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"Starting out a new company, you do everything yourself as a solo entrepreneur. But then you start to need things you either don't want to learn yourself or you cannot learn yourself." Matteo Lombardi

In 2020 Matteo and his partner hired 9 employees with our remote recruitment agency Retalent. We did an interview with him and asked some advices on hiring remote employees and how his experience in hiring with us was.
Short-term hiring
There are certain problems as rising demand in particular freelancers makes them put a higher per hour rate on their offer. Some freelancers who used to charge 7$ per hour just a year ago now charge 20$ per hour. This happens not because they became 3 times better in doing their job.

They just started getting so much work that it was not worthy for them to offer themselves for 7$ anymore. Their thinking goes as follows: "I have only a few hours left, I'm just going to pick up those clients who are willing to pay 20$ per hour".
When full-time is more preferable
When you want somebody to do a lot in your business, it is much more efficient to hire for full-time. If you hire part-time, employee will continue to look for something else, because they cannot live on a part-time job. It is much more common that people are looking for long term and full-time job. Those who look for a part-time job may have a change in their situation in the nearest future.

For example, an entrepreneur, who launches their own business and gets a part time job for some side income, will no longer need that job when their business starts working. It is also hard to organize yourself when you have multiple people writing you at different time. If you play the freelancer per hour, you'd want more and more hours, as you need them to be available.

When you look for full-time workers, there is a list of platforms specialising in remote workers. The problem is that as an entrepreneur you are already doing a lot. Usually working full-time and adding hiring process to it can stall your business.
Starting with Retalent
I read a book called "Match" and a Harvard Business Review post on hiring, which suggested that if I want to hire well, I had to first prepare myself for a tiresome process. I had to go to portals, post a job description and answer questions. When you post a job, you receive hundreds of applications and you need to manage all this inflow of information.

Some people may be missing information that you need, some people forget to attach the cover letter. When I had a hiring process in "Retalent", we eliminated those candidates who didn't attach their cover letter, as it was required, because they were not interested enough to get a job.
Matteo Lombardi
E-commerce entrepreneur
Selection process
When you do it all yourself, you have to spend a lot of hours. One time I posted a job in Spain and I got 350 replies, so I had to navigate through all those replies, find and read CVs. I had to filter good cover letters and check CVs for relevant experience. After that I had to get the information that was not on the CV. For example, they might say they know English, but they don't mention on which level.

Candidates with good CVs have to complete a small test, so they could see what kind of job they are going to
do. I used to do an IQ test in the beginning, but not every job is about intelligence. Some jobs are about attention to detail, creativity etc. For each position you have to design a specific test that would be focused on particular abilities needed for this type of job. A 15 minute test will not mean you know the person, but it can give you an idea of their ability. Then you need to have an interview with the ones that you find suitable for the job.

For busy entrepreneur, it is hard to conduct the interview the way it should be done, because of current tasks. Entrepreneur ends up rushing hiring procedure, hiring a person who seems good and then training them for 2-3 months to suddenly realize that they don't really work the way you wanted. And then you have to start the whole hiring process again, or, which is the worst thing to do, keep the person who is not right for the job, because you don't have time and energy to look for somebody else.

Postponing is not the best choice
While looking for a person for a manager position, I thought that it would cost me about 2200 EUR per month. In my e-commerce company the more cash I invest, the more profit I gain. If I save a 1200 EUR salary of somebody that means that I am saving about 14000 EUR/year. And if I put that in products, so I can make 14000 EUR or more profit. The cost of hiring somebody for 2200 EUR is about 30000 EUR per year. It's a big choice to make. I kept postponing this idea to save up on the salary.

The problem of doing everything yourself is that there comes a time, when the company cannot grow anymore. When you decide to finally hire somebody, then the more experience you have, the harder and longer it would be for your new employees to catch up with you.
Be fast and systematic
Despite having come up with the procedure for finding a right person, I found that I still have to contribute about 30-50 hours. I had to post the job on different platforms, connect with a lot of people, read their CVs, do the test and then select the best ones. I realized that in order to do that I need to put the company aside. And when entrepreneurs have to conduct a selection procedure themselves, they may not have time to do it properly.

If the recruitment process is not done timely, there is high chance that you might lose one of your best candidates. You have to be fast.
Recruitment process is better be done by an experienced person who does it once in a while. Then it will bring much better candidates. An experienced recruiter has more access to platforms where they can find remote workers and they know the market well to find the best match. When we started the recruitment process, we were able to find people with lower salary expectations. I expected paying about 1100-1200 EUR per month, but people agreed to work for half of it. Now I pay about 600 EUR, as they accepted that there would be a training period. After they have been working there for some time and contributed to business, I increased the salary to keep them happy and motivated.
Find your people and stick to them
Employee's retention is highly important in business, as it ensures that people are going to stay with you for a longer time. You may have experienced it yourself: the first year you are fumbling around. The second year you are much better and the third you start understanding business much deeper. If you hire the right people and they stick around for a substantial amount of time, they start being really productive. So, of course later you would want to raise their salary. Their output is going to rise at a higher pace with their cost for you decreasing.

It was a total game-changer when I was able to grow a team from one employee to have 10 people. The idea is to slowly get out of the business yourself to work ON the business, not IN the business. It can help to design the business and expand.
Matteo Lombardi
E-commerce entrepreneur
Change the game
If you hire professionals in their field, you can pass much work onto your employees. Small companies used to be as good as their entrepreneur was, but now even a small company can be competitive.

It was a total game-changer when I was able to grow a team from one employee to having 10 people. The idea is to slowly get out of the business yourself to work ON the business, not IN the business. It can help to design the business and expand.
How my team is doing so far
The person, who was hired 9 months ago contributed to the working process that well, as the company has grown by 40% in profit. They are very self-sufficient, they don't message me every time they didn't know
something, which is what I like in my company. They're also very excited about their work, their pay and they like the results of what they are doing. I think it would be a long relationship.

The other employee seems to be one of the best employees that I've ever had. They are interested in the work process and willing to learn and do courses. Their English level is amazing, I'm happy with their performance and have high hopes for the future. If I'll need to hire more talents I'll definitely use "Retalent" hiring service.
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