Why every freelancer should hire at least one person

Business is good. Real good.

So good, in fact, that you’re sleeping 2 hours per night and working 22!

Uh oh.

Before you lose your mind and fire all your clients, it’s time to hire someone.

Like yesterday.

Because after several hours of working non-stop, your productivity drops and you won’t get much done anyway.

Pay for something I can do myself?


Sounds like nonsense, right?

But just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

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Let’s look at this from the simplest business standpoint: your hourly rate. I hate math as much as the next girl, but try to stay with me for a minute…

Let’s say you do work an unsustainable 22 hours per day and charge $40 per hour for your time. Your income should be:

$40 x 22 hours/day = $880/day x 5 days = $4,400/week x 52 weeks = $228,800/year

Holy crap!

Now let’s say you work a more reasonable, but still lengthy, 12 hour-days with 2 weeks of vacation. That’d be:

$40 x 12 hrs = $480/day x 5 days = $2400/week x 50 weeks = $120,000/year

But I bet your gross income doesn’t come close to either one of these. (And if you are bringing in $228K per year solo, please share your secrets!)

That’s because a lot of those hours per day are spent doing non-billable things like:

  • reading emails,
  • marketing,
  • invoicing, and
  • other administrative tasks.

In fact, common financial wisdom suggests a bare minimum of HALF. Half to two-thirds of your working hours will be spend on non-billable tasks! (Therefore cutting your income in half right off the bat.)

Bottom line: If you want to make more money freelancing, you need a team. Successful freelancers do not work alone.

What should I hire someone for?

Anything you don’t want to do (and can’t automate).

For some this may be a challenge.  You may enjoy micromanaging every last detail of your freelance business, down to the color of the font on your invoices.

Stop it right now. Burnout is just around the corner.

Here are several tasks an assistant can do for you:

  • thank all your new social media followers
  • post new blog updates to your social media profiles
  • create graphics for your website
  • write marketing copy
  • run errands
  • create a list of prospects for you to sell services to
  • confirm appointments
  • handle email

Still unsure? Check out these 34 business tasks you should stop doing.

Where can I find someone to help?

There are tons of freelance job boards with plenty of people eager to help you.

Use these tips to find the right person quickly:

Get recommendations before hiring online.

There are a lot of great people out there, but there are also a lot of rip-off artists. Don’t fall prey to one of them.

  • Ask peers or clients for their favorite go-to virtual assistants (or local assistants).
  • Get reviews or recommendations from potential assistants’ previous jobs.
  • Ask professional groups (like the Millo Mastermind group or LinkedIn) for their best recommendations.

Try someone you already know.

You may want to look to people in your everyday life who could use a little extra cash. You’ll find at least one person who can do what you need and not have to worry about building trust.

Beware, though – some relationships and business don’t mix well.

Start small.

Whoever you choose to hire, give them small tasks at first, and once you’re satisfied, move on to larger jobs that pay more.

Giving a new hire too much work from day one sets both of you up for failure.


When you take on an employee, even on a freelance basis, you add a new hat to your already overcrowded hat room: manager.

(Are you sure this is a bonus?!)

In addition to doing your own work, you’ll have to manage someone else’s workload, which can be almost as overwhelming as finding someone to do the work.

You’ll want to learn what it takes to be a good manager, or you’ll never find anyone willing to stick around.

But even if your first one or two hiring attempts flop before you find the perfect assistant, you’ll pad your repertoire – and resume – with valuable experience that just might land you bigger and better jobs.

Your turn!

What tasks do you outsource or do you plan on outsourcing in the near future? Tell us about it in the comments!

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About Sharon McElwee

Sharon McElwee is a copywriter and freelance business coach dedicated to help people get better at making real money doing what they love. Check out her free e-course to earn an extra $1000 in the next 30 days.


  1. Lorna Nakell says

    I actually run a small publishing services company with a partner (www.interrobangcollective.com). We’ve been doing most of the work ourselves—design, editing, marketing, finances, etc. But recently we had a huge book design project we needed help with, so we hired a couple of book designers we had gone to school with to do production work on the interior. It was great having the help, and being able to test out some freelancers to see who we would hire again. We also liked that hiring them helped us stay connected to the publishing community.

  2. I’d love to know your recommendations in regards to paying freelancers. I get paid directly from my clients, as an individual, not as a company. Therefore I’m responsible for the taxes on the money earned, even though I’m sharing some of it with the freelancer. Is there any way around this if I’m not billing as a company?

    • Hi Gal, for me as a freelancer I think you have to based on your freelancers hourly rate and as a individual contractor yeah you have all the taxes but you can estimate the tax and add it to your invoice.

      Please correct me guys if its not viable on your end.

    • Wouldn’t the pay to your freelancers be a tax deduction for your business, and therefore you’re paying less tax as your income is reduced?

      As a rule for my business everything goes on the books. If a freelancer wants to be paid cash under the table, I can’t claim a deduction, so I look elsewhere. Says something for professionalism too if they’re not prepared to set up a simple business to log their earnings.

      Not that I’m a fan of the tax man, but every business I work for want’s to claim the costs on their income, so I’ve got to have a registered business for them to do so.

      But hey, I’m in Australia, so maybe the tax system works differently here.

    • Even as a sole proprietor (what you are by default if you haven’t registered your business as something else) you can write off expenses on your income. When filling out your self-employment tax forms, you list them as a contractor expense.

      Now, if you haven’t been filing self-employment tax forms, I actually just cost you money instead of saving you money. As a sole proprietor, you have to double pay on some of your income: the money you make as a person and the money you make “employing yourself.”

    • Sharon Pettis McElwee says

      You are a sole proprietor, and like Preston said, you can write it off as an expense.

  3. Efua Mills-Robertson says

    If anyone in London, UK is looking for someone to be their second pair of hands and eyes I am happy to offer up my services. [email protected] is my email.
    Thank You.

  4. So I’ve just taken the plunge and hired my brother so I can focus more on the creative side of my business… just saved myself the headache of 5 hours scanning photos for a slideshow presentation and photo book, and he got some cash in his pocket ,) Win Win. Now I’m looking at getting him in twice a week for 3 hours a day to work on similar tasks and grow his knowledge base in design. Scary to know that I’m now responsible for someone else’s income, but it’s the next logical step on the journey ,) Next might be another designer on the books to get twice as much creative done, or so i can step out on occasion and work ON my business rather than IN my business. Lovin the journey ,)

    • Awesome! Keep up the hustle!

    • Sharon Pettis McElwee says

      I just hired my sister, too, and as things improve financially I will add more to her responsibilities. It works well because the trust is already there and I don’t mind giving her access to my email and things that may be a little too private for someone I will never meet. Thanks, Inkandescent.

  5. I hired someone this summer and it was the best thing I’ve done. I can now assign some of the things that have been on my to-do list for quite a while without getting done.


  1. […] Why every freelancer should hire at least one person  […]

  2. […] Once you know what needs to be done, now comes the fun part: finding the people to do it. […]


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