What is not an employee co-founder

13 warning signs that show you need to hire your first employee

As an entrepreneur, you reach several milestones in the course of your career.

One of these milestones is the hiring of the first employee.


This is a success because it is the first step towards a growing company.

I know that you would like to do everything yourself, but unfortunately that is not possible.

If you shy away from hiring your first employee, you can read on with peace of mind, because I will now give you a few pieces of advice on the way.

I will also show you how you can tell that it is time to hire someone and I tell you when you'd better leave it.

It's also not good if you hire your first employee too early, because then you could run out of money too quickly.

Empty coffers are one of the most common reasons why companies fail and go broke.

Too little money can therefore have disastrous consequences, as can be seen in the graphic above.

So don't hire anyone when you're desperate.

Stress alone is not a good reason to hire an employee.

And decisions made under pressure are mostly bad decisions, so you have to think everything through carefully.

You shouldn't hire an employee if they don't have a clear division of responsibilities.

A lot of people say, “All right, the company is up and running. Now I can hire employees. "

This is the wrong approach because you need to come up with a good plan beforehand.

Don't just assume that now is the right time and decide freely on your gut instinct.

Also, do not hire any employee you find.

As an entrepreneur, you will certainly make a mistake at times, but you can learn from these mistakes.

It would be a mistake, for example, to hire the best applicant immediately.

Take enough time to find the right employee.

You should also consider a co-founder.

With a co-founder, the chances of success are better.

You need someone who has the following qualities:

  • He has similar values
  • It understands your vision
  • He works with passion
  • He has a high level of emotional intelligence
  • He is flexible and honest

Now I have explained to you when you better do not hire an employee should. Next, I'll show you how to tell when the time is right.

Here are 13 warning signs that you need to hire your first employee.

1. You have to reject projects

If possible, a start-up should not reject a project, because that can trigger a snowball effect.

I'll tell you now what the problem is.

Keyword: customer acquisition costs.

A new customer wants to use your services, but you have to decline.

Now your customer acquisition costs are going through the roof.

You put so much time, money, and effort into customer acquisition only to have to turn them down now.

That can't go well.

You finally want to gain new clients and then build a relationship with your customers.

Customer acquisition is the hardest part.

It is much easier and also cheaper to keep existing customers.

The graphic above shows the difference between customer acquisition and customer retention costs.

You can't keep your customers if you turn them down.

Those customers will then buy from the competition and you will likely never see them again.

If you send your customers to the competition, you can close soon.

You can't afford to lose a customer. This is especially true for start-ups.

Sometimes it is appropriate to reject a project, but this is definitely not one of those moments.

Under no circumstances should you lose projects because you have too few employees.

If you have to send customers away, that's a big warning sign.

Now you have to hire an employee.

2. You have identified new potential sources of income

So you've found a new potential source of income.

That could be a product expansion, a new service, a new location or something else.

But you cannot take advantage of this chance yet.

Why not?

Because you need help.

It will take a while, but hiring people and expanding a team can increase sales.

Take a look at the graphic above.

You are still miles away from 100 employees and maybe your company will never be that big, but the increase in sales already starts with five to eleven employees.

If you can believe this graphic, then you can increase your sales with ten employees by 60%.

Why is that the case?

A new employee can help you take advantage of the new sources of income.

If you have to do everything on your own, you won't have enough time to grow and start new projects.

You need support to help you focus on other things, like the increase of your trafficto be able to concentrate.

You can increase your sales by expanding your online presence.

However, you don't have the time to do this if you are too busy with other, everyday tasks.

If you've identified a new potential source of income, but are unable to implement your idea due to a lack of resources, this is a red flag.

You have to hire an employee.

3. Your customers are complaining

I have pointed out many times before that impeccable customer service can double sales.

However, poor customer service has the opposite effect.

While customer complaints are a bad omen, consider yourself lucky when your customers file a complaint.


Because this customer initially complained, but has not yet left.

Only one out of 26 customers files a complaint.

And the rest?

The other 25 customers just disappear.

So customer complaints are also good.

You can take care of the complaint and still hold the customer, but you have to act quickly.

There are many reasons a customer might be upset.

Here are a few examples:

  • Bad product quality
  • Bad customer service
  • A problem with the website
  • Too long waiting times

There are tons of reasons for customer dissatisfaction, but I picked the top four because you can fix them.

