Elizabeth Eiss, Founder & CEO, ResultsResourcing
Elizabeth Eiss is a results guru who helps others get work done well. She’s an entrepreneur and expert in agile workforce trends or what’s known as the ‘Gig Economy.’ She is passionate about empowering the purpose of service businesses.
A serial business leader, Elizabeth is an accomplished, innovative executive who has successfully led multi-billion dollar organizations as well as start-up ventures in technology, alternative investments, and staffing. Elizabeth has a record of progressive accomplishments in the C-suite, operations, business expansion, turn-arounds, M&A, and leveraging technology to build business value. She has had a particular focus on knowledge work and how technology can make experts readily available when their expertise is needed.
A technology pacesetter, Elizabeth is the founder and CEO of ResultsResourcing®, an online freelance talent concierge platform and service. ResultsResourcing® helps organizations scale by leveraging virtual freelance professionals found, vetted and hand-curated using proprietary technology Elizabeth designed and co-developed.
Use the promo code ECKFELDT to get a 30% discount on your first curated talent search on the ResultsResourcing platform!
AUTOMATED EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
[00:00:01] You're listening to Scaling Up Services where we speak with entrepreneurs authors business experts and thought leaders to give you the knowledge and insights you need to scale your service based business faster and easier. And now here is your host Business Coach Bruce Eckfeldt.
[00:00:23] Welcome everyone this is Scaling Up Services, I’m Bruce Eckfeldt, I'm your host and our guest today is Elizabeth Eiss and Elizabeth is CEO and Founder of ResultsResourcing. And we're going to find a little bit more about the business and her background. Elizabeth welcome to the program.
[00:00:34] Thank you so much. Glad to be here today.
[00:00:36] So let's talk a little bit because I know you're you're in the business of talent in the business of finding resources. Let's go back a little bit and find out a little bit more about you. Before we dig into the business how did you get into this space. What was your professional background. Why focus on talent and resources.
[00:00:51] Well it wasn't really obvious to tell you the truth. I spent a number of years in Fortune 500 businesses the insurance industry specifically running businesses and starting as a risk underwriter and really learning what makes a good business run what business would you want to ensure that kind of thing. And over time I felt a bit typecast as an insurance Exactly. And literally 20 years ago up and left and joined my first tech startup and began consulting for small and mid-sized businesses primarily services businesses and in the course of that work I got really good at finding great contract or freelance talent because I needed to bring short term resources to projects or to fill very specific expertise demands with the startups I worked with or this small and midsize businesses I was working with. And the interesting thing is the client started didn't notice and they would say oh that Bruce is an awesome talent but I know Bruce is on your team. Can you find us a Bruce. And that is literally how this started. So I think for many entrepreneurs that's what happens you see a niche and you just climb right in. And so for a couple of years I just kind of did that ad hoc and I would find ways to leverage the many talent networks that are out there. But I had you know my unique ways of finding unusual places that freelance talent would be available or you just kind of develop your own personal network of people that work with you and that's really what started it.
[00:02:19] And then I realized that my particular passion through a variety of experiences was helping smaller businesses. And that just not the enterprise size but smaller businesses that didn't know about what's now called the gig economy or didn't understand the literally 350 talent platforms that are out there today where buyers and sell off talents can come together and really didn't have the time frankly to become expert in that thing that they needed to focus. As Peter Drucker would say on what they do best and not focused on trying to develop another skill about finding and qualifying great freelance talent. And so I happen to be a little geeky too. And so I am always interested in how can we systemwide something. And that was especially important for smaller and mid-sized businesses because it needed to be cost effective for small and mid-sized business to want to try freelance talent let alone find to use a service to find that talent for them. So I spent a couple of years in design and build code developed results resourcing that technology platform that that runs our business and that's really kind of how it got started and we've been in the process of working with a number of small and mid-sized businesses over the past few years teaching them about the advantages of the gig economy and how they can leverage it to grow their businesses.
[00:03:39] That's great. So let's talk a little bit about how to use freelancers and I think I think usually the strategy or kind of the initial thought for most people is well I can't afford or I can't commit to a full time hire so I'm going to do I'm going to do a freelance or contract but you know that's that's only one reason to really consider freelancing I mean there's there's lots of other benefits or reasons you might will look at a contract position or freelance position.
[00:04:03] Tell me a little bit about how you know some of your clients and some of the work that you've done and why people look at contract or freelance resources rather than going full time.
