Freelance writing is a business. It doesn’t matter if you work from home or have an office; it’s a business and needs to be treated as one. Along with being a business, freelance writing, for many, has its ups and downs, its slow times, its busy times. But, what do you do during an exceptionally busy time when you get more work than you can handle?
Your Backup System
From experience, I learned that you need to have a few things in place. One of the main things is having a backup system – a team of reliable contractors in place who are professional, reliable and capable of handling jobs you outsource to them.
The Difference between Independent Contractors and Employees
The reason you want to use independent contractors (instead of outright hiring an employee) is for tax and convenience purposes.
With an employee, you pay them even if you don’t need them. With independent contractors, you hire on an as-need basis, of course. And, you’re not responsible for paying their taxes; they are (you’ll issue them a 1099 instead of a W2, which full- and part-time employees receive).
Finding a Freelancer: The Importance of Choosing the Right Team
Well, this extends to the freelancers you outsource work to. Keep in mind as you’re sourcing candidates that they’ll be a reflection of your writing skill and your professionalism.
Choose the right ones, and you can make your life so much easier and save you so much time. Choose the wrong ones, and oh boy, let’s just say it can be a nightmare.
Where to Find Freelancers
This can run the gamut from free classified ad sites like Craigslist, to social media, to popular freelance writing websites like FreelanceWritingGigs. Finding freelancers will be the least of your problems; finding qualified ones will be the main problem.
Finding Freelancers: My Experience Outsourcing Work to Other Writers
As a freelance business owner, you certainly don’t want to take on a job and then find out the writer(s) you subcontracted with aren’t capable of handling the job. This has happened to me and I ended up spending lots of time editing and even rewriting content to ensure it was acceptable to the client.
Out of five contractors I hired, two were lacking terribly and a third really wasn’t qualified either. This just added so much time, effort and stress to the entire gig.
Bottom line, you could end up losing money, in the sense that you’ll be working much harder for the same pay. Or worse, you might end up missing a deadline.
So, how do you make sure the freelance writers you subcontract with knows her stuff?
How to Find Freelancers: 4 Methods I’ve Used to Find Reliable Contract Writers
Following are four methods I’ve used to vet independent contractors.
1. Research the writer.
Check out the writer’s website. See what type of content they write and how the website is set up. This is one of the first indicators of whether the potential team member is a professional. The website should be focused. You should quickly be able to determine that it is indeed the site of a freelance writer.
Also keep in mind that being website savvy is not always a sure sign of writing ability. This method of vetting freelancers should be used in conjunction with others, eg . . .
2. Ask for a writing sample.
You might ask the contractor to supply a writing sample in line with the type of work needed. For example, if your gig is for health content you might request a sample in line with the content needed.
This method and it’s not always a true indicator of the writer’s abilities in a particular niche. It’d be helpful and a better indicator if you give explicit instructions, such as keywords and other particulars for the content needed.
3. Use the trial-and-error method.
You can hire them and after a couple of articles or other content submitted determine if they’re qualified. If the writer isn’t qualified, you’ve wasted time that will need to be made up to ensure the job is done professionally and on time.
What I learned with this method is that you need to give yourself enough room, just in case. Instead of hiring three freelancers, hire five and offer less work to each, with the possibility of more. This gives you some leeway. It’s kind of like a backup for your backup.
The good thing about this method is you’ll find out so many things about your potential member, eg, are they reliable, will they respond to communication in a timely manner, can they meet deadlines, etc.
All of this is important and helps you to choose the best members for your team for the long haul.
4. Work with writers you already know.
This is probably the best scenario. If you know freelance writers, know their qualifications, it will save you a lot of time and possible headaches.
Being a freelance writer, you never know when the next ‘big’ job will come along, one that you can’t handle on your own. Taking the time to find reliable, qualified help when you’re not in the thick of it, so to speak, can help you be ready when “the big one” does come along.
Share Your Thoughts on Outsourcing to Other Freelancers
Have you ever outsourced work to other freelance writers? Have you wanted to but were afraid to? What did you find easy/difficult about the process? What would you do differently next time? What advice would you give to other freelancers about outsourcing? Please share in the comments section below.
About the Author: Karen Cioffi is an author, freelance writer, and online platform instructor. She is also the founder and manager of Writers on the Move, a marketing group for authors and writers.
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