- Kenny Young founded his company, Pitched Glamping, in 2020 as a solopreneur.
- Young hired his first employees once the business started to grow and gain more customers.
- He hires workers who are punctual and personal because that’s vital to the business, he said.
- This article is part of Talent Insider, a series containing expert advice to help small business owners tackle a range of hiring challenges.
Kenny Young founded his company, Pitched Glamping, in 2020 to offer glamorous camping experiences in Minneapolis backyards. That same year, he moved to Phoenix, where he now operates a second location, and generated more than $125,000 in annual revenue, Insider previously reported.
Since then, he’s expanded his services to parties, small events, and remote weddings. He also hired three employees who help him drive supplies like tents and decor to a client’s home, set it up for their events, and pick everything up afterward. Last year, his business generated more than $151,000 in revenue, which Insider verified with documentation.
Young explained how he decided to stop being a solopreneur and hire employees.
The following as-told-to story has been edited and condensed for clarity.
When you know it’s time to hire
When I started my business in March 2020, I knew I didn’t want to be an owner-operator. To get to that point, I would have to start relinquishing some of my control.
Within the first two months, we were able to generate revenue. We were cash-flow-positive almost six weeks in. I purchased a large vehicle, and it allowed us to scale from serving one customer a day with my Kia Soul to three times that. Once we had more customers in a day than I could service on my own, I knew it was time to hire.
I’m not great at day-to-day redundant tasks or responsibilities that require very little creativity. So when I was hiring my first staff member, the role was to visit the storage facility, gather the supplies, and deliver the supplies. The next day, they needed to go back, pick up the supplies, and deliver them to the next place.
I hired my first employee in July 2020 for part-time event support. It was an entry-level position, but I paid well, so I was able to get quality employees. A couple of weeks into training them, I took my first day off.
I’ve run the business mostly remotely since October 2020, when I moved to Phoenix. Since then, I physically can’t overwork because I’m not present to set up tents and deliver the services. In that regard, I was forced to hire employees.
That’s been good for my mental health because if I were still living in Minneapolis, I would probably sacrifice my time for money. I would be the person that does all the customer interaction, all the administrative support, and all the marketing. Now I’m forced to focus only on the brand, the marketing, and the administrative stuff. So in a way, it’s forced boundaries on me, and that’s been helpful.
What to look for in the hiring process
When I schedule interviews, I request that the candidate calls me. If they call me, that’s check one. They’re interested in the job.
Two, did they call me on time? That’s a big one. I can train someone to make a neat bed. What I can’t teach is showing up to the customer’s house when you say you’re going to.
And three, what’s their overall tone? With the nature of our service, we have very little interaction with our customers. Those two to five minutes are often what people remember the most about the experience.
Then, it’s a very functional role that we need filled. Can you lift heavy things? Are you OK with working in all of the elements? Are you comfortable driving a large vehicle? These are things very specific to my business, but they’re crucial.
There are many times I wish I were a solopreneur. Two years in, it’s still hard for me to fully trust my employees and they’ve never failed me. So hiring employees is a learning experience, not just in how to lead them and manage them but also in how to fully trust them to do a good job and to relinquish that control.
published 2022-10-29 19:31:52