Outsourcing 101 – Should I Hire a Contractor or Intern?

Outsourcing 101 – Should I Hire a Contractor or Intern?

Hi it’s Kelly Azevedo with She’s Got Systems and today I have a video blog for you on Outsourcing 101 and Today’s question is “Should I hire a paid contractor or an unpaid intern to do the tasks in my business?”

First of all, it’s great you’re getting support for your online business and looking at all the opportunities out there to bring people into your business.  There are some benefits and drawbacks of working with interns and I’ll go over those today.

The first thing, though, to consider is the likelihood that your business will be able to attract a pool of intern candidates and that you’ll be able to convince them to work for you in an intern model.

Now, one of the benefits of doing an internship is that you can work for a big name company which looks great on your resume.


If you’re a brand new business and may not have notoriety or branding behind you then it may not be worth your time to find interns and you may find that the ones who apply are not the best candidates to do the work. In that case, you may want to start by working with contractors and build up to an internship program.

The second thing you should consider is if this is a long term or short term opportunity. If you’re just looking for someone to come in for a few hours on a dedicated project, then a short term internship could be worthwhile. But if you’re looking for something that will be an ongoing project and you don’t want turnover every 3 to 6 months, then I would suggest hiring a contractor. The reason is if you have interns that coming in just for a few weeks or a few months at a time and that position is constantly turning over, then you may be expending more time on training than you want.

If you work with contractors, you can filter at the beginning and let them know it’s a long term opportunity.

Now the other possibility is if you hire an intern but would like this to potentially be a long term opportunity you can let them know when the position will be opening up. That way someone may choose to work with you for 3 months and then be in the running to be hired for that position once their internship is completed.

The third thing you want to look for is really the commitment level. An intern is by default a short term opportunity and is in a transition time between school and work. It also may be a way for somebody to get their feet wet in an industry and see what they like before branching and out deciding what to do next. In contrast, when you work with a contractor, they’re usually a professional in their field who’s been doing this for some time and has plans to do this for the future.

So if you are building your business and would like to build a team around you, consider what level of commitment you’re going to ask for from that team. Now, of course you can’t guarantee that a contractor will stay long term, but if they are intending to do that in the beginning and are looking for a long term opportunity, then you are much more likely to get that than with an intern who is just at the beginning guaranteeing 3 or 4 weeks or a few months at a time.

It also depends on how you work with your contractors. If you would like to have fresh ideas and new people coming in because it energizes you, then it may work to supplement the contractors you have with short term interns.

Remember that the 5 days to Finding Fabulous Help for Your Online Business video series, which is free on this site, can help you whether you’re doing internships or hiring contractors.

Through the video series you’ll get really clear on what tasks need to be done, how they should be done, how you’re assigning them and following up and who to choose for your business to do these tasks. Now as you grow you may need to shuffle that around a little but I recommend getting the video series because you’ll be able to go through it over and over especially when you go into hire a new intern or a new contractor for your business.

If you’re clear from the beginning about what you need and who you want in your business then you’ll be much more intentional when you go out to find them.

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