If you’ve been a solo practitioner for a while, chances are you’ve at least considered what hiring a paraplanner or associate advisor would look like for your business. As the next logical step in scaling your firm, you likely view this in one of two ways: an exciting milestone — or downright terrifying.
If the thought of your first hire puts you in the latter category, you’re not alone. Your business is your baby, and the idea of sharing the reins with someone — albeit in a limited capacity — is a tough concept to grasp.
On the bright side, it’s possible…and absolutely worth it if you hire the right person.
But hold off on searching the job boards just yet.
In fact, before you even begin crafting the job description, here are a few important factors that you should consider first.
Don’t hire full-time until you’re ready.
One of the worst things you can do when trying to scale your firm is to hire full-time employees before you’re ready. Many well-intentioned financial advisors have made this mistake, only to realize that they either didn’t have a plan for what the full-time paraplanner or associate advisor would be doing or they had little time to train them on the tasks they were looking to delegate.
One way to avoid this is by looking virtually and hiring your first employee on a part-time basis — in some cases, as little as a few hours per week. This will allow you to gain clarity on what tasks you should delegate and provide the flexibility to test things out before committing to a longer-term engagement.
As the workload increases, the need for a full-time virtual paraplanner will immediately become more apparent. Just be sure to act on that realization sooner than later — you don’t want to wait too late to make your next hire.
Focus on what your business needs right now.
As the wearer-of-many-hats within your business, there’s no question that you could use some help. While you can absolutely hire anyone that you’d like, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your first hire needs to be a full-time employee or even work in the same office with you.
Take the time to consider the type of employee your firm needs right now and find that person. For example, if the majority of your client interactions are done virtually, having a full-time, in-office paraplanner might not be necessary.
Instead, a part-time virtual paraplanner may be a better fit since they can perform all of the same tasks that their in-house counterpart can and only provide assistance when you need it. This is a great option for a growing business because you are able to take advantage of their specialized knowledge, while only paying for the help you need.
Develop an inclusive culture.
We’ve all been the “new person” at one time or another and it’s not always a great feeling. So keep that in mind when you’re preparing for a new employee and make sure that they feel like they’re actually a part of the firm.
This includes things like adding them to the website and sending announcements to let your clients know that you have a new employee joining the team.
But it doesn’t stop there!
Once hired, you and your virtual employee should be talking through video at least once per week, if not more. This will allow them to share ideas and have their thoughts about the business heard, it also helps with team building and provides them with insight on where you’re looking to take the business long-term.
Consider the financial impact of a full-time hire.
You’re a financial planner, so telling you to be prepared financially is a bit like preaching to the choir — but we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention it. The reality is, hiring someone full-time is more than just the salary hit to your bottom line. In fact, depending on your goals for the new hire, it could be a lot more.
For example, if you want to encourage them to continue learning, a conference/CE budget and perhaps paid membership to a professional organization may be a consideration.
If you’re working on a tight budget, you might consider a bonus structure depending on how the company does. This can create more incentive for them to think outside the box and come up with creative ways to grow the firm.
Now, keep in mind that the concept of hiring is not full-time or bust. In fact, the best option for firms that are just reaching the growth stage may be to hire a part-time virtual paraplanner, due to the flexibility and cost-effective nature of the role.
The possibilities are endless and, since you’re the boss, you can spend as much or as little as you see fit to grow your team.
All considered, there’s no doubt that hiring a virtual paraplanner can change your life, giving you back the time to work on the tasks that will take your business to incredible new levels. However, if you think you can simply go into the process unprepared, you’d be sadly mistaken. Instead, take the time to determine if you’re ready, figure out exactly what your business needs, develop the right culture, and then you’ll be ready to hire the best candidate.
What about you…do you have any additional tips for growing a team in the early stages of running a business? If so, leave them in the comments section below!