As I mentioned in my post about focusing on one website vs. many, I have more website ideas than time to properly write and manage them all. One approach I've tried is to hire freelance writers and employ article writing services to create original content for me to use on my blog ... to mixed results.
Specifically, I've turned to Textbroker andContent Kingdom, as well as individual private freelance writers, to write articles for which I'd already created keyword-specific titles. These articles were for a variety of my websites (but not this blog, of course).
Mixed Results from Article Services
The article writing services I used were hit-or-miss. I got some great articles from Content Kingdom, and then some really disappointing fluff pieces. Textbroker was largely disappointing at first, even while paying for higher-end pieces. I got a few good articles from them after adding more details to my article request descriptions, but it was still clear to me in most cases that very little research, if any, was done by the author.
There were even some cases of complete inaccuracies I was able to spot at first glance because I am very familiar with the topics of all the blogs and sites I've started -- I do live by the adage to "write what you know." Perhaps precisely because I chose my niches based on a combination of passion and potential profitability, it would take a lot to satisfy my expectations for content on these topics.
For some of the articles, I spent more time editing, tweaking and adding more information that I would have just writing the article from scratch myself. Spending the extra time and money became a drain, not a boost.
Ultimately, unless I find a freelance writer who has real life experience in my best niches, I've learned that for my top sites I am much better off writing my own content. This is most especially true for sites that have a strong author voice, as both my top sites do.
Outsourcing Other Tasks
Some web writers swear by their virtual assistants, who do all sorts of tasks for them, from paying their bills to performing basic research to setting up new website and adding content as directed.
While I don't think I'm anywhere near needing or being able to justify my own personal assistant,. there are some non-writing business-related tasks that would be best done by someone else.
I'd really like to hire a web designer or graphic artist to help me with several website re-designs and create logos and headers for my sites. I am not capable as a graphic artist and would love to find the right person at the right price (If you have a recommendation, please leave me a comment!)
Should I Outsource my House Cleaning?
My mom, who raised a large family and home-schooled most of her children all the way through high school, has wisely pointed out (practically insisted) that I should hire a housecleaner once a week to do my deep cleaning and other household tasks.
I actually tried this last spring. I found a cleaning service that was "green," and did not use harmful chemicals in the cleaning process, important to me with kids in the house. (Oddly, though, the woman was a smoker and would take smoke breaks. When she came back inside she smelled smoky and it really bothered me. I was pregnant and extra sensitive to smells at the time).
It felt uncomfortable to me to have strangers in the home, and to have another woman cleaning my house while I was not. I was stressed out ahead of time trying to get the house ready for her to clean (can't mop floors with kids toys all over them). Some items were left undone, but I still paid the regular price that was supposed to include everything. Maybe I have issues and need to "let go" a bit, but the additional stress led me to cancel her services after two visits.
This is one area I am going to revisit for potential outsourcing. I first have to get past any feelings of failure if I'm not cleaning my own house to the standard I like it.
What Should You Outsource?
Your own needs and talents are unique and what might make sense for you to outsource can vary widely based on your home business and family situation.
Tips on Outsourcing:
- Don't force yourself to hire out the tasks you actually enjoy doing.
- Find competent assistants or service providers, even if you have to pay a little more.
- Make a budget and re-evaluate it every couple weeks. If the payof isn't there, reconsider your options.
- Have a clear idea of how much time or money you will save, or how much you'll be able to increase revenue based on your outsourcing. Make sure it is worth it to you either financially or for your sanity (moms of many, I'm looking at you!).