Episode 74: Hiring Strategies for a New Direction

Today I want to talk about the direction the company is taking and how I plan to keep up with it. We have really plateaued as a company, and part of that is because we don’t have the manpower. We need some new structure. I have decided to take a two-pronged approach to restructuring things. The two sides of the business are:

  • The product side or “getting the product to our customers.”
  • The eCommerce side – email marketing, promotions, product development, and generally everything pre-sale.

Hopefully, this new structure will help us get to an eight figures status. If you know someone who is kind of a “techie” person, then contact me at [email protected]. I would like a resume or a letter telling me why you are the best fit for the company.

The things I’m looking for in a new hire are as follows:

  • Able to relocate or already living in the San Diego area.
  • Understands and knows how to manage content.
  • Experience in eCommerce is super important. You need to know how to run Amazon and Shopify stores.
  • A fast learner who can pick up on the stuff they don’t know.
  • A good communicator, so that we can be more efficient.
  • A hard worker and self-starter.
  • Someone who wants a long term position.

I realize that nobody is going to have all the experience I am looking for, but what is important is the prospect’s willingness to learn. So if you know someone or you are a good fit for me, please let me know.

Just a reminder, I will be speaking at some events this year. Here is a list of those events.

  1. Ecommerce All Stars — Austin, TX, August 4-5.
  2. Global Sources — Hong Kong, October 17-19.
  3. EcommerceFuel Live — Laguna Beach, CA, January 11-13, 2018.

Also if you go to www.ecomcrew.com/summit2017, you can download my slides from my presentation at Sellers’ Summit 2017. You will also get a discount code for $50 off the price of a virtual pass to all the great content from the summit.

Included in this package will be a free round table session with Scott Voelker, Greg Mercer, Jeff Cohen, Steve Chou, and myself. That round table will be June 26th at 2 pm Pacific time. If that’s something that interests you, then check out the link to sign up.

This episode is sponsored by Stamped.io. We have recently switched to Stamped.io, so we can get the most out of our reviews, and they have a really great product. We are proud to partner with them and there is a link below to check them out.

Resources Mentioned Today:



Ecommerce All Stars

EcommerceFuel Live

Ecom Crew Facebook Page

Global Sources

Sellers’ Summit Virtual Pass




Don’t forget about our Facebook Live episodes. Just like our Facebook page and you will be notified when we do an episode.

If you have any questions or anything you’d like us to discuss on the podcast please go to ecomcrew.com and fill out the contact form. Also, we would really appreciate if you would leave us a review on iTunes. Thanks for listening!

Full Audio Transcript

Mike: This is Mike, and welcome to the EcomCrew Podcast number 74, hope everyone is having a good week out there in eCommerce land. Today’s topic is going to be about hiring and just kind of the general direction that we’re going to be taking as a company moving forward, at least the plan that I have for right now. I’ve alluded to a little bit of this on the show, but I’m going to get into some really specifics about our hiring plans.

But before I get into it I just want to remind everybody that this podcast is now sponsored by Stamped.io, just go to Stamped, S-T-A-M-P-E-D, stamped.io, it’s not .com, .io. If you ever need a review platform for your Shopify store, I highly recommend it. This week we added the Instagram creation. If you go to colorIt.com and look at one of our product pages, you can see now all the user generated content that our customers are leaving. I have a sneaking suspicion that’s going to increase our conversion rate significantly.

I went through our Google analytics logs and saw a lot of clicks coming through those photos which is definitely good. But I think that on a product like ours where it’s so user generated, and people are so passionate about it, and you kind of get to see it to really get a feel for it, having that user generated content on there I think is going to be huge.

So again the EcomCrew Podcast now sponsored by Stamped.io, go back and listen to last week’s episode for that announcement. And coming up in the next couple of weeks we’re going to be doing a whole episode just on reviews, and how important they are to our brand and to eCommerce in general, and also talking about Stamped.io. So I look forward to doing that episode soon.

So as I mentioned, this week’s episode is going to be talking mostly about hiring and the general direction that we’re going to be going as a company. This is something that I’ve talked to a lot of people about over the last couple of months starting just before we went to China, just getting a lot of other eCommerce people’s opinions. Obviously, what I found is that everyone’s business is a little bit different, right? Some people are all in on Amazon. Some people don’t do Amazon at all. Some people have their own brands. Some people are selling other people’s brands. Some people have staffs of two. Some people had staffs of 20.

