When you get to a point in your business where you need help, you’ll probably come up against the question: what type of help should I hire? Factors like how much help you need, your budget, and the area of specialty you need assistance with will all factor into your decision.
Fortunately, you have a few options that all fit different staffing needs.
The Intern: Affordable, but Needs Hand-Holding
If you’re looking for a highly-affordable option (and sometimes even free), interns are a great possibility. They’re ideal for those easier tasks, like making copies and filing, and if you snag one from your local university’s marketing department, you might even land one who can help you with your social media management.
If you read that Twitter pays its interns nearly $7,000 a month, don’t despair: some internships are unpaid, while others pay minimum wage. Remember, you are giving students valuable training and the ability to list real work experience on their resumes, and that is worth something. See if the local college has requirements of you as an employer in terms of pay.
Do be aware that you’ll need to invest more time in training an intern, since they’re more or less inexperienced. And so you might think twice about handing any projects over that might put your reputation on the line, such as client-facing communications.
If you have the time to train an intern, however, you might just end up cultivating your first full-time employee down the road.
The Freelancer: Pay for What You Need
If you need help in a highly-specialized area like marketing, design, or programming, freelancers fit the bill. Because you rarely need 40 hours a week of work from them, it’s more cost-effective to pay for them to complete a project. If you need more assistance later on, you can renegotiate for a new project.
The perk here is freelancers really know their areas of expertise. If they’re designers, they’ve got the experience you’re looking for to enhance your branding. If you’ve fallen short of accomplishing certain tasks, like writing blog content, it can be a relief to hire someone who can turn the job around quicker and more professionally than you could.
All freelancers are not created equal, unfortunately. There are so many horror stories of web designers who abandon a design project halfway through (with the client’s money) or take 8 weeks longer than their estimated due date. If you can get a recommendation from a colleague, you can mitigate your risk in hiring the wrong freelancer.
The Employee: Here for the Long Haul
If neither of these options are cutting it for your business, and if you have the budget, look at hiring a full-time employee (or even part-time). This is ideal if your business is skyrocketing and you’ve got more work than you can possibly handle. The caveat here is that you also project you will continue to have this much work for a long time to come; the last thing you want to do is bring someone on full-time only to have to let them go when things slow down in a few months.
If you have 40 hours’ worth of accounting, admin, or projects to manage, a full-time staffer can help. Because this will be your first hire, it may be necessary for this person to take on tasks outside of his area of expertise, so make that clear in your job description. As your business grows, you’ll be able to add more staff to even out your needs.
Growing and running your business enough to need to hire help is a fantastic place to be with your company. Now you must choose the staffing option that optimizes your success.