The Benefits of Hiring a Freelancer for Your Business

Small businesses hiring freelancers is becoming more popular in the age of so many technological advances. There are also many more freelancers to choose from than ever before. In fact 35% of the American workforce are freelancers*. There are so many benefits to hiring a freelancer, but is hiring a freelancer right for you? Take a look at the benefits:

 

Save Time and Money

When you find a freelancer, you are finding someone who can work on demand. You don’t need to spend time and money putting them through the entire onboarding process. You can simply find someone who has the skills you are looking for and send them the work you need completed.

 

Hiring a freelancer is also very beneficial for companies that tend to have business that ebb and flows. That means no more scrambling to hire more employees because you have an increase in work or having to lay off employees when work is slow (you also won’t need to pay for unemployment). Not to mention, you don’t need to supply a freelancer with a laptop and a work space like you would a regular employee.

 

They Work Harder & Smarter

Freelancers tend to perform better than regular employees because of their entrepreneurial spirit. They also are aware that you hiring them for another project or referring them more business is highly dependant on their performance. It is very different than an employee who is complacent in their position for years.

 

They also have better experience than regular employees because they’ve worked with so many different companies. They tend to be working with cutting edge technology which can save your company even more time and money.

 

Access to Better Talent

There are freelancers who are willing to work around the world. You have access to any one of them! You can’t say the same for your local talent pool.



 

When you are deciding between a freelancer and an employee, remember that if you choose freelancer, you have the globe to choose from, they will be able to work on demand and they will have the exact skills you need for that project. Freelancers will save you and your company unlimited time and money.

 

To find out how you can be connected with the perfect freelancer, schedule a free 30 minute call with us.



 

*As of 2016 according to Forbes.com

The Easiest Way to Save Your Company Money That You're Overlooking

You just hired a new employee for your business, how long do you think it’ll be before you see your return on investment? At what point do you break even with training costs? I’ve seen clients hire candidates only to have them quit before they broke even. Now they’re in the hole $2,000 and they still need to hire another employee.

There is a recent study done by Harvard Business School where they took a survey of 610 CEOs which showed mid-level managers don’t reach their break-even point until they’ve worked just over 6 months of working at their company.* So our efforts should be putting money into hiring the right employee for your company. Once you do that, you won’t have to worry about losing money with each hire.

Because the National Unemployment Rate is under 5%**, you want to hang on to every talented employee you can find. It’s a candidates market out there, if they’re not happy with your company they can easily find another job. Here are some tips for making sure your onboarding process goes as smoothly as possible:

Start the Onboarding Process Before You Start the Onboarding Process

You heard me. Imagine you are starting at a new company, you’re a little nervous, you want to make sure you have the correct date and time for your first day and you’re not exactly sure who to reach out to with any questions like, “Where should I park on my first day since I don’t have a parking pass yet?” or “I haven’t heard from them for 2 weeks, do they remember that I’m starting today?”

I’ve walked into a new office on my first day only to have my new boss go, “Oh I completely forgot you were starting today!” Gee, thanks for making me feel important. After your top candidate accepts the offer, send them information regarding their first day. Include all the details, don’t assume they will know!

Also, make sure to mark in your calendar that they are starting and have a scheduled plan for their first day. Check in with them one week before their start day, I recommend by phone. Welcome them personally, let them know you are excited to have them and let them know what to expect. The day before their first day, send them a quick email, just so they feel confident heading into work their first day. They will feel like they already kind of know you.

First Impressions Matter

Have you started at a new company only to get there on your first day and your desk needs a deep cleaning from the person who used it before you? Or your laptop is not reconfigured and your email login doesn’t work? I have. How long did I stay with that company? Not long. Because my first impression of them was that they were disorganized.

When you have a new employee starting, check with IT to make sure their email and all user logins are up and running so they can login right away. Please clean their desk/office/cube. No one, and I mean no one wants to spend their first day cleaning up the mess of the person before them.

Introduce your new team member to everyone around the office. Schedule meet and greets with coworkers that they will be working with directly so they can start to grow their working relationship. Buy lunch for the team to eat together with your new employee, or take your new employee out to lunch to get to know them one-on-one.

Make sure you are clear about your expectations of them from day one, so there is no guess work involved. If your company has multiple locations, it’s a good idea to have the new employee write a short intro about themselves for you to send out company wide. Maybe even attach a picture (approved by the employee of course) so if anyone is visiting your location they can put a name to the face.

