WES S01E10: Hiring, Training, And Scaling Your Team
It’s hard to build a real, valuable asset if you’re a one-man-band.
Part of the problem is having to trade time for money, but you’re also left with the “hit by a bus” problem. What happens to that business should you be hit by a bus? (Or otherwise incapacitated in some way)
Sure, running a multi-million dollar company without the hassle of dealing with staff/employees sounds nice, but is it realistic? How many companies do you know that are in a position you’d like to be and don’t have anyone working for them? Not many, I’m guessing…
In this episode, Ace and I share our experiences in hiring, training, and scaling employees and teams. Whether you think you need to make your first hire or are looking at creative ways to scale your team, this is a great podcast episode for you.
Are you getting value out of the Web Equity Show? Please show us some love and leave us a review on iTunes. You’ll help us spread the message and we’ll give you a shout on an upcoming episode!
Listen To The Full Interview:
What You’ll Learn From This Episode:
- When Should You Hire?
- How Do You Determine Who To Hire?
- Where To Find Employees
- Managing Your Team
- Local Vs. Virtual
- Avoiding Typical Mistakes
Featured On The Show:
- Marcus Lemonis
- Tropical MBA
- Sean Ogle
- Virtual Staff Finder
- Chris Ducker
- Mads Singers
- Empire Flippers Podcast on Skill Transfer Mastery
Justin: You might have a vision that doesn’t match the reality of the people that are gonna be required to pull it off.
Speaker 1: Buying and selling businesses just got a lot easier. Welcome to the Web Equity Show, where thousands of successful entrepreneurs go to learn about buying, growing, and selling online businesses. Your hosts Justin Cooke and Ace Chapman share their real life advice, examples, and expert interviews to help you build and grow your own online portfolio. Now to your hosts, Justin and Ace.
Justin: Welcome to Web Equity Show’s episode number 10. I’m Justin, your host for this podcast, and I’ve got my co-host Ace Chapman on the line. What’s going on. brother?
Ace: What’s going on, sir? It’s great to be here doing another episode with you, man.
Justin: Yeah, buddy. We’re talking about hiring and building teams. All right, man, let me lay out an ideal scenario for you. Let’s say I can give you a business that has a ton of revenue, huge profit margins, and everything is automated. You have zero team, you have zero employee responsibilities or virtual assistance. That doesn’t sound like a bad business, right?
Ace: That sounds absolutely magical. Something like a unicorn, you know, magical.
Justin: Yeah man. A little too magical, I think, and that’s kind of the problem. It sounds great, and you hear this mostly from people that are selling you books or courses or whatever, but from the people that I know that have had success in business, it just doesn’t happen that way. You just don’t really see that. I mean, you see that they have teams, they have processes in place, they have people that are running their business, and unfortunately I just don’t think there’s a way around it. So that’s why we’re talking hiring and building teams today, because it is an important part of building your empire. If you run these websites online, you’re gonna need to involve people to help you run them.
Ace: Yeah. I mean, it’s really rare to see a large business that doesn’t have some sort of team, and so if you’re planning on growing a business, this is a skillset that you want to have. Because you know, we’ve done hundreds of deals and I’ve seen maybe one that was a multimillion dollar business run by one person, but he was running himself into the ground. So even if you can pull it off, is this really something that you want want to do?
Justin: Yeah, and to be clear, building and managing teams is a lot more information than we’re gonna be able to cover completely in one podcast episode. So we’re gonna cover the highlights, we’re gonna share some of our experiences. There’s a lot more to cover on this topic than we’d be able to get into in just one podcast.
Ace: Yeah, yeah. We’re gonna cover the when, the who, the where, and a little bit about how to manage your team. But this is just the intro. I think the bigger thing is some of the advantages and being aware of the disadvantages of having a virtual team. I’ve built some local teams, you’ve managed some local teams as well, so you know, we’ll talk about some of the advantages and disadvantages to that as well.
Justin: Yeah, that’s near and dear to my heart because I love the remote teams. I get people asking me all the time, they say “Okay, so you’re in Bangkok, your business partner’s in Manila, I just talked to Mike who’s in Saigon, what’s going on with you guys? What’s the deal with your business?” That’s kinda how we roll over there man, that’s our gig. I love the remote team idea, and we’ll get into that in a bit. First off, buddy, we’ve got some listener love man, we got a five star review on iTunes.
Ace: Nice. Tell me about it.
