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Do you think it's possible to get dedicated employees for free if they gain later?
I've been going over some business plans lately and was thinking of a sort of "Free Employee" system that could work, but I'm asking the masses what they think.
Well, it is as what it sounds like, you'd be asking people to provide their skills for free to profit later when the business or website starts to generate money. You'd need a lot of people with different skills so that it was worth it to each person providing some input. I was thinking that having a few people for each position would work best so that each task could be done in someone's spare time. This would allow people to work 1-5 hours a week on a project instead of investing 15+ a week and not getting paid for it. Sure, some people may invest more than 20+ hours a week into the system or business, but if they're not getting paid for it, then they might not be willing to do that much.
Commission based salespeople
One thing I've been going over with a friend who does sales for a big automotive company is how I could acquire some commission-only salespeople. He told me that it's possible to do this, but I wouldn't get any great salespeople, and that's what I'd be worried about. Getting the commission-only salespeople wouldn't be the problem, but getting them to pull in sales would be. My friend then suggested to me that I use the profits from the initial sales to hire a dedicated sales professional with years of experience and then drop the commission-only salespeople who weren't performing.
The marketing team that gets paid if the site becomes successful
One of the biggest problems I've come across with this is setting up a marketing team that would dedicate a few hours a week to this cause and actually churns out good work. I would be investing my own time in the marketing area, so I'm not too worried about how many people I'd bring on board in this area, but I think it might be difficult to convince someone I'd pay them AFTER the site becomes successful.
Do you bring on an investor?
One way around all of the free time investment from credible people is to bring on an investor who would front the money to pay everyone's salaries. This would make it, so they dedicate their time to the project, websites, and business, but then I might not have to give away any equity in order to keep them on board. I could actually fire people that weren't performing well, but in the end, I would still have a business partner that fronted the money and has a say in what happens.
How much equity would you need to share per person?
This is one of the biggest problems that would arise when having people offering their time and skills for free. If I promised a percentage of the equity to each person that helped, I'd likely start running into arguments between everyone because John A. would have invested 100 hours and get 5% equity while Jason B. invested 400 hours and is also getting 5% equity. Would I have a flat rate of X% for each person, or would I need to weigh their contributions to determine their equity? Remember, the salespeople would be getting a commission on what they brought in, and that might throw another wrench into the equation when it's time to hand out equity. Salespeople would have been getting paid already, everyone else would not, and if a salesperson wants the same equity as a programmer, then it could turn into a war zone lol.
Managing input from everyone would be crucial.
Figuring out how much time everyone put into the projects and business would be crucial in order to see who was leeching for profits and who was actually doing the work. It's difficult to track people online, even with tracking software, so I was thinking that having an office where people were required to come in when working would be best. The problem with this is that people who are investing their free time in the hope of making money, later on, might not want to travel to another office to work a little bit then go home.
So, what do you think?
Is it possible to build something with free labor and guarantee you will split up the equity later on? Will people jump onto your idea if there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and they could be a part of the company instead of an employee? I've been mulling this over for a while, working out all the bugs, and it's still difficult to come to a conclusion on if this would work or not lol.
Thanks for reading
- Tommy Carey