Knowing when to contract or delegate work and how to finance it

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The WP Minute
The WP Minute
Knowing when to contract or delegate work and how to finance it
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The 6th episode of WP Product Talk featuring Zach Tirell of WP Events Calendar.

Listen in to find out how to hire and manage contractors for your WordPress product (or agency!) business. If you’re a WordPress freelancer, this is a fantastic episode to listen to and reverse engineer to better position yourself with employers.

If you enjoyed this episode, please say thanks to the hosts and consider sharing this on social media!

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Matt: This is WP Product Talk. Something that we’ve been doing now for six weeks in a row. And it’s been fun. It’s been a good time. And we’ve basically are just talking about the, the business of doing. Products with WordPress in various ways. We’ve talked about onboarding teams.

[00:00:17] We’ve talked about whether or not you should ship new products or not. We’ve talked about freemium model stuff. We’ve talked about sun setting plugins that aren’t doing well. We’ve running, we’re running the gamut. And it’s been a good time, I think, overall. So, I wanna do real quick, a couple introductions, but for all of you listening in or around the Twitter sphere in any way, if you have any questions or comments or hopes or dreams or aspirations for this show whatsoever, then tweet it out there with the hashtag WP Product talk and we’ll be paying attention and we’ll try to chime in and get you.

[00:00:55] Highlighted in one form or another. Let’s do a quick round of introductions. My name is Matt Cromwell. I am one of the co-founders of Give wp, which is now a product of Stellar wp where we sell all kinds of awesome creative plugins and themes and have a big fun team of doing lots of cool stuff together.

[00:01:13] I primarily work on operations and marketing and every once in a while I get to be really annoying to Zach. So, we’ll hear from him in a little bit. But Kim, introduce yourself.

[00:01:23] Kim: Absolutely. Thanks Matt. I’m Kim Coleman. I’ve been building paid Memberships Pro for the last 12 years, and we’re starting to create some additional products.

[00:01:31] One is called Sitewide Sales, which is a flash sales plugin. Very useful for people who are thinking about Black Friday sales for W Commerce Ppro or an EDD website. And we have a team of 14 around the globe. Zach, you next?

[00:01:44] Other: Sure. I’m Zach Terrell. I am one of the general managers at at Stellar wp.

[00:01:49] I’ve been overseeing the events calendar for, for many, many years and that whole product business. And more recently, I’ve taken on Learn Dash and restrict Content Pro into, into the suite of things that I oversee over here

[00:02:04] Matt: in the Stellar. Awesome. Thanks so much for being here, Zach. Cool. Our topic today is nerd excuse me, is when and why and how that you might want to contract or delegate work and.

[00:02:16] Ideally how to finance it as well. So it could be kind of like a, a, a subject that kind of winds and twists into lots of other sub subjects in one way or another. But generally speaking, like when it comes to building out your team and your product and your, your workforce, sometimes contracting is the best solution.

[00:02:33] And when you want to do that or how you want to do that or how to make that choice is some of the stuff we wanna talk about. That’s something that honestly I think, Kim, you might have brought up this subject and I was like, I don’t feel like folks really talk about this very much. But I, I’d love to kick us off with just hearing from each of you on why you think this subject is important.

[00:02:53] Kim, what’s your thought there? What, what was kind of your main motivator for

[00:02:56] Kim: this one? For sure. I think a lot of people, you. Don’t [00:03:00] really know how to interview, don’t know how to hire, don’t know how to onboard, which are some topics we talked about. But in our business we’ve seen contracting as a way to kind of get to know people, to give people a bite size project and to see whether you wanna keep working together.

[00:03:14] It’s become a part of our hiring process that it. Every time we’ve strayed from it, we’ve made, had major regrets from. So, we’re gonna talk about contracting and delegating to kind of expand your team, but I think also I wanna make sure we, we zero in on the fact that it’s a great way to get to know someone to trial them out almost in, in a paid format That’s really

[00:03:34] Matt: structured well.

[00:03:35] That’s awesome. Cool. Zach, what’s your take? Why is this such an important subject or why is this so beneficial to especially small WordPress business?

[00:03:43] Other: Yeah, it’s, it’s funny, contractors have been in the, the DNA of the events calendar business since the start. We were formed. Inside of Modern Tribe, which is an agency, and as you might imagine with, fluctuating project work and those kinds of things, they relied heavily on contractors.