Justin: All right man, it’s [J Back 00:03:18] his five star says, “Great info for newbies or pros, I’ve been following Justin on the Empire Flippers podcast for a while. Web Equity is a great spinoff to Justin and Joe’s podcast. Ace and Justin make a great podcast duo and provide critical information for all aspects of buying and selling online and offline businesses. Keep it up, guys.” Well, thanks J Back, I appreciate it buddy.
Got a question from Will on Twitter, it was actually in response to us listing and selling a two thousand dollar site. He was wondering if vetting is easier on these smaller sites, and he asked … Because who would lie about a site that makes a hundred dollars a month? I thought that was kind of an interesting question. We’ve run into this problem where, when we’re selling a two thousand dollar site, Ace, it’s just honestly not worth our time. We get 15% of that deal, it’s like 300 bucks, it just …
And I mean, we do vetting on the front end, we’ve got to do the transfer on the back end and it’s not really worth it. But since that’s where we came from, and we like to give people an opportunity to get started with a smaller site and kinda test through it, we’ve just never kind of given it up. The truth of the matter is though, is that vetting a two thousand dollar site is maybe 70% of the work of vetting a 20 thousand dollar site, but a 20 thousand dollar site is ten times the money to us.
Ace: Exactly. And I think therein lies the problem. I think even for the buyer, it’s the same thing. It’s easy for people to go out and spend a couple thousand dollars, and so there actually is a lot of rapid scamming in that space. The other side of it is, it’s a smaller amount, so the person that is trying to fake that income or lie about the income and the site and traffic and all of that, they’re not as likely to be pursued aggressively because the person that does get scammed … And you know, we see this a lot on flip it deals where, you know. Somebody gets scammed, they may say something about it in a comment or something like that, but there’s never, you know, legal ramifications for the seller or anything like that.
Justin: Yeah, you’ll just not want to do anything over the two thousand bucks. You’re probably just gonna to let it go. The other problem is, is that as a buyer you gotta do your own due diligence, right? You have to do some work, and trying to dig into that to ultimately get a site that makes a hundred bucks a month, your ROI is gonna be pretty crappy there, but, you know, if you’re just trying it out, I can see why buyers would be interested in that. They can always spend two thousand instead of 20, that’s might be a bit aggressive for them, and two thousand’s a lot easier, so …
Yeah, well, I mean to answer your question is, it’s easier, but not by the magnitude of which we get paid. Honestly, I’m not really sure it’s worth it. What do you think, Ace? Should we even be messing with … Over at Empire Flippers, should we be messing with five thousand dollar, six thousand dollar sites, or should we just screw that, we’re doing ten or twenty thousand or more? What do you think?
Ace: No, I think that the purpose behind it is exactly what you mentioned, and I think the value is procuring some of those sites that just are real and have some risk. But for the person that really just wants to see if this thing is real, I could get people calling me all the time, but at the end of the day, even if they do have a couple hundred thousand to invest, they’re like, “This is so weird! So I can just buy some code, it’s out there in the internet world and it’s gonna generate money for me.”
I think then it’s almost like an education thing, and I’m a big fan of education through experience as opposed to doing a bunch of courses and all of that. Being able to get into a deal, learn how to run it, take a little bit of risk without putting a ton of money up, is a really valuable thing, so I think that’s the value even more then. But upfront money is that intro to how this whole world works.
Justin: Cool, man. I was actually looking to dump those sites, but I guess you’re gonna make me stick to it. Joe likes doing the small sites, he’s like, “you know, I think it’s a great intro for people, and it is where we came from,” so that is kind of the reason we did it. All right, man. Enough about that, let’s talk hiring and building teams.
One of the problems of being a solopreneur is that you often end up being the bottleneck yourself. The truth of the matter is that, if you want to do more deals, you’re going to need a skilled team. It’s not just that though. By having a larger team, you’re basically putting a barrier to entry in place. You’re putting a moat around your castle as a deal maker, that lets you do deals that other can’t.
For example, if you have a team and you’re able to pick up eCommerce deals that require a customer service piece, you’re gonna be able to go after those deals that other people just aren’t able to do. Maybe generally the only people that are going after eCommerce sites are the million plus dollar deals, but if you’ve got a team in place of customer service agents, maybe you can pick up that eighty thousand dollar eCommerce site where the solopreneur would pass on it, he’d look for something that’s more passive or more in line with being a solopreneur. I think it opens yourself up to more deals just having the team in place.