If you don't fix it, the customer is gone.

Your customer then thinks that you don't care and that you don't take their complaint seriously.

If he feels neglected or not taken seriously, he will leave your company.

So take your customers' complaints seriously.

Be grateful that he made contact and didn't just disappear.

Then ask yourself if you can fix the problem yourself, or have to hire an employee.

4. The quality of your products and services is deteriorating

Poor product quality is a good reason for customer churn.

Do you have quality control?

Inferior products also cost you a lot of money.

  1. You are losing customers.
  2. You have to spend money to fix problems.

Now let's just assume that you are selling a physical product.

If you don't have any employees yet, we can assume that you will not mass-produce your products unless you have outsourced product manufacturing.

But now I'm just assuming that you still make your products by hand.

The quality control should look something like this:

If you have to do everything yourself, you can easily overlook something.

Would you reject your own product?

Probably not.

The same process can be carried over to online businesses, websites and online shops.

If you have to do everything on your own, mistakes will be overlooked and the quality of your products will suffer.

The customer then has to pay for that.

In this case, you should hire an employee who can examine your work with a fresh eye.

This way you can increase the quality of your products and provide better service.

5. You don't have time to take care of finances, bookkeeping and paperwork

If you deal with customers every day during regular business hours, there is hardly any time left for bookkeeping.

Important papers simply stay where they are.

You should take some time every day to take care of your finances and administrative tasks.

However, as the company grows, new tasks are always added.

If you don't have enough time to take care of administrative tasks, this is a red flag.

In this case, you should hire an employee.

You can also purchase a software program that can help you with these tasks.

Quickbooks is a great program.

The software helps you to organize your tasks.

You can manage your finances and pay bills.

Thanks to automated processes, you can get your daily financial management under control.

Here are other software solutions you can consider:

Each of these programs has great features and certain advantages.

Such a program can help you, but it is often only a temporary solution.

You now have more time, but you still have to remember to pay all the bills yourself.

If you don't have enough time to take care of your administrative work, consider hiring an employee.

6. You need an employee who has certain skills

Entrepreneurs are versatile and can do a little bit of everything.

For certain tasks, however, you need a specialist who has very specific skills.

For example, if you know about advertising but have no idea about SEO.

In this case, you need to hire an SEO expert.

The graphic below shows how Google determines the ranking of your website.

Can you optimize all the aspects shown?

Do you have time for it?

While learning new skills is great, you could also use your time better.

You could hire an expert who is knowledgeable about all of the above.

But SEO is just one example.

If you are not very familiar with a certain area, you should openly admit your weakness.

In no case do not let your company suffer because you are too proud to hire an employee.

7. You don't have time for a break or vacation

Billionaire Mark Cuban proudly says he didn't take a vacation for seven years when he started his first business.

That tells us a lot about his motivation and work ethic.

And the results speak for themselves.

Still, that doesn't have to apply to you.

You can take a break or go on vacation.

Vacation is good for productivity.

Sometimes you just have to clear your head.

You work hard

You've earned a little break.

But if you don't have any employees, you can't take a vacation.

That is not healthy.

Why do you work so hard when you cannot enjoy the fruits of your hard work?

Your sleep also affects your state of mind.

If you have to get up very early every morning to take care of your business, it can get on your nerves.

If you come out every now and then and switch off, you can improve the quality of your sleep.

If you really need vacation again, you should hire an employee.

8. Your business is not growing

When you're so busy that you can't worry about growing your business and implementing growth strategies, that's a red flag.

In this case, you have to hire an employee so that you can fully concentrate on growing your company.

How long has your company been in business?

Has it grown since then?

Can you meet your goals?

Here are the average growth targets for a startup company.

Take a look at the numbers.

In the first few years, your company should take a few drastic leaps.

If your business isn't growing, you should find out why.

Could hiring an employee help?

In some cases, other warning signals could arise in the growth process, which I have already discussed above.

If you have to turn down projects, you cannot grow.

If you cannot pursue new potential sources of income, your business cannot grow.

You can't grow if your customers are dissatisfied.

The whole thing is a snowball effect.

However, many of these problems can be prevented if you hire an employee.

9. Your customers cannot reach you

If your customers can't reach you, that's a problem.

