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
- 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?