Growing up I worked summers in my parents local businesses there in Klamath Falls, Oregon. I really admire and look up to my parents in a big way because I can remember vividly when the store my dad was working at went out of business and forced my parents to make that decision a lot of us entrepreneurs make.
Do I go get a job and play it safe? Or do I start something up and take that risk?
Well both of my parents started up companies that are still alive and doing well to this day… 25+ years later.
But one thing I’ve learned along the way is the value of amazing employees… and how much of a pain the wrong employees can be.
As I started to go on my own and start my own companies I’d taken the “work from home” “outsource it all” pitch from entrepreneurs online hook, line, and sinker.
They’d say, “Never get employees. Always just do independent contractors. It’ll save you money and headache“.
So that’s what I did. For the first 5 or so years of being an entrepreneur.
I’d go out and hire this outsourcer to do X, another outsourcer to do Y, then had an independent contractor as an assistant / awesome customer support gal, and I thought I was living the dream.
No payroll hassles, I wasn’t on the hook to make sure there was enough work for 40 hours a week for someone. I had done what “they” told me to do.
But the problem was, I continuously became the bottleneck in everything between my contractors and it was hard to get anyone to really fully commit to the success of our company like I was. Looking back, it’s obvious why. They had no long-term stake. I didn’t articulate the vision how their life was going to be amazing with my company vs. the alternatives. So I was continually strapped to the company. It wasn’t what I had envisioned when I started out.
Then I remembered from back when I was working summers for my parents in the family businesses.
I remembered some times when my parents would come home complaining how hard it is to find good people and of the troubles they were having with some of them. One even embezzled over $100k from the business… and she was almost like family.
After that I thought I’d never want an employee in my life.
On the flip side though, I remember the ones who were so devoted to the company… that they treated it like their own. They appreciated the opportunity my parents gave them and worked their butts off.
So I started to think… “Is it that not all employees are a hassle? And can I actually build the type of business that’ll serve me and my life without employees?”
My answer to both quickly became… NO.
It was a mindset I’d adopted that was holding me back.
So over the years since, I changed my mindset to be that the only way I was going to accomplish what I set out to and make the impact I want to on this world… was if I was able to recruit amazing people into my vision who would be as committed to the vision as I was. Who had a stake in our success.
Now with Carrot I prefer employees.
Yes, they can cost more because of the employment taxes, benefits, things like that.
But I feel when you hire on culture, find amazing people first (look for skill second), and enlist them in being a part of the team achieving this vision… the wins far outweigh the losses.
I couldn’t be happier now and can’t imagine running a business without amazing employees.
And for those of you who say you can’t afford employees. I didn’t think I could either. I thought it would cut into my profit margins and I’d try to pay them as little as I could at first to get by. But now, we aim to pay them better than they could earn anywhere else around, with great benefits… and the weird thing is… our profit margins have gone up.
Ask me how we did that. Dunno. But it couldn’t have happened if I held onto that mindset that employees are just a pain in the butt.
Is that mindset holding you back? If so, you’re hiring the wrong people and not valuing the right people enough. Shift those 2 things and it’ll be like magic for your business and life.