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I am Dale King, a specialist dental copywriter. I love to share my knowledge of working within the dental niche with other like-minded individuals. 

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pros and cons of freelancing for agencies

Freelancing for Agencies – Should You or Shouldn’t You?  – The Pros And Cons

In the last blog, I talked about the importance of recurring revenue and how it can be a game-changer for freelance writers. One of the methods I discussed was freelancing for agencies.

Yet, if you do some online research, you’ll see mixed reviews. So, while this arrangement works for some, others have had less success. As a result, anyone looking for information is likely to be hit with a barrage of mixed messages which is pretty confusing for a new freelancer looking for a definitive answer.

For this reason, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about freelancing for agencies and whether it’s a good idea. Moreover, I’ll share with you, some of my personal experiences of doing just that.

But before we dive into the ins and outs, I guess we should answer the question “Why would an agency be looking to hire freelancers in the first place?” After all, everything is normally done in-house, right?

Well, not always.

It’s true that larger agencies with equally big budgets have their own in-house teams. In-house writers are usually full-time employees with all the benefits and trappings that go with working for a biggish company.

However, many other agencies, particularly those that don’t have the budgets of larger-scale organisations, need to keep their overheads down, So rather than taking on writers on a full-time basis, they hire freelancers like you and me.

This arrangement works because of several reasons:

  • Working with freelancers saves them time and money – It’s faster and more cost-effective to hire a freelance writer than it is to onboard a full-time employee. Agencies only pay freelancers for projects completed, as opposed to having to pay an employee for the full working month.
  • Agencies don’t pay freelancers benefits or holiday pay – That means lower overheads while still being able to fulfil key roles.
  • Larger talent pool – As more people are quitting the 9-5 and flying solo, there is more talent for agencies to choose from. Agencies can often find freelancers who are better qualified than the full-time staff they would otherwise employ.
  • Freelancers provide agencies with greater flexibility – If a freelancer doesn’t work out, it’s easy for the agency to find another. Conversely, when companies hire a full-timer and it doesn’t work out, it can be expensive.


For these reasons, agencies and freelancers should be a good mix, but is it a good idea? Should you work with an agency or err on the side of caution?

Let’s find out.

Freelancing for agencies – The pros and cons

If you are considering whether agency work is a good option, it does have its advantages:

advantages of freelancing for agencies

Agencies are generally on the same wavelength

When you work with industry clients directly they may not always understand the nuances and technicalities of content writing and SEO. After all, why would they? This is not their speciality. As a result, getting them to buy into your ideas can be a long process.

Conversely, when you work with an agency, they’re in the same business as you so they get it. You don’t need to take time explaining the facts and collectively, you should be able to hit the ground running. Ultimately, it should make for a smoother transition as you start to work together.

Agencies are your ticket to repeat business

A good agency is a busy agency and for them, it’s time-consuming to constantly chop and change freelancers when they don’t hit the mark, not to mention, downright frustrating. Instead, when an agency finds a good freelancer, it will want to use their services repeatedly. This makes perfect sense.

Therefore, as long as you meet expectations and deliver, you can look forward to a steady stream of work, month in and month out. Having recurring revenue means that you don’t need to worry about where the next project is coming from or whether you’re going to earn enough to pay your bills. In other words, repeat business is your security blanket, and a good agency can provide you with that, for many months and years to come.

Freelancing can lead to full-time roles when working with agencies

Hiring writers on a freelance basis is one way that agencies test the water before they commit to full-time hiring. So if you are considering a full-time contract position, this may be your ticket in.

Naturally, a full-time position may not be right for you at this time, but for those who prefer the security of a regular income, then getting your foot in the door with an agency may be the answer.

As an example, I worked with a digital media company and out of the blue, they offered me a full-time position. I chose to turn it down because it wasn’t right for me at that time. However, that’s not to say it wouldn’t have been right for someone else.

The good news is that because we’d built a good working relationship, I continued to work with them on a freelancer-for-hire basis for the next six years. So, even if you turn an offer down, it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the road.

Agencies give you the chance to hone your craft

I don’t mean they’ll pay you to learn how to write, because if you’re offering your services as a content writer, you should already know how to do that and be confident in your work. Instead, I’m talking about sharpening your business skills.

Think about it this way, when you work with agencies regularly you’ll get better at working with project briefs, pricing up work, estimating timescales for completion, juggling multiple workloads and, even, administrative tasks like regular invoicing. These are all essential skills you’ll need to take your business forwards. So why not get paid while doing it?

