How to Hire a Top-Notch Freelance Writer [Authority Internet Business]

How to Hire a Top-Notch Freelance WriterWant to save time on your Internet business? 

This is an outcome that many online entrepreneurs seek.

Having more time means you can focus on increasing income. Plus, you’ll enjoy life more – which is a major reason why we all run an Internet-based business.

One of the biggest “time sucks” online is writing.  Yes, it’s important to publish great content.  But we all have a limited ability to write on a daily basis.

That’s why you need a strategy for outsourcing content creation.  Hiring an freelance writer allows you to focus on the critical aspects of your business – like marketing and networking.

The problem?

Finding the perfect writer is like looking for a needle in a haystack, which is piled on a bunch of haystacks.   Post a job on any freelance website and you’ll get dozens of applicants with various qualifications and price-points.  Often it’s impossible to figure out who is the right person for the job.

In this edition of the Authority Internet Business project, I’ll detail my strategy for hiring a freelance writer.  This is important because you should have a plan for scaling your business.  It’s easy to get bogged down with writing and not make any forward progress.  Having an outsourcing strategy will free up your time to focus on the actions that drive your business forward.

There’s a lot that goes into finding the best person for the job.  So let’s get to it.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]What Are You Outsourcing?[/title]

Your first action is to make a rule for what content will be outsourced.  As an example, I personally write all of my “Steve Scott” content, but I’ll often hire other people to write articles for niche sites.

Think about the different types of writing you’ll need.  You’ll have to create the content which comes from your personal experiences.  Otherwise, it’s okay to outsource the general information that can be found from good research.

There’s a lot of writing that goes into an authority website.  For instance, you’ll need a process for creating/doing:

  • Blog posts
  • Information products
  • Press releases
  • Lead magnets
  • Kindle books
  • Web 2.0 backlinks
  • Proofreading
  • Copy editing
  • Copywriting

A common mistake people make is to hire one writer for all of these projects.  The better solution is to find a “specialist” for each.  Do this correctly and you’ll save a lot of time and money.  Let’s talk about how to do this.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Specialization and Your Authority Business[/title]

Not all writers are created equally.

Some can write compelling blog posts.  Others can reliably crank out quality eBooks. Your job is to find a dedicated worker for each type of content.

There are many benefits to hiring multiple specialists for your authority business:

  1. You will get someone who is familiar with the content platform
  2. You will find an expert on your niche topic
  3. You will save money because some projects don’t require a professional level of skill
  4. You won’t have a SPOF (single point of failure) – In other words your whole business won’t collapse if you lose a writer

You can save a lot of time in your business by adopting a publisher mindset.  The bulk of your time should be spent managing other content creators.  This is the best way to scale a business and get results!

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]How to Write a Highly-Responsive Freelance Project[/title]

Let’s talk about a real-world of example of specialization.  In the last few months, I’ve outsourced 15+ eBooks and a number of articles for different websites.  One of these books is a lead magnet that I’ll offer on my forthcoming habits website.

This particular project went extremely well.  Not only did I get an eBook full of quality content, I also found a great personal development writer that I’ll use in the future.

To start, I went to Elance and posted the description that’s listed below.

(I prefer Elance over other websites because it has the largest pool of potential workers.  This makes it easier to get a lot of bids on a project and find the best person for the job.)

The way you get a qualified writer is to create a highly-responsive description, which details every aspect of the writing you need.  Plus it should “disqualify” certain candidates.  I’ve learned (the hard way) that it’s best to be clear about what’s required from the beginning.  This lays the groundwork for a great piece of writing.


Here is a project I posted last month:

[box color=”silver” type=”square” icon=”asterisk”]

Do you love talking about personal development? Can you create content in the first person, friendly style that’s popular with bloggers?

If you answered “Yes” to both questions, then I have a project that’s perfect for you.

Here are the details:

I. I need a native English writer who has experience with blogging and/or copywriting.

II. The project is to create a 13,000 word report on developing a specific group of habits. (I’ll explain more when I narrow down the service providers.)

III. The report will be a collection of 50+ habits that people should develop. I need you to do FULL research and create a document that’s helpful to my blog readers.

IV. Obviously, no plagiarism will be tolerated. You can use other websites to get ideas, but the final work will be 100% unique content. I use Copyscape to double check the final work.

When bidding, please provide samples of articles that directly relate to personal development. If I like your bid, I’ll reply back with more details about what’s required. Also, include the words “Yellow Giraffe.” That way I know you’ve read this entire description and understand what I need for this job.

