You’re scaling up and you have hired, are thinking about hiring, or you are hiring a subcontractor for the first time to help out with social media management, virtual assistance, or online business management. Let me celebrate for a moment with you because that is HUGE!
Congratulations on taking a big step in growing your business!
You probably have a million questions about how to hire, onboard, and pay a subcontractor. Or maybe your first time hiring a subcontractor wasn’t the easiest process and you want your next experience to be a smoother transition.
Ask away! I am well-versed in this area of business being a contractor myself.
Let’s talk first about the difference between a subcontractor and an employee.
According to the IRS, there are 3 things to look at to determine whether or not a person is a subcontractor (who receives a 1099) or an employee (who receives a W-2):
- Behavioral control – a subcontractor will have the right to determine how the work is done, and they also have control over how it is done. An employee will receive their direction from the employer on how to get the work done.
- Financial control – Who has the right to decide the financial aspects of how the work is done? Usually in an employer/employee relationship, the employer chooses what to invest in and expenses.
- Relationship of the parties – How do the worker and business owner view the relationship? Typically, employee benefits, PTO, and things of that nature infer an employee/employer relationship. A subcontractor usually has their own contract outlining terms, deadlines, etc.
It is very important you check your local laws and not base your opinion off the items listed above.
The laws can be complex, especially in California, and following your local law can save you time, money, and possibly court costs later on.
Ok enough of my “serious” voice.
Once you have decided if your hire falls under the subcontractor role there are some things you may be unfamiliar with.
How do you share access to password secured sites and software with them?
In my opinion, you can never be too safe with the security of your business and information. For this reason, I HIGHLY recommend finding a good password manager and utilizing it. There are many out there, but my favorite is LastPass. In most cases, the free version is enough to get passwords shared securely.
You will want to make sure the subcontractor has access to everything they need to get the work done. By using LastPass, you can share only specific access (and choose not to allow the subcontractor to view the password) to the pertinent files.
How can I see the timeline of projects and work being done?
This part is incredibly important to be sure deadlines are met, launch schedules are created properly, and all parties know what is being done by who so work is not done in duplicate.
Personally, my systems and clients work best with Asana (the free version should work for most people). You can work in list view, board view, or calendar view…it has the ability to keep everyone on the team on track and up-to-date easily.
However, some creatives work better with another software called Trello. I have also used this software, and I find it useful for social media content planning and other similar projects and collaborations.
Whatever you decide to go with, just having a project planning app will enable you to be successful with a team in reaching a common goal.
What is the best method of communicating with my subcontractor?
Again, there are several options, and it really depends on personal preference. If you hire a contractor who hates using the communication method you choose, or you can’t seem to work with the one they prefer, it may not be the best match.
A couple options are Slack, Voxer, email, Teams, texting, or Google Chat.
In my opinion, the best option is Slack. Slack has many integrations (even with the free level) that you can hook up Asana, Google Drive, calendars, etc to and make things easier all around. There are also options to create separate workspaces if you are a contractor for all your different clients!
How do I pay my subcontractor?
Your contractor will most likely send an invoice either at the beginning of the month or the end of the working month, depending on their terms. Almost every contractor has some type of online payment system: Paypal, Quickbooks Online, Wave, Xero, etc. A note: if it is difficult to make a payment on an invoice, you might want to check out other options for contractors that are a better fit.
Not every contractor will be a perfect fit for you, but you want to make sure you have the BEST fit.
This is especially true when working remotely. More experienced subcontractors are adept at communicating virtually, while those newer to the online work environment may not be great at it just yet. I like to say it usually takes about 3 months to really get into sync with each other. I probably wouldn’t be able to predict what my client’s needs are in the first few weeks of working together unless I am very familiar with their systems.
You can make hiring a subcontractor a breeze by creating an onboarding process for them. You can also find the best fitting contractor for you by having insightful interview questions that can show whether your personalities and working methods complement each other.
Hiring a subcontractor shows you are ready to take your business to the next level and delegate tasks and projects that don’t make the best use of your time in your business.
Feel free to reach out in the comments or contact me here if you have any questions about onboarding a subcontractor or if you are interested in social media management, Pinterest management, online business management, or virtual assistance.
Keep on dreaming and building, and let your subcontractor support your growth!