I woke up today with a tragic case of Dunning-Kruger. I mean, hell, I started one successful recruiting firm, and half-joked about recruiting for executive assistants, so why can’t I be qualified to opine on recruiting as a whole.
Putting those very valid concerns aside, as an amusing intellectual exercise, this morning I wrote down 50 things that I’d do and think about if I were to start a recruiting firm today.
This is the exact order that ideas came to me, but not at all the order that I’d do them in. These aren’t all necessarily things I’ve done already, these are just the things I’d do now, being older, wiser and far more dunning-krugeresque:
1 LINKEDIN: Buy a LinkedIn Recruiter seat.
2 NICHE: Pick your niche, singular, to go after. Make some handwritten charts on how that niche works so that it makes sense to you.
3 CANDIDATES: Draw up some employee charts from data from LinkedIn Recruiter to get a better understanding of who works where and for whom.
4 COMPETITORS: Look around at what other recruiters are in the space.
5 GOOGLE: Go to Google. For each of the recruiters in the space, search for linksin:recruitingfirm.com and rank those recruiting firms. Also get a sense of who is known for what by paging through some of the search results
6 QUANTCAST: Buy a Quantcast account and see how those firms are doing.
7 INTERESTING: The niche that you target has to strongly interest you or else you will lose interest when things are tough and you will fail.
8 SOCIETIES: Look up whether there are professional societies associated with that niche and investigate what information those societies can offer to supplement the LinkedIn data.
9 DATABASE: Decide whether you want a 3rd party SaaS database or whether you want to build your own.
10 ORGANIC: Grow organically, don’t force the business before you’re ready (in knowledge, time, confidence) to grow.
11 ADVISORS: Get advisors (paid or unpaid) who know more than you do, either about the niche, or about recruiting in general, or about business in general, or operations, or at least something that you don’t already know all the answers.
12 INCREMENTAL: Focus on quarterly incremental growth.
13 HIRING: Figure out what you like to do. Eventually hire for what you don’t want to do or aren’t good at. As you grow, the same person(s) shouldn’t be doing big picture plus operations plus database plus recruiting plus generating business.
14 STRUCTURE: Decide on your business structure: LLC, S Corp, C Corp, etc., when consulting with a trusted lawyer or accountant.
15 GLOBAL: International recruiting is a pain in the ass, focus solely on your home country to start.
16 PREMIUM: Avoid markets which are a commodity (supply = demand), instead you want to build premium knowledge and loyal clients where demand outstrips supply.
17 EXPERIENCE: Don’t start a recruiting firm unless you have already worked as a recruiter somewhere, even if it just an internship or something. Recruiting isn’t what people think it is.
18 RECRUITING: Recruiting is a mix of psychology, business sense, persistence, optimism, knowledge, empathy and intelligence.
19 BEST PRACTICES: Your searches don’t have to be hard to be successful. Make your information the best practices, and your processes the best practices as well.
20 FAST: Speed is king.
21 BE OLD: Don’t chase big sponsorships, grow at the base level in the old-fashioned ways.
22 SPEAK: Talk to people.
23 C-LEVEL: Go to the top, you don’t generate business with middle mgmt. Go high or go low.
24 READ: Read everything you can get your hands on. Become an expert in that field in some of the same ways the experts in that field are experts in that field.
25 MARKETING: Ignore professional marketing techniques, focus on common sense.
26 SOCIAL MEDIA: Build your LinkedIn and Twitter.
27 SEARCHES: Figure out whether you are Contingent or Retained or both. Each require different skill sets and rules.
28 TRENDS: Always look at macro and micro trends for clues about where your business is going.
29 INFO: Develop niche info for your chosen industry. For example, there are sorts of surveys and summary charts that can be derived from public SEC documents.
30 VALUES: Think deeply about your values. When times are tough or a string of bad luck comes, you will be able to lean on those core values and trust your process and yourself.
31 NON-LINEAR: Nothing takes the place of old-fashioned conversations, that is how you learn nonlinear things, not by constantly emailing.
32 WAKE UP: If you’re not waking up happy and aggressive, you’re doing it wrong.
33 LISTEN: Hire before you have to, and listen to their ideas.
34 ATTENTION: Pay attention to trends that you notice, you will see things before the industry does or the press does.
35 PIVOT: Don’t be afraid to pivot.
36 TRUST: Trust yourself.
37 GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE: I can’t stress enough: talk to people, all kinds of people. A 10-minute conversation can be worth more than weeks of study.
