By Marie Mortreux, Public Relations and Communications Intern
The April Women’s Start-Up Club meeting addressed some common problems faced by women after starting their own business. Outsourcing, hiring, partnering and firing are at the heart of decision making when having one’s own business.
Three female business owners came to share their experiences in relation to outsourcing, hiring, partnering and firing. First was Donna Burke, founder of Dragmusic talent agency and exporter of heat pads who has lived in Japan for 20 years. Our second guest was Laura Marushima, a virtual assistant to well-known independent entrepreneurs in Tokyo who built her business based on personal and professional connections and word of mouth. Third was Yoko Majima, an independent immigration lawyer and one of the founders and organizers of the Women’s Start-Up Club. The panel was moderated by Sarah Everitt Furuya who also works for herself as a personal coach and facilitator as well as being a strategic partner of FEW.
The three women emphasized the importance of building up a network of trusted colleagues and connections when beginning a business. This will be even more valuable when it comes to outsourcing as your business grows.
Here is a sampling of their answers during the panel:
What was the point when you felt you needed help?
“I had been struggling very much with my Japanese, bookkeeping and doing my taxes. When I came to a point where I felt sick of doing something, I realized it was time to outsource. It’s very much about whether you have the persistence to run your own business. As with childbearing, there will be hard times, but also a lot of joy that comes from building one’s own business. You need to have lust and also should know when it’s become necessary to outsource and accept that you cannot do everything on your own. You have to ask yourself, what are the drivers of your business? Just make sure you have the legal and financial basis necessary even if it’s not the fun part of your business. You’ll also have to learn to say no and put you and your business first.” – Donna
Is it possible to avoid a lawsuit by carefully drafting a contract?
“To a certain extent, yes, but there are some limits to a contract. It cannot protect you 100 percent. It’s better to really try finding someone you can trust before even entering into a contract. Going to court is a hassle and should be considered as a last resort.” – Yoko
What are the legal aspects of having an intern?
- Typically a two-month minimum internship, but no fixed period of a time.
- No rules binding an internship.
- A minimum salary of usually 900 yen/hour.
- If you’re not going to pay an intern, you may be able to provide accommodation, transport or travel.
- Interns on a tourist visa cannot receive a salary, but allowances for food, accommodation, transport, etc.
What are the most efficient ways of hiring someone suitable for a position?
- Disk Profile – You can actually tell if the person is forward or being dishonest.
- Phone Interviews – If you like someone on the phone, it’s likely you’ll like them in real life.
- In-person Interviews – Multiple interviews with different interviewers (two to three).
- Lunch – Inviting the interviewee to meet you for a lunch is a good way of figuring out other skills, such as social aptitude.
How can you terminate a collaboration?
“If you start thinking of one of your employees on your way back home and wondering whether they fit within your company, it’s time to let them go. When firing a person, it’s important to be straightforward but kind in order to preserve their dignity.”– Donna
What are some of the financial and contractual responsibilities when hiring somebody?
- If you have less than five employees, you can be exempted from providing them with insurance, pension, etc. if you state it clearly in their contract. Many people hire part-time staff to get around this contractual obligation.
- You can have a period of three months probation. This doesn’t apply for interns.
- You can renew a contract one month before. If a contract is renewed more than two times in five years it will have to become a full-time contract.
- The terms of the employment contract cannot exceed three years, unless it’s unlimited.
How can you find clients for your business?
“I am limited with the hours I can work per month as I also have to take care of my children. As a result, I choose my clients carefully and outsource if I cannot take the workload.” – Laura
Websites and Other Resources:
Sponsor Spotlight: eCornell
Professional Development from Cornell University Women’s contribution to the economy, in general, has never been put into a greater focus until recently. According to a report of McKinsey Global Institute featured in a news article by CNN, it estimates that economies in the Asia-Pacific region could boost their collective GDP by $4.5 trillion by 2025 […]Published on 1st November 2018
November 2018 Sponsor Offers & Member News
Check out the latest offers and opportunities from our Sponsors and other FEW Community Events here! Our Sponsors are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. Visit our Sponsors page to learn more about all of FEW’s Sponsors, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services benefiting […]Published on 1st November 2018
Upcoming Fall 2018 Community Service Events
With the changing of the leaves comes many opportunities to support various NGOs and their efforts. Take a look at the events below and reach out to the organizations through the contact information provided if you’re interested in lending a helping hand! The Big Draw Festival 2018 The world’s largest cross-cultural drawing festival, led by […]Published on 15th October 2018
Recap: WSC — Creating Your Story & Brand with the Help of Masterminding Groups
“A brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon For the 2018-2019 season, Women’s Startup Club focuses on helping you create YOUR story and brand, kicking off the season with Masterminding—Supporting Your Success. Thirty women from diverse career backgrounds, a wide variety of […]Published on 7th October 2018
October 2018 Sponsor Offers & Member News
Check out the latest offers and opportunities from our Sponsors and other FEW Community Events here! Our Sponsors are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. Visit our Sponsors page to learn more about all of FEW’s Sponsors, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services benefiting […]Published on 30th September 2018
FULLY BOOKED - Expanding Our Views on Women
Merging the collaborative synergies of ADIDAS and the members of FEW, on the evening of November 15th, we come together to expand our views on what it means to be a women in order to empower ourselves and the women in our lives.
How to Keep Your Skin in Perfect Shape During Winter with Elana Jade
With the cold weather approaching, it is time to start to change your skincare to suit the cold climate.
Building Your Story with Vanessa Oshima
Can you talk clearly about your brand? Join branding expert Vanessa Oshima to learn how to build a story that represents you and attracts the clients you want.
FEW Bonenkai 2018: All That Glitters
Join the most glamorous year-end party in the classy area of Omotesando! Invite your friends, colleagues, and significant others to have a fun night at the FEW Japan Bonenkai 2018!