Validation… isn’t it something we all strive for?

In our personal life, we seek validation from those we love. We need a pick-me-up. We need a helping hand and a few kind words. We often — for whatever reason, I do not know — seek validation from others (friends and strangers alike).

We try to fit, stand out, and be unique, all in the name of validation.

This continues into our mind, as we search for self-validation on many occasions throughout the day.

And then comes professional validation, be it through praise from a higher-up, or through profits and growth as you take your own business from strength-to-strength.

In the world of entrepreneurship, validation is key.

You need it, not only to massage your ego, but to affirm that you’re on the right track. And at some stage, every single successful business reaches an all-important point of validation, and that is when they have to hire their first employee.

When this comes, differs for each company.

Some make this hire early. Others make it after many months, and after lots of hustle and bustle from their founder.

Whenever it does come, it marks a fantastic turning point; a moment of validation that says “what you are doing is working.”

Validation, but at what cost?

Making your first hire is a wonderful form of validation. It allows you to do less of the stuff you don’t want to do, and it often results in more opportunity, growth, and success.


After interviewing 250+ successful business owners and thought leaders over the last few years, one of the most common issues I’ve come across surrounds the notion of hiring (in particular, those early hires you have to make).

If you’re ready to make your first hire; you suspect you may be ready sometime soon; or already have a growing team, but feel you haven’t quite hit the nail on the head (yet), listen up.

Making your first hire brings risk, mistakes, and far too much stress. But by avoiding these six faux pas’, you can go continue your rise to the top.

  1. Do Not Settle

The problem with hiring someone is, you often do it because you’re low on time. You don’t have much of it, so you wish to bring someone new on board straight away, and with as little hassle as possible.

Wishful thinking, I’m afraid.

Making your first hire (or any hire, for that matter) IS NOT easy.

You make this hire to solve a long term problem, not paper over the cracks. So the last thing you want to do now is, to settle for anyone. Your sole job is to find the ‘right’ someone, and if this takes more time and effort than you would like, so be it.

It’s a sacrifice you must make, because the moment you settle is the moment you push turmoil into ‘future you’s’ existence.

  1. Do Not Hire a Friend

This is a little harsh, because the truth is your friend may be your perfect hire. It happens, so take this point with a pinch of salt.

However… there is a good chance your friend IS NOT the right hire, but rather the easy one.

I understand your pain and dilemma. You have little to waste, and your buddy Johnny is available to work. You like him. You’ve known him for years. As far as you know, he is good at what he does. So, you bring him on board and let him get to work…

Bad idea. This is settling. You cannot take a chance on Johnny. You need to know he is the right guy for the job. And if it turns out he isn’t a few weeks down the road… well, do you really want to have that conversation with your friend?

Have you got what it takes to fire Johnny?

If not, you may like to avoid hiring him to begin with.

  1. Do Not Take The Cheap Option

Once again, this is an understandable mistake to make, because as well as your time being tight, your bank situation may be, too. As such, you go with the cheaper hire; figuring you can focus on quality at a later date.

Again, bad idea. Although that cheap hire may be cheap to begin with, the costs soon mount up when they make mistakes, turn up late, lose you customers, and force you to spend your precious time to fix their issues.

The cheap option is never cheap.

Your job is to make the right hire. If you believe that person is the more experienced and costly one, take a deep breath and make the ‘right’ decision regardless.

  1. Do Not Take The Expensive Option

The flipside to this is when you hire the experienced and impressive person, just because you can. When writing ‘The Successful Mistake’, I came across this on several occasions; the business with seed money behind it, and grand visions galore.

They build the rockstar team because they can.

They spend money because they can.

They become blinded by the impressive CV, the ‘yes men and women’, and the years of industry experience. If this person offers you what you need, by all means hire them. But if the main reason you’re hiring them is because they are a rockstar… good luck.

  1. Do Not Hire a ‘Bad Seed’

The period you make your first hire marks a memorable time for you and your business, because your focus shifts to ‘culture’.

What culture do you want to create?

What culture will help you build the brand and business you desire?

In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, culture matters. This isn’t reserved for big businesses with large teams. This relates to you and your first hire, too.

The first person you bring on board is as important as the fifth… tenth… twentieth…

One ‘bad seed’ can ruin everything you build.

No matter how good they are at their job, you need to also make sure they play a role within the culture you’re building (now and in the future).

Will they help or hinder?

If it’s the latter, they are not the right fit for you.

  1. Do Not Panic!

Above all, do not panic and rush your decision.

While writing ‘The Successful Mistake’, I discovered how devastating panic can be. You see, panic leads to poor decision making, and poor decisions result in mistakes, failure, and hardship.

Panic makes small mistakes big, and unleashes mistakes that never had to happen in the first place.

When it comes to making your first hire, this is never more apparent. You’re scared. You’re nervous. You have too much to do, and not enough time to do it in. You need someone, so you hire anyone.

You panic, and it almost inevitably leads to one or more of the above mistakes.

Keep calm. Your job is to make the ‘right’ hire.

It isn’t easy, and in my experience the hiring process never becomes easy. But if you wish to grow and thrive, you must commit to the hiring process. And if that’s the case, isn’t it better to make sure you avoid mistakes and failure today, so you can enjoy success tomorrow?