As a solo PR pro, you’re probably used to doing things on your own, especially when it comes to managing your PR business.
And while it’s not always a bad thing to be in full control, it means that as your business thrives and grows, so does your workload. More clients means more of the work you love doing (yay!) but it also means more invoicing, more administrative planning and a lot more time in your workday.
Sharing that workload with someone else (or even a small team) can help you get your work/life balance back and free your time and energy up for the projects that matter most.
But bringing on an independent contractor is no small undertaking and requires careful consideration and planning.
Use our tips to make the process a little easier.
Identifying a need for help
Before you start posting jobs online, start by assessing your business to determine if the need is there, and how great it might be.
Spend a few weeks examining how much time you’re spending on various tasks, and identifying if those tasks could be performed by someone else. Use a time tracking app to record exactly how many hours go into each of these tasks.
This will help you to establish the type of contractor or freelancer you’ll need to bring on and how much work you’ll have to give them.
Are you spending countless hours on reporting, billing or other time-sucking activities? Perhaps someone in an administrative assistant role would best fit your business.
Or, on the other hand, do you need help with content management, research or pitching? Then bringing on someone with a higher level of PR skill may be the way to go.
During this process, it’s important to evaluate the personal appeal of the work as well. Would you feel happier and more productive if you could eliminate some of these tasks?
Be smart about your business. Think about the time investment, how frequently you will need help and consider your bottom line to determine what type of worker best fits the bill.
The hiring process
Online staffing firms like Upwork can also be helpful for finding people for short-term or recurring tasks. Some of them even offer payroll options and tax-based services so that you don’t have to worry about things like filing 1099s on your own.
If you are looking for someone with a higher level of skill, one of the most effective ways to find an employee is by turning to your network.
As a solo PR pro, you’ve likely experienced the high of being referred for a gig. Finding someone to work for you can be done very similarly.
By turning to your trusted network of experienced professionals, you can find the best candidate for the job without sifting through a sea of resumes.
Working with contractors
Once you’ve got your contractor on board, consider these three tips to make sure things run as smoothly as possible.
1. Document processes and procedures. When onboarding a new freelancer or contractor, you will need to provide training on the work you do and clearly explain your expectations for their performance. Documenting how you operate in advance of hiring will help make the training process run much more smoothly.
Creating an “employee handbook” can be especially beneficial if you plan to scale your team up over time to add multiple employees. It provides you a place to document your company culture, policies and expectations in writing.
2. Structure the tasks you will delegate. Standardize the workload before your new hire begins to make assigning projects easier and more efficient and train accordingly.
Depending on the level of skill and knowledge required to complete the tasks at hand, you may want to consider putting together a training program. This can be as simple or as robust as needed, and helps with standardizing all work processes across multiple people.
3. Pay attention to the legal stuff. When taking on the role of employer, it’s important that you check all of the right legal boxes. That means appropriately classifying the people you hire to avoid serious financial consequences with the IRS and other agencies. Luckily, the Department of Labor and the IRS provide guidance in this area, so be sure to consult both their websites ahead of finalizing a new hire.
Pro tip: Download our Legal Checklist to ensure you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s when hiring.
Do you work with contractors? Tell us about your experience in the comments!