by Ashley Cox | SproutHR
If hiring a team is one of your goals this year, but you’re feeling a little nervous (a.k.a. terrified), then you’re not alone! I know many small business owners who want to grow their teams this year, but are facing a lot of doubt and uncertainty. In this post, I’ll be sharing my favorite pro tips on how to overcome the 5 most common fears about hiring for your creative business. Soon, you’ll be taking confident strides to meet your big goals!
The Fear is Real
It’s an exciting time to see your business grow to the point where you’re ready and able to hire a bit of help. The opportunity to get some much needed support and take a breather (maybe even a trip to the spa!) can be enticing.
It’s a pretty big deal to hire someone for your team though and you may naturally be worried. That little voice inside your head might be saying:
- “Who are you to hire a team!”
- “What in the world are you thinking?! You don’t know the first thing about leading a team!”
- “You don’t even know where to start!”
If you’re inner fear monster is piping up right about now and trying to shut you down about hiring your first team member, then I’ve got the post for you today! I often hear first-hand the fears, doubts and worries many people face when they’re gearing up to hire their first team member. And a lot of times, it stops people cold in their tracks. But it doesn’t have to!
The 5 Most Common Fears About Hiring and How to Overcome Them:
Below are the most common fears I hear from creatives about hiring their first team member. I’m going to share my top tips for how you can overcome each of these fears so you can get hiring and reach your big goals!
“I don’t even know where to start.”
Start by identifying your outsourcing needs first! This is something that every small business owner can do – whether you’re ready to hire now or not quite yet.
How to Do It:
- Make or keep a running list of all the tasks you do in your business. (Yeah, it’s going to be HUGE list – but it’s okay!)
- Place a STAR beside the tasks that ONLY YOU can do. These will be tasks that you keep.
- Now highlight the tasks that you DON’T ENJOY doing or that you’re NOT GOOD at doing. (These are your potential tasks to outsource.)
- Next, group all similar tasks together (tech, graphics, writing, admin, etc.). It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever be able to find someone who can do all the tasks on your outsourcing list, because they’ll require different skill sets and qualifications. Grouping them together helps you see where you could outsource several tasks to one individual, giving you bigger bang for your outsourcing buck! (Bonus: You then know what tasks you can outsource later on, as well.)
- Voila! Now you have your list of what you want or need to outsource and you can start looking for the right person to join your team!
“I’m afraid I won’t hire the RIGHT person.”
- Knowing your needs – First, you need to know exactly what kind of help you need in your business before you can find the right person to meet those needs. (See Common Fear #1!)
- Knowing what the “right person” actually means to you – The phrase “right person” can be such a wishy washy one to use. It means different things to different people – so you need to define what it means to you. Otherwise, saying it out loud won’t actually help you *find* the right person. Think about what specific qualifications, skills, and/or personality traits the “right person” will need to have in order to be successful in the position. Consider this: The “right person” for a customer service position probably won’t be the “right person” for a data and analytics position.
- Communicating your needs – Next, you need to be able to clearly communicate your needs to the world in order to attract candidates with the right skills or qualifications (See bullet point above!). That means starting with a well-rounded job description that outlines the roles and responsibilities of the position. And no, that doesn’t mean including a line that says, “Must love cupcakes!” because it doesn’t help you communicate anything about what you need for a person to know or do in the role. (Unless of course they’re a cupcake taster, and in that case feel free to email me directly!). If fun and quirky is part of your business, that’s great!! You can definitely show that off on social media and in the manner in which you communicate. But leave the cutesy stuff for later, so you can make sure to hire the best person for the job – the first time around!
In order to hire the right person for your business and team, you need to get really clear on a handful of key points. Let’s break down the three most critical points:
“I’m scared my business won’t be able to financially support an employee for the long haul.”
- Taxes (Federal and State)
- Social Security
- Unemployment Insurance (Federal and State)
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance (Federal and State)
Financials should always be an important part of your decision making process. In fact, it should be the first thing you look at when you start to think about hiring a team member.
Hiring an independent contractor is a more cost-friendly option when you’re just starting to outsource – and the costs are pretty clear cut. You pay the contractor whatever rate they set. They’re not your employee, you’re actually their client, so they get to set the rate. However, hiring an actual employee for your business is more than just committing to an hourly wage rate. Chat with a tax pro in your state regarding employment taxes, so you know exactly what to expect when hiring, so you can budget appropriately. Below are some of the common financial obligations of hiring an employee in addition to wages:
“What if the person turns out to NOT be a good fit?”
Sometimes, it happens! If you’re in the business of hiring people for any length of time, you’ll eventually face this issue. Nine times out of 10, a person ends up not being a good fit because of a bad hiring decision. Yep, I said. We’re typically the cause of a bad fit. Oops!! If we don’t know what we need, if we don’t communicate those needs clearly, or if we have poor interviewing skills, these can all lead to poor hiring decisions. Make sure you’re following all the tips outlined in Common Fear #2 to increase your chances of hiring the right person, the first time!
“I’m worried that my business isn’t ready to bring someone onboard. It’s a hot mess up in here!”
Making sure your business is ready to bring on a team member is almost as important as hiring the right person – almost. If you’re not ready to bring someone onboard, then you’re going to waste a lot of time (yours and theirs) and money getting organized and helping the person get up to speed. Setting your biz up properly beforehand is the best thing you can do to ensure a speedy and efficient on-boarding.
And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Create a Google Doc where you keep track of all the processes you have in place for how you run your business! Outline processes for things such as: how to handle an incoming order, how to reply to a customer inquiry, how to respond a customer complaint/issue, how to onboard a new client, how to format a blog post, what to include in a newsletter, posting schedules for your social media platforms, etc. You can write a process for anything and everything you do. But, I’d suggest writing out all the processes for the tasks you marked for outsourcing in Common Fear #1.
Simply taking some time to be thoughtful and plan ahead will greatly reduce your fear and stress when it comes to hiring and increase your chances of hiring the right person, the first time!
Ashley Cox is The HR Partner for Creatives at sproutHR, where she helps you hire, train, and lead your thriving team, all with confidence and heart. She’ll make the scary and overwhelming parts of hiring and leading a team feel simple and easy to do, while making sure you have a few laughs together along the way!