How and when to hire a contractor as a solopreneur

Got an awesome response to one of my recent email updates from a subscriber:

“Great reminder. Re: things I’m struggling with and potential good topic for a workshop or idea for the community… how to hire and work with contractors when you’re a solopreneur.”

I love getting responses to my emails, and I also love getting topic suggestions from you because it makes part of my job a bit easier (as some of you know, sometimes just coming up with an idea to write about is the hardest part!).

Hiring contractors as a solopreneur

I’ve worked with many, both while I was trying to grow my law practice and also now growing my immigration tech company, Visto. Heck, I’ve also worked with a bunch building Solopreneur Grind too.

I think there are two very important things to keep in mind when thinking about hiring contractors:

1) are you hiring them at the right time and for the right reason?

2) strategies to find one that’s good for you and your business

Let’s start with the first part.

Especially if you’re a solopreneur, keeping a close eye on your monthly revenue, expenses and profits is super important.

When it comes to hiring contractors, you need to ask yourself “why?”, and also make sure it makes sense from a numbers standpoint.

There are really only 2 good reasons to hire a contractor:

  • you want to grow your business
  • you want to spend less time on your business

In the first case, you want to grow your business which means you want more revenue. But you might be in a position where you simply don’t have more time in the day to do this, because you’re spending all of your day on sales/marketing, operations/fulfillment (to actually provide the product or service) and any other admin stuff.

So if you want to grow, you decide to hire a contractor who can take over some of the work you’re doing so you can unlock more time to make more revenue. For example:

  • you hire someone who can help provide your product/service/solution to clients so you can spend more time selling
  • you hire someone to do outreach and book sales calls for you, or do your social media marketing, to drive more qualified leads
  • you hire a bookkeeper to handle your monthly finances to free up more time for client work or sales

But remember this: if hiring that contractor does not unlock more time or energy to increase company sales, it’s not a financially smart move.

Put more simply: company revenue after hiring a contractor should always be greater than company revenue before hiring a contractor (maybe not immediately, as it may take a few weeks/months to take effect).

In the second case, maybe you just don’t want to work as much and you’re okay with making a bit less money. So you hire a contractor to unlock more of your own time – not to grow the business like in the first instance, but to chill and enjoy life.

That’s really it. If you’re thinking of hiring someone and that contractor isn’t going to unlock more time for you – either to increase revenue or have more time to enjoy life – then it’s not a wise move financially. You’re just eating into your own margins.

How to find contractors for your solopreneur business.

Over the years I’ve used a decent number of contractors, from contract creators, to video editors, to developers, UX designers, social media managers and more.

Here are some of the best ways to find contractors as a solopreneur:

1) Referrals

This is far and away the best option, if you can use it. I’m not going to write a novel on it because it’s pretty self explanatory, but most of the great contractors I’ve used came through referrals.

Ask friends, ask coworkers, post in group chats you’re in – whatever it takes. If you can get a referral from someone you trust who has worked with the contractor before, it’s ideal.

2) Online communities or groups

This is similar to referrals, but a little farther removed.

For example, if you’re in an online community or mastermind group, ask those folks. If you’re in a Solopreneurs in Toronto Facebook group, ask there too. Still worth doing your homework and vetting the contractor, of course.

For example, I’ve had pretty good experiences posting in reliable chat groups or even Reddit threads/subreddits.

3) Marketplaces

We’ve all seen them and heard of them – or maybe not – but some of the more popular ones here are Upwork and Fiverr.

I’ve found Upwork to be pretty good, BUT you have to put in the time to vet properly. The reasons Upwork is good:

  • there’s a lot of contractors on there
  • they provide a lot of info/stats that make vetting pretty easy

It just takes some time to weed out the crap.

Fiverr is good, but I primarily only use it if a) the work I’m looking for is very simple and b) I’m not looking to spend a lot of money. For boring, repeatable and clear tasks, it’s a very cheap way to find good help.

But for something more detailed, requiring heavy lifting (figuratively) or on-going work, I’d stay away from Fiverr.

The last thing I’ll mention is that more and more marketplaces pop up everyday, and some specialize in certain tasks.

For example, if you need a software developer or virtual assistant, there are marketplaces that specialize in just those specific roles. They might be better than a broad marketplace like Upwork.

May this help you find the contractor of your dreams, and if you like my updates and want them straight to your inbox, make sure to join my daily email list here.

Thanks for reading, and keep grinding.

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