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Finding Administrative Help

If your one-man show could use a little help, check out these five sources for clerical assistance that won't break the bank.
October 12, 2004

Sooner or later, most homebased businesses grow to the point where their owners need some clerical or administrative help. Fortunately there's a wealth of opportunities available for getting the help you need. The first step, though, is deciding just what kind of help you want. Ask yourself these questions:

Once you have a better idea of what you're looking for, here are five cost-effective routes to getting the help you need:

1. If you're looking for part-time or periodic help, you might want to think first about hiring family members, especially older children. There are tax advantages to hiring children, but you must remember to keep records of when family members work and what exactly they do.

2. If hiring from within your family isn't an option, consider hiring a high school student from your neighborhood to work after-school hours. Contact your local high schools' guidance counselor for referrals. Or look for a retired person in your area who wants to earn some additional income. Churches and community centers are good sources for making such contacts.

3. Another option is to use the services of other homebased business owners such as bookkeepers, secretarial services or virtual assistants. You can find them through:

4. To really keep costs down, you might want to consider bartering with other local businesses. Bartering business to business can lead to referrals and other valuable business connections. But remember, barter trades must be reported to the IRS. Find out more by visiting the Staffseek database of the American Staffing Association.

Authors and career coaches Paul and Sarah Edwards' latest book is The Best Home Businesses for People 50+. You can contact Paul and Sarah with your questions at