As a sole trader/single person business working in the mortgage industry, I’m incredibly busy.
At what point do you decide to take the plunge and employ someone?
My fear is not being busy enough to cover both my income and someone else too. Any advice? L.N, via email
Sharing the load: Dave knows the pain of being a one-man band – and realised he needed to employ someone when he was working 14 hour days, seven days a week
Dave Fishwick, This is Money business doctor, replies: I remember being in the same situation.
Many years ago, I was getting up extremely early and working very late. I was doing 12 to 14 hour days, seven days a week. I was doing absolutely everything myself at my car and van garage.
That meant all the buying and selling, organising, fixing cars, cleaning vehicles, going to auctions, opening, sweeping the yard, vacuuming the office, cleaning the toilet, doing the accounts and the invoicing – and then, at the end of each day, I would set off and deliver the vehicles.
I dug out a photograph of my old truck, outside my first garage (see photograph below). I loaded the vehicles onto the back of this transporter truck and set off across the country to deliver them.
Man with a plan: Dave took on a member of staff when he realised he was too busy and stretched. Pictured is his original truck
On one occasion, I remember driving late through the night to deliver this pick-up truck to a builder, who needed the vehicle for work the following morning.
I dropped the vehicle off at his home in Porthmadog in Wales. I had been driving on winding roads all night and needed to sleep, so I slept in the cab, for a few hours, and then set off back to Burnley in the morning, straight back to work.
That was the moment I knew I definitely needed some help and shortly afterwards I employed my first ever member of staff.
Always put in the extra hours yourself first, until you are confident that there is consistently enough business to hire an employee.
You need to take into account the seasonal variations, most businesses are busier and quieter at different times of the year.
Also bear in mind that training and supervising your new employee will take some time too.
Maybe, take on someone part-time at first, with a view to full-time work, as your business grows.
It is extremely difficult to expand a business without staff.
The greatest investment you can ever make in your business, is a member of staff that is cheerful, honest, reliable and hardworking. My advice is: look after them. Good luck.
Right headspace: Dave believes that a corporate wellbeing business could be a great idea (picture posed by model)
How do I start my corporate wellness business?
I have run a fitness business for the last 12 years and am looking to move into corporate wellness, helping organisations look after the mental and physical wellbeing of their staff.
I feel there is a growing need, especially in the wake of the pandemic.
My question is, do you agree and, if so, what would be your advice for getting in front of the right people and selling my service to an organisation? P.W, via email
Dave replies: I definitely think both physical and mental health are important and very much connected, and it’s hard to have one without the other.
Helping the mental and physical well-being of staff is a great idea and statistics prove it.
Mental health-related absence is the most common cause of long-term sickness absence in UK workplaces, and stress-related absence, in particular, has increased dramatically.
I think it could well be worth exploring, so long as you have all the necessary skills and qualifications.
I have spoken to a dear friend of mine, Rufus Harrington who specialises in teaching mental health studies to students all over the country.
I asked Rufus what is the best way forward for you to receive the qualifications needed for your new business venture.
Rufus suggested for you to look at the courses endorsed by either one of these two great organisations: The EMCC European Mentoring and Coaching Council or The ILM Institute of Leadership and Management, these two organisations have some amazing courses for you to gain the accreditation you need.
In terms of getting in front of the right people and new customers, firstly, I would take a look at who your competitors are and where are they targeting their advertising budget, that’s always a good start with any new business venture.
I would also start locally and begin knocking on doors and contacting heads of HR departments in local, factories and large offices.
I would offer your services as both fitness, wellness and mental health as a package.
Human Resources will be dealing with lots of mental health issues daily, I am sure they would be glad to hear from someone offering potential solutions, to help members of their staff back to work.
You could also perhaps offer an online course to target very large organisations, targeted at their company’s specific needs, with options tailored for individual staff members to contact you for more individual help in person.
Always think big, then think bigger. Good luck.
Ask Dave Fishwick a business or career advice question
Self-made millionaire and entrepreneur Dave Fishwick is our new columnist responding to your questions about business and careers.
Dave has a hugely successful minibus and vehicle business based in Lancashire and rose to fame with his BAFTA-winning television series, Bank of Dave, which saw him battle the big banks.
He is ready to answer your questions, whether you own a business, thinking about starting one or have general career questions.
In his spare time, he likes to give talks to inspire people to be the best they can.
A Netflix movie about Bank of Dave is set to air at the end of the year/start of 2023 and he has been a friend to This is Money for the last decade. He now wants to impart some of his wisdom and advice to our readers.
If you would like to ask Dave a question, please email him at email@example.com
Dave will do his best to reply to your message in a forthcoming column, but he won’t be able to answer everyone or correspond privately with readers. Nothing in his replies constitutes regulated financial advice. Published questions are sometimes edited for brevity or other reasons.