I’m now almost four months in to my new business. As my last post indicated, sometimes business is slow. But so far, the profits have increased steadily each month. I am currently the only employee of my professional services business. I don’t have enough work where I could afford someone full-time, but I might be able to hire a secretary 10-20 hours per week. What worries me is that I don’t have a large enough sample size in terms of my business. What if the work dries up? The last thing I would want is to bring someone in and then later have to let them go because my fledgling business takes a bad turn.
There isn’t enough work yet where I’m incapable of doing everything myself, but I am starting to find it annoying coming in on the weekend to do secretarial and other administrative tasks. The biggest reasons why I would like to hire someone, however, are as follows:
1) Sometimes people see me as less professional because I do not have a support staff/a secretary/assistant. My profession is the type where one is expected to have a personal assistant.
2) Sometimes I feel that I could focus more on marketing my business if I didn’t have to spend so much time on administrative tasks.
3) Sometimes I’ll be out of the office for a few hours, and during that time the telephone rings straight to voicemail. I worry that prospective clients may hang up during that time. I also worry about not having someone at the base of operations if I need something faxed/emailed to me when I am working remotely.
Another concern for me is the extra red-tape/paperwork involved in having an employee. It’s a definite downside to not being the sole worker. I’m also not the best delegator so I worry how productive it would be for me to even have a secretary/assistant.
Finally, I like being solo. I like that I can do what I want (when I want) without feeling judged. I’ve worked in enough places to know that even if you are the boss, employees will be looking to you for guidance and direction. There’s a certain amount of pressure that goes along with that–even though I believe it’s what’s naturally occurring anyway.
In this economy, it would be really rewarding for me to be able to provide even a part-time job to another person. That’s one of the ultimate goals (of mine) for owning a business. But because the economy is so bad, I also don’t want to have to let someone go if my business slows down. Finally, all my instincts are those of a boot-strapper, working hard to build up something from nothing. It terrifies me to increase the expenses right now, so early in a business and when I’m trying to keep expenses to a minimum.
I know there’s not enough information about my specific business to ask your advice, but I would love to hear your thoughts on when a business knows it’s time to expand. When is the time to bring in a new employee? As always, your thoughts are greatly appreciated and personal stories are always welcomed as well.