What about the disadvantages of freelancing for agencies?

downside of freelancing with agencies

Now we’ve talked about the pros, it’s only right that we discuss the downsides of working with agencies. So here goes:

Not all agencies are created equally

While many ethical agencies treat freelancers as valued members of their teams, others simply commoditise the work that writers do and expect to pay little in return. That’s something you need to be aware of.

Don’t be persuaded into offering prices that fall way short of your liveable hourly rate. Trust me, this never works out! Instead, know your bottom line and stick to it rigidly.

If the agency prioritises the value that you bring over how much they can make, they shouldn’t have a problem accepting your prices. If they don’t and try to beat you down on price, then politely decline the offer and move on.

Workload imbalance

Here’s the thing…

Sometimes agencies have so much work that they can overload the freelancer, particularly when they deliver great content. While this may mean a bumper payday for you it can also mean that you have little time for anything else like:

  • Prospecting for new clients
  • Marketing/blogging
  • Self-development/self-learning, and
  • Developing other business relationships.

As a result, It’s easy to feel that you’re in a catch-22 situation. On the one hand, you don’t want to turn work down for fear that the agency may not give you any more, but on the other hand, the increasing workload may be taking up all of your time so you can’t focus on any other aspects of your business.

In reality, if the work becomes relentless, it’s okay to say no or to extend a deadline. If you’ve worked with the agency for long enough and have a good relationship they should respect you for it and accommodate your wishes. They may not even realise there’s an issue, so good communication is key. Explain the situation and, you never know, there might be a workaround that suits both parties.

False sense of security

The next disadvantage goes hand in hand with the one above but I wanted to talk about it separately.

When you’re freelancing for agencies it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. When things are going well and money is coming in month after month, it’s easy to put off marketing, prospecting, developing new business relationships or any other tasks that move your business forwards and, as a result, your business can stagnate.

Then, when something happens inside the agency that you have no control over and they decide to bail on you, where does this leave you?

You still need to pay your bills, only now, you’re down several thousand dollars a month, and no more immediate clients in the pipeline to fill the void. Yikes!

While an agreed contract with a built-in notice of termination goes someway towards protecting you, it can still come as a shock when the client says “adios”. So, even when you’re busy and in a ‘good place’, it pays to continue marketing.

Agency clients are not your clients

If you are considering freelancing for agencies, this is something worth noting.

The agency’s relationship with their end client is their relationship and not yours. Therefore you can’t pass off having worked directly with a particular client because, technically, you haven’t.

So, even though it’s plausible that multiple works have been completed across multiple clients, you can’t use that as a basis for your promotional literature such as testimonials – Just something to bear in mind.

So, now you know what you should or shouldn’t do, would you still consider freelancing for agencies?

Personally speaking, I would say yes but with the caveat of ensuring the agency is a good fit for you and one that allows you to grow as a freelancer.

For example, if you’re stuck churning out hundreds of SEO articles for months on end and it takes up most of your day, you have to ask yourself, is this the best use of my time?

Alternatively, an agency that offers you varied work, delivers timely feedback and treats you like a valued member of the team, will be a far more attractive proposition, and one you should probably consider.   

Now we’ve cleared that up, the million-dollar question is:

Where do you find agencies to partner with?

where to find agencies to partner with

Well, you can start by Googling “your niche” plus “agency”. If you want to be more specific, you can add a location such as Sydney or London, and see what comes up. Check out their details and drop them a short email explaining why you’re a good fit for them.

Alternatively, go to places like Upwork and run a search for “Top rated agencies” and see what it throws up. If their contact info isn’t visible on Upwork or its equivalent, take the name of the company and run it through Google. This should bring up their website and contact details.

Additionally, you might already know of freelancers who currently work with agencies. In this case, it may be worth talking to them if the agency requires other freelancers. If they agree, drop the agency a line mentioning the freelancer who works for them.

So why do this?

Agencies get hundreds of emails so yours needs to stand out from all the others. Mentioning that connection in the email creates a personal attachment meaning your enquiry is more likely to be read.

If you aren’t sure how to send a cover email, don’t worry, I have you covered. Check out my post on “How to send a cold pitch that gets clients”.

So, there you have it, everything you need to know about freelancing for agencies.

Hopefully, you’re already seeing value in the content I provide and it’s helping you in your quest to become a well-paid dental writer. If you want to find out more, subscribe to my blog so you get the latest news directly in your inbox.

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Here’s to your success!