[00:03:58] And so we built the events counter business very heavily on the backs of contracting out work and, and, Very much what Kim said is getting to know folks, bringing people in as, as contractors on a project or even doing a, a longer term contract with someone to, to do, maintenance work or support or, or writing or any of these kinds of things.

[00:04:22] And then eventually those people going from contracting 10 or 15 hours a week to maybe becoming a full-time employee or a full-time staff member. And so we use that a lot. And then I’ve, I’ve done even more of it on sort of some, some niche projects within since we moved to liquid web.

[00:04:38] Things like, like support in particulars. We’ve had some really great success and I’ll talks more about that as we go.

[00:04:44] Matt: Awesome. Love it. Honestly, this subject for me, I feel like it’s less of something that I’m as familiar with. We definitely have done some contracting and I’ll share a little bit in our story time.

[00:04:55] But generally we have really aired a lot more on the side of full-time employees or when we’ve had contractors, they’ve been like full-time contractors essentially. And so I’m actually really anxious to just to learn from the two of you more and more, and when Kim brought it up, I was like, You know what, Zach knows a lot about this one, so I am anxious to hear more about it from Zach as well.

[00:05:15] So, That’s where I am at personally. So this is our story time. Kim, you had a

[00:05:21] Kim: comment there. I was gonna say what Zach said, like, for the niche project work we’ll definitely touch on you don’t always have the same kind of skills needed to run the day to day of your product, but certainly if you like.

[00:05:32] All of our plugins have add-ons. There’s certain needs that take a deep level of expertise that might not be represented in your team. So super cool to find that expert. Let them kind of code that thing and along the way, teach your team that skill, enough to be able to maintain it ongoing, but to do that heavy lift for you.

[00:05:49] So I’m sure we’ll touch more on this, but I just wanted to echo what you said, Zach. That’s

[00:05:53] Matt: super cool. Cool. Cool. So this is what we’ve been calling story times, kind of like a little segment that I has kind of [00:06:00] evolved over the course of the show where we just go around the circle and we share a unique story related to the subject from our, our experience in our past.

[00:06:08] And so, what is one way in which you’ve used contracting in the past that has been really successful? Or we’re always open to fun kind of nightmare stories. So if you got something crazy and ridiculous that we’d love to hear about it. So, Zach, we put you up first. What’s your story time?

[00:06:24] Yeah, what really put the pressure

[00:06:26] Other: on with me first . That’s, that’s fine. So I, I’ll talk a little bit about how we’ve used contractors for support. Support feels like one of those perfect areas for contract help on your team. It’s a. It has the potential for being more of a, a high burnout, high turnover role.

[00:06:43] Although we’ve, we’ve been extraordinarily lucky on that front to have kept people for, for many years in our support team. But being able to contract a support person at 20 hours a week while maybe they’re They’re aspiring to be a developer and they’re, they’re doing, building their own product or contracting with an agency to do some dev work.

[00:07:02] Support has worked really well for us over the years as a a great way to get people who are highly skilled, engaged in the team at more of a part-time capacity. And I, I’ve adored. But when we, when we transitioned to Liquid Web, we had this huge pressure to grow our support team pretty significantly.

[00:07:20] I think we almost doubled our support capacity in the first year. So in 2021 and growing that fast is really hard. So we started talking to Level Up, and I know Matt, you’re using them a little bit on, on your side of the business now as well, but the Level Up is a contract support service in WordPress.

[00:07:37] And you. You guys don’t have ads or anything like that, but I’ll turn this into kind of an ad segment for Level Up. They’ve been the most amazing contract partner. They place full-time support people right into our team, that integrate with our team, work with our team. They’re like, they’re part of us.

[00:07:55] And we now have roughly a third of our first tier support through Level Up because it’s been such a great partnership of, of. Their ability to recruit and train. And when people come and go, they’re, they replace them very, very quickly. That’s an experience where, know, we were struggling to even keep up with the recruiting capabilities and suddenly we had a, a partner that could do that piece for us.

[00:08:18] And so that’s just been a bunch of wonderful contracting experience for us on top of what was already an interesting strategy that we were using. It just kind of amplified it.

[00:08:28] Matt: Nice. That’s really interesting. I will echo that. Especially because with support I have in the past with Give, I was always very, Very focused on full-time employee work for all support and getting to know Level Up is is the first time I really worked with something like that.

[00:08:46] And I don’t know if all of the type of contract agencies like Level Up are anywhere near as good as Level Up is, but they’re pretty amazing. I’ve been really impressed. And it definitely has added to our capacity on IMS in particular, [00:09:00] also iconic and Cadence. They’re, they’re using them to a lot of really good, both in technical support and even account services a bit as well.

