It was May 2021. That time I hired my first full-time employee.
This was the biggest move I’ve made for my business and myself so far. I’m diving into my hiring process and how I reached this pivotal CEO step. Because you may be on the fence with hiring. This may be the inspiration for you to finally take the leap.
Lucy has been my right-hand person for almost a year now. She is my Executive Assistant. Within the short time she’s been with me we have accomplished more than I would have ever been able to do with just a contractor.
Full-time employee vs. Contractor
So many business owners (especially those of us who operate primarily online) know the struggle of hiring contracted work. For a year prior to hiring Lucy, I worked with a Virtual Assistant. My VA helped me out 10 to 15 hours a week for about a year.
She stopped working for me because she wanted to pursue her own career, which I was 100% in support of. For a short period after that, I worked with another VA, but it became apparent that the contract-type work was not what I needed. My VA had other clients that were pulling at her schedule. As I noticed the weak communication and the repetitiveness of explaining the same things to her over and over… I realized that I needed someone who was all in on my business. I think I had out-grown the VA contractor and it was time for me to rip the bandaid off and hire a full-time EA. Something had to change.
I knew it was time to go all in. I needed a sidekick who was as committed and involved in my business as I am.
Using a Recruiter
The hiring process is a big one. I knew to find the right match, I needed expert help. I sought the help of a hiring agent and friend, Sylvia at Spang Career Collective.
Spang Career Collective is an online recruiting agency dedicated to recruiting, training, and providing talent solutions for growing companies! I didn’t want to screw up so working with Spang gave me the confidence to know what traits to look for and what questions to ask during the interview process.
Sylvia and her team took care of everything and made the hiring process stress free. We put together a job description and Sylvia took care of the rest.
Eventually, we narrowed down applicants to the top 3 and I conducted interviews with each of them. Having an expert in the hiring process meant I had support to give me pointers about what to look for and what questions to ask. I never felt alone in the process.
Selecting a Team Member
The important thing for me was I needed an assistant that I genuinely connected with. I wanted someone who I enjoyed talking to, someone who was intuitive and forward-thinking. After all, I was looking for an assistant, my right-hand person. I need them to create an organizational flow and ease that I could not create on my own (everything lived in my head).
I sought proactive and problem-solving applicants. Someone who didn’t just do what was told but wasn’t afraid to pose questions and give their opinion on matters. Someone who is a quick learner and also excited about the job and the potential for growth.
The biggest challenge:
The hardest part about hiring a full-time employee was the financial readiness. I had to make sure my finances were in order… this person’s livelihood is in my hands. I NEVER want to be tacky or unprofessional and unable to pay them timely.
I’m all in for my business success, which means I’m all in for my team’s professional growth.
Not only did I have to make sure I could securely pay someone’s salary, but I had to embody the CEO role and mindset. I was forced to look at how I ran my business. What systems did I have in place? What boundaries were necessary?
Organizations with poor onboarding processes are twice as likely to experience employee turnover (Lorman). I had to make sure I could set Lucy up for success and that meant having a laid out plan for the onboarding and training process. I made sure that she was well trained in the beginning…not just on tasks and software we use, but also on the company mission, service offers, our core values, etc.
Finding the one:
The most exciting thing about hiring my first full-time employee is that I pulled the plug!! This shit is a BIG deal. Not just a contractor that you can let go any time, or they can decide when it’s over. An employee is such a formality…so much goes into it.
From start to finish, the whole hiring process took 5 months. From day 1 was when I committed to hiring. To 5 months later, when she began her first day on the job. 5 whole months, that’s longer than many of my past relationships! Real talk.
It’s now been about 11 months since Lucy’s first day. And the transformation of my business, my mindset, my work schedule, my stress levels, shit even my waistline is pretty badass. I could not imagine my business without Lucy. We have tackled countless projects and created new systems together. Everything is more streamlined including our project management, marketing and sales, social content, operating processes, etc. She keeps me on my toes to stay on top of things to ensure the ball never gets dropped. And this is what I need…the motivation to continue not only because I enjoy what I do but because I’m being looked on to lead and develop my team.
Since Lucy’s first day, there has been a HUGE transformation of the business and my mindset. I have the energy to take on the CEO role and navigate clients to my full potential. My work schedule is so much more structured which has decreased my stress level and opened up my calendar to allow more rest and adventures…even during tax busy season.
Having a TEAMMATE to bounce ideas off of, navigate tough clients, and even go to yoga classes with is the best thing ever! We work TOGETHER. We help each other grow and hold each other accountable. We help our clients succeed.
To you reading this… if you’ve been thinking of hiring your first employee… DON’T LET FEAR STOP YOU. Ask yourself, why am I hesitating? Do what you need to do to overcome that fear. For example, my fear was not having the money to cover someone’s salary. However, when I took a closer look at my finances, I saw that I actually did have the budget to hire for this role. And that’s what gave me the green light to move forward. The rest is history.