When Should You Hire Help? The Most Asked Question.

Attorneys are drawn to hiring an assistant or associate like moths are drawn to a flame.

How’d that work out for the moth?

Young or old, experienced or new, busy or slow, attorneys want to know when it’s the right time to hire an employee. It’s the number one question I get. I’ve been giving a very specific answer so there’s clarity.

You should hire someone because you have to, not because you want to.

You should hire someone when you have no other alternative.

Generally, you shouldn’t worry about hiring someone and should instead focus on your marketing and your pricing.

The Hiring Formula

So when should you hire someone?

Do not hire someone (including virtual assistants, etc.) until you’re bringing in $25,000 per month.

The only help you need until that point is help doing things you just can’t handle yourself (like photoshopping your picture so you look marvelous).

Why don’t you need someone earlier? Because you’re not that busy, and you need to keep the paying work for yourself. You need something to do.

Do the math with me:

  • $25,000 is 100 hours billed at $250 per hour.
  • 100 hours is 23.25 hours per week (there are 4.3 weeks per month).

It will take you 30 hours to bill 23.25 hours per week, and $250 is a rate I pulled out of the air (you may have to work more—surprise!).

That leaves you with about 30 hours per week for marketing activities, learning, running errands, and arguing with your landlord.

Yes, you’ll work 60 hours per week until you (1) become more efficient, (2) raise your prices, or (3) have built a reputation that reduces your marketing time. You’ll also have some adjustments to your schedule due to holidays, limited vacations, etc.

If you’re already working 60 hours per week and still not grossing $25,000, then you’re likely very new, you’re misdirecting your energy, or (and this is most likely) you have a pricing problem.

Hiring someone won’t solve any of your problems if you’re not yet grossing this minimum amount of revenue. Hiring will simply reduce your income, and that’s probably not what you’re trying to accomplish.

Resist hiring, avoid hiring, don’t hire until you’re running along at $25,000 per month or $300,000 per year. Then it’s okay to add your first person (and we can talk about why that still might not be a great idea).

Resist the flame. Avoid the flame. Don’t take a kamikaze dive into the flame.

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