Why hire contractors in your business & how to manage and compensate them
Learning the stories of entrepreneurs in Malaysia for a few years now, I realized that they share similar DNA. It’s that mindset of not settling down until they find the solution to a problem.
Because creation and management can take most, if not all, of their time, it has been said that the only people who can understand them are also fellow entrepreneurs. Hence the emergence of new groups of friends and support systems.
Carliff Rizal goes one step further and hires contractors to work for his own company. He is the founder of Yes helloa SaaS chatbox for teams which you can learn more about in a comprehensive feature we previously wrote.
About a year into operations, YesHello’s lean team now consisted of seven employees, six of whom were entrepreneurs themselves.
They thrive on momentum
The YesHello founder noted that the main difference between an entrepreneur and your average employee is their mindset.
Entrepreneurs are driven by momentum, Carliff said.
When an entrepreneur finds something exciting, they tend to jump into the problem and work on it until they reach their 80-90% completion rate. Although he considers it a pro, he acknowledged that it can still be a bit of a dick.
“A lot of entrepreneurs tend not to be so excited about this thing anymore. [at that rate]then move on,” Carliff said.
“Entrepreneurs feel like when the momentum goes away, it feels like the end of the world. So we will be looking for other things to do and projects to participate in.
This natural motivation and will to do something are the main elements that Carliff appreciates when working with contractors.
But Carliff doesn’t just hire based on whether someone is a contractor or not. He hires based on the presence of an entrepreneurial spirit in a candidate, because that is most important to him.
They are stubborn (and that can be a good thing)
Entrepreneurs are somewhat stereotyped as being stubborn and unable to listen to instructions from management. After all, they are often their own boss in the businesses they have created.
Sometimes I even have to take them off, which is great. I’d rather them go too far and take a risk, than have me say you’ve gone too far, than have me always push them to do things.
Carliff Rizal, founder of YesHello
As a manager of contractors, Carliff must ensure that momentum is maintained in his team. As for how it feels like action, it defines their goals as a game.
“We have weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual games that we can win. My job is to make sure everything is clear for them to play this game, so they’re always in the momentum,” Carliff explained.
Essentially, his role is to channel the energy of his team to focus on a mutually specific goal for the company to achieve.
They are constantly looking to create change
Something Carliff said in our interview that surprised us was that he thinks the biggest benefit of hiring contractors is that they’re weird. But he didn’t say it in a derogatory way.
“Weird people are the ones with the goal of changing the world,” Carliff explained. “Even if they don’t know how, they are looking for how to change the world.”
Encouraging his team to set clear results as their goals, Carliff would then send them on their way, allowing them to find their own way to achieve them.
If they get stuck on something, Carliff makes sure his door is always open so they can ask for help.
Another beneficial trait of entrepreneurs is that they are non-judgmental. The YesHello team knows how difficult it is to run a business, as they have tried it themselves and even experienced failures.
“So when they walk into another startup, they suggest ways to try things and if it doesn’t work, it’s fine,” Carliff said.
He added that there is also less drama and gossip among entrepreneurs who know that meddling in such noise is counterproductive to business goals.
“You choose the right people, and that means 99% of your time is spent achieving goals,” Carliff believes.
Since the talent Carliff has rounded up to work for his company aren’t fresh grads or new professionals still wet behind their ears, you might be wondering how YesHello affords to pay his team?
“I’m upfront with them, I honestly tell them I can’t pay them much,” Carliff revealed.
“I’ll pay you, say, RM1,800 to RM2,000, maybe. But I’ll make up for it by teaching you how I create products, and what the mindset is when you [do certain things].”
Entrepreneurs who work under Carliff will discover the hidden values of running a business that would otherwise take 10-15 years of experience to learn.
Naturally, not everyone would agree to such a deal, but those who see the value Cardiff can give them beyond monetary incentives are the ones who end up joining.
By mutual agreement, the contractors he hires are not expected to work full-time at YesHello. They are still allowed to run their own business and do their own things.
Ideas are cheap
With all these entrepreneurs gathered in the Carliff startup, we wondered if he had the slightest concern that his staff were stealing his company’s ideas?
“I’m not too concerned about people stealing [because] ideas are so cheap. Everyone can have ideas. No matter how good the idea, it’s the discipline of implementation that’s the hardest,” Carliff explained.
Even if an idea is present, there are steps that must be thought through, steps that require specific implementation for a targeted goal.
It takes a lot of discipline, heartbreak, money, and failure to do that, sacrifices not everyone is willing to accept. “The cake is quite big, am I worried? Not so much,” Carliff concluded.
Carliff believes that your ability to build a team is directly linked to your ability to succeed in life. He also shared that he wouldn’t be able to build the team he loves working with so much if he was content to pick team members who weren’t entrepreneurial.
This interview was done as part of our ongoing Vulcan Post video series, Open Book, and you can watch Carliff’s video interview here:
- Learn more about YesHello here.
- Check out other Malaysian startups here.