In those early days, when you started out your business alone, you probably never dreamed that you’d be one day thinking of hiring an employee. Or maybe it was always part of your business plan, as you envisaged growing and expanding your business over time.

Whatever your previous outlook, if you’ve now come to a point where you’re seriously thinking of hiring an employee, here are a few signs to look for that could tell you if the time is now.

1)  You’re Lacking Skills in Some Areas

It’s inevitable that even with all the time in the world, you can’t be an expert on everything. As someone who works for themselves, you’ll be used to managing every aspect of your business alone – so it might be difficult to acknowledge that you’re not just busy but in need of extra support in the form of an employee who can bring extra skills, knowledge and a new perspective to your company. This may not mean that you need to hire a full-time employee but you could, instead, look for a contractor who will be able to work with you on a project or hourly basis without committing yourself to pay out on a monthly salary – plus employee benefits. This will also help you test the water and determine whether you would benefit from help from a permanent employee before you stride out into the unknown.

2) You’re Regularly Having To Turn Down Work

Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to hire an employee; sometimes what you actually need is to find another freelancer who works in the same area as you do to partner up with so that you can share workload with when you’re experiencing a busy patch – and if they do the same for you, this could become a mutually beneficial arrangement. But if politely turning down work emails are becoming a regular feature of your inbox, this may mean that it’s time to think about employing someone so you can turn this previously lost work into revenue for your business.

3) You’ve Lost Clients

Worse than having to turn down work is the feeling of losing a loyal client, especially if the reason is related to the limitations of your business. Whether this is linked to restraints on time, capacity or skills, an extra pair of hands could make all the difference between a happy client and one that’s looking for an opportunity to bail.

4) You Might Make More Money

Of course, hiring an employee is a substantial financial commitment and one that should not be entered into lightly. But it’s not all about outgoings. A skilled employee could help generate new income. Someone with marketing experience, for example, could help bring in new clients whilst keeping the existing ones sweet. So, if you’re in the frustrating position where you’ve lost clients, regularly have to turn down work and aren’t always able to do your best for your business, perhaps it’s worth considering whether the salary and benefits you offer your first employee, are things that could quite quickly end up paying for themselves.

5) You Know Exactly What Your New Employee’s Role Would Be

And finally, one of the best ways to determine whether you really need to hire an employee is if you can sit down and easily write-out a full job description for your first employee. This will help you understand the scope of the work you would need your employee to do and may help you realise that there’s not enough for a normal working week there – or you may realise there’s plenty for your new employee to get stuck into. Either way, this exercise will hopefully allow you to come to a decision about whether now is the right time for you to hire your first employee.