Finally, I’m on the hunt for a long-term working relationship with a potential writer for my blog. So let me know if you’re interested in future work.

Feel free to use the private message board if you have any questions or need further clarification.


There are a number of important elements in this project description.  All of these are useful for finding a great writer.  The above listing:

1. Asks for someone with experience in personal development

2. Includes an exact word count and an approximate number of habits.  This lets the bidder know how much content is required for each section.

3. Requires a native English speaker.  Frankly, I prefer people from Canada, the U.K, the U.S., South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.  I do this because these writers understand the importance of creating informal, engaging content.

4. Includes the code word “Yellow Giraffe”.  Anyone who doesn’t write this phrase is automatically disqualified.  This is the best way to eliminate the bidders who aren’t detail-oriented.

5. Promises future work.  This statement reduces the price of bids and opens the door for more projects.  I want bidders to know, right away, that I’m not a “one-and-done” project manager.

That’s all I include in a project description.  I’ll post this for 3 to 7 days and get around 20 to 50 bids.  Then I’ll use a simple process to narrow down the candidates.

Let’s talk about how to do this.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]How to Narrow Down a Pool of Writing Candidates[/title]

The above project received 40 bids – ranging from $350 to $1,150.  That means I had to eliminate 39 bids and find someone who offered the right combination of great writing vs. affordability.

Here’s how I did it:

#1 – Use the Hide Feature: Elance is great because it lets you “hide” the bids you don’t like. So you can quickly go down a list and eliminate anyone who isn’t right for a project.

Elance's Hide Feature

#2 – Hide the Outliers: The first group of people I’ll hide are the outliers.  I feel that the extremely high and low bidders simply don’t *get* what’s required for a project.

Generally speaking, low bidders produce crap content and high bidders make it hard to run a cost-effective project.

#3 – Hide the Cut-n-Paste Bidders: Some freelancers submit a bid to every project without reading the finer details.  The above project description helps you weed out these kinds of bidders.  For instance, I’ll hide anyone who:

  1. Isn’t a native English speaker
  2. Doesn’t include the code word
  3. Didn’t provide a sample of personal development content.

#4 – Hide the Companies: You’ll often get bids from representatives of a company.  Instead of writing the content themselves, these people will sub-contract the work to someone else.  Avoid this type of arrangement because it costs more and you won’t have direct contact with the writer.  Both can become a huge obstacle to running a cost-effective project.

This four-step process might seem cold, but it’s the only way to weed out the people who aren’t right for the job.  I’m sure there are exceptions to these rules, but nobody has time to interview 40 bidders on every single project.

Once you’ve completed this four-step sweep, you’ll go through another round of eliminations.  This time you’ll examine the content they’ve created for other projects.

Typically I’ll look for four things:

I. Information expertise.  Your writer should have experience with the niche market.  In this example, I was looking for a personal development writer, so I asked for samples on this topic.

II. Punchy content.  Writing Internet content is a distinct skill.   You want someone who averages 2 to 4 sentences per paragraph.  Plus, they should be comfortable with the first person, conversational style that’s common with blogging.  This is the format that resonates with readers.

III.Quality information.  Some people have the amazing ability to write thousands of words without saying a damn thing.  These writers are easy to find because they will talk in circles without getting to a point.  Look at their samples and see how much actual information they provide.  Hide the bidders who seem like they’re not comfortable with the subject matter.

IV. Web-Based Content.  Look for bidders who have content already published on the Internet.  Bonus points if they have an established blog.  Both provide a great example of how they write on a day-to-day basis.

If I still have a large pool of candidates, I’ll do a third round of eliminations.  Typically I’ll hide anyone who:

  • Has under a 4.5 feedback rating
  • Doesn’t have a blog on this subject
  • Isn’t genuinely interested in this topic
  • Offers a long delivery time

After going through three rounds of eliminations you’ll be left with the cream of the crop.  All of these writers should do an excellent job with your project.  But as Connor MacLeod said in Highlander:

[quote type=”medium” align=”left”] There can only be one! (Tweet this) [/quote]

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Picking the Freelance Writer[/title]

The next step is to contact each person on your “short-list” of candidates.  Provide them with more detail about the project and ask for their input.  Be sure to also ask for a confirmation on their bid price and an approximate delivery date.  Do all these things and you’ll get a good “feel” for the writer’s commitment to the project.