Ace: Yeah. For one, it gives you that strategic advantage. When you’re looking at deals, you can do deals that other people can’t because they’ve got to figure out how to take over and kind of hire a team really quickly once they buy the business. The other thing is, it can allow you to grow a business. So you know, when I’m working with clients, I’m trying to get them to focus on, “How do I build this for the future so that it becomes a bigger business?” A lot of times what that takes is automating some of the processes, having a team in place, and as solopreneurs and people that don’t want a lot of headaches, we usually don’t want a bunch of employees, and sometimes that can be the hurdle that you’ve got to overcome and get compa with in order to take a business to its true potential.
Justin: Yeah, I really like Marcus Lemonis’s thoughts here. I really like his framework where he says, “People, product, and process.” Or “people, process, and product.” The reason for those three is, I think you need those three to really have an asset, right? If you’re a solopreneur doing client work or something, you get hit by a bus, there’s no business, right? It’s just you doing the work for that other person. But I think when you start to build a team, you have an actual asset, something you can step away from that continues to make money, and to your point, to really grow the business, you know.
It’s amazing to me that, as an entrepreneur myself, you know, there are certain things I’m doing and I’m like, “You know what, no one else can do this as well as I can, I just have to do this,” and then finally I’m forced for whatever reason to hand that over to someone else. My business partner or something twists my arms. Do you have to give that up? And I do it, and they’ll take it in a completely different direction, something I was not comfortable with, and they’ll crush it. They’ll make it a lot better. It helps grow our business in ways that I just didn’t see.
By having a team, they’re gonna see some things in your business that are able to be done that might just not be your vision, but it might match kind of your long term goal.
Ace: And the thing I add to that is, it will absolutely attract more buyers. When you go to a buyer, you say, “Hey, I’m selling my business, it comes with my team and everybody that’s in place to keep the business running smoothly, you’re not gonna have to go out and train people and find them and hire them and hope that they’re good and aren’t gonna leave,” and you know. All those things. And so as a seller, when you want to build an asset that’s a well oiled machine, and part of that is having employees in place.
So I think hopefully we’ve convinced you to at least consider building a team, and obviously there are a lot of options when it comes to building that team and things that you want to consider. We’re gonna go through some of those things today, but what I will absolutely add is that, in future episodes, if this is something you want us to go deeper into … I think each one of the points today could be its own episode, and so we want to give you and overview, but I think both Justin and I have a lot of experience around each one of the areas around hiring and managing employees. This is something that we’ll probably talk about in the future as well.
Justin: Yeah, I’ve hired hundreds of people in the U.S., working for me directly in an office, and ran I think up to 50 people or so at once working for me. I’ve hired hundreds of virtual assistants in the Philippines and contractors all around the world, so I’ve definitely got some experience in hiring, running teams, and managing people both locally and abroad, so I think hopefully I’ll be able to add some value here. But to your point, there’s no way we can cover every single step of the process from finding, determining whether you need to hire someone, and all the way through training them in depth. This would be kind of more like our general philosophies and how we go about it, and we’ll give you some tips and tactics. If you want us to go more in depth, just leave a comment in the show, and then we’ll make sure we make a future episode for you.
All right, man, so let’s get into the first question. When should you hire? So an entrepreneur is sitting there, they’re listening to the show, and they go “Okay, is it time for me to hire? Do I need to be hiring now?”
Ace: Yeah, I think that is one of those questions. I really like hiring as quickly as possible and getting people in place, but before you do anything you’ve got to have some established processes. One of the problems and one of the frustrations that people have when they hire is, they get the employee and they really don’t have anything for them to do that’s specific. They’re like, “Oh well I want you to take care of customer service.” What does that mean?
Justin: Yeah, yeah dude. Can you just be me? Like just head into my business and just be me, do the stuff that I do. Well, what exact stuff is that? And so you’re putting your employee … especially your first employee, you’re putting them in a really awkward position. You’re setting them up for failure, and it’s really your failure, right, as the entrepreneur. I think, to your point, having established processes and having at least one or two very specific tasks that you want this person to do. “This is what I do on a regular basis, it takes me five hours a week, I need you to do this.”