[00:09:07] So

[00:09:07] Kim: yeah, I did some early email chats with the team at Level Up. And what I think is the differentiator compared to other support contract services like this is that it’s an individual placed with your team. We did try a support contract company and they just gave kind of this name. X user, but it was multiple people within their organization that would handle the, the tickets.

[00:09:30] So it was really hard for that person to understand the product deeply enough. But putting someone within your team the way that Level Up does sounds like the perfect, I’m, I’m loving that you’re both, recommending this service because if it is something we wanna pursue, the pricing is awesome and the model sounds perfect.

[00:09:45] Matt: Yeah. Kim, what about your story

[00:09:46] Kim: time? Sure. I wanna talk about not hiring a developer contractor, but hiring like a marketing contractor and a writer. Mm-hmm. . We had a bulk of content that we wanted created and it was all centered around like Black Friday content, running sales. We had it all kind of outlined in scoped and that was a really successful way to work with a writer as a contractor.

[00:10:06] I think we often. Get a writer and we send them like random topics. But what I found was, giving your contract writer, a full kind of suite of content that had a similar theme that really helped them, From post to post, understand and dig deeper into that topic. And, there’s a lot of variety of topics and you have to kind of have a, at least a cursory level understanding of the product and of WordPress to be able to write on it.

[00:10:32] But it was really successful when we sent them that batch of content. What I will say is that, the content wasn’t as good as we can create. And I think that that’s a big piece with when you’re working with contractors for marketing pieces, that there will be more time. Spent by your team spent in house getting it up to your standards, but using contractors to kind of do that first pass is a super powerful approach that we’ve seen with marketing.

[00:10:56] I will add that it was interesting working with this international contractor because their rates were so low in my mind compared to other people. So, something I did and whether you do this, I let them set their own rates, but when I did pay them, I would give them like a cash tip, like round up a bit because I thought it was so low.

[00:11:12] And I think that’s a way also that they, they wanna keep working with you as well. You keep their relationship healthy, you show them that they’re delivering and delivering value for you. It creates like a healthier exchange. And if they have other people they’re working with, maybe they’re more inclined to do your work because the relationship is so healthy.

[00:11:29] So it’s kind of cool to work with contract writers. But I would say, manage your expectations and batch work if you can.

[00:11:35] Matt: Like that for sure. Yeah, I think on my side, like I said, I have less experience with contracting stuff, but the ones, the couple, one one, honestly, the biggest success we had with contracting was actually creating the give logo which I know a lot of folks have a lot of affinity for that logo.

[00:11:53] Love it and adore it. It’s done really, really well for us over the, over a long period of time. And and we were very, very [00:12:00] early in our development as a company. It was really just me and Devon and our, our partner Jason. And we did not have the internal resources to really do an impressive logo like that.

[00:12:09] So, the way Devon approached it was he went looking around on dribble for folks who did, who did really nice logos that had kind of like a hand felt feel to them and reached out to several. And I honestly feel like we really scored with that one contractor a long time ago. And it definitely was gave us a bit of polish to our launch of the new product by having a logo that.

[00:12:31] Really felt like stood out really strongly. And it definitely felt like we were punching up in terms of our, our abilities at that time. And it’s carried us through all these years as well. I think that was, that was a big deal. Also, we did a, a video that we also contracted out at that time, contracted both the video animation part and the voiceover, which was kind of fun.

[00:12:50] A voiceover that we got from Fiber, honestly. And all those pieces really came together. It did require a lot of essentially project management, both from Devon and myself of course. And I think that that’s a little bit of the I don’t know if it’s a caveat, but it’s something you have to take in mind.

[00:13:05] And similar to what Kim was saying about the, the quality of the pieces she’s getting on the marketing side. If you are contracting, then I do think you have to take, keep in mind that you have to have a lot of oversight of how that work is being delivered and whether it’s up to your standards and things like that.

[00:13:20] Another one that I have learned about recently it’s a little bit of a, a story time thing, is honestly hearing more and more about how we have a lot of part-time work. Even on Zach’s side, on the events calendar. Jackie, our designer over there works part-time as a contractor, but it, it’s, she.

[00:13:38] About 20 hours, I think Zach. And yeah, she’s actually

[00:13:41] Other: technically a part-time employee now, but she was a contractor with us for a very long time.

