Eventually, you’re going to have the need to hire help if you want to be able to sustain growth. While it’s always a challenge to give up control or a piece of your profits, you have to consider what will happen if you don’t.
In the web hosting industry, customer service and support has got to be your number one priority. There are enough companies that plague this industry with false promises, long hold times, and wreck-less support times. Unfortunately this automatically puts a “bad taste” in many customer’s mouth so you have to work just as hard to fight it.
Once you start to sustain a lot of growth, you’re going to want to begin delegating some of your more monotonous tasks to others. For example, if you find yourself spending most of your days just answering support tickets or responding to live chats, you may need to find a representative to help.
While no one is going to know your business like you do, communication is key. As long as people have someone who is willing to make an effort, it looks a whole helluva a lot better than being ignored.
Start small. Hire someone to do a couple of tasks a day part-time. As you analyze their performance, assign them more duties, and get feedback from your customers.
Take it from me, good help is very hard to find. But once you find it, treat them well and be honest. Reward them for their hard work and keep them motivated by sending them small tokens of appreciation. For example, if they go a month with exceptional performance, send them a $25 Amazon gift card. While this maybe small, it’s the thought that counts. Most companies don’t even congratulate their employees, so even the smallest thing, may have a large impact.
A good place to start looking for remote employees is Web Hosting Talk. They have a forum dedicated to finding support help and a lot of people throughout the industry check it daily looking for extra jobs. Some support reps may work with other companies, so you want to decide how much work you have for them, and arrange all of this in your contract.
Another place to look is LinkedIn. Since a lot of “big name” web hosts have been “sold” a lot of their former remote employees are out looking for work. Connect with others that have the experience you’re looking for and reach out in a private message.
Here at NameHero we use a tool called HiveDesk that allows us to track the “working time” of our remote employees. When an employee starts their “work session” they’ll login to the system and it’ll randomly report back screenshots. This helps us make sure everyone is being paid for time actually worked and allows us all to stay on task. If paying remote employees by the hour, you don’t want them checking their Facebook or chatting on Skype.
Finally, it’s important to have your lawyer draft up a contract for your employees (both remote and in-house). A standard working agreement outlining their job description, pay, etc. along with a non-disclosure and non-compete agreement are all pretty basic. Your lawyer will best advise you on the proper documents to meet your specific needs.
Your company is only as strong as your team around you, so when it’s time to hire, make good decisions and bring on good people. Treat them right, motivate them, and your web hosting company will be around for many years to come!
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.