How We Grew a Business from Seed

Growing from seed

Look for Talent, Not Experience

We got started with the idea to train inexperienced employees out of necessity, as well as from personal values. I had a few different careers before I got into web development. I was a pharmaceutical chemist, and I was also a math teacher. But I never worked at a place where anyone recognized my talent. 

I had other jobs, too. In college, I was a telemarketer and did data entry. I was a bright person, but nobody seemed to notice. I always thought that it was a shame that talent goes to waste due to a lack of opportunity for young, unproven workers. 

Back then, I wished someone would have given me an opportunity to do something at my level. Instead, I made it happen for myself, and co-founded this company in 2008. We didn't have any money, and back then there were even fewer qualified potential hires in our field. I'm super picky about the quality of the work my company does, and wasn’t willing to hire second rate workers.

We hired a few people and then the economy collapsed. Much of our work went away. We decided that we weren't going to cut anybody. By that point, we’d hired four or five people, and they didn't really have any experience. I was doing most of the billable work, plus teaching people. When the work dwindled, we decided to pay them from our credit cards. About half of those people are still with us, and they're doing great. I'm really glad that we kept them.

The main reason that we started hiring people who didn't really have much or any experience was that we couldn't afford anyone who did. We're not a virtual company; we've always had an office, so we're limited to our local area, and there really were very few good developers. Instead what we did was just bring candidates into the office, make sure everyone communicated, and for our part, we would bring a willingness to teach.

Believe that your people are intelligent, and that you can teach them something, and that they can learn. They might not learn as quickly as you would like sometimes, but if you believe that they will learn, they will. 
 

 
*SOURCE: http://www.modernsurvey.com/fall2014

 


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Jody Hamilton
Jody Hamilton

Co-Founder / CTO

Jody is a full stack Drupal expert. She does technical architecture, strategy, development, consulting, and developer training. Jody has worked on hundreds of Drupal projects since she began as a freelancer in 2006 and co-founded Zivtech in 2008. Jody grew up in the Philadelphia area and graduated from Harvey Mudd College in California in 2000.

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