38 BE THE BEST: Your aim is to be the best in your chosen field. If you instead aim to be a me-too firm, it won’t work, recruiting eats up half-assed efforts.
39 MEDIOCRITY: I once had a boss who said if you take your foot off of the accelerator just a little bit, and give it 80% effort, you will lose 100% of your business. That is how recruiting works.
40 QUALITY: In your business, aim to place quality niche hires. If you instead aim for quantity, it will drag you down mentally.
41 STUDY YOUR DATA: Once you have enough data of your own as you operate, focus on metrics to figure out what a call is worth, a resume, an interview, etc. But don’t be so wrapped up in them that you are always number-focused, but instead use them as a tool.
42 WEBSITE: Make your website simple and easy to find. Half of your visits will be on cell phones — design for cell phones and ideally use WordPress.
43 INQUIRIES: Respond to inquiries ASAP.
44 GO AWAY: Ignore noise and time wasters.
45 NO REALLY, I SAID GO AWAY: Don’t be afraid to cut potential clients or candidates in favor of having more time to pursue quality clients and candidates. It is a failure of human nature to spend time on things that require our time, instead of the things that deserve our time.
46 YOUR DATA: Hire data entry to get all of that great LinkedIn data into database format. Use API’s when possible. Talk to data people who are more imaginative than yourself.
47 PATIENCE: Give yourself at least 1 year to judge the business, don’t give up easily or pivot too soon.
48 BE LOCAL: Ideally hire locally and see each other weekly to keep your optimism up.
49 SPECIAL: Recruiting isn’t who you already know, because you will constantly have to build new contacts, it is about putting processes and habits in place that are sustainable.
50 GRIND: People start recruiting firms all the time while thinking that their existing contacts will take them through. But they get discouraged when they realize that they have to make it up and grind every day, like every other successful venture.
So there’s my Halloween brain dump!
So I already discussed that songs published before 1927 are in the US public domain.
Again, this is a rabbit hole I’m planning on investigating over the next few years.
(Don’t forget that four Three Stooges shorts are already in the public domain. )
I discovered a steadily-growing area of US employment this morning: executive assistants.
About a million people with the title and a solid 18-year Google Search history.
Creating NFTs is a lot of work, a lot of heavy lifting. In addition to the art, you’re building a community around the art, and then maintaining that community. Many fail at it. Most fail at it.
Now, because this is the blockchain, the holders of Kanpai Pandas are a public record.
It is a lot easier, faster, cheaper and straightforward to plug into an existing NFT community than to try to build and maintain your own, at least in my little world of reason. You give yourself a better chance at success. So you find NFT collections where the copyright protections are favorable – in other words, for example, if you own some of those 10,000 NFTs, you can work those into your own creations – and partner with artists and writers to build unique creations like comic books that work your owned characters into the story.
And then you give those creations back to the holders of the original art, or sell them. In the world of blockchain, you already know who holds the original art, and so it is very easy to mass distribute what you created. Theoretically, it raises the value of the original art because they’re getting something additional for holding the original art, and what you created will generate value, too, as people discover what they received.
I’ve already seen this work, but I think it’s still an underutilized technique for getting into the NFT business cheaply with relatively low risk. There should be a lot more derivative works than there are presently.
Part of the early purpose of 1000Startups.com is to doodle about the things and ideas that have interested me over the last several years. Theoretically, that process will then lead me to doing something about some of those things. That’s how I expect this to work.
One such thing is food insecurity, specifically on school campuses. Until a few years back, I hadn’t even realized that food insecurity by college students was such a high percentage in some areas.
Emily Frymark devoted her Bachelor’s thesis to food insecurity. It is a quality read. According to her, almost half of college students experience food insecurity in the Appalachia region. She describes the processes through which it is addressed locally through food pantries.
She also says the wider US food insecurity figure on college campuses is somewhere in the 15-30% range, and the long-term consequences of it are rather long. Obviously it’s hard to think and focus when you’re hungry, but it’s so much more than that, that you end up carrying away with you for the rest of your life when you’re in those situations:
“Previous research has demonstrated that people who experience food insecurity are more likely to have negative health outcomes such as: decreased nutrient intake, increased mental health problems and depression, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, poor sleep, and lower self-rated health. Additionally, food insecurity, hunger, or food insufficiency has been associated with lower academic achievement, behavioral and attention problems, and adverse psychosocial development among school- aged and teenage students.”
