It takes the average content entrepreneur about 17 months to earn enough revenue to support one person. But it’s another seven months before they hire any kind of help, according to The Tilt’s 2022 Content Entrepreneur Benchmark Research.

That wait may be too long, leading you to miss out on the benefits most content entrepreneurs expect when starting the business – freedom and flexibility. It also could result in missed business opportunities and burnout, hurting yourself personally and professionally.

Whether you’re in the pre-revenue, early revenue, or growth business stage, it’s time to think about outsourcing. Here are five things to do:

1. Make a love-hate list of your tasks: Write down the tasks you wouldn’t want to give up and those activities you’d be willing – or even eager – to have someone else do. Then, estimate the time (even better, track your time over a month or so) and detail the skills needed for the “hate” tasks. Prioritize the to-be-outsourced list to include the tasks you could feasibly have your first contractor do.

2. Know when to hire: For creator Ev Chapman, she hired help when she realized all her weekends were spent on administrative tasks – not the substantive projects that she enjoyed and would push her platform forward.

You could wait for the light bulb to illuminate, or you could set a goal that will trigger your outsourcing plans. It might be a consistently earned revenue amount or an audience size. By establishing the hiring parameters early on, you can know where the light at the end of the tunnel is, and that can be important for your mental health.

3. Find help: Get creative in outsourcing. Marketer and creator Philip VanDusen paid 50% less than his virtual assistant’s usual rate in exchange for his coaching time. 

Ask other creators who they work with or who they know about. Check out formal and informal trade groups on social media. Upwork and Fiverr are both popular platforms for freelancers.

4. Proceed smartly and cautiously: Step up your interview game to better ensure the hire is a good fit. Ev suggests asking open-ended questions to find out how they deal with unexpected events or issues. For example, ask: “If you couldn’t get online but were facing a major deadline, what would be your next steps?” 

We think a paid test assignment is a must when interviewing for creative tasks. A writer’s portfolio is important, but you only see the edited version, not the original drafts. 

Ev suggests starting with a small, single project or maybe just 30 minutes a week. “Even just breaking off one task that’s pretty process-driven could actually be the start of getting somebody on board,” she says. 

5. Create an onboarding process: Excited to have help, you may be tempted to have them dive right into completing the tasks. Resist that urge. Take the time upfront to educate them about your business, their role, and your expectations. Provide the information, context, access, and tools necessary to do their work. 

As you move forward, communicate regularly with your outsourced help. Give them feedback – positive and constructive – about their work. And update them about the business – benchmark progress, audience comments, etc. – so they realize you see them as an essential part of the company.


About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.