How do you do staff?

Discussion in 'Operating a Hosting Business' started by River, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. River

    River New Member Verified Provider

    70
    17
    May 3, 2015
    I've been running my business for about a year, going through varying periods of interest and dedication (I know, it sounds bad). I took on a family friend as a partner and everything went down the tubes. I'm now recovering the business, and I'm trying to figure how everyone else does staffing?


    I cannot physically run the business, just time and stuff. I'm wondering how you guys find people to manage things, if you have people to manage stuff?


    How has it worked to hire someone as a manager? What about a manager paid on commission? Any ideas?


    I'm just kinda curious how everyone deals with staffing.
     
  2. MikeA

    MikeA New Member Verified Provider

    48
    18
    Aug 13, 2014
    I'm never fond of the thought of paying people with commission, unless it's a big company with plenty of inbound leads it just feels like a scam for the person. Why don't you have time? Are you financially able to "hire" someone?
     
  3. drmike

    drmike 100% Tier-1 Gogent

    8,573
    2,709
    May 13, 2013
    You don't have the time to run your shop... if you did, would you work for commission?  Do you work your job on commission?


    Here's the thing, commission is on top of some base salary in the real world.  The only pure commission work there is otherwise is stuff that is mega fringe like selling encyclopedias which targets high school to college age folks as 'workers'.  Those remain legal, but end up in Courts every couple of years.  Pure exploitation.


    Management of all things should be a salary.  Real world, probably 85%+ of anyone managing anything is salaried.  Exception is straight up generic service industry on the low side which endows false titles and more work upon folks while hourly and underpaid (see fast food).


    If you cannot commit your time and you cannot commit to a baseline fixed salary, then you aren't in position to be in business.  Still can be, but it should be your time on the clock.  I realize it's a struggle to get up to numbers and volume to sustain things, so nothing mean / foul meant by it.
     
    ISG, Licensecart and AuroraZero like this.
  4. mitgib

    mitgib New Member Verified Provider

    284
    219
    May 15, 2013
    I worked by myself for as long as I could until it became too much for a single person to handle, then evaluated what would be best to offer support to the customers, which happened to be Chinese nationals, so I sought out someone who was fluent in Chinese and English, did research on average income in China, and solicited applicants from my customer base first, which was enough to find someone who still works with me to this day, and I chose a salary which was above the average monthly salary for someone from China, from the highest paying providence.  I wanted to insure I was paying enough so they had little interest to look around, or jump from a FoxConn window ;)
     
  5. Tunekiran

    Tunekiran New Member

    10
    1
    Nov 24, 2015
    I think there are various companies who actually offer resources on hire. They take care of multiple tasks as per your choice and you can pay as per their hourly rates.


    It's just the matter of finding a right company.
     
  6. drmike

    drmike 100% Tier-1 Gogent

    8,573
    2,709
    May 13, 2013
    Fiverr?  I kid, sort of.


    Problem too with such arrangements is that a shop has to be really organized to outsource tasks.   Owner has to burn a lot of cycles scheduling the work, finding the worker(s), writing up what needs done, interacting with folks, following up, etc.
     
    River and RLT like this.
  7. Tunekiran

    Tunekiran New Member

    10
    1
    Nov 24, 2015
    Well I can't mention the names of those websites here :) But managing the stuff is not as difficult as you find it. There are people who manage your work right from scratch till the end.
     
  8. RLT

    RLT Active Member

    180
    58
    Nov 9, 2013
    Worked with a few sites like that when my wife was sick. I've been fixing things ever since then. Still working on a database they "optimized" for me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 30, 2015
    drmike likes this.
  9. drmike

    drmike 100% Tier-1 Gogent

    8,573
    2,709
    May 13, 2013
    Outsourcing sites leave a lot to be desired.  Even the more pricey ones underwhelm.   I've done it with visual artists in outsourcing roles.  Everything else, meh, unimpressed generally and don't often ship other stuff out.


    Think about it, asking people to do usually specialized tasks.  Things that require specific knowledge.  That is hard to do efficiently as a new person on limited engagement.  Even ramp up on worker otherwise is particularly brutal.  Why?  Because solo operators aren't sitting on piles of documentation and don't have systems in place for everything sanely.  No reason to when 1-2 people core doing everything.. That 2nd or 3rd person tosses a lot of new variables into things.


    Outsourcing works better for generic and formula'matic things where you can't swallow hiring the big money positions but want the discipline or process one would bring to your business.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2015
    RLT and River like this.
  10. gordonrp

    gordonrp New Member Verified Provider

    121
    138
    Aug 10, 2013
    Build your business to the point that you can live off of it, then kill your salary and use it to hire a second person, rinse and repeat. A lot of founders/"CEOs" don't actually make a living wage at all, don't expect magic from this industry. You may need to maintain a full time job while you grow the business enough to be able to afford to hire someone full time.
     