[00:13:45] Matt: Oh, there you go. Yeah. Started out as a contractor and now a part-time employee. I think some, a situation like that makes a ton of sense too. And maybe similar to what Kim was saying about that that’s how you get to know folks in the beginning.

[00:13:56] And sometimes folks are not looking for a giant commitment. And I think that that. A reflection of the way the workforce is changing a lot. A lot of people wanna have maybe two part-time jobs instead of one big full-time job. Or they wanna work two or three different small jobs. I know the difference between like feas or famine work as a freelancer and working full-time.

[00:14:16] It’s a huge difference between those two environments. And so something nice in between might be really beneficial. I don’t know, Zach, you wanna speak into that? . Yeah. We have a, we have

[00:14:24] Other: so many of those examples across our, our team of folks that are either contracts or contractors or, or even part-time employees, where, really they’re trying to kind of control their own destiny.

[00:14:35] They wanna be able to work on interesting work and balance that. Freelance lifestyle of like, do I have enough work or do I not? And so contracting with us and saying, Hey, we’ll easily fill up whatever you want. Tell us, do you have 15 hours a week? Do you have 20 hours a week?

[00:14:50] And we can fill that capacity and then they can go do other things, which, we have, we’ve had great success with writers doing that kind of thing, who are like really? [00:15:00] Just amazingly high quality journalist level writers. And, they weren’t, they didn’t necessarily wanna write marketing content full time, but they were happy to do, 15, 20 hours of, of marketing, content writing.

[00:15:13] And then they could use the other to go be, Pitching to newspapers or writing for tourism blogs and these kinds of things that that they felt maybe more professionally proud of and like portfolio style work, while also having us to lean on to just kind of make sure that all the bills were gonna get paid and they had kind of a reliable lifestyle.

[00:15:34] Lifestyle. Mm-hmm. . But we see tons of that kind of lifestyle thinking in, in our

[00:15:37] Matt: contractors. . Yeah. And it seems to really be working really well overall, so I, I’m impressed by it for sure.

[00:15:44] Other: The other thing that’s really nice is it for, just thinking about part-time contractors is like if you, you may not have enough work for a full-time project manager or something, but you might have a team that could really.

[00:15:58] You use project management and they, they’re not gonna fill 40 hours of work, but they might fill 20. And so you can have a dedicated person who does that kind of thing, and you can kind of get, fill out more roles on your team, in those kind of part-time contract components. Instead of having to say, Okay, well I, to build this team of five people and five different skill sets, I need to have five full-time employees.

[00:16:20] It’s like, well, no, let’s put together a team of contractors that are all kind of coordinating the work and. You can get some, some really cool teams put together that.

[00:16:27] Kim: I wanted to ask here, since we’re kind of leaning into this idea of like a fractional team member, a part-time team member and this is really just a question to both of you.

[00:16:35] Have you found more success when these people are like on an hourly rate or like a fixed monthly? And just kind of speak to that because, I struggle with a fixed monthly part-time person. I feel like I’m getting their best hours. Some months and then some months I feel like I’m not getting their best hours.

[00:16:50] So, for us it’s, it’s been a challenge to have part-time people be like fully aware of everything that’s going on within our team. So kind of what’s worked better in terms of paying for contract work.

[00:17:01] Matt: Hmm. I’ll say from my perspective overall, we definitely have some folks who are more of like the flat rate for a certain amount of hours a month kind of situation.

[00:17:12] That we basically treat them like part-time employees more. And I think under those circumstances it tends to work. They’re, they’re part of the team. They’re, they’re on meetings. They have domain based emails and in our calendar and things like that. Though they’re technically contractors, they’re, they’re part of the team.

[00:17:28] And I think under those circumstances it’s working pretty well overall. Whereas when it comes to an hourly contractor that’s doing stuff, I tend to think of those really so much. As project based overall. But I, I definitely think Zach has different experience on that one than, than I do. I, I do like project based a lot because it’s very cut and dry and clean and clear.

[00:17:50] And it, it’s a, it’s interesting also when there’s the opportunity to just. Have back to back to back projects. So it feels like they’re a part-time employee just continually working on [00:18:00] stuff. But you, but you get to get, keep them really focused on, on the next task at hand. But yeah, that’s kind of where I’ve met with that.

[00:18:07] Zach, what about you?

