3 Mistakes Commonly made when Hiring your First Employee

As entrepreneurs grow, they eventually have to hire. Unfortunately, most of us didn’t get into the business we wanted to because we’re great managers - we did it because we love what we’re doing and we want to be in control of our own destinies.


That means, for the majority of us, we’re not focusing on the skills and elements that need to be in place when it comes down to bringing on a new teammate, which can cause a LOT of problems:

Mistake 1: Their Business Isn't’ Ready for an Employee.

If you’re still running around, trying to put out fires, you’re not ready to hire yet! Both you and your employee will be chaotic, creating even more problems in the long run. Make sure you get a very clear idea on what you NEED, how an employee can provide massive value to your company, and build the position you need around all of these things.

This doesn’t mean your employee will have an easy, predictable job, but it means they’ll have a strong foundation about you, your company, and what is expected of them.

Mistake 2: They Forget About the Learning Curve.

When you started your business, you probably didn’t have the time for a learning curve. You just needed to figure out how to make things happen YESTERDAY. That’s true for the overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs! Unfortunately, that means, a lot of the time, we FORGET that other people do need that curve to perform at optimal levels.

You need to give your new employees time to learn how to please you, what your company is about, and how to apply their skills to the position you’ve provided to them.

Mistake 3: They Don’t Build their Skills as a Manager

This is actually not about the employees. It’s about you, and it should come in before you actually NEED someone. Like I said, most of us don’t focus on hiring and managing skills. We’re too busy looking into everything else we have to get done! Before you get into hiring a new employee, make sure you’ve got an idea on who you want to be as a manager and what that means for your company.


Hey, it's Joel Bower, business leverage expert and co-founder of Skirmish Strategies. Today I'm going to go over the 3 biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when hiring their first employees.

Now, this is something that happens a lot because entrepreneurs, as they grow, obviously at some point they can't do it all on their own and they have to hire. But we didn't get into business or into the business that we wanted to do because we were great managers all the time, or because we knew that someday we'd have this huge team.

We got into it usually because we were inspired to do something for us, something that was important to use, that could also be a way to take care of our family and do what we truly love.

There are a lot of entrepreneurs that get to a certain point and they go, "Okay, I've got a hire a team." They weren't trying to build the skills necessary to get there.

That comes to our first point. That is you have to have a business that is ready to have a new employee. That doesn't mean that you've been around trying to put out all the fires and then suddenly someone else is going to come put out the fires with you. If you do that you basically have two people that are very chaotic, a stressful job for your employee, a stressful job for yourself, and quite honestly, they're not as invested as you are. You will find them actually not putting the fires out, you'll find them just sweeping them under the rug when you find out there's a problem later.

You actually have to structure your business, figure out what you really need, what's important to your business, and what really can be done consistently to take off a lot of the stress off of your plate so you can get onto the things that matter most in your business.

Now I know that sounds like they're going to get this really easy, sweet job and everything's organized and they even know exactly what they're doing, but that's not what my life is like.

That's not what their life is going to be like either, but if you can give them a foundation, a base where they go, "Okay, when I get here, most days, I'm going to come in and I'm going to do these things. I'm going to check the social media channels. I'm going to look through the email of the founder and find out what really needs to be addressed, and if I can help them get the steps moving on those pieces. I'm going to look through and see if there's common questions on any of our social media channels."

If we have a forum or a group that we're a part of, they can go and look for that. They can also take some of the design pieces, so there is a lot for them to do, but the more that they know what they're getting into and they can come and do it consistently, the more confidence they'll have and the better they'll get at it.

Because they're actually going to learn two things when they come into your business:

First is going be you. What do you like? What do you need? How do they please you? How do they make what they're doing actually fit your business? You've got to teach them that.

That takes us naturally onto our next piece which is, learning curve. We miss it all the time, just like when we come into the office and we think that they should run like, we don't really give time for learning curve because we didn't have time for it. But when you're hiring a new employee they have to have that space.

That first part, knowing you, knowing what you like, how to please you, that's the first part of the learning curve. Second is the skills.

Even if they come in with certain skills that you knew you needed and that's why you hired them, they still don't know exactly how to do it for your business, or the best processes. Sometimes a lot of people even with talented skills, like graphic designs or video work, don't have a lot of the creative elements. Even if they did, their vision of what it should look like is going to be so much different than yours.

When someone comes in, give them time to learn about you. Give them time to learn about your business. Give them time to learn their skill or their abilities or what the job you're having them do, in a way that actually moves your business forward and makes you excited to work with an employee.

That is the first 2. The last one is really not about them, it's not even about the hiring process. It actually comes I think before. I think when you start to think that, "I need someone soon. I'm going to have to get that first employee. I'm going to have to hire someone. I can't do all of this myself. I'm running out of time."

You start to get to that early thought, a lot of people, they're just going to run and they're going to finally hit the wall and then they're going to hire someone.

If you knew earlier, if you could feel that pressure coming on, you should have started something that's really important, is building your skills as a manager. What does it take to be a really great manager? How does the hiring look like so you can select someone that would fit your style of management? What is your style of management? Do you even know? Is it really you want that seat of pants excitement for it and you're hoping that someone's just going to fill in there? That's going to be a long hiring process, I can tell you.

But if you can find someone to start getting some of the stuff off of your plate you will open up. You will be able to start your business a different way, you'll see it in a different light and you don't have to go running around putting all those fires out anymore.

Those are the 3 main pieces. Those are the mistakes I see all the time with businesses that are hiring for the first time and thinking they're going to take exactly what they're doing and they're just going to give it to someone and that's going to be it.

I've seen that happen very, very, very, very rarely. It just doesn't. It's what I wanted. I was like, "Great. I am doing this and now I can't do as much of it because I have this other thing I have to do, and this other thing and thing other thing. Wouldn't it be great if someone just did this?"

Yeah, but they're not me. They don't think like I do. They are employees, they are coming to not build my dream. That's what I'm doing. They're here because I need their assistance, and they're going to trade their time for money, and that's what we're going to do.

We need to set up in a way where we understand they're not entrepreneurs. They didn't fall in love with our business, it's not their baby. They can be really inspired and become excited, but give them that time, give them that learning curve to really get involved in the process and become part of a team. Give them some security around what they need to do and really take it on yourself to learn the skills of being a manager.