    RLT, Licensecart and drmike like this.
  11. drmike

    drmike 100% Tier-1 Gogent

    8,573
    2,709
    May 13, 2013
    Smartest thing I've seen said in a long time, especially by someone in your capacity.  Props to you on that.


    For the business owner, it should be a long term investment.  To get to the long term = other people (workers) who get paid along the way.   Long term the business owner should reap rewards that are large enough to justify that time of no taking.


    CEOs with no pay are a sort of trickery.  It's deferred pay and most took some front side or are sitting on personal stash to ride it a while. Deferred pay means shares if public traded, means ownership equity if private.
     
    River likes this.
  12. igobyterry

    igobyterry New Member

    6
    3
    Apr 30, 2013
    I don't really agree with the comments in this thread. If you're not able to pay yourself with your business, you don't have a business -- you have a hobby, a very expensive, and time consuming one. The only time you should not be drawing a salary is during your initial startup. If you're at the point where you're working full time, and need to hire an employee, you should be well capable of still paying yourself. 


    If you feel otherwise you have a healthy business, you need to look at what is consuming your time so significantly. If it is support, then you need to consider either lowering your level of support or increasing the quality of your knowledge base so users can perform some level of self-service. If it's sales/marketing (unlikely), then you need to realize the opportunity cost of your time and find those that performing best and focus your efforts there.


    Remember: the problems your seeing now, are cracks in the foundation. As your business grows and things scale, they're going to be massive problems. Delaying a salary draw isn't something that will solve a fundamental flaw in your business.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2015
  13. drmike

    drmike 100% Tier-1 Gogent

    8,573
    2,709
    May 13, 2013
    Lowering level of support :) Bahahah is that a cost saving option in the new glitertastic BS age? Shame, it is indeed real.  It really shows in many businesses and part of why customers have little brand loyalty... I've never liked this cost savings approach or where one sends the work to 3rd world and exploits the income disparity. Same companies are fine with carving out cost centers on other things, like RAID, like redundancy, etc. and first lying about things, and later hiding from (see Vultr).  Cheap is cheap.  No / crap support is real cheap, but it will cost your brand long term.


    Calling businesses in early growth stage a hobby is a bit off mark.  Here in States the IRS fully allows you to run a business totally in loss zone for five solid years.  Look at Wall Street and you have companies that spent decade or more in deep negative territory while amassing market share - Amazon is a pretty good definition of such.  Business that is anything other than long term is sophisticated gambling and hype.


    The problems guys see in business quite often come down to one simple thing, income through the door.  Selling products involves marketing and planning front side and often paid sales people. If you aren't planning and doing the numbers, then arguably you don't have a business, it's just a bad gambling habit (i.e. selling goods at any price just to move inventory, lumping all resources together as a single income pool without any analysis and fundamental raw spend unknown on major sub items).  


    If sales aren't happening, that's clearly weakness in the brand, lack of the owner being reasonable, flawed pricing compared to market, etc.  Heck I know of brands that are limited just because the owner won't go disappear and is a bad thing for sales volume and public interest.


    Sales is a real thing.  Marketing is a real thing.  The two oddly are in dysfunctional companies at odds with each other... Companies ignoring both usually don't deserve to be in business and are running on some hype or single solution in marketplace type position.  Over time, the hype will die and competition will come and kick your income to the curb.


    The best leaders know how to delegate well.  They know how to insulate themselves from the things they suck at or can't tolerate (we see a lot of this with owners getting the hell away from customers and support matters by hiring or outsourcing support). Delegating requires humans resources.  Humans allow you, the owner, to focus on big picture things, instead of pretending to be an automation expert, trying to fake face customer support, avoiding masses of time playing HR manager combing through resumes to find suitable workers, etc.


    Not every company will achieve size to have real professionals and structure.  Such isn't for everyone.  But I'll bet you a Christmas ham if you look at the top 25 hosting companies by size, you will find 80% of them have all sorts of structure and key people hired to free up the owners and founders (including support, marketing and sales - inclusive usually of higher knowledge managers in each).   It's a matter of knowing your own strengths and focusing on those and building a symbiotic team to magnify your efforts and effect.  Just because a shop is small, doesn't mean they can't or shouldn't be trying to magnify the effort by front siding employees over drawing their handsome salary.  Indeed, forgoing or even slashing such salary is very common.  


