When I started selling books on Amazon, about 3 ½ year ago, my life was a lot slower than it is now. Yes, I was married, had a house and a full-time job but my job was a lot different than it is now and it didn’t keep me as busy. The most important and biggest difference between now and almost four years ago is my beautiful daughter. Things in life just seem to take over and get busier and more complicated as each day passes and this is the main reason I decided to hire an employee. About a year and a half ago a lot of things came together at the same time to make this happen. I’d like to share with you briefly as to how I finally made the decision to hire my first employee.
About a year and a half ago my mother got laid off during this wonderful economy we are in right now. As luck would have it, her husband, my step father still had a good paying job and they were able to get by just fine without my mother’s income. Previously, she had expressed some interest in helping me out with the books and since I was always trying to find time to do everything myself I thought it was a great time to bring my first employee on board, my mom. The one reason I was able to afford this was because I had built up my business to where I had plenty of sources lined up and I was making enough money to pay an employee. At first it was a little difficult for me to let go of certain aspects of the business as I was used to doing everything on my own and my own way. After training my mother on how to do the tasks, I began transitioning more away from the day-to-day activities and was able to concentrate more on my full-time job, my family and taking more of an ownership role.
As time went on my mother began to feel overwhelmed due to all the tasks she had on her plate; from picking up the books, scanning, creating FBA orders, listing, fulfilling orders and customer service, it was just too much for one person to do by herself. While she was doing everything just as I taught her, she didn’t have the experience I had. We began looking at the possibility of hiring a part-time employee to help out with scanning. I hired a good person and things went really well. Now I have two employees working for me.
So, the question I want to help you answer is how do you know when to hire your first employee?
There are three very important guidelines you should consider:
- Make sure you have a consistent recurring amount of income that can warrant an employee. You may have more things to do than you have time to do them but if you’re not generating the income to support an employee then there is no way you can hire someone. So, first be sure to have a consistent and reliable amount of income. Be sure to have regular sources lined up and make sure you are going to be able to generate a consistent amount of income to hire that employee.
- Decide what pieces of your business you want to hand off to someone else. For me, as I mentioned, I didn’t want to do the day-to-day scanning anymore. I wanted to be dealing more with the executive decisions. If you have read my blog for a while, you will know that I buy books in bulks and not singles. The process is to find the books, a couple thousand books at a time from big dealers, bring them in and just start scanning them and see what we have. Frankly, it bored me to scan book after book, look at prices and throw them in the pile they needed to go to. I would rather give that task to someone else and it really didn’t require a lot of training. Once I had someone reliable (and who could be more reliable than my mom!), it didn’t take long to do the training. Once trained to do the scanning, hook up the laptop and know what to do and when to do it, it was smooth sailing from there on out. Now it was just a matter of me transitioning off that responsibility and I could focus my time on lining up more sources.
- Figure out if you value your time more than money. The reason I say this is because labor is by far the biggest expense I have in my book business. I spend around two to three hours a week maximum working on my book business. This process came about slowly and gradually while training my mom and the other employee on how to run nearly all aspects of the business. At this point, I simply act as a consultant and steer the business in the right direction from an owners’ perspective. The time that has been given back to me by hiring employees has been wonderful. Prior to bringing them on board, I would spend close to 20-30 hours away from wife and daughter as my office is away from my home; my family time was definitely neglected. I also didn’t have time to do anything for myself.
Being able to hire an employee has also given me the opportunity to not only grow a successful business, but to also look into other ventures, such as, eBizControl and my new inventory receiving project yet to be named that I will have more information about later. I am beginning to transition and merge my technology background with my Amazon seller background. I will soon be offering some services that I have been wanting ever since I became a seller and it will benefit other book sellers. I can’t wait!
In conclusion, hiring employees is what has made my book business so successful today. I believe my book business would have been closed down a long time ago without them. Just like with most things in life, when you get bored with something, you end up becoming uninterested in doing the routine tasks and move on to something else. There were some aspects of my business that I simply grew tired of; like I said, with the scanning and picking up the books. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing you may as well not be doing it. Instead of simply throwing my arms up, saying I quit, this sucks, I found someone who would like to do those tasks. My mother loves scanning books and she enjoys trying to find treasures, as she calls them. So it was a win/win situation for both of us; my mom is able to find the “treasures”, make some money and I was able to progress onto other ventures and leave the things behind that I would rather not do.
Do you currently have employees? Are you thinking about hiring one? Let us know in the comments!