[00:18:08] Other: I was gonna say, most of what we do is hourly. Though we have everybody who’s, not everybody, but the vast majority of people who are contractors, we treat them just like they’re part of the team and they attend scrums and work with a project manager to make sure they’re getting their work done and have, some subject matter expert on the team that’s kind of making sure that.

[00:18:28] They understand what we’re trying to build and those kinds of things. So most of ours are, are hourly that are part-time. We have quite a few fixed full-time contractors who are, working a, a full week as part of the team. And a lot of times those folks are because they’re in a, in a country that’s that’s not the United States and doesn’t require us to enter into a more complicated employment relationship with them.

[00:18:51] So, We can set up kind of fixed contract for a, somebody who has a business in Brazil or something like that. So, I don’t know. It’s a, it’s definitely a mix. The fact that we have project managers on our team really helps with that. With, with the keeping them on track and making sure we’re getting the best out of them and, and those kinds of things.

[00:19:08] Not to say it’s not a problem, it’s, but it, it becomes sort of the same problem you have with any employee. It doesn’t feel like a unique contractor problem, at least the way we manage it.

[00:19:17] Matt: Mm-hmm. .

[00:19:18] Kim: Yeah, that definitely helps. I had a note to say, like, giving that contractor a. Report within your organization, whether it’s a fixed period contract, just for this month to deliver this item or this piece, or if it’s an ongoing thing when you’re paying someone hourly, a way to keep it from ballooning into, a larger expense than you had anticipated to make sure you’re getting valuable work, is to keep communication super clear.

[00:19:41] So I can imagine that those project managers really help, and if it’s in a development focused project, having a. Developer be their contact, be their code reviewer along the path, I think can help you from someone stray too far out of the fence of what you’re looking for. Yeah,

[00:19:56] Matt: absolutely. I’d love to pivot a little bit towards just best practices, kind of convo in terms of what do you feel like are kind of the tactics to really making this work?

[00:20:05] I think Zach just highlighted one in particular, like, project management seems to be really crucial when you’re managing, any team at all. But particularly with contract work, it feels like that kind of is a must in one form or another. But what are other ways that either of you have to, to make sure that your contracting work is a success?

[00:20:25] I

[00:20:25] Other: would also touch on just the kind of clearly defined expectations, right? Like who, and from many angles, what are we trying to achieve with the project? Who are your points of contact? What do we expect from you on a week to week basis? Are there, are there deadlines that are critical? Like all of. And a lot of that goes back to project management, but it’s all just like good management of the contract.

[00:20:48] And then on the tail end, like making sure they get paid consistently and on time and, and those pieces because nothing sours that relationship faster than questions

[00:20:57] Matt: about their pay. Absolutely. That’s [00:21:00] a really good one. That’s crucial.

[00:21:01] Kim: I would say, in our experience for even for writing, for development, anything as self-contained as possible for their project so that they’re not waiting on pieces from your team.

[00:21:11] You’re not, queuing up things and waiting on pieces from them. That’s how we’ve been successful. When I’m not, when I’m contracting someone to be like basically a team member, but when I have a certain project, X delivered as self-contained as possible so that, we’re not crossing wires, we’re not also delivering components of it in, in our house, in our team.

[00:21:30] That they can develop in a hole in some ways, and that, and have regular

[00:21:33] Matt: checkpoints. Hmm. I, one thing I’m a little surprised at that I thought would come up a little bit more is I feel like we all must have like those nightmare scenarios where contract work is just going badly, like that I, I mean I, I I have, I have a couple in my mind actually, but Are, are there things that, that you all have experienced where you’re like, ah, this is just not working, and how do you end a relationship like that?

[00:21:56] Like what, how do you know when it’s going badly and how do you just. End it.

[00:22:01] Ooh, we’re shy on that one. ,

[00:22:03] Kim: I guess I would say, we’ve always done. Projects test things that have a clear end point so that we kind of know. And I think if you start that way, you say like, We’re gonna try this for three months, then renew for six months. So you’re not getting yourself in too long of a commitment that you’re always.

[00:22:19] Able to reevaluate that. Their expectations are clear. We’re gonna talk again at the start of month two. We’re gonna say what, give you an idea of, whether the temperature is hot or cold here and, and you’ll know because you know it’s respectful of a contractor. They only have so many hours in a month.

[00:22:36] They need some lead time to fill them for the upcoming months. And as a contract relationship, you’re not owed anything when you’re let go. So I think to be respectful of that, testing small projects and incrementing the contracts. on some pattern, whether you, what Fach, I don’t know, Whatever you wanna use.

