Growing your freelance enterprise will be robust. Energy is a finite useful resource and there is solely a lot you are able to do as a one-person crew, even with top-notch productiveness instruments. Some freelancers scale by beginning an company or transferring into consulting roles. Others, like me, want to work with subcontractors.
Subcontracting work as a freelancer can imply various things. For me, it means assigning my freelance writing tasks to different freelance writers after which fine-tuning the outcomes till they match my fashion and requirements. Other freelance writers outsource solely sure elements of the writing course of reminiscent of analysis and outlining.
With subcontracting, I can choose which tasks to write down personally and easily concentrate on enhancing the others. This mechanically will increase my capability and permits me to tackle 2-3 instances extra work than I usually would.
Automation instruments for subcontracting
Going from author to undertaking supervisor will be an amazing bounce. Automating as many elements of the method as potential permits me to spend nearly 10% of my work week on admin (in response to my time tracker).
If you are prepared to begin subcontracting work as a freelancer or wish to make the method much less of a trouble, this is what I've finished up to now to work effectively.
1. Set up templates
Templates have been invaluable for hiring, onboarding, and dealing with subcontractors. I've used templates to facilitate the next duties:
Job descriptions: I wrote one job posting and used it throughout a number of platforms whereas looking for subcontractors.
Test tasks: I created two units of writing exams to check writers for 2 niches. Additionally, all my communication with the writers from expressing curiosity to accepting or passing on working with them was templatized. This additionally saved me the emotional stress of claiming no to folks—all I did was copy and paste.
Onboarding emails: In my onboarding e-mail template, I welcome the freelancer, connect my subcontractor contract, and share details about the shopper and workflow. I onboarded 5 freelancers in two weeks and I can not let you know how a lot time this template saved me.
Trello playing cards: I noticed rapidly that establishing a brand new Trello card from scratch a number of instances per week was tedious. So I created a Trello card template with fields for content material transient, draft doc, and pertinent submission info. Now, I can add a completely set-up card in a single click on and simply fill within the particulars.
2. Build a stack of shopper sources
Freelance writers know the wrestle of writing for a number of purchasers and having to comply with totally different fashion guides. I attempt to make this simpler on my writers by conserving them with the identical shopper or area of interest as a lot as potential. But one of the best ways to equip them is to have an accessible stack of shopper sources. You can use Notion, Trello, and even Google Docs to retailer your record of sources. I preserve ours on Trello.
Some issues you possibly can embrace in your sources are:
Loom movies: With on-screen recordings, I stroll my writers by utilizing shopper content material graders like Content Harmony and Clearscope. I even have a Loom video exhibiting my most popular manner of dealing with article edits on Google Docs. That manner, we're all on the identical web page.
Necessary login particulars: If your shopper has granted you software program entry that your author will want, you possibly can contemplate sharing login particulars—for those who really feel comfy.
Client writing templates and pattern articles: Some purchasers have article templates and I share these with subcontractors as nicely. I additionally at all times share pattern articles that I've written for purchasers in order that my writers have a reference.
3. Automate article assignments
You know what takes useful time? Assigning articles each week. Thankfully, some purchasers assign work a month prematurely so I can re-assign these on in the future within the month. Generally, I take advantage of Zaps and Trello automations to hurry up the method of assigning articles and conserving everybody knowledgeable.
Trello board guidelines: These are my favorites. Once I add a brand new card to a subcontractor's record on our board, Trello mechanically provides them to the cardboard. When they transfer the cardboard to the Feedback queue, Trello mechanically provides me to the cardboard. And when playing cards are moved to the finished queue, the article is marked as finished. You can even do that with different undertaking administration instruments like Asana and ClickUp.
Trello-Slack integrations: Because I've all work notifications (e-mail, cell, and so forth.) turned off, besides Slack, it is simpler to maneuver all my notifications to that app. The Trello-Slack integration notifies me (and everybody) when a brand new article is moved to the suggestions tab.