Create a Training Schedule – and Stick To It

Every client that I have worked with has some sort of training schedule to speak of. Creating training schedules are easy. Sticking to the training schedule is where most employers fail. I know, work gets busy, life gets busy. But you knew this employee was starting, right? So plan to be booked their first two weeks to train them. If you have meetings you must attend schedule them to train with one of their coworkers. Whatever you plan, stick to it. If you don’t, your disorganization will show.

You are dishing out a pretty penny to bring this new employee on board. If you don’t set them up for success during that 2 week training period, they will not be successful, I promise. Make your money worth it, give them proper, structured training and it will save you time and money in the long run.

During this two week training period, you can schedule time for them to complete all of the hiring paperwork. The I-9 needs to be completed within 3 days of their first day. The other paperwork can be spread out so they don’t feel like all they are doing is filling out new paperwork.

New Employee Development

My guess is when you interviewed your new employee they didn’t say that they would love to be in this position forever without ever advancing. Most job seekers are looking for advancement opportunities or to grow their skills and learn. If you are a small company, you may not be able to offer opportunity for advancement, but you can offer mentorship.

If your company allows for it, assign your new employee a mentor (that isn’t you). This will be someone they can go to about all of their dumb questions without having to ask their direct supervisor. This should also be someone who you see in your company as a leader, someone who has a lot of knowledge to offer that maybe is different than your knowledge.

This will benefit your company for two reasons; it will give the mentor some leadership experience and help them feel more engaged in their position, and it will take some workload off your shoulders while still having your new employee growing and developing within your company. You will also be able to check in with their mentor and see how they feel the new employee is doing in their position.

Another great tool to use once the 2 week training is complete is a 30-60-90 day goal plan. On the last day of your 2 week training schedule time to go over your expectations for this goal plan and a due date of when you want to see the completed plan. If they are at a loss of what their goals should be, give them a few ideas of what you feel needs to be fixed in their department and how long you think it should take, but let them fully complete this goal plan on their own. When they are completed, revisit their plan together to make sure you are both in agreement. Make a copy for yourself and upload their goals into your calendar so you can follow up appropriately.

[FREE Download - 30-60-90 Day Plan]

 

The first day of an employee’s new job can make or break their success with your company. Thinking back to the onboarding processes I’ve gone through at different companies makes me cringe. Why is this something companies haven’t worked to perfect yet?

You are losing money with every employee you hire if you haven’t followed these guidelines during the onboarding process. The onboarding process of new employees is something many companies overlook, but a process that should be refined to minimize time and money spent.

To hire us for a custom onboarding plan specific to your company, please schedule a free 30 minute consultation.

 

*Posted in Investopedia study done by the Studer Group

* *Unemployment rate of 4.4% as of June 2017 according to the National Conference of State Legislators

Daily Habits of Highly Effective Bosses

When you ask a business owner what their secret sauce is, it's sometimes surprising what you will find out. Typically there are habits that each individual has, that just works perfectly for them. I have heard from many entrepreneurs that they meditate as soon as they wake up and that is just what works well for them. I've never been successful at meditating but my day hardly feels complete without grabbing coffee and heading to the gym first thing.

I asked a group of entrepreneurs what their daily habit is, for example: Do you wear have  a uniform sense of fashion such as wearing black every day? Do you wake up and work out first thing? Do you meditate daily before starting your work? Check social media to get the procrastinating out of the way? Maybe it will give you some ideas on what to add to your day to make you a more effective boss.

Here are the daily habits of highly effective bosses:

 

Perri Collins - Collins Digital Media

"I do wear mostly black. It goes with everything, you can dress it up or down, and it looks good on everyone. I prefer to workout in the evening, but I'm still working on making that a consistent part of my day. I love podcasts. I start Mondays with a fun one like Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, but the rest of the weekday mornings tend to be more business focused. I meditate in the mornings before breakfast. What I do daily to be a good boss? Get a good night's sleep. Write my to do list the night before. Have a group of business allies you can bounce ideas off of anytime. Make an idea and stick to it -- don't second guess myself."

 

Jenna Redfield - JennaRedfieldDesigns

"Starting next month I'm joining a new fitness studio and will work out everyday at 7am. I listen to podcasts in the car, usually ones for entrepreneurs but some fun pop culture ones too."

 

Connie Baker - Integrated Copy

"I'm at the gym by 5am. Listen to a podcast (the Business Experiment Podcast is my fav at the moment) on my walk up and back! Sit quietly when home - read the paper, check social accounts, emails, write my to-do list for the day, have coffee. Do my mum thing - pack lunch, take daughter to the bus etc. Then I really start work for the day! I work in blocks of 40 mins - check social accounts, throw on some laundry or just move in between. Doing this I feel more in control and I get more done."