So, I basically took everyone’s recommendations, and kind of put it all together. And one thing I definitely learned as I read through a book called, ‘Real Talk,’ and it was a really good book that also helped me as well just on the hiring process and how to empower employees. And so lots of stuff that we’ve actually been doing already, just stuff that I’ve learned in my management career, just kind of put people in positions and empower them, don’t micromanage them. There’s some other good stuff on there about how to give them bonuses, and ways to just want to achieve those goals that we’re going to be implementing in our business.

So the thing that I kind of came up with in our operation is that it’s really a two-pronged approach. We have two sides of the house if you will. And that’s the way we’re going to really set things up moving forward, and I think that’s going to make a big difference for our business. Instead of trying to hire one kind of COO type person, we’re going to be going with like a two-pronged approach. And the approach is basically everything on the eCommerce side and everything on the operation side.

So operations will be basically getting product to the customers, and everything that involves that. So it’s shipping the products to the customer, re-ordering inventory and making sure that we have it in stock, making sure that we have accurate inventory levels in our warehouse, that we’re doing good forecasting, that we’re processing the returns, that we’re managing our office wherever that might be or offices, and managing our warehouses.

I say that with a pull on now because we have staff in multiple places, shipping, getting the product actually to the customer and then accounting would also be a part of operations. I would say probably human resources will be a part of that when we get to the size to need that. But basically anything that involves operating the business day-to-day is going to be on that side of the fence.

And then the other side of the fence is going to be eCommerce. We’ll call it like basically the director of eCommerce if you will. And that’s everything before the products develop to the technology, to getting the stuff in the customer’s hands. So that can include anything from the actual platform, the other Shopify platform itself, stuff like email marketing, things that we do on Klaviyo, all the advertising that we do, whether it be Facebook ads or Google AdWords, and then all of the content that we have for our content sites.

I talked about it in the last couple of weeks how we plan on launching tactical.com, and that being mostly a content site. So that would fall under eCommerce even though the content itself isn’t the commerce, but there is a direct relationship there on writing content to sell products to people eventually. So those content sites will definitely fall under the eCommerce wing.

And then promotions, anything that happens to be promotions, and whether it’s us doing contest or lead magnets or any of those types of things, those all kind of fall under the eCommerce wing. And then we have the developing of products. This would also fall under eCommerce. I kind of look at things as if you give me something good to sell I can sell it. So the developing a product part is under the eCommerce part. And it’s a part that might get broken out into its own section eventually in developing the products, but I think that that will still stay under eCommerce for a long time. And that can include anything from packaging to product design itself.

So that’s the way we’re going to break things out. I’m definitely happy that we’re going to be able to do a promotion from within for one of these positions for the operations part, but the eCommerce position is something that we’re going to be hiring for. We just don’t have the expertise in-house to do that. My dream is basically to be able to talk to whatever we want to do from a high level to this eCommerce person, and then to be able to execute it with mostly with the current staff that we have. We have a good staff, but it’s just become too much for me to manage.

And the reason that I really sat down and started thinking this through was because we’ve really hit a plateau of sales where we just can’t seem to get past that with our current operation. And it’s not – sales aren’t going backwards, so it hasn’t been anything catastrophic that’s happened within our business to warrant doing this, but I know that’s on the horizon.

There’s too many balls up in the air, too many plates to juggle, there all these different cliché sayings that you could definitely use. But we’re kind of there and we’ve kind of peaked out at these 400 to $450,000 per month in sales mark, which is pretty significant. I’m definitely happy with that number. But I know that in order for us to double again between now and this time next year, or triple to stay on that same path that we’ve been on, to get to the point where we’re an eight figure company, we need to have some better structure.

So we did this last year a little bit. We kind of took a step backwards and really laid some ground work. And it got us from like that 2.5 million mark to the five million a year mark or six million a year mark, which I think we‘ll hit this year. But I think we need to take a really close look at where we’re going to hit that eight figure number. It’s definitely a much different business, much different. Just that the frequency of the events that are happening, the number of transactions, number of sales that we’ve had, the number of returns that we get, the number of orders that we have, the number of just… or the frequency of everything has kind of boiled over to the point where we definitely need to make this transition.

And we’ve got a really good foundation now in the Philippines to help with all the things that can kind of happen there. And we’ve done a couple of episodes about Filipino hiring and how that’s been helping us, and it’s been tremendous. We have a really great manager there. We are able to handle things like email customer support, and they’d handle like our agendas for instance for our Facebook Live stuff, they handle research for us, they go through Amazon listings and make sure they’re going well, respond to negative reviews, like all the things that can kind of happen at a nine time critical scale.

