Hiring other freelancers is crucial if you want to get out of the habit of trading your hours for dollars.
When you’re marketing, selling, fulfilling, and acting as the customer service department, your income and personal freedom will never be what it could be.
In fact, if your experience is anything like the freelancers I’ve encountered over the past ten years, you’ll have less freedom than your W2 employee counterparts.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Your income and personal freedom doesn’t have to be capped by the hours you’re available to work every week.
You can buy time, expanding your income, and reducing the hours you need to work to create that income. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First, let’s determine . . .
Is Freelancing a Real Business?
Freelancing can be a business.
But when you look at how most freelancers handle their work, it’s most definitely not a business.
Here are three reasons why:
1. Your Hours Are Limited
You have something in common with every billionaire who ever walked the earth: you have 24 hours every day to use however you want.
It’s what you do with those hours that matters.
The problem is, nobody’s manufacturing more hours . . . or are they? (More on that in a moment.)
2. As a Solopreneur Your Income is Capped
As long as it’s just you “doing the things”, your income is capped.
If you charge an hourly rate, you’re limited by the number of hours you can work in a day. Even if you charge $1,000 an hour, you’ll never make more than the hours you can work.
If you charge a flat fee you might do better, but you’re still limited by the amount of output you can personally produce.
3. You’re the Marketer, Salesperson, Manufacturer, Customer Service Rep…
You’re doing it all.
You’re drumming up the business.
Posting on social media.
Writing blog posts.
Making Youtube videos (you heard it was a lead machine).
You’re trying your hand at LinkedIn ads because, heck, someone must be making it work! (I haven’t found anyone who has.)
And then, of course, you need to do the work.
In Short, Your “Freelance Business” Is Just a Job with Many Hats . . . Unless You Hire Other Freelancers to Help
If you’re not making money unless you’re working, your freelance business is just a job where you are the tyrant that manages you.
What’s worse is that after you sell a project (assuming you’re in a service business), you now have to fulfill. And while you’re fulfilling, you’re not selling.
From experience, I can tell you that this kind of existence is exhausting. And begs the question . . .
Do You Want to Be in the Owner’s Box or a Player on the Field?
There’s nothing wrong with being the one “doing the things”. The world needs doers.
But you can’t scale a business that depends on your time to market, sell, and fulfill each order. You simply don’t have limitless time.
So the fundamental question is this: what do you want from your freelancing business?
Do you want to be the player on the field doing the things, or do you want to be in the owner’s box?
There’s no wrong answer.
But it’s important that you be honest with yourself regarding what you’re pursuing, and the limits or opportunities of your choice.
As an owner, you can build a business that runs whether you involve yourself in the operations or not.
But in most cases, you’re also the one directing the company, which means you can’t be 100% absent. Your time is your own . . . mostly.
As a freelancer, you’re only making money when you’re working. So that can suck. However, you’re only directing yourself.
And if you feel like sleeping in, turning your phone off, or going to the beach, you’re free to do what you want.
Now, let’s say you want to build a business that doesn’t depend on you to market, sell, and fulfill — a real, scalable business.
That’s where other freelancers come in . . .
Hiring Other Freelancers (i.e., Outsourcing Yourself)
This is where many freelancers get stuck and end up trapped in a job they’d never apply for.
But when you do it right, you’re basically removing yourself from the fulfillment equation.
Why is that important?
Well, imagine you’ve hired someone to do the marketing . . .
You have a sales pro who’s on 100% commission.
You have other freelancers who are just as good (or nearly as good) as you, and they do the work you would normally have done to fulfill.
You’ve hired a call center that handles customer service.
All that’s left for you is to ensure it’s all running like a machine.
And if the idea of finding good people makes your head spin, here’s how I do it and find success on every freelancer job site you can think of.
Setting Your Freelancers Up For Success
Of course, you can’t just hire freelancers and expect them to take over. Even if you have the perfect team, they need to know how they can help you.
The key here is onboarding them the right way, and documenting systems so they know what you want from them and how you like to work.
Now, both of those topics could be a whole online course, so I can’t get into the details here. But here’s a high-level look at what’s needed to set your new freelancers up to win:
- Onboarding. This is when you set the right expectations by detailing:
- Their role
- The expected output
- How to submit their work
- How and where to ask questions (and who to ask)
- Systems. This is how your freelancer fits into your company’s operations:
- How they get projects
- Expected turnaround times
- Tools/resources available to them
- Revisions (if applicable), how to submit them, etc.
Here’s a primer on building systems that make it possible for you to exit from the day-to-day of your business.
A Note About Hiring Other Freelancers and Independent Contractors
In the majority of cases, I’m assuming the freelancer is an independent contractor. This has unique legal implications, mainly that you can’t treat a contractor the same way you’d treat an employee.
Now, I’m not an attorney (I don’t even play one on a podcast), and there are rules about what you can ask a contractor to do.
Here’s a fact sheet from the US Department of Labor that can get you started if you need to dig deeper into the topic.
Here’s how the Internal Revenue Service looks at it.
Even if you never hire another freelancer, as a freelancer yourself (and likely an independent contractor for others), it’s important that you be familiar with these rules anyway.
What Does Hiring Other Freelancers Make Possible?
One word . . .
When you hire a team strategically, you’ll outsource the aspects of your work that drive you crazy. Depending on your temperament, that could be:
- Customer Service
- Administrative tasks
If you grow your business large enough, you could even hire out the management of the company so you can spend your days sleeping in, working out, counting your cash . . . whatever you want.
But it starts with a team.
So if you want to grow your freelancing business beyond yourself, adding other freelancers to the mix is the place to start.
Now tell me, if you could waive a magic wand, what would be the first task you’d outsource to someone else? Let me know in the comments.