One of the most important lessons to learn when working for yourself, I think, is that there’s no shame in outsourcing. I am a writer because I’m good at writing; some of the business-minutiae that comes along with being a freelancer I’m not so good at, and so I am deliberate about what I handle myself and what I don’t. To wit: I have an accountant. I love my accountant. Could I handle my taxes myself? Probably. But it would take me a lot longer than it takes him and it would make me nutty and if—God forbid—I ever end up getting audited, it’s peace of mind for me to know that I have someone who can essentially handle it for me. I consider my accountant money well spent.
On the other hand, I don’t have an administrative assistant or virtual assistant, and I know a lot of freelancers who do. For me, dealing with mail and paperwork isn’t a big deal—it doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t take all that much time—so I do it myself. These sorts of decisions are really all about what makes you feel most comfortable.
New freelancers often ask me if they need to have a lawyer around to review their contracts. This question is not so very different from considering your taxes and your mail. Do you feel comfortable handling it yourself? If the answer is “absolutely not,” it may be worth having a lawyer look things over for you. But the average freelancer is going to be signing a lot of contracts, and most of them won’t be terribly complex, and so most can learn to handle this process themselves with a bit of coaching and experience.
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