When I left Conseco I was tired. I hadn’t slept well for several months. The company was sliding into bankruptcy, and many of the people I had recruited and hired were losing their jobs. It wasn’t my fault, but that didn’t make it any easier. I decided I didn’t want to be responsible for anyone else so I built a business I could run on my own. I was perfectly fine as an individual consultant.

But then along came Shelli! I was only looking for some admin help, a few hours a week to supplement the work Rebecca was doing. Shelli came highly recommended. I hired her after just a brief phone interview. It was only part-time, so I wasn’t very picky, but I was very lucky.

Shelli was a quick study, and she had great customer service skills. I took her to networking events, and she lit up a room whenever she walked in. We were a team and we were friends. I discovered it was fun to share Roundpeg with someone else.

It was Shelli who encouraged me to look for office space. And she helped me transform the little white house into a home for Roundpeg. To this day it is Shelli’s voice you hear on our answering machine.

I was sorry to see her go when she headed to St. Louis to be with her fiancée (true love trumps a job every day), but she left behind a terrific legacy. She helped me get past my reluctance to hire employees and helped me believe Roundpeg could be a bigger company.

As a small business owner, hiring your first full-time employee is a big step. But it is a necessary one. A business built around one person can never scale, so making the leap frees you to work on the things which add value and allow the company to grow.