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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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The Biz Question

I've been an administrative assistant for over 15 years, and I'd like to know if I can contract my services myself as opposed to going through a temporary employment agency. I need more flexibility than I can get with a full-time job but I still need the money and the social interaction that I get from getting out of the house. Most companies would prefer to deal with an agency when it comes to administrative/secretarial type help. How can I get around that? If I were to set up a secretarial service (for appearances) could I use that as an avenue to get in?

Linda

Answer from our Guest Expert Allison Gaea Jucha of Yes!Coaching

Linda,

Who do you know? Who do you know who owns or manages a business? Who do you know who works in Human Resources or middle management for a corporation? What businesses in your area are undergoing mergers, restructuring, downsizing? Think these folks wouldn't let you solve their problems? Think again.

The only reason businesses go to temp agencies to fill positions is because it's easy. So? Make it easy for them to find you. Go to them. Find out what their needs are, find out what their costs are to do business with the "enemy", and even if you can't beat the price, offer a better overall solution -- that is your flexibility, one-on-one service, etc.

Another option, though admittedly maybe not as profitable, is to offer your services to non-profit agencies. They may pay less, but every non-profit runs benefits, fundraisers, board functions, audits, mailings, mailing list updates, and more during which times they really need expert help. And usually they use existing staff who don't know how to organize and track the detailed information you know how to compile and store. Take on six of your area's non-profits, and you may find yourself with just the amount of work you want for the year -- every year!

Can you contract out your work? Of course! Will you? That depends on whether or not you're willing to take some creative looks at the opportunities in your area. Non-profits, local businesses, corporations in flux, even telecommuters setting up home offices all need help doing what you can do. Creating your biz is definitely a way to get in these companies. Don't rule it out. As a self-employed person, you reap the rewards of your hard work more so than with the temp agency option.

The bottom line of good business practice is solving problems. If you take care of your clients' needs, they don't care if you're represented by an agency or by yourself.

Start brainstorming! And talk to everyone you know! Good Luck!

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