What Should You Outsource as a Freelance Writer?

In the U.S. political space, "outsourcing" has become a dirty word with the focus being companies that outsource American jobs to lower wage countries. But outsourcing in and of itself isn't bad. It's frequently done domestically too. You wouldn't even have a job as a freelance writer if it weren't for outsourcing -- that's what every one of your clients does every time they hire you. It's just a case of hiring someone outside of your own company to work for you.

Companies outsource for a number of reasons. They can save money by hiring contractors instead of full-time employees, especially if they don't need someone for full-time hours. And outsourcing lets business owners tap into specialized expertise when they need it by pulling in professionals on a project basis.

Even though we get work outsourced to us as freelancers, we're also business owners. And we're bound to come across things that we can't do ourselves (and we won't have full-time staff to help).

So today let's look at some of the things you should consider outsourcing to other contractors to help you grow your own writing business:

  • Web design
  • Website maintenance
  • Graphic design
  • Proofreading or editing
  • Marketing and SEO
  • Accounting
  • Administrative tasks

Some freelance writers also sub-contract out some of their work to other writers. I don't personally find this ethical unless clients know up front that you're simply acting as a manager or editor. If you build your reputation on your own credentials and that's what clients are hiring you for, the writing they receive should be yours.

None of the examples above are things you're likely to need a full-timer for. So it makes sense to outsource to contractors on an as-needed basis. And these are things you can still pursue yourself if you have the time and ability. It's about finding the right mix so you can maximize your billable time while running and growing an efficient business.

Personally I prefer to do a lot of things myself, but that's because I can. I find it's often faster for me to customize my own site designs or even code them from scratch than it is to deal with a designer and coder. But if I don't have the time to do that, then I hire someone. My next contractor will be taking on a mix of blog maintenance and administrative duties for me.

What about you? What do you outsource and why? How has outsourcing helped you grow your freelance writing business?

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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8 thoughts on “What Should You Outsource as a Freelance Writer?”

  1. I don’t subcontract my writing. That doesn’t feel right to me. But, I’ve subcontracted graphic design and use web templates from StudioPress because they’re ‘clean’ designs. I thought about having the web designer of the template I’m using design me a ‘unique’ web design. We’ll see.

    I thought about outsourcing marketing and SEO, especially SEO. I want to see if my rankings would improve or stay the same. I’d write about it. 🙂

    Believe it or not, I had my mom proofread my work, but she’s ĂĽber busy these days thanks to a family matter. I know she misses proofreading my blog posts. I miss her proofreading my blog posts.

    Reply
  2. I know that outsource is a bad thing for most people, thoug students tend to do it wih their assignments. For instance, a friend of mine used to use writing services from bestessays.com for couple times. And before blaming him for doing that you should think of the reasons that made him to do that: he is supporting his family and works on 2 different jobs. Thus he has very limited time for his college. Outsourcing his homework allowed him to earn money for his family. But if he didn’t work then yes, I agree, it would have been a dirty thing to do. So it depends from what perspective to see things.

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    • It sounds like a “dirty thing to do” regardless. If you’re too busy with work and family to handle your school work, then you shouldn’t be back in school. It’s completely unethical to earn a degree on someone else’s work. It’s dishonest, and frankly it’s disgusting. If you can’t earn your degree yourself, then you don’t deserve it, period. And you sure as hell shouldn’t be able to claim that you earned that degree later on when you’re looking for a higher paying job or freelance clients. That sure sounds like fraud to me — no matter how you look at it. People can always seem to make excuses for themselves when they want to justify something sleazy like that. Yet plenty of other people manage to juggle it all just fine and earn their own way, honestly. I can’t sympathize with anyone who takes that approach.

      Reply
  3. I have outsourced all of my web stuff from the very beginning. My tech guy makes sure things are up to date and working, and then he occasionally sends me an invoice. It works so well. I’d love to have an admin assistant some day who can keep my portfolio up to date. I have a financial goal in mind that I have to hit before I get to do that, though!

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  4. I wrote an article for WOW Women on Writing about outsourcing for their August edition…. What I found mostly from writers is the technical and financial things are the first to “go.”

    My husband is a tax accountant- not sure if that counts as outsourcing. I had someone build my website in WordPress so that I could then manage it myself. I have a VA that does mostly transcription and a few repetitive tasks. Then, for my large publishing clients, I outsource content production (which I then comb through personally for quality control). I have a proofreader who is supposed to take care of my online gaffes. . . She went on maternity leave and never really caught up.

    I also do a lot of translation, but my business model boasts native speakers. I have a cadre of translators on every continent. Again, using them is usually the result of a large volume project from a publisher. My main translator lives in my home with me and puts butt-in-chair time here in my home office. . .

    Reply

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