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Helpers

There's a lot of jobs that need to be done in any small business, but a freelancer doesn't have to do them all. Read this article to break it down.
Kingston's wood work room. An open space filled with various large machinery.
© Kingston University

In the previous step, I outlined 10 steps in setting up a new creative freelance practice. There’s a lot to be done. But here’s the key message – you don’t have to do it all yourself.

As a creative freelancer you are likely a business of one. In the early days, at least, it’s probably you providing services to clients. Money may be tight and you may start by doing everything yourself. This can work, but I want to offer something for consideration.

As a freelancer who provides services, you are generally exchanging your time for money. You spend time designing a client’s logo, they pay you money for that service. If you take on multiple clients, that’s multiple payments, but also more hours needed from you to fulfill that work.

This means your time is both very valuable and the nature of time is that it is finite. There are only 24 hours in a day, after all.

When you consider some of the jobs that need to be done for your freelance business, for example creating a website or doing your taxes – yes, it’s possible for you to do them yourself. But is that the best use of your time? If it takes you ten hours to do a job because you don’t really know what you’re doing, would it be more efficient and ultimately more cost effective to hire someone who can do it in 3 hours? The job gets done by someone who is skilled in that task and you now have 10 hours back to do client work, or focus on marketing or other business responsibilities.

In the early days money might be tight and you aren’t that busy with client work, so it can make sense to do some of these jobs yourself. But as you gain traction in freelancing and start to earn more money, I strongly encourage you to start considering what tasks you can hand off to others to do for you.

Also, the money you pay to a bookkeeper or an accountant, for example – that’s a business expense, meaning it reduces your taxable income.

Even if you are not in a position to hire help right now, it’s worth starting to build a list of people you might call upon in the future. As you meet other freelancers, gathering names of business helpers they use and keeping them on a list means that when the time is right you don’t have to go hunting for suitable individuals. You will have a ‘black book’ of recommended sources for these services.

It’s possible to outsource a myriad of tasks within your small business: web design, branding, social media marketing, SEO optimization, Google adwords, invoicing, monthly bookkeeping, payment collection, annual tax preparation, diary management, etc.

At a certain stage you probably will need a lawyer and an accountant. You might hire a virtual assistant to handle client enquiries or some of your marketing tasks. You might hire a bookkeeper to help with sending out invoices, tracking them and keeping your books.

You also might have a therapist to help you deal with your mental and emotional health; a physiotherapist, chiropractor/osteopath, massage therapist or personal trainer to help you with your physical health; or you might hire a business coach to help you through some of the challenges (and opportunities) of running your own business.

Or you might do it all by yourself! It’s your business, it’s your choice. But make it a choice. Many freelancers do everything because they think they have to. I want you to consider that it’s a choice and that building a team to support you in your freelancing efforts can bring much better rewards.

So now over to you – if you could outsource one business task to someone else, what would it be and why? Share your thoughts in the discussion box.

© Kingston University
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Survive & Thrive as a Creative Freelancer: A Beginner's Guide

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