At some point, you’ll have to pull the trigger and pick a service provider.  This is often hard to do when you have a large pool of qualified workers.

My ultimate decision comes down to four factors:

  1. Experience with the topic
  2. Expertise with the writing platform
  3. Bid price
  4. Time of delivery

I don’t have an order of what’s important.  Generally I’ll pick someone who demonstrates a good mix of all these elements.

Once I pick a writer, I’ll start the project and fund it through escrow.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Working with a Freelance Writer[/title]

Don’t depend on the writer to figure out what you want.  The simpler solution is to correspond with him/her on a regular basis.  This is the best way to get back a piece of writing that matches your expectations.

Here’s my 6-step process for working with a writer:

Step #1: Provide an Outline

Start the project by listing the exact parameters for the project.  Be sure to include these elements:

  • An overview of the problem you’re trying to solve
  • A basic description of your ideal customer
  • The topics that should be discussed
  • What elements should not be discussed
  • Specific word counts on each section

Provide as much information as possible.  This will help steer your writer towards creating a valuable piece of content.

Step #2: Give Examples

Provide examples of content from other websites and products which relate to the topic. These links will give the writer a template of what you want.  You should also include samples of your content, which can help a writer mimic your style.

IMPORTANT: Let the writer know this is an example.  Never, EVER rip-off another person’s content.  And be sure to emphasis this point to your writer.  Plagiarism shouldn’t be tolerated in your business.  I recommend you check their work with Copyscape and immediately fire the rule-breakers.

Step #3: Ask for a 10% Milestone

Include a milestone for the first 10% of the content.

For instance, if it’s a 10,000 word report, then ask the writer to send 1,000 words before continuing with the rest of the project.

This example prevents many future headaches and identifies any potential problems.   Look over this preview to make sure it:

  • Adheres to the writing style you prefer
  • Sticks to the main topic and sub-topics
  • Provides information that’s helpful to readers
  • Avoids fluffy content that doesn’t provide value
  • Includes 100% unique content

Go over this sample very carefully.  This is the time to work out the kinks.  You can prevent a future disagreement with specific feedback about what you do and don’t like.

Step #4: Use Additional Milestones

Set additional milestones if you’re unsure about a particular writer.  You can review this content at the 25%, 50%, and 75% milestones.  This is another way to make sure both parties are happy with the final outcome.

The amount of “micro-management” is up to you.  Personally, I only like to set additional milestones when I’m working with a new writer.

Step #5: Review the Final Project

Do a final review once the project is completed.  Use the project specs to make sure the writing matches everything you need.  Take time with this step because it’s your last chance to catch any factual/grammar/style mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to ask for revisions!

You’re paying a good amount of money, so there’s nothing wrong with requesting a specific change or edit.  You don’t have to be jerk.  Just point out examples of what’s not working and request a revision.

Step #6: Complete the Project

When a project is done; it’s done.

Never drag your feet on releasing funds from escrow.  This writer worked hard to provide a great piece of content.  So it’s only fair to give them an immediate turn-around on their payment.

Also, be sure to leave feedback.  Remember this is the writer’s business.  So think very carefully if you leave anything less than a 5-star review across the board.  In fact, if you didn’t like something about a writer – it’s better to communicate this problem prior to completing the project.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]The Importance of Scalability… [/title]

Hiring a freelance writer is a great way to scale your Internet business.  We only have a limited time to get things done.  Finding a reliable content creator can free up your time to focus on the actions that drive your business forward.

You don’t have to outsource all of your writing.  Instead I recommend you start small by finding a writer for a few blog posts.  From there, you can reinvest Internet income back into your business and set up a semi-permanent assignment.  Keep doing this till you’ve outsourced all the writing that doesn’t require your expertise and knowledge.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]What’s Next???[/title]

At this point, I’m not 100% sure what content will be outsourced.  So I’m testing different writers till I find one that works for me.

So what’s next for the Authority Internet Business project?

To be perfectly honest, there are a few things I’d like to complete before revealing my “case study” website.  Specifically I’m not wild over the logo and I don’t like the current number of blog posts.  So it will be a few weeks till I’m able to show this website.

Once the site is ready, I’ll talk about:

  1. How to pick the right domain name
  2. How to start building an email list from day #1
  3. How to create your first monetary offer
  4. How to locate profitable, quality affiliate offers

I’ll admit I’ve dragged my feet on this project for the last month.  The good news is I now have more time to get the ball rolling.

So stay tuned for more details…

Take Action. Get Results.

