How Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Can Hire and Retain Top-Notch Talent

The time comes in every entrepreneur's life when they realize that they can't take care of business all on their own.

Lifestyle entrepreneurs who have built a business that suits their needs and feeds their passion are in the ideal position to make it in their industry. After all, it’s not just that they’ve chosen to do what they love – they’re experts who have taken their corporate experience and poured it into an innovative business model.

However, the time comes in every entrepreneur’s life when they realize that they can’t take care of business all on their own. And that’s where talent acquisition comes in.

Unfortunately, to this day, many people believe that only large corporations, who are capable of offering competitive pay, have access to top-notch talent. But let me tell you a secret: that’s not the case.

Since graduating from university in 2016, I have worked with several scrappy entrepreneurs focusing on SaaS, e-commerce, and digital marketing services. And what I’ve learned is that the knowledge and experience I’ve gained from these opportunities were far more valuable than a big fat paycheck and the bragging rights of having worked for a Fortune 500 company.


What is today’s talent looking for anyways?

For the past few years, millennials’ job-related wants have been an ongoing joke. “Self-centered” and “overly sensitive,” these “snowflakes” have disrupted the job market by breaking free from tradition. In 2020, salary is no longer at the forefront of priorities when looking for a job. Instead, what appears to matter nowadays are motivation, opportunities to advance, and the ever-elusive concept of work-life balance.

And for small businesses and lifestyle entrepreneurs, this poses a huge opportunity. It gives them access to some of the world’s brightest talents without having to break the bank just to finance a single paycheck.

By looking at the 2020 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, the following factors are at the forefront of what the Gen Y and Gen Z workforce is looking for in a job:

  • Development, training, and mentorship
  • Diverse, inclusive, and positively impactful company culture
  • An environment that supports flexibility and employee satisfaction
  • Financial stability

But here’s the deal. Even if you can’t offer the highest salary in your current location, as a lifestyle entrepreneur, you are in a prime position to fulfill your potential new hire’s remaining wants. For one, although 69% of the young workforce seeks out opportunities that will bring them financial profits, money is not at the top of their priorities.

Secondly, the workforce pool has become so much larger with the popularization of the digital nomad lifestyle. Especially with COVID-19. If nothing else, the global pandemic has shown that remote work is very much a viable option for most employees, as long as the right strategies are implemented.

What this means for lifestyle entrepreneurs in need of quality backup is that they can easily win over young talent, without it costing an arm and a leg. But, they need to be prepared to provide the remaining perks, including opportunities to learn high-value transferable skills, a positive company culture, freedom, and mentorship.

Becoming a mentor

As you’re looking at the prospect of hiring new talent into an apprenticeship role, you need to understand your own role in the process. Your mentee will likely be looking at the long-term gains from their position. And that means that you’ll have to take an active role in helping them become an expert and leader in your professional field.

To become a great mentor, you have to understand that the qualities you offer have to go further than just expertise. You need to be passionate about sharing your knowledge. Know how to communicate openly. Be tactful about giving feedback, and, most importantly, be ready to listen and empathize with your mentee.

In addition to sharing technical skills, focus on your hire’s soft skills as well. Encourage them to further their communication skills by including them in your meetings and correspondence with business partners and clients. Not only can they learn the most by having direct contact with them, but they’ll also learn the best ways to interact in challenging situations.

Secondly, allow them to put their critical thinking skills to work. They should be involved in problem-solving processes, decision-making, and strategic planning. For many business owners, it may seem counterintuitive to include someone new in the finer-workings of their company. However, it’s crucial for developing trust and encouraging young talent to reach their full potential. Additionally, it speeds up the process of preparing them to take on bigger roles within the company.


Walking the walk

Finally, don’t forget that as a lifestyle entrepreneur, your role as a leader does not only mean teaching technical skills. It’s also very much about showing your mentee the benefits of leading a professional life that’s in line with your values. So, in addition to encouraging them to progress in the business, also teach them the lesser-known ways of making it professionally.

Educate them about the actions you take to keep yourself in top shape to lead a company. That can be a self-care routine that includes wholesome nutrition and exercise. Or, it can be an emphasis on the way rest influences work performance and in-company relationships.

Moreover, remember to always encourage your employees to pursue their passions, both at and outside of work. According to scientific research, adding meaning to daily tasks, even if they’re monotonous, can make us more satisfied with our career choice. Both are crucial to running a business, as, during hard times, they can be the only thing to push us forward.


Give value and receive it in return

Regardless of whether you’re looking for an administrative intern or a creative mastermind with extensive work experience, there’s always something you can offer.

If you’re a lifestyle entrepreneur, chances are that your candidates are looking for a work experience that is similar to the one you’ve created for yourself. So make sure to teach, support, and challenge them.

In the end, even if you can’t offer the highest pay, there are other things you can do to hire and keep top-notch talent. And mentorship might just turn out to be the benefit with the highest value.


Thomas Pruchinski is a freelance digital marketer, focusing primarily on small, scrappy SaaS and e-commerce companies. He is also a semi-pro stand-up comedian.


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