When It’s Time to Take On Help – WSJ.com

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.”

[sunAE] Hal Mayforth

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.

I agree!

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