What Solopreneurs Should Know About Hiring

Written for EO by Jessica Thiefels.  

Being a solopreneur is difficult. Not only are you responsible for day-to-day operations and deliverables, but you also play the role of marketer, sales person, and human resource manager—among many others. That’s why even the most seasoned entrepreneurs hire experts to help run their business.

If you’re an entrepreneur wearing many hats, and you feel like you’re heading toward burnout, it might be time to hire additional help. However, hiring the right people to help run your business is often easier said than done. One wrong hire could cost your business, or worse, permanently cripple it.

In fact, the average cost of one bad hire is almost $15,000, according to a survey by CareerBuilder. And it’s a common mistake: Nearly three in four employers say they’ve hired the wrong person for a position.

Don’t let a wrong hire push you further into burnout. Follow these tips to make the best choice for you and your business.

Find Someone Who Shares Your Passion

Hiring someone who doesn’t believe in the mission of your business is one of the biggest mistakes solopreneurs can make when hiring. If an individual’s passion isn’t aligned with your mission and vision, he or she won’t be successful. Ultimately, your business will suffer. To manage the ups and the downs of a startup or small business, your team needs to be passionate about the business.

“Startup environments can be tough, and the unpredictability and long hours can test even the most dedicated workers. I found employees without sincere passion and a belief in what the company is hoping to achieve were likely to abandon ship when the going got tough,” says Josh Tolan, CEO of SparkHire.

To find the right people, ask a lot of “why” questions during the interview, suggests Dan Finnigan, CEO of Jobvite. Why did you feel proud about that? Why did you push through when you were frustrated? Why do you feel passionate about what this business is trying to do?

Finnigan explains, “What I’m looking to discover is whether or not this candidate is the kind of person who wants something enough, and cares about it enough, and whether she will continue to persevere through difficulties to reach the company’s goals.”

Consider Hiring Remote Employees

Hiring remote employees offers a variety of benefits. First and foremost, the talent pool is much larger. You can hire someone from anywhere around the world. With that many people to pick from, you’re bound to find at least one perfect person for the job. Not to mention, sites like UpWork have made it easier to find and screen this talent quickly and easily.

Another important benefit: low overhead. Without an office, you aren’t paying for rent, office supplies, snacks, equipment, and more. For a solopreneur with minimal budget, this is critical.

If you’re worried about communication and collaboration, make use of the many tools now available, like collaboration software and video chat. Pair these with regularly scheduled meetings, so nothing slips by.

For example, schedule a:

  • Weekly catch-up: What are you working on? What do you need help with?
  • Weekly collaboration: Intensive time working together on any pain points, brainstorming new ideas, kicking off a new client, etc.
  • Weekly lunch: Eat lunch “together” one day a week via video call to get some personal time, just like you would in an office.

Don’t forget to use a chat tool so you can be in touch at all times of the day, rather than dealing with email lag and filling up your inbox.

Don’t Sacrifice Quality

While you might be eager to hire new employees, don’t let urgency affect the quality of your hires. It’s easy to sacrifice on quality because your business needs help now—not in two weeks. Not to mention, the hiring process is long and tedious, and you have other things to worry about.

Bogdan Carstoiu, CEO of Hubgets, explains, “If you have a lot of money (maybe due to an investment), you’re tempted to grow the organization quite early. You’ll make sacrifices on the people you’re hiring—mostly because finding great people takes a lot of time and money cannot buy you that time.”

Yet, quality is especially critical for you right now because you’ll rely on those first few people for a lot. Bogdan continues, “The first people you are going to hire are vital for the success of the business you’re building. And they will become even more important in the long run.”

Get Ready to Hire

Hiring the right people is critical to building your business and avoiding total burnout. When you bring on passionate people, focus on keeping costs down, and make quality your most important metric, you’ll find the employees who can help your business flourish.

Jessica Thiefels is a social media coach and organic marketing consultant. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.

Categories: Hiring

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