So we can’t answer phone calls and stuff from there, but we do a lot of stuff from there. And we want to continue to expand now that we’re getting a lot of content written there, but someone really needs to be managing it from a higher level than just what’s happening in our office in the Philippines. So I think that basically the person at Philippines will report both to our director of eCommerce and our director of operations, and make sure that the things that they need… that they’re directing them to get done get done.

And it will free my time up to do what I’m really good at, what I feel like I’m best at, which is the direction of the company, developing partnerships, deciding which products and stuff we want to develop, anything that’s new like on a lead magnet or email marketing front, and then having someone that can implement that without me getting bogged down in the implementation. I’ve noticed for instance the things that I’ve been really good at like Facebook ads have taken a back seat because I haven’t had the time to stay on top of them.

So having someone that’s managing that process once we decide the way that we want to go is definitely the direction that I’m looking forward to going. And then having the operations person, once we’ve implemented all this stuff from an ecommerce angle, just making sure that that stuff gets done day in and day out without a hitch. That we’re just never running out of inventory, that when we get new products in, they’re getting launched at an optimized rate.

We’ve had new products that were in our warehouse for almost two months recently that just didn’t get launched because we were too busy taking care of our existing products. So it just really shows that the system has been kind of buckling. And I also know that in order for us to gain the double in size that we need to increase our skew cap by at least 25%. It may be 50% over the next year. So as we’re doing that just more and more attention to detail that we need to do.

For instance once the new product launches, going through and adding the right keywords to a listing for instance and managing PPC, running promotions to get that product kind off the ground, because it’s a totally different world than it used to be. So just making sure that this stuff is not me that’s sort of overseeing all that from day-to-day. Especially since I don’t really feel that I am really that detail oriented person necessarily. I’m kind of the Wizard of Oz if you will, and definitely can use a much better manager type person.

So, the big thing here is if you’re listening and it sounds like you or you know somebody like this, please have them contact me. This is a strategic position that I’m willing to invest a lot into. It’ll be a very fairly compensated position. It’ll include getting vacation. It would even include relocation expenses, a health insurance, things of this nature. So if you know someone, wherever they are in the country, if they’re looking to move to San Diego, or they already ideally live in the San Diego, LA area, that would be my preference so I don’t have to move somebody and have that pressure, but certainly willing to do it if need be.

So if you know anybody out there that can fit this eCommerce position, somebody… they don’t have to necessarily have tons of experience with this stuff, but they definitely need to be kind of a techy kind of person. They probably should know something about Shopify, been running their own Shopify store, know something about Amazon, you maybe have sourced stuff up on Amazon before, because Amazon is certainly a part of that, be able to do something like a launch also on Wal-Mart.

Even if they don’t have the experience with Wal-Mart, be able to like review the instructions for instance and do it. That’s all I did. I mean I had no experience with Wal-Mart. Someone that either has Facebook ads experience, or again can learn it from someone like myself. I definitely can sit down and show them all the things we need to do.

Same thing with Google AdWords. Someone who gets content and can manage content writers. And an editor to make sure that we’re putting out good quality content, that can do keyword research, or direct someone to do keyword research. Someone that can set up click funnels and Zipify Pages and all that different stuff.

From the promotions side that someone can do a Viral and Gleam… again they don’t have to have the experience necessarily doing that out of the gate. It’s something that I’m willing to invest a lot of time in to train them on all these different things. If I was to put an ad out for all the little things I’m looking for, all the things I just kind of mentioned, plus the other stuff on this list here, that person probably doesn’t exist. I think there’s very few people in the world that meet all these different criteria. Like the key is that they can learn.

And that’s definitely what I’m looking for. Someone that has the ability to learn this stuff, that’s committed to a position like this for the next three to five or plus years, that will be basically my right hand guy or gal on the eCommerce side. And can work well with our operations person that’s already here on staff to make sure there’s a smooth transition. That’s really key from when we do the ecommerce stuff over to needing the operations stuff to happen. Making sure there’s good communication between eCommerce side of the house and operations when we launch a new promotion. So they are abreast of what’s going on, that there’s a Mother’s day sale or a fourth of July sale, or a new product launch and whatever it is in the timeframe, and making sure that that stuff is being communicated properly.

This will be a person that will be reviewing financial statements and having your vested interest in growing the company. And I’m really excited about it. And I hope to make this hire sometime in the month of July, and have them with a butt in a chair by the end of July or early August. And get them some early training, and get them up to speed with things before the holiday rush starts to set in. That is coming sooner than you think; in fact it’s probably going to be the topic for next week’s episode.

I think people wait way too long before planning for the holidays, especially in a business like ColorIt where like our entire year really is made up for the holidays. So we are already been doing some planning on some products that we’re going to launch for the holidays. But we need to start thinking about the inventory reordering levels, and things like that to make sure that we’re set for the holidays.

