Do you have backup workers?

When someone quits, it is hard to replace them. You have to interview people — a lot of people. You have to try people out and wonder how good or bad they will be. What if they steal from you. What if their stupidity costs you a client. Is it possible to have backups? It is actually not easy to do so, but very valuable.

Who fits the profile of a backup — for when you need extra labor

(1) Moonlighters. If someone good already has a job, but can give you a few extra hours per week, but person could come in handy when your best worker quits. Some moonlighters might be the best quality workers around, and for a reasonable or perhaps slightly generous fee, might be able to reallly save your neck in a crisis.

(2) Stay at home moms might have a flexible schedule while their kids are at school. They might be a great back up if someone gets sick or gets fired (or both).

(3) People with personality disorders who have good work skills seem to always be getting fired (through no fault of their own according to them). Really, their work was not bad, but perhaps they talk back to people or have other annoying habits. If you can put up with them, they will regularly be available — at least they will the next time they get fired which should be in a few days.

(4) Freelancers are a good bet. But, how do you define freelancer? Is a freelancer someone who couldn’t find a job who freelances until they find a real job? I say that they are not. To me, if you have been doing purely freelancing for 3 years or more, then you are very dedicated to the art of not having a job — yet being busy working all the time.

(5) Part timers… Beware — part timers seem to get hired full time before long, so you need a perpetual part timer to be your backup.

The trick here is to have a long list of people who you can call on. Trick #2 is that you have to have tried these people out, so you know how good (or lacking) their work offering is! Once you have verified that they are satisfactory or desireable for particular tasks, you have to hope that they don’t bail on you and get a full time job, or move to the Himalayas (it happens). Trying people out is a huge investment. You have to train them, interview them, and analyze them. It is worth it if you think they will stick around.

My other idea is paying people for their AVAILABILITY. Pay someone to sit at home and do NOTHING. It sounds like a waste, but it isn’t if you suddenly need them for something important and they jump to help you! Don’t think of costs — think of revenues minus costs which is your bottom line — not to mention your ability to keep your existing clients happy by servicing their needs which will help your long term bottom line.

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