As your business grows, you’ll likely find you can no longer handle all the roles and responsibilities required to keep your company chugging along. You may reach a point where you have to decide whether you’re willing to continue to work long and grueling hours to do everything yourself, or invest in building out your staff. But how do you know when the ideal time is to start hiring?
Consider Your Own Sanity Reason Enough
Having a thriving business is wonderful, but it often comes at a price. While you might have had a flexible schedule and only worked 6-hour days for the first year, you now may find yourself spending 12+ hours a day at work, and still things aren’t getting done.
Success and stress are often two sides to the same coin.
Remember why you got into business: to do something you enjoy, and get paid while doing it. If you’re no longer enjoying being an entrepreneur, or if it’s affecting your mental or physical health, it’s time to get some help. Hiring one or more employees can greatly alleviate the pressure you have to handle everything in your business on your own.
You’re Giving Less Than 100%
Consider that if you’re attracting new clients, managing your marketing, fulfilling orders, and buying office supplies, you’re being pulled in a lot of directions, and you’re probably not efficiently handling any one area of your business. The busier you get, the harder it is to deliver flawless execution when you’re doing it all yourself.
You may think you’re saving money by not hiring employees, when in reality, you’re doing your business a disservice by continuing to limp along and trying to handle it all yourself. You may find yourself making unnecessary errors or even losing customers, due to your trying to juggle too many balls at once.
Hiring help not only frees up your time but it also puts someone with more experience than you in a given role. You may know the basics of accounting, but hiring an actual bookkeeper may help you streamline your business or even pay less in taxes simply because that individual knows her craft.
Hire Before You’re Desperate
You might assume that the best time to hire employees is when you can afford to. Well certainly, you want reassurance that you can pay anyone you hire, but if you wait until all the other “important stuff” is covered financially, you’ll never find the right time to hire.
Hiring your first employee should push you out of your comfort zone. You should be just a little nervous about taking on such a major responsibility. But this will make you work harder to bring in more money, and then you’ll easily be able to cover that person’s salary.
And don’t wait until the situation is dire. Searching for the ideal job candidate, interviewing, and then onboarding and training that person will take a lot of energy that you don’t have if you’re swamped. Instead, start your process when things are starting to get hectic, but haven’t gone completely crazy. This is the time to invest in finding the right employee without desperately grabbing the first person who applies, or worse your cousin who needs job. It’s a big decision to bring someone into your business and one you don’t want to make rashly otherwise you’ll be out looking for someone again in 6 months.
How to Start Hiring
The first step here is to define what help you need. Develop a job description. You need to organize the different responsibilities in your business into piles, to see what you need to offload. It will be easier to see where you need the most help.
For example: maybe all the marketing responsibilities in your company stress you out and you find yourself putting them off. Hiring a marketing assistant can let you hand all those tasks over to that employee so you can work on growing your business.
Start with the biggest area of need for your first hire. Even if you can afford to hire multiple people at once, go slow. Hiring an employee is a skill in and of itself, and you want to learn from the experience to better shape the next round of hiring.
Start with a Freelancer or Virtual Hire
You don’t have to start by hiring a full-time employee with benefits. Hiring a freelancer is a great first step because you get the help you need with an aspect of your business like marketing or accounting, but you aren’t burdened with paying a salary year ‘round. You might only need help temporarily, and after a project ends, you won’t have to keep paying.
You can also hire a virtual assistant if you consistently need assistance on certain administrative tasks, but don’t have enough work to keep someone busy 40 hours a week. You could even hire an intern or co-op student if you have low-level tasks that a college student could easily handle (and this is really cost-effective!). Remember: you have options and can get creative about the solutions you choose to help you get work done.
Congratulations. If you’re to the point of needing to hire employees, your business is thriving. As you grow, you will need to shift how you’ve always done business so that you can accommodate the ever-expanding size of your company.