Are You Building an Extension of Your Business or Hiring The Help?
I just ran across this pretty good article called 8 Tips For You to Hire Like a Rockstar (LKR Media, Laura Roeder and CO, love them!). The article is fabulous for small businesses who are looking to hire a real employee but not so good for most of you business to business dwellers. There is a misconception that when looking for a Virtual Assistant ( that word makes me cringe! Read more here if you want to know why ) you are HIRING one.
The truth is, unless you are paying someone to be your employee and abiding by state and federal laws in terms of breaks, pay ect then you aren't really hiring. What you are doing is a Business to Business transaction.
Most freelancers and Virtual Assistants operate under a B2B business model. There should be no, hey let me see your resume or do you have personal references. Would you ask your Doctor or Lawyer for their resume? You may ask for business references but asking for character references or other "employee"/"employer" relationship things should be a no no.
The biggest difference is the relationship. If you find yourself feeling some type of ownership over the person you are hiring ( wrong in all kinds of ways ) and want to dictate how and what they do, you need to ask yourself a few questions...
Am I entering into a B2B or employee/employer relationship? - There are severe legal implications in regards to this one.
Am I really ready to delegate or grow my business? - This one can be tough for some business owners. They sometimes have the wrong mentality and it can cause them lots of growing pains when trying to expand their business.
Am I micromanaging? - This is a great way to run through people, fast.
Are you building an extension of your business or hiring the help? - Each requires a different mentality.
When I meet a prospect for the first time, I am very open with them on how I operate. I have a contract I use, thanks to the lovely Danielle Keister from Administrative Consultants Association. This contract outlines how I work. It explains that I don't work XX hours and I am not available XX holidays. It also explains how payment is made and what the rates are. In addition it explains my communication methods and that I am CLEARLY not an employee so there is no confusion.
Doing this allows me to operate as an extension of my clients business rather than as a gopher. If you are a freelancer or VA ( Stop calling yourself that already! ) who is ever in a situation where you feel you have to jump through hoops to get work, be sure you are doing so as a willful employee and not a business. Businesses rely on their reputation, reviews and success stories to get more clientele. This sounds similar to your employment history but it's not. When a prospective employer calls one of your previous jobs, they are not allowed to mention certain private info. Your employment is also affected by federal and state laws. Businesses are much more apt to have bad opinions in regards to doing business with them online. There is no such thing as the better employee bureau! lol.
If I were considering another "employment" type relationship, a two hour interview with lots of past work references would probably be fine with me. This person would be in a different relationship dynamic with me than my normal B2B clientele. I would probably only work for them and not juggle a bunch of clients. They would also be paying me like an employee and there is limited income potential in that role. As a business my income is never limited and can grow exponentially.
Speaking of employment, these days I am doing a ton of resume work for people and let me tell you, even that game has changed. Just remember to value your time and you should be A-OK.
If you ever need any advice, leave me a comment or email me. I'm here to share my experiences and help.