When I first started offering freelance writing and VA services, I never saw myself as anything more than a side hustler. I thought I’d write a few extra blog posts and help with social media on the side of my career to earn extra money.
But a few months later I had a life-changing conversation with Cat Alford. She simply asked me what my goals were for my business.
I had never thought of my side hustle as a business before that moment.
After that conversation is when I decided I wanted to quit my job to be self-employed.
As soon as I started viewing my work as something that had the potential to replace, or even out-pace, the income from my day job, I began to see tremendous growth. I took on several new clients in the span of only a month or two and began working nearly every moment that I could. Just 12 short months after I started working with my first client as a side-hustler, I became a full-blown solopreneur.
But, the hustle doesn’t stop there. Although I had fully replaced the income from my day job, I knew I wanted to earn more so I could live more comfortably and pursue my financial goals. Since I was just one person, there was only so much work I could handle. This is when I started outsourcing.
Hiring My First Team Member
Last fall after being fully self-employed for only a couple of months, I hired two team members in the same month. I had hit the point where I knew I needed help and fast if I wanted to keep my current clients happy and keep growing my income.
I was pretty lucky that hiring my first two team members came from people I knew in real life. One is my brother and the other is a girl who also graduated from my alma mater and was recommended by a friend.
But what if you don’t have the luxury of being able to hire family members, friends, or even acquaintances? It’s still possible to hire a great first team member with the following tips.
1. Make it Known That You’re Hiring
If you’re finally tired of missing deadlines, working super long days, and feeling burnt out or stressed out, make it known that your looking for help.
Put it out there on your blog. Share it on social media. Tell your family and friends. These are the easiest ways to get “warm leads” for your first team member.
Alternatively, you can widen your pool of candidates considerably by posting what you’re looking for on an online job board. There are tons of job boards out there to choose from and even though I don’t recommend job boards for freelance writers looking for work, I’ve heard they can be pretty good for the opposite, finding your first team member.
2. Interview Candidates. Yes, Really!
You’d be surprised that many solopreneurs make the mistake of hiring their first team member sight unseen, or voice unspoken… You know what I mean!
Hiring my first team members was easy because one of them was my brother and the other was a recommendation from a friend. But even though she came highly recommended, I made sure to interview her first.
It doesn’t have to be a formal interview with prepared questions, resumes, and a business suit. After all, this is an online business you’re hiring for. But it’s still important to talk with the candidate you are considering hiring to see if they will fit in well with your personality, expectations, etc.
3. Start Simple and Scale Up
My most recent team member has worked out beautifully. She had quite a bit of knowledge coming into the job. But despite that, I knew I needed to start with simple tasks to see how things would work out.
It’s good for you and your new team member if you start simple. Here’s why:
- You get an idea of their skills and abilities.
- It limits risk by minimizing the amount of information they have about your business structure, finances, etc.
- You’ll both get a feel for the job and the workflow.
- It helps your new team member avoid missing deadlines and making you feel frustrated.
4. Realize They Might Move On
Once you’ve found your perfect first team member, your job is to help them grow and develop. Encourage your new team member to learn new skills, develop their abilities, and grow their own businesses too.
As this happens, you might realize that you can no longer keep them busy, keep them learning, or keep paying them as they’ll most likely want to earn more money because of their new skills. This is natural. Instead of feeling bummed about it, be excited for them by knowing you had a hand in their success, and they had a hand in yours too!
Are you ready to go from solopreneur to boss by hiring your first team member?