You’re an Entrepreneur, and you finally have your Start-up up and running. You’ve been slaving away for years, coming up with the idea, convincing others its worth doing, and borrowing enough money from friends, family and fools to keep you well stocked in Ramen Noodles. You’ve moved from the kitchen table to Starbucks, to home office, to Accelerator, and you feel a new level of stability with this location and a handful of actually paying customers. Finally, finally it’s time to hire someone, but who should that hire be?
“Finally, it’s time to hire someone, but who?”
When I speak to Entrepreneurs about who their first hire should be, I get all kinds of answers. The one I get the most is, the Sales Guy (or Gal). After all, you didn’t become an Entrepreneur because you liked sales, and in most cases the last thing you actually want to do is sales. Your first hire should NOT be a sales person, and you’re an Entrepreneur and like it or not you are in sales. As a young organization, or a small company people are not really buying your new product or service, they are buying you as the person that will personally deliver it. Customers want to stare someone in the eye, build trust, see passion and know, no matter what someone will be delivering on these promises and making them look good. This early in the game that someone needs to be you, the founder.
“You’re an Entrepreneur and like it or not your are in sales.”
Let’s position the question a slightly different way. If you could hire anyone, any single person you know who would it be? It’s a trick question so, I’ll just answer it. You would clone yourself and hire, you! After all you have the vision, the passion, you know all the mistakes to this point. You’ve got the trust with yourself and a lot of the really valuable stuff only you can do. However, you can’t clone yourself and hire him, not yet anyway or can you? Your first hire should be an Executive Assistant.
“Your first hire should be an Executive Assistant.”
Ask Richard Branson, he believes his Executive Assistant(EA) works harder than he does and is way better than a smartphone. As an Entrepreneur with finally some success, your day is filled with things that others can do way better then you and piles of stuff that just doesn’t add value to your new organization. By getting some help with all this day-to-day, micro stuff you would be able to focus on more of the stuff you are good at, those things only you can do… you essentially get to hire another you. See what the heavy hitting Entrepreneurs say. Are Executive Assistants Worth the Trouble?
I’m in the middle of another start-up venture, and I recently took my own advice. I could only afford someone part-time but, last month I hired Ashley Senfield as Executive Coordinator(Team Member) …everyone is a team member. Ashley in her first thirty day has been simply amazing!! She has taken so much off my plate that I can do double, if not triple the work during the same period of time. There is just so much that wouldn’t have gotten done this month without her help. …it does feel like I have hired another one of myself. Scary, I know. 😀
Hiring a good support person is very challenging, and I do believe that support people are second most import team members working at most companies (first is still undetermined). If you are going to hire an EA take your time, set clear explications, make sure you generally like the person and there are shared personal values. You should spend some time researching and understanding how to use an EA effectively and make sure you have a career path for him or her.
“When its time to add your first team member, consider hiring another you first.”
So when you have finally hit that spot and its time to add to your team, consider hiring another you first.
John Smith is a seasoned technology focused business entrepreneur and thought
leader in the areas of using software to create better corporate cultures and a
more engaged workforces. John now helps others organizations build innovating
technologies, awesome cultures and engaged workforces at Break the Equation.