Why You Should Consider Hiring Freelancers for Your Small Business

Small businesses often tend to be one-person operations as entrepreneurs try to take on all the responsibilities in order to save as much money as possible. Employees are often limited to family and close friends or just an extra hand or two to help out.

However, small businesses can benefit greatly from hiring on employees, who can help their operations grow more quickly. For small businesses on a budget — which is most of them — freelancers can fill this role for less cost. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should consider hiring freelancers for your small business:

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Image by Dita Margarita

Experience for Less

With a freelancer, you pay by the hour or by the project, allowing you to spend far less for the same experience you would get in a much more expensive employee. You would have to pay a high salary to get the same level of experience in an employee. By hiring a freelancer, you can get the skill and experience your company needs for less.

Not Responsible for Benefits

Salary is only one part of the expense of employees. Typically, you would also need to pay for benefits such as a portion of health insurance premiums, a contribution towards a 401(k) or other retirement account, and paid time off. You would also be responsible for paying a portion of the employee’s taxes. When you hire a freelancer, you don’t have to pay for any of these items — which can nearly double the cost of an employee’s pay package in some cases.

Pay Only for Results

When you hire a full-time employee, you may end up paying for a certain amount of clock watching. With a freelancer, you only pay for results. Even if a freelancer charges you by the hour, you pay by the job, so you can more easily calculate whether the hours reported for the job seem reasonable. However, most often, you will pay a flat fee for the project, so you won’t have to worry about how many hours were put into the job.

Little Risk

Freelancers work on a contract basis. That means that you aren’t bound by a contract and you don’t have any obligation to the freelancer, other than to pay for the job. That means that there is less risk. If you have a problem with an employee, you may have to go through a drawn-out process of filing reports and attempting mediation before you can finally fire the person. In the process, you will lose money and productivity. You don’t face that risk with a freelancer. If you are dissatisfied with a freelancer’s work, you just don’t hire that person again.

Freelance workers offer small businesses all the benefits of full-time employees without the same risk and without costing as much in salary and benefits. If your small business is not already using freelancers, it’s time you look into hiring them to help your business grow.

Do you work with freelancers for your small business? Share your tips for success in the comments!

About the Author: Sarah Clare is a writer and oversees the site projectmanagementsoftware.com, where she has recently been researching project manager software. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking and scrapbooking.

Should you hire new or experienced talent for your small business?

Let’s talk about some job creation.

Hiring the right employees is a critical component of starting a successful small business. Without the right staff, there’s no way that a small business can grow and thrive into a robust and dynamic enterprise. Entrepreneurs tend to select certain kinds of employees onto their teams when they start a business, namely self-starters—highly motivated and talented individuals who have a passion for their field and a willingness to help achieve the entrepreneur’s vision.

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Image by morrosv7

However small business owners looking to hire are faced with quite a challenge when searching for talented employees: anyone looking for work will try to market themselves as a self-starter and willing to work for a new enterprise. With millions out of work, entrepreneurs have a huge pool of talent to choose from, and that talent comes out in different ways depending on the candidate. Some potential hires have years of experience and obvious talent in their field, and their time-tested expertise could have serious value for a small business. On the other hand there are also some young professionals fresh out of college who have huge potential to grow with a new company and lend their new skills.

This begs the question of who makes a better candidate for a small business, new talent or veteran talent? Let’s consider the options.

Pros and cons of hiring new talent

There’s a lot for entrepreneurs to like when it comes to new talent. Ambitious college grads can make for great employees in any small business because they’re hungry to prove themselves. With little to no prior work experience, these newbies surely know that any employer would be taking a risk by hiring them. That knowledge could play out in a number of advantageous ways for a small business owner. Perhaps the new hire would take more risks in an effort to prove their worth, which could include trying out unorthodox measures to produce results.

Most new talent will come straight from a university, so they approach work from a more academic and theoretical standpoint. That’s both an advantage and a drawback. On the one hand, the new hire might approach a job with more enthusiasm than someone who’s been in the in the industry for years. They can tackle industry problems with a fresh set of eyes unclouded from years of job experience. But at the same time these new hires are the greenest of the green employees—they might contribute a lot to your small business, but you’ll have to show them the ropes of the business along the way.

Pros and cons of hiring veteran talent

Hiring veteran talent is an entirely different story. For veterans in the industry, their assets boil down to one word: experience. And new talent can only do so much to compete against someone with years of hands-on knowledge under their belts.

Let’s say you’re opening a small business in web marketing. As the leader behind the enterprise, you definitely want to hire new talent that understands the digital landscape because they grew up with the web and know it better than older marketers. But you also need seasoned marketing veterans, people who know how to pitch information to people and know how to do it well. The medium of marketing might be different than traditional print marketing, but the same tactics still apply. The veteran marketer would be a much more valuable asset to the company in this example because their experience in the general marketing field can help you determine the best course of action.