[00:22:53] Mm-hmm. , if it’s, two week project, a three month project, a six month, so that everyone is clear and you have those regular checkpoints. We did have someone that was international that came on as a support team member, and we just found after three months their life was fairly unreliable.

[00:23:08] They had a lot of personal commitments to causes that were drawing them in at certain times and, and commitments there. They. It turns out in a really unreliable place to work in a remote team. Mm-hmm. , and they weren’t keeping regular hours and it was just things we couldn’t have really learned or understood.

[00:23:25] Because we have other team members in the same location internationally. It wasn’t something we. Assumed about where they lived, but it just turned out to be that way and, and with regular meetings, we said like, Hey, I know your internet might be work, not be working today, but you have expectations here.

[00:23:40] Or I know there’s bad weather in this location, or I know that this cause needs you right now, but it just became too unpredictable, so it was. Bad in that sense, but we didn’t get ourselves in too much of a bad position because we made it clear, you have to be able to show up to do your work and these are the requirements that you need technically [00:24:00] to perform.

[00:24:00] So, it, it could have been worse I guess, if we had had extended engagements or weren’t more clear, but, it’s something to think about internationally, which it’s outside of someone’s hands as well, mm-hmm. tough situation.

[00:24:12] Matt: Yeah. That, that’s, Yeah. And I.

[00:24:15] Other: Just, I think a lot of it comes down to like clear communication with the contractor and, sometimes things don’t go well or sometimes it’s not a good fit or I don’t know.

[00:24:24] It, it’s very similar to the sorts of conversations you might have with a staff member or an employee. But honestly, the contract relationship often just makes it cleaner even mm-hmm. than when you’re dealing with a staff member. So I, I’ve got, probably. Dozens of examples of, of, of contracts gone bad with individuals.

[00:24:43] But they all, I don’t know, they all resolve relatively cleanly and again, usually cleaner than with

[00:24:49] Matt: an employee. Yeah, that’s actually a good point because in some ways, if you think about it, like if things are going badly, it’s almost like an advantage if they’re a contractor because you’re kind of assuming that they have at least two or three other, coals in the fire going on where.

[00:25:04] With employees in many ways, it’s all or nothing. Like when, when this, when you’re their employer this is where they get all of their income and, and it’s a lot harder to end that relationship knowing the consequences on the other side of it with contracting you’re, you’re assuming that, you’re not gonna continue this contract, but you can pick up a new one or you got a couple others that gotta keep you afloat for a while.

[00:25:25] That might be a benefit. May, it might encourage a little bit. That, I don’t, I don’t want to overly sell it or anything, but in terms of that kind of Silicon Valley type mentality of hire quickly and fire quickly, like you can go through contractors quickly if you had to. Not that you would want to, but that it, they seem like it, it, it would be easier to make that decision.

[00:25:46] I don’t know. Does that resonate?

[00:25:47] Other: Yeah, I think I definitely resonates with me. I, I think it’s a lot easier to end a contract and remain friends, right? Mm-hmm. like to say, Hey, this didn’t work out between us, but you know, it’s the situation and and so we’ve seen that happen. So, or the project, like sometimes it’s just priorities change and so we’re not gonna work on this project for a little bit.

[00:26:09] And I don’t know, it’s all always feels much.

[00:26:12] Matt: Yeah. Yeah, I can imagine that for sure. Kim, you have other tips or thoughts? I

[00:26:18] Kim: thought maybe we could touch a little bit on how we find contractors, how we source people. We, we’ve thrown out a few names, but if we could, summarize a few of, of the sources we use.

[00:26:29] I’m not great at this. I often just go to friends in the WordPress space and, and ask, or I go to Twitter and I post. Matt, you mentioned Fiver. How has that been? Has that been a great source for you or has that been a crapshoot ?

[00:26:43] Matt: No, that we do not use it regularly, but we, we used, we used it the one time on, on the voiceover for the very first give product video which was, which was a, a fun endeavor.

[00:26:54] We were like, We wanna do this animation video. And we wanted to, We had [00:27:00] this joke internally, recently, or I think it was online, where folks are like, the podcast is so much more interesting if they just had a British accent. That’s totally, exactly what Devon and I thought and, and said, Let’s get somebody with a British accent to do this video for us.

[00:27:14] And so we got to scout some folks out on fiber. It worked, it went well. I liked it , but I, I don’t know that I would go there regular. I thought the dribble method was actually a lot better. You see people’s work on their portfolio and you don’t know exactly where they are in terms of contracting or freelancing or whatnot.

