Getting to the point where you are feeling like there is not enough time in the day to manage your e-commerce store is an excellent realization – you’ve achieved a level of success in e-commerce that many wish they had.
First things first, be proud! Now it’s time to take some of your time and personal life back. You now have to begin the process of growing your team, but since this is most likely your pride, passion, and virtual baby – you must do so strategically.
In order to get started, build a list of fundamentals that outline the type of culture you want the individuals associated with your brand to emit. This essentially shapes the type of individuals you hire, but more importantly, it allows for proper personality alignment to create cohesive team.
Now that you have your fundamentals and an idea of the culture you aim to create, we will look at the most important element – why do you need to grow your team?
From here, we will go into what you should look for when sourcing candidates, how to go about it, and where to find them. Several online tools will allow you to make the process of hiring a team easier and the people you decide to add to your team can seamlessly work remotely.
Realizing it’s time to grow…
Now that you’ve come to the realization that you need to grow your team; the biggest step is understanding how and why you should be delegating the tasks you currently hold.
Delegation is extremely important when it comes to organizational efficiency and taking the next step in terms of development and growth. This mind shift and realization is your first step in the development of leadership and management skills.
In the very beginning it may be difficult to realize, however, delegation will be the biggest spark to creativity and innovation within the organization.
Although your ideas may be great, having the ability to bounce ideas off of other individuals will ultimately create a culture of innovation and improvements to the health of organizational decision making.
Healthy decisions within the organization, in turn, translate to an overall stronger organization and e-commerce store.
Keep in mind, this is the best thing you can do to recapture your energy and most important of all refocus your time on other elements of your life that truly matter. That could mean personal relationships, time for yourself, or those hobbies that you’ve been neglecting.
Through delegation, you will now have much more time for yourself.
Although that is excellent from a personal standpoint, there are also several elements of proper time management that will benefit your professional situation further.
The first major change you should notice is your energy level. This will allow you to unknowingly do more with less effort, and in a shorter amount of time. With more time on your hands and an increase in energy, now as the leader of the organization – you can focus on improved decision making. An increase in clarity and focus, from an energetic mind will foster this.
Ultimately, through delegation and newfound proper time management you will realize a reduction in stress. Any reduction in stress will improve your mental health and make the next steps in your business an exciting opportunity that you can now enjoy, rather than feeling overwhelmed.
Outlining Your Hiring Process
After understanding the benefits of hiring team members for your e-commerce store, you must outline and define a beneficial process in order to find the perfect candidate to join your newly formulated culture. The Dropified team has outlined the 6 categories for consideration when developing your hiring process.
- Define Your Task or Position
- For obvious reasons, in order to source a candidate – you will need to know what you are looking for. Of course there are alternative ways to gain quality team members outside of job boards – such as referrals – however, even in that case you will need to offer these candidates a description of tasks and duties.
- Post Your Job
- Listing your position – especially with remote based job boards – will allow you to access a global talent pool, resulting in increased diversity, creativity and innovation. Some of the main platforms for sourcing your candidates will be listed below, both for freelancing and full time positions.
- Heavily Filter Candidates
- Having a large pool to source from is great, however, how do you sift through all of the candidates. As part of the Dropified plan – the Dropified Academy – a few recommendations indicate a few tactics in doing this effectively. Today, many people are simply firing off resumes in the hope that one sticks and they gain an interview. Well, if you are looking for those truly interested in your role, do something easy and effective like requiring their submission to have an odd subject line in their application like “Dancing Unicorns”…. or whatever you please – just make it unique. Having this in the description can be an effective way of ensuring they have actually read your post and are invested in the process.
- Select Top 3
- Having three quality candidates will not only allow you to keep focussed on a select group of your top contenders, it will also give you the opportunity to evaluate potentially contrasting personalities. These individuals, if great, could also be in the process with other organizations. By having multiple individuals in consideration, it is also a safeguard for yourself and your timelines given the fact that they can potentially accept an alternative offer.
- As you proceed with the interview it is important to evaluate a few top factors that you are truly looking for and go in with intention. Perhaps you are willing to sacrifice elements of professional history for someone who would be an amazing culture fit aligning with your values – or vice versa. Whatever it is, have a plan and execute that plan in the interview as you would with any other organizational task or process. One way you can go in with intention is to have a set of questions, the essentially grow in importance to your goal. If you have feelings that it isn’t the right fit early in the process, you can simply end the interview with – “that’s all we have” rather than wasting your time as well as the candidate’s.
