By Drew Hendricks
For any startup, the early days can be a struggle. Not only must an entrepreneur deal with finances and product manufacturing decisions, he also must handle administrative functions on his own. In the early days, startup owners generally have little extra money to spend on employees, leaving them to handle everything from building mailing lists to paying bills.
Unfortunately, the more time a business owner spends on routine tasks, the less time he has to get out there and network with potential investors and other business owners. If he can find someone who would take care of those tasks, he could focus on duties related to growing his business. Instead of hiring full-time staff, business owners can work with virtual assistants, freelancers, and interns for those cumbersome administrative tasks.
The best resource for software development startups is technology. For a low monthly charge, business owners can use cloud-based services for everything from capturing leads to automatically responding to social media posts. Notifications are available that will alert business owners to posts that include their brand and, through the use of services such as HootSuite, startup owners can write and schedule posts in advance.
For daily tasks like email marketing, services including MailChimp can help. Email templates make creating marketing communication easy, allowing you to send emails that are not only interesting to readers but also visually appealing. You can use the software to create personalized emails directly targeted to specific customer types then follow the results through analytics. The software will even identify the best time to send the email to increase your open rates.
In every community, there are local students interested in gaining experience to put to use as they search for that first job. Your firm can offer résumé-building opportunities to those students in exchange for work at a low rate. Best of all, if you find that the student you've hired does a great job, you can move him or her into a full-time salaried position after graduation.
LookSharp allows employers to post jobs in a database for local interns to find on its partner site, InternMatch. You can hire university students looking for internships, as well as entry-level employees from colleges in your area. You may have even better success by going to your local college's career center and posting your job opportunity with them.
Now that Elance and ODesk have merged, your choice depends on the type of work you're seeking. ODesk tends to attract workers in developing countries, with many of the job opportunities posted at rates that aren't livable in the U.S. If you're seeking a higher level of professionalism, Elance might be a better option. You can hire workers to handle everything from administrative support to programming, reading reviews from other employers before making a choice.
If you're looking for inexpensive workers to handle small tasks, try out Fiverr. Workers offer to perform a variety of tasks for only $5. You can have a Fiverr write a catchy jingle, interview you for a popular blog, or tweet about your latest app on their social media platforms.
Virtual Staff Finder
Virtual Staff Finder can help you find qualified virtual assistants for your tasks. You provide your requirements and Virtual Staff Finder matches you with members who fit. You still have the last word, though; interview the top three candidates, and choose the virtual assistant you like best. Choosing a virtual assistant through this site is more of a commitment, however, because the site specializes in offering talented workers.
The good thing about Virtual StaffFinder, however, is that you can choose between part- and full-time workers and set your pay rate according to your budget. As a general guideline, the site states that most assistants will accept $250-$300 each month for part-time work and $500-$600 per month for full-time work.
Whether you're looking for someone to handle a few administrative tasks or you're ready to take on a full-time assistant, these resources can be valuable. You can shop around for the perfect worker to help your software development firm grow, paying the wages you can afford. When you have a qualified professional handling your administrative work, you can focus on the work you need to do to make your business grow.
About the Author
Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media, and environmental addict. He's written for many major publications, such as Developer.com, Forbes, and Entrepreneur.