First off, let me state unequivocally that I totally respect talented "creatives" that ostensibly produce all of the beautiful graphics, web design, collateral material, lead generation campaigns and anything else that drives and supports business enterprises. I simply don't enjoy paying for these services.
The "nature of the beast" is that you never know exactly what you are going to end up with and there's nothing you can do about it... having already committed time and financial resources to undertake each service product before actual delivery. What's more is that you never know who you are hiring, with literally scores of providers specializing in each bit of marketing minutia, all declaring they are the "best," the "cheapest" or even the "best and the cheapest" yada, yada, yada...
What is particularly frustrating is that these so-called service providers shroud what they are actually doing with the same type of legalese that lawyers use to confuse we mere mortals. And the biggest rub...you really never know if a $100 a week Filipino is actually doing the work that you are paying 10 times that (or much more) to the US-based service provider.
Six weeks ago, I put the word out here on Linked In, their LinkedIn Pro Service and a couple of other freelancing sites with the basic messaging outlined on the blog below:
The response was nothing less that paralyzing: 1st offer-76 applicants, 2nd offer-91 applicants and finally, my ad two weeks ago for a Personal Assistant has yielded 80 responses and counting. That is, nearly 250 qualified, intelligent and eager to work professionals were all vying for a handful of positions to provide services for our modest start-up enterprise. Even by sifting through the sheer volume of applicants, contacting those I'm interested in via email, and subsequently following up with a call to those that make it that far...I have still personally interviewed invited two dozen individuals who met me in person, which equates to a full couple of weeks of meeting 2 or more service providers nearly every day.
Here's what I learned and what I just came up with....the job market in Southern California (where I am now) is overrun with qualified and in most cases seriously overqualified professionals, who have traded nice weather and a relaxing lifestyle for a severely reduced compensation opportunity. The competition to finding well paying and challenging jobs is staggering. As a result, an employer can retain the services of well-honed professionals in virtually any field for a fraction of the going rate elsewhere in the country.
In interview after interview, I discovered the old axiom - "People are like onions...you have to peel the layers to see what they have to offer." I met people who could not only do the service that I had originally reached out for but could do so much more...even better and faster than I had hoped. This created a sort of cross-pollination opportunity...an applicant, who was more interested in the "30,000' view" of working for a wage or vendor payment could actually be recruited into one of my many enterprises that were propped up and ready to go, contributing the necessary support and implementation to make it so.
Of course, everyone is different and in truth, only a certain percentage of applicants were able to consider the opportunity of a revenue share or even equity on a new venture. Their main business had to be stable enough to pay their bills and could only support an effort that represented the time that they could commit to "spec." That is, the applicant must either have extra time or bandwidth, free from obligations to take a "flyer" to engage in the possibility of starting a brand new business with me or aiding an existing one that needed their horsepower and degree of expertise.
Happily, this new revelation of channeling certain job/service applicants has already started to bear fruit. In only a couple or three weeks, I have channeled the following job/service applicants into the following opportunities:
Two independent lead generation experts have partnered up with me on a $5 per phone call lead generation program for an airline ticketing partner, splitting the take 50/50 with me from their efforts. One such marketing partner of my airline ticketing contact earns $35,000 per week from his efforts...so the upside to my lead gen partners is pretty exciting.
One web designer/programmer, able to commit 10 hours per week for 2-3 weeks is busy delivering a brand new web site that is dedicated to an exciting new opportunity involving cost segregation studies for multi-million dollar vacation villas recruited to our Program. He will glean a return that is a multiple of his stated cost of time spent from a % of the revenue earned from the new enterprise. Should this arrangement prove successful for him, the web designer will commit his extra time to ongoing projects like this that I bring to him.
Another web designer has received both a stated commission on leads turning to sales from his lead generation efforts as well as an equity stake in the business of flying pets and their owners by private jets. His contribution is creating the brand new web site with all of the "bells and whistles," marketing the unique enterprise and both maintaining and improving the site for the life of the business.
A Personal Assistant recruit, who happens to have both graphics arts skills, professional writing skills as well as a Real Estate sales background is now earning commissions from booking trips from leads of luxury travelers to our web site as well as securing new villa inventory into our Program. Those efforts which are non-commissionable, like graphics work and professional writing assignments, earn her market hourly rate which is added to her commissionable sales at a higher rate to compensate for her hourly work earnings.
Yet another web designer is updating some of our older web sites and creating a brand new one for another "bookshelf" enterprise that was researched and deemed a profitable opportunity...yet needed the web site, SEO and all of the infrastructure in place to launch. This web designer earns an equity stake in the enterprise, which encompasses his technical skills to re-purpose my old sites and offer ongoing tech advice and solutions for my myriad of projects.
Another Personal Assistant applicant, who happens to possess a resume' of impressive skill sets in media, professional writing and corporate organization and I are busy working our a formula of mutual profit through various assignments. We aren't there yet but I'm confident we will be shortly.
Yet another Personal Assistant applicant with an Industrial Engineering background is meeting me tomorrow morning to discuss his particular application for participating in one of my engineering marketing niches that I've recently re-introduced. His talents fit in perfectly. Now, we simply have to determine his motivation for my unique style of compensation...or not.
Finally, at least for today, I just got off a very enlightening phone conversation with a younger version of myself, who will meet with me next week, along with a very bright technical colleague to discuss any number of verticals that I've created and that they hope to manage on my behalf and for a piece of each deal that they can assist me with.
I've always said that the success you gain in business is directly proportional to the success you have with people. Looking at the traditional process of interviewing job applicants and service providers for tasks needing completion...by instead seeing these people as valued collaborators and partners is very exciting and is expected to be very profitable...for all parties.
Another day...another opportunity!