[00:04:13] Well that's a great question and I think it really brings up a number of reasons that this area of talent is beginning to really thrive in frankly by a recent study I saw by 2027. There are going to be a majority of freelancers in the United States compared to employees and that there's just an amazing trajectory both ways in the Crossroads is in 2027. And so I think there's a number of reasons and for businesses in particular what freelancers gives them is business agility and the fact that they can try things they can add expertise to their core team without having to make a long term commitment which implies you know management benefits taxes you know and a long term relationship not an on demand relationship. And so I think that many businesses are going freelance for certain kinds of skills because it allows them to add expertise on demand when they need it for as long as they need it. And I think part of that also is that especially with technology talent the need for talent is a need for more and more of our special lies talent and perhaps talent you don't even need full time. You need an exemplary user experience designer for example. But it's not your core business it's just you know you're working with an interface you a Web site or something like that and a regular web developer isn't providing that level of service. And so I think that freelance talent offers the ability to bring in really amazing talent. In fact tell you that small and mid-sized businesses probably couldn't hired directly because they don't have a big enough brand or enough variety in the work. And so freelancers can basically have a portfolio of clients and really interesting work across a number of industries and bring all of that to the table for the benefit of any individual client. So I think that the business agility is probably the biggest. And it's a very cost efficient solution for bringing great talent onboard.
[00:06:12] Yeah I think that the idea that you brought up is an important one which is that companies like even if you were willing to bring in bring someone in as a full time hire there are many resources many types of talent that actually would not take the full time position because it doesn't have the diversity it doesn't have the growth opportunity.
[00:06:31] I mean it's not a company they would want to work for full time and actually by doing it as a contract or freelance you can access levels of talent or types of talent that you just you could not do on a full time basis. And I think that's a lot of things.
[00:06:42] A lot of times people don't think about that or don't consider contract a freelance model as a way to get that talent again at when they need it for the amount they need it you know through the flexibility side but actually access is what opens up talent pools to them absolutely does and I mentioned a little bit earlier the flexibility and particularly when when small midsize businesses are trying out new ideas it's a great way to leverage experience in the market without having to commit fully to that idea. Maybe you're thinking of a new product line or moving into a new area of of the country for example. You can really hire people that that have already been there done that and got the t shirt and learned from them and tweak your experience tweak things with them before you actually go live. Or maybe decide not to go live at all because the timing's not right or something like that so it's just so interesting how technology has really enabled. As I say buyers and sellers come together you know over the Internet to find each other and find matches that can be really mutually beneficial.
[00:07:46] Until you mentioned another stat earlier in the conversation was you know at some point we're going to there's going to be more freelance contract professionals than full time professionals. What do you have any sense of what's driving that. Is that a temporary thing is that going to be you know I think that's going to continue to grow. And what's what's your take on the nature of talent. The nature of employment at this point you know in terms of this trend and you know what what does that mean for business owners who are looking to grow their businesses.
[00:08:14] We'll start with the last question first is what does it mean. And I think it really means that businesses need to adopt a much more flexible approach to talent and talent is about access to talent as opposed to acquiring talent which you know has a lot of ramifications. But the reason I say that is that this is not a flash in the pan type thing this is a trend that's been going on for a many years now and it's driven by a number of things but it's primarily the shift from fixed employment models to flexible employment models and not only is that good for business but it's also good for talent. And in fact there was another study done not too long ago. And what I found so striking was that over 90 percent of both business owners and employees agreed that companies that are good at managing a mix of agile talent or freelance talent contract talent and employees are going to be the most successful companies in the future. And I think that the unanimity there was was really striking. But I think that what's happening on the workers side is either there and if you look at in terms of demographics it's interesting because you know older workers are not so keen to hang up their spurs people the baby boomers want more flexible lifestyles but there's no reason that they can't be going around the world frankly and still access the Internet enabled to do contract projects and still add value in and not really retire. And then you go to the opposite end of the spectrum as you know to the millennials and they want and expect more flexible work working environments. Yeah. And so their digital Nadler NATO's and I think they're going to drive it as well.
[00:09:56] So a couple of questions around that so I think one is. So you mentioned this this blend of full time and contract freelance talent staffing. What roles do you not recommend someone look at this kind of flexible model. What what roles do you say now you really should or should consider that as a full time role vs. a flexible contract freelance role.
