You started out in your dorm room – just you and a dream – and now you’ve made enough of a success that you need to hire your first employee. Well done. It’s an important milestone for the solopreneur to pass, but please remember that it can also be a challenging time too.
Not only will it feel weird having someone working for you, but you will have to be a boss and do what bosses do. With that in mind, here are some things you need to know:
Salary isn’t the Only Cost
If you’re hiring a proper employee, rather than just a freelancer to help you out from time to time, then you need to take into account way more than just salary when you’re hiring someone. You need to think about the costs of training, providing equipment and if you’re paying them over a certain amount, Medicare tax and social security too. You’ll need to sit down and do your sums before you take someone on who you can’t really afford!
Your Legal Requirements
As a solopreneur, your only obligations are to yourself and your customers; as a boss, you are in many ways, responsible for your employee too. Whether that means ensuring they have the right mezzanine gates and goggles to do a job safely or that you are meeting all employment rules and regulations, it is a lot to take in and sort out. If you can afford it, it might be worth discussing your legal requirements with an expert in business law. If you can’t afford that, maybe you have a friend who’s studying the field?
Finding the Right Person
When it’s your first employee, you want to get it just right, so you need to take your time. It’s surprisingly difficult to find the perfect candidate exactly because there are so many people out there looking for jobs and applying for every gig. You need to be prepared to either spend a lot of your time looking through applicants and vetting them or to spend some money on hiring an HR professional who will do it for you.
If you are doing it yourself, be sure to mention that applicants must include a specific word in their cover letter. If they don’t do this, you can toss their applications immediately; then you’ll have fewer resumes to go through.
How to Interview
If you’re hiring an employee for the first time, and they’ll be the only person working with you, you’ll want to be the one interviewing them (even if you have some HR help) for sure. That means you need to know what makes a good interview. That means taking everything into account, not just hiring on personality or qualifications alone, but taking a holistic approach to the whole thing.
Training will Be Required
Even if you hire someone with all of the skills you need, you’ll still need to train them in the ways of your particular business. Don’t think you can just hire them and leave them to it – that rarely works well!
I hope this helps you make the right decisions when hiring your first employee!