You’ve heard what I have to say on the matter, now I want to know what you think. Do you prefer hiring new or seasoned talent for your small business? Let me know!

About the Author: Karen Smith writes online business advice and web marketing strategy for a number of publications. She also writes about online education, particularly how to earn a business degree online. Feel free to send Karen and questions or comments you might have!

Writers vs. Industry Experts: How to Make Sure You Hiring Both in Your Writer

It is no secret that guest posting is becoming more and more popular for businesses. While marketing the content on your own website is important, it’s also important that you have content spread out across the web by contributing guest article. Doing so offers several very large benefits:

  • Your content is put in front of the eyes of a new audience interested in your industry.
  • You get to show off your expertise through great articles.
  • You will form connections with other companies across the web.
  • Your article will likely get extra promotion if it is posted on a site with a greater following.
  • You will get a backlink for your article; thus improving your SEO.
  • If you create a partnership, you could likely get content from other websites. This will help cut down on the workload for you while bringing a new audience (the audience of the author or the company where the author came from) to your site.

hiring a writer

Because contributing guest articles does offer so many features, more and more companies are starting to hire full-time writers. In the majority of cases these writers work from home and are given a certain number of articles to write per month or per quarter. It’s also important that if your company is going to hire writers you’re hiring writers that can write about topics related to your industry. This then begs that inevitable question: Am I hiring someone who is a good writer, someone who is an expert in my field, or someone who can do both?

The Writer’s Your Company Needs and Why It’s Tough to Find Them

Most company owners will tell you that hiring is one of the most stressful aspects of running a business, especially if you’re still in the startup stages. It can be tough to interview for a position that you yourself don’t know much about, and this is the boat that many companies are in when it comes time to hire writers to contribute guest posts because the professions is still fairly new.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad writers our there. Everyone wants in on the guest-posting phenomenon because it usually allows you to work from home—and writing is easy. Anybody can write a page or two about a topic because all they have to do is Google it and find some information, right? Wrong. It is this mentality that has made hiring great writers difficult for businesses.

Even if you can manage to find someone who really is creative and can really write, you need to make sue that they can write about your industry. You don’t want your writer simply spinning articles—you want your writer out there showing new audiences that your company has original ideas and can analyze top industry news.

How to Make Sure Your Writers Know What to Write and Not Just How

Below are a few steps to ensure that you have this type of writer representing your company:

1. Experience Matters When It Comes to Writers

It can be very difficult for someone right out of college to understand how to write blog content and to understand fully a subject matter, making experience important. For example, college graduates usually graduate with an English degree, making him/her a great writer, or a business (or any industry) degree, making him/her and expert in the field. However, you can absolutely take a college graduate and give them a chance to get that experience. It is highly recommended that you hire them on as an intern or freelance writer first to see if a). He/she actually likes the work or b). He/she can handle both the writing style and the content.

2. If You See a Great Article, Do Some Research on the Author

Many guest contributors don’t actually work for a company, but are simply freelancing or trying to gain visibility for his/her own personal website. Therefore, if you see an article that you think is great, spend some time doing research on the author. Read the byline to see if the writer already works for a company, and then find him/her on social media. If you see that he/she has written several articles like the one that caught your eye, reach out and make a connection!

3. Give Topics/Websites That Require a Writer to Read the News In Your Industry

As a full-time writer myself, I know that one of the most difficult aspects of the job is coming up with great topics. If you’re hiring someone new to the business and they aren’t overly familiar with your industry yet, tell him/her what you want them to write. This will force your writer to read the news and begin to find websites that offer great information. Let them know where they can find the authoritative voices online.

4. Talk With Experts In the Field about Great Writers

Any business that has gone through hiring guest contributors before will understand how difficult it can be to find good writers. Talk with them and see if they know any freelancer writers who might be interested in doing work for you. This will be a bit more difficult because companies typically don’t want their writers writing for the competition, but it’s usually worth a try!

5. Make Sure the Writer Has Experience With Internet Writing.

Internet writing is very different than other types of writing because you need to focus on SEO, promotion through social media, blog style, and target audience. Although this is not going to guarantee that a writer is an expert in your niche, it will guarantee that the writer understands how online content works.

Have you hired writers to guest post in return for backlinks to your site? How did you make sure that you had someone who could write as well as someone who understood the buzz in your industry?

About the Author: Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger at Highervisibility.com, nationally recognized as one of the top seo firms in the country. Connect with HigherVisibility on Twitter to learn more!

Getting Started: Hiring Your First Employee

You have started your own business recently and it has begun to pick up speed now. As the associated jobs grow more challenging and numerous, it is time for you to hire your first employees to share the burden. But things can go wrong drastically if you do not hire the right person with the right skills. Here are a few points to keep in mind before you hire your very first employee.

