What’s one tip you have for hiring your first employee? How will this ease the transition from solopreneur to employer?
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
1. Get Help for Very Specific Tasks
Sometimes, solopreneurs only look for a new hire who can replace them in a majority of the day-to-day responsibilities. While that’s an ideal scenario, it’s not practical and leaves too much reliance on a single person. Instead, hire someone who can help take a fraction of tasks off your plate. That way, they specialize in the role and save time.
2. Hire Before You Get Overwhelmed
Solopreneurs often wait until they’re overwhelmed to make their first hire. Hiring out of desperation is never good. Start by writing down every single task you perform that an employee could do instead. Be ruthless about delegating. Create a clear job description and SOPs for your first hire to follow. For many solopreneurs, giving up control and trusting their first employee is the hardest part.
3. Ensure They Share Your Mission and Values
Culture fit might be the single most important criteria in your first hire. Hard skills matter, but this is the first person you’re bringing onto your team. They’re going to have a huge influence on how the company’s culture develops moving forward. You need to make sure they genuinely share your values and mission. Otherwise, culture drift and mission creep may be in your future.
4. Pay Attention to Soft Skills
When hiring your first employee, it’s important to pay attention to their soft skills. This includes things like their communication, listening and problem-solving skills. There’s usually a lot of emphasis on hard skills and experience, but without soft skills, your company won’t run smoothly. It’s crucial to hire employees with the right attitude and ideas about the company so it can excel.
5. Look for Flexibility
Someone you hire as a content writer might be the head of marketing several years down the road. A virtual assistant could be the head of accounting in the near future. As you desire to transfer from solopreneur to employer, flexibility is the key. Therefore, look for that trait along with a wide breadth of experience in multiple areas wherever possible in your candidates.
6. Make Sure You Can Trust Them
Ensure this by checking with their references, conducting a background check and perhaps having multiple interviews. You could also ask questions they wouldn’t be expecting. This isn’t to trick them; it’s to see how they improvise to answer those questions they probably didn’t consider. You want a positive problem-solver to help start your team.
7. Leverage Your Immediate Network
Hiring the right people can be a full-time job on its own. If you want to make it easy to transition from going solo to finding good employees, then consider reaching out to your immediate network. Ask your friends, family and social media acquaintances to spread the word that you’re hiring. You’ll get references from people you know and will be more likely to hire the right person.
8. Conduct Multiple Interviews
If you want to hire your first employee, I suggest having more than one interview with your candidates. When you plan on working closely with someone, you need to make sure they are the right fit. Multiple interviews will give you time to get to know each applicant and make an informed decision.
9. Find Someone Experienced
Hiring your first employee is a big deal. I suggest employing someone who has experience in the industry and who is open to learning. Spend time putting your offer on high-quality job boards. When you don’t have to train someone on the basics of your industry, you’ll have a much easier time transitioning to an employer.
10. Look for Excitement and Enthusiasm
There’s a lot to take care of in a startup, but as a solopreneur, you may not be ready to hire too many people right away. So your first employee should be someone who is ready to step into your shoes if needed. Look for someone who is enthusiastic about experimenting with new ideas and learning new things. Having such a person by your side will make things a lot easier.
11. Go With Your Gut
Of course, you want to apply some quantitative criteria while hiring, but you should also trust your instincts. Most of the successful and motivated employees I’ve hired over the years were people I liked and trusted quickly. They just “felt right.” During the interview, I could see the interest in their eyes and could sense their passion for contributing to the company.