Outsource Your “Side Dish” Writing Work
Here’s something it took me a long time to learn as a freelancer:
You can’t be responsible for everything.
Since we’ve got our food theme going this week, let’s think about this in terms of a holiday feast.
Say you’re planning an elegant holiday dinner for 12 in the weeks to come. You can either do all the planning, cooking, and baking yourself, or you can recruit some help.
If you do it all yourself, you’ll have serious bragging rights once you’re done — especially if you go all out. I’m picturing roast turkey with apple-raisin stuffing … sweet potato soufflé … caramelized butternut squash … spiced apple pudding … seven kinds of pie …
I could go on, but the point is, making all that on your own — unless you’re the Barefoot Contessa — could easily overwhelm you. Even if you pull it off, you’d be too exhausted to enjoy the feast.
The better approach is to recruit help. Get your neighbor to bring the sweet potatoes. Ask Grandma Jimsie to bake a pie. Buy the pudding from an upscale grocery store.
Divvy out responsibilities until all that’s left is the roast turkey. That’s the one you’ll want to do yourself. Why? Because it’s the centerpiece of the meal. It’ll earn the greatest respect and the most compliments.
I’ll confess … I’ve never hosted a big holiday meal. I never had the courage because I saw it as a tremendous undertaking. I just wasn’t up for the planning and stress of it. I didn’t want to mess up and have a bunch of hungry people glaring at me.
Of course, that was before I realized the value of outsourcing. I was a firm do-it-yourselfer until last year, when I made my big, public goal to earn six-figures as a freelance writer in only one year.
It quickly became clear I couldn’t manage a major career jump — much less manage a household — without any support.
I went from doing it all myself to outsourcing everything but my writing.
On the home front, that meant getting my husband to take over errands and cooking. It meant hiring out everything else, including yard work, housecleaning, pest control, dog grooming, and home repair — all things my husband and I previously did ourselves.
On the business front, it meant hiring a graphic designer, having my website reworked by a professional, engaging a mentor, and getting subscriptions to automated services, like email software management and a fax-to-email system. All were things I’d either tried to do myself or didn’t think I needed.
In the end, I spent close to $21,000 on business-related purchases.
But that same year, I broke the six-figure ceiling. And that was saying something, since I’d only made $24,000 the year before.
And, even though I got a lot of support from a lot of people along the way, I also got the big payoff in the end — kind of like being the one who gets all the glory by making the holiday turkey.
As entrepreneurial-minded freelancers, most of us are interested in a lot of things, and most of us are pretty good at most things. But, if we focus all of our efforts on one thing — like freelance writing — then that can be the thing that really takes off for us.
It wasn’t easy to admit I couldn’t do everything. But when I finally did, it was beyond worth it.
What about you — is there something you outsource currently, or want to outsource, to pave your way to freelance writing success? Tell me about it here.
And just for fun, I’ve included my own recipe for a stunning freelance writing career. It worked for me … hopefully it’ll help you, too.
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