Category Archives: Independent Contractors

In 2012, I had an $87 Aha!! Moment.

Valarie Harris from Varris Marketing

by Valarie Harris, Varris Marketing

This story is all about my $87 Aha!! Moment.  I have been in Marketing since 2011, with an official launch of Varris Marketing in 2012. Things started off slow, but headed in the right direction, so I thought.  Year-end profit numbers came in and I only made $87.  I chalked it up to first year jitters. So, with the brand-new year here, I made some changes, thinking, hoping, and praying that my year end results would be better, I mean, they had to be right? To my surprise and amazement, my year ended making the exact same amount as the previous year, $87. Unbelievable right? I suddenly became frustrated and discouraged.

I decided to take the next year off to figure out what the heck was going on, what was I doing wrong and how to fix it, because not only was my business tanking, so was my personal life. I thought offering rock bottom prices would get me more clients and it did, but way too many.  I also thought that doing everything that operating a business entails would keep cost down and save money, wrong again, that just kept me working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, neglecting my clients, my home, my kids, my husband and myself. I had more money leaving my bank account than was coming in, and that’s when my AHA moment happened.

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Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program.

PFML_Employer_OverviewWashington is soon to be the fifth state to offer paid family and medical leave benefits. All workers will no longer have to choose between caring for their loved ones and making ends meet. They can dedicate their time away from work to be the best caretaker they can be. In return employers have access to an inexpensive benefit, save on payroll costs while the worker is on leave, and reduced employee turnover costs.

Workers can begin taking leave in 2020, but next year employers will have some actions to take.

First, employers need to withhold premiums from paychecks starting with the first check in 2019. These premiums are split between employers and workers. Workers foot most of the bill, but employers with 50 or more employees have a portion to pay also. (Employers with fewer than 50 employees don’t have to pay premiums but are still responsible for collecting and remitting the workers share.) Premiums are paid to the Employment Security Department by employers quarterly, starting in 2019. Learn more about premiums on the Premiums page.  Continue reading

3 Proven Tactics to Grow Your Small Business with LinkedIn

This article has been brought to you courtesy of Linkedin. 

There are over 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. Ensure your small business is in the successful half and capitalize on how LinkedIn can evolve your business. Here are three ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:

Create & Promote a LinkedIn Company Page

 LinkedIn members are 50% more likely to buy once they’ve engaged with your business on LinkedIn. But they can’t connect with you if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don’t have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees.  Continue reading

Ask SCORE: How can I win in the gig economy?

The “gig economy” — the market for individuals providing services or working on projects on a freelance on-demand or short-term contract basis — has been a growing trend. While there are no official gig economy statistics available to measure its prominence, we can make some assumptions about its increasing popularity based on other available data. 

According to information reported by the United States Census Bureau, the number of non-employer businesses, the group of individuals most likely to work on gig basis,  was 24,331,403 in 2015. That’s 10% more than the 22,110,628 non-employer businesses in 2010.

And opportunity abounds for independent professionals who take on gig assignments. Many businesses outsource work to independent contractors and freelancers when their staffs are overwhelmed and to avoid the costs of benefits and ongoing payroll that come with hiring new employees.   Continue reading

Ask SCORE: Is a worker an employee or an independent contractor?

by Joe Heinrich and Guy Towle, SCORE Volunteers

As mentors to SCORE clients, we are often asked by our clients, “Should I hire this person as an employee or engage them as an independent contractor to do the work I have for them?” Often, our immediate response is to suggest the least costly alternative, which is to engage the person as an independent contractor as then the client can avoid all the payroll taxes associated with an employee.

However, this advice does not take into consideration the very restrictive State of Washington statutes as they pertain to the determination of an employee vs. an independent contractor. So, let’s take a look at the applicable law.  Continue reading

Independent Contractor as defined by the IRS.

People such as doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, accountants, contractors, subcontractors, public stenographers, or auctioneers who are in an independent trade, business, or profession in which they offer their services to the general public are generally independent contractors. However, whether these people are independent contractors or employees depends on the facts in each case. The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done. The earnings of a person who is working as an independent contractor are subject to Self-Employment Tax.

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Ask SCORE: Should I work with contractors or hire employees for my small business?

As your small business grows, you will reach a point when you can’t do everything by yourself. To get the help you need, you can choose to outsource various tasks to independent contractors or hire employees and delegate the work.

To decide which will make the most sense for you and your company, it’s important to understand some of the key differences between working with independent contractors and having employees on staff.

Years ago, I owned a “virtual” marketing services firm. I worked with a group of talented creative people — designers, illustrators, photographers, and others. I asked them to work on projects for my clients, and they often asked me to work on projects for their clients. We all had licensed businesses and we enjoyed working with each other.   Continue reading