4. Keep monitor of articles for invoicing
My second (and doubtless most helpful) Zap is the Trello-Google Sheet zap. Every time I full an article and transfer it to the archive tab, my Zap creates a brand new row in my chosen Google sheet. In the brand new row, it data the article, shopper (based mostly on my Trello label), and completion date. This is the one manner I can preserve monitor of 20+ month-to-month assignments when it is time to bill. It additionally helps me bear in mind when articles have been accomplished, so I can bill precisely.
5. Remind subcontractors to bill
My final Zap is for my freelance writers. On the twenty ninth of each month, the Zapier bot sends a month-to-month reminder—one I wrote—to the General Slack channel reminding subcontractors to bill.
Tips for subcontracting work as a freelancer
Automation goes a protracted solution to make subcontracting work quicker and simpler for you. But there's extra to subcontracting than swanky instruments and templates. From one freelancer to a different, listed here are 10 key suggestions from my expertise subcontracting work as a contract author:
Make certain you possibly can subcontract: Some work is sort of unattainable to subcontract. For instance, I by no means subcontract my enhancing work. Also, some contracts bar you from subcontracting. Check your freelance contract to make sure subcontracting is suitable to your shopper.
Hire nicely: I discovered a few writers by referrals and employed two on Upwork. Each author took a paid writing take a look at and I watched out for purple flags like poor communication, missed deadlines, and failure to comply with course—along with evaluating writing expertise.
Use a contract: Never subcontract and not using a contract. My subcontractor contract features a non-disclosure settlement (NDA), charge specs, and a two-week discover previous to termination. I tweaked this free template to construct mine.
Find the correct of freelancer: Define your hiring priorities. Are you prepared to rent extra skilled writers (greater price) or might you're employed with newer (however expert) writers who require heavier edits? Ultimately, hiring newbie writers you possibly can afford will make sure you preserve making a revenue whereas paying them nicely—and mentoring them.
Create processes: If you ever need to do one thing greater than as soon as, create a template. I've even made a doc with writing suggestions addressing recurring writing errors. Videos and course of paperwork make life simpler for everybody and subcontractors can check with them as wanted.
Have an availability sheet: Life occurs, but it surely's price it to have an thought of subcontractor availability month to month. Instead of manually messaging every individual, I ask subcontractors to finish an availability sheet month-to-month. It's so simple as checking containers to replicate their month-to-month availability. This helps me plan forward.
Save cash to pay your contractors: With a few Net30 purchasers, it takes planning to make sure that I have the funds for to pay subcontractors on time. Ensure that you've got a money reserve earlier than you begin subcontracting.
Batch-pay contractors: I like with the ability to pay contractors as quickly as they bill. But for those who work with a number of contractors, it may be a tad inefficient to cease every thing to pay an bill. Instead, attempt setting in the future within the week to pay excellent invoices.
Set boundaries: The first month of working with subcontractors was grueling—as anticipated. They're determining shopper necessities and I used to be getting a number of Slack and Trello messages. Eventually, I set working hours and caught to them. If it isn't an emergency, I will not reply to midnight messages (timezone points). I'm additionally grateful to have established communication channels from the beginning so all our communication stays in a single place.
Try to not micromanage: When you are used to calling all of the photographs, it is laborious to not micromanage subcontractors. Trust them to satisfy your deadlines, be sort with edits and permit time for writers to adapt.
Subcontracting work will be intimidating, particularly for those who wrestle with letting go of management. However, delegating work is essential to gaining time and incomes extra as a contract author. Take benefit of automation, templates, and hiring finest practices to begin your subcontracting journey on the best foot.
This was a visitor put up by Afoma Umesi, a contract author and editor who makes a speciality of B2B content material for SaaS manufacturers, the healthcare business, and cybersecurity. Want to see your work on the Zapier weblog? Check out our tips and get in contact.