As a freelance writer, you may see yourself on one side of a very simple equation: You are the contractor, and it’s your job to do work for the client. While this is certainly true, it takes more than just one person to run a successful business venture, even if it’s freelance in nature. Sure, you may be a good writer, but what about web development? Design? Photoshop? Coding? Marketing? Social media? These are all areas of expertise that need to be tapped at some point to build a business that works, and no matter how talented you are, no one can do all of it alone.
Switching roles: Becoming a Client
Before you start your hunt for contractors, the first thing you need to do is figure out exactly what needs to be done, and in what order it should be completed.
The most logical place to start is your website, having a polished, presentable, and functional website is one of the most important factors for freelancers looking for work. Having a professional build a WordPress site from the ground up can cost you $500 and up, so if you have WordPress experience it would be wise to put up a basic design and fill out all the content before relying on a contractor. If you have the meat of the site completed, you might be able to get away with just hiring a designer instead of a developer to touch up your site, design a logo, and maybe redo the theme, which would cost a lot less.
Some functions of your site may require some skills you don’t have- for example, if you wanted to put in a robust order form so clients can select what they want and pay automatically, you may need to seek a freelance developer (if you can’t use something like Gravity Forms).
Once the site is ready (which should include your portfolio/resume, samples of your work, client reviews, a way to contact you, etc.), it’s time to consider a marketing effort to get some exposure. If you use a site like Elance or Odesk to find work, include a link to your website in your proposals. However, if you’re seeking clients outside of such platforms, you’ll need to get a little creative.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is one way to drive traffic to your site to find potential clients. In order to do this it’s essential to have an active blog on your site where you regularly update it with content pertinent to your industry. If you don’t know anything about SEO, it would be a good idea to go ahead and find a contractor who does so they can optimize your site the right way and do a link building campaign for you.
You can also find a good amount of work by posting your service on internet marketing and webmaster forums in the Buy/Sell/Trade sections. You shouldn’t really need a contractor for this unless you really aren’t comfortable with copywriting, just write up a pitch for your service and link to your website/portfolio and someone is bound to have interest.
Once you have a steady amount of work coming from clients, you may find yourself bogged down in the administrative and organization area. This is where a Virtual Assistant comes into play- you can pay someone else to take care of all the ‘paperwork’ stuff and keep your records and schedules organized. This is usually a long-term hourly job, it’s much cheaper to hire someone overseas- they aren’t native English speakers for the most part, but they are usually quite fluent and their office work is usually just as good as US workers.
Where to Find Contractors
Once you figure out where you need help in your freelance business plan, it’s time to bring some contractors on board. I personally like to use places like Odesk, Elance, Guru, and Freelancer because it’s free to post jobs and contractors are generally more accountable for their work because their ratings rely on it. However some of the best services are available elsewhere on their own sites, search around the web and consult forums to figure out which contractors are right for your needs. You can even get some of the small stuff done on Fiverr for just 5 bucks, I bet you wouldn’t believe the logo on this very site was designed from someone on Fiverr.