However, if your business is starting to pick up and you’re struggling to find hours in the day to meet client demand, it’s natural to think about growing your business, even if you are reluctant to grow an in-house team of permanent, employed staff due to the current economic uncertainty.
Thankfully, there is an alternative to growing an in-house team: Outsourcing. In today’s digital world, more and more talented and skilled business support and administrative professionals are offering their services remotely, and with many offering packages of ‘hours’ or one-off project rates, they offer a great alternative to full time, employed members of staff.
Yes, freelancers tend to have an hourly rate that is much higher than an employee, but without the overheads that you’d have bringing someone into your team full time; You don’t have to sort out their tax/national insurance/pension, or provide their computer, desk and office chair; you don’t need to pay them for holiday or illness, and they can leap straight into a specific task or project that you need help with without you necessarily having to train them up (or advertise for someone with that skillset and potentially have to wait for that person to give notice to their current job before they can start). Many freelancers also allow you to pay for a few hours of their time, if required, so you can ‘test the waters’ with them and ensure that they are the right fit for you and your business without either them or you losing out.
One thing that I would say is still essential, regardless of whether you grow your team with permanent employees or temporary freelancers, is a good quality contract between you and your team members. Seek legal advice to ensure that it covers everything that you need and gives your team members a clear outline of their responsibilities and yours, so that in the unlikely event something does go wrong, you are both covered (i.e. if you cannot afford to maintain their support, that you can step away with a month’s notice rather than being tied into long periods that you cannot realistically afford). Just be aware that if you only sign up for one month/a couple of months and then want to extend the support period, that your team member may have found an alternative long-term project to work on from someone who was able to commit to a longer period, and would not be in breach of contract if they did this.
Outsourcing is a wonderful way to bring skilled and motivated team members into your business, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be short-term – many business owners I work with have fabulous, long-term relationships with freelancers that are still cost-effective and beneficial to their business. So if you are a little hesitant about growing your team at the moment, why not reach out to a freelance business support professional? It could be just what the Doctor ordered!