Marketing Support Specialist, Support Specialist, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Professional, whatever title you choose, they are business owners who work with their clients virtually.
For the purposes of this blog post, I’m going to use the term Marketing Support Specialist, because that’s what we are and what we do. Imagine that 😉
That being said, I truly believe many client/marketing support specialist’s relationships falter, and often fail, because the client doesn’t really understand the difference between a marketing support specialist and an employee. Many business owners got their first “taste” of business in the corporate world, so it’s only natural they sometimes carry a bit of the corporate culture with them when they go into business for themselves.
Remember, your marketing support specialist is a business owner just like you, not an employee, so stop treating them like one!
Do YOU know the difference between a self-employed marketing support specialist and an employee? Did you even realize there was a difference between the two? Probably not!
Here are just a few of the differences between an employee and a self-employed marketing support specialist (independent contractor) as determined by the United States Internal Revenue Service. If you’re not in the US, you might want to take a look at the laws for your particular country.
- Employee: is subject to the Company’s instructions about when, where, and how to work. Typically works for only one company at a time.
Marketing Support Specialist: is an independent contractor in business for themselves, sets their own schedule. Can work with as many clients as they choose – at the same time.
- Employee: uses company tools (computer, software, Internet service, office supplies, etc.) and has no say in who performs or assists with the work.
Marketing Support Specialist: provides his/her own tools of the trade (computer, software, Internet service, office supplies, etc.) and determines if the work is done by themselves personally or by a team member or subcontractor of their choosing.
- Employee: is bound by company rules and regulations, is entitled to insurance or pension plans if and when offered by the company, and receives paid benefits such as vacation, sick days or disability insurance.
Marketing Support Specialist: initiates the contract between the marketing specialist and client, pays for his/her own insurance or pension plans, and receives no paid benefits such as vacation, sick days or disability insurance.
- Employee: their employer is responsible for withholding and paying the employment-related taxes.
Marketing Support Specialist: is responsible for withholding and paying their own employment-related taxes.
This is important because?
- The IRS is pretty strict about enforcing its rules regarding the difference between an employee and independent contractor. For various reasons.
- It will drastically impact how you treat your marketing specialist and what you expect from him/her, and how they respond to you.
- It will drastically impact how much you PAY your marketing specialist! Since these business owners don’t get all the benefits an employee does … health care, paid vacation, or paid sick leave, AND they are responsible for taking care of their own taxes, their rates will be considerably higher. However, since they are not working full time like an employee would be, the cost will end up being considerably less.
So the next time you don’t understand why your marketing support specialist isn’t sitting at the computer just waiting for you to tell him/her what to do next. Or why they aren’t willing to drop everything they are doing to take care of the “emergency” you knew was coming but didn’t prepare for. Or you don’t understand why they don’t take kindly to you barking out orders and commands …
Remember, your marketing support specialist is a business owner just like you, not an employee, so respond in kind.
Treat your marketing support specialist the way you would expect them to treat you … with respect, as a business owner.
In business since 1991, Terry Green is the founder/CEO/President of BizEase Support Solutions, an American-based, online marketing support company comprised of a team of talented professionals from around North America. BizEase excels at providing speakers and business coaches worldwide with seamless online marketing solutions, from setting up ecommerce solutions, membership sites, web design and maintenance, to writing blog posts and managing Social Media and PR campaigns. BizEase clients (who span five continents) take great joy in allowing the BizEase team to take care of the details so they can get back to doing what they do best! Click here to get our weekly tips ezine delivered to your inbox every other Friday, with tips on plugins, apps, and tools to make you more productive today!