How to Hire The First EmployeeSep 21, 2020
Are you one of those people who try to do it all alone? No one can do it like you! You are doing sales, marketing, operations, and customer service. Oh, and bookkeeping too, but just a little bit. And someone told you to hire the first employee but you overthink it?
If this sounds like you, then it won’t surprise you that many other business owners deal with the same fears and problems. The fear that:
If I hire someone, will I be able to pay them?
I don’t have enough time to train someone properly...
No one will be able to talk to my customers like I do, and they won’t be able to get work done as quickly as I do either...
This is the curse of the entrepreneur!
We know what people want and have successfully been able to give it to them. That is why we run our own business and don’t have a boss telling us what to do. It has given us a decent living, but there are not enough hours in the day to do any more than what you are doing right now.
Adding just one more full-time, highly capable person could literally change your business and give you the ability to do things that you are amazing at and love to do!
I was forced into getting this help when I had my third baby. It was career changing—really business changing. I hired three people in 60 days and had five months to get them up to speed on how I like to run my business.
I remember I had to literally shut my door or put on headphones when they first started with me. I wanted to go over and tell them how to talk to people when they got off the phone. I wanted to stand over their desk and write notes on a sticky note about the things they were discussing. Luckily, I didn’t do any of the above and let them work through learning on their own.
The best rule of thumb is that if someone can do a task 80% as good as you do, it is good enough! Although, I warn you not to fall prey to the “Warm Body Syndrome” or the wrong fit for your new team that you are going to be building.
What is Warm Body Syndrome & why does it matter?
Warm Body Syndrome is the coined term for someone who has been hired to fill a position, but they don’t have any of the skills needed for the role. This is definitely something you don't want to do when hiring your first employee.
Many new business owners will unconsciously hire a warm body then, after a few months and a lot of frustration, let them go because it is not working out. When hiring your first employee be sure you are hiring the right person, who embodies the right values, vision, and mindset you need. This is the key to success at this point in your business hiring journey. It is the only way to grow and get some of your time back. Having hired the wrong people and the right people, we wanted to help you get this crucial step done right!
There are systems we have used that help to ensure you are hiring the right person, the best person for your immediate needs, and that you are productive while finding them and during onboarding. The two systems that we have used when hiring our first employee and everyone afterword, we call them The Busy Bee Blueprint and The Mousetrap!
You have a hundred different needs but can only hire that one person. So before you go out and hire a warm body that makes you lose faith in finding the help that you need, let’s take a look at what we did to hire the first employee five years ago to our 25th hire today.
I have witnessed many business owners and employees start out on a new journey together that has failed miserably within 90 days. The sad part is that both people are smart, driven, and great at what they do, they just lack the know-how on these components that is key to hiring the best new team members:
When you are the business owner and are bringing your first-person onto your team, make sure you sit down and write out the outcomes you are looking for when hiring this person.
Types of Outcomes & Goals You are Looking for:
- Sales Numbers
- Customer Feedback
- Work Load
- Growth Potential
- Someone who has strengths where you are weak
This will allow you to write up a job description, responsibilities, and expectations to go over with any potential interviewees. It will also help you weed out people that don’t fit what you need, so you are not wasting your very limited time. You want to get extremely specific on what and who you are looking for. Here is an example of what I was looking for when I started to search for an executive assistant:
Executive Coordinator MUST have these qualities:
- Friendly and helpful with everyone.
- Enjoys working with real estate agents, clients and other referral partners.
- Patient and caring with clients.
- Respond positively to clients and real estate agents with concerns.
- Makes people ecstatic that they work with your team.
- Team player (willing to do whatever it takes to help the team).
- Willing to take on various responsibilities with a positive attitude.
- Looking to be an integral part of a positive work environment.
- Self Starter
- Driven by working with others.
- Administrative assistant experience not required if other qualities compensate for lack of experience.
The best way I have found to start learning how to delegate is by making one big list of all the activities that you are currently performing daily, weekly, and monthly. Once you make a list of all the tasks and responsibilities that you are currently performing, begin to split the tasks up into two lists. One list will be the ones you will continue to do. Make sure they are the things that you enjoy, are good at, and will help your business grow by doing them. The second list is the responsibilities your employee will perform. Put the list in order of what you want them to learn first to last.
