Building a company of 50 virtual employees across nine different countries has been a huge challenge. From day one, my team and I decided that Staff.com was going to be chiefly a virtual company. We believed that this model was the future of work, and building our company any other way would counter our work philosophy.
Going virtual has had significant challenges, but regardless of how or where we work, these same great pieces of advice have stuck with me while building my companies:
1. You’re not good at everything…you’re not actually good at much of anything! If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re reading this article, then this is going to be a little difficult for you to hear: out of all the thousands of jobs you have to perform in your business, you’re not necessarily an expert at all of them. In reality, you’re probably really bad at the vast majority of them! That’s why it’s so important to hire out people you trust to do what you’re not good at, allowing you to concentrate on adding amazing value to what you are good at.
Even though some entrepreneurs would love to say they got to where they are because they’re amazing entrepreneurs, it’s never the case. When you think about it, entrepreneurship is a team sport. It requires like-minded people to work together in order to solve new problems with restricted resources. I learned the lesson late that the more people you talk to, the better you will do. Getting like-minded entrepreneurs in the same room has been critical to my success. The combined brain trust you gain from these kinds of connections provide long-term dividends that you can reach for throughout your entire career.
2. Don’t worry about long-term goals when you haven’t figured out the short-term ones yet. I spoke to a new entrepreneur who was worried about incorporation, scaling the business and his two-year plan. As he was asking me for advice, I answered him with my own standard question: “Have you actually made any money yet?” This is a problem that most entrepreneurs run into — they think about what will happen later without actually taking care of what needs to happen now. Don’t worry about retaining customers before you’ve even acquired them. Entrepreneurship is a step-by-step process, and you have to crawl before you can walk.
3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. This piece of advice applies to both your business life and personal life, as I have seen this happen to myself and friends so many times. When you make your life about your company, and then that company fails, you’re absolutely lost. Make sure you have multiple interests outside of work. That way, if the business fails, your entire identity and livelihood won’t go down with it.
Liam Martin is the co-founder of Staff.com, a remote hiring platform that connects good employers with employees that want full time work.
TheYoung Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched#StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.