[00:27:32] You reach out to them and they’re interested or they’re not. And it’s, it’s a much more loose and open situation. Whereas five, I feel like can be a bit, a bit intense. And also kind of hit or miss too. Can you really do that whole thing for 15 bucks? I kind of don’t think so. . But other than that, other than things like that, honestly, contract work tend, we have, tend to recruited them more internationally and in a very similar manner to to the way we recruit for employee work as well.

[00:27:59] And That has worked really well. I mean, I, I don’t wanna oversell this either, but on Zach’s end he actually works with a recruiter who is amazing, who finds folks all the time for us. So I think having recruiters in hand is always useful. But Zach, do you have other pools or other, like places you dip into for contract?

[00:28:17] It would,

[00:28:17] Other: Yeah, I, I would be remiss not to give a Daniela shout out who’s been our recruiter at Modern Tribe and, and today she’s so good at it. And honestly, part of that is what you said is the. Gen, like the normal employee sourcing process, being kind of very open and honest in that process that like, Hey, we’re open to whatever relationship works for you.

[00:28:36] Do you, would you, are you interested in this role at, fewer hours or were the contract relation, is there something we can do here that’s, that works better for your life? And so we’ve done that so many times. But in additional Level Up, which I mentioned for support, we also use a company called Deign for contract design work.

[00:28:52] Yep. There’s so many cases, like, every blog post has to have some sort of cool graphic at the top or whatever, and our design team kind of gets exhausted with that. With that production mill , when you’re putting out a lot of blog posts, it’s like, ugh, they wanna do more strategic design work.

[00:29:08] So we, we’ve outsourced some of that production work to D design and that’s been a, a really great experience as well. We recently just signed a contract with a company called J D a qa to do some automated QA work for us. They’re like ghost inspector experts and so they’re gonna come in and, and write a whole lot of tests for us.

[00:29:29] So that goes back to that kind of niche, like can you find a contractor who’s really, really good at a particular area? Maybe working on developing or haven’t yet developed. And so that kind of, you start doing some searches and try to find some good recommendations from your network. Mm-hmm. ?

[00:29:44] Matt: Yep.

[00:29:45] Kim: I’ll throw out a new video contractor, video editing service that we’re using. We’re like a in, and I’m floored. It’s called Video Husky. and you send them your recorded raw video screen capture still images, [00:30:00] and just kind of write like a storyboard. I mean, it takes me five minutes to write out what I want.

[00:30:04] You can get really specific or you can say, like, when I say these words, put this graphic up and it’s been amazing. It’s a fixed price. I think it’s under $600 a month for unlimited video with a dedicated video editor that only works on your stuff. They told me that that video editor only has four. In the month.

[00:30:23] So they did three of my edited videos in a week, and I had like one turnaround, one change. So I love to hire someone with that expertise. They’re using Adobe Premiere, so I know that they’re, using a platform I can get the raw source from. So it’s been really good. Sounds like that design tool you’re using, Zach, is that like Design Pickle is a competitor of theirs, but maybe a little bit better version?

[00:30:45] Other: If you can, oh, I don’t know, Design Pickle. Hm.

[00:30:48] Kim: Similar to that, I think you submit a request for design type item. It’s a fixed monthly or annual price, and they kind of just manage a queue of design type contract work.

[00:30:58] Other: Yeah, so Dell Design sounds like maybe a cross between that and the video Husky service.

[00:31:04] Cause we have a we have a dedicated person that they put on our projects, which has been, for design work is really great because he learned kind of our, our design language for the brand he’s working on. So all his stuff comes back, like really consistent and, the feedback from our lead designer goes back to him and.

[00:31:21] He’s just gotten better and better the more we’ve worked with him. So, It is kind of that like dedicated resource on their end, but a fixed cost on our end, we can just kind of shoot him. And actually they do a little bit of video as well, but I’m gonna check out this video.

[00:31:34] Matt: Husky Services? Yes. I’m looking them up today,

[00:31:37] That sounds amazing.

[00:31:38] Kim: I know, I, I said to the guy after the sales call, I was like, Is this too good to be true? Does everyone say that? He was like, Not really’s. Like that. . Have you met anyone in WordPress? ? Yeah.

