Indie authors: Don’t hire staff – contract them!

Once your self-publishing business takes off, you’ll likely find yourself overwhelmed. You’re getting more requests and orders for products or services than you can handle, you’re finding yourself on the road all the time delivering seminars and workshops, and you have a dozen books you still want to write, never mind all of the blog entries and press releases you must pen.

You’re seriously considering hiring employees to help out.

Be cautious about doing so, though. Instead, give serious consideration to contracting out work to freelancers and small businesses that offer services you want to push off your to do list.

When you hire a freelancer or small businesses, they become your contractor. They use their own tools (such as a computer and software) to do the job. They have their own office or place where they do business. They work on their own time and so set their own hours. They have other clients as well as you.

In contrast, employees use tools that you the employer provide for them. They work at your place of business. You set their hours. You solely grade their job performance.

That kind of control over how your money is spent to get a job done sounds wonderful, but it’s full of traps. You don’t want to hire employees because:
• They are more expensive than you probably realize. You don’t just pay their salary but also contribute to their Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and possibly health insurance.
• Management requires time, so you must ask yourself if the hours spent on hiring and managing employees could be better spent simply doing their tasks yourself or even not doing them at all?
• Employees need a place to work and equipment to use, which is a new expense. Are you ready to rent a place for your business or alternately allow people into your home? Are you willing to purchase new computer, software, and workstations?
• Following government regulations can be a real headache, as you are required to complete paperwork and pay payroll taxes.

Instead, you should go with freelancers/contractors because:
• They are less expensive than employees.
• Most contracted freelancers don’t need management or motivation.
• Contractors work out of their own chosen locations so there’s no need to house them.
• As they are hired to perform a service, the burden of paperwork for declaring their income and paying taxes is all on them.

Eventually, if you want to significantly expand your operations, you’ll need employees. Indeed, the real advantage of employees is that you can train them to do things your way using your own methodologies, and that may be necessary for your expansion to work. Before taking on the burden of employees, though, always consider the intermediary step of contracting out services.