Then, make one more list of any activities that you are currently not doing that you wish or know you should be doing in your business.
This last factor is by far the most important of all four and the one that I see most people get wrong over and over again. As humans, we all expect and believe other people will act, think, and respond like we do, but that is not reality. We think people can read our minds, that they get frustrated with the same things we do, and that other people naturally assume the same things about how things need to be completed and followed up on.
When you hire someone to work with you and help you, they are depending on you to guide them, lead them, and give them feedback throughout your journey together. You must, MUST, MUST take some time to put together a plan or outline for your new employee’s first 90 days and up to at least their first six months. It can be a rough outline to start, but there needs to be something!
Any person that you decide to bring in is going to have insecurities, fears, and expectations that have been molded by their past experiences and natural tendencies. Ease their fears by taking a few hours before starting to search and interview by showing them how you will provide these things to them:
- Model - I perform the tasks while the person watches.
- Mentor - I continue to do the task, but ask the trainee to come alongside me and assist in the process.
- Monitor - We exchange places and I ask them to perform the task. Lots of encouragement is key.
- Motivate - I take myself out of the task and let the trainee go.
- Multiply - It is their turn to teach others and become a leader.
The Busy Bee Blueprint
We have already started showing you our Busy Bee Blueprint in the steps above. Here is the whole recipe:
Step One To Hire The First Employee:
Make a list of every task that is being performed, should be performed, and tasks you have on your “one-day” wish list.
Step Two To Hire The First Employee:
Categorize these tasks into the following groups
- Tasks that only you can complete
- Tasks that you love completing
- Tasks that you do not want or do not enjoy doing
- Tasks that you are currently not doing at all
- Tasks that you could outsource
There are many ways that you can group these tasks together. I like to color-code them and use an Excel spreadsheet that allows me to move and group things. I use one tab for the list of all tasks and then will use shades of color to start the categories. Then once I have color-coded most of them, I will open a second tab where I copy and paste the tasks into columns, like the following:
Step Three To Hire The First Employee:
Assess your weaknesses and strengths to determine the strengths, skills, and values that you need most to make up for what you are lacking. At this point in the journey, hiring and working with people who have the same core values as you is more important than finding someone with experience who wants to do it their way. The first person I hired onto my team was with me for three years before I realized they were not the right fit for what I wanted and needed: growth. I had produced the same amount of revenue for five years straight with no hope of doing anymore. When I finally got the coaching and advice from an advisor on what I needed to do to move the needle forward, I literally grew my yearly revenue by 30% in just six months.
Step Four To Hire The First Employee:
Recruit the best people. Now that you know who you need and the qualities that an employee needs to embody, you need to draft a job description and outline the tasks that this person will be performing. You also need to outline the process of how you are going to evaluate the people that you are going to consider.
Step Five To Hire The First Employee:
Start the hiring process that we use, called the “ Mouse Trap.” This is where you will be posting the open position on websites like Monster and LinkedIn, but it will be unlike how you have posted positions before. We have a very specific process detailed out in our podcast titled, “Avoiding The Hiring Hangover".
Tips For TimeSaving and Avoiding Heartache Later
If you have followed our Busy Bee Blueprint formula so far, you are off to a great start! But, in order to ensure success and find a person that will literally change your business and your life, you have to finish strong here. Many of you will fall off the wagon after creating your beautiful, colorful blueprint. You will have someone apply for the position that reminds you of yourself, or a friend or relative will ask if you are still hiring and if they can be considered for the position. While you still have 100 other things to get done, it is very easy to simply hire the person you are most comfortable with. In my experience, this is not always going to end in quality candidates that would take your business to the next level. You must commit to the process and only look at people that follow the directions we have outlined.
If you do this, you will have a team of people that will do the following for you as you grow your business: They won’t leave you at the first chance of making more money, they will buy into your vision, and they will want to grow something with you!
What about you? What are the steps you took to hire the first employee?