[00:31:48] Matt: Watch out and they’re gonna all of a sudden be overbooked. Thanks to WP Product talk. Good job

[00:31:53] Nice. Those are good sources for sure. I, I know that a lot of folks also look at for development. Some folks work with we Devs which is a WordPress development agency. Some folks use them. I, I think Codeable is an interesting model. It’s not really the same thing as what we’re talking about here, but they definitely can help with some project based work as well.

[00:32:12] So those are some of the kind of WordPress oriented shops that I’m aware of, and

[00:32:17] Kim: I’ll shout out to go WP, who also has some dedicated staffing services. And I know they’re launching like a new brand for that, but you might know go WP for managed WordPress maintenance type things, but they actually do.

[00:32:29] Have some like staffing services. So you pay them and they hire and, and manage the relationship. So, something cool to check out, something I’m considering checking out. And it’s kind of like they have tiered of developers, they have tier writers, and it’s just a fixed monthly for you for that person for dedicated resource.

[00:32:46] Matt: Nice. That sounds good too. It felt like

[00:32:49] Kim: a really actionable. Way to close this. Giving people like a lot of the resource we’ve found, the things we’ve tested and tried and the things we’ve, can all vouch for.

[00:32:57] Matt: I like it. A resources segment for [00:33:00] sure. That’s a good one. Well, we have hit the 40 minute mark, which is roughly the time when we start to wrap it up.

[00:33:06] So last thing is before we go around the circle one more time just wanna give a shout out to the WP Minute who distributes this out for us on all the podcast. Platforms. So if you missed it hopefully you’re catching it now on Spotify or whatnot. And thanks a bunch there. And earlier in kind of like the rough pre-show, we were like, we should give a shout out to post status their best, Basically our back channel way that we coordinate everything for this thing.

[00:33:31] So thanks a bunch. Post status. Also yeah, just all the tools we’re being funny about it. Google Sheets is great, , but it does take some tools, tooling to get this done. And it, it’s been working out pretty good so far. So, thanks a bunch. Going around one last time real quick, what’s your last one recommendation.

[00:33:49] If somebody comes to you, they’re a brand new product owner just building up their business and they’re like, What do I need to do to contract successfully? Kim, Zach, what are you gonna tell them?

[00:33:59] I guess I’ll

[00:34:00] Other: go first. So I, I would tell every new product, business that as soon as you can afford it, get a Level Up support person because it’s just gonna give you more time to focus on working on your product and not taking first tier support. And they’re gonna do a great job and they’re gonna represent your product really well.

[00:34:15] And so I, I would tell everybody that right out

[00:34:18] Matt: of the gate. Good.

[00:34:20] Kim: I guess I would, I would say that there are great contractors. There are not great contractors, so don’t be discouraged if you have relationships that don’t feel right. Don’t let that, make you sour on the whole concept of hiring a contractor.

[00:34:32] All three of us have successful relationships, whether that’s project based, whether that’s almost as a full-time team member or a part-time team member that’s become a. The ecosystem of our products. So give, keep, giving it a try. There are more people out there and you’ll find the right fit. That’s a good one.

[00:34:48] I love that

[00:34:48] Matt: tip. Yeah, I think I would say start paying attention to your project management skills. You gotta keep a pulse on these folks, so, even if you’re contracting out, you gotta make sure. That you’re able to set good expectations and know when the work is done, done, and not just kind of done and follow up with folks and all that kind of thing.

[00:35:06] So, if you’re gonna contract out, start paying attention to how you project manage stuff. Thanks a bunch, everybody. For those listening in, help us out with a retweet of the Twitter space with the hashtag WP Product Talk and tell the world what you learned today, what you liked, what you didn’t like, why Zach is awesome and Kim is insightful and Matt keeps trying to make it happen.

[00:35:26] So, thanks everybody so much. Kim, what are we doing next week? Awesome.

[00:35:30] Kim: Yes. This is a good lead in to this week’s talk. We’re gonna take it one step further and talk about how and when to hire. And we’re gonna have guest post Kim Lepar, she’s from Valet, WP Valet all kinds of cool stuff. We’ll be talking about when you wanna take that contract relationship a little further, make it a little official.

[00:35:46] Matt: Awesome. I’m looking forward to that. Kim is awesome. Two Kims. We’re gonna have two. Kims, I’m be on.

[00:35:52] Kim: We’ll find a mat for you, Matt, from

[00:35:54] Matt: minute. That’s not too hard to find a mat. Throw a rock and you’ll hit one. Thanks so much everybody. [00:36:00] We’ll have a good week. We’ll see you next week.

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