Matt Mickiewicz: “At The Start Of Every Venture, There’s Nothing But A Long List Of Questions That Need To Be Answered”
Matt Mickiewicz is currently the Co-Founder of Hired, a two-sided job search marketplace that’s focused on simplifying the way jobs are found. Prior to Hired, Matt also founded SitePoint, Flippa, and 99designs. Matt started his first business at age 14, which was sparked by his need to find a directory of web-development resources to help him learn how to create the websites he built as a hobby.
Q: What are some challenges you faced when developing your venture?
By building a two-sided, opportunity-matching network, Hired has flipped the traditional recruiting model on its head and created a brand new business category. Whenever you create a new category, nimbleness and agility are critical, as hypothesis are tested and quickly proven or disproven. With a small team, you end up wearing a dozen hats. I still remember when the first Hired office didn’t even have a sink with running water! One minute we’d be talking to customers and the next minute we’d be running a bin of dirty dishes down the hall to a sink hidden in a closet a couple hundred feet from the office.
Q: Was there any point when you thought it was over? That you were going to fail?
No, because for every business I’ve been involved with, we’ve taken the time to identify and test it’s highest risk points first. With Hired, we identified three potential points of failure , which we sequentially tested:
Are engineers interested in this new model of finding new job opportunities?
Can we get great employers to use our platform with out value proposition?
Can we get both sides to talk to each other, and to convert those conversations into hires?
If the answer to any of those questions was no, we would’ve stopped building the company. We didn’t raise outside investor capital until we were already generating significant revenue.
Q: As an entrepreneur how important has flexibility been in developing your venture?
Flexibility is essential. At the start of every venture, there’s nothing but a long list of questions that need to be answered. How much will people pay for this? What marketing channels will be most effective? What does customer lifetime value look like? What sort of sales team do I need to get customers? How will I be viewed in the market compared to other competitors?
Being nimble and able to adjust on the fly is the key to survival.
Q: What was was your spark, where did it come from?
All the companies I’ve started have helped solve a problem I was personally facing . I was fed up with the status quo , frustrated that nobody had built a better mouse trap , and so out of necessity, I had to do it myself.
For 99designs, it was paying $10,000 for a designer to come up with the SitePoint logo and present 3 concepts to us after weeks of work . With Hired, the genesis of the idea came from being incredibly by inconsistent and very expensive staffing agencies that we were using when we needed to rapidly scale our teams. I looked at over 450 HR tech companies over the span of a few weeks hoping that somebody was doing something similar to what we ended up building at Hired, but alas, nobody was.
4. What are your non-work habits that help you with your work-life balance?
Anybody seeking work-life balance, especially in the first years of a new startup venture, shouldn’t be an entrepreneur. You dream about it. You abandon your date at a dinner table in order to interview a candidate. You avoid travelling to places without great WiFi and connectivity so you can always be available. It’s all — consuming.