How to Hire an Employee (Legally!)

Woman standing at window with text overlay "How to Hire an Employee (Legally!)"

This is a funny follow-up post to Monday’s email (join the email list here!) about my biggest hiring/firing mistakes with contractors and employees (you can listen to my podcast episode on it here)…

But today we’re talking about what you need to have in place to hire employees!

I dropped LOTS of resources for you below – including what I used in my own business before I ever hired anyone and once I hired a full-time employee.

I want you to read this even if hiring feels far off for you 🙂 The legal steps to hire starts WAY before you ever actually hire someone on your team.

Let’s talk hiring! 👇

The Question // Laura asked,

I’d love to know about what needs to be in place legally to hire employees.

The Answer //

So Laura — I’m assuming you mean employee employees and not contractors. (If you need a quick rundown on the difference, listen to this important podcast episode).

Assuming that’s the case, you’d want to have a legally solid foundation for your own business first:

  1. A properly registered business — probably an LLC or higher so that you’re personally protected
  2. Business insurance — including coverage like EPLI (Employment Practices Liability Insurance)
  3. Back end setup — before hiring, there’s a lot of backend business steps like getting payroll setup, getting additional forms of insurance (ie, workers’ comp etc), and more.

Honestly, it’s a LOT to navigate.

I’m a lawyer and when I hired my first employee, I chose to get help.

On top of answering all of my Ultimate Bundle™ members’ questions everyday, producing 2 podcasts and newsletters every single week, and a million other things in between — I couldn’t be my own HR, too.

When I started hiring, I used Paradigm HR to help me (they have a great program called Set to Scale you can learn more about here – affiliate link). They provide HR and Operations support for small businesses like ours.

Once you’re ready to onboard a new employee, at least legally speaking you’ll need:

  1. An employee contract
  2. An employee handbook, with signed acknowledgement
  3. Offer letter, with signed acknowledgement
  4. Form I-9, W4, (their) state hire tax forms, and MANY more forms (too many to list here 🤣)
  5. Payroll setup (I use this, even when it was only me on payroll)

More than anything, you’ll need to learn how to be a leader and a manager.

You need to get comfortable with offering feedback, providing structure and creating boundaries.

The best book I found to help me with growing as a leader (without losing my humanness) was this one.

Tell me — where are you in the hiring/team building process? Thinking of hiring your first VA? Dreaming of having a team of FT employees one day?! I’d love to hear.

Let me know if this was helpful 🙂


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