Hiring the right people for your business is very important to its growth. Taking that process online with his own eCommerce business is Jared Warner. Jared started his business at eighteen years old, faced failures three times, and eventually found a way back up with his eCommerce business. In this episode, Jared talks about his experiences way back when he started his first online business out of his parent’s garage and how he came upon the online business world. He shares to us how he chooses the people he hires remotely, his biggest hiring lesson, and what it is like in the marketing world.
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How To Hire Remote For Your Online Business With Jared Warner
My guest is Jared Warner. Jared started his first online business out of his parents’ garage in 1998 with his twin brother, Jeff. Since that day, he started many entrepreneurial ventures that haven’t always had success, and he’s gone 100% broke three times chasing his dreams but wouldn’t change a thing. He runs a business with his dreams that gives him the freedom to live life on his terms. To top it off, he told me he only hires remote, which we love. Jared, how are you doing?
I’m doing awesome. Thanks for having me on.
Let’s take it all the way back. I’m assuming that if you went broke a bunch of times, you knew you always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Is that correct?
I was eighteen years old for that first business. That was ‘98. I tasted pure success. I had nothing but pure success for years. I didn’t know what failure was. I thought everything I touch turns to gold. It was automatic. It was like, “Let’s do that. Let’s make money and then we’ll go into this and we’ll make money. We’ll do that and we’ll make money.” Everything worked. It was awesome. I thought it was because I was cool and I was smart and all that. If you never fail, that’s going to be your outlook. You’re going to be like, “I’m good,” and then I failed. That first business was we were doing eCommerce in ‘98. We sold rotary race engines and shipped them all over the world. We imported them from Japan, refurbished them. Sometimes it was a straight flip and it was 100% markup and the business was profitable. That was our lowest thing. It was 100% profit. We never sat on inventory. We were super successful. We were smashing competitors that had been around for many years and we were eighteen-year-old kids. It was a lot of fun and we spent every dime that came in. We spent everything. It was a fun business though.
I went on to several things and was successful for the next lot of years. I moved to San Diego and started a business and failed. I started another business and failed and started another business and failed. The common denominator between the failed businesses was either trying to do too much on my own or trying to do 100% of everything. Usually, it was trying to do 100% everything, not hiring anybody for anything. When you do that, it sucks up all your time. You can’t get that much done. You’re trying to take on a mountain of stuff. The other thing is you might be able to get the job done, but it’s not in your expertise. You could hire somebody who crushes in that area and they’re in their zone of genius, they’re passionate. They’re crushing it or you could do it yourself and get by. That’s stupid. Don’t do that. I did that and lost over and over.
Part of the hiring process and bringing somebody in is just to find out what their goals are in the future.
In some of the cases, some of the mistakes I made was I was too early. I had a business called 555 Text. I lost thousands and thousands of dollars month over a month. It was early. Now you’re starting to see mobile marketing and SMS marketing and all that stuff. I had all that stuff way back then and some of the stuff that we were doing is still more advanced than what people are doing now. People are like, “You opt-in and you text the shortcut.” We were doing that way back then with automated follow-ups and all kinds of stuff, but it was far over people’s heads. We were early. We were trying to educate the market and there were issues there. That and design’s not my strength. I was doing web design, the marketing design. I was doing 100% everything because we weren’t making any money. I was like, “I’m going to fund this business and I’m going to put everything towards the marketing, customer acquisition and all that stuff. We’ll hire on the back end.” In retrospect, it probably would have been better to put a little bit of that money and then start to do things a little bit differently, scale it properly.
What are your strengths? What should you have been doing in hindsight?
My strength, I think I’m more of a visionary. I see where things are going. I had an email on my phone in ‘99. I had had an SMS marketing company in 2009. I see where technology is going, I see the trends and I can capitalize on them. Sometimes incorrectly, sometimes I’m too early. Now, I’m better at identifying where they’re going, but then say this is the little bite-sized thing that they can wrap their head around. This is what I need to sell them, but this is where I’m going to take them eventually. My strength is strategy. That’s where I need to be. I need to be in strategy and I need to hire out everything else.
