After six months of running a marketing-services business on her own, Julie Ladd reached a breaking point.
“I was working 70-plus hours a week and wasn’t able to get the turnaround time that my clients needed,” says the first-time entrepreneur, who started CopyShark.net from her Cincinnati home in late 2009 following a layoff from a financial-services firm. “I also had to solicit new business and handle the administrative needs of my existing business.”
To take some of the load off, Ms. Ladd began hiring workers on a project basis through oDesk.com, a freelancer marketplace that offers tools for managing remote talent. (Similar websites include Elance.com and Guru.com.)
“You need to place a value on your time,” she says.
While most businesses start out as solo enterprises, few can afford to stay that way. At some point, experts say, taking on help — whether it’s temporary telecommuters or on-site full-timers — is typically vital to a young company’s survival.
“If you’re focused on the minutia of answering phones or doing paperwork, or if you’re losing business to your competitors, that’s a good indication you’ve got to hire” help, says Melody Vaught, who teaches entrepreneurship and career planning at Santiago Canyon College in Orange, Calif.