If you are trying to hire employees with little or no money than it could be because, in a business, there are just so many things to do! There is marketing, sales, product, user experience, SEO, coding, HR, talking to clients and so many other things. You cannot possibly do all of it and also have a life. Soon you might get burned out or things might get missed. During our starting days, MangoBlogger was like below – no money. And then we were burned by high employee churn rate being a remote company.

You might want to hire for a specific skill, or something we have heard the most is that you want to hire a developer but have little money.

What it come down to is that you need help. To offload work and to… scale. Your business operations.

Is this you? Do you want to know how to do it? Then read on…

We did it at MangoBlogger, and we are sharing all the secrets/learnings on how to do it and avoid the mistakes we made.

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What do you want to hire for?

The first thing to do in this case is to make a list of tasks that you would like to offload to an employee. It is always a good step to take so you know what should be the job description or what to ask for in the job interview with the applicant.

What business function do you need help in? Is this a specialized task or someone with a little training can do it? What would be the qualifications, interests, demographics of someone who you think would apply for this job? Break down the jobs into repeatable tasks so you can create comprehensive documentation to help onboard new employees and save you time. The documentation will be updated with your learnings with each round of interns/employees.

For example, as a founder of MangoBlogger, even though I am good at marketing, I really wanted to focus on our product development efforts. Hence I hired interns to help with content creation, social media marketing, list building, some javascript development etc. We used trello boards to create tasks for all of these positions.

Once you know, what do you want to hire for.. the next question is –

Who do you want to hire

Here we go…

Truth be told, it is (very) tough to hire employee without salary, and more difficult to hire a great one! Why would someone want to work for you for free when they are being offered great money somewhere else?

You need to have an MVP of the product ready or should be working on something really interesting for the employee for him/her to do it for free. It should be something challenging to them. But chances of that happening are rare. And you cannot scale like this, I’d this is an act of chance and not planning.

You are still able to woo the employee by doing the following –

  1. Give employee C-level position – Chief Product Officer, Chief Technical Officer
  2. Give an equity for your company
  3. Offer that they will always remain on the website as founding team member
  4. Offer to write a great recommendation letter
  5. Offer to include them in the founding team

But the scalable way without giving too much equity is to hire interns or entry-level people looking for some experience. These interns are generally in school/college and looking for some experience. In my experience because of the thirst to do something great these employees (with a little direction and training) often outperform paid employees. They will do the impossible for you. You would be surprised how talented the interns can be.

Stages of Hiring

The stages of hiring in a Pyramid format (1) Sourcing (2) Screening (3) Closing

Just like sales, there are three steps in hiring.

Whenever you want to hire an employee you want to reach out to as many candidates as possible to get a list of candidates to interview. That is sourcing.

Now you want to screen these candidates to be good for your company. This is screening.

And finally, you want to hire them by sending them customized offer letters.

So now the next step is –

How to hire? (Sourcing)

To hire – You can use, on Facebook or LinkedIn groups, Reddit, CraigsList, Frapp, internsahla.com or any other congregations where entry-level employees or college students are looking for jobs. You can also use indeed.com, Linkedin job posting or post on your Facebook page for this purpose.

You can accept applications using a Google Form or the dashboard provided by these tools. Make sure to ask some basic questions in the job application to tell you about candidate attitude. We asked – What do you want to learn in the next 4 months. It helped us understand what are their motivations and if they have the desire to make it happen!

Be straightforward in your job posting that this is going to be an unpaid job. Set expectations straight.

Challenge the applicant in the job posting. Tell them about the mission and vision of your company. Say it with passion. Tell them that they will get to work with a passionate team of marketers, developers, designers, engineers etc.

To make it up for them you should give a good recommendation letter to these employees, provide a certificate and make sure that they are learning in their job and are growing. You can set up weekly meetings to mentor them or set up some program to make sure that their learning is guaranteed.

We would give out Amazon or Flipkart to these employees to make sure that we say thank you. Someone deciding to work for your company is really special.

I feel I can never thank them enough.

Automate sending offer letters and Employee Onboarding

When you are doing this you should automate this as much as possible. Because just sending offer letters and recommendation letters, and customizing them is going to take so much of your time.

I would recommend you Employee Onboarding App add-on by MangoBlogger. Firstly because we created it so I am a little biased, but secondly it is made from our own experience being in your shoes and low on funds. So we have included all of our learning in the product. It is currently completely free and we are adding more features every day to automate the complete cycle from hiring to exit.

Check out this YouTube video to see how it can automate and scale your hiring using the tips mentioned in the blog. 

Closing Thoughts

Hiring is tough and takes a lot of time in the initial days of a startup. So you may want to source as many freshers as possible and screen them by assinging them tasks. You should automate this process as much as possible.

Based on their results there would be some freshers who would really shine and impress you. Go ahead and hire them! This approach would be cost effective and would bring you the best candidates!

Do you have any specific questions about the post? Do you have some learnings from your past experiences? Let us know in the comments!

Prasanna Kulkarni

Founder and CEO of MangoBlogger.com. 6 years of experience in digital marketing. Managed hundreds of dollars in paid search budget. Creator of tools used by businesses all around the world and instructor of the ultimate guide to digital marketing course.


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