I've been following an interesting debate between Men with Pens James Chartrand and All Freelance Writing's Jennifer Mattern. I'll briefly recap: James has a new ebook he co-created to help writers fine tune their freelancing business model so that they are more productive and making more money without stress and burnout. Jennifer on the other hand considers freelancing more of a lifestyle than a typical small business.
Outsourcing is a topic I notice lots of writers going back and forth about. I had lunch with a client last summer who is expanding his business which means more projects for me (let's hope it continues…). He even suggested that I consider outsourcing some projects out to other writers.
Why outsourcing makes sense
According to James, outsourcing makes sense as a way to maximize a writer's billable hours. He goes on to list reasons when you should consider outsourcing which include not having the skills to accomplish a certain project (that would be web design and anything dealing with html for me) and of course when outsourcing projects allows you time to work on something else. Let me just say for the record that I have not yet read his ebook. I also have to say when it comes to outsourcing I hesitate…
When Outsourcing goes wrong
I've mentioned it here before that I've had some bad experiences outsourcing. In the end I ended up doing as much or more work than I would have done had I just done the project myself. I imagined something along the lines of the scenario James' argument paints: that I would be free to work on my own writing projects or those that were more lucrative while still making a little off the top. However, I'm not someone who wants to manage others. I have enough of a time keeping up with my own daily tasks, and to be quite honest I don't want anyone to start thinking of me as "the man." No sir. But, outsourcing is a tempting thought sometimes, especially when I'm beside-myself-busy.
The argument for residual income
Jenn on the other hand encourages writers to boost their earning potential by working on their own projects creating residual incomes by creating ebooks or informative websites. Of course this takes time to accomplish, and if you don't already have a built-in audience, you'll need to market your little hiney off. She duly acknowledges this fact.
Jenn also explains that one reason she doesn't agree with the business model way of doing this that James suggests is because many writers just don't have enough disposable income to consistently hire out help. Good point.
Which way is best for you?
Personally I believe that either of these methods can work. Am I punking out by agreeing with them both? I know it looks that way, but I'm really not – this time. I actually know a couple of writers who have no problems outsourcing and think it's the best idea since sliced bread. I also know writers who are successfully making good money creating their own products, blogs, websites, etc.
Here's the best part about freelancing: you get to do whatever works for your own bottom line. Whether it's outsourcing, creating your own streams of residual income or a combination of the two; you can make adjustments to get what you need professionally and financially. What's your opinion about outsourcing and developing residual income?