When a client signs a contract with you, as a freelance writer, he’s paying for your writing ability. Without prior permission from your clients, you should never hand off any of the writing involved in a project to someone else. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing in your work flow that you can outsource. You can speed up projects and free up time for new clients with some careful outsourcing.
What Do You Wish You Didn’t Have to Do?
One of my pet peeves is conducting interviews over the phone or in person, simply because I can’t write fast enough to get an accurate transcript of the interview. I started recording such interviews quite a while ago, but since I still would want a transcript of the whole conversation, a recording actually requires me to spend more time on an interview. But there are plenty of services that will turn a recording into a transcript overnight. The prices are low enough that it makes sense for me to outsource transcription. If I clear an hour’s worth of time that I’d otherwise spend on transcribing an interview, I can write enough to not only cover the cost of getting the transcription done but also earn enough to take myself out for dinner. Based on my average hourly rate, it’s a good deal.
The same can hold true for many of the tasks that go along with writing: bookkeeping, technical tasks and so forth can all go to someone else. Making the decision to outsource such tasks should generally come down to the cost and benefit. Not all outsourcing frees up time for writing, after all, and if you aren’t going to be able to be more productive in the time you’ve cleared, it’s harder to justify the financial aspects of outsourcing as a freelancer.
When Should You Outsource?
Because of the cost of certain types of outsourcing, some careful consideration is in order before most freelance writers start outsourcing anything. At a bare minimum, it’s necessary to compare costs and benefits to make sure you come out ahead. Furthermore, there are different tasks that are more worthwhile to outsource at different stages in your freelancing career. If, for instance, you’re nearer to the beginning of your career, the only area outsourcing really makes sense is marketing, where an outsourced project like building a website provides the opportunity to attract numerous clients. At that end of the spectrum, it’s less likely that your workload will be able to pay for help on smaller tasks as well as your own bills.
But a freelancer with a bigger practice may be in a position to hand off more tasks to. Some freelancers rely on a virtual assistant for everything from scheduling to research. It can become a question of the value of your time: not only can it be worthwhile to free up more time for writing, but if you need to make sure that you have a little more free time, as well, a little outsourcing may be the key.
million dollar quartet says
“When your Bookkeeper forgets to make a bank deposit on the first of the month and one of your mortgages goes NSF, you send him or her a note. All it has to say is ‘DIRT-FT’.”
You can use google voice for free transcripts. It automatically turns recording into text you can copy and paste. For larger audio files, dragon naturally speaking is another option.