If you’ve been freelancing for a while now I’m sure there are tasks you totally dread or even hate, or things you’re simply not good at.
See, I don’t like accounting and invoicing, I find it’s boring as hell and it’s time-consuming, and I know I could use that time to focus on more interesting and more creative activities.
I freelance because I love to create things. And I’m a musician for the exact same reason. So, what do you do when you finally figure out what you really want to do and what you’re good at?
You outsource the rest! You get someone else to take care of that stuff you don’t want to do.
Outsourcing Means You Still Have To Work And Get Things Done
I thought it would be a good idea to get this out of the way first: outsourcing doesn’t mean you will get to sit on your ass all day, not work and let other people take care of everything!
Sure once you start outsourcing it’ll definitely clear your schedule up a bit, which is very nice, but don’t forget you have clients, and they hired you probably because they like your work and your personality! It all depends on how you position yourself, but that a different topic altogether. :)
What Should You Outsource?
That depends on your work load. Do you feel totally overwhelmed? Or do you feel like only a couple hours a week of free time would be just great? I suggest you make a list of everything you usually do in a day.
I’m a web-designer, I write articles and I manage some blogs. A normal day usually look like this:
- emails: 1 hour
- social networking: 1 hour
- reading blogs and keeping up to date: 1 hour
- writing: 1 and a half hour
- designing, coding, fixing bugs and stuff: 5-6 hours
- accounting, invoicing: half an hour
- tech support: 45 minutes
Remember that this is just an average per day. Now, I’m sure many of you have a similar schedule! What would you outsource? Accounting, invoicing, and support maybe?
Virtual Assistant, Partner Or Another Freelancer?
Let’s assume your freelance business is doing relatively well, you have a steady stream of clients, you want more free time and you know what you want to outsource. You usually have 3 options:
- Partner up with someone you trust
- Hire a virtual assistant to help you out
- Hire another freelancer
What you decide will of course depend on how well your business is doing, your needs, how much you hate doing some of those boring tasks and how bad you’re willing to take a pay cut so that you have more free time.
- Partner-up: for many of us partnering-up with someone we trust is the way to go! If communication is great and you trust each other, this is a great solution! We all have weaknesses and strengths, simply make sure that you and your partner really complements each other and you’re all set!
- Virtual Assistant: hiring a VA is also a great choice for many reasons! You can outsource pretty much anything, and you can have more than one VA if needed. Some people will outsource accounting, some will even outsource graphic design! Ok Tim Ferriss explains this way better than me! If you haven’t read The Four Hour Work Week yet… by all means stop reading, go buy the book, read it and then come back here!
- Hire other freelancers: wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where we all support each other? Why not hire a fellow freelancer, a friend who is a graphic designer, or someone you know who can code your client’s website while you work on designing another one? Sometimes this can lead to a great partnership too!
Some Questions You May Want To Ask Yourself Before You Start Outsourcing
Before you go and hire a virtual assistant or post an ad on a job board you should probably have a plan (and maybe a back-up plan!) Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:
- What would save me the most time? Do you really want more free time or you’re just not productive enough?
- What would be cheapest option? How much money I’m I willing to spend on a monthly basis?
- What will I do with that free time now that someone else is taking care of this and that?
- Should I hire someone full-time, partner up, or hire a VA?
- How and where can I find someone to help me out?
- Should I let my clients know I’m outsourcing some work?
I’m really looking forward to reading your answers! :)
Your Turn To Talk
Have you ever hired a VA, outsourced some stuff to other freelancers or partnered-up with a buddy? How did it go? Any other ways you can free up some time to focus on what you really love? Please share your thoughts, tips & tricks and stories in the comment section below!
image in this post: thinkpanama