Remember the rush you felt as you opened that first box of business cards announcing that you were your own boss, an independent human resource (HR) consultant? Sometime later, maybe weeks, maybe months, reality set in as you realized that being an independent HR consultant meant that there was only you to do all that work — everything from HR compliance to photocopying. Maybe that is why big companies have all those different departments.
All That Non-HR Work: Speaking of all that work, I bet that while you were dreaming of being an independent HR consultant, it did not occur to you that you would also have to do the back office stuff (sales, marketing, billing/invoicing, collections, travel planning, photocopying, telephone answering/returning calls, mailing/shipping, email reading and responding, appointment scheduling, correspondence, graphic design (business cards and other marketing collateral), website design, social media, business and marketing planning, networking, bookkeeping etc. too. Although the back office stuff seems like just annoying stuff, it is also necessary stuff — the stuff needed to keep any business running.
The reality of how much time and work is involved in operating a successful HR consultancy can be overwhelming and that can seriously impact productivity and forward momentum, but there are options for dealing with all that non-HR work:
- Work harder
- Work longer
- Hire employee(s)
- Throw in the towel
Looking at the Options: Let us take a closer look at those options. Working harder or longer is not a viable option. After all, if you could work more than you are already working, you would be doing it. Throwing in the towel isn’t a good option. Hiring an employee is an option, albeit, not a great one. As an independent HR consultant knows, employees come with a built-in set of compliance/regulatory issues, and if you’re operating your consultancy from your home, you can add local regulations to that list of issues. Interns are an interesting option, but the amount of time you would spend on teaching them how to do things and supervising them is a continued drain on your time and productivity, and after the internship is done, you are back to square one.
Outsourcing is a good option for the independent human resource consultant. Outsourcing provides you with targeted expertise (a web designer to design a website, a graphic artist to design marketing collateral, etc.), as well as help only when you need it. Outsourcing eliminates all of the expenses and headaches that come with hiring an employee, and provides you with yet another contact for your virtual Rolodex (you never know who might need you down the road). Although outsourced workers are independent contractors, under IRS rules, you will need to keep a loose eye on the work you have assigned to them to make sure that they are meeting deadlines and quality standards.
Back to All that Work: Remember that list of back office activities needed to operate a successful HR consultancy? That’s just the tip of the iceberg, and unless you want to spend your time ‘keeping a loose eye’ on 17+ independent contractors, you will want to combine as many of those back office activities as you possibly can so you can dwindle down the number of independent contractors you need to keep an eye on. You can combine bookkeeping, billing/invoicing and collections into one activity, thereby eliminating the need for two independent contractors. You may even be able to combine website design with graphic design, thereby eliminating the need for another independent contractor.
What would you say, however, if I told you that there is one outsourcing marvel that you can use to handle all that back office work? That outsourcing marvel is a Human Resource Virtual Assistant (HRVA). A HRVA provides targeted expertise in handling back office functions, as well as experience in working in human resources. An independent contractor in the eyes of the IRS, a HRVA is actually a self-employed administrative expert who specializes in human resources.
Although a HRVA cannot be all and do all, she can do the legwork needed to find other independent contractors who can do the things she does not or cannot do (and that’s surprisingly little), and a HRVA has the project management skills needed to keep an eye on those other independent contractors for you, making sure they meet deadlines and quality standards.
Stop working long hours in your HR consultancy trying to get everything done. Talk to a HRVA now, and find out how she can help you divest yourself of all those back office activities that don’t require your time or human resource expertise. Move your HR consultancy toward greater success and yourself toward a better life. Connect with a HRVA now!