My First Hire, Moving College Kids, Ghostwriters 2.0, Richest Person In Alaska

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Welcome to Biz Brainstorms –

My name's Connor.

I go down weekly rabbit holes of business ideas & lessons. Then, you get this 200 second email. This weeks send is a quick one.

Today's Outline:
📚 Business Lesson
📦 Case Study
💡 An Idea I Love
🇺🇸 Richest Person in Alaska

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📚Lesson: Making Your First Hire

Now that Black Friday & Cyber Monday are behind us, I have a quick story.

My first BIG (meaing 100k+) Black Friday was 2 years ago.

It was myself & my business partner Nick down in Florida.

We just launched a new brand in August and were ramping up ads.

And… well, our marketing efforts works.

We oversold the sh*t out of the product and found ourselves elbows deep in customer support tickets for the next 21 days straight. Answering 500+ tickets each.

So come January we decided “let’s hire for this role”.

That led to us bringing on Caira, our first overseas hire.

But as we built out the brand and began to grow, we knew we needed a U.S. based hire to help us build out the team (shoutout to Andrew Wilkinson for the idea of Hiring 1 to Hire 10):

Well, here’s the issue.

We never hired anyone before in the US. So we didn’t know how to conduct the interview process.

Here’s what ended up happening:

  1. I posted the job on LinkedIn

  2. We got 25 applicants

  3. There were no “interview rounds”. The screening calls happened to also be the last round interview calls.

  4. We hired 1 person who was probably average (but filled a much needed role at the time).

  5. She “quit” 2 days before her start date.

The worst part about that experience:

We thought “oh, that must be her. Not us. Let’s try this again”.

Then we proceeded to run the same exact playbook and hire someone who quit the first week of the job.

We were extremely frustrated.

So we changed the playbook.

We posted on Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster & a handful of niche job boards.

I wrote the job description like I was writing sales page copy.

We spent 100’s of dollars promoting the listing.

The result?

We cast a huge net & got over 500+ applicants for our Customer Support Manager role.

We had screening calls. First round interviews. Second round interviews. A test project. And a reference call.

When the process was over, we were left with 3 All-Star hires and ended up hiring Jina who has been with us for the last nearly 2 years.

The Lesson I took away here:

1) If you want better talent, you need a bigger pool.

2) Candidates want to feel like their role was difficult to get. If you hire someone off of a single phone call or CV review, you don’t position your company as selective. Being selective can make your company more attractive for candidates.

📦 Case Study: Green Box Storage

I love meeting people running companies.

So I’m going to begin featuring entrepreneurs and their unique businesses (with behind the scenes numbers) on this email.

First up, Green Box Storage – Pick up and Delivery summer storage.for College Kids

Founded: 2019
Founder: Collin Rutherford
Team Size: 2 Full Time Employees

Type of Business: Service Business
Cost to Start: $200 (Website, Logo, Scraping Student Emails & Flyers)
Biggest Headache: Managing Seasonal Hires (they are college students so they actually are in final exam season during that time)

Revenue: ~$510,000 in 2023.
Started at 70k in 2019 —> 130k in 2020 —> 270k in 2021 —> 510k in 2024.
Margins: ~30%

- Computer Science Student Scraped Every Email From Students at Dartmouth
- Postering around campuses
- Hires college students at other schools as interns for marketing & moving purposes. Had 35 student interns in 2023 (18 schools). Uses Breezy HR software for hiring

Other Ideas He’s Found That Get Him Excited: Next step for him is pouring profits into commercial real estate (you can probably guess the asset class).
Small Business Stories: In 2022, he had to return 1,200 boxes to their customers over the course of 2 days. Gets a call ~ 5 PM that their moving truck crashed into a parked car. 1.5 Hours later, another box truck he rented hit another parked car. By 8 PM Collin drives up from school and finishes all of the drop offs around 2 AM.

If you want to be featured – shoot me an email & we’ll set up a 15 minute call!

💡 Content In 90 Minutes

Here’s a business idea I just saw Jon Matzner launch that I LOVE.

It’s called Go Vivaldi.

Here’s the way it works:

  1. You jump on a 90 minute call with someone

  2. They basically record a podcast with you and ask you 60-100 questions.

  3. You ramble and add as much detail as possible.

  4. They chop it up & give you 70-80 Ready to Tweet pieces.

Here’s why it’s awesome:

  1. Ghostwriters Suck. (They don’t capture your voice and it’s disingenuous.)

  2. You get 1 months worth of content in 90 minutes.

Here are 2 ways to make it better/different:

  1. Upsell Podcast Placement (can you get people on other podcasts and use their answers for even more content). Listen to this Tropical MBA podcast on a similar business.

  2. Build the product for Course Creators – Companies like Scribe help individuals publish their own books. Can you build a company to jump on weekly calls with individuals to build out a course/program for them? Charge $5,000 + a % of sales. Secret here is you screen customers for customers with distribution.

🇺🇸 Richest Person By State: Alaska

Alaska is one of the 3 states that has zero Billionaires (honestly, I get why).

But – that doesn’t mean that Leonard Hyde is not still a legend with an estimated $350M net worth as of 2023.

Hyde is the president of JL Properties – A Commercial Real Estate Development company

3 facts on Hyde:

1) The majority of JL Properties developments were in the forms of Hotels & Military Housing projects.

2) Hyde started as a Real Estate Broker before his partner Jonathon Rubini convinced him to quit and start JL Properties.

3) They own the largest building in Alaska – ConocoPhillips Towers which is 🥁 only 22 floors (seems tiny, but I guess that’s Alaska?)

✌️ See you next week


PS – What’s the coolest way you’ve heard of someone making money?