31 thoughts on “How to Hire a Top-Notch Freelance Writer [Authority Internet Business]”

  1. Hi Steve:

    I love the idea of this, but something occurred to me…what’s to stop your freelancer from deciding to keep the content and sell it him/herself on Kindle? Is it in some sort of contract?


    • Hey Crystal,

      I figure I’d chime in being a freelance writer and all.

      Just my personal experience: the reason I wouldn’t keep the content is that I’d not only get paid for it (how I survive) but it’s often unlikely that I could market it correctly to truly make it a viable source of income.

      For me, if it’s not something I’m not directly working with than I can’t possibly make it work on my end because you’d assume they have a marketing strategy for the work. I wouldn’t want to take on too many projects that take away my time for freelancing.

      Additionally, freelancing is very much about networking and reputation and the last thing you want is to burn your clients which may hold sway with some of the other potential clients in the industry.

      For example: I started with one client just doing article, worked my way up to ebooks for their list, and from that I was able to land a few extra gigs from word-of-mouth. To me that’s infinitely more valuable than taking the content and running off with it, ya know?

      I hope that clears a bit of it up – I’m sure Steve will chime in, as well.

        • Hey Crystal—

          I agree with Murray. A freelance writer has a lot to lose if he or she decides to rip off content. Most are happy to build up a client base and have steady work. Most of the time it’s the marketing behind a piece of content that really makes a difference. They could steal an eBook…but it’s hard to know how to find a good eCover artist or how to successfully sell it.

          Hope this helps!


    • I do a lot of this type of work, so I thought I’d add my perspective. If you use Elance, it is stated in the Terms of Service that you own all of the work once you pay–the freelancer has no rights to it. The freelancer agrees to these terms before taking on your project, and you could prosecute him or her through Elance and the court system for stealing your work if that happened.

      More importantly, though, nobody with honor would do that. Before you hire the person, do whatever you need to in order to feel comfortable that he or she is a good person. Most people seem to find a 15-minute phone interview sufficient to get a gut feeling of “yes” or “no.” Avoid the low-ball bidders–you get what you pay for!

  2. hey Steve

    I wanted to express my gratitude for sharing awesome insights and step by step advice with your community! I surely appreciate the time and effort you’ve invested herein…

    By the way, I am a big fan of — did you ever use the platform before? Did you try any other Elance alternative? What’s your experience with them (if any), would love to know, and surely, others…

    • My pleasure Allan!

      To be honest, I’ve heard good things about, but I’ve never tried their services. The only other site I’ve used is Odesk…that’s a pretty good one if you’re paying people on an hourly basis because it takes snapshots of their screens during their working time.

      • Just FYI, Elance also has the screen snapshot feature. I’m a freelance book designer, and I’ve done a few jobs that way. I thought I’d hate it, but actually, it’s kind of nice–it removes all possible doubt that you’re doing the work, and Elance guarantees payment if you use it.

  3. Hey Steve!

    Awesome post, as always! I can’t believe I missed the launch of your Authority Internet Business case study! Just went and read the first post 🙂

    I found the bit on how to choose your freelancer on Elance very informative – so thanks for that.

    @Allan I’ve used twice – different freelancers. Maybe it was just my luck, but I made the mistake of hiring a newbie which seemed to be genuinely interested in the project and I got myself suspended from Ezinearticles lol She “forgot” to delete or re-word an entire paragraph which she had taken from another site. I did provide a very detailed description of what I wanted (strictly no plagiarism, etc), but still … oh well!

    The other freelancer did not plagiarise but was exactly like Steve described when he said that “some people have the amazing ability to write thousands of words without saying a damn thing.”

    Luckily I only hired them to write articles for Ezinearticles – not for my own site.

    And Steve, it seems to me that “dragging your feet” is so not you – you’ve practically become a Kindle Book Machine lol – publishing one book after another!

    Wishing you much success for your Authority Site Project – you truly deserve it! And thanks for sharing your tips and insights on here.

    • Don’t worry about missing anything… I haven’t put a ton of work into this case study so far. Hopefully that will change over the next few months. Appreciate the encouragement!

  4. Steve,
    thanks for sharing this with your readers. I’ve been studying elance trying to wrap my head around how one goes about hiring a freelancer. The part about milestones had not occurred to me.
    Honestly, I have no idea how you are able to crank out so much content. I’m feeling a little burnt out and don’t even write 1/10 th as much as you do. I think i need a few days off..