So that’s really about it for this episode. I really can’t go into much more detail without saying the things over and over again. So if you do know someone that is interested in the position, just tell them to shoot me an email over to [email protected], that’s just my direct email address M-I-K-E-@-T-E-R-R-A-N.C-O-M. I’d love to hear from them, a resume, or just a letter of why they think that they’d be good for the position.

Please send us inquiries only. I’m looking again for someone that has past experience. I’m not looking to hire a neophyte for this position. I need someone that I can show this stuff to once or twice, and just have them have the wherewithal to handle it on their own and manage a team without much other input from me. And really just want two direct reports moving forward, the director of eCommerce and director of operations, and have people in place that are responsible enough to handle that.

And that’s really the type of person I’m looking for. Someone that’s hardworking, but again we don’t… well I’m really mindful of the number of hours I ask my employees to work. So this isn’t like 80 hour week job necessarily. It’s just that when you’re here, work hard while you’re here and be able to train the people, and empower people to get the stuff done.

So, that’s all I have to say about that. I think that’s a pretty clear direction of where we’re going as a company. Kind of breaking things off under these two sections, and then having the Filipino team kind of sit on top of that, or others sit on top of the Filipino team, whichever way you want to look at it, and I’m excited about it. I think that once we make these changes and implement it fully by the end of this year, we will be able to hit that eight figure mark next year, which is where I really want to be.

I think we can do that without much of a problem. We already have the plan in place to do that. It’s just a matter of executing it without these inefficiencies that have kind of been creeping up just because we don’t have the manpower to handle it quite frankly. So we want to get over that hump. So that’s it for this week guys.

Just a couple of reminders here. First off, upcoming speaking engagements. I’ll be at Ecommerce All Stars in Austin, Texas. That is Ezra Firestone’s event. If you have an opportunity to register for that, it’s going to be August 4th and 5th in Austin, Texas.
Global Sources; that is a company that does sourcing over in Asia. That’s going to be in Hong Kong October 17th through 19th. And then EcommerceFuel, which I found out is already sold out. So if you haven’t already registered for it, there is a wait list. But that’s going to be in Laguna California, just south of LA, north of San Diego on January 11th through 13th.

And one final reminder, I’m going to be speaking… I just spoke at Sellers Summit, but next Monday the… Let me get the exact time and date here, I think it’s a 26th if I remember correctly at 2 PM Pacific time, let me just double check this here real quick. Yeah, next Monday the 26th of June at 2 PM pacific time. I will be speaking with Greg mercer, Jeff Cohen; I think there’s one or two other people along with Steve Chou himself at a roundtable. It’s going to be a free roundtable for anyone who signs up. I have a special discount code at ecomcrew.com/summit2017.

If you’re on the live stream, I’ll put that in the window here at Summit 2017, so ecomcrew/summit2017. I’ve also besides the discount, if you go there, you can just get my slides from that presentation for free. And then after you sign up there is a link there to go to Sellers Summit and get the $50 discount. And if you do that before the 26th at 2 PM, you will get registered for the free roundtable. Then you can ask any question of either Steve or myself or… Scott Voelker is going to be on there, Greg Mercer, Jeff Cohen I believe, and maybe a couple of others.
So definitely a pretty awesome lineup if you want to ask any questions and talk to those guys or myself directly. But besides that guys, have another great week selling stuff eCommerce. It’s crazy that June is almost done already. By the time this episode goes out it will be pretty close to over.

I’m getting ready to head on vacation the first couple of weeks of July. I’m definitely pretty excited about that. I’ve been training quite a bit for it. I’m going to be doing some pretty extensive hiking in Alaska; I’m pretty excited about that. And to prepare for it, I’ve been going out every weekend and hiking as many miles as I possibly can to get ready for it with 30 pounds on my back.

So, I’m pretty excited about that. I’m going to have to record a couple of episodes ahead of time and not be able to do live those weeks. But we’ll talk about that next week or the week after before I head out. So have a great week everyone and I will talk to you then.

Outro: If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. Head over to EcomCrew.com and sign up for the EcomCrew newsletter to get regular updates on what’s working in ecommerce today, and get the latest from our blog. If you haven’t already, we’d really appreciate an honest review in iTunes. These reviews help us make sure we’re delivering exactly the content you need to be successful. And make sure you subscribe to the show for more tips to move you up in the business ladder and into success. We’ll see you next week.

Mike and Grant

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Mike and Grant Built Four Successful Ecommerce Stores. What's Our Secret?

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