by Anand Srinivasan, founder of LeadJoint.com
The number of independent workers has been on the fall over the past few decades. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 15 million self-employed people in the country. That is nearly 10.1% of all workers in the United States and this figure is down by nearly two percentage points over the past two decades.
This is not a bad thing per se and could be an indication of more solopreneurs finding enough success to grow their business into something larger by hiring people to work for them.
If you are one such self employed business person, this article will take you through the steps you should follow to successfully hire your first employee:
What to look for in your first employee?
Hiring employees can be time consuming and an expensive process. Your first employee is in many ways a partner in your business. It is important to set expectations right while recruiting your first employee. While you may be tempted to showcase yourself as a large and successful business entity, it is not advisable to do so. Make it known through your ads that you are just starting out and the employee may be responsible for a host of things and may not really have a defined job profile. This helps you attract self-starters and those who are in it for the long-term. These are people who value the quality of experience and job over the pay on offer, and are most ideal as a company’s first employee.
Offer the right incentives.
As a solopreneur with a limited budget, you may not really be in a position to match the corporate pay packages that the best employees get offered elsewhere. While you may not provide such monetary incentives to attract talent, you could make up for it with other kinds of incentives. This includes benefits like telecommuting, flexible work hours, free gym or club memberships, paid holidays, etc. If you are in a product business that could potentially get acquired in future, you may also offer your employees a stake in your business. Such incentives makes your offer attractive to the right talented workers who may be ready to work with you for a lower pay.
Where to find your employee.
Where you go looking for your first employee must depend on the kind of job profile you are looking to fill. Websites like Indeed, Craigslist and Glassdoor are great to fill local service job positions or corporate job profiles (accounting, legal, etc.). However, if you are in a specific industry, it makes sense to reach out to the industry community on niche job boards. For instance, job boards like Sales Gravy work well for filling sales positions while boards like Hcareers and JobsOnTheMenu are great to fill positions in the food and hospitality industry. It is also a good idea to ask around in your community for referrals. However, it is important to not hire friends and family – this complicates your relationship with your first employee and can harm your business more than it can benefit.
Your first employee needs to be a leader who can take charge of your business in your absence. So no matter how long it takes to find the right employee, it is advisable to keep looking. As successful business owners often come realize, the wait to find the right first employee is very well worth it.
Anand Srinivasan is the founder of LeadJoint.com, an online lead generation tool for digital marketing agencies. He is also a part-time marketing consultant and has previously worked with some of the most promising Indian startups.