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The First Startup Hire: Who Should It Be?

Posted by Early Growth

February 4, 2014    |     4-minute read (781 words)

Originally published in All Business Experts.

When you go into business on your own, the order in which you hire employees is crucial to your productivity. You want to make the transition from an individual to a team as seamless as possible.

That’s why we asked a panel of successful entrepreneurs from The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

Q. What is the first job/role a solopreneur should hire for and why?

Their best answers are below:

1. Customer Support

I would hire customer support for a few reasons. First, it’s the lowest cost. Secondly, it’s the easiest position to train. Third, it’s very time-consuming. It’s also easy to find someone who will actually be better at it than you will be. Finally, it forces you to document the processes in your business.

- Dave Nevogt,

2. Social Media Manager

The savvy entrepreneur will focus efforts on this particular form of marketing because it’s free and has so much promise. Once the initiative expands, the entrepreneur will need help with social media management so other areas of the business can expand.

- Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

3. Administrative Assistant

Finding someone to take care of the tedious tasks in your business is important so that you can continue to grow the business. This person should understand the operational side of the business as well as know how to set up opportunities for you. A person for this position must be good at creating processes and very organized.

- Derek Capo, Next Step China

4. Top-Tier Salesperson

I know that many startups look to build a top tech team, but I think that you can always find talented operators, technicians and engineers. What is harder to find is someone who has the gift of knowing how to generate rain. This is invaluable. You will always be able to find the people to build your product and support you. But can you find someone who can externally convey the business’s vision?

- David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

5. A Job You Dislike

Solopreneurs start off doing everything. Although you’re passionate about your business (or at least should be), there are likely day-to-day tasks you don’t like. Outsource those! Focus on what you’re good at and what you like, and everything else will fall into place.

- Alexis Wolfer, The Beauty Bean

6. Sales

When you’re a one-person show, you balance everything from doing the work to running operations. You don’t have time to focus on building your customer base. But you can’t grow without new customers, so sales are key. Your second hire should be someone solely focused on bringing in revenue so you can focus on managing the growing business.

- Susan Strayer LaMotte, exaqueo

7. Content Manager

If you’re working for yourself online, then there’s a good chance you’re doing a lot of content marketing. This can be extremely time-consuming for one person. Bring someone on board who can manage your editorial calendar as well as create content for both your website and social media. Your calendar will thank you.

- Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC

8. The Opposite Role of Your Own

This depends on your personality type. If you are more of an introvert, you need to immediately hire your exact opposite. This way, you can drive sales. If you are naturally a sales and marketing entrepreneur, then you need to hire someone who is organized and can manage the chaos you most definitely will create.

- Adam DeGraide, Astonish

9. A Role That Needs Help

Do everything you can to get things off the ground. Take advantage of optimization tools for graphic work, basic websites, social media, quick tasks and more. You’d be amazed at how far you can go on your own. Once you feel a gap that regularly nags at you, you’ve identified your first hire. You also happen to be ahead financially and experientially!

- Chris Mirabile, Healthy Hand

10. Analytics Manager

I’d hire somebody who can do both social media and analytics. If you don’t understand your analytics, then you’ll find yourself going in many different directions. With good analytics, you’ll know how to hire and how to best spend your advertising money to bring in new customers. Knowing is half the battle.

Russ Oja, Seattle Windows and Construction, LLC

What role was—or will be—your first startup hire? Tell us about it in comments below.

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