Why Every Writer Should Consider Outsourcing

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Let’s have an honest heart to heart for a moment. We all spend money trying to expand our writing careers. Which, in itself, isn’t problematic. What we decide to drop some coin on is where the trouble can creep up. Creatives often get it twisted in terms of how to prioritize purchases when trying to diversify one’s income or promote your next book. Many of us decide to sink savings into cool stickers for cover reveals or Facebook ads to promote our next writers’ workshop. 

I am, without a doubt, a huge fangirl of stellar branding. However, polished author websites and trendy swag should never be the first thing your hard-earned dollars are invested in. Because extra cash flow would likely be put to better use by freeing up more of your time to write—or recharge. This can manifest in myriad forms. Part-time mother’s helper. Dogwalker. Cleaner. Meal prep service. Any of these options, in addition to numerous others, can help increase your quality of life personally and professionally. 

I can attest that the best use of my freelance income in the past 18 months has been hiring two virtual assistants. One tallies my business expenses throughout the year so filing my taxes isn’t a horrendous affair that keeps me up until almost dawn the night before I see an accountant. The second is tasked with any other responsibility that can be done remotely that I deem needs to be shifted off of my plate. This includes sending general response emails as well as finding new creatives to feature monthly on the blog of the community arts initiative I founded. All this professional support costs me about $200/month. Tack on the deep clean I pay to have done of my home monthly and that number bumps up to $350. But the number of hours this frees up for me to focus on earning more dollars via teaching and writing opportunities is easily worth triple than what I pay out of pocket. 

Don’t believe me? Within the last few months, I landed three new teaching gigs, plus a book deal. I also have secured two first-time grants so far this year for the aforementioned local arts initiative I started. Sometimes you have to be willing to spend money in order to generate additional funds. Author and entrepreneur Ashley Quinto Powell knows this first-hand. And it is one of the reasons she created myVA.rocks. She knew too many brilliant folks struggling to achieve goals they had been working on for years by trying to do everything themselves—yet not accomplishing half of what they wanted as well as having zero time for self-care. 

“There are some very interesting ways to incorporate a virtual assistant into a creative entrepreneur's workflow. But it's important to start with the right mindset. The creative process requires space to think. Inspiration very rarely strikes when we're diligently sending emails. It comes to us in nature, on long walks, or in silence,” she says. “However once you get busy, it's hard to ignore the work and save space for imagination. So prepare to take some things off your plate—guilt-free. It can feel indulgent, but it's so worth it. ”

Duties she suggests outsourcing to an assistant include: 

  • Social media: “Pull quotes from your work, create social media assets, post on social behalf and keep your followers engaged.”
  • E-newsletters: “Take charge of the design as well as the copy (with your direction) while also making sure it gets sent on time.”
  • Client research: “Research and create lists of potential clients and paid speaking gigs.” 
  • Promotion: “Compile media and PR lists. Plus drive outreach efforts to podcasts, local libraries, and other entities in the community about your latest book.”  

“We all have a list of things we know we should be doing, but can't find the time or the motivation to actually do them,” Quinto Powell affirms. “So offload those tasks—then get back to focusing on the work you actually want to be doing.”

One addition service to note: If you're looking for writing support to offload—or if you can't find the time to do an editorial overhaul of your work—the Loft offers a manuscript critique service, in which a professional writer and/or editor will review and give feedback on your manuscript.