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Hiring Your First Employee

Small business owner-operators wear many hats to keep their overhead low. While it's smart to keep things fiscally tight, it's also important to recognize when hiring your first employee is the right move.

The first employee of a small business is a significant milestone. Approach this crossroad carefully, because a wrong turn can derail your business. If you don't know whether your business can afford to expand, consider these five signs that a new hire may be needed.

1) There Are Not Enough Hours in the Day

You knew your hands would be full running a business by yourself. You also may have expected it to get easier over time. Instead, it might seem like your workload continues to build. You could be too busy for your own good.

Electricians, plumbers and HVAC operators everywhere have faced this problem. At some point, they couldn't accept new clients because there wasn't enough time in the day to do more work.

2) Your Business Is Growing

Many small business owners wait to hire their first employee until their income can support expenses like liability insurance. But, if your business has grown beyond that point, it might be time to delegate.

When you reach solid financial footing, you can reinvest in your company by hiring. The decision can enable you to sign larger and more lucrative clients.

3) Your Time Is Wasted on the Wrong Tasks

As an owner-operator, you are responsible for all tasks big and small. However, too much of your precious time may be spent putting out fires. Instead of building a business, you might be just maintaining one. As a result, you may be neglecting core aspects of your business.

If you hire an employee, you may be able to focus on higher-value tasks.

4) The Quality of Your Work Is Slipping

All small business owners start with a vision. You may have had a specific expertise that you wished to share with your community.

Then, reality set in. You were forced to cover every base on your own. Before long, you became more of a jack-of-all-trades than the master of a specialty.

Whether your clients notice it or not, you might feel like the quality of your work is not what it once was. Perhaps all you really need is a helping hand to give you time to refocus on your original vision.

5) You Are Losing Your Passion

It's not uncommon for small business owners to realize their work life is not quite what they envisioned. You thought you would spend more time on non-administrative tasks. The passion that once drove you to work all night on business strategy is fading. Even parts of the job that once brought joy now seem mundane. If managing your business feels like a job more than ever before, it might be time to embrace change.

Hiring your first employee is a big decision. After weighing the pros and cons, check out the U.S. government hiring guidelines for step-by-step instructions on what to do next.