How to Build an Empire Without Any Employees

Is it possible to build a successful business without any employees that work for you full-time? It is something I have thought about a lot and I have some example and experiences I want to share with you on this topic.

59 handling employees

You might have seen the infographic a few weeks ago that illustrated some facts and rankings about different successful companies. It illustrates how Uber is the largest cab company in the world, but it does not own any taxis. Airbnb is probably the biggest renter of real estate, but does not own any real estate.

These companies are clean, nimble, quick, and able to grow exponentially.

So, what can we learn from these companies?

Working from the Pool House

A few months ago, I was talking with a gentleman in a mastermind group who has built a very successful business – earning around 8 million a year – with around 30 employees. However, he does not have any full time employees on staff. He basically hires all freelance employees by the hour, as he needs them. He does not even have an office. His words were,

“I am pretty much in my pool house every day. Not in an office or going to meetings all the time.”

Of course, he still has to coordinate the business behind the scenes, but it is a new way of running a business these days and an idea to really consider.

Full-time or Freelance?

I have a combination of types of employees. I have a great team of people who work with me full-time and they do an amazing job, and I have other jobs that my team is not so great at, that I outsource to freelancers. For example, I have a freelancer who edits my podcast; I have another gentleman who handles my customer support and he works seven days a week – he is also great at what he does; I have freelancers who assist with my copy-writing, content, and design.

“There are so many opportunities that I want to grab, but I know that if I were to hand that to my current team, it would be too much. Moreover, some of those things are not their passion and their not their area of expertise.”

This is a different approach than the old system of thinking, ‘okay, we need someone to do these certain jobs, so I will hire another full-time employee’. Today, we have so many opportunities and can outsource these tasks to people who are really good at it and love what they do. This also keeps my staff from ending up with too many responsibilities.

Yesterday, I had a meeting with my team and I told them I really want to grow and move more toward the international scene. Right now, the only things focused in that direction are my podcasts and blogs, and they are not really targeting the world, I just do them because I love to. But I want to grow my brands, ideas, and teaching worldwide.

Hire an Expert

One example of a job I should outsource is Instagram. I understand the power of Instagram and I know exactly what I want to do with it, but I just need to find someone who loves it, meet with them, and have them do the work. I could have them post the pictures, post the videos, edit the images, create the captions and hashtags – all of those things, I can outsource to someone that does only my Instagram work. Rather than have one person try to do Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, find one person who is an expert in their field, give them an opportunity to grow, pay them well, bring them into your company culture, take them on trips, whatever.

It is a great way to build a team and also a very healthy way to grow your business. It is an easy way to grow.

The reality is that a typical employee who decides not to work for you anymore will usually take two or three more years to actually leave your company because they are comfortable. However, with a freelancer, if they decide to move on because they are not really feeling it anymore or they want to move on to something else, it is much easier for them to be honest.

Build a Great Team

…culture is extremely important; caring for the people who work for you is extremely important.

I have been thinking about this a lot – to grow a great company is it necessary to even have a full-time staff on the payroll anymore? I don’t know, but I do know that culture is extremely important; caring for the people who work for you is extremely important. I believe that we should be there for them, be servants to them, really work for them, rather than just them working for you. Look at what you can do for them.

I do believe that there are advantages to hiring people who work for themselves, with their own schedule, and their own rates, without having them on the full-time payroll.

I would really like to know what you think about this subject. Let me know at Twitter @EelcodeBoer –that’s my favorite way to communicate. It is much easier than Facebook or other platforms.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


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  • 21 June 2015
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