 

Christy Lee Knutson - ChristyLeeKnutson.com

"I do lots of the "typical" entrepreneurial habits (multiple podcasts everyday, wake up early to read, exercise, a "loose" uniform, etc) but one of my favorite habits is committing to sit-down dinners in the evening with my family. We have three young kids and we are super intentional about taking that time together, each of us sharing the high and low points of our day. When this habit is in place (amongst other family rituals) I'm able to bring more focus, joy and a peaceful confidence to my work."

 

Lauren Marie - HD Cleaning

"I wear all black because I'm a dark cloud. Daily habits: Eat breakfast, even if it's just toast, pack a lunch, bring hot tea, check my calendar, go over my books, post to Craigslist, go provide services, get back in my car and thank my lucky stars I'm capable of using my skills to pay the bills/gratitude&praise to the Universe, dream about my side hustle, check my calendar and books some more."

 

Dr. Lena Jeanne - Lena Jeanne Cosmetics

"I think my daily habit would definitely be cooking a daily meal and exercising. I also try to get some sort of sun. Living in Louisiana it's not hard to do that, but since I hate the winter at all it's even more important during winter time. Exercising somehow everyday is also extremely important because I juggle two teens with autism, my daily research position as a molecular oncologist, and my company, oh and yeah I forgot about the husband! Exercising also helps stimulate my mind and keep me happy. Routine sleep is just as important as exercising and having a common bed time. I definitely work hard to keep that! Sometimes I nap for just 30 minutes as well!"

 

Stephanie Moon - Stephmoon.co

"Working out at a barre class."

 

Comment below with your daily habits!

8 Tips for the First Time Business Owner

It can be hard to let go and start that business you've wanted to start for as long as you can remember.  But its important for you to know that YOU CAN DO IT!  You got this.  Here are the tips I give anyone looking to start their own business.

1. Be Frugal.

Yes, your business should look legit when you are just starting off.  However, there is no need to go out and start renting an office when you can work from your dining room table at home for free.  There is no need to buy a faster, brand new computer until you can afford it.  Don't do it!  Save your money!  And when you start to make money, invest it back into your business.

2. Work Hard.

This seems like a given, but so many people believe that an entrepreneur works an hour or two a day and can still bring in that 6 figure salary.  If you can do that, please contact me because I'm interested!  But reality is the entrepreneur will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week for someone else.  You will need to put in the time and the sweat in order to be successful especially when just starting out.

3. Don't Let Failure Get Your Down.

There will be failure, that is a fact.  No matter who you are or what you do, there will at one point be failure.  Failure so big that you don't think you can recover.  But the true test of failure is how you react to it.  If you throw in the towel and give up, then you were not made to own your own business.  But if you take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves and prioritize to get back to where you need to be, that is true success.  Failure is an opportunity to learn.  I suggest you learn from failure and keep on chuggin' along!

4. Don't Listen To Naysayers.

They will be everywhere, especially at first.  They will tell you how hard it is to start a business and that the economy isn't good and that you don't have enough experience.  Nod and smile and erase everything they say from your memory.  Yes, it will be hard, BUT you are capable of anything with a positive attitude.  Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.  So keep that positive attitude and keep telling yourself "I KNOW I can."

5. There Is No Blame Game.

You know when you're at work and you made a mistake that you don't want to admit so then you tell the boss that you made that decision because of blah, blah, blah...?  Well, that stops now.  There is no blame game when its just you.  If you make a mistake, suck up your pride and fix it.  There is no blame game in the world of entrepreneurism.

6. Know Your Niche.

If you don't know your niche, then you don't know your business.  You cannot have a business that targets everyone.  I promise, it will not work.

7. Marketing Is Worth It.

Many first time business owners think marketing is a waste of time or money.  Trust me its not.  How else will you get your business in front of customers?  These days its easier (and cheaper) to market your business using social media.  If you can become a social media expert, its easy peasy to market your business for very little time or money.  Just ask me how!

8. Be Consistent.

I am no stranger to trying to get your business off the ground while still working your day job.  The best advice I was ever given was, you may not be able to work your start up full time, but you need to work is consistently.  You cannot work it sometimes.  If its an hour or two a day, that's great.  But working one week and not the next and then maybe working a couple days the week after is not consistent enough to get it off the ground.

What is the best tip you ever received for starting your own business?

The ONE Thing You Need to Start Your Own Business

There are so many different articles you can find on the internet about what you need to start your own business.  But truly there is only one thing you need to start your own business. 

am·bi·tion

amˈbiSH(ə)n/

noun

  1. a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.

