By Karen Cioffi
If you’re just starting a freelance business, you need to step back and learn some of the basics. Whether you use other writers for resources or to actually write content, you need to be aware of a few things:
1. Make sure you have a reliable team (2-5 writers, depending on your needs)
This is crucial. As a freelance business owner, you don’t want to learn the hard way the consequences of hiring a writer who just doesn’t get it or isn’t capable of doing the type of work required. You will end up spending a great deal of time editing and even rewriting content so it is acceptable to your client.
And, unless you’re a tough business person, you’ll do the work and end up paying the subcontractor.
A solution to this, before you have a reliable team, is to ask for a writing sample, but this isn’t always a true indicator of a writer’s qualifications. If you do hire a writer, after an article or two you can determine if this writer is right for the job or not.
Another option is to let the subcontractors write on spec. If the submitted content is suitable, you accept it, if not, you return it. The drawback with this option is wasted time. If the content isn’t suitable, you still have a deadline and may have to rush to do it yourself.
2. Create a letter of agreement
You may want to create a letter of agreement between you and the subcontractors; while this is optional, professionals advice it.
Be sure to make the agreement very detailed. Be specific as to the word count, what can and can’t be used (such as particular sites, services, or products mentioned). Include how much they will make per post or article; when the article is due, particular keywords if any, font type required, and so on. You might not think that font type is important, but if you’re dealing with 100-200 posts, and you have to proof each one, and make them all uniform, you’ll be sorry you weren’t more specific.
It might be a good idea to provide a sample article so they can see what you’re looking for.
Note: Before you quote a fee per article, take into account the administrative and organizational aspects of the job. Also take into account the costs of mailing checks to the subcontractors—all this adds up in time and money. If your client is giving you $15 per article, and you subcontract the piece for $15, you’re losing money.
This goes for hiring out for research also . . . be specific in what you want, expect, and are willing to pay.
3. Let your client know you are subcontracting some of the work
This is just the right thing to do. If a client is hiring you for your expertise and the quality of your work, he doesn’t want less than what he thinks he’s paying for. Always be upfront.
He may ask that you proof each subcontracted piece before submitting them, but that should be expected. And, the same holds true for research you hire out, you are responsible for its accuracy. This is another reason I mentioned above to take into account all the work involved in a project before you give the subcontractors a quoted fee.
Karen Cioffi is an author, ghostwriter-for-hire, freelance writer, reviewer, and on the team of DKV Writing 4 U (http://www.dkvwriting4u.com); be sure to sign up for her FREE newsletter, A Writer’s World and pick up TWO free e-books on writing and marketing in the process. She is also the founder and manager of VBT Writers on the Move, and co-moderator of a children’s writing critique group.