Determining When to Hire Your First Employee | Lane' J. Richards

Determining When to Hire Your First Employee

September 11, 2019

Are you thinking about when to hire your first employee? Maybe you’re drowning in busy work, or you’re working 12-14 hour days, 7 days a week (like I was). You undoubtedly need someone to help take some of the pressure off but you’re uncertain what their job description should be, or how many hours they should work. It’s easier than you think to pinpoint the details so let’s take a closer look.

Time Logging

The easiest (and most eye-opening) way you can determine when to hire your first employee is to keep a time log. I touched on this in a previous post around establishing an order minimum and it’s pretty simple.

Using a basic time log (such as this log via Google Docs), keep track of the time you spend on every task within your business for an entire month. You can also use any other sort of time tracking program such as Toggl, just make sure you’re diligent!

Tasks may include:

  • Scheduling social media posts
  • Engaging on Instagram
  • Blogging
  • Collecting images from photographers
  • Organizing a styled shoot
  • Phone calls and emails with clients
  • Design consultations (sales meetings) with prospective clients
  • Order prepping, pulling, cleaning, restocking
  • Purchasing new inventory
  • Inventory maintenance
  • Emailing invoices and contracts
  • Recording payments and expenses (bookkeeping)
  • Paying bills
  • Depositing checks at the bank
  • Networking
  • Website updates

I wouldn’t estimate the time you spend on each task as it likely takes longer than you may realize. When you sit down and accurately log your minutes and hours, you’ll gain a better understanding of how long things take. This is especially helpful when onboarding a new employee as you’ll know exactly how much time responsibilities take, which will help determine how many hours a week they should work.

Categorize Your Time

Once you’ve logged your time, you’ll want to assign buckets or categories to each such as business operations, marketing, sales, administrative, and finance. Using the time log calculator below, total up your hours for each category.

Review Your Categories

Looking over the total time for each category, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is the percentage of your Administrative bucket to your overall hours?
  2. What bucket is the most revenue-producing?
  3. Do you know where your revenue-producing hours are?
  4. Do you know your revenue-generating activities?
  5. Did the time you spent in your Marketing or Sales bucket produce sales?
  6. How many hours can you delegate?
  7. How would you use your time differently?
  8. What surprised you?
  9. What changes would you make based on these new findings?

When to Hire Your First Employee

After you’ve gone through the process of tracking, logging and reviewing your time, you’ll have a much better understanding of your hiring needs. Looking over your hours and business needs, you’ll start to see a trend in tasks.

When I went through this activity, I first made a guess that I was working 50-60 hours a week. After two weeks of tracking my time, I was shocked to learn I was working closer to 80 hours a week! The bulk of my time was taken up in sales (handling rental inquiries, design consultations, proposal follow-ups, etc.) and marketing (social media posting, image prep, etc.).

Once I saw the numbers, I immediately reached out to a social media strategist to outsource all of my Instagram (talk about a weight off my shoulders!) and hired a “Jill of all trades”. It wasn’t a glamorous title, but her main focus was working directly with clients and helping with order prep so she knew the ins and outs of both operations and sales.

Yes, hiring your first employee can be scary! But knowing your numbers and having a plan in place knowing exactly the work you want to offload will help take the stress away.

Need a Human Resources Strategy?

I work with specialty and vintage rental businesses large and small, helping you build and scale your business and be more productive. Owning an award-winning rental business for over 7 years and managing a team of over 30 employees in the corporate sector for a Fortune 100 company, I know the ins and outs of HR.

If you need help creating your own human resources strategy such as hiring, handling disciplinary actions, crafting your job description, or interview questions, schedule a coaching call with me, or contact me via email or call 619.577.3117 to inquire about customized services for you.

  1. […] If you’ve been working with a VA and the work they’re doing is 20 hours a week or more, it will be less expensive for you to hire an employee. VA’s typically charge between $30 – $50 per hour (and usually have packages of hours) whereas an employee can be drastically less, even after you factor in unemployment insurance, payroll taxes, and other benefits. It may seem scary to hire because of the payroll reporting, but programs such as Gusto make the process super easy. (Read more about determining when to hire your first employee here.) […]

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