There comes a time when every solopreneur and small business owner is pushed up to the wire. They’re strapped for time and managing hundreds of moving parts of their business. They start to wonder how to make their first hire as a solopreneur.
I fully believe that as a business owner, you can only grow so far by yourself. If you try to DIY the process, you’ll hit a ceiling attempting to do it all on your own.
If you want to scale your business and take it farther than you can alone, it’s time to grow your team and make your first hire as a solopreneuer.
How to Make Your First Hire as a Solopreneur
Making your first hire as a solopreneur is very different from hiring project-based freelancers to help you with one-time specific tasks.
Back at the beginning of my business, I would hire project-based freelancers. These freelancers would help me with tasks such as building my website or designing an ebook template.
However, I didn’t make my first actual hire until 2018, two years into my business.
My very first hire was a virtual assistant. And if you’re an online entrepreneur, chances are your very first team member will also be a virtual assistant.
This is because you’re initially most likely going to want someone to take the load off your plate. And in order to do that, you’ll want to start by hiring a generalist instead of a specialist.
Hiring a Generalist vs. a Specialist
There’s nothing wrong with hiring a generalist. When you’re making your first hire as a solopreneur, doing so is going to be the most cost-efficient move.
Instead of hiring 3 different people to take on 3 different tasks, hire a generalist. This generalist, such as a virtual assistant, will be capable of managing all these tasks.
That’s not to say that your virtual assistant can’t grow to fulfill a more specialized role. My very first hire (aka my virtual assistant) ended up becoming my customer service specialist and community manager.
She went from helping me with all the moving parts of my business to taking on a more specialized role. This also allowed me to move into a phase in my business where I’m able to hire more specialists.
Just to give you a bit more insight into how I built my team, my second hire was my CFO. Her job? To manage all my accounting and bookkeeping. However, I wouldn’t recommend hiring a CFO unless your business is earning at least multiple 6-figures to 7-figures.
Then, I hired my ads agency. From there, I continued to build my team to include a podcast manager, content manager, Pinterest manager, copywriter, and COO.
This approach has allowed me to build a global team of 15 specialists who all help me run the 7-figure business that I have today.
But it all started because I made my first hire. And now I’m going to tell you how you can make the best decision when it comes to making your very first hire as a solopreneur.
When and Who Should You Hire First?
An activity that I walk all the students in my Influence to Empire Mastermind through when they’re ready to make their first hire is the ZOG, ZOC, and ZOI.
Let me break that down…
ZOG – This is your “zone of genius.” In other words, these are the tasks that you love and are great at doing.
ZOC – Your “zone of competence” are things that you’re pretty good at but you don’t really enjoy doing.
ZOI – Your “zone of incompetence” are the tasks that you aren’t good at, but, more importantly, you don’t care to do at all.
Once you have that list, you’ll want to focus on all the tasks in your ZOC and ZOI categories. That is because any task that falls into these categories will be the tasks that you outsource first.
For example, something that was in my ZOC was answering customer emails. Although I was capable of doing that, I found that it was taking up way too much time. Plus, it was distracting me from focusing on the money-making tasks in my business.
This is why I hired my virtual assistant to help me with answering these emails.
Tips for Making Your First Hire
Now that you know what you’d like to hire for, it’s time to look for the best candidate to fulfill that position.
There are several places to look for the right person to hire. You can always look at Facebook Groups (The Influencer Bootcamp and The Blogger Bootcamp private Facebook groups are a great place to start).
Another great way to find the right candidate would be to ask for referrals! This is usually a great way to find the right person to fulfill the role since the person you’re asking would already have a great experience with the service provider they’re recommending.
Once you have a potential candidate, you might want to have them work on a sample project for you (depending on the role you’re hiring for).
For instance, if you’re looking for a blog writer, you would want to give them a sample project of writing a trial blog post. This is a great opportunity to see if their writing style matches your own, if they’re knowledgeable enough about your niche, and if they would be a great fit for your business.
Of course, pay them for their time and work on the sample project. If it’s a fit, congratulations! You’ve just found a new team member. If not, don’t worry. Keep on looking, and the right candidate will turn up eventually.
Finally, no matter who you’re hiring, you’ll want to ask them for a list of references. This could be past clients of theirs, or people they’ve had experience working with in the past. That way, you could reach out to them and ask about their experiences working with the person you’re interested in hiring.
Set Your New Team Member Up for Success
Something to note before you bring a new team member onboard, you’ll want to make sure that they’re set up for success.
This is why having SOPs (standard operating procedures) is so important. SOPs essentially break down how a task is performed and completed.
You could easily record these SOPs on a tool like Loom, or you can write them out in a step-by-step document that is easy for your new hire to follow.
This will set them up for success by ensuring that they have the knowledge and steps required to perform their tasks in a way that you’d normally do if you were taking care of them by yourself.
Getting in the Right Mindset When Making Your First Hire
Making your first hire as a solopreneur is a big and scary move. From my experience, I know your fears about making such a big investment in your business.
But here’s what I’ve learned about hiring over the years. If you do your due diligence in the hiring process, hiring the right person on your team will always result in a positive outcome. Especially in revenue.
I know many of us get hung up on the financial investment of hiring. However, if you’re hiring a specialist who will take care of money-generating tasks that you can’t handle on your own, you know they’ll bring a good return on your investment.
For example, I didn’t know how to run Facebook Ads, and figuring it out on my own will not just cost me money in trial and error, but it’ll also cost me a lot of the time that I could be spending on other money-generating tasks in my business.
Or if you’re hiring someone, like a social media manager or virtual assistant, who isn’t directly involved in money-generating tasks, they’ll be freeing up a lot of time on your schedule so you could focus more of your energy on money-generating tasks.
So have a revenue-positive mindset about hiring, do your due diligence in finding the right team member, and watch your business grow in ways that you wouldn’t be able to if you did it by yourself.