- Offer Trial Phase
- Now that you have tabled an offer and the candidate has accepted, offer a trial phase for their employment. This is most likely only applicable to permanent or long term tasks and positions, however, this is again a safeguard for you and your organization in gaining the correct team member. The intention of a trial phase is to evaluate not only the candidates professional skill set, but also, their ability to portray the culture fit that you evaluated in the interview. During this time you can more effectively evaluate a candidate without the obligation for long term commitment.
The hiring process is going to differ greatly based upon personal preference, the type of role you are sourcing for, and finally where you are sourcing your candidates from. Most importantly, whatever structure and strategy you move forward with, ensure it is with objective intention and ultimately always aligns with your culture and organizational fundamentals.
Sourcing Correct Candidates
Desired Skill Sets
This one is fairly self explanatory, of course you will want to be able to communicate with your new hires – however, you also must consider where your customer base is as well. Since you now have access to a global talent pool if you decide to source for a remote role, you will often get several individuals that may have your native language as their second language – so it is important to clarify your desired level of proficiency.
As for the customer base, it is really important to be able to communicate in your customers native language from a customer support standpoint. As a global entity, you will most likely default to English, therefore, that can be in your job description and you will be able to get a sense for the desired level in the interview.
All organizations desire experts in their given field. In this case, you are going to want to consider not only the experience level and skill set, but your budget as well. If you are looking for professionals at the top of their craft, it’s going to cost you. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, just be clear with your descriptions as to not waste the time of yourself and your candidates.
Often times you can hire individuals with less experience and skills for a lower cost, as long as they are an excellent fit from an organizational culture standpoint. These people must also fall into the “Desire to Learn” section below. By having this characteristic, you may not only gain someone more driven to impress, but it also allows you to mould their skill sets to your task or position more fluidly.
Desire to Learn
Having a desire to learn can be considered the most important characteristics in the sourced candidates. This is due to the fact that many tasks within an organization can be taught – of course, with a baseline of aligned knowledge.
You simply can not teach drive and desire and just as important – you want creative innovators and not robots running elements of your organization. So, you must have driven and autonomous individuals that will take your team to the next level.
As mentioned previously, in this situation you can most definitely consider more junior candidates the embody a strong desire to learn and shape their skill set to your organizational needs. In this case, always look for creative and evolving minds who will bring innovation to your project and business.
The element of flexibility comes with greater importance due to the small size of your startup organization. When an employee exhibits flexibility, you are much less likely to run into a situation where they say, “that is not my task” or question whether it is in there job description to do something. Innovation can also be sparked through flexibility; when an employee applies themselves to tasks outside of their scope, there is opportunity for creativity simply through alternative viewpoints.
Additional advantages include the ability to alter their personal schedules in times where the work schedule may require alternative hours or extra time spent in order to hit a deadline.
Now that you have a framework of the skill sets you are looking for, you need to determine what type of employment duration you are going to assign to your task or position. In the event you are looking to complete a small project that is shorter in duration, it is best to look towards freelancers. Platforms for hiring freelancers are listed below and will be the best opportunity to find the right fit for small and short duration tasks.
By going with a freelancer in this case, you are very objective in the intentions of requirements and timeline to project completion. You also have the opportunity to gain a higher level of specialization based upon the task. In the event you are looking for a full time position, go in with that intention and list the position on the appropriate platform. If you are undecided, this can be difficult – however, it is even more difficult to lose a rockstar employee because you did not define the duration of their employment status.
Again, depending on the state of your e-commerce business, organizational culture and fundamentals, or personal preferences – these skills sets can differ greatly. The intention of this portion is to give you some elements of consideration that will allow you to think of what you desire in your candidates.
Platforms for Sourcing
Upwork is one of the largest global freelancing websites, which through technology, connects a broad range of skill sets to potential projects. Currently, there are 12 Million registered freelancers utilizing the platform, which translates to over $1Billion in billing annually.
An extremely impressive platform that is beneficial to the job seeker and the company posting their position. A major factor in this is the diversity in skill sets as you can hire junior freelancers, all the way up to 50+ person development teams who are billing millions in revenue per year.
Upwork claims to provide companies with access to over 5,000 skills across more than 70 categories of work. Some of these skills include projects for developers like websites and mobile applications, SEO and e-commerce Specialists or categories such as graphic design, marketing, content writing and so on.
