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Should You Hire Full-Time Help, an Independent Contractor, an Intern or a Virtual Assistant?

If you’re an entrepreneur just getting started, or you’ve been at it just a few months, you might find yourself in need of an extra hand once business booms. Deciding on the type of help to enlist can be tricky. We’ve put together some pros and cons of the full-time employee, as well as those of the independent contractor, intern and virtual assistant, to help you find the right fit for you.

Full-time employee

Pros: If you hire a full-time employee, you are investing in someone who is also investing in you. You’ll be able to train a full-time worker, teach that person the nitty-gritty details and tasks of your business, and hopefully offload some of your responsibilities. A full-time worker can grow along with your company and prove to be a valuable asset.

Cons: If you’re concerned that you won’t have the long-term funds to pay someone yet, this might not be the best option. Consider any obligations as an employer regarding employee benefits, payroll, etc., as well as benefits that attract and retain talent. If these requirements create additional hassle or drain, hiring an independent contractor on an as needed basis might be a better solution.

Independent Contractor

Pros: Independent contractor or freelancers may work well for new and well-established businesses, especially those that don’t have the resources or the need to take someone on full time. You simply outsource the work as necessary. Developing good working relationships with freelancers ensures they get to know the unique needs of your business. They’ll enjoy the availability of repeat and consistent work and will strive to do their best for you.

Cons: Independent contractors often have a mix of clients and, thus, hectic schedules, so you’ll need to anticipate and reach out in advance with your project needs. You’ll also likely have to manage paperwork or contracts associated with each project to account for nondisclosure agreements, fees, deadlines and liability. And you’ll want to use caution to ensure you’re not misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor.


Pros: People seek out internships to gain valuable experience in their chosen industry. That’s why an intern is a great choice if you’ve got a mix of responsibilities that don’t fit a specific position. If you enjoy mentoring young people and paying forward the valuable insight you received early on in your career, hiring an intern will be a rewarding experience. Just be sure you are in compliance with rules and regulations regarding pay under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act.

Cons: Often an internship is one of a person’s first or earliest professional roles, so disadvantages of internships for employers is that you’ll need to provide more training than you would for a traditional employee. Your intern may also be seeking school credit — this could require paperwork on your part so prepare for that upfront.

Virtual Assistant

Pros: One of the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant is that you can hire them quickly and easily. A virtual assistant can handle nonspecialized tasks — like pulling together a preliminary research list, compiling a spreadsheet, making calls, managing emails, scheduling appointments or sending out reminders.

Cons: Virtual assistants sometimes work outside your time zone or even all the way around the world, so coordinating can be tricky. Don’t confuse virtual assistants with freelancers, who specialize in a skill. If you need website design, for example, you could hire a virtual assistant to research the best designers or the greatest website designs in your industry, but then you should hire an actual website designer to build your site.

Finding the right people to help make your company run smoothly is an important part of making your business a success. But so is making sure your business is properly covered. We can help. Connect with a Farm Bureau agent today to discuss our range of coverage.