What I like to do, is I’ll have maybe a few tasks like that. So, this takes five hours a week, or this one takes ten hours a week, and then I’ll have something that is important but isn’t as critical in terms of timeline that they can do just kind of extra. Yes, I need this done, it’s a long term project, you can put hours into it, so any hours that are above and beyond this specific things you were hired for you can put into this. It’s helpful, but it’s not as critical as the other things that are primary. So then you have that kind of overflow for them to work on.
To this point, when you should hire, philosophically I’d say … Especially if you’re an early stage entrepreneur, you should forego short term cash for long term asset value. I think this is particularly true with website acquisitions that, if you can hire people and replace yourself and get them kind of running the show without your involvement, or little involvement, it’s not gonna happen right away. It’s not like you hire them and they just magically do the work. But with the processes in place with getting them hired and trained and everything, it’s worth it for you to make a bit less money on the deal so that you have them completely running it.
A lot of early stage entrepreneurs actually make less than their team, and the reason for that is, yes, their team gets paid more than they do, but their team is building them an asset, right? Their team is building them an asset, and so if they go to sell that business in the future, that website or that business, the employees aren’t getting that. That entrepreneur is. So as it grows, the entrepreneur’s getting the buyers. Yes, they’re getting less cash early on, but who cares? That’s fine. They’re building this asset that’s gonna stand long term.
Ace: Yeah, I think that’s one of the tough things. As entrepreneurs, that day that you start making money, and especially when you’re able to buy a business and you start making money, the first kind of inclination is, “Okay, I want to put all this money in the bank.” But if you can invest in that business, and one of the ways to invest is hiring employees, it becomes a lot stronger business, you attract a lot more buyers and end up selling out of premium.
Justin: Yeah, that’s a pro move right there, right? I mean, when you buy a business, it’s like yeah, “Oh my god, I want to take the cash, I want to start recovering my cash. As soon as I break even on my spend for this business, then I’ll start investing,” right? That’s the mindset, but what can happen is it can be a race to, “Oh my god, I’ll keep pulling out cash until …” Maybe the business starts declining because you’re not reinvesting it, you’re not trying to grow it, so then it’s just kind of a waiting game to see when you can get your cash back. Instead, why not invest in that business, build up an asset that’s two, three, four times what it’s earning when you first purchase it, and then start collecting it? You’re gonna regain your initial cost much more quickly.
Ace: Yeah, yeah. So the next step is determining who you’re gonna hire, and one of the tricks that I like to use is just imagining the business as a larger business. You know, imagining that it’s a ten million dollar business. If it was the exact same business, but it was a lot bigger, what would be all of the people that it would take to run that business? You start to build an org chart, and you’re splitting up all of the different responsibilities. It’s not to say that you’re gonna have an individual doing each one of those responsibilities, but you get this very clear picture of what it’s gonna take to run the business and how you can split those responsibilities, so that when you do hire a person you’re saying “Okay, you’re taking care of these five things.” And then you know as the business gets a little bit bigger and they’re getting stressed, just like, “Okay, we can separate these two things, give those to this person and you’re doing these three things.”
Maybe you do become that large organization, but you’re building this org chart, and if you do become that large organization, you do have each one of those responsibilities with different people. So number one, it tells you who to hire, but number two, it gives you a vision for what your business will look like as a fully mature business.
Justin: So I’m totally stealing that, buddy. I was reading your notes and I saw your kind of idea here, and I thought it was fantastic. So what we do in our business is we have a strategy meeting every quarter. We started off with kind of our long term vision of the company, we talk about three to five years out and we talk about what that’s gonna be and what that’s gonna look like, but we don’t do the org chart thing. I think that’s so sharp.
What you’re saying is, is that I have this org chart with kind of everyone in the company as I see it, and the three to five years out, right? They’re just positions, whatever. But it’s like a physical org chart. I use Google Draw, or whatever tool you want to use, and I have pictures of people that are going to be in those positions. I maybe circle a few, and I say, “Okay, right now Justin takes care of this, Joe takes care of that, Mike takes care of these three roles, Andrew takes care of these four roles,” and then over time I can see, okay, let’s break this out into a role. Other roles Justin fills right now, which one can I pull out that we think is the next one to put in place? I really love that, buddy. I’m definitely stealing that.
