Freelancing

The Role of Outsourcing in the Life of a Freelancer

Phew!

I have just spent the past couple of days balancing my life between working on my freelance projects and planning our Grand Eurotrip 2.0 for June. Luckily, I managed to be both a good planner and an excellent worker. However, looking back, it’s difficult to think of how much outsourcing would have made my life easier during these days.

For this, I strongly believe that every freelancer— at least once in their career— has thought about how great it would be to not have to worry about cleaning, cooking, accounting, and planning vacations and, instead, be able to devote all of their precious free time to the things that truly matter: family, friends, and hobbies.

I have definitely been one of those over-loaded freelancers. Fortunately, my outsourcing journey began back in 2015.

It all started when I had a family anniversary to attend and, despite my love for baking, I had absolutely no time to prepare a celebration cake. So, I resorted to ordering handmade cakes. It was great— everyone still enjoyed the cake, and I didn’t have to show up to the party an hour late with sweat running down my face.

Later that year, we moved into a really large 2 storey apartment. It’s very comfortable and affordable, but it does require a lot of attention; it takes hours —if not days— to clean. Whenever family or friends would come to visit, things would get overwhelmingly messy as I had to not only work a bunch, but also do all of the cleaning and cooking. So, I eventually decided to outsource again; I hired a lady to help me with all of my cleaning and ironing every week or so. It’s amazing, I can breathe!

Now, I am even considering outsourcing accounting since it takes up 1 or 2 days of my life every month. Perhaps, I will even outsource some cooking, as well!

If you are like me back in 2013/2014 and are still playing the exhausting (and unnecessary) juggling game, I highly suggest reading more of this post to learn about the benefits of hiring people to take over the tasks that are weighing you down.

Accounting

On the last day of every month, I issue invoices. As simple and easy as that sounds, it isn’t. Some agencies are awesome: they either have an automated payment system, or they allow me to request a payment with a single click of a button. However, other clients want to receive an invoice in a PDF or Word format, or (even worse) they make me manually fill in an Excel document and send in screenshots of every email containing a purchase order.

So, even though I am organized and maintain an updated list of unbilled tasks and unpaid invoices, this all still takes me about 4 to 5 hours.

On top of that, I spend another several hours keeping track of my income and expenses. While this is much easier than issuing invoices (if I can maintain doing it on a daily basis), I still spend a significant amount of time converting my income and expenditure sums from various currencies to USD and analyzing sums and tendencies (sounds super exciting, I know!).

Lastly, I spend a considerable amount of time discussing my Montenegro-based company activity with an accountant. As of now, things are fairly easy as I am just sending invoices and printing scans of bank transactions, but our plans of moving to mainland Europe in the next couple years may complicate this.

The moral of the story is this: I spend far too much time— 10 hours a month— on accounting related stuff. Instead, I could earn some extra cash, or spend a lovely day in the mountains with my husband.

Needless to say, these accounting tasks must be outsourced.

Cleaning

My current home is a 2 storey, 3 bedroom apartment with 3 small terraces. I love this apartment because it’s affordable and super comfortable for my sweet little family of two (my husband and me, who are both freelancers and work from home 24/7). Unfortunately, when it comes to cleaning, I need to dedicate an entire Saturday. Since I love Saturdays, I tend to find myself always saying, ‘I will find some time for cleaning tomorrow.’ I started to see that tomorrow never came, so I decided to do myself a huge favor and outsource my cleaning tasks to a professional cleaner.

Since I have done this, I now have 5 amazing hours of free time to spend outside of my home. I spend these hours either freelancing in a local cafe, traveling across the island to explore, or —my favorite— spending time with family and friends.

When we eventually move to the mainland and get a much smaller apartment (because of higher rent prices), I may not continue hiring a cleaning lady. However, if you loving living spaciously, as I do, then outsourcing the cleaning to a professional (and spending that precious time doing something that you love instead) is so highly recommended! Believe me— returning home to a sparkling apartment after a long day of work feels amazingly good!

Cooking

As much as I love cooking, outsourcing this task has been my dream for the past year.

Don’t get me wrong, I can joyfully spend hours upon hours cooking, but, as I am trying to eat healthy (which is important both for freelancers and people with diabetes) it inevitably begins to take too much time. As a busy freelancer, not having prepared meals in the fridge tends to result in continuously replacing those meals with unhealthy snacks. This is extra bad news if you have diabetes, as it also leads to skipping carb calculation (which is really important for keeping healthy blood sugar levels).

Can you think of a proper solution?

Yes— I can try outsourcing cooking and nutrition calculating to a local company or individual! This is a heavily considered option.

Before that, though, I would like to experiment with the option of preparing meals during the weekend and freezing them in containers to eat later. This may take up some weekend time, but it would save me precious working hours every week day.

Another great option to experiment with would be just eating at a nearby restaurant. However, it may not be as cost-effective and, if you live in a small city or village like me, you may not have many options of healthy food and a comfortable working place.

Planning Vacations

In the modern world of Millennials— who enjoy independent travel and working from home— outsourcing trip planning is a fantastic idea.

Generally when trip planning, I have a basic understanding of the countries I want to visit and how much money I am willing to spend. When planning for the Grand Eurotrip 2.0, I was aiming for a fun birthday vacation across several different countries without exceeding the budget of 2,000 EUR for two people. In the end, I nailed it (hooray!), but it took me over 15 hours to find the right tickets and hotels to fit my criteria— ouch!

Fortunately for me, I love the planning part of travelling. However, if you either don’t like planning, don’t have the proper time, or just aren’t very good at it, you may want to consider outsourcing this part to a professional (they are really good at what they do).

In the end, you will not only thoroughly enjoy your professionally planned vacation, but also be able to earn a couple hundred extra dollars working in the time you will save by not having to plan it!

Yippie for outsourcing!

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