    • It happens to all of us…January and early February were off months. The one thing that has always helped me was to spend the first part of every working day on the projects that are directly related to “building assets.” It could be writing Kindle books, an affiliate recommendation, or an email. That way you know … no mater what else happens…you’ve already accomplished something major for the day.

  5. Hey Steve,

    Thanks for the detailed post (loved the “Yellow Giraffe” code)

    I tried in the past for very simple yet boring and time consuming tasks and was pleased with the results when I stuck with English native writers.

    • Never tried Freelancer. I’ve heard good things about it…but Elance has generally worked for me, so I try to not over complicate the process by trying something different.

  6. Good one Steve especially the 10% milestone tip.

    I think the biggest mistake people make with outsourcers is letting things get out of control.

    Setting a low hanging fruit type of checkpoint is the best way to make sure you are moving in the right direction. Also, if you have to change directions its not too much money invested.

    When you post your projects do you conceal your real identity?
    I’m sure people would just try to come to your blog if you did right?

  7. Steve, the problem with outsourcing Kindle is that there will always be a risk that some sucker will sell the work twice, e.g a Kindle book and on that way get your account in trouble, or even worse banned.

    I would outsource everything beside writing because although English is not my native language I know that the work has not been plagiarized and I can sleep well without needing to worry having it sold to another part.

    I’ve seen this several times occur, even when the writer had good reputation and ratings!

    • Mirsad—

      I guess there is that risk. But read Murray’s above comment – Most freelance writers have too much to lose to screw over their employer.

      I also ask for a *specific* type of content that has not been used on Kindle or most websites. Then I immediately post it… this would make me the “first to market,” which can useful if there is any claim of copyright infringement.

  8. I personally prefer “pink elephants”. 🙂

    My main problem with doing any kind of outsourcing, but high-quality outsourcing specifically is the amount of work goes into it with still uncertain results.

    That’s why I am still single and ain’t looking… 🙂

    • Ana — I always change up my animals and colors with each project. Next time I’ll have to try a pink elephant 🙂

      I do agree with your comment. That’s why I do the lengthy vetting process I just described. Even then, it’s not 100% successful for finding a good writing. The trick I’ve learned is to start with something small…then see if it works. If it does, you give a little more work. Rinse and repeat till you’ve formed a good working “relationship” with a great writer.

  9. Hi Steve. I didn’t even notice the “hide” feature. I especially appreciate the tip about hiding the outlier proposals.

    Slightly off-topic, but have you used Elance for PHP developers, WordPress back-end setup/support, or anything technical? If so, do you have any tips for writing up and awarding those kinds of projects?

    • Celeste — Yes, I’ve used Elance for the technical stuff… I’ll definitely create a post about hiring these type of workers. It follow a similar process…but I don’t care about the “native English” part. This frees up my requirements to work with great service providers from a variety of countries.

  10. Interesting article, Steve. I read it from my perspective as someone who is both a writer / creative services provider and who also hires same for projects from time to time.

    The great thing about services like elance and for outsourcers is that it’s a buyer’s market — you can get a range of bids from $350 ~ $1150 from which to choose someone who is still hopefully skillful, experienced, and reputable.

    The bad thing about services like elance and for creators is that it’s a buyer’s market, and buyers, when seeing a range of bids that are include very, very low numbers, often have unrealistic ideas about what a particular job is worth.

    Let’s look at the criteria for the gig:

    experienced online content creator / copywriter (What is experience worth? What is the time you’re saving by not doing this yourself worth? I bet your time is very valuable)
    13,000 words (about 50 manuscript pages; assuming an average writing speed of 1,000 words per hour, 13 hours of work)
    “Full research,” not just on the the topic of the content but also of your outline and examples (another 4 ~ 6 hours)
    At least one round of revisions (2 hours minimum, not including correspondence time and thinking time)

    Assuming a very fast writer with minimal research and revisions (and not including thinking time or correspondence time), we’re looking at about 20 hours of work. When you look at it that way, that bid for $1150 is actually just above the very low end of a reasonable rate for this project. Anything lower than $50 ~ $60 an hour starts to be insulting to a creator with experience and talent.

    Oh, and about that 10% milestone… you should remind your readers that you need to pay the talent for the work that they did, even if you decide not to use them for the whole project. Any decent copywriter / creative services provider will require a start of work payment anyway, and have a kill fee clause in your contract with them.

    I bring all this up because the title of your post is “How to Hire A Top-Notch Freelance Writer.” Respectfully, the missing step here is to respect what a top notch freelance writer is actually worth.

