In early 2015, I had just taken my sewing and embroidery business full time, while doing a part time work-from-home job for another company on the side, and taking care of a new baby. By October 2015, I found myself staying up all hours of the night to get orders for my business finished and ready on time.
The huge influx of sales was a blessing, but I knew I couldn’t handle it all by myself anymore. But hiring was so overwhelming! Four years later, I can tell you that hiring help (in all sorts of ways!) has been the best decision I’ve ever made. Here’s what I did!
Hire Independent Contractors
I create handmade clothing from fabric, so up to an hour of work can go into each item sold. To reach my goals, I needed to have help cutting fabric, sewing and finishing garments. So, I found independent contractors to help me cut fabric and sew from their homes. If you can find creative ways for people to help you from their homes, and get paid per project, independent contractors can be a simple, straightforward way to hire.
I have small business friends who hire independent contractors to sand wood, hot glue items, package orders and “weed” vinyl. No job is too weird as long as you have clear, detailed instructions: some of mine had no experience with fabric before I trained them on the simple jobs I needed done.
I prefer hiring local independent contractors who pick up and drop off from my front porch, but I have friends who ship the jobs to their contractors too! Typically, independent contractors are a great first hire, because there are no payroll taxes. You will issue them a 1099 at the end of the year, but as far as taxes for them, that’s about it.
The next logical step is hiring employees that come to your place of work (or home) to work on your business. Setting up payroll was not nearly as hard as I had feared. I recommend using a website like Gusto.com to set it up, as they will direct deposit paychecks, and automatically submit any state or federal taxes for an employee (around $50/month). Note that hiring employees can be more expensive for an employer than contractors, because you need to cover their payroll taxes. Therefore, when you pay someone $10/ hour, your out-of-pocket spending looks more like $11/hour after taxes. Another thing to consider: In South Carolina, if you have for or more employees, you may be required to get workmen’s comp insurance.
All in all, great employees are worth every penny! My employees iron, package, trim shirts, cut fabric, do minor website updates, run errands, and perform all sorts of different tasks every day. I love the flexibility of having them work on whatever is needed that day, as opposed to the contractors who work on things that will be finished in a few weeks. You will also be surprised how quickly the right employee can learn to do what you do- Some of mine are faster than I am now! Take the time to find and train the right person, and your business can really scale.
Hire Help from Professionals in Your Weak Spots
The pros know! Consider outsourcing your social media accounts if they are not your strong suit, or aren’t making you enough money. In these cases, spending the money to hire a professional not only saves time, but also creates much more revenue. Think about your website, marketing, social media, and graphic design. All of these jobs may be better suited by a pro who knows what they are doing. Leaving you to focus on what you know best—your business!
For many moms, the dream is to work from home while raising your kids. But it’s very, very hard to make a full-time salary AND take care of the kids full time. Someone or something gets short changed.
I decided to hire some childcare help, so that I could continue working from home. It’s actually pretty refreshing to get a break from little kids to work, and I find it makes me a better parent when I am with them! My first step was a nanny, for 3 hours a day. I also carefully choreographed nap routines, and between naps and nanny, I carved out 5-7 hours a day to work. She also worked on home or business things while my son was asleep, or while he was happily playing.
She packaged orders, folded clothes, or went grocery shopping with him many days, so I really felt I was getting a ton of value from hiring her. When my son was a little bit older, he started going to a part time preschool (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). He loved school, learned letters and numbers quickly, and it was very affordable (mine was only a few dollars an hour). Even if you decide to send your kids to day care full time, or hire a full-time nanny, your kids will still benefit from the flexibility of you being an entrepreneur. You’ll never miss a school play, and will be available when they are sick.
Hire Help with Personal Duties
Time really is money when you have a growing small business. If you can work in your business and make more money than you can pay someone for a job, always do that. Our time is a finite resource, and if it makes sense, buy back your time in creative ways. Hire out house cleaning, lawn care, home repair jobs, painting, and more. Just because you CAN do something (clean, paint, mow the lawn) doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Think of the free ways to save time as well. Utilize online shopping, grocery pickup, and the drive through pharmacy. Your time is pressed, so don’t spend it doing things that don’t serve you best.
I hope this helps you consider some ways to hire and outsource to find more time to spend growing your business! Feel free to email me any questions you have about my experience. Getting help has been the best decision I’ve made for my business, and hope it can do the same for you.
This article originally appeared in issue 003 of Access magazine. For more creative ways to learn, create and share in our community, visit RichlandLibrary.com/Access.