Credit where it’s due: At Freelance Folder yesterday Laura Spencer wondered if it was OK to fake it with our freelance writing. Should we accept projects we know nothing about and risk not giving in our best work to our clients. In the ensuing comment discussions many writers suggested outsourcing the projects outside the realm of our expertise.
Freelance writers outsource projects for a variety of reasons.
- To help alleviate project overflow.
- As replacement when vacationing or ill.
- To handle projects outside the realm of the freelancer’s expertise
In most cases outsourcing makes good business sense. Writers who outsource while taking a break run less of a risk of losing a client to another writer than if the client had to seek a replacement on his own. Plus clients appreciate writers who find suitable replacements rather than try to wing it on an assignment. If you’re considering outsourcing, keep these points in mind as it could be your gig and reputation on the line:
Don’t Outsource Without Your Clients Permission
Don’t be sneaky. Your client hired you, and only you, to complete his project. If he wanted someone else, he would have hired that person. To hire someone else to do your work means you’re now turning in work in someone else’s voice, using someone else’s words and that’s not fair to your client. Always clear it with your client first and give him the chance to approve. He may want to go with someone of his own choosing or want to learn more about the recommended writer first. Most likely he’ll trust your judgement, but let him know first, just the same.
Give the Gig to the Best Qualified Person
Your first instinct might be to outsource a gig to a friend. Think long and hard before you do this. Your friend may be a good writer, but is she the best person for the gig? Is she responsible enough to meet deadlines? In other words, do you trust her implicitly not to screw up? See, that’s the thing about hiring friends, they sometimes take advantage of friendship and slack off. Always outsource to the best qualified person rather than the person you like best. If the writer flakes or does a poor job, your client will be less likely to trust your judgment should the occasion to outsource arise again.
You’re Responsible if the Other Writer Flakes
What happens if you lose touch with the other writer? What if he misses his deadline or just decides not to do the project? As the person who outsourced, you’re on the hook to get it done. When you outsource, you’ll want to keep in close contact with the other writer to be sure the project is running smoothly and there will be no issues come deadline day. You may even want to check the finished project before turning it in to your client. If the work is spotty, it’s up to you to clean it up. If it’s not what the client is looking for, you’ll have to either send it back for a rewrite, or take it on yourself. When you outsource, you’re hiring someone else to do your job. It’s in your best interest not to turn in poor work.
It’s OK to outsource, but be responsible…
There’s no shame in outsourcing. However, if you don’t hire the right person, or if you keep it a secret from your client, it can turn a project into a nightmare. Don’t risk your reputation and always be honest with your clients…and yourself when choosing someone else to pick up your gig. If you’re responsible the experience will be beneficial for all involved.