Wants Vs Needs When Hiring Someone

Wants vs Needs

This is an important post I’d like to share with you in both this blog post and podcast. It can make the difference between you running your business effectively and failing miserably. It all comes down to your wants and needs when hiring an assistant (or anyone in this case) to help you.

It’s every business’ practice to operate as profitably as possible with as little expense as possible. That’s what makes a business. So this means running systems and operations as streamlined and as cost effectively as possible, otherwise you’re falling out of sync with what a business actually is.

Increased Work load

Here’s the scenario – your work load is increasing yet the time it takes to complete the work remains the same, ultimately meaning you’re working longer hours resulting in less time with your family. You feel that you could do with an extra pair of hands to help relieve you of the burden of the extra work so you set about to hire an assistant to help out.

This is a common reality that faces most entrepreneurs. I have had countless conversations with people in an almost exact scenario as above and my question to them is always this:

Do you want or do you need an assistant?

Their answer will tell me a lot about what they are thinking regarding their own workload. You see, when it comes to planning and forecasting their work load you should be able to see that you need the help in order to accomplish your goals. For me, hearing a need over a want is the deciding factor as to whether I can help them or not. Let me explain:

The dictionary definition for need is:

  1. 1.
    require (something) because it is essential or very important rather than just desirable.


Essential or very important. Does the additional assistant you require fit into an essential or very important role? You might be thinking, “What has that got to do with anything, Kevin?” Well, it has a lot do with a lot. You see when you need something you tend to be focused and strategic in applying and/or executing the need. If you need directions to a specific location you’d be sure and get the exact way routed out rather than a meander through towns and cities to get there. Plus, hiring someone who you need instills confidence and also longevity into your employee and lets them know you need them and that they’re going to be working with you for a long time rather than a one time role. So it’s essential that you know whether you need or want an assistant.

Typical Scenario

Here’s what I typically see happening with someone who wants an assistant. The want arises from an emotional trigger where they’ve had an idea about something without giving it any real thought or purpose as to how it can fit in with their current business. It’s typically a knee jerk reaction to a series of emotions triggered either from a recent product purchase or an idea they heard from someone who was “making a ton of money from it”. I can tell you from immense experience of hiring assistants for people who “want” an assistant – it nearly always (honestly, in 9 out of ten cases) it doesn’t work out and you end up letting your assistant go because your idea didn’t work. That’s why I talked about Expectations here. You need to learn to manage them. Now I’m not saying there’s nothing wrong with “having a go” at something, but what I am saying is there’s a big problem in putting emotions in the way of a business idea and getting external resources involved in order to fulfill your emotionally triggered idea. It’s always best to ensure that you’ve spent your time and due diligence on this idea yourself to ensure it’s worth investing thousands of dollars into it. Your expectations may be high but the reality is business decisions made on emotions tend to end up failing, in my opinion.

I see it all too often:

“I have a great idea and want someone to help me implement it”.

“I don’t have a lead strategy in place to test it out but I want to hire someone to help when the leads come in”

“If the leads don’t come in I’ll have to let the assistant go”.

All these typically lead to:

“I don’t  have enough work for the assistant at this point so I need to let them go”.

Imagine working with someone who hasn’t given any thought to what they are actually doing here. Not a lot of fun for the employee, I bet. Can you see the need there in the end? Sure, you need to let them go. It’s not working out and it’s costing you money. That’s the difference between wanting an assistant and needing an assistant and it all comes down to the value you get for the money you spend. No value? Then you’ll need to let them go.


Whether you hire someone or not I strongly ask you to reflect internally and ask yourself do you want or need the assistance? If you have a habit of hiring and firing as you go then it’s an indication your business needs some tightening up and reviewing the processes you have in place. Something isn’t working right. My guess is you’re not a seasonal farmer and hiring people to pick fruits in the summer. You need people to help you grow your business so start to think in terms of needs vs wants. If you are finding more wants than needs I suggest stepping back and reviewing your processes in more detail. Perhaps you can do these things yourself or hire a freelancer one time to do them for you. I can only share with you my experiences and my experience has shown me that those who need assistants tend to be far more successful in their businesses than those who want.