When I return to this issue, I will look closer at some of the Google Scholar abstracts that I found devoted to food insecurity on campus and which caught my eye. For example, the University of Tennessee Department of Nutrition authored a study, “An Exploratory Analysis of the Lived Experience of Food Insecurity among College Students” that will open some eyes:
“Another female graduate student described how financial burden associated with FI influenced her skipping meals and reducing intake: “I’m not even eating ramen noodles. I’m skipping meals, like there’s no access. So I’m like living on loans right now, which is also a really uncomfortable place to be”.”
In Google Books, I found Experiences of Hunger and Food Insecurity in College, which studies the issue in Texas. A lot of other quality books just on the first page of the Google Books search, too. Take a look.
I found the College and University Food Bank Alliance as an organization that has been tackling this problem for the last 10 years, and which Swipe Out Hunger acquired. Swipe Out Hunger has also been working on the problem, for the last 12 years.
Back in 2011, I used to joke that pet costumes was a business to get into. It was a $300 million/year business back then.
Now, in 2022, it’s become a $700 million/year business. Healthy +8% annual revenue growth.
So many wonderful angles to take that trend, if one were to enter this business. I don’t know that I’d try to sell direct, though. Instead, figure out a manufacturing strategy/source and offer private labelling.
48 million US households own dogs. 32 million US households own cats. Seems like a great me-too business without worrying about market share.
“Dogs are the new kids.” That trend isn’t slowing down at all.
My cavalier, Roxy, is going out dressed as an Ibanez acoustic bass guitar this Halloween. She’ll be easy to spot and she’ll sound great.
Musical compositions published before January 1, 1927 are part of the public domain.
I compiled a list (below) of some popular songs that entered the public domain over the last four years. Songs you can do whatever you want with, repackage, remix, etc. It’s a rather strong list.
Imagine in our 10,000 channel world that you create a game or musical that takes advantage of the built-in familiarity of this content. “Rhapsody in Blue”? “Fascinating Rhythm”? “Remember”?
Get your hands on any analysis of all of the folk songs that Bob Dylan borrowed from. Interesting stuff.
This is one of the rabbit holes I plan to go down over the next few years.
YEAR SONG AUTHOR 1926 Baby Face Benny Davis, Harry Akst 1926 Birth of the Blues B.G. De Sylva, Lew Brown, m. Ray Henderson 1926 Black Bottom Stomp Jelly Roll Morton 1924 California Here I Come Joseph Meyer, Al Jolson, Bud DeSylva 1923 Charleston Cecil Mack, James P. (Jimmy) Johnson 1926 Dead Man Blues Jelly Roll Morton 1925 Dinah Same Lewis, Joe Young, Harry Akst 1924 Does the Spearmint Lose Its Flavor Billy Rose, Marty Bloom, Ernest Breuer 1924 Doo Wacka Doo Clarence Gaskill, Walter Donaldson, George Horther 1924 Everybody Loves My Baby Jack Palmer & Spencer Williams 1923 Farewell Blues Rappolo ~ Leon Rappolo 1924 Fascinating Rhythm Ira Gershwin George Gershwin 1924 I’ll See You In My Dreams Gus Kahn Isham Jones 1925 If You Knew Susie B.G. De Sylva 1924 It Had To Be You Isham Edgar Jones Gus Kahn 1923 Kansas City Stomp Jelly Roll Morton 1924 King Porter Stomp Jelly Roll Morton 1925 Milenberg Joys Jelly Roll Morton 1923 Mr. Jelly-Lord Jelly Roll Morton 1925 New Orleans Blues Jelly Roll Morton 1924 Oh Lady Be Good Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin 1923 Pearls Jelly Roll Morton 1925 Remember Irving Berlin 1924 Rhapsody In Blue Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin 1925 Shreveport Stomp Jelly Roll Morton 1926 Sidewalk Blues Jelly Roll Morton 1926 Someone To Watch Over Me Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin 1925 Sweet And Low-Down Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin 1925 Sweet Georgia Brown Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard, Kenneth Casey 1924 Tea For Two Irving Caesar Vincent Youmans 1926 Where’d You Get Those Eyes Walter Donaldson, Abe Lyman 1925 Who? Jerome Kern 1923 Yes! We Have No Bananas Frank Silver & Irving Cohn