Advent of the Insurgent Creative, Day Sixteen – Freelancers

So you’ve studied and practiced and learned, and yet there are still some things that you can’t quite manage for yourself. There’s no shame in that. For example, despite years of practice, my illustration skills are nowhere near the level where I feel comfortable relying purely on myself for that sort of work. So in that situation, what’s an Insurgent Creative to do?

Hire some freelance help.

There are sites all over the internet where freelancers can be hired for everything from web design and application programming to personal assistants and illustrators. In fact, many of these freelancers are Insurgent Creatives themselves, making their living by providing their skills to others (and you should consider supplementing your own income in this way as well — every little bit helps, after all).

The most secure option is to use a site which connects you to freelancers, and also brokers payment between you — like Elance. Elance allows you to post a job, and take bids from freelancers who have passed admissions tests based on skills. Once you’ve found a freelancer, both of you are protected by the site accepting your payment and holding it in escrow — the freelancer knows the payment is there, and you know they’ll only get paid if you’re satisfied. The freelancers are from all over the world, so you can set a task and have it completed by someone on the other side of the planet, who work while you sleep! The site handles freelancers in tons of different categories: Programmers, Designers, Writers, Marketers, Admins, Consultants, Finance and more. A brief overview of how to hire a freelancer is provided here:

Another site on the same model is ODesk, which offers a similar method. Posting a job, finding a freelancer anywhere in the world (or searching and contacting specific freelancers, based on portfolio and skill), and handling all aspects of the job brokered by the site itself. They provide a video overview of their service as well:


In addition, you can search for freelancers via portfolio sites: Artists via Deviant Art, for example, allowing you to browse artists galleries and then contact them via comments or email. Forum sites also often provide places to post jobs: the Penciljack forum is a good place to find artists. The Kindle Boards offer a specific thread for people offering services to independent authors. There are literally hundreds of other such sites out there, and, of course, it’s also worth using your social media resources — chances are, you know somebody who knows somebody who has the skill you need.

Just because you’ve decided to go around the traditional gatekeepers doesn’t mean that you have to do it alone. An insurgency is strongest, after all, when it’s a connected network.

Storm the gates.

One Reply to “Advent of the Insurgent Creative, Day Sixteen – Freelancers”

  1. Portfolio sites and creator websites that showcase work, list clients/projects are where you really see who and what skills you’re hiring. I’ve been a fulltime profressional freelance writer, game designer for a couple of decades and have never used Elance or Odesk to seek or post work, so I can’t comment on the quality there.

    If you want to go directly to the source (and avoid a broker fee, establish a business relationship that can last), I would suggesting starting with people whose work you admire. Don’t be shy. And set your bar high—no freelancer that I know, at any level, minds being pinged about a job. If they say no, then follow up with, “Who would you recommend?”

    Word of mouth is how I get more than half of my assignments. Almost all the rest come from people who have seen my work out there, find my website or Linked In page, or respond to a proposal/query I’ve sent.

    Professional organizations (which have a high bar of entry) are where I’ve gone to find people beyond my circles. For example, for a professional copy editor, proofreader, indexer, fact-checker, or editor, consider There’s also a recommended rate chart there. For writers, editors, consultants who know about science: For a broad range of media pros, including designers, producers, writers/editors, there’s Mediabistro:

    Some of the Linked In groups have also led to excellent connections.

    Whatever you do, make sure you spell out the scope of the assignment, the payment, and the deadlines very clearly, in writing.

    As Gareth says, partnering up, collaborating, hiring out the stuff you don’t do well—essential these days.

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