072: Who Should You Hire First?

Feb 16, 2024

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072: Who Should You Hire First?

Feb 16, 2024

Read time: 4:12 minutes  

If you want maximum impact as a Fractional CFO, you've probably realized you will need help along your journey. 

You'll need to assemble a team. 

It's like the old saying goes: 

If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.

But if you're anything like me, you might not know who to hire first or who you should hire next (if you already have a team).

I recently came across Dan Martell's book, Buy Back Your Time. In it, he offers some solid, albeit general, advice on who to hire and in what order. 

I've taken what Dan suggests and modified it for a Fractional CFO firm. 

In today's edition, I will share my best advice for who to hire in your firm and in what order. I hope that you use this as a guide to inform your hiring strategy so that you can scale your firm and your impact.

Let's dive in.

Your First Hire: An Assistant

Without a doubt, a Fractional CFO's first hire should be an Executive Assistant. 

It's not even a question in my mind.

Most people incorrectly assume the EA's job is managing the inbox and calendar. While that's part of it, a good EA will do much more for you. 

Dan Martell's book and Michael Hyatt's book Your World Class Assistant do sufficient deep dives into the value a great EA should bring and how to leverage that value.  

You should read both of these books. 

If I had to pick one single, most impactful value that a great EA will unlock is organization and prioritization. 

In other words, they help you get your life together! 


If they're on top of their game, they will help you organize and prioritize everything in life - business and personal. 

For an entrepreneur, this is absolutely crucial! 

As the CEO, I've also found that you must have your life in order and prioritized before hiring the rest of the support staff you'll need to scale your firm. Your future hires will burn out and wash out if you don't.

In a very real way, the EA unlocks what's needed for you to hire the rest of your team successfully.

PS - a good EA should free up a significant amount of your time. The increased bandwidth should allow you to handle enough additional client work to cover the EA's salary (and more).

Your Second Hire: Another Fractional CFO

After onboarding an Executive Assistant and having your life in order, you can hire your first and subsequent fractional CFOs.

I do a deep dive HERE on my favorite compensation model for Fractional CFOs.

In short, I prefer to pay them a percentage of their client's revenue. I also favor a W2 model vs. the 1099 model.

I suggest that you offload your clients to your team so that you can start to focus primarily on running the business.

This is how you get to the "work on the business" vs. "work in the business" that so many of us chase. 

Note: 83% of firm owners get stuck RIGHT HERE, so they never scale. 


Your Third Hire: Biz Dev

Dan Martell suggests you hire a marketing person in this slot. 

I've written extensively about the fact that traditional "marketing" isn't a great fit for Fractional CFO firms. 

Instead, I've found that relationship-building is the best way to market your firm.

You can do this in several ways: 

โœ… Partnerships
โœ… Conferences
โœ… Networking events
โœ… Podcasts and speaking gigs
โœ… Building relationships with CPAs, bankers, and lawyers

The coolest part about this is that you can absolutely hire someone to do that work for you! 

It's no secret that many of us despise the thought of doing network-y things, much less speaking on stage or on podcasts. 

The truth is that there are people in the world that DO love this type of work. And they're actually good at it.

Let them go out and get the leads while you convert their leads into clients.


Your Fourth Hire: Sales

Believe it or not, sales is one of the most challenging roles for Fractional CFOs to delegate. 

I've found that closing CFO clients takes a blend of: 

โœ… Sales skills
โœ… Confidence
โœ… Technical expertise

It'll take time for you to develop your sales playbook and to train someone else to close.

I've found that it's best to have all the other pieces in place while you're working through this. You need to feel confident that you have a team handling existing clients and someone bringing in new leads.

Keep in mind that the new salesperson will strike out more often than not for the first few months. Having a revenue buffer and team will help mitigate your stress and anxiety. 

Pro Tip

Don't fool yourself into thinking no one else can close. Others may not be able to close as well as you, but good enough is better than doing it yourself forever. Otherwise, you are your firm's single point of failure. 

Your Fifth Hire: Strategy and Leadership

Once you're armed with an EA, a few Fractional CFOs, and a team handling business development and sales, it's time to start considering hiring leadership roles! 

I'd start with someone who can oversee your Fractional CFOs and provide technical feedback on CFO-y things. 

While you might consider promoting one of the Fractional CFOs that has shown leadership chops, it's important to remember that the best fractional CFO doesn't always make the best leader of other fractional CFOs.

Hire first for leadership and technical acumen second. 

But What About the Rest?

Building a team is a key component of scaling up to a 7 figure firm. 

But there are a lot of other considerations, hurdles, and obstacles on the journey. 

Join me on Wednesday, February 21st at 12:00 PM Eastern/ 9:00 AM Pacific when I reveal The 7 Figure Fractional CFO Blueprint. 

I've distilled everything I've learned about firm building over the past 8 years into this blueprint - and I'm giving it away for free.

Sign up here.

PS - There will be no replays. 

Your Coach,

Whenever you are ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Join us at The CFO Accelerator Live in Dallas, TX from May 15-17. 2024 andย learn how to get more clients, increase your pricing, and close more sales! Get your ticket here.
  2. The Inner Circle - every month my team and I go live and share the most impactful lessons we've learned in our journey to start, scale, and optimize our own CFO firm (including live Q&A). Plus you'll get access to our private community of overย 200 Fractional CFOs.
  3. If you'd like more amazing (and free!) content about starting, scaling, or optimizing your Fractional CFO firm check out The CFO Report.

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