March 29, 2020
Becoming an Entrepreneur and Hiring Developers with Chris Martinez (DUDE Agency)

Becoming an Entrepreneur and Hiring Developers with Chris Martinez (DUDE Agency)


are you ready to scale and outsource
your business okay let’s go welcome to the outsourcing and scaling show I’m
your host Nathan Hirsch a show where we talk about everything
Amazon shopify ecommerce and digital marketing let’s get started welcome back
to outsourcing and scaling to have a special guest Chris Martinez Chris how
you doing today doing fantastic how are you sir doing great for those of you
that don’t know Chris is the CEO of dude where they help digital agencies by
giving them the people in process that they can scale profitably Chris one of
the things I love about you is you’re all that outsourcing you’re all about
hiring and we’re gonna talk all about that but before we do let’s take a giant
step back to what you were doing before you’re an entrepreneur maybe before your
real job tell us what you’re like in childhood were you a straight-a student
were you a rebel did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur that’s a great
question actually so I had a fairly interesting childhood it’s I would
consider it a bit unconventional for a lot of people at least in our industry
and kind of like the digital marketing space like I had a very very like
abusive childhood so not not something that is typically like there weren’t a
whole lot of like great memories and so I didn’t really gravitate towards
entrepreneurship when I was a kid like you know back in my teenagers we’re all
about like being little we was kind of like a little hoodlum and so we were all
about you know trying to be honestly like it was like a contest to see who
could be the worst kid and so looking back on it what I’ve learned is that
most likely a lot of the kids that I was hanging out with they also had really
really difficult childhoods and that’s kind of like where we all why we all
congregated together and fortunately like I played soccer and that was my one
like outlet I played very competitive level high level soccer and so you know
while my friends were getting into trouble seven days out of the week I was
really only getting into trouble three days out of the week was because I was
playing soccer for the other four and that’s what I think
saved me from going down a really bad path
and once I got to high school my friend my hoodlum friends basically just kind
of disappeared and because I was on the sports route that kind of kept me on the
straight and narrow and the funny thing is that like you know my friends back
then none of them were were like dumb like they all were very very intelligent
they just didn’t really have a lot of opportunities and I was just I think I
just got lucky right with the soccer thing and so we all got really good
grades and then you know I got good grades all through high school and then
my friends who just disappeared like you know who even knows what happened to
most of them I do know that my best friend from middle school like he ended
up getting shot and killed after high school he got really involved in the
gang world which is what we were you know all about when we were like young
teenagers and the crazy thing is that like academically he was just as smart
and just as capable as me he just did not have a very good home life and very
few opportunities and that’s just kind of what happened so my I didn’t really
get the entrepreneurial bug until I was in college so College was like a huge
deal for me because it opened my eyes to and it showed me that life was a lot
different than what I had known growing up in Torrance California which if you
don’t know that area it’s just a suburb of LA and so then that’s when I really
like kind of learned about this idea of entrepreneurship and there’s a whole lot
of things that went on between then and now running dude but I don’t know I
don’t know if we have enough time for that yeah I mean I can’t relate to that
at all my parents were teachers I was definitely fortunate enough do you feel
like that gave you kind of a sense for what the real world was like at an early
age because I didn’t have that my parents always taught me like finances
probably way earlier than then other people did but I feel like from your
side you probably experience what the real world was like and and how brutal
it can be if you don’t figure out your own way early on yeah I mean you know
obviously like would I have chosen a different
childhood or what I wish this check my childhood on anybody else no of course
not but you know the good thing it’s a good and a bad thing right cuz I was
forced to grow up very very early in in many ways I had to fight to survive just
getting through that time period so I am very very tough like it’s it’s
incredibly difficult to beat me at anything you know like I’m a fighter
like literally I’m a fighter and so that has definitely helped me to persevere
through a lot of difficult times as an entrepreneur but at the same time I’ve
had to overcome a lot of the kind of like chip on my shoulder things that I
have had since I was a child or not feeling good enough right like all these
other outside kind of like feelings or feelings of you know self-esteem and not
feeling like I belong and you know it’s just it’s it’s something that gets
ingrained to you when you’re a kid and so in many ways going into the the
business world where it’s not you know like a crazy like fist fight all the
time you know you do have to get along with people and people have different
experiences the way they communicate they were the way that they respond to
the way that you talk to them and the criticism that you get like like a lot
of the things that I learned when I was a kid that helped me survive I have had
to unlearn as an adult in entrepreneurship and especially in
leadership now that I have a bunch of team members and stuff makes a lot of
sense and let’s fast forward a little bit so you you get that entrepreneurial
itch what was the first thing you did was it dude or did you have some other
businesses before that uh well I mean I had like us a business in college so
like I went to college I was fortunate if I got went to school in Santa Barbara
at UC Santa Barbara and this is before they had like online note-taking
services so one quarter I decided that I and I was broke when I was in college
