In a guest post over at the Elance corporate blog, I've discussed a dilemma: when do you hire employees, and when do you outsource to independent contractors? One key advantage to independent contractors is that you can get a range of expertise by hiring multiple contractors, instead of a single employee: An independent contractor is ideal when you need specialized expertise or skills. Often as a small business it is difficult to find and hire subject matter experts as employees. That's especially true because small business and growing businesses often have needs for 8 or 10 different skillsets - from bookkeeping to SEO to software development to marketing. But you may not need any of those skills full time. It would be virtually impossible to find a single employee capable of the level of expertise you need in each of those areas. By hiring several different independent contractors, you are able to get the necessary skillsets, within your budget. And there are lots of other advantages to hiring independent contractors. Read: When Do You Hire an Employee or a Contractor? And then let us know: when do you hire contractors, and when do you hire employees? Do you have a rule of thumb?