By Mathew Ellis
The benefits of working from home are numerous, particularly when you have children to care for. Since you can set your own hours, you can adjust your schedule to spend more time with your little ones and make room in your schedule for the things that mean the most to you.
Of course, the downside of this flexibility is that you often end up working late into the night, on weekends, and often, without even realizing it, over 40 hours a week to meet the demands of your work load. After all, as a small business owner, you are usually managing all aspects of the company, and that takes time.
But here's the thing: you can reclaim those hours – while still maintaining your profitability. In fact, you will likely improve it. How? By outsourcing tasks that you don't need to do. You will not only get that time back but also be able to focus on the aspects of the business that you do best.
One area that most work-at-home business owners can outsource is sales. The prospect can be scary at first. After all, getting new business is a crucial part of your success, so how can you hand it off to someone who doesn't understand the ins and outs of your company? The key is finding the right tasks to hand off as well as the right person to hand them off to.
Make a list.
Take the time to write down absolutely everything you do for sales, such as providing customer service, posting on social networks, writing your blog, replying to want ads, answering questions, producing quotes, making cold calls, generating proposals, and gathering research about potential clients or projects.
Now look at your list. How many of these tasks can be easily handed off to someone else after you provide a little training? Is it possible to generate templates in order to standardize the process for any of these items? What areas do you lack expertise? Hiring a professional to handle those things can actually improve your service.
Find someone reliable.
It goes without saying, but it isn't an easy thing to do. Take your time with the hiring process. Many sites offer reviews from past clients, but you don't have to rely on these alone. Ask for references. Do a trial run. And if you end up hiring the wrong candidate, don't be afraid to let them go and try again.
Consider full-time vs. contract workers.
Hiring someone to work with you full-time has its advantages. You have their full attention and can really focus on developing their talents, skills, and knowledge of your company. But there is also a big disadvantage: cost. Not only are you paying for 40 hours worth of work, but hiring a full-time employee also means managing payroll and paying social security taxes, and often providing other benefits such as sick time, vacation pay, worker's comp, and even health insurance. With a contract employee, you can adjust their schedule based on your needs, so you're not paying for 40 hours unless you need 40 hours worth of work, and it's also easier to change contractors if you find that the candidate you hired isn't the right match.
Focus on training.
When you find the right candidate for the job, whether they are working just a few hours a week or full-time, take the time to develop their understanding of your business, so you can get the most out of them. Don't be afraid to make use of their talents and skills, and mine their experience to make your business even better.