How One Writer Used Smart Outsourcing to Earn 30% More

Editor

Freelancers can earn more with outsourcing

A few years ago I made a shocking discovery.

I took a long, hard look at how I was using my time — and I was thoroughly ashamed.

This was the breakdown:

  • Market research on prospective clients: 20%
  • Marketing to prospects (cold-calls, emails, social media, blogging, website): 20%
  • Project research: 40%
  • Writing: 20%

Notice anything amazing about this?

I only spent 20% of my time doing the thing I loved best…the thing I was supposed to be making money from writing. I spent the other 80% preparing to make money (i.e. research and marketing).

Of course, without marketing and research we couldn’t write great copy or get high-paying clients.

But think about this: Your writing is the only thing of any real value, in terms of income generated.

That simple thought led me to a really big idea. An idea that boosted my income by $24,000 a year.

Here’s how it works…

1. Analyze how you spend your time

Spend two weeks noting the time you spend on each task.

Be specific. What kind of marketing are you doing? Cold-calling prospects? Searching for names on LinkedIn? Writing emails? Blogging?

What kind of research are you doing? Are you scouring medical journals, checking company websites, or looking for the specs of a B2B product? Be specific.

2. Decide what you DON’T want to do

Take a look at your list of tasks, and ask three questions:

  1. Which tasks could easily be done by someone else?
  2. Which tasks do you hate the most?
  3. Which tasks must be done by you?

Chances are, a lot of the research can be done by someone else. For instance, searching for prospects’ email addresses with ‘stealthy Googling’—essential, but boring…

Or scouring medical journals for information about a supplement ingredient—essential, but VERY time-consuming…

Truth is, probably 40% of your work can be outsourced. But you want to make sure it’s smart outsourcing.

3. Outsourcing that makes $$ sense

I tried four different companies before I found one I could trust.

I asked for someone fluent in English, with a background in health, and a track record of researching complex issues and writing short, concise summaries. I also asked for a sample of my assistant’s work before signing a contract.

For $400, I got a virtual assistant for two weeks. Her English is perfect, and she has a degree in biology. It’s important to clarify what you’re looking for in a virtual assistant.

She researched ingredients for a supplement I was marketing. She dug up names and emails of prospective clients. Then she sent me a 20-page report.

I had 50 new prospects to call, and enough research to start writing a new sales letter — all without lifting a finger.

The impact on my copywriting business was amazing.

4. Measuring the results

I paid $400 for work that would have taken me two weeks — and I shaved two weeks off an 8-week project.

So instead of my typical $13,000 for an 8-week project, I earned $12,600 for a 6-week project. In other words, the $400 I paid for outsourcing increased my weekly income from $1,625 to $2,100.

That’s an extra $24,700 a year — a 30% increase for me.

Outsourcing to the Third World may not be for everyone—but with some careful research and vetting, I found competent contractors, saved a bundle, and grew my income.

Have you increased your income by outsourcing? Tell us in the comments below.

Nick Daniel is a freelance direct-mail copywriter for alternative health clients including Dr. Sears. You can find his book on Amazon: The Wealthy Health Copywriter

Freelance Business Bootcamp: How to Launch, Earn, and Grow into a Well-Paid Freelancer. By Carol Tice and Neil Tortorella

38 Comments

  1. John

    You can definitely see your skills within the work you
    write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe.
    All the time follow your heart.

  2. Cat Johnson

    A lot to think about here. Thanks for the post.

    Carol, you know that stunned feeling you had when you realized a nonfiction writer created outlines then outsourced their books? You just evoked that in me. Going to mull that over for a bit.

    I can see outsourcing research, but like some of the other commenters, I like the writing too much to outsource it (and, re-drafting someone else’s draft is a pain ;))

    Cheers,
    Cat

  3. Sherri

    Like Carol, I don’t believe in outsourcing to foreign countries. We get enough of that from amoral US corporations that ship jobs, which should be for Americans, overseas. If I’m ever in a position to hire a virtual assistant, I believe in supporting my fellow US citizens even if I have to pay more. Sometimes it’s not just all about the money. 🙂

    • Carol Tice

      The old labor unionist in me doesn’t want to go there, as long as there’s one US teen I can hire, I’m going to do it. But I don’t judge, and recognize that not everyone is in a financial position to do that. I’ve made sacrifices other places in my business to pay US wages, because that’s just my values.

      I also hear a lot of horror stories about stuff gone wrong on Fiverr and places like this, and for me it’s not worth what can be a trial-and-error process. But if it works for you and you can sleep at night with it, more power.

  4. Nick Daniel

    It’s always a challenge! I’m constantly looking for new ways to write more and do less of everything else. We all need to market ourselves, and although it’s possible to automate marketing to some degree, you always have to find that balance between efficiency and personalisation (the personal touch). That seems to be a challenge I come up against often. Thanks for your comments 🙂

  5. Jonathan Lenahan

    The post itself was interesting, but as someone who doesn’t have the capacity to outsource anything (yet), I just thought I would comment on the point you made in the very beginning: we often can’t see the forest for the trees. We all love writing! It’s what we do. But then we get bogged down with all the extras, and a few leaps and bounds later, we find that we’re not getting much, if any, writing accomplished.

    I’ve been there. It always surprises me, and I always end up back there.

    Life is annoying like that. Haha.

    Jonathan

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