by Karin Beery

IBM is one of the most successful companies in the history of American businesses. Even though they’re a large corporation, one of their founding principles can help you—a freelance editor—make the most of your business model.

Here it is: you don’t have to do it all yourself.

For IBM, that meant not taking the time to manufacture parts they could buy from someone else. For you, it means not taking your editing time to do something you could hire someone else to do for you. I’m not talking about hiring a full staff, but at some point (hopefully) you’ll want to grow your business. If you’re doing everything yourself, you won’t have time to take on new clients. That’s the perfect time to invest in your business and take some of the extra work out of your schedule by hiring others to help.

I won’t lie—it’s hard. After doing everything for yourself, I’m suggesting that you pay someone else to do what you’re already doing. In some cases, you’ll pay others more money per hour than you’re making, but in the end it works out. Here’s how:

I wanted to design my own website. A lot of people do it, and there are dozens of templates and designs to use—I just had to pick the right one. Besides, I didn’t want to pay someone $80/hour to do it when I could do it myself.

But here’s the deal—I spent an entire day looking at designs without deciding on one. Then I realized I needed some plugins, and I spent two hours watching YouTube videos and figuring out how to do some of them. It didn’t take long to have ten hours into the project with nothing to show for it. Technically it didn’t cost me anything, but I could have used those hours to bill out $500-1000 worth of work! I soon decided I’d rather be editing, so I found someone to help me.

So far in my career I’ve hired an accountant and website designer. I’m currently working with a social media consultant to streamline my social media accounts. Yes, it costs me some money, but it’s saving me thousands of dollars of lost time spent working on those things. Plus, it’s saving my sanity! I no longer stress about tax forms or broken URL links—I just send an email and it’s done.

Before you start working with someone, though, here are a few tips to help you get started: