A few months back I had what I consider to be a divine revelation. See, leading up to this point, I was slowly realizing that I was reaching the breaking point as far as the workload I could take on. When I first started out in the SEO copywriting business, I only had a few jobs here and there, leaving me begging for more work. Now I had built a loyal (albeit still small compared to others) customer base, work kept coming in without me having to really look for it. My main client had quadrupled my work load.
And suddenly those deadlines were starting to choke me out. Not too unlike one of those way-too-masculine ‘roided up UFC guys putting a triangle choke hold on their weakened opponent.
Anyway, that’s when it hit me. Find more writers.
As the lights from the heavens beamed down and the angelic choir sang, I began imagining the possibilities. What if I could actually work on the projects I enjoyed and pay someone else to write the stuff that was just “paying the bills” so to speak?
Not only would my love for SEO copywriting grow stringer, but I’d be able to take on more work. Instead of having to turn down jobs or tell a client “yeah but I can’t get it to you for X amount of weeks,” I’d now be able to enthusiastically reply, “BRING IT ON!” Not only that, but I could start searching for more work—you know, sending out sales letters and what not.
Sure I’d probably take a hit at the beginning, having to turn over a small yet still hefty portion of my profits to the contractors. But this would be a mere short term set back.
My Experience Getting My Feet Wet with Contracting Out Work
It didn’t take much thought for me to decide to jump in head first. I began by asking all my friends if they knew anyone interested in making a little money writing on the side. This attracted a few prospects. However, I learned pretty quickly that mixing friends and business didn’t work out. Not one of these prospects ended up being reliable.
Then I turned to Craigslist. After all, I’d picked up a few jobs there along the way. Why couldn’t I find some decent writers? However, first I had a big decision to make—how much money would I offer? Well, the plan was to contract out a bit of the recurring SEO article writing I had to do, which meant 500 word articles. At this point, I had no idea what the average article writer charged. I knew what I was making, but obviously I had to pay significantly less if I wanted to turn a profit.
After pondering this for awhile, I decided to run a test. I made a series of “Wanted: SEO article writer” postings, each listed at a different price point. One was a bit more than I wanted to pay, one about what I considered reasonable, and one I totally low-balled.
Here’s what I discovered. At the low-ball price, I got one of two things. Either I got really crappy writing and had to redo the articles myself…or I got a decent writer who was flaky and would always be late with some reason why they couldn’t finish.
At the middle price point I got a mixture of bad writers and pretty good writers. I sorted through it all and ended up sticking with a few.
The high price point was especially interesting. I assumed I would pull in some better-than-usual writers through this posting. However, what I discovered is all the same writers that applied for the middle price contacted me for this job too. Interesting…
So the conclusion? Obviously I chose middle ground payment.
How to outsource or Manage Contractors?
Once I settled on a few writers, I got rolling. I started sending out article jobs left and right. But as you can imagine, I ran into all sorts of unexpected issues. First of all, how was I to keep all the jobs straight? And what about the bookkeeping? Furthermore, how did I decide which jobs to send to whom?
Want the answers? Ahhh…but I can’t unveil them just yet. Yes, I know it’s frustrating, but this is a subject for my next guest post. Until then, let me know your experience with contracting out work!