What Is Outsourcing, and Does It Embarrass You?

I remember when we first started our writing business (www.berrybrewer.com), we were dead-set against the idea of doing “outsourced” work. Somehow, it seemed less legit to us to do work that someone else went out and found. Like, we weren’t pulling our own weight or being professional enough or something.

When we did accept our first outsourced gig, it was actually with a bit of embarrassment and shame. We definitely didn’t tell other writers that someone else was handing off their “overflow” work to us because we had so much free time on our schedules that we were desperate to fill.

I think another part of the stigma is the term itself. “Outsourcing” has such negative connotations, with visions of call centers in India and slave-wage factories in China. Even “overflow” sound like something your toilet does on a bad day.

The funny thing is that we’ve never had a problem with hiring other writers to do what we call “subcontracting.” (See, doesn’t that term sound a whole lot more respectable.) In fact, we’re really proud and excited when we have enough work coming in that we can help other work-at-home parents make some income. Maybe we’ve given ourselves a pass by including the word “agency” in our title…

This summer I am determined to make as much money as possible with the limited time I have available. It turns out that one sort of economical use of this time is to go ahead and subcontract work from another writer (or two). To be fair, I don’t make as much money as I would if I went out and tracked down the deal myself. On the other hand, I can just sit down at the computer every afternoon and start typing away on whatever’s been assigned. It takes some of the pressure off I think it ends up being just as profitable, if not more so, in the end.

Do I still have some reservations when it comes to doing outsourced work? Yeah, I have to admit that I do. It still makes me feel “less than” for some reason. But, I have a baby due in three months and I’m trying to buy a new house, so I’m going to go ahead and take the path of least resistance for the moment. No, I haven’t stopped looking for new clients. In fact, I’ve got two new ones in the last week or so, but I’m also not spending my time sending out query letters that might get rejected.

As any teenage boy or gambling addict will tell you, there’s something to be said for a “sure thing.”







2 responses
  1. Autumn Avatar

    I have also worked as a subcontractor before, and am still not against the idea. It is nice to have a steady stream of work while I look for other jobs. Yes, you make less money per article but typically you can still make good money per hour. In fact, I have started subcontracting my overflow to my sister, who is a great writer. I can rely on her to offer quality content and I don’t have to lose any clients when I am too busy to write as much as they want. I also have a baby due in 3 months, and it is nice to know that my sister can take on some of my work when I can’t. Good post. 🙂

  2. Melissa Avatar

    I know a lot of writers who actually hire writer. It’s not t all embarrassing, I think that’s being wise. They were no rules that prohibit it in the first place.

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