[00:10:18] I would say that it's going differ by company. And the reason I say that is because as a general rule and again I go. Going back to Peter Drucker. You know you should focus on what your core business is and that core business probably requires some sort of a core staff that is you know in the trenches with you is committed to your brand. You know maybe it even has an equity stake in whatever it might be in that core team. I don't think can be replaced if you're solo pro nerd is different. But as a general rule you need some core team that holds everything together. And I don't freelancers aren't appropriate for that role. And some of that is you know legal and in tax ledgers tax law where you know if somebody is really performing your core business that's an employee. It's not a freelancer. So and that's going to differ depending a lot what industry you're in. But at the same time I can't think of too many rules that aren't available on a freelance basis. And for our company results free sourcing about the only jobs that we don't think really work from our experience are what I would call sales jobs. True sales jobs because the sales cycle is too long for a freelance job and most freelancers really don't want to do pure sales work and they don't want to work on commission. They want to work milestones or hour or hourly fees. Now that's not to say sales support people aren't plentiful but through sales. I don't think there's a good match and then as I said before you know if you've got core skills to your business I think those are most appropriate for employees.
[00:11:53] Yeah I think that makes sense. You know I think the things that really differentiate you in the market or your critical capabilities that allow you to function as a business you know you need some kind of long term commitment and stability around. But you know all these other ones and I think as you really kind of press on those questions there's a lot there's a lot of things you can actually freelance that you may originally think that. No no I absolutely need this in-house. But you know when you really think about it you push it. There's a lot of things that you can be more flexible around.
[00:12:20] Absolutely. When you when you go back to your earlier question about the types of work in the old days things people were hired for broad jobs and they would do whatever was necessary within marketing for example and but now with particularly technology you need to be specialized if you're choosing to do Facebook ads that's highly specialized.
[00:12:39] That's not something that a broad marketing person is going to necessarily be particularly good at. And and so there's just many many examples of when you really break down jobs into components or specific tasks that that obviously requires management expertise to even think about how to components jobs and manage tasks as opposed to broad roles. It's a skill set in itself but there is much that can be outsourced. You know once you've developed the proper framework for that.
[00:13:08] Yeah I talk to me a little bit about that. I think that's an interesting idea. It's a company.
[00:13:12] If you're really going to go on this model you know one of the things you need to be good at is is how to actually sort of break up the jobs or look at the roles and figure out what parts of your process or what parts of your roles you're going to try to find outside resources for how do you you know advise or help companies kind of figure that out so that they really are you know going to the market with the right role in a way that they can manage effectively and get the results that they want.
[00:13:36] Well I think that it goes to the heart of some of the things that you know scaling services business is all about which is really price yes. And the process can be exciting. Process can be thinking strategically about what are the steps that need to be taken to get X Y or Z done and in fact there's a lot of conversation these days about everyone's familiar with supply chain and that all you need paper bolts whatever it might be to deliver your product or service. But really there's a talent supply chain. It's the same idea. It's just what talent components do you need to do the different stages of work. And it's generally not going to be one person it's going to be multiple people. And I think that it's just thinking through what are the steps to deliver my value to the market and figuring out what skills are required to do to deliver the different stages. And then it's a matter of saying where are those core abilities and do I have those people in-house or perhaps they're getting more and more specialized and I need to find new ways to bring the right talent to bear to deliver that value to the market.
[00:14:40] I think that makes sense. I think that whole know designing designing your business process designing your business system and then figure out OK well how do I how do I integrate the various sources of talent that I have and then adjusting it over time. I mean certainly that's one of the things I preaches. You know your process is never static. It's something that you're continuously improving on.
[00:14:58] And I think the same thing it's true talent as you get bigger as the industry shifts as you formalize and adjust your products and services you need to do the same thing with the talent you need to figure out where you're going to operate and shift and change for sure.
[00:15:09] And I think that it goes back to whether you're talking about employees or freelance talent. There are there are adjustments to traditional models. For example the whole notion of remote work whether you're talking about employees or contract workers which very often are remote that requires a shift in thinking too because if you're used to managing next to the water cooler or being able to call people together physically in an office that's that's probably not the way of the world long term.
[00:15:37] And and it also goes back to a comment you made a second ago about that we didn't is where loyalty but commitment to the brand. And I think a lot of people worry that oh I don't want to hire a freelancer because they're not going to be dedicated to me and I they worry about my intellectual property. But you know I think those fears are kind of well it's always good to be concerned about those things. I think they're a little exaggerated because you don't have any hold over employees even though it's funny.
