Running a single-person startup can be difficult. You bring your business from rags to riches. It can be just as hard to hire your first employees, though. Your business was created by you and having someone else work on it seems like you are letting your business down. But there is no reason to feel this way, you are only spreading the joy that your start-up has brought you.
The big question: When is time to hire your first employee?
When you are spending more time at the office
Starting a business means that you will spend a lot of time at the office. However, once that business is up and running you shouldn't be spending your whole life at the office. If you are spending more time working than at home, it is time to start hiring employees. It is unhealthy to spend your whole life focussing on your business. Even a single person can be enough staff to help you create time to spend at home and with family.
When you are spending more time doing the basics
There is a lot of basic work to do with a start-up and the more that you grow, the more office work there will be to do. If you find that you are spending so much time doing office work that you don't have time to expand the business, you need to hire more people. Your job as the person who is running the start-up is to be the brains and leader of the start-up.
When you are turning down work
It is normal to occasionally turn work down when you are starting up but that should be once in a blue moon. If you find that your start-up in consistently turning down work, then you should consider hiring your first employee. At the point that you are turning down work, you are losing possible revenue. The money that you are turning down could be used to pay you first employee, it could also help you to expand your start-up in other ways.
When you need new sources of income
When you start a start-up, chances are that you are focusing on one area of income. As you start to build your roots and earn money, though, you might find that there are other avenues that you could be using to get money. This means that you are both breaking into a new area and earning new money. Both means of progression mean that you will be better able to afford your first employees.
When complaints are coming in
Every business receives at least a few complaints. This is because it isn't possible to satisfy every customer. When you start receiving a lot of complaints there might be a sign that something is going on. Complaints of slow turnaround, long delivery, slow replies, lack of quality, it might be time to hire another team member. This second team member will be there to help fill in the gaps that you have. They can reduce the number of complaints and make your customers happier.
When you lack a skill set
When you come to a point where you continually get requests to do a project that is outside of your skill set. If you want to stop turning down these jobs, then you need to hire someone who has that skill set. Running a start-up leaves you very little time to learn new skills. A second staff member also means that you will be able to take more jobs and increase your revenue.
A key principle to follow is that it is time to hire your first employee when your lack of another team member directly impacts your start-up's ability to succeed or is holding your start-up from operating at its full potential. You need to evaluate your circumstances and ensure that you afford to bring on a new employee.
Running a start-up by yourself is hard. A lot of your time gets put into the process and many people would say that they even pour their hearts and souls into their businesses. Making the step to hiring a new employee is a big one but it may be one that you need to take. Good luck on your route to success.