Archive for February, 2012

Tiny Tim, Crutches, and What Healthcare I Should Provide to My Startup Employees

February 28th, 2012

Earlier this week I talked about what payroll system I like using at my startup (it is the same payroll system I will continue to use until the product blows up, ADP blows up, or I blow up in a freak accident and die tragically). Well today we're here to talk HEALTH CARE boyzzzzzz and girlzzzzz. WOOO WOOOOOO! That's right. It's time to talk Health insurance for startups. Right here. Right now.

Alright gangsters. Here's the deal. Let's set the stage again. You had your idea. Worddd. You tested your Problem-Solution fit. Worddd. You tested your Product-Market fit. Worddd. You're cranking away with customers / users, whatevs. And you're making monies honies. You built up a team with your co-founders. You're around eight employees. Something like that. And you're blowing your shit up through sales, because you're a #boss. Your employees are now in their mid 20's. They've been working for a year alongside you. Fully faithful, loyal gangsters. Working hard. And Tiny Tim, your hardest working employee, who walks with a gimp but who is the fucking man comes up to you and says: "Ryan. My crutch broke last week for the sixth time. I'm struggling man. My legs are busted to shit. Do you think we could get healthcare now?"

AND YOU SAY: "Tiny Tim. Quit your bitching."

Just kidding. You say... "Ya man. Let's do it."



Now what?

Great question. Here's what I recommend.

First off. Work with a group like Telamon Insurance. I've been working with them for two+ years at CampusLIVE and I wouldn't know what I'd do without them. They go out and get quotes (aka... how much all this shit is gonna cost) from all of the healthcare providers in town (Blue Cross Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim, Fallon, etc) and give you all of the competitive rates together. You then pick a plan (either they have the best rate or the best health plan for your team) and Telamon then helps take care of setting up all of your employees on the health plan. They show you how to fill out the health care enrollment forms (which allow you to sign individual employees up to the company plan). They give everyone in the company information on what is and what is not covered. They go over what "deductibles" and "copays" are so that everyone knows the deal (I'm sure you've heard these terms growing up from your mom when you were at the doctor's office). And they are there to answer all questions you have about what the hellllll to do. Plus, they also handle all COBRA and HIPPA related things. When you work with a group like Telamon, you get to hand off a lot of the annoying paperwork to someone else while you focus on growing your business. You get someone to ask 1,000,000 questions to when they come up. I'm lucky to have them by my side. And it just makes clear sense as a business decision.

By the way, what health care plan do we have at CampusLIVE? We have Blue Cross Blue Shield. Medical and dental. It's very typical for the company to cover 80% of the plan, while the employee covers 20%. Average health care cost is on average $500 per month per employee. Of that $500 per month, about $450 of it is medical and $50 is dental. You do the math.  It's clearly cheap as shit to provide dental to your employees. And for a bunch of young people who maybe don't brush twice per day every day of their lives (just sayin), it's not the worst idea in the world and is certainly an added perk.

If you have any more questions on health plans, specifically regarding the setting up of one, all of the paperwork, etc... hit me up and let me know. Happy to help answer your ????s.


What Payroll System Should I Use At My Startup?

February 27th, 2012

"Cash rules everything round me." - Gangster

Alright gangsters. Here's the deal. You had your idea. Worddd. You tested your Problem-Solution fit. Worddd. You tested your Product-Market fit. Worddd. You're cranking away with customers / users, whatevs. And you're making monies honies. You built up a team with your cofounders. You're around eight employees. Something like that. You started paying everyone by taking cash out of the bank and paying for rent and food. You then started paying everyone $50 a week so that they could buy beer, rootbeer, milk, whatevs. Now you're making salaries (undermarket, but still monies). And you're thinking to yourself... "When should we start using a payroll provider? When do we need to start paying payroll taxes to the government? When do I have to start doing this shit BY THE BOOK?" Good question gangster. Technically, as soon as your generating revenue and paying employees you should be paying taxes on those dollars. And while I can give you an answer to those questions offline (give me a call on my cell from a restricted number for an unedited version)... I can tell you one thing... when it comes time to choosing a payroll system, check out ADP's "Run" product.

We started using ADP's RUN tool to run payroll for us when we were in our infancy. And we still use it today at 25 employees. And you know what?!?!? I LOVE IT. It's gangster. To the nth degree. It is glorious. Because it's super simple to use. No headaches. You can add new employees to payroll, setup salary levels to pay, add in direct deposit, add in your deductions for health and dental insurances, tie in your 401k provider, and DO WORK SONNNNN. I looked at a bunch of different payroll systems back in the day. What I wanted was something super simple, easy to understand, with no red tape, and reliable. And I found it in ADPs Run tool. They should pay my ass to endorse this shit the way that I do for them. Every startup asking me about what system to use, and I say this shit. Every time. Day. Night. Weekday. Weekend. Don't matter. Always. ADP Run. FTMFW sonnnn.

