Note: This article is based on a roundtable presentation I gave at Blogalicious.
You may not know this, but many famous or “big” bloggers have an entire team of people behind them. This invisible (but essential) support staff can number into the dozens, and include all types of professionals – from photographers to attorneys to copywriters. Bloggers of that size may even hire people to do the hiring for them! However, famous bloggers aren't the only people who can use a little bit of extra help. Even if you're blog is still very small or very new, you may find yourself hiring someone, and knowing when and how to outsource blog tasks is extremely important. No matter what your blog goals are (though this especially true if your goal is to become huge), finding other people to work with is essential to your blog's success.
Why Hire Someone?
There are three big reasons for hiring someone to assist with your site. One, your blog is growing (congratulations!), but there's still only 24 hours in a day (so sorry). As your blog becomes larger – in terms of articles, visitors, members, etc. – it will require more maintenance. Updates, edits, SEO…it's all necessary and it all takes time. Before you know it, you're spending every free waking moment on your blog, and it's still not enough. When the work that needs to be done outpaces what you are physically capable of doing, it may be time to bring on extra help.
The second reason to hire someone is because there are certain tasks which need to be done that you don't have the skill set or education to do. Yes, you could teach yourself the basics of graphic design or accounting or app development, but expertise takes awhile to acquire. And because time is finite resource, while you're teaching yourself this brand new thing, you're not putting that time into your blog. Don't get me wrong, knowing how to do some html coding or photoshop editing is wonderful, but if you're talking about a complicated project which is going to take hours to complete (not including the time you need to become proficient in the first place), it's worth hiring out for it. Remember the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
The third reason is because of life changes. Maternity leave, sick leave, bereavement leave, travel…if a life event is going to pull you away from your blog for a significant amount of time, consider hiring someone to take over for even part of that time. I've had two incidences this year where I needed to take extensive time away from my site (the first for my wedding and honeymooon, the second for family medical leave), and I hired someone to keep everything updated and rolling along while I was away.
One last note. Ideally, you should have people that you'd like to hire in mind before you need them. There's nothing worse than a sudden emergency forcing you to take whatever help you can get…no matter how good it is or how expensive it is. Investing the effort now into making a list of people you'd like to work with in the future is time well spent. It doesn't have to be anything formal or fancy; a simple iPhone note or email to yourself (something like, “Keep XYZ Design in mind for graphics work” is enough). The point is that you don't want to start completely from scratch when you are ready to hire someone.
What Kind of Jobs Can You Hire For?
You can hire for almost anything! That doesn't mean you should, of course, but there are tons of people out there who specialize in working with and helping bloggers. Here's a quick (but by no means inclusive) list of some jobs you can hire for:
- Virtual Assistant
- Web Developer
- Graphic Designer
- Community Manager
- Beta Tester
- App Developer
- Social Media Manager
- Ad Salesperson
And I'm sure that list could go on and on; this was just off the top of my head. When you're thinking of bringing on help, ask yourself which tasks you're ready to outsource (maybe there's something you always avoid doing or, as mentioned above, there's something you don't know how to do), and prioritize them from most to least important. Once you know which jobs you're ready to hire for, then it's time to start looking!
Next week, in part 2 of this series, I'll cover where you can find people to work with, how to screen your new hires or potential hires, and how to communicate job responsibilities. In part 3, we'll talk about how to protect yourself as employer and the big payment question.
Have you hired anyone for your blog? If so, how did the process go? Please share in the comments!