hundreds of responses they would need to go through one by one.

They now create ads on Shortlist that they upload to their website. From there, interested freelancers can answer customized questions and fill in other necessary information.

They also created an application field where freelancers have to upload a screen capture of the Drops app to prove that they’ve tried it out before sending in their application. This is a strategic time-saving measure that has made it even easier to process new applicants.

Seamless Calendly integration means that interviews can be set up with successful applicants in one click

The Results

Instant time savings and a streamlined, manageable workflow

Drops started seeing results with Shortlist right from the beginning. Projects were sent live with one click and finished faster, and dealing with the financial side of each project took less time.

“Everything is on one platform now, and that’s amazing for me, because I’m the only person working with the translators at Drops. Having the translators’ profiles and invoices in one place where I can go back and search is great.”

The Drops custom workflow includes stages such as collecting candidate information, reviewing candidates, performing a quick chat, and determining whether to move forward with specific candidates.

“I have a nice flow with all the projects on Shortlist now, and I’m really enjoying using it.”

Everything is automated, from people accepting things to people sending notifications of completed tasks. When freelancers submit their invoices, one-click accepts the invoice and it gets sent to the finance team for processing. The entire workflow and chain of communication is faster and more manageable.

I can find everything super quickly, and I know exactly where things are. I’m a lot more effective this way. And what has been amazing is that now I have time to do other things.

For Ágnes, this saved an incredible amount of time every day. It gave her the opportunity to learn a lot more in different parts of the Drops company. It also gave her the ability to help out with other projects and develop new skills.

“We now teach over 40 languages. We’re hiring and managing people much faster. And also adding new content and scaling up the translation projects that we have.”

Drops is currently using Shortlist to manage their language content projects. But with their customized setup, their translators can now do UI translations as well. And they’re ready for every other kind of translation work that might come up.

“Shortlist is super easy – but also complex. It covers so many areas in a very user friendly way. It’s easy to use on the employer side and the employee side as well. If you’re working with a lot of freelancers or different people who need a central place to communicate with an employer, I would recommend Shortlist”