A lot of business owners ask who they should add to their team first.
A lot of other business owners will respond with who they hired to their team first. For example, a common response to that question is to hire a virtual assistant first.
Actually, time and time again I’ll hear the advice of hiring a VA first. Other people will say bookkeeper, but the answer isn’t so definite.
The truth is that the first person you need to hire is someone who can do what you can do on a specific task, but better than you. You need to hire someone who will give you relief and make your work more enjoyable and easy than it was before.
I used to be a VA. A lot of people hired me who had no idea what they needed me for. They had just heard the advice that expanding your team will grow your business exponentially, so they jumped the gun and hired when they didn’t really need to. Since everyone told them to hire a VA first, that’s what they did. For other clients, they really needed a VA. They needed to shave off those 5 hours on website management tasks per week, so I was perfect for them.
Nowadays, as a website creator, I’m still the first person a lot of people hire. These people know that website creation is really beyond the scope of what they can do, even if they are already familiar with WordPress and easy tech tasks. In their case, it makes the most sense to hire someone who can deliver a website, and then support them technically for a year. It’s a relief for them, they would never be able to do it as well.
Personally, my first hire was my copywriter who works on client projects with me. Although I’m an experienced copywriter, it was the one part of client projects that I didn’t find very enjoyable. It felt like a struggle to communicate in someone else’s voice. Wanting my clients to have the best of all the aspects of the service I offer, I hired someone who is freaking brilliant at copywriting and who does a much better job than I could ever do.
Maybe your weak point, or your point of un-fun is your financial organization. Then it’s obvious to hire a bookkeeper first.
Maybe you don’t fully enjoy editing your videos or podcasts and someone can do it much better than you.
Maybe you need to hire a project manager because you have a lot going on and aren’t able to manage your client calendar efficiently.
What will make your life easier? What will make your work more enjoyable? What will deliver your clients or customers an even better end result than you can deliver them alone?
For example, if you’re selling courses and dreading the customer service, hire someone to do that for you.
Here are my guidelines for hiring:
- Trust your intuition and if you aren’t sure, don’t hire the person.
- Hire someone who really likes doing what you need them to do and will do it better than you.
- Don’t go budget. Hire the best of the best. Experts will take your business higher.
- If you don’t have the money, manifest the money.
- If it’s not working out, let them go.
And you don’t have to hire immediately just to hire. I heard some business advice years ago and now that I’ve expanded my own business, I realize that this advice has been gold.
When you’re first starting out, you have to play all of the roles. As you grow you can start delegating those roles, but by learning all the roles you are actually empowering yourself.
When you know how your business runs from the inside out you’ll have greater transparency with your team, you’ll be able to communicate more clearly, and you’ll be able to set expectations and boundaries clearly.
It’s because I was doing copywriting for years that I knew what I was looking for when I hired a copywriter, and the reason why her and I have a very productive, respectful relationship, built on mutual appreciation and generosity.
It’s because I learned how to organize my own business finances that I now understand the value of a bookkeeper and can stay conscious about my business finances.
A lot of people stick their head in the sand instead of trying to understand something. This is the reason I give every single client an entire custom video training library for their websites. Even if they don’t want to do it themselves it’s important that they understand how their business is running so they can communicate and really be the leader.
I knew a business owner who blindly hired a bookkeeper, never asked any questions and found out like a decade later that thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars had been stolen from her over the years. If she only had those weekly (or monthly) check-ins to review all of the transactions and accounts this could have been avoided. Instead, she chose to stay blind to something she didn’t want to deal with.
The people you hire should be your team. They should help you grow. They should brainstorm with you and be able to take your ideas and make them better and implement them all like a pro. They should make your life easier and your business more clear. They should be “in on it” with you, not under or over you.
Make a wise a wise decision and be willing to make mistakes with who and when you hire.