View profile

Hiring Guide For Your DTC Business

Jason Wong
Jason Wong
I say this quite often – hiring too late was one of the biggest regret in my career. I thought I could (and should) do it all, when in reality it was the biggest hurdle for my career. The question is: when should you start hiring? Let’s dive into it

It's going to be a long memo today, but I promise it's going to be one of the most important ones I've written so far. Every week I spend a few hours writing these memos to help founders on their journey. If you know another founder that could learn from these memos, please ask them to tune in here. 👈🏼
Without a doubt, people are at the core of any business, and good people are the biggest fuel to growing your business to new heights.
Almost 10 years ago, I started my business selling on eBay. I did everything - sourcing products, shipping packages, customer support, marketing, the whole 9 yards. Because I knew how to do everything, I thought I could just keep doing it. 8 hour days turn into 15 hour days, and I experienced burnt outs over and over again, thinking that was just part of the process.
I should have hired sooner. I could have hired small where I can and free up my time to grow the business.
An analogy I often use when talking about building a team is driving a car. When you’re doing everything by yourself, you’re driving with a paper map and going a mile at a time trying to balance driving and directing. When you’re building a business with a good team, you’re letting someone else who is better at driving drive, someone who is better at finding shortcuts navigate, someone who is great at planner to pin point all the pit stops to optimize trip. When you can hand off these menial task to people that can do it better than you, you’re finally able to figure out where you really want to go – and have time to consider if there’s a better destination with more fun for the whole group.
Free up your time from short term task to give yourself the chance to think long term. This principle applies to everything that you do in business, from growing individual departments to growing the entire business as a whole.
jason wong
Find your four zones and you can scale your business

