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home : columns : dear harriette November 29, 2020

10/13/2020 7:57:00 AM
Business owner hesitant to hire help

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am an entrepreneur with a small business. For several years now, I have worked without an assistant because I just couldn't afford to have help. Recently, I hired one full-time helper, but I realize I need more help. There is just too much work for this one person to handle. Amazingly, during this period of quarantine, my business is growing. We have been working around the clock, it seems, to respond to calls and to handle new business.

I am so grateful, but I am also afraid to add to my bottom-line expenses. After more than two months of working every day including weekends, with no real time off, my assistant and I are exhausted, and I know I have to do something. How can I be sure that I will be able to keep a second person on the payroll in these uncertain times? -- Afraid To Expand

DEAR AFRAID TO EXPAND: Instead of succumbing to fear, do the math. With a bookkeeper or accountant, review your finances and trends in your business. Go over projections for the next year based on your current work and what you anticipate in the coming months. Review what you will need to pay in taxes and in operating expenses. Also, write down where you want your business to be in the next year.

If it seems that you will have enough resources to hire another worker, bring the person on as an hourly, part-time employee. Make it clear to the new hire that this is a test period to see if the person is a fit for your company and whether you have the resources to hire somebody full time.

DEAR HARRIETTE: In response to "Go to the Doctor," we had a local celebrity who faced the same diagnosis and was reluctant to see a doctor. His wife wrote him a very sincere and emotional letter expressing how much she loved him, how he had enriched her life, and the effect his loss would have on her future. It was quite personal, but he read her letter to his listening audience in hopes that it would persuade other men to see the situation through their wife's eyes and get to the doctor ASAP.

It was an emotionally difficult read for him, and he had this listener in tears. But it worked! He immediately made a call to his doctor and completed his cancer treatment program. Perhaps this approach would do some good for your writer too. I wish her luck! -- Cancer in Texas

DEAR CANCER IN TEXAS: Thank you for sharing this story. For everyone out there who is afraid to go to the doctor to learn what is ailing you and get it treated, take heed. The incredible benefit of modern medicine is that many illnesses can be diagnosed in a timely manner, and often there are options for treatment. Your life is precious. Rise above your fear, and please seek support. Ask a friend or loved one to accompany you, if you will accept the moral support. Your life is worth saving.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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