Outline the Job Description

Invest enough time in outlining the job description of your future employee based on the tasks that you need the most help with in running your business. Club the tasks that require similar skills to carry out and determine if short term training can equip a new employee to take on some more. This will help you shortlist applicants who have the kind of skills that will prove most useful to you. This job description can also be used to give the candidate a clear picture of the expectations that he/ she will need to fulfill.

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Image: David Castillo Dominici

Use Referrals to Locate Good Employees

Advertising for the position is perhaps the only way to get the maximum number of applications for the post. However, giving first preference for referrals from friends or industry colleagues is a smart idea.

Also keep in mind that the candidates who are accustomed to working for a smaller concern are more likely to be flexible about taking on new roles or demonstrating initiative with the job. If such candidates come with referrals from trusted colleagues, they should definitely be given due weightage. Those who have experience with a multinational are more likely to work well when they have well established rules and processes to follow.

Background Checks

Once you have identified a few likely candidates, it is time to carry out the background checks. Never overlook this step because a talk with a previous employer can reveal a lot about your future employee’s work ethics, capabilities as well as weaknesses.

If you have asked for three or four references, take the time to check with each and every one of them. Remember that your time is well invested if the information you uncover helps you make a judicious choice of your first employees. Carry out a credit check too, if necessary, especially if the candidate will be handling jobs where financial transactions will be taking place on a regular basis.

Gain an Idea of Pay Scales

Before you start calling in your shortlisted candidates for an interview, it is important that you have a clear picture of what the industry standard is in terms of pay scales for the position you need to fill. Compare notes with peers or look through employment sites to get a good idea of what others are paying candidates for similar job descriptions. Allow yourself the flexibility to offer an enhanced paycheck to exceptional candidates.

Coming Face to Face

The interview is the time when you and your future employee come face to face for the very first time. Remember that your ’employee’ is forming his opinion of you and your business at this time too. Maintain a friendly yet completely professional approach all through so that he gets an idea of the kind of environment he can expect to work in if selected.

Ensure that your questions to him are designed so that you can gauge his industry knowledge, enthusiasm, respect for the employer, ethical values, commitment and passion for his work. It is impossible for you to accurately measure all of these at one go but you can always call shortlisted candidates for second interview too.

About the Author: Penny is an expert associated with Recruiterbox, an online applicant tracking system that helps companies manage their hiring in one place. Many companies previously using email and excel, reduced their hiring hassles by moving to Recruiterbox. Learn more about creative hiring practices and other interesting stories on the Recruiterbox blog.

4 Reasons you Should Hire Recent College Grads for your New Business

Starting a small business, no matter how much experience you have, is always hard. But once it’s up and running, and it’s time to start hiring and building a team, the stakes become higher. After all, the success of your business rides on the people who run it, and starting off with a poor team will surely spell disaster.  Of course, you want your new small business to have a diverse set of employees, but there are definite reasons you should focus on hiring recent college grads, especially if you’re founding a startup related to technology, social media, Internet marketing, etc.

1. Recent college graduates are passionate and not yet disillusioned by the workforce

If there’s one thing that can be said of Gen Y (don’t count this so-called “sense of entitlement”), it’s that they are passionate about everything they do. Most of those in the 22- to 30-year-old set were raised during an era in which parenting was decidedly about raising children to love what they do. This parenting style has produced young adults who have a strong desire to not just get any old job, but to get and excel in a job that they enjoy. Hiring recent grads will give your new business the edge that it needs.

2. They know the Internet and computers like the backs of their hand

If you’re starting a small business now, chances are that, even if it’s not exclusively up and running online, a big part of the business is run by computers and Internet tools. If you hire too many older employees, chances are that you’ll have to spend quite a bit of time training them how to use these tools. With “digital natives” learning most computer and Internet skills is almost instant—if they don’t know it yet, they’ll learn it by the end of the day.

hiring fresh graduate

3. They desperately need jobs

Of course, you shouldn’t hire someone based only on their desperation for a job. But in this bleak economy, those who are hurting the most are those who just recently entered the job market. Some employers may be a little hesitant to hire young people with little experience, but they often have more skills than you would think. And giving a helping to hand to those who are young and full of potential will help you as your business grows.

4. Younger employees are more willing to take risks that are vital to the success of your business

If there is one thing that is common to all small businesses, it’s that they absolutely require risk-taking in order to survive. Recent college graduates are often very keen on taking risks, much more so than those who are older and more experienced. The vitality and innovation-driven spirit of recent grads can only be an advantage for your small business.

Of course, there are problems with hiring recent grads that are specific to this generation. They often need more guidance and desire praise and a sense of purpose. But if you can provide a nurturing environment, your young employees can be one of your greatest assets. Good luck!

About the Author: This is a guest post by Susan Wells. She writes on topics including health/car/life insurance, mortgage, real estate.

Image: Will Folsom / Flickr