Let me add to this too though, that I think that’s a really good framework kind of for heading toward a vision of what you want your company to look like, but I think there’s also the lower level, there are metrics you can use. Say, for example, we have right now let’s say ten customer service agents working on tickets, right? And I know that if for a period of two months or more, we go out, buy 15% in tickets, there’s definitely room for another person. Assuming our agents were at max capacity, or close to it, let’s say 80 or 90 percent capacity, they’re probably getting closer to their edge, I can probably hire another person. You can use actual metrics in your business, too, to help you determine when you need to kind of relieve some of that workload for your team.
I think that works out better as you get larger, but this also works I think for the lower level positions where some of the things are more defined and measured.
Ace: Yeah, yeah. The real goal here is, most businesses aren’t going to grow because there’s a lack of clarity about the path that you need to take to growing them. More clear you can make that path, the easier it is to grow the business, and so I think one of those areas that most entrepreneurs and businesses always have of clarity, is around the role descriptions, the accountability of people on their team, the responsibilities, and just knowing who it’s gonna take to take their business to the next level, so that’s great.
Justin: I also say a lot of times … And we’re not talking about you know, just a customer service rep to help you out or relieve some of your stress, or someone to just do very task based stuff. But let’s say that you’re hiring a management level, or you’re more of like a startup and you’re looking to hire someone else, or almost bring on a senior level person.
You have to keep in mind that this person, assuming they stick, is gonna be probably pretty important in your organization. If they’re gonna stick with you and be with you long term, that’s a pretty important hire, so don’t worry if you take a little bit longer to make a decision on that first hire because that’s really gonna be, I think, an important role, and someone who may end up ultimately being your right hand man to you. You might as well have someone that both is great for that specific role or what you need, but also a good cultural fit too, right?
Justin: We do a lot of, and we’ll talk about this in a bit when we’re at the hiring process, but we do a lot of sorting and sifting early on in the process. We kind of make them jump through hoops, and we make them do all these things, and we have them self select and basically find ways to kind of remove them. It’s a game of, how can I get them out of the hiring funnel? Then when it gets down to the final interview where we’re actually asking questions and either meeting face to face or via Skype, it becomes more of a cultural question. Do I think they’d be a good fit culturally within our organization? Do we connect? Do we click? Do I think this person can learn from me, can I take their feedback? These become more important questions than they do early on in the process, for example.
Ace: Absolutely. So let’s talk about where to find these people. Where are you gonna go to find these employees, Justin?
Justin: Well, it depends on the employee you’re looking for. One of the things you can do is use networking, right? You can use the people in your network, and what we do … We have a weird business, right, so we can talk about that. I think ours is a little different than probably most of our audiences’, but we have a whole bunch of people in our community that talk about being location dependent, and traveling the world, so it’s easy for us to find, to ask them to share job positions that we have that require someone to come out to southeast Asia, for example, from Australia or the U.S. or whatever. Because they have an audience of people that are looking to do things like that.
For example, I can reach out to our buddies Danny over at Tropical MBA, I can reach out to Sean Ogle over at seanogle.com, those are guys that speak to the really young kind of hungry “I want to be location dependent” entrepreneurial crowd. They’ll share our job posts for us and help us find the right people. It’s a great way for us to find apprentices. We’ve done it several times, we’ve found several apprentices through just those two sources alone.
Ace: Yeah, I’m a big, big fan of that. They come in, you kinda know that hey, this isn’t gonna be somebody that disappears or anything like that. The other thing is, just actually using a service. To go out, just pay somebody, and they go out and find your employee and if you’re not searching for some huge BP of some organization or using a head hunter, one of the easy services to use is Virtual Staff Finder. I’d use them a couple of times, it’s turned out really great, in other cases it hasn’t but the investment is so low that it’s worth it for me to save the headache of trying to go through the search, start from scratch, filter out people and even just get somebody that is reasonable.
They do a really good job, and I’ve had a lot of success. Have you used them, or what are your thoughts on that, Justin?
Justin: Yeah, we’ve used them. Even when we’re running our outs for some company, we actually used them, because we wanted to know whether we could recommend them or not, so we used Virtual Staff Finder just as kind of a test and it worked out really well. We got a great employee. And then we end up ultimately using them again a second time. I know Chris Ducker, who owns a company. I was in Cebu, I met with the team that he has, they’re running Virtual Staff Finder, so I’m pretty familiar with those guys, and they’ve done a good job for a long time. They’re very specific, they won’t find specific roles for you, but kind of more general VA, virtual system, they can help you with.
