Most freelancers want to build their business to the point where they have more work than they can handle. You want to be busy and make as much money as possible. But there is a point where you might get too busy – and of course you don’t want your client work to suffer.
What Do You Do Then?
In my opinion, you’ve got a couple of options. You can stay small and go through your client list to see who you’d like to keep and who you might like to move on from. You can figure out your ideal work week and plug in the best clients (the ones that are easy to work with and pay well) and transition the rest.
The problem with this, is that it puts a cap on your income. If you’re a solopreneur (and want to stay one), unless you have a passive income stream, eventually your income becomes tapped. Your alternative is to work more hours, but most people in this business don’t. Even if you did, eventually you’re going to run out of hours in the day to fill with your own client work.
Scaling Your Business
Another option is to scale your business by adding a subcontractor. Someone that works underneath you and that you provide work for and pay to help you take on more work. You don’t need to hire them as an employee or anything, basically you’re taking on clients and subbing out part or all of the work to this person.
You’re still dealing with the client yourself, heading up the project/communication, collecting payment, etc. Someone else is just doing some or all of the writing and you’re keeping a cut of the profits. You’re probably not off the hook from doing some work altogether – at least not in the beginning.
You’ll probably still need to edit the article, give feedback, etc. You want to make sure that the work lives up to your standards, especially if you’re putting your name/stamp of approval on it. I wouldn’t let anything with my name on it go out the door without it being up to my own standards – it’s my reputation and paycheck that’s ultimately on the line!
Hiring My First Subcontractor
As I continue the battle between taking on more clients to build my business and wind down work at my day job, I’ve found that I’ve hit a wall when it comes to capacity and being able to continue to grow. I’m scared to death of letting the momentum slip, so I’m still prospecting and still taking on new clients that are a good fit.
One thing that has helped me to do this is to hire my first subcontractor. Last month I reached out to a friend that I hadn’t seen since high school. She’d been very supportive of my new writing career via social media and I had a hunch that maybe she was interested in breaking into this crazy world of freelance writing.
We connected via Facebook and soon set a date to meet up in person for coffee. She picked my brain on everything freelance writing and I told her more than she probably wanted/needed to know. At the end, I asked if she was interested in taking on a copywriting project with me. I had recently pitched a job and was just waiting to hammer out the final details (expectations, pay, deadlines, etc). She quickly jumped on the opportunity to get her first paid gig and said yes.
We’ve been working on the project together for the last few weeks. We agreed on a rate, she knows I’m still making a cut and we’re tag-teaming the work that needs to be done. I copy edit everything she delivers to me and mold it into something close to what I would have written before delivering it to the client.
Will I Do It Again?
Absolutely. Megan has been very responsive, eager to learn and met the deadlines I’ve assigned to her. She’s both open to feedback and up for a challenge. These are the same qualities I pride myself in having. I’m happy to continue working with her and to potentially take on another subcontractor when the time comes.
For now I just need to get through the next five weeks or so. After that, all of my time will be my own (at least during the work day) and I can continue to take on new clients and expand my business.
2021 update! After building a multi-income stream 7-figure business that has served literally thousands of people over the last 7 years, Gina is no longer taking on new clients. 😉 She has, however, hired many VAs from her own community over the years and currently has a team of kickass assistants who help her keep building and serving!
Want to get in on that? Check out The #FullyBookedVA System!