Need Backup? How Freelance Writers Can Find Subcontractors to Work With

If you have been working as a freelance writer for any length of time, you know that life can sometimes get in the way of work deadlines. All freelance writers should have a plan in place for when they need backup and strategies for how to find subcontractors to work with during challenging times.

No matter how diligent or hardworking we are, there are times when we are thrown a curve ball like an emergency, and we just have to deal with things that are completely beyond our control. At other times, the Freelance Fates have been generous and plunked down a bit too much work in your lap and you aren’t sure how you are going to get it finished and meet your deadlines on time. Rather than turning down the work, you can keep it in-house by subcontracting it out to one or more writers on your team.CallNow

Talk to your Clients Before you Subcontract Out Any Work

Before taking steps to find subcontractors to step in to help you out, you need to make sure that your clients are on board with this policy. Some of them may prefer that you – and only you – handle their work due to confidentiality or personal preference. That is certainly their privilege, and if you want to keep these particular clients, you will need to respect their wishes.

Other clients will not mind if you or someone on your team completes the assignment as long as it is done on time and to their specifications. The only way to find out about your clients’ preference is to ask them.

There are two ways to handle this situation:

  • Individually, on a case-by-case basis
  • As a matter of policy

Rather than springing the news on a client that due to circumstances beyond your control, their assignment will be handled by another writer that they don’t know and are unfamiliar with, a better choice may be to explain from the outset that work is handled by yourself, and a small team of writers.

You can then explain that everyone on the team is experienced and has been personally screened by you to ensure that work performed will be of the highest quality. If a prospective client has a question about who will be working on “their” file, you can explain that a decision will be made after you know the full scope of what the client would like to order and you have been officially hired.

How to Find Subcontractors to Work With

Now that you have decided that you want to find other freelance writers who can be available to act as subcontractors for you, where do you find them? Here are some ideas:

  • Start with Writers you Know

In your circle of writing acquaintances, are there a few people who have stood out? Are there certain bloggers who have a writing style that is similar to your own. Put their names on a list.

  • Check Out Discussion Groups and Writers’ Forums

If you have been spending time in these types of online communities, you will have gotten to know at least a few of the members. The way they answer questions and make comments will tell you something about their work style and personality. Click on their links and check out their websites to learn a bit more about them, if you haven’t already.

  • Ask Current and Former Editors for Recommendations

Editors see the raw writing product before it gets polished and ready for public viewing. Contact them to ask if they know of anyone they would recommend as a good back-up writer who could take on some overflow for you in a pinch or more regularly, depending on your needs.

  • Run an Advertisement

Where should you run your own ad? If your needs are not urgent, you can put something up on your own website or blog saying that you are taking applications from qualified freelance writers for however you want to describe the type of work (overflow, occasional assignments, special assignments, occasional work, etc.).

If you are interested in hiring someone immediately, you can place an ad on the FWJ Freelance Writing Job Board to attract a bigger pool of candidates.


Why You Shouldn’t Just Hire your Freelance Writer Friends

When you get busy or have an emergency, you may think that the best thing to do is hire one of your friends. You already know this person, and it is much less hassle than having to go out looking for someone new. It’s certainly more inconvenient than having to get to know a stranger, isn’t it?

Well…maybe not. While you think the world of your freelance writer friends, it doesn’t mean that they would be a good fit for the type of work that you do. You may not be able to jump in and pinch hit for your freelance writer friends if they needed something, even though you would dearly love to. It doesn’t mean that they (or you) aren’t wonderful people, hardworking, and talented; it just means that no one is a perfect fit for every gig.

If you do decide to work with your friends (or any other subcontractor), make sure that you are clear about your expectations for your professional relationship. It’s a good idea to have a written agreement that includes how much you will pay for work, what you will do if the work is turned in late (or not at all) or does not meet the standard that you would feel comfortable forwarding to your client.

Start Looking for Subcontractors Long Before you Need Them

Your best bet when looking for subcontractors will probably be to go by trial and error. Give more than one person a test assignment or a small job to work on and see whether they are a good fit (turns in the work on time, follows instructions well, can self-edit appropriately).

The best time to start looking for freelance writers to work with is before you find yourself in a pinch and need someone right now. Start putting feelers out to people in your network today so that you have backup ready to go when you need it.

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

Image Credit:


One response
  1. Nupur Avatar

    Hi I am a freelance content writer with an experience of more than 9 months. I am looking for better work opportunities. Can I enroll too?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.