I just returned from the NAMS10 conference in Atlanta (Novice to Advanced Marketing Systems) where, in a closed mastermind meeting, the recurring question about hiring help ended up on the table. The small business owner who asked the question made the following points:
- She is running 4 separate businesses from her home (with her husband helping in two of them).
- She is working 12 to 16 hours a day and can't begin to get everything done.
- She is a home-based business owner and isn't so sure how she feels about having someone work in her home.
- She has considered getting office space but will lose time and money if she does that.
- She doesn't know if she needs a personal, on location assistant or a virtual assistant.
- She feels like by the time she trains someone she “may as well do it herself.”
Does this sounds familiar to you? As we provided suggestions for this business owner it become clear that three things were getting in her way of moving her business forward and getting more sleep herself.
- Her perfectionism keeps her from letting go of work she should have handed off a long time ago.
- She is very resistant to taking the time for setting up systems and business operations. (All her systems are in her head).
- She isn't up to speed on what constitutes an employee versus a contract worker.
We all have different working styles, and we need to take these styles into account as we ramp up our businesses. Some of us are comfortable having someone work in our home-based business office and like the idea of a personal assistant. Some can't imagine working with someone virtually – thousands of miles and several time zones away. Almost all of us have to do the personal growth of learning to systematize our business, battle perfectionist tendencies, and delegate.
Entrepreneurs are great at thinking no one can do it better than us. We are wrong! Without getting someone else to handle portions of your business you literally will never be able to grow. Resistance to letting go often surfaces in a statement like, “I just can't afford to hire someone even part-time right now.” The real truth is, if you are pulling the weight of 4 separate businesses you cannot afford NOT to hire someone. And you can't afford not to get a lot better at setting up your systems, too!
As you staff up, get clear about what constitutes an employee versus a contract worker. There are substantial tax penalties for small business owners who say they have contract workers but actually have employees – and the Internal Revenue Service will be more than happy to point out the error of your ways. Here's a link from the IRS that gives you tips about employees versus independent contractors. If you're considering hiring someone to work from your home, here's an article written from the employee's point of view about how to set up your home.
The bottom line? Spend your time doing what creates income – that's not usually shuffling papers or hiding out on social media. If you want to grow your business find people who can support you, do the things that are eating up your time, and take care of the things you aren't particularly great at or don't like to do. Is it usually a stretch financially and personal growth wise? Yes! You didn't think you'd build a business without taking risk and changing, did you? 🙂
By the way, if you want to attend the next NAMS (February, 2014 in Atlanta) you can use my affiliate link to early-bird register by clicking here. It's one conference I rarely miss! And if you secretly know you need help but keep telling yourself you can't do it, consider an hour of strategy time with me – we'll get to the bottom of the question and develop a plan.