You need the ambition, the drive to push past all obstacles that will be in your way.  You need to have strength to get back up when the business world knocks you off your feet.  You need a positive way of thinking when the only voices in your ear are negative.  Ambition is the only thing you need.  And if you have that ambition, you will figure everything else out.  Keep you eyes on the prize and never waiver.  With a strong will and desire to achieve success, you will achieve all you ever dreamed of.

 

If You Don't Show Up, You will Never Get the Opportunity

There are so many people out there who want to succeed and do more with their life. The problem is they don't know where to start.  Here's some advice I wish I was able to give more often... DO something!  Literally anything, but not nothing.  I can promise you that doing nothing will get you no where.  Your dreams will not just come to you.  They will come after hard work!

One thing I saw while recruiting was that people would be constantly applying for my jobs.  I would phone screen them, I would think they were a great fit for the job and they seemed excited to be considered.  We would set up an interview for the next day and I'm left there waiting.  They don't show up.  So I move on and continue scouting candidates.  Typically by the next day they are applying for more jobs.  I reach out to them and let them know that we in fact had an interview set up but they did not show.  They assure me that they want to work so we set up another interview (2 times is my limit!)

They have no idea what the pay way, if they would really love the job, or anything else for that matter.  But because they don't show up they will never know what I have to offer and they will never get any further than they currently are.  

Think about this when you are starting your business.  If you don't show up to the opportunity, you will never get that opportunity.  Literally the worse thing that could happen if you do show up is you find out the opportunity is not a good fit.  But from that you may find another opportunity that suits you better.

My point is, if you don't try to achieve you dreams you will never get there.  So stop reading multiple articles about how to start your business and go out there and do it.  You'll learn along the way, I promise!

3 Steps to Take Action and Start Your Own Biz

I was in the middle of a conversation yesterday with an entrepreneur at heart and he said something that really make me think about how important it is to take action when starting you biz. One thing that he said to me was that he saw something the other day, that he had thought of a few years ago. He said if only he had taken the action when he first had that idea, he would be making money on it and not the next person who thought of that idea. 

That made me think back to years ago, since I was always an entrepreneur at heart. When I was around 10 years old, I HATED washing my hair all the time. I wasn't one of those girls who could not wash my hair every day, it got too greasy.  I thought one day, when I have the knowledge and the means I am going to invent shampoo that you can just spray into your hair. Then you don't need to wash it but you can still get rid of all that grease. 15 years later and dry shampoo is something I used daily, not because I took action and created it, but because someone else did. 

Now, I'm not saying that at 10 years old I would have been able to create dry shampoo, but it really makes you wonder how soon someone else may come up with the idea you have. If you thought of something that no one else has thought of, get it out there quick! Because it is just a matter of time before someone else thinks of that idea. That rings true with any business idea, it is better to take risks and fail than to spend you whole life dreaming.

Here are the steps I took to getting out there and take action.

1. Don't tell anyone your idea at first.

This will only discourage you. Not because you don't have supportive, loving people in your life. but because ideas are only ideas until you put action steps behind them. If you have a great idea, but haven't worked out the details and run it past your significant other, understandably, they're going to have questions. Not easy questions, but questions you may have not figured out your self or even ever asked yourself! So until you have details and action plans in place, I would suggest keeping your idea mainly to yourself.

2. Create the action plan.

This is where I tend to get giddy. I love coming up with the steps to getting to my dreams! It really compartmentalizes how you can achieve your dream and truly makes it seem more obtainable. I like to break out my plan and focus on one thing at a time.

Ex- For week 1, I am going to put all my efforts into ABC and measure the results at the end of the week. Then week 2 I will put all efforts into XYZ and measure those results. I will take what is working from week 1 and week 2 and focus on continuing that for week 3.

3. Just do it.

No this is not an ad for Nike. Take your action plan from step 2 and DO IT. Don't look back at Pinterest for another blog about how to start your biz. Just don't. You know what you need to know to start your biz. If you need help along the way reach out and/or research that specific thing. But if you don't take action now, You never will. Then you may see someone else making money off of something you thought of two years ago. Follow the steps and take action, you got this!

How to Grow Your Pinterest Followers

Pinterest is easily my favorite social media site. Literally the best. Not only can you find cute crafts and recipes, but its a great way to grow your website traffic and sales! Here are a few steps you can take to grow your traffic!

1. Transform your Pinterest account.

There is a free option to transform your Pinterest to a business account. Do it! I didn't do it for the longest time, because I assumed it would cost me money and if you know me you know I'm a penny pincher! BUT it doesn't cost a dime so do it! It makes your biz name come up on all pins that you repin and helps you get your name out there.