and so I decided you know I’m gonna take notes for this huge class I was like a
thousand kids and so I took notes it was an undergrad or it was a lower division
class sociology one then I was sociology major so I sat in on that
class took notes and then sold notes right before the midterms and right
before the final and I think I made like a thousand bucks and that was like my
first time actually making money and like a thousand dollars when you’re 22
years old and completely flat broke is like freaking amazing right that’s like
really when I got the first ditch but my first real business was in 2007 so
December 2006 my dad got diagnosed with cancer he died a month later three days
before my 27th birthday and I decided that after that I wanted to start my
first business and I launched a print soccer magazine at the worst possible
time in history and I made an insane amount of mistakes
insane amount of mistakes and within 18 months I’d lost every single penny that
I had didn’t know how again I didn’t know how I was gonna survive and I made
it through but that was my first business was actually that soccer
magazine and you know I just did so many things wrong but at the same time I have
to look back on that experience with some level of like appreciation because
I would not be where I am today had I not failed so miserably in that first
business yeah I’ve always thought like whenever whenever you’ve come across
something now I feel like once you’re five to ten years into being an
entrepreneur like oh I’ve I’ve come across this before I I know what to
expect I know exactly what not to do obviously new stuff comes out but a lot
of it is repetitive no matter what business you’re in talk about that
mindset I mean I can’t even imagine just losing everything out on a business that
you probably put your blood sweat and tears into you way you continue forward
and say I still want to be an entrepreneur instead of just saying you
know what that was risky let’s go get a nine-to-five job and make sure that I
have that retirement plan you know yeah this is a great question and it’s kind
of like one that’s near and dear to my heart because I feel like there’s so
much marketing out there trying to get people to be entrepreneurs and it seem
like it’s the cool thing to do right and in in my opinion the reality is that
it’s not for everybody this life is not for everybody just like you know the
life of being a doctor or a nurse or you know a garbage man or
whatever it is like he not everybody has to fit into this entrepreneurship box
and if it’s not for you that’s totally okay right I have the self-awareness to
recognize that this is not this is not the lifestyle that you’re looking for
but for me I’m a hundred percent on entrepreneur that’s who I am
I would rather die than not be an entrepreneur like I cannot go a day
without being an entrepreneur it’s just a part of who I am it’s just a bits
my brain is just wired that way so for me it was not even almost it’s like I
guess it’s kind of like not even a choice it’s just who I am and so that’s
why I you know I’m always looking for I was always looking for opportunities
seeing things seeing things in a different way and so my first business
after the failed soccer magazine I started a digital agency and I didn’t
know like let’s jump back to years prior to launching the agency I started
learning about marketing and I taught myself how to build my first website by
watching online videos so I built my first WordPress website knowing
literally like nothing about web design and development I built that first
website in a weekend and then it just kind of over time it just snowballed and
I started learning more and getting more involved and I started working in sales
for a company that sold pay-per-click management and then I saw that they
didn’t build websites and I was like I could totally start this website agency
and that’s basically how it started fast-forward to 2017 and I had my
operations down here in Tijuana Mexico of all places and then I launched dude
with five people five designers developers and then now we have over 30
people in just a year we grew to over 30 full-time designers and developers here
in TJ and we’re working with digital agencies so I mean dude like I feel like
this is like the real like a real entrepreneurial journey where it just
keeps evolving and changing and like you’re pivoting all the time and and now
we’re here and you know things are going pretty well it’s crazy it’s one of those
things one day you wake up like five years later and in my
I was I was selling baby products and then right I went to running a
freelancer marketplace and for you you’re in Mexico working with designers
and who would have thought that 15 years ago let’s talk about hiring this is the
outsourcing scaling show do you know who your first hire was and how that went
yeah absolutely so you know my first hires in the digital agency I actually
partnered with the guy who had a team in the Philippines and so we started out
with four people there and I kind of inherited that team and my when we
started out my partner was supposed to handle the operations I was supposed to
handle sales as many partnerships go it doesn’t go according to plan I ended up
helping out with the operations as well as the sales then that partner left and
then eventually I was like hey working in the Philippines was wasn’t conducive
for our customer service calls that we had for our clients here in the States
I needed day time support right then I came down here to Mexico I was living in
San Diego I was like I bet you I can find designers and developers in Tijuana
Mexico which if you don’t know the geography it’s literally like 10 minutes
from downtown San Diego so my first hire here was a graphic
designer they didn’t really know web design but
you know he was really really good at Photoshop all that good stuff so that
was our very first tile where as a designer down here and then eventually
we found a developer and the challenge was like we didn’t even know where to
look you know because they didn’t back then they didn’t have indeed in Mexico
or they didn’t you know like people didn’t use Craigslist really to find
applicants it so it was really difficult to just find out how do we find people
and eventually we got our first developer he’s actually still with us
now he’s one of our team leaders but yeah I mean we made a ton of mistakes
