Tell me if this sounds familiar:
It’s Monday morning, and you’re looking at your to-do list. Amidst the client calls and responding to emails, there’s a task or two that you’ve been trying to get to for weeks.
It might be “Send an email newsletter.”
Or “Post something on social media.”
“Publish a blog article.”
“Write the sales page.”
It’s an important task that you know will push your business forward. But also… it requires writing. And that’s a one-ingredient recipe for procrastination.
Luckily, you can get away without writing anything for a while. For a long time, even. If you work only through referrals, and you’re happy working with only a few clients every year, you don’t need to publish a word. You just need to keep delivering great work and asking for referrals.
But at some point, you realize that it’s time to grow. You need to stop hiding, start showing up as an expert, and build an audience through great content.
(Or maybe just, like, write an about page already.)
And when that happens, you have two options: You can write it all yourself, or you can outsource it—to a copywriter (for words that sell) or a content writer (for words that entertain or inform).
As someone who’s written a lot of copy and content for clients, I’d love to say that everyone should go hire a writer. But I actually don’t think everyone should.
In fact, a lot of people outsource their writing way too soon—and slow down their business growth in the process.
Why people outsource their copy
Outsourcing your copywriting and/or content seems like a natural decision. And obviously, there are a lot of good things that can come from hiring a great writer to support your business.
First, it takes some work off your plate. If writing your website copy sounds worse than eating a pile of nails, this can be a huge relief. And even if you consider yourself a decent writer, you know that writing takes time. Usually a lot more than you planned for. Outsourcing your content to someone who knows what they’re doing is a clear way to save hours every week.
And of course, hiring a copywriter for the right project can actually pay off financially. Need a sales page written, or an email funnel for a new product? Those are tied to direct revenue, which means your investment in a good copywriter can literally pay for itself.
Now, there are always a few risks. Hiring the wrong writer can lead to copy that underperforms—or just plain sounds bad. But that can be fixed with some proper research into what to look for and who to hire.
There’s also the risk of hiring a writer who doesn’t get your voice. But this too can be solved by hiring someone who has a proper discovery process and understanding of voice.
Again—on the surface, outsourcing your writing sounds like a great option.
But let’s dig a little deeper.
Why you should write your own words
As you progress in your business, you’ll start hearing the advice that you should spend your time doing the work that you can do—then outsource, automate, or eliminate the rest.
This is really solid advice! This is how you stop working in your business and move more into a CEO role, working on your business. It’s how you free up more time to serve more people—and of course, increase your income.
Following that thinking, a lot of people are quick to hire out their copy. Sounds logical, right?
But what they don’t realize is that writing is a CEO role.
For personality-driven businesses — that is, businesses where you are primary service provider or product creator — sales happen because people know, like, and trust you.
In the early days, this tends to happen naturally. You get referrals through people in your immediate network. Family, friends, past coworkers.
But as you grow, you have to generate that know/like/trust factor in other ways. And the key way to impact people at scale is to communicate through great content. This might mean sending a weekly newsletter, publishing blog posts, or interacting with people on social media.
All of that requires writing. Personal writing, from your own brain. And a lot of it. (Even publishing videos or a podcast requires writing.)
And while you can outsource some of it (more on that later), I think a lot of folks are too quick to try to get it off their plate.
Instead, I strongly believe business owners should learn to write their own marketing materials. At least at first.
Here are 3 straight-forward reasons why:
1) You save money
Okay, let’s just lay it all out on the table.
Hiring copywriters and content writers is expensive.
To break it down: A well-written blog post of roughly 1000 words from a trustworthy content writer might cost you $100-500. And if blogging is a core marketing strategy for you, you’ll likely be publishing at least once a week. That’s $400 at minimum per month, or $4,800 a year—and that’s not including the emails and social media posts that you’ll need to promote the article.
From my experience, having someone running your blog, social media, and weekly emails can cost at minimum $2,000 a month.
And then there’s copy (which is different from content). A simple website from a reputable copywriter can cost anywhere from $1,000-$10,000 (and I’ve seen more), depending on their experience and specialization.
Worth the money? Yes!
…If you’re at the stage of business where your website copy can actually improve your sales
(And most folks’ businesses aren’t there yet.)