When you’re hiring people out, how are you able to relay that strategy to that? I feel like that’s where a lot of entrepreneurs miss out. They hire talented people. They’ve got this strategy, but they can’t get that to connect.
That’s common and I did that incorrectly myself a lot. I did it incorrectly communicating the vision and assuming that people see that. I did that all the time. Now what I’ll do is I’ll break out a task. I’ll say, “Here’s the overall goal. If we chunk that out, then we need a copywriter, we need a landing page design, we need this, we need analytics.” You piece it all out and then you hire that little bit. They don’t necessarily need to understand the whole vision. They need to know where their piece goes. As long as they’re playing to their strengths and it’s like, “You can write copy, here’s who we’re selling to. Here’s what I’m thinking. Now, go do your job. You do this part well. Here’s the end goal. You’re a systems analyst, you can track and do all this stuff. Here’s our end goal, here’s where the traffic sources are coming in. Here’s all that. You can plug that part in.”
I think it’s not necessarily being able to communicate every single thing. It’s communicating their part. This is your role in this overall picture. Some people will grasp it on a higher level and they’ll understand other people’s roles and that’s cool. You can reward those people and bring them up and then put somebody below them. That’s a cool way to do it as well when you can identify those people that grasp the whole thing. You’ll have some people who honestly are tuned out to the whole thing. They’re like, “I don’t get it.” If they can nail their part, that’s cool too. Those are the workers that can execute that task and embrace them, keep them and let them roll.
What is the biggest hiring lesson that you’ve learned? Is there any specific story that made you learn that lesson?
I hired somebody to do a landing page one time. I looked at his portfolio. He had a portfolio full of what probably were templates. I didn’t give him that much instruction because his scope of the body of work looked impressive. I thought this is a guy who doesn’t need much instruction. There were 300 examples in his portfolio and one after the other looked amazing. I’m like, “That’s what I want. I want you to do what you do. I’m looking at your body of work.” My err in that whole process was not probably not communicating properly, but what he delivered was garbage. It could not have looked any worse. I’m going, “This is not the same person that did this.” I said, “I do better at work than this. I hired you because you do that other work.”
I gave him access to the whole account. I said, “There are 300 pages here that I built myself as I’m building this business. Look at that.” My issue was probably not fully explaining the whole thing and hiring based on what I saw. I don’t know if he stole that portfolio. It’s totally possible he ripped it off, downloaded the images and went, “I’ll learn on the job.” Based on what I saw and what he got, that’s probably the case. I didn’t do my job. What I should have done is said, “I like this. Can I have this? Here’s the angle.” That’s what I should have done rather than let him run. Maybe some of those people did that and pulled some of those. I don’t know but it was bad.
What is your structure now? You said you hire only remote. Can you walk people through? Are you using high-level experts, specialists, basically a VA? How do you structure? How do they communicate?
The only people you can ask to buy is a warm audience.
We don’t have any VAs. We hire only specialists. We do that for a reason because you can usually hire one time and then you can keep somebody in their zone of genius and you can move on. The other thing is we allow them to do other work. I’m not paying you six figures or more. I fully understand and support that you’re going to have other clients. You’re going to have other work. You’re going to have other obligations. If I send you a message, I don’t expect your response instantaneously, although usually we get it. I understand that you have a life. You can live anywhere in the world, you can work anywhere, you can work on any time schedule. This is the task and then you need to get it done.
We hire specialists. We have a copywriting team and then we’ve got a team in India. We’ve got a team in Pakistan. The structure to manage those teams for me is in the Pakistan team. I have one contact. He and I talk and then we CC a team email so other people can come in as they go. Other people can keep up, they can jump in the thread and understand what’s going on in the conversation. He doesn’t have to communicate everything. From my standpoint, I can’t talk to seven people in Pakistan all the time. I talk to one person. It’s the same thing with India. There’s a ton of people there. I talk to one person and you carry out this to the analytics team, you carry out this to whatever team.
Are they communicating with your clients at all? Do you keep them behind the scenes? You’re the only one that communicates with the clients?