[00:16:03] I think that's the thing that keeps coming up for me is people Yeah well they're not etiquette. I was like Well but you know in some respects they're more dedicated because you know they've got to earn the next you know the next gig the next the count right there. You want to do more work for you you know employees doing a little league make me a little fun. I'm a full time job.
[00:16:20] I'm sorry I was talking over you there. Well I was just gonna say it's funny that you laugh there because one of the things that I find the most attractive about freelancers is the professional freelancers are business owners. They do not have an employee mentality. They have a piano. They think about what they need to do to develop a brand and reputation in the market. And they're extremely committed to the success of their clients.
[00:16:44] Yeah I think that's really good. I think that's probably one of the big kind of mindset shifts that I've seen people that have successfully used kind of freelancers and contractors and they realize it and you know and they make sure they're developing good partnerships and relationships these folks because you know they're business owners too and they're really looking at a partnership rather than this kind of. Well I hire somebody and now you know I kind of have to support them are responsible for them the only real option they have is to fire them which is you know it's costly and it's painful and you know creates a lot of cultural drama and stuff. So you know I think there's some real advantages to these things that people if they think about it differently that you get.
[00:17:23] I think it's about creating that a talent ecosystem and as I said earlier access to talent and bringing everyone on board and that's a talent strategy not a short term measure but it's something that that we're doing as a company to have on demand access to the talent we need to be successful in having everyone embrace that.
[00:17:42] Yeah. And I I've seen some you're writing and you talk about this the Blowfish strategy the Blowfish economy. You know I think there's when we could talk a little bit about it but I think it really is you know more than just a solution to the kind of common talent problem. And it really is a business strategy.
[00:17:57] I mean it's a really operational strategies says look we are we're going to design this company to take advantage or to operate around this principle. Talk to us a little bit about how you know the Blowfish idea what it is and then you know how companies can really look at it at a fundamental level in terms of how they operate.
[00:18:12] Ok. Well it was one of those one of those moments I was just thinking about the benefits of the gig economy and for whatever reason the image of a blowfish showed up in my in my mind and you know blowfish or a small company is going about its business surviving and thriving. And when it encounters a threat it can puff up and appear in and actually be larger to deter competitors. And I was just thinking that it's such a good analogy really for what freelancers can be too small and mid-sized companies because either offensively or defensively by bringing the right skills on board you can actually be bigger compete bigger act bigger without necessarily shouldering all the infrastructure costs and the benefit costs you know of those of those people. So to me it was just very visually compelling notion which I've termed the Blowfish effect of the gig economy.
[00:19:11] I love it. I like it. It's a very great visual and I think you're right it works on both both the offense and defense mode. You know how you can use that strategy if a company is fundamentally looking at that kind of strategy from an operations point of view. What are the thing is that you think they really need to get right or they think they need to focus on in terms of you know talent.
[00:19:30] I mean you know is this about you talk about access to talent. Is there go strategies that you recommend or even like onboarding or communications or like what are the things that that companies that execute on this model will do to make that work. What have you noticed.
[00:19:45] Well what I've noticed is as I mentioned before they've really stepped back and they've thought about it as a strategy as opposed to a short term measure to fill a spot. And and as part of that that is thinking about well how are they going to manage a team of core team members plus contractors that may come in and out. And I think that one of the things that shows up quickly is how do I how does a company develop relationships with quality freelancers that can come in and out of their teams as needed to add value. But you know I have knowledge about their businesses and can come in and deliver value quickly in that. That is all about communications and setting up process to make that happen. And that goes back to whether there are tools that are use you know whether they're like Skype or zoom or you know meetings that they have as teams that bring everybody together and so I think that it's just thinking about the structural of that and getting everyone on board incorporating it into how you access and manage talent and then manage work in more and more freelance work. It's really all about more short term measurement. Setting up milestones what are the goal posts and how are we doing progressing towards them with ownership that needs to exist in the core team as well as as the freelancers.
[00:21:04] And I think that's another thing that frankly matches what's happening in workforce management in general which is you shouldn't wait for the annual review too much gets lost and there's not enough metrics and measuring you get what you measure. And I think that all these things apply equally and so on the one hand we're kind of looking at freelancers off to the side and thinking oh we've got to do something differently but I don't really think we do need to do things differently. I think we need to develop a strategy that works for resources period and just apply it differently. And I think so that that stepping back and preparing is probably the most important step because you minimize disappointment that way you've got structure in place because people are people mean there. No matter how well you curate there can be disappointments or there can simply be personal things that come up you know illnesses and families or whatever that whether it's a freelancer or an employee. Real life shows up and it's the hiring of freelancers not a failure because something like that happens.
