by Theresa B. – Get free updates of new post here.

Photo by Frans Van Heerden

Are you a solopreneur, running a growing business alone? You’ll quickly learn that you can have it all, but probably not all by yourself. Thanks to automation and software assistants, it is possible for anyone to start a business with no staff. However, if your business is snowballing- at a pace where you may need different departments- then it’s time to look for help. 

Hiring an employee is a significant milestone. It comes with a lot of responsibilities, particularly costs. As a growing business, you want to keep your cost levels down. Data shows that the second most common reason why startups fail is that they run out of cash. Before deciding to hire an employee, be sure that they will bring in as much/even more value than they will cost. 

Do you think your business is ready for its first employee? Here are five signs that say ‘YES’. 

How to Know When to Hire Your First Employee

  1. You have enough tasks to fill a 40-hour workweek

Do you say, “Ugh…I hate writing emails,” then wish you had an employee? That’s not enough reason, sorry. You don’t want to rent an office space and pay a full salary to give someone 30 minutes to 1 hour of work per day. One trick to determine if you have enough work for an employee is to write a job description. List out all the tasks which the potential employee will be expected to handle. Now, compare that list to the cost of hiring and retaining them. Is there a balance in value? 

There are more cost-effective solutions for small tasks such as writing emails or managing databases. You can hire a virtual assistant on an hourly basis and assign such functions to them. You only have to pay these VAs for as long as their services are needed. Plus they cover the costs of their workspace, productivity tools, and so on. In this case, you probably don’t need an employee — just a part-time assistant. 

  1. You’re losing clients and turning down work

It’s not so easy to be the customer service + sales + procurement + accounting person, but small business owners often pull it off. However, if you’re reaching a point where clients are complaining about the quality of service, you may be stretching yourself too thin. If you’re struggling to complete tasks, or can’t possibly fit all your tasks and meetings into your work hours, then you may be ready for an employee. 

As a growing business, you also shouldn’t be turning down new work. So if you find yourself doing such because there’s no time to work on new projects, then you should consider hiring someone. If you don’t, you will be creating a ‘cap’ on your market share and revenue. 

  1. The quality of your products and services is at risk 

Quality control is a long and detailed process. You need to ensure that products and services are of standard value. This often involves inspection, testing, retesting, reworking if required, and in some cases, starting all over again. As a solopreneur, I’ll assume that all these tasks, maybe even production, falls on you. If you’re at a point where you can’t do all of these in addition to your management duties, then you may need an employee. You want to ensure that your brand holds up the value which customers were attracted by. The last thing you need is to start losing customers because of a drop in the value of your products and services. 

Beyond losing customers, the reputation of your brand may also be compromised. Disappointed customers will not only leave. They may also share negative reviews. One study shows that 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Your business could be losing clients without even knowing. If you believe that your quality control is suffering, then it’s time to hire an employee and make time for what is necessary. 

  1. You need a specialized skill set full-time

Entrepreneurs often have to decide between learning a skill and hiring someone who can get the job done. For example, you can learn SEO, how to build a website, bookkeeping, and so on. But in some cases, you may need those services on a full-time basis. If your business brings in hundreds of thousands of daily web and app users, then you probably need a full-time software developer. If your business is primarily based on a sales and advertising framework, then you probably need a sales manager. In the long run, hiring someone may save more money and provide more benefits than DIY or part-time services. 

  1. You have zero personal time for breaks or vacations

As a business owner or founder, the quality of your life is closely tied to the quality of your business. Especially in its first few years. If being the ‘hands-on’ person of your business means that you have no time for yourself, then you may need an employee. The easiest way to determine this is to figure out how many days are in your workweek. If you work on your business full time for seven days a week, then you need an employee. 

You need time, at least one day a week, to rest from the demands of your business. According to Harvard Health, people who work too much and neglect their health are at a higher risk of heart problems. Resting is not just crucial for your health. It also gives you time to step away from your business and return with a fresh perspective. 

Sleep, as simple as it seems, can boost your happiness and give you the internal motivation to tackle new tasks every day. If work is taking all of your personal time, this is a big sign that your business is ready for another set of capable hands. 


As a business owner, you have to take stock of where your business is, and what it currently needs from you. If you are ready for an employee, then you must have said ‘Yes’ to at least one of the indicators above. If your business is no longer growing because of your one-person approach, and you can’t fix it with part-time help, then consider hiring an employee. Before taking that step, ensure that you can afford it and that you have enough work to keep an employee busy.

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