It’s only me so far. That’s the next thing to add in is somebody who can take over that. I learned a lesson a lot of years ago that I’ve never been able to use. It was an audiotape, cassette tape that I have from Mark H. McCormack and it was called On Selling maybe or something along those lines. He was talking about how you key that person up. The way that he would do it is like he was the guy. He was the CEO. Everybody, if they have access to him, he closes the deal. They want to have interaction with him ongoing forever. They’re like, “No, I want to talk to Mark when we have a meeting in person. Mark flies in, we talk to Mark.” He’s the guy and you have access to him. You’re going to take advantage of that. What he would do was he would bring the person he was going to tee up who was going to replace him. He’s not going to be at the next meetings. Now, it’s going to be this other person. He would set up the conversation and kick it over to that person and then say like, “Brandon, can you chime in on this?”
He would do that. He would do it intentionally where it was their pure zone of genius. The second day started talking, people would go, “That person is good.” They would do it again in another meeting. The next meeting, he’s not there anymore and they don’t care because they’re like, “Brandon is awesome. We’re thankful to have him working on our account.” That’s how he would always do that. I’ve always looked for an opportunity to do it and now we built a business to the point where we’re about to be able to do that. We’re all be able to kick it over to somebody else. I’ll have a meeting like this on Zoom with a client and then we’ll kick it over to somebody else and then they go, “I’m in good hands with that person.” The next time, “I can’t make this call, but is it okay if you jump on with whoever I’m plugging in that place?” That person becomes their campaign manager and we’re hands-off.
What’s maybe the best person that you hired? Is it that team in Pakistan? Is it someone else? What makes them good?
I would say the copywriting team. When we take on a client now, the copy team is good that we start there. That’s where we kick off the process because they’re good at creating the hooks, the angles, the copy that’s going to sell. That queues up the landing page, which queues up all the creative that cues up the whole process. We get the clients’ buy-in on it. The client then looks at the ideas of that, then they start to get excited and then we can execute on the rest of the stuff. That’s probably been the most critical thing to have because that sets the tone for the entire thing for us.
What do you look for when you’re hiring someone? If you’re looking to hire the next person, what are some of the traits that you look for?
The next person that we’re going to hire will probably be along with sales or along the lines of a campaign manager. It will be either/or. I want somebody who understands that we will allow them to do other things. Maybe not the campaign manager. I think we’ll probably be able to keep them busy enough. If it was a salesperson, they could do other things, but they need to be able to execute that task and that needs to be their zone of genius. That needs to be what their passion is. Part of the hiring process and bringing somebody in is just to find out what their goals are in the future. Say sales for that example. If that is a temporary stop and what they want to do is own their own business in lawn care or something, but they’re going to use their sales skills to launch this business, I’m going to be on the back burner as soon as financially possible. I want to know that. If that’s the case, then you can execute these tasks. I need to know where you want to go. I’ll help you get there. Sometimes they might not be the right person for that job. They might be able to go into another role, but you need to know and have an honest conversation upfront, understanding that the average person will stay with the business maybe two years. Maybe five years is exceptional these days.
Let’s talk about marketing. What do you see going on in the marketing world? What is some stuff that maybe you are doing it or you’re seeing that the average person wouldn’t know?
As a marketing community, we need to change from retargeting.
What I’m seeing other people do is the buy now mentality at the top of the funnel. They’re like, “Buy now.” We have clients that force that on us, although I’ve told them like, “We’ll get this going. We will generate sales, but that’s not the direction that the world is taking.” If we were having this conversation a year from now, I would say you absolutely cannot be a buy now mentality at the top of the funnel. You have to warm up an audience and then pitch to a warm audience. The only people you can ask to buy is a warm audience. You need to qualify. I’m putting together a masterclass where it talks about creating what I call a digital conversation. A digital conversation mirrors an in-person conversation. Somehow, like in-person, you never walk up to somebody and go, “Buy my stuff.” You don’t do that. “Buy now. It’s on sale for the next 48 hours.” People go like, “What? 48 hours? I’m going to check back with you tomorrow.” You’re like, “What’s going on?” It’s weird. Why would you do that?
