Tara Elder never dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur—until she saw how hard it is for business leaders to make it through their to-do lists.
So after a decade in event planning and college admissions, the 33-year-old Irvington resident opened Simply Helpful, providing office-support services on a contract basis.
As “chief stress reliever,” Elder takes on routine operational tasks so small-business owners can focus on the big picture—like keeping customers happy.
“It is so much easier to organize someone else’s things,” she said with a smile.
Elder launched the company in April and hired her first employee last month.
The current economic environment has forced businesses of all sizes to reduce staff, increasing the workload on employees left behind. Elder cites a 2012 TD Bank survey that found 35 percent of small businesses report being somewhat or significantly understaffed.
But most simply can’t afford to hire full-time help. Enter Simply Helpful, which does not require long-term commitments or upfront fees. Clients can sign on for as few as three hours of help a week for a flat fee: $35-$40 an hour.
In addition to everyday tasks like filing and billing, Simply Helpful’s menu of services include policy development and leadership coaching—something Elder said has been popular with entrepreneurs who are used to doing everything themselves.
“As a solo-preneur, I understand,” she said. “Their business is their livelihood, and they’ve never had anyone help them before. They don’t know where to start.”•