Hiring Your First Employee: When’s the Best Time to Onboard?

By Erin Ollila, Contributor, on November 17, 2017

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Working with virtual assistants is a great way to offload some tasks to free up your time for more important responsibilities, but what happens when your to-do list is so long that both you and your VA can’t get a handle on everything? Hiring your first employee can be an exciting time for a solopreneur, but it can also be a source of anxiety.

How do you know you’re ready, and when is it really the right time? Here are four signs you’re ready to hire someone and build a team.

1. When You Have a Plan

Don’t hire someone when you’re down to the wire and ready to beg anyone for help. Before you’re ready to commit to building a team, sit down and make a detailed plan on what each person’s responsibilities would be. Then, make sure you’re able to support them in that role, too. Once you have a good idea of what a job description would be, feel free to advertise the position.

2. When You Have the Money

Let’s not forget about finances. Can you actually afford to hire someone part or full time? If the answer is yes, keep reading. If the answer is no, consider a temporary VA to help you complete tasks from time to time.

Now, there’s one more thing. Take a peek back at the job description you just created. Do any of those tasks make you more money? If you’ve simply assigned them all the work you don’t like doing, you’re missing the point of hiring your first employee. In short, this person needs to help you make more money. To do so, you need to give them particular duties: bringing in new clients, creating more product or following up on past-due invoices.

3. When You’re Turning Down Work

If you regularly have a waitlist for your services, or your product is selling off the shelves faster than you can stock it, consider hiring your first employee. The key word is regularly. The waitlist or shortage of product has to be a normal experience. No one wants to turn away a possible sale. If this is happening often, it’s usually a good indication that you’re ready to expand.

4. When Margins Are High, but the Workload Is too Much

You’re making lots of money — score. If you’ve been working hard as an indy for quite some time and raking in big profits without any help, you might be hesitant to hire anyone. Why share the profits when you have to absorb the costs of taxes, insurance and more? Well, the workload will eventually wear you out, and it could potentially become unbearable.

If the idea of hiring your first employee is too overwhelming, you still have options. Start with a VA to test out the job duties you need covered. Then, consider hiring out contract positions to continue to perfect your management skills. Then, when you feel ready, it’s time to hire a part-time or full-time teammate.

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