hiring people so I don’t know if you want me to talk about that your worst
hire you don’t forgive a name it just never happened I take 100% credit for
every bad hire that we’ve made those that was my decision I did not evaluate
them correctly I did not put them in a position to succeed so our worst hi
I ended up hiring this developer I think he might have been our second or third
developer ever and I got told me that he was not a good person
and in the developer world it it’s it’s interesting because you find people who
are technically very very good but they lack soft skills and they don’t really
care about the clients and that’s when you kind of have these like ego battles
with developers so anyways I didn’t listen to my gut we brought this guy in
because we were kind of desperate and he was basically a cancer and there was
another kid who we hired after him who was really young fresh out of college
and the older guy the original guy that we hired he was super super talented and
so the younger guy latched on the older guy and basically the two of them became
this cancerous plague inside my office and so the straw that broke the camel’s
back is I I was working out of the office actually I was working from home
this one morning and I had a job post up on Craigslist and the the older guy who
was the the it was cancerous emailed me asking aquiring about this job post on
Craigslist not knowing that he was already working for the frickin company
and so immediately I sent an email to the person who was handling our HR and I
said hey we gotta let this guy go and in Mexico it’s very very difficult to let
people go so we had to do all this paperwork and basically come up with a
plan to dismiss this candidate and so I brought him in on a Friday I said hey
how long have you been looking for another job he says I’m not looking for
another job and I turn around my computer and I say oh interesting
because I got this email from you on this date during work hours and I was
like so how long have you been looking for another job he’s like I’ve been
looking for the entire since the entire since the day that I started I’ve been
looking for another job just like smug jerk so I’m like okay well today’s your
last day signed this form you can go pick up your last check
and then like 15 minutes later his little buddy comes in and says could you
do that to me and I was like well yeah like of course we can like if you’re if
you are looking for another job or you’re not perform
yeah like this isn’t like this isn’t a charity huh and so then he quits and so
that one day I actually got rid of both of those people who were too super super
toxic to our company so yeah that was a very very memorable
day what was it like that Monday after the weekend coming back without having
them in the office literate didn’t even take that long that afternoon
breath of fresh air and like the because they created so much anxiety amongst the
other staff who did care and didn’t want to be that did want to be there and so
like that afternoon we all went out for drinks and we were just kind of like
chatting about it and I like told them what happened and they were like joking
about like oh my god it’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard like how do you
apply to a job that you’re already working for it was just like everybody
was like super mellow and it was really really it was really fun like after that
so I mean that wasn’t the last challenge but yes I was definitely the most
memorable one I still tell that story to this day too
it’s a great story I mean how many people lose their job because they
applied for their own job it’s exactly let’s talk about managing teams you’ve
obviously gotten better at it and when you manage five people it’s different
than 10 and 15 then 30 where you’re at now what tips do you have for the
audience on keeping that culture and keeping people productive yeah
absolutely um so you know like you hit the nail on the head when you said that
you know your your needs change as your company grows and the way that you do
things changes as well but I think that everybody needs to embrace the fact that
you are here you were like you are hiring great people and you need to be
able to empower them to just do their thing and allow them to be great like
micromanaging it just does not work and I’ve I’ve been on that side of the
spectrum and unfortunately like when I started my company I didn’t really know
that I wanted a whole lot of staff and I kind of looked at them as a necessary
evil and that’s the complete opposite you know like now my mind my mindset is
completely different and these people that we employ are the most important
aspect of our company and I say in many ways they’re more important than your
product because your product can change or the market might dictate that your
product needs to change but with great people
they’ll be able to help you overcome any of those obstacles so the first thing
that we look at when we post a job when we’re looking to fill a position is
obviously there’s a core set of skills they need to have so let’s just take
developers for example all of our developers need to be absolute experts
at HTML and CSS and then we have some varying levels of PHP and JavaScript so
when we put the job post up we say that they have to have that those skills the
person will typically reply with a resume we’ll analyse the resume and if
it’s we feel like it’s potentially a good fit then we’ll move them to the
next phase we send them a questionnaire like an email questionnaire like asking
them certain questions and it’s related to work and also like personal goals
what interested you about our company so on and so forth if they answer those
correctly and in a timely manner and how they reply is as important as what they
reply with right so if they if they fit with our company culture and when their
answers are good and we feel like there are potential good fit then we move into
the next phase we’ll do a phone interview and that
phone interview says a lot because we’re also you know obviously we’re looking at
their what they say on the phone interview but we’re also looking at how
they say it and how they treat people because I’ll take somebody who’s a great
human all day over somebody who might be a fantastic like technical that might
have fantastic technical ability but it’s just kind of like a jerk and so you
