When your small business starts to take off, you might be hit with a variety of feelings: thrilled that you’re succeeding and excited about future projects, but also overwhelmed at both your workload and keeping your operations sustainable. It’s impossible to do everything yourself! Once business starts to pick up, you need to start delegating both personal and business tasks, so you can free up more time for running and growing your enterprise.
If you have a larger business or the type of company that needs part-time or full-time workers, such as a service business, this could be a good time to assess growth and scale possibilities. But if you’re a small business owner keeping things agile, it might not be time to hire your first employee just yet — or at all. Hiring employees not only means more ongoing expenses, but also administrative burdens like payroll taxes and workers’ compensation insurance in addition to any state and local mandates. Whereas if you just need some additional talent to get a project finished or help you out occasionally, there are all kinds of methods you can use and places to look for quality professionals who will work with you on a freelance basis.
If you’re just starting to look for talent, here are some suggestions.
Consultants and Contract Workers
Working with someone on a consultant basis tends to mean that you are consulting them for their particular knowledge and experience in a discipline or highly specialized topic. Consulting fees can seem incredibly expensive, but consultants operate specifically to serve multiple clients and have their own marketing and operating expenses. Hiring a consultant will have a far higher hourly rate than an employee, because it’s not ongoing, and you are also not paying for payroll taxes, retirement and insurance contributions, and other related expenses.
Hiring a contract worker by the hour or deliverable can help you grow your business, particularly for the tasks that you need done in which it isn’t worth your time to learn the necessary skills to get them done. Depending on your needs, you can find consultants and contract professionals at research consulting agencies like PwC’s Talent Exchange, Guidepoint and 52 Limited, among others. Sites like Indeed and FlexJobs are also excellent places to find quality talent who are purposely seeking contract work as opposed to having the expectation of full-time employment.
Like contract workers and consultants, freelancers also provide services to multiple clients, but can be willing to put in more hours for you on a contract basis for the right price. The main difference between consultants and freelancers is that the former is more highly skilled and educated and often equipped with glossier marketing like a professional website and headshot, while freelancers often rely more on portfolios and freelancing sites alone.
There are several different freelancing sites with Upwork being the most dominant place to post and search for freelance gigs, but there are also specialized websites depending on the services you need such as WriterAccess for hiring writers and editors.
When posting want ads on freelancing sites and traditional job sites like Indeed, you can end up becoming inundated with responses, and it can take days to go through them all. Ask your colleagues if they have a consultant or freelancer with whom they have worked and would be happy to recommend, as well as suggestions for places to look and ways to cut down on application review time.
Contracts That Work for You and Talent
A consultant is likely to have their own set of contracts for services rendered, while a freelancer whom you work with will be looking to you to provide one if the platform they work on doesn’t already uphold them to terms of service.
Make sure that communication is kept clear along with deadlines and milestone expectations, as well as the terms of the compensation. Ownership of the work is also important to have sorted out in a contract because that ownership is automatic when someone is your employee, but without the correct wording in a contract, they own the work as an independent contractor until you pay them. Always read contracts carefully and ask questions or show them to your attorney prior to signing.
Paying Your New Employee
Once you’ve signed the contract with your new employee, it will be important to have a payroll process established. Check out these 5 things to consider when looking for a payroll service.