    I am more a fan of flat fixed compensation and no rank, an environment where everyone floats up or down together - from the janitor to the founder -- and everyone is capable of doing most jobs within the company -- but that's another conversation for another day when we are on about human rights, poverty, utopia, socialism, idealistic refinements to greed Inc., etc. (i.e. worker owned cooperatives).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2015
    River and RLT like this.
  14. igobyterry

    igobyterry New Member

    6
    3
    Apr 30, 2013
    I completely agree with a lot of what you (Drmike) said; I was a Director at UK2 in the past & talk to many owners (well, one less now...), and others in the industry on a daily basis.


    To answer the original question, IF you cannot afford to pay someone a salary that is comparative to others in the industry/position, you could look at giving up equity. If you do give up equity, I would suggest consulting a lawyer to discuss things like a vesting period or leave policy, and so on.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2015
    drmike likes this.
  15. Francisco

    Francisco Company Lube Verified Provider

    2,476
    1,770
    May 15, 2013
    Support is a hard one. For us I try to take on as much as I can, but I have the benefit of this being my career so it doesn't look good if I'm sitting on my ass playing games all day (used to happen >_>). Working with friends is an extremely iffy thing, and working with family even more so.


    For us I've had to let go of 3 people that were all very close friends and for 2 of them it really hurt the friendships where we didn't talk for long periods of time. Things are better now with all 3 of them and we're as close as we ever were, but still.


    Personally, if you can't put the time in yourself to get it running well you should look to sell it. With you being so out of the picture it allows for the brands rep to be easily damaged and you left being disconnected from things and either "too little too late" or otherwise. It's even worse if you can't find the passion to continue it since if it's in technology, especially hosting,  you really need that to drive you if you plan to make a real run at it.


    It's hard. I sometimes will go days with almost no sleep because i'm chasing a bug, having to fix failing equipment (like the failing line card we had this past week), or trying to get ahead of the game with some new features. My personal life is pretty much just me getting out for a walk and some fresh air and usually either Aldryic or another friend will call me.


    Francisco
     
    River and drmike like this.
  16. drmike

    drmike 100% Tier-1 Gogent

    8,573
    2,709
    May 13, 2013
    Amen to this!


    I think the problem we see quite a bit in hosting is young guys, even teens view this as some walk in the park and lazy way to make money (instead of getting outside and working like the rest of the population mainly does).


    Technology is always changing, brutally fast and rather unforgiving.  It's a career, if you have the valid interest and work ethic.


    I feel a lot of hosts are here for the money and aren't technologists or even remotely interested in the underlying computing.  From that group comes a lot of the problems we see and complain about.


    As with any career, one starts normally cleaning the toilets and short on coins to play his games.  With ownership, this deferred good pay day I keep advocating should be fine.  I don't mean a guy literally draws zero, cause we all know that corporations and related legal arrangements afford for company expenses that can and do overlap compensation.  Many things are expenses born by company for good planning and proper functioning of company, given the person actually is involved in the company and not running a ghost operation (i.e. meals, travel, transportation and to some extent even housing at it relates to home office).
     
  17. drmike

    drmike 100% Tier-1 Gogent

    8,573
    2,709
    May 13, 2013
    Successful folks I know are all about their business.  They eat it, sleep it and drink it.  Everything else takes a backseat really out of necessity at least for a few years up front.  Some take a decade off of life to focus and perfect things.


    This isn't too different than a real academic approach to being an employee.  Years of education that draws most of your focus, summer internships with real roles in real companies, first couple of years in workplace pulling very long hours in highly challenging environments.  Same applies to athletes and artists.


    Anyone who thinks the short term deprivation is terrible is a soft ass not looking at the world big view and how things really area.  Clearly none of us were born loving work and wanting to sacrifice years.  Be fortunate and swift and ideally this only zaps a few years off of your life.  Still time even when doing 16x7 to enjoy some of life.   Take in a movie, have a good meal, see a live band, take lots of walks, get outside and cycle, etc.   Don't forget to enjoy the arts :) Gardening... Say hello your in-real-life neighbors.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2015
  18. SkyNetHosting

    SkyNetHosting New Member

    24
    5
    Feb 17, 2016
    Just curious, why did you choose China  as appose to India? is there any specific reason?
     
  19. drmike

    drmike 100% Tier-1 Gogent

    8,573
    2,709
    May 13, 2013
    I'll betcha a cookie it is because his focus is/was on China customers.   It's a sound approach.  Native speakers to interact with like-speaking customers.
     
    RLT, River and SkyNetHosting like this.
  20. VpsAG

    VpsAG New Member

    14
    5
    Aug 20, 2015
    I think the best option is to find a person with capital to bring at least 50% to the business and make him manager. People react differently when his money are involved as opposed to just gambling other people money. But I do not see why would you start a business for which you do not have or staff to proceed with?