Rajen Mistry • Aug 21 • 4 minutes

First time hiring as a startup?

I firmly believe that in startups, hiring your first employee is the largest risk and greatest potential you can bring to your business.

After celebrating two years of business (and surviving the pandemic!) I decided I wanted to expand Are & Be by hiring my first employee. 

As an up-and-coming brand agency, based in the heart of Cambridge, an area full of bright tech startups, champions of sustainability, and pioneers in healthcare, I knew that as much as I tried I would not be able to fulfill all my current and future clients’ needs. So, I decided to hire someone for my small, (but mighty) team.

So far, hiring as a startup has presented some unique challenges, however, the learning process has been a very positive, enlightening one. By seeing different people, you can be inspired through a diversity of ideas and see the potential they can bring to your business.

In this post, I am going to expand upon some of the things I discovered after getting my first hire as a startup, and how you can prepare to hire with success and growth in mind…

How do you know if you are ready to hire?

Often, in larger companies hiring someone new is a constant and ongoing process. But what about startups? Or individual entrepreneurs? When do they know the right time to employ someone new and expand their business? 

Whilst it can be amazing delegating your own work and starting out your business with only you to answer to, as your clients and their needs grow, it raises the question; do I need some more help?

In my case, the answer was yes.

Working as an individual gave me time to grow in confidence and make organic connections. However, my agency Are & Be had begun to outgrow me. I could continue to stay as I was. Or choose to grow by bringing in someone fresh with new ideas.

It was a simple decision, and I chose the latter. However, this wasn’t a choice without its lessons.  

If you, like me, have also recognised that you need some help, then outlined below are some simple tips that I have gained from recent, personal experience, to consider before committing to your business’s first hire.  

3 important things to consider before hiring for the first time

1. Collaborate with others first and experiment without commitment

A strategic partnership, before getting a new hire is a great step for any business wanting to dip their toes into expanding their team, but who are not yet ready to fully commit to hiring someone new.

Before my first hire at Are & Be, I had already built a network of trusted experts from copywriters to developers, all of which I flexibly collaborate with to meet client’s needs.

From this, I understood how to work with people, how they worked within my business, and whether it was something I enjoyed. This step is vitally important prior to onboarding so that you can find out if you are seeking a team or simply want an independent business venture.

2. Decide whether you need a 9-5 employee

If your clientele is expanding and your time and space is limited, you may have to decide between turning down work or hiring someone new. In my experience, it’s often a promising idea in the beginning to find someone who is willing to work part-time.

The extra revenue that your company receives from having a part-time worker, can then go into getting them on board full-time or adding another part-time hire for a different or supporting role.

Remember, just because someone doesn’t work full time, doesn’t mean they won’t provide massive benefits to your business!

But if you do need to hire, part-time or full, how do you choose someone when you could be doubling your team size with a single hire? The pressure to get the right person is immense! 

3. Figure out who your business needs

After researching online, I found that in startups, hiring someone in marketing is a good place to start. Having someone in marketing helps you build your leads and grow your own business. It also gives you the marketing capacity for your customers.  

For me, working in Cambridge, building clients’ brands, and supporting them with web design and graphic design made having a marketer with great communication and writing skills essential. 

So have a think about what your business needs, that you either cannot currently provide or need to build on. 

Introducing Are & Be’s first hire Jesamine!

With a degree in English and Film, Jesamine is an intuitive storyteller with creative copywriting skills and a natural aptitude for marketing. Her onboarding will bolster Are & Be’s marketing capabilities, provide fresh ideas, and will continue to drive tangible results for ourselves and our clients.  

I am beyond excited to join the growing team at Are & Be. Working with a fresh, upcoming creative agency, this great opportunity will enable me to explore my passions in branding and marketing. I look forward to working with great clients!” – Jesamine.

smart man and business woman sitting together at place of work

I hope this post has inspired other small businesses to take the initiative and consider what they need to do before committing to their first hire. 

Although this article has covered the points to think about before hiring as a startup, it’s also massively important to discover whether someone would want to work with you.

Ask yourself how attractive is your business to potential employees? And if you’re not sure, let’s have a chat.  

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