2. Join group boards.

At first this may seem daunting, however its pretty fun to be a part of a group! Go to your favorite Pinner's accounts and look though their boards, chances are they are part of a group board. When you click on the group board, just follow the instructions to join! Typically you just need to follow the board, the owner and shoot them an email asking them to join. Pretty simple! Once you are part of a group start pinning pins that lead back to your website to that group board. If you can't find a group board to join email me at RieHerron@gmail.com and ask to join my group board!

3. Create a group board.

Its easier than it sounds! Create a general board, such as Social Media Marketing and look through who you follow. You should be following people that are related to the type of business you want to start. Invite them to join your group!

4. Be interactive

Comment on other pins - but comment more than just "Great post!" Comment with something interesting that shows you not only fully read the post, but you are interested in the subject as well. The posts that you are commenting on should be in the field house of the biz you are starting. Follow others who are in the biz you are in, or if you don't want to follow other people follow boards that are specific to your biz. I recommend following new people or boards 5 times A DAY. You will see great results!

 

Pinterest is a great way to grow you biz if you know how to utilize it! If you need more specific help or have questions, contact me at RieHerron@gmail.com and I will be happy to help!

How to Plan a New Product Launch

I used to think you could just list something online and it would sell. Boy was I wrong! A product launch takes time and research but if done right, will drive some massive sales!

Here are four steps you need to take to launch a product.

1.       Product Design/Research

What do your customers want to buy? Think of your Target Market. Let’s pretend you want to start selling t-shirts. What will your t-shirt design be or what will your t-shirt say? Come up with a few ideas and check online to make sure it’s not similar to what someone else is selling. If it’s a common phrase that you want to put on a t-shirt, I would add something to the t-shirt to make it stand out and make it more original.

2.       Comparing Suppliers

Now that you have your t-shirt design, where are you going to purchase your t-shirts? You need to find a wholesaler and a screen printer, or you need to find a company that does both. I like to come up with a bunch of different suppliers I can order from and create a spreadsheet. Here is an example of a spreadsheet I would create to compare suppliers, I like all of my information together!

By comparing all of these categories side by side in an Excel doc it will be easy to see who you should use to supply your product. I rely heavily on customer reviews when I am researching companies I have never used before. In the notes section I typically summarize the issues I saw in the customer reviews. If I’m looking for a supplier who will work with me and answer all of my questions, I probably don’t want to choose a supplier whose customers’ biggest complaint is their customer service. You also probably don’t want to go with a supplier whose product has poor quality.

3.       Advertising Plan

How will you advertise this new product? Sticking with the t-shirt example, to advertise new t-shirts on a low budget I would gather a small group of friends to take photos. I would “pay” them by letting them keep the t-shirts and maybe supplying some beer for the photo shoot! I would order t-shirts to their size and order a couple extras of anyone you may know who has a following on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter or for anyone who has a large social group that you think may be interested in your t-shirts. Send them the shirt with a short note explaining your t-shirt company mission and launch date and letting them know you would love them to have it.

Now to create more hype online, you can send out a launch date and a sneak peek to your email list and post it on every social media outlet you have! Ramp up the hype so on that launch date people are waiting to buy your new product.

4.       Prepare for Launch!

The week of your launch date, post on every social media outlet every single day about your launch date. Don’t let anyone forget that you are launching a new product that they need to have!

Looking for help with your product launch? Email RieHerron@gmail.com!

 

Employee Recognition

One thing most managers don't do enough of is thanking their employees on their achievements and hard work. As a small business owner, you want to retain your employees. Especially when they are great at what they do! It doesn't always have to be a thank you letter, it can be a genuine conversation on why they are valuable to your company. 

This doesn't come easy for everyone. I've also seen managers who ask why they should recognize their employees when they are doing what they are getting paid to do. These days, its hard to find great talent who come in and give their 100% every day. Its even harder to retain those employees. If they don't know where they stand with you and they don't feel like their hard work is getting recognized, they will find a company that gives that to them. 

According to Fortune.com, the 3 most important things in a job to millennials are flexible schedules, being inspired, and being part of the solution. If your business doesn't operate best outside of the normal 9 to 5, then you better start inspiring your employees and letting them truly help out your business. Employees want to make a difference where they work.

So start making your employees feel appreciated. Send them a simple thank you home (yes, using snail-mail) after a hard week. Order lunch for everyone at the office for meeting a company goal. Find a way that connects and inspires your employees to the point where if they are offered another job with more money, they turn it down because they know they have an irreplaceable work culture.

To learn more about what employee recognition can do you for, contact us at rieherron@gmail.com