Hiring a Contractor or Employee: Part I

Written by chicceo Published in

We've asked our good friend, Mel Shaw, from Z Life Media to give us some insight into her experiences with hiring contractors and employees as she's had a some very interesting experiences with it. Read on sister, you won't be sad you did.

First and foremost, if you are anything like me, you want your hands in EVERYTHING about your business. It is so very scary to hand off even the tiniest portion of your baby to someone else. I get it. But, what you need to decide is who you want to hire, what to delegate right away and what to hang on to for a little while longer. So, here are some steps to take to make the transition easier for you.
1. Outline What You Are Looking For In Advance. The mistake I made when looking for the right contractors for my business is that I didn’t have a clear cut idea of what was important to me in a contractor prior to going on the hunt. I learned that I needed to:
 •  Know my expectations. Dress code? Work Ethic? Co-branding or white labeling? (to “White Label” is to have someone work for your company under your brand, not theirs to keep the process seamless in the eyes of your client. I always recommend this to prevent a trust issue from arising with your clients) - these are just a few of many questions I should have thought through. My recommendation to you is to make a list of all the things you can possibly dream up in the most ideal candidate and what expectations you have of that person when filling the role they will be hired to do.
 •  Have a contractor commitment. Not an agreement, a “commitment”, as I’m not an attorney and won’t speak to contracts. Having a signed “Commitment” in place between you and the contractor will clearly outline all of your expectations and ensure they understand the expectations of how to uphold your brand and what you expect from them as a contractor.
2. Get References and ACTUALLY call them! The last thing you want to do is delegate a piece of your business to someone who was not referred to you by a reliable source. Get the contact name, email and phone number of at least three people whom this person has done business for. If the project/task to be delegated is something tangible, get samples of their work.
3. Start small and test a few. Now, this is assuming you’ve interviewed a few contractors. I highly recommend you do. If you have enough work to go around, narrow the work down to two contractors and delegate small pieces to each. You will quickly learn who has the better work ethic, meets deadlines, understands the role and communicates with you in the way you prefer. Now, of course, there is always the possibility that neither will work out but at least you have it narrowed down and you’ve communicated to them in advance that you are bringing them in on a trial basis to start. And, not to mention you had the sign that handy dandy “Contractor Commitment” so there are no excuses if they aren’t cutting it.
4. If they rock, delegate away! When you have finally found a contractor who makes the grade, you can start to increase their workload and better manage your own.
It has taken us about 3 months to really find a team that we are pleased with and continue to be on the lookout for additional great additions but I’m in hopes that, if you follow these steps, you will be on your way to getting your weekends back, by delegating to some really great team members.
Good luck and congrats for getting your business to this point!
Mel Shaw is CEO and Founding Partner of ZLife Media, a San Diego based Interactive Marketing Agency serving small businesses and solo-preneurs in their Social Media, Email and Online Marketing. The ZLife Team aims to help businesses and entrepreneurs by creating content and engaging with fans and followers in these marketing outlets for them on their behalf to save them time. Mel specializes in Small Business Development, Marketing and Sales Strategy with over 5 years of experience as a business owner and over a decade in sales. Mel can be reached directly at 858-668-8451 or by email at Mel@ZLifeMedia.com.



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