Hiring The Right First Employee

Hiring The Right First Employee

When working as a freelancer, you’re used to relying on your own steam. After a while, you can really pinpoint how you work best, and this could mean that you are making significant progress in your business ventures. But as everything gains traction, and you’re not able to keep track of every aspect, thoughts turn to hiring the right first employee for you and others. I’ve outsourced to others but now I’m considering taking on someone, either employed or freelance to work alongside me/help with the workload. Hiring people isn’t just about getting someone that’s good for the job, but it’s about finding someone that you can work with, on a professional and personal level. What do you (and me) need to be aware of to find the best employee?

Define The Role

Being self-absorbed in your own freelance world you can find it difficult to delegate roles onto others. I’m terrible at delegation but it’s something I’m going to have to practice. We need to be sure that the role is clearly defined, and be sure to research what similar job titles are out there, not just so you can flesh out the role, but you can pay the person appropriately.  I plan to be competitive and to give anyone working with me what they deserve.

Find An Appropriate Hiring Process

Maybe you don’t have time to wade through piles of CVs., I certainly don’t. These days, organisations encourage a more colourful application. Covering letters are all well and good, but if you can find someone that’s stepped away from the norm in how they apply for the role, either by doing a video CV, or even creating an explainer video for the services they provide, you will have much more of an insight into their workings and their personality. The hiring the right first person isn’t just about getting to know prospective candidates; it’s about getting the right person as quickly as possible. Personal recommendations mean a lot to me and this would be a good starting point for me in the hiring process.

Keeping Them Happy

You have found the right person, now what? Paying another person is important, but what’s even more important is ensuring they are paid on time! It doesn’t have to be difficult; you can very easily find methods of choosing the best payroll software for your business so that it’s all automated. That old-fashioned approach of a payslip doesn’t appeal anymore. And if you can implement these simpler aspects it will make hiring someone all the more streamlined. For every job I had before self-employment, it wasn’t just money that rang my bell, it was appreciation and the opportunity to grow. This is something I will be keeping in mind when it comes to hiring the right first employee.

Hiring the Right First Employee

At this stage, hiring someone or taking on someone on a freelance basis are both just at the ideas stage. I know though that clearly there is a lot to think about. This is one of those things that you need to do right, both for your business, for you, for that first employee and of course for legal reasons. While I mull over my position and the pros and cons please leave a comment if you have any extra advice to leave about employing your first employee.


Freelance Copywriter: This is What I Do

Freelance Copywriter: This is What I Do

I am regularly asked, “What do you do”? Some people ask me a few times as it doesn’t sink in straight away. For the few who don’t know, I am a freelance copywriter (my work website is here) and have been my own boss for coming up thirteen years now. I can tell people this and still, people aren’t 100% sure what it means. Do I copy things? Do I stop people from copying things? Not quite. 

What Do You Do?

I am a freelance copywriter. I write content for clients. Content can include anything from website content, blog posts and articles, product descriptions, sales and marketing information and much more. As a freelancer, I don’t work for anyone. I am not employed. As a freelance copywriter I work with a number of clients, some regularly and some on an ad hoc basis. I have a contract with each client. I have to source my own work, nothing is given to me. Fortunately, I rarely have to go looking as word of mouth works well for me and I regularly have enquiries hit my inbox asking about my availability. 

I work with a variety of different clients, from one who is pretty big in the vaping industry, to a fab wedding photographer, the owner of a single parenting resource website and many others. Over the course of the month or year I can work on a huge number of topics, from digital marketing to food organisation, SEO to finance and some rather “unique” topics too. I once wrote for a client who ran a website that produced products for pampered pets. Really pampered pets. Like Kardashian-level pampered. 

I work with small businesses, start-ups, huge corporations, charities, public sector, the private sector and individuals. I love the variety!

Freelance copywriter, common computer issues

A Freelance Copywriter Doesn’t *Just* Write

The bulk of my work is of course writing. There’s more to it though. As I run my own business I am responsible for:

  • *Finance/Bookkeeping
  • All Admin (From client onboarding and contracts to emails and more)
  • Sourcing Clients
  • Contracts
  • Website Maintainance
  • Social Media
  • AnalyticsThe list goes on….

*I have an accountant who does my year end accounts and sorts my tax return for me. He is an absolute gem and if anyone is looking for an accountant in Thirsk please let me know as I’d be happy to give a recommendation.

Where Do I Do It?

I work from home, from Caffe Nero, from a coworking group (more on this in a mo) and with a fellow freelancer. The beauty of my work is that I can work anywhere with a decent internet connection. While I love working from home the ability to remote work appeals to me. If I’m having one of those days and I know that I’m not that motivated (I’m human!) and Netflix is calling, the laundry pile starts to look attractive and I suddenly have the urge to reorganise kitchen cupboards I know that I need to go and work somewhere else.

Often I work somewhere else purely because I like the buzz! Take Caffe Nero for example. Our local branch (Thirsk) is fabulous and incredibly freelancer-friendly. There are often 5-6 people at any time on their laptops or taking meetings in there.

Freelance copywriter, coffee, caffe nero, Thirsk

Who Do I Do it With?

As a freelance copywriter, I work alone in my business but I work alongside numerous people. I work a couple of times a week with my good friend and fellow freelancer Gemma Symmonds of My Little Graphics Co. She is an incredibly talented graphic designer (get in touch with her if you need a GD). We work on our own projects but will occasionally collaborate. She keeps me motivated and is great company. 

I set up the Thirsk Coworking Group back in 2017. I am used to working by myself and am fine with it but recognise that others can struggle with the isolation and that sometimes, working alongside others can help with motivation, productivity and that a little accountability can go a long way. I currently run two coworking sessions a month that are completely free. There’s no membership or anything else. These sessions are not networking sessions. People pitch up with their laptops, we chat for a few minutes, then all crack on, then chat, then work. It works! The TCG has become very popular. 

Thirsk Coworking Group, Nicki Cawood, Freelance Copywriter


Why Do I Do What I Do

I went freelance back in 2006 after my eldest was born. I wanted to be at home but still work. I didn’t want to pay for childcare five days a week and I didn’t want to miss anything. My eldest walks to school on his own now obviously but I do all of the school runs for my youngest, go to all assemblies, can help with school trips, never miss a sports day or anything else. I can be completely flexible around the needs of my family, and it works! If one of them is poorly, I don’t need to feel bad, apologise to my “boss” or use holiday time. I just rejig things a little.

Family flexibility isn’t the only reason I do what I do. I do it because I love it. I love the freedom, the work, the clients and the fact that there is no cap on my earnings. I’m not held in by salary banding. I work when I want, with who I want to and I set my own prices.  

This is Me!

This is me and this is what I do. I love my work life and it offers me work-life balance that I couldn’t have enjoyed in my previous career. Being my own boss works for me. I can’t imagine being employed by someone else after all of these years! You can see more of the daily happenings over on my “business” Instagram.

Now I want to know what you do! 

Nicki Cawood, Freelance Copywriter


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