When you shouldn’t hire a freelance writer (I will tell you why)

Yes, I am a pen for hire. And I have been so for almost 20 years now.

I do believe that outsourcing of writing to a seasoned professional is the best decision that most companies and individuals can make to ensure success.

But, yes, sometimes, you are better off without a freelance writer. And I will tell you when and why.

Image: Pixabay

You want an employee, not a freelancer

Freelancing is a very particular type of profession.

We will get your work done while following your guidelines and by your deadline.

And no matter how independently we think, rest assured that we know that your writing belongs to you.

But what we aren’t going to do is be there for you on a set schedule. Even if you are paying us per hour (which I highly argue against for several reasons), we still want to decide when and how we do our work.

Therefore, if you need someone that you can monitor on every step of the way, a freelancer isn’t the right choice for you. You probably should hire a remote worker or a traditional employee instead.

You can’t provide consistent guidelines

Believe it or not, freelance writers aren’t mind readers. We can’t figure out what your goals are or who is your target audience unless you tell us.

In addition, as we will be working for you remotely, we need to clarity on what your expectations are, what your deadline is, and what type of content you want.

It is understandable if you don’t have these answers written down and nicely organised in a digital marketing plan. You are hiring a freelance writer and aren’t about to be writing stuff yourself.

Nevertheless, we still need an idea of what you want in order to avoid disappointment — so feel free to book a Skype call and let us know your thoughts about your business.

You want high quality on the cheap

It is true that you can find content writers offering their services for a more than affordable fee on platforms such as Fiver, Upwork, or Freelancer.

I have gotten several great jobs from these types of online services, so I will not be the one to berate them.

What I want to do is bring your attention to the fee that you will be paying for your writing.

Consider how much time and expertise it takes to get your content done. As you know, we are talking about much more than sentence building and spellchecking here.

Any piece of content is only considered ready for publication after going through a minimum of four phases: research, writing, editing, and proofreading.

Depending on your case, you might need to add to this interviewing, checking your competitors, searching for keywords, attending to your reviews and feedback, not to mention the publication and sharing processes.

It all takes time. And time is what a freelancer trades in.

Also, bear in mind that a freelancer pays as much (or sometimes more) taxes and has the same expenses you do.

Of course, nobody will stop you from paying US$ 0.02 cents per word (or even less). Just don’t expect that you will get high quality content from it.

Image: Pixabay

You aren’t happy with terms and conditions

Many people don’t realise that a freelancer is a sole entrepreneur. Even though many of us has no interest in becoming a company, we are still running a one-person business.

It means that you will have to deal with a contract and terms and conditions. It is very likely that there will be a deposit to be paid (usually 50% upfront) and that the number of reviews will be limited. And yes, you must pay for the job as soon as you have approved it.

Freelance writers are no different from a solicitor that you hire to draw up a contract for you. They might be paid per hour or per job, and you still have to pay them even if you aren’t 100% happy or if they lose your case.

Of course, you don’t have to agree with what you don’t want or pay for poor writing. And the best way to achieve this is by having everything written down before starting the job.

Make of your freelance writer your best resource

Despite the fact that people has been writing for a living for an age, freelance writers still puzzle many entrepreneurs. So it is OK if you aren’t sure if you are getting it right.

The best thing to do is have a good conversation with your freelancers beforehand, as each professional has its own guidelines.

When you find the one that is most likely match your expectations, start with a small job, so you can know if you are on the same page. Then evolve from this by increasing the workload gradually. This way you can avoid the future waste of time and money.


Have you ever had a bad experience after hiring a freelance writer that wouldn’t deliver what you thought he or she would? Or are you a freelance writer that had to deal with a client demanding more than you think you owe them? Let’s take this discussion further on the comments below.

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