A few things to consider, with so many available freelancers at your disposal – competitive rates are common. Additionally, Upwork has a consistent reputation as having great quality work coming from their freelancers.
In the event you're seeking more specialized and top-end talent, perhaps Toptal will be the platform for you. The claim is to have the top 3% of online freelancing talent.
This group of freelancers goes through a rigorous screening process, resulting in only 3% of applications being accepted. Everyone at Toptal has a proven track record supported by top-end industry experience in categories such as design, business and technology.
Here you will be able to find an individual that has the skill set you are looking for and beyond. That said, you must evaluate your budget closely when utilizing the platform… quality comes with the accompanying price tag.
As one of the larger freelance marketplaces online, Fiverr’s focus is one providing a platform for entrepreneurs to source teammates when they are focussing on growth.
A more cost effective option, Fiverr is known to have rates as low as $5 – therefore, if you are the more budget conscious side, it may be the best option for you.
Categories on Fiverr include graphics and design, digital marketing, content writing and translations, music and audio production as well as video and animation production.
After browsing some of the reviews, they are most definitely mixed. That said, if you are sourcing your candidates on the platform you are most likely going to get back what you invest. So if you’re looking for a bargain, you may receive the associated results.
Like anything, read the reviews and recommendations of those in your consideration – or, utilize a test task to get insight into the quality you are going to receive.
Freelancer claims to be the largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace – by number of users and projects. It is currently connecting over 39 million employers and freelancers globally.
Through the Freelancer marketplace areas of focus include software development, writing, data entry, design, engineering, sciences, sales and marketing, accounting and legal services.
The platform has a feedback and evaluation system, making it much easier to find individuals with a good reputation. Higher scores allow for a higher ranking on the freelancer list.
As a mutual payment benefit, both the Freelancer and company hiring have access to the Milestone Payments process. As a Freelancer hits milestones in the process, payments are released.
The Jobspresso platform claims to be the easiest way to find high-quality jobs in technology, marketing, customer support and more…. The more includes positions such as project management, human resources and design based positions.
First off, the positions on Jobspresso are 100% vetted and handpicked, manually reviewed and curated by their team. Getting a position posted on Jobspresso will allow you to access 15,000+ remote work job seekers, who get daily updates for vacant positions.
As a job poster, you can browse through their resume database as well.
Personally, I really like the platform as it is visually appealing and is extremely user-friendly. In all honesty, it is the place where I was able to find Dropified so it can create successful relationships!
Another excellent option for sourcing full-time candidates, Remote.co is quite comparative to Jobspresso in teams of a candidate viewpoint. It is user-friendly and has quite a bit of overlap in terms of quality and types of roles with Jobspresso.
That said, the founder of Remote.co is an advocate for telecommuting and flexible work options. She is also a highly regarded expert for her contributions to Entrepreneur, Forbes and Time… therefore, the platform is built with this in mind and tailored to be able to resolve geographic gaps and access excellent talent remotely.
Not only is it simply a job board, Remote.co is focussed on providing expert insight, best practices and valuable support to organizations who are exploring or already embracing remote-based employees.
Categories fostered by Remote.co include accounting, customer service, data entry, design, development, sales and marketing, as well as online editing to name a few.
We Work Remotely
We Work Remotely (WWR) claims to be the number one place to list remote jobs, due to being the largest network of location independent workers. With over 2.5 million monthly visitors, you should have a great opportunity, finding the appropriate candidate looking for a transition.
WWR covers all of the necessary categories like copywriting, design, sales and marketing, customer support as well as business and management. You can also segment by contract or full time as well, so keep that in mind for covering all of your bases.
Personally, I don’t like the interface as much as the others due to vital information sometimes being left out of the primary interface – that said, it’s not what I prefer, it’s how effectively you get in front of the right candidates.
However, consider that you may gain candidates with major blockers due to the information not being presented effectively enough.
Flexjobs is tailored more towards jobseekers than the job provider, however, having a group of invested job seekers and potential matchmakers is never a bad thing. There is a membership cost involved, however, there is a ton of work done for you.
The team at Flexjobs heavily vet the process and potentially find candidates, as well as jobs that are not found anywhere else. They can then present potential candidates to the right positions – not a full recruitment process, but it’s a start.
As mentioned, there is membership for the candidates. By including skill tests, resume assistance as well as professional guidance along the way.
