DEAR HARRIETTE: I work for myself. This past year has been busier than the previous 10. It has been amazing. I’m so accustomed to having to scramble to make enough money that I accept every project that comes my way. Now that I am super busy, I am exhausted. I can’t really handle all the work. I have an assistant, but I’m wondering if I need two. But then I’m afraid to take on more staff. What if I don’t have as much work next year? I would hate to have to let somebody go. I’m getting so worked up just thinking about all of this. I know I have to do something. Should I hire somebody else, start turning down work or something else? -- Growing Pains
DEAR GROWING PAINS: Sit down, and take a few deep breaths and calm yourself. You need to look at your business objectively and assess your growth over the past year so that you can project what may happen in the next. Evaluate if you charge enough for your services. Review the projects you have been accepting to see which ones you want to continue and which are short-term. Determine how much money you need to earn to cover your expenses, including current staff. Determine what you will need to earn if you add more staff, either part-time, per project or full-time. Talk to a financial planner who can help you look at your business and set a strategy for the future.
It is time for you to work smarter, not harder. With careful analysis, you may discover that you can accept fewer, more lucrative projects and hire additional support.