There’s another guy, I feel like a competitor for that, his name is Mads and he’s in Davao City and he offers a competitive service to that. I don’t remember the name of it, I’ll look that up, but I’ll put a link in the show notes if anyone is interested in that.
The other thing I consider is the apprentice model. This is something we’ve used with some success, is that there are a lot of people out there that realize they don’t want to just be a cog in the wheel. They want to kind of learn from someone who’s in a position they want to be in, and so they’re willing to come on probably for less money. Not free, I wouldn’t try to get free work out of this, but you know, pay them for a reasonable wage, but they’re willing to come up for less than they might otherwise because they want to be able to pick your brain.
They want to have a seat at the table, they want to kind of see the behind the scenes of what you’re doing in your business. If you’re willing to be open about that, I think it gives them a great opportunity to learn more about your business, and gets you an opportunity to get someone who’s super sharp and can come on for cheap and kind of trial out whether a long term fit in your company would work. We’ve used that quite a few times now, and it’s been fantastic for us.
Ace: All right, so let’s talk a little bit about managing. When it comes to managing these employees, especially for both of us Justin. I’ve got some employees that are on the ground in the U.S., but I’ve got other employees that are virtual, so each step of the process is really important because you’re not sitting down with that person every day.
Justin: Yeah, so when you’re managing someone, it also involves training. Let’s say you’ve already hired the person, you’re bringing them on, and I think it’s really important to have an onboarding process. Now, the first time you hire someone, you’re not gonna have this well defined onboarding process, you’re basically going to come up with it then and there, but for future hires I think it’s really important to have one. We have one right now to where I’m not even involved in it, so once we decide to hire someone or bring them on, then we have … our team already has the onboarding process, and we’ll take them under their wing and get them up to speed, and get them up and running. It’s really nice.
These are things like having them understand who to go to for what, getting them set up with email, getting them access to everything they need, getting them set up with their LastPass account. All these different things that need to be done early on. For you, I think if you’re hiring for the first time or the first few people, having a checklist that you can use for an onboarding process would be really helpful. You can go line by line and make sure that … You can do this before you even hire your first person, but having the 15 things that you need to have, they need to have to be able to access and get started with you, I think, is helpful.
Ace: Yeah. The more you can get specific with each one of those things, the better. So let’s talk a little bit just about the local versus virtual, you know. You’ve had some local employees that you run, now you’ve got a completely virtual team. To my understanding, I’ve got a couple folks that help me on the ground, and then I’ve got a virtual team as well.
When it comes to the local team, you know obviously you’ve to the benefits of less cultural barriers, town barriers, it’s easier to build those relationships and, you know, it’s also just easier to sit next to them and train them and correct them as they’re doing things. When they have a question, they can instantly just bring over the computer and ask you, and that can make things happen a little quicker.
Justin: Yeah, those are real benefits you get, I think, with a local team. There’s some advantages of the remote team too. For example, it’s much easier to have 24 hour coverage, right? It’s hard to have someone in the U.S. working at three in the morning, or four in the morning, they just generally don’t want to do that, whereas if you have a team around the world that’s relatively easy. Those are easy hours for them.
It’s also in the benefit of, I think, you can hire the best in the world, not just the best in Tulsa or whatever. If you’re forced to hire local, and this is specifically true for a local business, gas station or whatever, you gotta hire whoever is best gas station attendant there in Tulsa, whereas if I have an online business, I can hire the best customer service agent for the best price anywhere in the world. That really opens up my options, and so that’s an advantage, I think, of having a remote team.
I also think that, by having a remote team, you have happier and healthier employees and management, right? You have people that can live where they want, and maybe their husband or wife has a job and they’re sitting, they’re not able to move, and they’re gonna love it if they have this type of job. I think that does help to build loyalty, people that are loyal to the company because they kind of love their work situation.
It sucks because I think a lot of the advantages for having a remote team are really fantastic, but there’s really no way to get some of those local team benefits. One of the things we’re doing in our company right now is we have a remote team, I mean our management staff are location dependent and they’re generally all over southeast Asia. I’m in Bangkok right now, I have business partners in Manila, got another guy in, well two guys in Ho Chi Minh right now, we’ve got a bunch of our team in the south of the Philippines.
