Freelance Writers And Business Bullshit

September 15, 2008

I’ve read a lot of articles lately suggesting that freelance writers should start a “proper business”. And some have even gone so far as to suggest that you should just outsource all your work to other folk and pay a manager to run it all. I believe this is complete bullshit & I think the “Everyone Should Start A Business” brigade have gone too far.

It’s apparent that many of these people have not actually done what they advise themselves - they’ve probably been reading too many books like the E-Myth or The 4 Hour Work Week.

Some Good Reasons Why Freelance Writers Should Ignore This Advice

1. I’m guessing that most of you are freelance writers because you love writing. So why give up and pay other people to do the work for you instead?

2. Starting a business, just to make more money - especially when it’s preventing you from doing stuff you love to do isn’t a particularly smart move. You’ll probably spend a lot of time resenting your business for taking you away from doing what you love - writing.

3. If you’re a non-fiction writer, there’s easier and more pleasant ways to create an automated stream of income. What about non-fiction books for a start? Once you’ve written one, you’ll benefit financially for as long as it stays in print. And you could probably write several in the time it takes you to set up a business that runs by itself.

4. You can still outsource and automate mundane tasks and even things like marketing, to free up your time to write. And if that marketing brings you more work than you have time to do, you could outsource some of it to other freelance writers and take a percentage of their payment.

If you do want to start a business instead of writing, then that’s different. And if you’re starting a business which will eventually run on it’s own, to free up your time to write later - prepare for a long hard slog. Few people are able to build a business overnight, which will run without them - you could spend several years trying to achieve that goal.

What do you think? Are you a freelance writer who wants to start a business? Are you doing it because you actually want to start a business, or for some other reason?

The Pros And Cons Of Outsourcing Your Life

May 2, 2008

Image by Re-ality.

Outsourcing isn’t just for business. In fact, outsourcing many areas of your personal life is going to become increasingly popular over the next decade, because thousands of people are tired of working long hours, only to waste even more time doing personal chores when they get home.

Gift Buying

To me, shopping has to be one of the most mind numbing chores. And even shopping on the Internet still wastes a heap of time. If you feel the same way, you could outsource the purchasing of gifts for friends and loved ones - especially at Christmas. Personally, I would go a step further and outsource the gift wrapping too.

Pros: Saves time.
Saves forgetting and upsetting loved ones.

Cons: Your shopper may buy something that sucks, offends, or causes an allergic reaction.
You could be in trouble if a recipient asks questions about the gift.
Means entrusting your credit/debit card details to your shopper.


You can spend hours researching something you want to learn, only to find a couple of pieces of useful information among piles of crap. Why not save yourself some time, by outsourcing some of your learning?

Pros: Saves time.
You can get the researcher to make notes of the key points, meaning you don’t need to read the rest.

Cons: Could be costly if the researcher struggles to find what they’re looking for.
The information may not be accurate, depending upon what sources they use.

Vacation Planning

Some people spend more time researching their vacation than they spend planning any other aspect of their life. This is fine if you enjoy it and you have the time. If not, you could outsource all the planning and booking of your vacation.

Pros:Saves time - you just need to turn up.

Cons: You’re relying on the tastes of someone else to choose what is best for you.
They may not necessarily get you a great deal.
Vacations aren’t always as enjoyable if you don’t get involved in the planning process.

Cooking and Shopping

Cooking and shopping can easily eat into several hours of your life per week. Plus, if you finish work late, your family could be passing out with hunger by the time you’ve prepared the evening meal. So it may be worth outsourcing it.

Saves time.
You can relax when you finish work.

Unless you’re not fussy about what you eat, you’ll still spend time putting shopping lists and menus together.
Your shopper may not be as fussy as you would be about freshness and quality of food.


Housework and laundry can be a pain - especially if you’ve been working all day and you have kids. Outsourcing could be a big time saver.

Heaps of time saved.
Your house is always tidy.

Losing things. Cleaners have a habit of putting things back in the wrong place.
Trust is a big issue - not just with regard to theft, but confidentiality too.
It’s difficult and noisy to have someone cleaning and hoovering your house if you work from home.

Do you outsource any of these areas of your life, or do you plan to in the future? Can you think of any other things you could outsource to free up your time and make your life more enjoyable?

Related Stuff

The Pros and Cons Of Outsourcing
Money For Nothing: Tim Ferriss Guardian Article.
49 Decent Virtual Assistant and Personal Outsourcing Resources

The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing

February 26, 2008

Have you considered outsourcing some tasks in your business? Outsourcing has become popular, but like all great ideas, there’s some pros and cons. Check them out to decide whether outsourcing is right for your business.

The Pros Of Outsourcing

It Frees Up Your Time:
Outsourcing mundane and routine tasks frees up your time, so you can concentrate on building your business.

You Save On Labour Costs:
Outsourcing to countries where labour is cheaper means you cut costs.

No More Payroll: Payroll can be pain and outsourcing instead of employing people saves you having to do it.

Plug The Skills Gap: If there’s a lack of potential staff with particular skills in the area you live in, you can overcome the problem by outsourcing.

No More Costly Office Space:
Outsourcing saves you having to spend a fortune on renting an expensive office.

You Won’t Be Left In The Lurch: If you use an agency that provides adequate cover, you won’t need to worry about covering holidays, sickness etc.

Lower Equipment Costs:
You won’t need to worry about the costs of equipment, computers etc, or repairs and maintenance.

If you outsource virtually everything, you can work from home, or anywhere else you choose.

Hire The Best

The Cons of Outsourcing

Communication Problems: Language or cultural barriers can cause misunderstandings.

Time Difference:
It’s more difficult to keep in touch with a Virtual Assistant if they’re from a different time zone. Also, they could wind up waking you up in the middle of the night if they forget (this once happened to me at 3am).

Lack of Team Spirit:
It’s more difficult to build a successful team and create a feeling of belonging, if you outsource, instead of employing people.

Your Local Economy Won’t Benefit:
Outsourcing everything prevents you from providing work to local people.

Security Issues:
The security of your business may be at risk if your VA has access to your computer system, business credit card etc.

I’ve outsourced some things before - such as call answering, site design and a bit of writing. And I must admit, I’m tempted to take on a VA on a regular basis if I can find a good one.

Have you outsourced any business tasks before? How did it work out? Would you be tempted to outsource and if so, what tasks would you outsource first? Or do you feel that the cons of outsourcing outweigh the pros?

Related Reading

The Pros And Cons Of Outsourcing Your Life
6 Ways To Make More Money With Less Time
10 Interview Tips To Avoid Hiring An Idiot

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