Your business is moving and shaking. You’re working hard, feeling good, and have recently noticed your workload has been growing. You’ve always managed to stay within your scheduled working hours, but lately, you’ve been putting in that over-time! There have been niggly items that have needed extra attention you just couldn’t give, even a couple of jobs you’ve had to turn down! The thought of bringing on another glorious human to help has been taking up more and more space in that clever business-brain of yours...but before you pass GO, read on for 5 things to think about before hiring your first team member.
Decide what skills you’re looking for.
For what, exactly, do you need to hire someone? Are you spending too much time doing administration, sending invoices, and taking calls? Do you feel like you’re working far too much ON the business, rather than IN it?
Or maybe you are looking for someone with some mad digital editing skills. Or a keen eye for grammar. How about a brilliant visual eye with a knack for social media?
Whoever you’re looking for, make sure you put together a solid list of where you need assistance and have an idea of how much time weekly, fortnightly or monthly you’ll be needing said help. If you aren’t sure, spend a week or two really noticing where you struggle during your working hours to paint yourself a clearer picture.
Once you’re clear, you need to decide whether you’re in need of an employer or a contractor. If you’re looking for someone to take on a regular set of tasks and their needed skills are a staple part of the weekly work moving forward, it could possibly be an employee. However, if the jobs you require them to do are more specialized, like posting on socials, IT, or bookkeeping, a contractor might be your jam. Check out this handy ATO Employee/Contractor Decision Tool to clarify whether the person you hire is an employee or a contractor. The employee or contractor question is a big one, so take the time to be sure.
What is your budget?
Another important consideration before you decide who you’ll hire, and whether you should bring on an employee or a contractor, is budget. A contractor will, more often than not, have less overhead. You aren’t obligated to pay into their sick leave or super (though their hourly will be more than an employee’s), and you can hire them intermittently rather than have them with you on a regular, more expensive, schedule. While an employee may cost more, they may also give you a bit more time and dedication, knowing they have a good opportunity to grow with you and your business long-term.
Ultimately, though, don’t make any offers you cannot afford! If you’re not in a position to pay for a full-time (or part-time) employee, wait until the time is right! The last thing you want is to put yourself in a financially sticky position while you’re trying to build your empire.
Write a kickarse job description
You now know what you need from your new team member, and what you can afford. Now it’s time to write a brilliant job description to capture the eye of your perfect candidate! Of course, it’s important to include the obvious: hours, skills needed, pay rate, whether you’re after an employee or contractor...but beyond that, really go out of your way to describe the work that you do, who you are, and the environment and culture that exists within your company. Share what kind of person you’re looking for. Do you want a go-getter? Someone who is super chill and loves a quiet cuppa, a great book, and a warm blanket on a rainy day? Someone with a keen eye for detail? Someone who loves dogs (because you totally have one in your workspace)? Maybe you want someone who is keen to learn, with great potential, and a major desire to grow with a new company.
Whomever you’re after, really lay it out, professionally and passionately, in that description!
Deep dive with your top candidate
You think you’ve found the one! But how can you be sure?
You have every right to test the waters. Call those references, give your top candidate (or two) a task or two so you can see how they work in practice, not just on paper.
Really get to know the way they work, how they may fit into the culture of your company, and how they work with others. By the end of the deep dive, you’ll know if they’re the one.
You’ve selected your new team member! Congrats! Now you have to make sure you’re legally legit! Having the right arrangement and the appropriate contract in place is key.
If you’ve taken on an employee, it’s imperative you know your obligations as an employer. These include entitlements, taxes and super, insurance, pay and employment conditions, safe workplace practices, and more. Depending on the contractor, other insurances and payment obligations will need to be put in place.
And of course, there’s the contract.
Legally speaking, there’s a lot to consider and set up before you can have your new team member get to work. We offer a handy guide on How to Hire a Freelancer or Virtual Assistant as well as contract templates for creatives, entrepreneurs, and small businesses looking to hire interns, independent contractors, or employees. Make sure you’re legally legit from the start, so both your business and your new team can thrive.
That’s it, friends, our 5 things to think about before hiring your first team member. Are you so ready? Excited!? It’s a big task, but when you’re at that point, it only points to positive growth, and that is what you’re after! So keep on being brilliant and enjoy the fact that you’re ready to expand!
Want to stay legally legit but don't know where to start? Download our Business Startup Checklist, it can help you start your business like a pro or jump on a consult with one of our very-not-scary lawyers, so we can point you in the right direction.
Riz McDonald is an e-commerce business owner, business coach, podcaster and a lawyer for over 16 years. She’s also a mum and a lover of good wine...she only ever drinks the cheap stuff when she’s stoney broke.
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This article is for general information purposes only and should be used solely as general guidance. It does not and is not intended to represent legal advice or other professional advice.
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