2) Your own voice is the most powerful tool you have
For a personality-driven business, your success lies in your ability to create authentic connections with your readers. Because building an audience isn’t about writing to the masses. It’s about building relationships, one person at a time.
Your content, then, is the most powerful tool in your business, because it allows you to build those relationships at scale. Instead of meeting a thousand people individually, you can help people get to know you by talking to them all at once in a way that feels extremely personal.
Outsourcing your writing is like passing the microphone to someone else to do the talking for you. That makes sense sometimes. Again, outsourcing does have some benefits. But outsourcing it all means that you’re giving up your most valuable tool for growing your business.
Wait, you might think. I just want to hire someone to write informative articles for my blog! What’s wrong with that?
Nothing’s wrong with that. And that’s actually one of the best kinds of content to outsource.
But informative, how-to content can’t be your only tactic. That kind of content brings in web traffic, but in my 6+ years of content marketing, I can tell you honestly: it does little to endear your reader to you.
You need content that’s full of your own personality. That means telling personal stories and sharing moments from your own life. It means having opinions—even controversial ones!
That’s what creates loyal readers. And that’s the kind of writing that’s extremely difficult for a hired writer to replicate.
3) You’ll never avoid it entirely
If anything is true about online businesses, it’s this: The more people you want to serve, the more you’ll need to communicate.
As a personality-based business, there will always be something you need to create that requires putting pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard. So even if you do outsource some or a lot of writing… you’ll never get out of it entirely.
That’s why I recommend new business owners start working on their writing now.
Don’t feel like you’re a good writer? That’s totally okay. Make the fumbles now, while your audience is relatively small. You will get better over time. And it’s a self-fulfilling cycle: As you get better at writing, you bring in more people. Which prompts you to write more and better. Which brings in more people.
And one day you take a step back and realize that you’re serving an audience of thousands.
You want business security? Write long enough, and you’ll be able to fill client spots or sell evergreen products whenever you darn please.
How to outsource the smart way
Okay, okay. I’ve made my point. But as I mentioned, sometimes outsourcing your copywriting or content does make sense. You just have to be smart about it.
Here’s how to have the best of both worlds. Have your copy cake, and eat it too.
First learn how to do (at least some of) it yourself
If you have a decent command of the English language, you can learn how to write what you need to write. There are plenty of free and paid resources to help you with whatever you need to create.
What trips people up, though, is their mentality.
Accept that you’re going to publish a lot of crap before you start publishing things you’re happy with.
You can’t get around it. Publishing your first stuff will feel pretty weird, and even really uncomfortable. Sorry, friend. This is how it’s done, and there’s no way around it.
Learning to write it all yourself now will help you hire out the parts you need help with later.
If you need to, hire an editor
Need help with your grammar? Is English maybe a second language for you?
Still learn to write it yourself. But then hire an editor to help you polish it up.
There are lots of different kinds of editors. At the cheapest tier, you can send your writing to a proofreader to catch small mistakes. Then there are developmental editors, who help you structure your piece better. There are also some copywriter-editors, who look at your writing from a sales perspective and help you punch it up.
There are also copywriting coaches, like yours truly. We give feedback on your writing and teach you how to improve it.
Hire the right person for the job.
Once you know what you’re doing, outsource to improve your results
Once you know what you’re doing with your writing, and you’ve gotten some results on your own, you can hire specialists to make those results even better.
(This is what the pros do.)
For example, you might write weekly emails to a list you’ve built on your own, then hire a launch specialist to write sales emails for your new course.
Or you might write your own website that serves you for your first year or two in business, then hire a website copywriter when you start getting interviewed on podcasts and need a more effective way to turn casual visitors into subscribers.
The bottom line? If you’re a solopreneur, learn how to get results yourself. You’ll save a ton of money and build up a skill that you’ll use every day in your business. And then, you’ll know exactly what to outsource and who to hire to make your business even stronger.
Coming soon: The Cowriting Club
Psst… Do you have a to-do list of emails, articles, or social posts to write?
The Cowriting Club is a writing mentorship and accountability group, designed to teach you the key writing skills every business owner needs, so you can build your authority and attract your ideal clients.
The mentorship program launches this February. Click here to join the waitlist and be the first to hear about it.