Seth Godin has a great perspective on working with freelance talent. Read the post, it’s worth a look.
Basically, what he is saying is you have a choice: Do you want to hire a head, or are you looking to hire hands?
If you know what you want, but you don’t know how to write code, or use Photoshop, that is a very different situation than hiring someone for their expertise. If you are hiring someone for their creativity, you have to be willing to listen to their point of view. Giving someone no direction when you really already have something in mind is just going to create frustration and lead to a lot of back and forth on both sides.
And, selfishly, if you know what you want, but just can’t bring it to life, you can usually get a better rate on the project. Paying for someone’s thought process and creativity is an unneeded expense if that’s not what you’re really looking for.
So make sure, going in, you know what you want. It’s the best way to guarantee you’ll get what you need.
One of the Co-Founders of SideTour, former TechStar (NYC Summer 2011), ex-NBA'er, and past TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon Winner.