It’s Your Job to Hire

By Rebecca Layton Gunter

And hire boldly!

The US Dept of Commerce recently revealed some startling statistics in their report Women Owned Businesses in the 21st Century. They are not telling us anything we don’t already know:

  • Women-owned businesses are typically smaller than men-owned businesses.
  • Although women own 30% of privately held businesses, these businesses account for only 11% of  sales and 13% of employment among privately-held companies.
  • Average sales/receipts for women-owned businesses are only 25% of the national sales/receipts for men-owned businesses.
  • Women-businesses are concentrated in sectors where firms are typically smaller.   

Last week, Melanie Spring tweeted this alarming statistic from a recent conference: “According to the SBA, there is a big uptick in women-owned business but only 10% have employees.” This is an alarming trend in small business.

Overall, men are more likely to be forward-thinking in their hiring. For example, 23% of men vs. 15% of women are hiring to bring new or different skills to the business, and 17% of men vs. just 7% of women say they are hiring to adapt to a change in the business environment, such as mobile or digital.

Not hiring people is a comfort zone
that does not serve you, or anyone else.

What’s more, women who run their own businesses have a BIG IMPACT on the world and in their communities. They are reinvesting in society in powerful ways, says Jackie VanderBrug, managing director in the Portfolio Analytics, Consulting and Institutional Group at U.S. Trust.

"In emerging markets, women reinvest 90% of their income back into human resources — into their families, health care, education, nutrition." VanderBrug says, "That number is double what it is for men, and it's a huge reinvestment that leads to a virtuous cycle... You have what happens to economies when people put money into human resources — all of a sudden, there is a burgeoning talent pool."

Get over it! Outsource the brick-laying to the
incoming scrappy upstarts seeking to stake a claim.

These statistics paint a sad picture: women are afraid to hire.

If hiring people freaks you out, you’re in good company. Most entrepreneurs see hiring as either a “far off mountain” or as an “admission of failure.” We cloak ourselves in a creepy stigma that hiring is not for us (“I wish!”) or admitting a defeat (“I’m sorry, y’all, I just can’t balance my books, interact on social media, and go get big fish ALL AT THE SAME TIME, don’t judge me.”)

Think of your brand heros. Is it a team of people working deftly towards a common goal, or is it a single superhero, rocking a lone wolf thing? Teams go boldly into action, radiating compelling purpose. Lone wolves stay small, defer dreams, and play it safe.

If you really want to impact the world, HIRE BOLDLY:

  • Make room for people who love to do the parts you don’t. Let them earn a living from doing them. They get a chance to create their ideal lives. Winning x TWO.

  • Take a leap of faith when the right people show up at your door. You will figure out how to make payroll happen.

  • Pat yourself on the back if you spent some time writing down your processes and how you do things. Kick yourself in the arse if you haven’t and start writing this shit down.

  • Create a plan and stick to it with graceful tenacity. Keep everyone on task to do the same. If something breaks, fix it. If it’s toxic, cut it out.

  • If you start to freak out about being responsible for other people, remember that it is your moral imperative to hire. We all deserve a shot. That’s how you make a difference. This has a serious ripple effect in your families and communities.

I encourage you to re-evaluate your fear of hiring.

Who does it serve to suffer in Overwhelmia, burn-out and general bummed-out-ness? No one.

Who would you be serving if you took the leap of faith to hire your replacement? Yourself, your family, your community, and the world at large.

(Need more convincing? Read my recent post about Teams.)

Stop being so stingy with your wonderful business and open your arms to your ginormous goals and the team you need to pull them off.


In the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing our hiring processes AND the people we hired recently. Tell us your hiring (or not hiring) stories and give a shout out to your team at Brands That Rock or on Twitter. We’d love to hear how you’re making an impact for your communities.