Still waiting for rhubarb. The farmers at Tonnemaker Farms and Growing Washington are doing their sun dances, I know. I am, too. It is entirely possible that there will be rhubarb next week. And then we can start making some award-winning Gingered Rhubarb Jam. Yeah!
And now, when I say “we,” it is no longer in the royal sense. Deluxe Foods has hired its first employee. Andrew will start as soon as the rhubarb hits the counter.
Hiring an employee is a scary and necessary step for a new business. I can’t afford to pay someone, and yet I can’t afford not to, because if I don’t have more hands, I can’t increase production. So it’s a leap of faith.
How to hire? I knew I needed someone with good knife skills, who would take direction, who wouldn’t mind my music choices in the kitchen, and who, frankly, wasn’t completely dependent on this salary as the sole means of support. I was getting ready to place an ad on Craigslist, but I started by just mentioning my needs to people. Because, after all, the network is always the best way to find people.
And whaddaya know, as it turns out, a dear friend of my brother had just moved to Seattle. A dear friend who also happened to have spent the last several years cooking in Italy. A dear friend who also has pretty great music taste and was looking for a second job. Bingo! Welcome, Andrew. I hope your knife is sharpened and ready!
I know that it’s tempting for a small business owner to do everything on her own, mostly to save money but also because we’re just that way (bossypants or directive? both). But my sweet husband, Eric, who owns JRA Bike Shop, recommended that I start with a payroll service right away. I called Penny at CompuPay and I couldn’t be happier with her fabulous service. She helped me make decisions about pay periods, gave me a big packet of new hire forms, and has streamlined everything. Sometimes it’s good to know when to let an expert take over.
So we’re just about ready to dive into Deluxe Foods 2011. I still have a lot of things to sort out, including more direct sales and the small-jar-pricing issue, but I’m feeling ready.
Oh, and the Grape Jelly with Sage? Delicious when whisked into a pan sauce for salmon or duck. Try it.