Being your own boss and earning a living as a freelancer has an appealing ring to it – so much so that approximately 25 million people in the U.S. are doing it!
But freelancers are also business owners who must self-motivate, self-manage and self-promote. They must also take care of business administration, business operations, business development and business risk.
Quite a lot for one person to manage!
And while the savvy freelancer will be wise to factor in the cost of doing business as part of their hourly or project rate – what happens when you simply don’t have enough hours in the day or night to manage both your client work and operate the business at the same time ?
This is a predicament many freelancers find themselves in – and too much work means something’s got to give. Unfortunately this can result in freelancers having to turn away business; neglecting their administrative obligations; and losing opportunities for future work.
When your freelance business has become so successful that you cannot grow and sustain it on your own – it’s time to look outside for help.
Here are two options for using outsourced services to help your freelance business attain new heights!
1. Consider Sub-Contracting to another Freelancer or Independent Contractor
Hiring an independent contractor or freelancer to help you out on an hourly or project basis, without the burden of actually employing them in an official capacity, can substantially free up your time, here are a few considerations to bear in mind when hiring a non-employee to help your business:
- Finding Trusted Freelancers and Independent Contractors – Your best bet for finding freelancers (is word of mouth and referrals. Ask around. Use your LinkedIn or Facebook page to solicit recommendations from friends and acquaintances. Another alternative is to use Internet freelance “marketplaces” or “bidding” sites built solely for freelancers and the people who want to hire them. Read more about how these can work for you in this article “5 Sites for Freelancer’s to Find Work“.
- Ask for Examples of Work and References – Just as you would expect your clients to request from you, turn the tables and be sure any prospective sub-contractor can provide a cross-section of work examples and a few references.
- The Agreement – Be sure to protect your interests with a written contract. Your best bet is to talk to a lawyer, but you can also save money by customizing some of the freely available sample freelance agreements found on the Internet. Here is an example of such an agreement from www.writecontent.com.
- Calculating and Hourly Rate – This article “How much should a contractor pay a subcontractor?“offers useful tips on calculating an hourly rate.
- Understand the Legal and Tax Ramifications of Hiring an Independent Contractor – There are very specific taxation and regulatory requirements involved with hiring independent contractors. Read more about these in this Hiring independent Contactors Guide from Business.gov. Also read – “Working with Independent Contractors: Understanding Tax Requirements“.
- Be Clear on Roles – Whether you are hiring someone to help design a brochure or research and write a press release for a client, be clear about their role and responsibilities. If this is the first time working with this sub-contractor, try to be the main point of contact for your client, while the sub-contractor only interacts only with you and not with the client. Once you have established trust or if you are working with a sub-contractor whom you know and can trust with your “brand”, then you may feel more confident letting them take on the role of project lead and directly interfacing with the client on your behalf – thereby freeing up your time.
2. Outsource your Administrative Function
Occasional help, in the form of “virtual assistants” (VAs), accountants, tax advisors and even lawyers, can help reduce the burden of business administration and management.
Tax specialists and accountants can help reduce many of the headaches associated with small business ownership – particularly at tax time (think about all those weekend hours you consume as a freelancer just managing your tax obligations). While virtual assistants can be hired for as little as $20-50 an hour to help with all facets of your business – from managing your business expenses and maintaining inventory, to proofing and formatting your sales pitch in PowerPoint.
Read “Need Help Starting a Business? Tips for Getting the Right Kind of Advice and Taking Control of Your Start-Up” for some pointers to help you identify the right kind of help.