In person, you’ll go, “How’s it going? Nathan, nice to meet you. My name’s Jared. What do you do? You own FreeeUp. I own a company called Strategy Maverick. What type of clients do you work with?” You’d have an actual conversation. Digitally, it’s the same type of thing. Digital interest is the exact same thing as in-person interest. If I put out a blog post, if I put out a video and somebody watches a certain amount of a video, if they read a blog post and then we can talk about scroll depth, time spent on a page, all kinds of stuff. We can create audiences from this and then we continue the conversation. Some people would call it retargeting and retargeting honestly misses the point. We’re changing. As a marketing community, we need to change from retargeting, which is I’m going to hit you again to the digital conversation.
If I have a blog post that’s talking about how to hit bestseller on Amazon and I’m going to give you the five tips, then the next thing is like, “Do you want to join our free community and help you get to the next level?” The next thing is, “We’ve got a course on how to help you get to this thing.” The next thing is hip. “Do you want to take it one step further? We offer a one-to-one,” then, “If you want to take the next step further, we’re going to do this over the course of a weekend. It’s a retreat in Hawaii and there are ten people.” That’s the gradual progression. That’s what you would do in person. You would say, “I help authors achieve this goal.” You go, “We’ve got a free group. You can join and check it out.” You’d warm up. You go on. Somehow when it goes to online, that all changes. I got a good GIF in a presentation with the cat and it’s like, “Buy now,” and it’s shooting the gun, but that’s how people act online. It’s like, “Buy my stuff.” It’s like, “We know you want them to buy your stuff.” The only people you should be saying that to are ones that have digitally engaged.
If you went to a party, you started talking to a bunch of people and they ignored you, you’re not going to ever get to the buy my stuff with those people because they’re not interested. That’s the same thing as a lack of digital interest, but when they digitally show you interest, then you digitally continue the conversation and you keep moving on. Digital conversations are powerful. The next thing is people are starting to get tired of landing pages in general. We’re starting to see a lot better conversion rates by bringing them in a softer approach through Messenger and being friendlier. Give them pure value and you can gradually go or you can create custom audiences. We’re creating custom audiences out the back. We bring them in through Klaviyo for eCom clients or bring them in through Kartra coaching clients. You can tag them in LinkedIn with Zapier and do all kinds of cool stuff and create custom audiences back into Facebook and continue it. That’s the way marketing is going is a much softer approach. We need to get there quick.
Anything else in marketing you want to touch on?
I would say hear those words. When I talk about a digital conversation, look at your marketing and look at, “Am I having a digital conversation or am I trying to grab their wallet?” Don’t try to grab their wallets. They will grab their wallet when they’re ready. Chill, have a conversation. Think about how you would tee that up, whatever it is. I’ll give you an example. If somebody watches 95% of a video that you put out, what would be the next thing you would say to that person? Because it’s the same thing. They’re sitting there and they’re like, “That was cool.” You wouldn’t then walk away. If you gave this whole thing and somebody is sitting there and they’re showing interest, you wouldn’t then turn around and walk away and say, “That’s cool. I’m never going to talk to you again unless you happen to see my next post.” You would then engage them. Continue that conversation. Build a custom audience. Continue that conversation and move them down and have part B in the conversation, C, D and continue it on down until they’re interested.
Where can people find out more about you? What are you most excited about for the rest of the year?
I’m buying some companies. I’ve always wanted to do vertical integration, so we’re working on a thing. I can’t talk too much about it, but we’re working on something to completely vertically integrate our company, which is awesome. I want to own all parts of everything that’s behind the company. That’s all pieces of software and as much stuff as we can possibly buy. There are going to be some things that companies that are untouchable, hundreds of millions of dollars. We won’t be buying those. We are going to be buying companies that are worth a couple of million and integrating them and then owning that. It’s called buying cashflow. We can go into a whole different deal on that. That’s what I’m most excited about. People can learn more about me. Go to StrategyMaverick.com. We’ve got a group called The Strategy Den. It’s a free group, being friendly and continuing the conversations. If you want to know more, join the free group. We started putting some cool stuff in there.
Jared, thanks so much.
Thanks for having me.
About Jared Warner
Jared started his first online business out of his Parents garage in 1998 with his twin brother, Jeff.
Since that day he’s started many entrepreneurial ventures but hasn’t always tasted success. He’s gone 100% broke three times chasing his dreams but wouldn’t change a thing.
Today he runs the business of his dreams that gives him the freedom to live life on his terms.