[00:22:04] So I think there's a certain amount of responsibility that just needs to occur in preparation for a really successful 21st century work work style experience.
[00:22:15] I think it makes a lot of sense. Let's talk a little bit about how to go about this. So I know you know you have your platform you have your strategy is. And I'm sure you've also said proprietary techniques and things you've learned and stuff. But if you know someone's trying to do this on their own or looking at finding some contractors some freelance resources how do you go about this. You mentioned that there are 350 now job no job boards you know sources of these things. What do you recommend in terms of helping people sort of start this process where what are your points of advice that you might be able to give.
[00:22:49] Ok well without making this seem totally self-serving I think the biggest thing that people need to think about is that there is a do it yourself syndrome. And I think we all have it because we have computers on our phones and internet is readily available and it's so easy just to go online and type something in a in a in a search bar and and start doing things. And so I think that being clear about what you're looking for and that goes back to the process and the defining the skills you're looking for and the specific outcomes that that you want to achieve is step number one whether you decide to do it yourself or get anyone to help you. But then once that's done I think people need to also look at what is the cost of doing it yourself because it's really at a time and expense kind of idea. It's like how much time is it going to take me to find the right platforms to look for talent and do the process of finding and vetting that talent is most of the platforms work in a way where there's a full form you fill out you type in what you need. You press a button and a bunch of profiles show up and somebody has got to go through all those profiles and somebody then got to say well if you type in writing literally a thousand people might show up on a particular platform.
[00:24:09] I've seen like 10000. Oh yes. You put in a certain skillset or a job description and it tells you that there are those people that might be interested you might be a good fit for this job it's like oh you're fried after looking at five or 10 of them.
[00:24:24] And so so those are all things that can be very discouraging. And I will say that's really was one of the inspirations for the tact I took because I frankly was my own first client. I was the one hiring and I was having these experiences on these different platforms. And to me the secret was utilizing technology and this applies if you do want to go to do it yourself route utilize the technology for what computing is good for which is data analysis and sorting and filtering and if you're really clear about what you want.
[00:24:58] You're that much further ahead because you're not looking for something vague you're looking for something very specific and that makes makes it easier to get better matches on the platforms. But the thing that I felt was missing from most of the platforms was the human touch is at the end of the day. You need skill experience and cost. You also need the human attraction the cultural fit. And so my specific objective with results resourcing was to leverage computing power.
[00:25:27] But I thought about scaling results resourcing every single aspect of it not just the talent matching. And so our system integrates access to a human at the right points in time where they step in and they'll review the job profile to make sure it's complete. Or they'll decide what platforms to post it to where actually we'll do an interview of the people that we think are the best candidates and we can do that efficiently because we thought about scaling results been sourcing from the get go so we could make all that affordable for our target client which are small and mid-sized businesses. And so I think that's one of the things that needs to be considered when when people are deciding to hire you know is it pretty much cut and dried. You don't need that kind of assistance or if you do there. There are other solutions where some platforms do some pre vetting for you and you're picking from people profiles that have been prevented to results resourcing which basically does the finding vetting curating and interviewing for you. So you don't have to and there's really a wide range of of what's available and it's picking what's best for you and your cost benefit equation.
[00:26:29] Yeah makes sense.
[00:26:30] I always found I spent a lot of time in consulting on the taxpayers and some of our best clients were ones that tried to do it themselves and it was very painful it took a lot of time because a lot of money and then they would hire us to do it. So I can totally get it. Imagine you get a lot of that. So we're just gonna we're gonna be a time here quickly if people want to find out more about you about results resourcing. What's the best way to get more information.
[00:26:55] Well our Web site is ResultsResourcing and we need the company specifically because we resource results. We're very much focused on the success of our clients and that's the that's the talent that we look for is to help our clients succeed. So it's results resourcing and that's the best way to get us. This is going to our Web site. We've got a contact form or just a button to get started.
[00:27:17] Awesome I'll make sure that the link is in the show notes here so that they can click through and get it. Elizabeth this has been a pleasure. I'm sure we could we could talk for a while about some of the details on here and maybe we can set up future episodes but I appreciate the time and thank you for being on the show. Thank you so much it's been really fun and really enjoyed the conversation
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