In this week’s episode we’re talking about subcontracting. This is when a copywriter or agency uses someone else to write the copy. Generally they pass out the work and pay the writer a percentage of the overall fee.
It’s something we get asked about a lot, as often, as your copywriting business grows, it can seem like a great way to earn more money without actually writing copy.
But subcontracting can be problematic, and today we share our experiences and tips with you.
Tune in to learn:
- The pros and cons of using subcontracting copywriters in your business
- Belinda and Kate’s own experiences of using subcontractors
- The pros and cons of being a subcontractor
- Answers to the big subcontracting questions including:
- Whether you can get a testimonial for work you did as a subcontractor?
- Where you can use subcontracting work in your portfolio
- The average margin charged on top of your rate
- How much time you need to spend editing work from your subcontractors
- Whether you have to disclose that you’re using a subcontractor
Listen to the podcast below:
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Hey there Kate and Belinda. Great show.
I totally agree that subcontracting copywriting work to other writers isn’t worth it. I’ve tried it a few times in the first couple of years of starting my own business, but came to the same conclusion you both did: you have to spend a lot of time being project manager and editor and you don’t actually make much money in the end. Meanwhile there are two parties to deal with and keep happy instead of just your client, which means there’s more potential for miscommunication, problems and frustration.
I also know that my writing style is one of the reasons many clients choose to hire me, so I feel it would be unfair to have someone else do the writing. That’s why I made the decision years ago not to outsource work to others. The only few times I’ve used another copywriter in the last few years was when I got stuck because there wasn’t enough time to complete all my projects by myself and I knew the client wasn’t attached to my particular style of writing. So that’s my feedback from the point of view of being the ‘master’ in the subcontracting scenario (to use the word you’re using in your podcast).
I personally don’t like being the subcontractor either. I’ve found that I can deliver better copy and work more efficiently if I work directly for and with the client. I only take on work via web designers if they’re open about using me for the content and I can deal directly with the client.
However, if you’re just starting out in the copywriting industry and you can get writing jobs via agencies or experienced copywriters, i.e. be the subcontractor – even if it’s anonymous – then sure, why not? Don’t be afraid of criticism (constructive feedback) and see it as a learning opportunity. You’ve touched on some good points to take into account and address in advance for anyone considering doing that.
PS: This is the first of your podcasts I’ve actually listened to in its entirety. I’m not really into podcasts, sorry, I much prefer reading over listening. But there was no transcript of this podcast (have you stopped providing those or do they just get added a lot later?) and I was interested to hear what both your experiences were with subcontracting.
I see you’re on episode 37 already. Wow, you girls are on fire! Well done.
Hey Micky, thanks for tuning into the whole episode and for sharing your experience from both sides of the relationship. That pretty much echoes our own but as you say, there is a lot to learned and gained from the right situation.
Regarding the transcriptions, we stopped putting them after a few episodes but we have had a number of people ask recently so we’re looking into it again. Watch this space!
And thanks again for lending us your ears and stopping to leave your thoughts 🙂
Hey Micky – thanks for listening to the pod. I agree with you. I’m not a fan of having sub contractors working for me. But I don’t mind being a subcontractor to an agency. So appreciate your feedback 🙂
Hey guys. Loved this episode.
I’ve just started subcontracting work to other copywriters so this podcast has come at the perfect time. It’s great to hear from two copywriters who have already experienced the pros and cons of subcontracting and I’m sure your advice will help me avoid some of the potential pitfalls. Your advice about margins has also been really helpful.
Great stuff as always.
Thanks for lending us your ears Jamie, yes this episode has been super popular. I think subcontracting is a bit scary for some copywriters, especially when you become the boss have minions working for you. So important to cover your bottom and understand the pitfalls. Thanks for your comment!
Great stuff Jamie! It can be an exciting phase of your business development – as long as you have the right expectations for you and your new team!
Documenting processes and procedures is never a bad idea and came make the onboarding process a lot smoother – as your new writers know what you expect of them.,
All the best and thanks for commenting!
Very nice this quide. Copywriting is very important for me. I’m Copywriter from Toruń in Polska (Poland) 🙂