Why I Don’t Want Employees (or why I love VAs)

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If you’ve ever grown a multi-location enterprise, you probably depended on employees to expand and keep the plates spinning. For many years, I had a payroll to make your head spin, never mind the plates.
From the title of this article, you probably thought I was going to site the expense of a large staff, right? It’s true that payroll taxes,   worker’s compensation insurance, paid vacations, bonuses and benefits do eat away at the bottom line, but I’m a firm believer in incentive programs and found that awarding cash bonuses and trips to a tropical paradise does pay off in increased sales and production.
NO, my reasons for never again hiring employees has nothing to do with the massive book keeping involved in being an employer. If you are successful, you don’t have to do your own books anyway. My reason has more to do with my friends.
You read that right. My friends, not employees. You see, I always had loyal employees who became my friends but because I was also their boss, I didn’t see the “other side”.
Now I have friends who are other people’s employees and I know what they do at work. Because I am their friend, not their employer, I see the other side.
The other side looks like this. On any given weekday, my inbox is filled with links to articles, jokes and petitions. Most are from my employed friends. I always wonder, if I don’t have time to read these and I don’t even have a job, how do these people who are full time employees have time to spend online with personal email? I’ll tell you how. They’re doing it on their employer’s dime.
In almost every discussion with clients who are working toward corporate escape, the topic  comes up of how they’ll make time to work on their own business. If I give an assignment for them to take steps toward self employment, they manage to get it done with out all nighters. How do they do that? I’ll tell you how. On their employer’s dime.
I’ll probably make some enemies, maybe lose some friends, even alienate potential clients when they read this article. But guess where they’re reading this? At work, on someone else’s dime.
When one of my friends who is a civil servant, a public employee sends me jokes from work, I do speak up. As a self employed person, I pay my share of taxes and I resent paying for someone to sit at work on MY tax dollars and shop online or forward jokes. While I love to help my corporate friends and clients build a business that will buy them freedom from the job world, I am sure happy they aren’t my employees. Or worse, government employees. Then I’d be paying them to hire me to help them escape. Confused?
In my opinion, the greatest benefit of the worldwide web, even greater than being able to download books or music and have them instantly, even better than being able to reach customers all over the globe,  even better than connecting with you best friend from kindergarden is the ability to have assistants who you don’t have to make office space for, pay worker’s comp and payroll taxes on, purchase health insurance or fund a matching 401K. The absolutely very best benefit is that you aren’t paying them to shop online and forward email jokes. And, as was the case with a VA I interviewed recently,  if they are doing their independent client work at their day job. at least it isn’t on your dime. Unless, of course, it’s a government job.

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