know like you can always train for skill you typically cannot train somebody to
just be a nice person you know to be a good human being so if they pass the
phone interview then we give them an online test and this is again to test
their technical ability and this is like a standardized test that we give
everybody so it’s easier easy to measure across a bunch of different candidates
who’s who’s got the chops and who doesn’t then if they pass that then
we’ll bring them in for an in-person interview we innovate you know we
have at least four people interview them and everybody’s gonna get a different
take and then the other thing is that as you go through this interview process by
the you know the first person that they interview with the candidate is gonna be
on their absolute best behavior the second person you know they’re
getting a little tired by the fourth person you really get a sense of who
this who this candidate is and how they’re gonna perform under pressure
because they’re tired they might be a little bit cranky or whatever but you
want to see that you know you want to get down past the first couple layers of
their this shell that they’re wearing while they’re in the interview and so
then after all of us interview them and we all collectively agree that this is
somebody that we want on our team and this is somebody we could picture
ourselves working for one day then we’ll give them one final test which is like
if it’s a developer it’ll be like a website build or something like that and
we give them that test with the deadline if they pass that then we’ll then the
quality is good then we bring them on so it’s a very very thorough process that
we put everybody through but I mean it’s just so important because we have a very
very distinct company culture here that we’ve developed well it’s really like
the staff and everybody has developed together and we want to maintain that
and we don’t want to let anybody in who could be cancerous because we’ve
seen the the negative side effects of that so that’s our hiring process in a
nutshell I love it talk to our audience about hiring
developers because it’s a totally different animal it took me years to
figure out how to do it they tend to not have the business mindset you tend to
not have the developer mindset at least I don’t what have you done to overcome
that any advice for the audience yeah absolutely again it goes back to the
soft skills you know so like looking for developers who have an innate desire to
serve other people like there has to be an element of customer service inside of
them if they just want to program and do the work and they don’t really care
about the outcome then it’s not the right person for you let them go be
somebody else’s problem because like in what we do and like where we work with
digital agencies so there’s a marketing component and like you know we’re trying
to get conversion and leads and that sort of thing so there is a very like
very like cut and dry like this is a successful campaign this is not and you
need to find the developer who even though they might not be seeing the end
product but they understand that they are a big part of this program and that
they care about that and they care about what’s happening to the clients and not
everybody is wired like that some people just want to sit behind the desk you
know and they want a program and they don’t care what happens on the other
side but you like when you’re hiring developers in my opinion you want to
find somebody who has that internal desire to serve others and that really
does care and there’s ways that you can test for that I mean you can look at
their customer service training we actually also give a what we call a
psychometric test to candidates so we can look at you know the way that they
think their values their beliefs that sort of thing and that sort of stuff
does change over time so like you know not to say that a younger person is
going to be set in their ways forever or an older person to set in their ways
forever but as you experience more your values and your beliefs your belief
systems start to change over time with experience and so that you know the
sacramentary exam really helps us to look at that person internally and what
drives them what’s or what their values are it helps us to gauge how they’re
gonna treat our customers as well as their teammates so that’s another thing
that we do that really helps out but yeah I would say like first and foremost
look at the soft skills love it Chris I really enjoyed hearing your story I
think you gave some great advice to the audience where can people find out more
about you and what are you excited about in 2019 well the first one I’ll say you
know you can go to our website dude agencyís oh and then if you go on the
social medias on the Facebook’s where a dude agency that I’ve to
facebook-dot-com forward-slash dude agency actually Instagram it’s at
dude agency die oh so that’s the first way you can connect with me you can also
just shoot me an email and very open with that Chris at dude agency die oh
and then the thing that I’m most excited about for 2019 is just you know like our
growth so you know from in 2018 we went from five to twenty nine people and then
this year were over 30 and we just moved I don’t know
if you can see my camera but we just moved to this huge office we basically
took a warehouse and converted it into office space so we can have 200 people
here now and I’m just excited about the growth and continuing to give
opportunities to people here in Tijuana you know let’s be honest there aren’t a
lot of people there aren’t a lot of positive things that are being said
about Tijuana Mexico and so it’s really really fun for me to show at least in
the just the digital agencies that hey there’s an unbelievable amount of
talented designers and developers here and they are they are wanting to help
you grow your agency and so task by task we’re changing that narrative about
Tijuana Mexico and that’s like another just big big thing that gets me fired up
every single day is being able to kind of change the way that people are
perceiving this country and especially this city I love a man thanks for coming
on and I’m sure we’ll be in touch soon awesome thanks man thanks for having me
hey everyone thank you so much for watching did you enjoy this content if
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