You’ve been juggling all the balls as a solopreneur. And, lately, you’ve been wondering if it is time to make your first hire. Here are some questions to help you answer that:
- Do you feel like work keeps you busy all the time?
- Are you turning down new projects or clients?
- Have you put off adding new revenue streams to your business?
- Is the quality of your products and services not what it used to be?
- Are you having trouble returning emails and phone calls?
- Do bookkeeping and paperwork always get put off?
- Is there a task you need done by someone with a special skill set?
- Are you in a position to spend a little money in order to make more?
- Do you thrive in an environment of collaboration and accountability?
- Ready for growth?
Did you answer some of these with a resounding YES? If so, it might be time to make your first hire! Here are 7 tips to help you navigate this entrepreneurial milestone.
Brush Up on Your Leadership Skills
Prepare for your new hire by focusing on your leadership skills. Pull out notes from previous workshops and training sessions. Listen to podcasts that focus on leadership building like TED Business or Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead. Study the enneagram and other personality tests to enhance your understanding of communication styles. Read some great leadership books. We highly recommend Bob Burg’s The Go-Giver.
You’ve worn a lot of hats as an entrepreneur. Now, prepare to lead your new hire effectively.
Define Your Core Values
What are your company’s core values? If you haven’t taken time to articulate your company’s core values, now is the time. Once you have core values in place you can decide which values you expect the new hire to align with.
Here are some guiding questions to help you define your company’s 3-5 core values:
- Why do you do what you do?
- What need do you fill?
- Who do you help?
- Why is your work important to you?
- What makes your company unique?
- How do you make difficult decisions?
- What aspects of your company are you most proud of?
- How do you view your customers?
- What is it like to work with you?
Will Your First Hire be an Employee or a Subcontractor?
This is an important decision. Educate yourself about the difference between an employee and a subcontractor. Above all, know what is required of each from a legal standpoint.
The status of your hire has to do with the amount of control they have over the work. There are also tax implications. For example, employers pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for employees. A subcontractor, however, is responsible for self-employment taxes to cover those. Similarly, look into payroll vs. 1099.
This is a critical step as you prepare to build a team, so make sure you are fluent in this area. (And, check out SOWBO’s recommended legal templates for additional help.)
Write a Job Description for Your First Hire
Take time to write a very clear job description. You will use it for both your job listing and during the interview process. After that, ask yourself these questions to make sure you cover all the essential elements:
- What tasks do you need accomplished?
- What skills are required?
- Part time or full time hours?
- Will this role have a slow season and a busy season?
- Will there be guaranteed hours provided?
- Report to an office or be remote?
- How will you pay your new team member?
A precise, detailed job description will draw people who are good fit for your business.
Determine Your Budget for this First Hire
Now that you have a job description, estimate the cost of a new hire. Are you prepared for this overhead expense? If not, how can you prepare for it? We recommend practicing putting these funds away for 3 months. This will build your emergency fund AND get you accustomed to the new overhead expense.
How Will Training and Onboarding Work for Your First Hire?
Consider how you will integrate this first hire into your business:
- How will training and onboarding work?
- What is the ideal training and onboarding timeline?
- Will you do the training?
- Do you have or want SOPs for this role? (Many online companies begin with OBMs to outline the structure and SOPs for the role before making an official hire.)
Next, consider how you will integrate the new team member into your community and to your clients. Will you send an email? Post an announcement on socials? Do a podcast interview? The primary way you communicate with your community is probably the best way to introduce your new team member.
Communication is Key
Let’s repeat that: Communication is key. Presently, you might share ideas, goals, or plans with family members or friends. But it isn’t an essential part of your workflow.
With a new hire, define your plan for constant communication. Regular team meetings are highly encouraged.
Strive for clarity, honesty, and a professional tone—especially in the beginning when you are getting to know each other. You want your new hire to succeed. Communicating your expectations overall and for particular tasks will enable your new team member (and your business) to flourish!
Grow and GO!
Building your team is an exciting time in the life of your business. Following these tips will give you the confidence to make your first hire, train them, and develop a good working relationship from the start.
To help you even more with your first hire, we have created Hiring swipe files for you. Snag these to jumpstart the hiring process. Also, the SOWBO community on Facebook is happy to come alongside you as you make your first hire. Reach out!