There are two ways to look at this, the first, you are getting a candidate that has been coached and may not actually fulfill the duties and obligations they appear as. Second, you get a candidate who is so interested in doing things well they invest in their personal and professional growth.
All of these platforms – or a few of the ones you like best – will do the trick when it comes to sourcing your candidates. Simply be sure to have the appropriate elements evaluated in terms of what you are looking for in order to utilize the platform of best fit.
Resource: If these platforms aren't enough for you, check out this Job Board List from Small Revolution.
Positions to Alleviate Your Workload
Virtual Administrative Assistant
Most likely the most important position for consideration – especially in the beginning. The maintenance required in order to run a successful e-commerce business is incredibly high – which is a good thing… it means you are selling and creating the tasks through revenue development.
Since you will most likely want to shift your focus to scaling and establishing new marketing strategies, daily maintenance such as order processing can be completed by the administrative assistant.
In the beginning, your Virtual Administrative Assistant has the potential to wear several hats and fulfill a bit of each of the following duties – depending on their skill set of course. As you begin to grow even more, consider hiring specialized individuals at the following positions. You can find a great hire using an administrative virtual assistant service.
Customer Support Specialist
Now that you are doing significant volume – enough to warrant hiring additional team members – the chances of challenging customer interactions arise.
Dealing with returns, general inquiries, complaints or any other interactions for that matter are not only time consuming, but they are also very sensitive. If you say the wrong thing you can potentially lose customers, or have to deal with poor reviews on your product or store in general.
Many people are quicker to notice these bad reviews prior to all the good ones and work you are doing. Perhaps your personality doesn’t align well with calming down angry customers or convincing them of the best approach depending on the situation – leave that to the experts.
Another big thing for consideration in this area is to give time zones consideration. By having someone outside or your own, you are more likely to have satisfied customers as you are able to more effectively service their needs.
Digital Marketing Specialist
Since you have a good enough amount of traffic in order to consider bringing on a Digital Marketing Specialist, you were probably doing something right to begin with. Also, the brand you are creating most likely didn’t happen by chance, but rather, careful evaluation.
That said, new perspectives and strategies can help you sustain the success you are having right now. A Digital Marketing Specialist can innovate on how to bring in new people and raise brand awareness.
For this position, you can get someone extremely junior to solely post on Facebook from time to time – but the real investment is in a professional who will join your leadership team.
They will be able to handle elements including social media, blog posting, influencer marketing and your online advertisements. Although you can find very good freelancers who do this, the best may be an internal employee who can grow within the culture and emotionally invest in the brand.
Product Sourcing Specialist
Settling into full growth mode, you may have challenges thinking of new diversification strategies or sourcing new products. At this time, you may want to consider hiring a Product Sourcing Specialist.
Experts in the discovery of products that perform well, can be tough to come by as you really need to effectively evaluate and forecast a potential market.
These individuals will not fully take the reigns from you however, since you should ultimately be making the decisions of the direction of your brand.
That said, they will work closely with you and your Digital Marketing Specialist in order to effectively drive positive growth for the brand. Often times a Product Sourcing Specialist will be able to find more cost-effective channels to source your products, or create closer supplier relationships.
By tightening up your supply chain, you can also optimize and in turn the individual pays for themselves.
Gaining organic traffic through valuable content is an exciting way to begin pushing outside of comfort zones for a marketer. Therefore, a content writer to produce for your blog alongside your Digital Marketing Specialist, is a way to have effective and engaging content reach the appropriate audiences.
Articles can be completely variable, highlighting products, services, policies or even brand aligning content that you can provide an element of expertise in.
You don’t have to limit a Content Writer’s expertise solely to blog and content production, they should also be utilized for website copy.
This can again include product descriptions and narratives regarding the brand, such as the “About Us” page.
Online copywriting for e-commerce specifically needs to carry a lot more weight, since your clientele is a little more technologically savvy and has the ability to research so heavily, due to this, maybe it’s best to invest in your potential reputation.
As you can see, there are many directions you can go in when evaluating your positional requirements for your e-commerce store growth.
In completing your needs assessment, ensure you are not only looking for people that align with your brand and culture, but also that may have a complimenting skill set to your own.
Find innovators who can bring new ideas to the table and are not there simply to tell you, you’re doing a good job.
Ultimately, we hire them for their expertise and knowledge. As Steve Jobs once said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
Given you’ve offered them a training program so they can develop and do so!