If you’re currently thinking about hiring your first ever employee, it’s a good thing! It means your decision to go to work for yourself has paid off, you’re generating steady profits, and everything is going well. Nobody thinks about making their first hire when they’re struggling, so congratulations to you. Building up a business from the starting point of being a sole trader is slow and stressful, but ultimately rewarding when it pays off. Hiring your first member of staff is something you should be excited about, but also something you should approach with caution.
So far, the only person you’ve had to worry about is yourself. All the profits go to you, all the expenses are yours to deal with, you set your own calendar, and you do whatever you like. When you’re no longer the only person in the company, all of that is going to change. Much like starting a new relationship, you now have someone else to care about and consider, and you can no longer operate as an island. Even if your first member of staff is working directly for you rather than as an equal, you’re still a partnership.
Hiring your first employee is potentially the first stage of the expansion of your business – and once you’ve started expanding, sky is the limit. Many major international companies began as one or two people, and now turn over billions of dollars every year. You could be next, so long as your business plan is strong and you want to reach that level! How do you know you’re ready to make that first hire, though? There are a few tell-tale signs – and here they are.
You’ve Reached Your Earnings Limit
There’s only so much time in the day. Chances are you’ve increased your prices for whatever it is you sell since you started trading – which led to an increase in profit – but now you’ve reached your maximum output in terms of time. There are a few little hints and tips you can try to squeeze more hours out of your working day – even Oprah Winfrey has chimed in with a few ideas – but ultimately you still have to eat and sleep, and you should be taking some time for yourself outside of work, or you’ll burn out. If you can’t earn any more money because you physically can’t do any more work in the time you have, it’s time to bring somebody else in to share the burden with you.
You Can Itemize A Whole Job Description
Successful, organized people use schedules and lists to set out everything they want or need to do on a daily basis. Some of those tasks will be priorities, and some of them won’t. If you’re finding you only have time for the priorities, you’ll soon notice that those low-priority tasks stay on that list day after day. After a while, you’ll probably see that they’re there week after week. Eventually, to catch up on them, you find yourself working all weekend or pulling all-nighters to get the tasks finished. If you could make a whole job description out of those tasks, then you’ve basically created a job. All you need now is someone to come in and take it, and so it’s time to go and hire them. Just be sure that the work will always be required before you bring anyone in.
You’re Turning Work Away
This is something no business wants to do. When you turn down work, your first issue is that you’re leaving money on the table. Your second issue is that the person who’s requested work from you and been turned away will tell other people that it’s happened, and the reputation of your business will suffer. Think of work as a giant mobile slots game in related casinos – you put money in at the top, and then you work on it until it comes out as profit at the bottom. If you keep passing on the chance to pay anything into your mobile slots game, the mobile slots game will eventually stop paying out, because you have no money coming in to feed it with. To extend the mobile slots metaphor, hiring someone might feel like a gamble, but it’s not as large as the gamble you take by failing to hire when your workload demands it of you. If you’re saying no to new customers more often than you’re saying yes, that’s a big nudge to send out for help.
You Lack A Special Skill
We’re sure you’re fantastic at what you do, but nobody is perfect. Often, a customer who’s happy with a service you’ve provided to them will ask if you offer a related but different type of service. As an example, someone repairs PCs might occasionally be asked if they also repair phones. If you don’t have the skills to take on the extra work, you’re missing out on the additional income that could come with that skill. Could you do more within your chosen industry if you had a skill that would allow you to expand your products or services range? If so, it might be time to go out and hire someone who could bring that skill into your business.
You Can Clearly See How You Would Make More Money
At the risk of stating the obvious, if you can see that having an extra pair of hands would make your business more profitable, you should always start recruiting for that extra pair of hands. Think of this from a practical point of view. Would having someone else mean that you could deal with more customers in a day? Would it mean that you could deal with your existing customers faster – and therefore get paid by them faster? All you need to do is perform a simple calculation – is the money you’d expect to earn from your improved level of efficiency more than it would cost to pay someone a salary? If it is, then you have no reason not to hire, and you should stop delaying.
Hiring someone new isn’t losing your independence as a sole trader – it’s taking your business to the next level. Seek professional advice if you’ve never hired anybody before; you’ll need to know about employment law and tax liabilities – but don’t let nervousness hold you back. Every millionaire CEO had to make their first hire once – now it’s your turn.