    • Matthew —

      Agree with you on a lot of points.

      I actually had a long conversation with Tom (of, mentioning some of what I’m doing. The one point he raised is that a good writer should know how much their time is worth. It’s not up to the buyer to “police” bids and pay more out of obligation.

      A writer who wants to do well beyond the freelance site should build up their client base and slowly increase their working price. I’ve worked with writers in the past where I pay more money on each successive project, because I know they provide a reliable service.

      I absolutely agree with you on the 10% milestone comment…I should have put that in there. The one time I had to *kill* a project, I paid for 10% of the work was done. Even though it sucked, I did make a promise and a contract, so I made sure to follow through with it.

      • Thanks for replying, Steve.

        Your mention of paying more on successive projects got me thinking about something else you wrote in the original post:

        “Promises future work. This statement reduces the price of bids and opens the door for more projects. I want bidders to know, right away, that I’m not a “one-and-done” project manager.

        A freelancer shouldn’t lower the cost of a job based on the “promise of future work.” The cost of the job is the cost of the job… unless you are literally promising future work — it’s written into the contract. But I very much doubt that’s what you mean. 😉

        I’m reminded of a client I had, a prominent doctor and a leader in his field. Repeatedly, he mentioned how working with him would lead to future work on larger projects, how his recommendation could do a lot for my career, and so on.

        The carrots he dangled were not incentive to me. They were red flags, because I’ve run into that kind of thing before, and “I’ll pay you more for the next one” usually (not always) means the client does not consider the skill and experience of the freelancers in the context of the task at hand as valid as the skill and experience of the client in their own field.

        Sure enough, the good doctor balked at every quote, paid late, repeatedly pushed beyond the agreed upon scope of the project, and was, surprisingly, a horrible communicator. I eventually fired him. I should have trusted my instincts and experience.

        Just keep in mind that when you offer more work “next time” because you’re unsure of the experience you’re about to have with the freelancer (in short, because you don’t trust them), you’re telling the freelancer to extend a leap of faith in you that you are not granting them. For all the reasons freelancers have to not trust clients, see The World’s Longest Invoice. 😉

        I can understand that folks who read your blog and want to follow in your footsteps might not be too interested in paying more than they think they can get away with. After all, many people in the residual streams of income game are interested in earning the most money for the least effort.

        I just want folks to remember: the best freelancers you’ll find — the once you’ll want to work with again and again; the ones you’ll be happy to pay what they ask — are the ones who value their own time, effort and experience as much as you value yours. Treat your freelancers like peers and collaborators.

        Finally, just so I’m not all soapbox lecture-y here, y’all might want to check out a relatively new entry in the freelance writing marketplace, Since it’s entirely dedicated to connecting clients to writing pros, you might have better results than a general site like elance or

        Thanks again, Steve! You’ve been very patient and gracious.

        • Hey Matthew,

          I appreciate your comments … Glad you’re not afraid to call me out on stuff. It keeps challenging me to do better 🙂

          I’ll have to edit this article because I can see why it might take advantage of freelancers. I only put an “offer for more work” when I actually have more stuff to do. I agree that it’s not fair to expect people to reduce prices based on a promise. Usually, I’ll have additional projects for people for any type of outsourcing that I do.

          Also, thanks for the two links. It’s kind of disturbing to see people getting the shaft like that. Like you said, it’s important to treat freelancers like peers and collaborators… Not paying them like that is absolutely ridiculous. It’s messed up to see people not getting what was promised to them.


  11. Hi Steve,

    Can’t wait to see more about your new site. I launched my blog in late January, so I’m still in the stage where I can avoid a lot of mistakes by following your advice.

    This is a really informative post. I’ve used Elance to hire a freelancer before, but it didn’t work out. Now I can see where I could’ve done a better job of screening the potential. Next time, I’ll have more confidence in what I’m doing – hopefully resulting in a long-term relationship with a good freelancer.

    Thanks for explaining exactly what should and should not be outsourced also. It helps tremendously.


    • Great to hear — Hope this case study helps with your new blog.

      There is a lot to learn about hiring the right person. I’m still constantly evolving the way I do things.

  12. Hey Scott,

    Good information for the person who always outsourcing content like me. I have a wonder; when you outsourcing the content, do you provide writers the Titles or just the keyword phrases?



    • James — I give the keyword phrases, a few examples of what I want and a brief outline. The more “instructions” you give, the better the result for the article.

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