Holiday Helper: Hiring Help

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Your holiday To Do list is longer than Santa’s “nice” list but you’ve convinced yourself that with the right amount of organization and only 5 hours sleep a night, you can get it all done before December 25th.  

That may be so, but the holidays only roll around once a year; don’t you want to enjoy them? When you try to do it all, you miss out on the best moments. You body might make it to your child’s holiday recital but your brain will be at the grocery store gathering ingredients for homemade cookies.  And when you bake the cookies with your kids, your brain will be in the garage packing orders.

That’s no way to celebrate the season. The solution? Hire some help.

I know, you have a dozen reasons why that’s a bad idea but I reject them all. Being present to enjoy your family and friends for the next six weeks is way more important than the extra dollars in your pocket or the control of all things.

We Mean Business

As we talked about in last week’s Holiday Helper post, customer service and fast shipping is even more important during the holidays so you can’t afford to let packages pile up. If your online business is particularly heavy, hire an assistant to help with orders and shipping.

You can place an ad on Craigslist.org in the “gig” section (short-term, temp positions) for free in most cities. Be very specific about the hours and the pay. Also, make it clear if the worker needs to do heavy lifting, stand for long periods of time or use a computer.

These ads can generate a ton of email so don’t stress over reading every one. Skim for someone who sounds right, call them in for an interview and if they’re good, hire them on the spot. This isn’t about finding a valuable, lifetime employee (but it could happen). This is about getting good help right now.

You can also call your local high school, college or senior center. And don’t be shy about asking friends for a recommendation.

Once you’ve hired someone, train them to handle the biggest job that you dislike doing. Then stand back and let them do it. They may not tape up the package the way you’d do it but if the package is sealed, then it’s good to go.

On the other hand, this is your business and your reputation so don’t cut corners in a way that will upset your customers.

 

This Time its Personal

If you don’t have dozens of orders to process or you’re not comfortable handing over those tasks to a new employee, there are other kinds of help you hire.

Maid service isn’t just for the wealthy. For under $100, you can have a service come in to clean your bathrooms and kitchen, vacuum, dust and wash the floors. Hiring is easy through online services like MollyMaid, Kleenapp or Handy and there's nothing better than coming home to a spotless house after a long day of holiday shopping.

If you need some time alone for gift shopping or wrapping, hire a babysitter, pet sitter or eldercare worker through Care.com.

Or, do your shopping online through stores with local pickup like Walmart and Best Buy then hire a shopper from TaskRabbit to do the pickup for you. TaskRabbit also has extra hands for your party and handymen who can hang your holiday lights.

 

Hiring help does require not only a financial but emotional commitment to the concept. If you’re not ready yet, at least take advantage of the free options that come with the season. Let the Girl Scouts wrap your gifts, use Amazon for two-day delivery, have the post office come pick up your priority packages and buy your “homemade” cookies from the bakery on the corner.

We have no doubt that you can do it all yourself but you really don’t have to. Here’s to a more relaxed and ever present holiday season.

 

*A mention in this post is not a testamonial or recomendation. Use care when hiring anyone through Craigslist or online service and if a match feels wrong, don't hesitate to end the contract right away.

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