How to Hire and Build a Team When You’re a Solo Founder

  • Nearly 10 million new business applications were filed in the US in 2020 and 2021.
  • Many of these entrepreneurs want to scale their business by hiring employees.
  • Three entrepreneurs identified steps to find and build a sustainable team as a solopreneur.
  • This article is part of Talent Insider, a series of expert advice designed to help small business owners overcome a range of hiring challenges.

In 2020 and 2021, Americans filed nearly 10 million new business applications as they searched for hobbies, side earnings, or new jobs following pandemic-related layoffs.

Today, many of these entrepreneurs are trying to scale their business through hiring. But establishing sustainable growth with new team members despite high inflation and layoffs at big-name companies requires strategic planning, said Max Mirho, content creator and solopreneur.

For example, Mirho said he prefers to hire contract workers for his Make with Max company instead of full-time employees because they can be less expensive but just as effective.

Krishna Pendyala, who founded the audiovisual company Visual Symphony and the Mindful Nation Foundation, a network and community growth organization, said that especially with today’s technologies and platforms like freelance sites Fiverr and Upwork, a wide range of help is available stands.

Mirho, Pendyala, and David Finkel, an author and entrepreneur, shared three key steps to finding, building, and leading a sustainable team as a solopreneur.

Identify the right type of setting

Before posting open positions or hiring employees, a founder should determine the exact role they need based on the specific tasks that need to be done – like working on marketing initiatives or handling a barrage of customer service requests – and those for the future required time identify employee.

“It’s hard to lead someone unless I have a clear definition of what they’re supposed to do and how they’re going to be measured,” said Finkel, who founded business coaching firm Maui Mastermind.

Pendyala said that based on those answers, founders should ask themselves whether they want an employee who has specific skills they lack or an assistant who can complete tasks without making high-level decisions.

Give up some control

Many founders struggle with relinquishing control, Finkel said. “It comes from experiences where they’ve let go and burned themselves,” he added.

Reluctance to let go often turns into micromanagement — but if a founder wants to move forward, unlearning those fears is crucial, he said.

“Control isn’t about the organization — it can mean control of a process or a line of business,” Finkel said.

Pendyala said when a founder is reluctant to give freedom to employees, “often they’re just delegating tasks, they’re not delegating authority.” But he added that he suggests founders hire a chief of staff, partner or CEO as their first high-level hire, as that approach can stifle growth beyond a certain point.

Finkel and Pendyala argued that until a founder begins to trust others, their ability to grow and advance will be limited.

Create the conditions for a good relationship between manager and employees

Taking the time to define the role and identify the right person can help ensure the experience of managing them is as smooth as possible.

Finkel suggested making a list of skills, experience, or personality traits you’d like to see in a new hire, and then narrowing it down to three to five non-negotiable qualities.

“By taking half an hour to think this over more clearly before you even go to the interview, it not only helps hire a better person, it also makes the first part of guiding that person easier,” he said.

Mirho suggested searching your personal network for candidates who fit your ideal description. His first contract worker was a friend who he knew would do quality work. But he said new hires can come from all corners of your network.

“If you don’t have a personal network, you can easily build one by going to local events, emailing local business owners to get their perspective on the local scene, hosting your own events, or creating content on the web,” said Mirho .

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