Business is great and, in fact, you’re crazy busy. Are you thinking it’s time to finally hire help so you can expand your business?

There are really only three options you can go to grow beyond a one-person business. Frankly, none of them are as easy as we’d like.

The first is automation. Needless to say, there are many ways we might be able to reduce our time spent on work by using various forms of automation. However, look carefully at your choices to determine how much time and money you’ll need to put into each choice. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management software) is a good example of this. Some systems seem very inexpensive when beginning but the pricing goes up rapidly. Others can be quite expensive but worth every penny because they do so much.

The second option is hiring Independent Contractors to do some of the work for you. Be very, very careful here. So many businesses hire someone, sign a contract, and believe they are legally compliant. The truth is many of the people being hired as Independent Contractors would be viewed as employees by the state and you could be looking at large penalties and fines for misclassifying that person.

A true Independent Contractor looks and acts like you…..a real business. The safest route is to confirm they have a business license, a business name (DBA), liability insurance, marketing collateral (business cards, website, etc.), and they have other clients for whom they do similar work. Working full-time for another company doesn’t count. That just means they have a full-time job elsewhere and a part-time job with you. They also can’t be duplicating your “core” business; an Independent Contractor typically provides expertise you don’t have.

The third option is expansion by hiring employees. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches (and possible fines) if you start out on the right foot. There are things you’ll need to have in place prior to hiring your first employee. Plus, you need to know about the dangers awaiting you in the form of a myriad of employment laws in California.

When you involve other people in your business, don’t just jump in with both feet. This is the time to dip a toe in and find out what’s in the water.



About Your Columnist

CJ Westrick is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers all things human resources and managing people in the workplace. CJ Westrick, SPHR, has been in human resources (HR) management for over 20 years and has maintained her SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) national certification since 2002. She started HR Jungle, a human resources consulting firm, in 2006 to provide senior-level HR expertise to businesses without internal HR.

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