But what we do is, we’ll get our management team together at least every three to four months, and we’ll work together for four to five weeks. Sometimes we’ll stay in the same place, or at least really close, and then we’ll generally get together every day and work. By doing that every three to four months and getting us together, first off we go to kind of a cool exotic location, somewhere that’s different and we can all meet up and kind of explore and have some fun together, but we also get the chance to have some of the value that comes when you’re working together. You can build deeper relationships, you can build more of the culture in your company, and you can just reach over and say, “Hey man, take a look at this.” It’s a lot easier than trying to jump on Skype sometimes, you know what I mean?
Ace: Yeah, yeah, it is. And now that I’m pretty much traveling full time as well, my local team is also somewhat remote, and they really love being able to work from home when I’m traveling and we stay in touch. It’s a similar thing. When I get back to Tennessee, and I’m visiting and hanging out with family, we’ll work together. We’ll kinda come up with our vision for the next three four months, and they can ask questions and get the benefits of being in the same locale.
Justin: Ace, I got a question. You hired locally, I’m guessing because that’s what you’re most familiar with. I know you’ve worked with VAs and stuff before, but that just seemed to be the best fit, but are you changing your mind a little bit, be traveling so much? What are your thoughts on the fact that you hired locally, and you thought that was the best move, but now it’s not local anymore, right? You guys are both remote because you’re gone so much. Are you realizing that you could have hired people in Sacramento and made it work, or do you think that having them local initially was such a value add on that it was needed.
Ace: You know, it is. As of right now, I really appreciate and love that I had the local person, because even in hiring the VAs, they helped manage that process. It’s almost like, you know, outsourcing even the VA process, but it is. It’s really nice. And like I said, I think the best thing is having the best of both worlds. Because all of those benefits you talked about, I mean, at the end of the day they’re more productive, they love being able to work from home, and we get those benefits, but it’s nice to be able to come in. I work in a little bit of a complicated space, and sometimes it’s nice that my clients know that I have a team that’s in the U.S. as well as a team that they interact with that’s overseas.
Justin: One of the things we’ve never done, and I don’t think we would do, is where we hire an apprentice and they remain remote. They never come work closely with us or anything, they just kind of stay remote, do their thing, and we stay remote and do our thing. I don’t think we would ever do that. We’ve always felt that taking whoever is just hired and bringing them out to work with us closely for at least two months, but probably two to even up to six months, and work closely with us and be around us, and kind of see what our business is like and learn more about our business … I think that’s really valuable. After that, if they want to work remotely and we don’t need, you know, necessarily be in the same city or even the same country, I think we’re fine with that. We’ve grown into it to where that’s okay with us. But that initial piece, we still want them close so that they can I think learn a lot faster about our business and the role they’re gonna play.
Ace: Yeah, yeah. I think we’re doing the same thing in different ways.
Justin: All right man, so let’s do a quick wrap up. One of the things I think is really important that we talked about today is passing on the short term cash gains for the long term asset value building, and that kind of comes into play, and we’re talking about hiring a team and forking over the cash, short term cash that you’re getting so that you can build that long term asset.
One of the things we didn’t cover, I wish we would have covered, we just didn’t have time, was the skill transfer process, which is basically a way to take a skill and pass it on to someone else with very little packet loss. We did a podcast on that in the Empire podcast, I’m gonna go ahead and link to that in the show notes. It’s really critical, I think, for making sure that you don’t have packet loss or data loss down the line. You want to make sure that you’re training them, they know everything that they need to know to pass it on to the next person, and pass it on to the next person. But I think those points are really important.
Ace: Yup. And you know, the other thing like we talked about before is I think it’s a good point to plan out the roles in the business and begin building an organization that is prepared for growth. Just realizing that the main reason that most people don’t grow and they’re frustrated is because they don’t have an organization that can handle the growth. If you want to make 50 thousand a month and you don’t have a team that’s there that can handle, all you can handle is 20 thousand a month, and you’re frustrated, you know, one of the things that you’ve gotta have is the capacity before you get to that point.
Justin: Another reason I think you want to build out that org chart of where you envision the business being, too, is because maybe you’re like, I want to have this business as making 50 thousand dollars a month, and you build out this org chart and you realize payroll’s 70 thousand a month, and you’re like … yeah, maybe that’s not gonna work, right? You might have a vision that doesn’t match the reality of the people that are gonna be required to pull it off. So dude, I’m totally stealing that, we have kind of a long term goal but we don’t have the actual physical org chart for what that’s gonna look like. Dude, I’m just ripping that from you man, we’re using it now.
Anyway man, great having you show. We’ll be back next with another show, hope you guys dig it.
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