Plus they have impeccible customer service. Honestly. I've never had a problem. All the men and women on the other end of the phone are perfectioness. Love it.

So next time you think to yourself: "Shit man. When do you think we need to start doing this shit by the book? Remember this post. ADP's RUN system." Oh, and you can use me a resources anytime you want. FO FREE. Ask me any question on earth about it if you ever get caught in a bind and need help. I got you. Free of charge. BOOM. I'm pide pipering this shit right now, and it feels SO GOD DAMN GOOOOOD.


Top 10 Tips to Getting Hired At A Startup

February 16th, 2012

I was asked today to put together the top ten list I put together for getting hired at a startup into one blog post. So here it is.

Here are the Top 10 Tips to Getting Hired At a Startup:

  1. Stand in the Rain

  2. The Importance of Warm Showers

  3. Get to 98%

  4. Wear Dress Clothes

  5. On "People Persons"

  6. Make Them Like You

  7. Carry a Bag, Notebook, and Pen

  8. Ask Who You'll Be Interviewing With

  9. Ask ?'s

  10. Slap Interviewers in the Face With Follow Up


Durkin’s Getting Hired at a Startup Series (10 of 10): Slap Interviewers in the Face with Follow-Up

February 13th, 2012

#10. Be memorable FOREVER

Ya ya ya. Following up is super-duper important. Always, always, always thank your interviewers. By email, definitely. By hand written note, maybe. But today, to set yourself apart, you need to slap your interviewers across the face with appreciation and kindness.

Get creative. There's the open palm slap. The back handed slap. The side slap. The gun slap. The wrist flick slap. The SLAP slap. The fist punch slap. The poke slap. And the tap slap.

Here's the three best ways to follow-up with someone in a meaningful, longlasting, memorable way:

1. Introduce the person who interviewed you to someone you think he/she should meet. Think about everything you talked about together in the interview. Who would be the best person you could introduce the interviewer to who they would enjoy meeting. Then make the intro.

2. Send the interviewer a book that you LOVE that you think he/she should read. Write a nice hand written note in the book cover.

3. Help a friend of the interviewer. If during an interview, the person speaking with you ever mentions a name, or a list of names, write those names down. Go home. See who they are on Google / Linkedin. See if you have any mutual connections. And find a way to help that person. Nothing says awesomeness better than people helping your friends. And it is certainly memorable.

There are ten million other ways to slap interviewers across the face with follow-up, kindness, and appreciation. I've listed three, but there are nine million, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred, and ninety-seven other ways to slap. Find your own, and repeat it over and over again. There simply are not enough red hand prints in this city.

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Durkin’s Getting Hired at a Startup Series (9 of 10): Ask ?’s

February 10th, 2012

#9. Ask questions. Make sure the company and position are a good fit for YOU, TOO!

I've always lived on a two-way street.  Give and take. And in an interview, remember that the two-way street principal applies. You're going to be asked a lot of questions by the interviewer. But you should also ask questions in return to help you see if it's a good role for you. If you're great at what you do, then people should be DYING to hire you. Literally DYING. Like sticking knives into their heads. Or shooting themselves in the kneecaps. Or... well, you get the idea.

If you're a great candidate for a position, remember that great companies and great hiring managers are looking for great hires to someday lead their great business. And you, in the same way, are looking for a GREAT job, with GREAT people, in a GREAT positive work environment, with the opportunity to LEARN, LEARN, LEARN as much as you possibly can. So make sure that before you leave the interview, you ask questions that you want answered.

Here's questions I think are fair game that you can ask to the interviewer (especially if it is the CEO / member of the exec team):

1. What is your vision for the business? Where do you see it in three years?

2. What do you do here? Are we ever going to work together? Doing what?

3. What do you look for in a new hire?

4. Do you have any recommendations for me that I can do to improve my standing in the application process? (This is another way of saying: "Is there anything else I can do to put me in better position to get this job?")

5. Do you have any good books you suggest I read related to your business?

6. What would I be doing on a day-to-day basis if I'm hired?

7. How would you define the culture of your business?

8. How many teams are there within the company? How big are they? Who leads them? Can I meet them, too?

Make sure that the job is a great fit for you. Ask questions. If the answers you get back from everyone really suck, or if you are not believing the people there, or if there are contradictions, or if you're getting weird vibes... Prod more. It's far better to walk away than accept a job that you have a really shitty feeling about before you get the job, only then to realize that it's not a fit for you down the road. Don't settle on something you don't believe in. Ask questions so that you know what you're walking into.