Zone of Incompetence
Zone of Competence
Zone of Excellence
Zone of Genius
The 4 Zones
Tasks in the Zone of Incompetence are the tasks that others can do better than u, and in my case, that was media buying and design. So the first move was to hire these two positions to get them off my plate
Tasks in the Zone of Competence are stuff that you can do fine but there are people that can do just as well. For me that was an influencer and social media management, that was my next hire.
Zone of Excellence are the things that you are great at & better than most but don’t like doing. This is the zone that people tend to get attached to doing because they don’t want to let go. For me, this was being a CMO, but I knew that I had to hire to focus on the next zone.
Finally, the Zone of Genius is the thing that you think you’re one of the few that can do at a high level. This is where it’ll have the largest effect on yourself and your company. This is where I now place most of my time.
Some questions may come up:
  • When to know is the right time to hire a freelancer? 
  • When is the right time to transition someone into full-time?
  • What to expect when I am hiring someone to help with my business?
  • What should I look for in a freelancer and full-time employee?
When is the right time to hire a freelancer?
Freelancers are independent laborers who earn wages on a per-job or per-task basis (Usually short-term work). You can typically find these freelancers through Fiverr or Upwork. I did have a lot of success hiring freelancers from Twitter, for everything from paid ads, email marketing, social media marketing, and content creation. A silver lining from the past couple of years is that there has been an influx of people becoming freelancers. People who enjoyed the work from home freedom and working with clients directly with full autonomy. It has never been easier to hire a freelancer.
Some scenarios where it makes sense to hire a freelancer
You’re in need of completing a project that’s outside of your or your team’s skill set or bandwidth
If you have a video you’d like to produce, but it is outside your current employees’ skill sets, you can hire a freelancer for these short-term projects. You can get freelancers with specialized skills at a fraction of the cost.
Small budget 
I understand not all businesses have a HUGE budget to hire talent. In fact, the cost of hiring a full-time employee can be very expensive, including compensation, benefits, and more. Often times, for DTC brands have small projects that doesn’t make sense to bring on a full time employee.
You want to “try it before you buy.” 
Employment contracts are high commitments, and working on a contractor basis will give you the mobility to figure out the next steps at a lower cost and no legal repercussions if you need to end the relationship for whatever reasons. Although no every freelancer are willing to work full time after being a freelancer, but from my experience I’ve found success with offering great freelancers a stable job because it gives them the security of a job at a brand that they’re familiar with.
When is the right time to transition into full-time?
Although there’s no universal rule into when is the right time to transition someone into full-time, you should look into hiring or transiting someone into full-time when the role requires a lot more attention and strategy than freelancers simply won’t have the bandwidth to give.
Your company’s financial situation also has to be stable enough to manage the additional cost of a new employee. Hiring a full-time employee can get expensive quick, especially with insurance coverage, benefits, training programs, and more. 
What to expect when you’re hiring
You’re learning, too. We’re all learning.  
You have to understand that being a leader also means you’re learning at the same time. You’re learning how to manage people, learning about your colleagues’ working habits, and more. So, try not to push your knowledge into someone as they may have a better idea to scale your business. When new people come into your company, they’re adjusting to your systems, processes, culture, and pace. Set expectations and follow it with your hire rather than being frustrated when you feel that they’re not catching up fast enough.
Types of managers 
I’d like to say that not all managers are people managers. Some managers are great at managing their work and are great individual contributors, while there are managers who are amazing at managing a larger project but just aren’t good with managing people. Knowing how to promote people to certain roles is just as important as hiring the right person. Depending on what type of manager you are, you can then narrow down on what kind of talent you’re looking to hire. You may be looking for someone who’s more like a partner on your team, whereas you may be looking for someone to handle all the miscellaneous tasks on your plate.
Document everything
The more you document as you hire people, the less you have to do down the line when your team grows larger. The interruption that happens when someone leaves and you hire someone new comes from a lack of good knowledge transfer system. It’s tedious work, but you can have your team build it out as they learn so you can refine it later on.
Freelancer and full-time employee checklist
When hiring freelancers and full-time employees, there are different things you want to look into for each job type. 
For freelancers, you want to make sure they check these boxes during the interview process: 
  • They have outstanding referrals and a solid portfolio of past work experience
  • They have high ratings and reviews 
  • They ask great questions about you and your organization 
  • They are proactive and professional 
  • They are motivated individuals 
  • They are focused on the details 
  • They provide you a timeline of when they expect the project to be completed 
On the other hand, for full-time employees, here are some things you may want to look out for: 
  • They can work in teams while also can be independent 
  • They ask valuable questions regarding job performance and annual reviews 
  • They have done their research 
  • Their enthusiasm and passion for the industry and/or your organization 
  • Their career goals align with your organization
Some tips: Let go of bad hires when you know it’s time. It’s a tough decision that you’ll have to make as a leader, but knowing when to cut is just as important as hiring good people. Bad employees lowers overall team morale and slows your growth.
📱 Marketing Tool Highlight - Whym
Most brands I’ve come across have a CVR under 2% at scale
When brands run these top-of-funnel campaigns, it encourages browsing but not buying. Imagine if you can capture and convert the window shoppers from your store without retargeting ads or email flows
We’ve been using Whym on the doe site for a little bit now and it’s done wonders for us to capture customers who are interested but just aren’t ready to buy right now. With their Text Me This Item (TMTI) button, customers can save these products into a global cart that’ll live on Whym, so they can go back to it when they’re ready. This reduces the need for the brand to chase after them through texts and emails and retargeting ads.
Since I’ve been using them for so long, if you guys ever have trouble with Whym, I’ll be more than happy to help you out if you email me.
🎙 This Week's Building Blocks Episode
Ep. 21 Adii Pienaar from Cogsy, Optimize ROI with Dynamic Inventory Management - Ecommerce Building Blocks
“Inventory hasn’t been this important ever because supply chain times are longer so people need to plan better. People have less money so they need to spend on the right amount of inventory at the right time.” - Adii Pienaar
It’s a long one this week so thanks for reading through. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing these weekly memos since it keeps my brain sharp and I can document my thoughts as I build my brands. Thank you guys for tuning in. If you know another founder that would love to get these memos, please ask them to tune in here.
Did you enjoy this issue? Yes No
Jason Wong
Jason Wong @eggroli

Quick 5 minute reads every Friday in your inbox to wrap up what's going on this week in the DTC space, growth strategies, and my memo as a founder building a beauty brand.

In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Created with Revue by Twitter.