Your customers could use the following means:

  • phone
  • e-mail
  • text
  • message
  • Personally
  • Social media

Here is an example.

Maybe your customers contact you on social media?

42% of all customers expect an answer to their question within an hour.

How are you going to guarantee that if you don't respond to calls or emails?

But that's not the only cause for concern, as you don't have all day to respond to customer inquiries.

Let's leave out the negative effects of your delayed reaction for a moment.

What impact would a quick response have on your customers?

Here is an example.

Let's take Twitter as a communication medium.

This example is about airlines as these customers pay special attention to prices.

If the airline responds to customer inquiries within six minutes or faster, these customers will spend up to 20 euros more on their flight ticket.

The concept can also be transferred to your company.

Customers like to pay more for good services.

But you cannot serve them well if you are unavailable.

If you hire an employee who can do this work for you, you can increase your sales.

10. You can finally afford it

Employees are expensive.

How much do they cost?

Here is the average starting salary for a college graduate:

The graphic shows how much you have to pay the employee, depending on the industry.

Of course, other factors also play a role, for example work experience.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for an employee in the United States is $ 849 per week, or $ 44,148 per year.

That's a lot of money.

If your company is very young, you probably won't even pay yourself a wage.

However, if you've been in the business for a long time, consider hiring someone as soon as you can afford it.

I mentioned earlier that many companies fail because they run out of money, so you could run into problems if you act too early.

But there comes a time when you have to hire an employee because otherwise you will damage the company.

Your company can only grow if you hire someone.

11. A freelancer is no longer enough

Working with freelancers and independent consultants is definitely beneficial for a young company.

I wrote an article explaining how to find freelance writers and marketers.

You can minimize your risks and, in the worst case, get rid of a freelancer without any problems.

Where can you find freelancers?

The graphic above shows that many companies find their external consultants on different platforms.

At some point, however, the time will come for a permanent employee.

Once you've found a great freelancer that you enjoy working with, you could offer them a full-time position.

You should hire someone if you need the help of too many freelancers and outside consultants.

In this case it is often easier to hire an employee.

A freelancer always works for himself.

A permanent employee is easier to control.

12. There is enough to do to keep the employee occupied all day

You have a long-term project in prospect.

I've just mentioned that freelancers also have their advantages, but more for short-term projects.

You can hire a permanent employee if they are busy.

If your new employee doesn't have enough work, they are wasting their time.

Too little work is a major cause of wasted time among employees.

That is of course a waste of good resources, because you are not paying your employees to have their legs in their stomach.

You have to be your employee clear instructions give.

You also have to hold consultations.

Your new employee should have a precise job description and assignment.

He doesn't have to do most of your work for you, but should be assigned one or two specific tasks.

I have already pointed out that it is a warning sign when your customers can't reach you.

Your first employee could therefore deal exclusively with customer inquiries.

13. You want your Unttake sell

Do you have long-term goals for your company?

If you want to sell your business, you need an exit strategy.

You don't have to be ashamed of that.

Over half of all companies in the tech and healthcare industries are looking for a buyer.

However, it is difficult to sell your company if the infrastructure leaves something to be desired.

The solution for this could be an employee.

When you have found an interested buyer, you have to show them that the company can continue to run without you.

Your company is growing in value.

If you ever want to sell your company, you have to hire people.


Hiring the first employee is a big step.

It's nerve-wracking and exciting.

If you're not sure if the time is right, you can take a look at the red flags discussed in this article.

How do you know it's time?

If your customers can't reach you or if they complain, you have a problem.

When the quality deteriorates or when your company doesn't grow.

You may do not reject any projects, because then your customer acquisition costs increase.

High customer acquisition costs can lead to cash flow problems and your company could go bankrupt.

You should hire someone if that's on budget, but make sure they have enough to do.

Find someone who knows about the necessary specialist knowledge disposes.

Entrepreneurs can also take a break and go on vacation.

You should hire an employee so you can switch off and clear your mind because that increases your productivity.

You definitely need employees if you want to sell your company.

Here are the reasons not to hire an employee:

  • You are desperate
  • You don't have a fixed task that the employee could take on
  • He's the first best person to apply for the job

You should also consider a co-founder to help your business grow.

Pay attention to the red flags I discussed in this article so you know when the time is right.

What measures do you take to find a suitable employee for your company?