Talkpush celebrates our team’s entrepreneurial spirit and their success outside of their main job.
I consider myself a pretty hard worker. I usually start my day really early and keep going until there is not much left in the tank. The driving forces behind my work ethic? It’s a combination of curiosity (what will it take?), ambition (can I do it?) and the guttural satisfaction I get from conquering new markets, conquistador style. I love working with people who share my work ethics, folks who get stuff done all day long, regardless of office working hours. These doers get more satisfaction from a job well done than a pat on the back. They share the characteristics of the prototypical entrepreneur: autonomous, curious and self-motivated.
Does this kind of employee sound too good to be true? In a way it is, because all that energy and that curiosity comes at a cost for the employer: I must accept that my employees will pursue other dreams and interests outside of their work at Talkpush. Indeed, it would be impossible for me to hire folks who value a rich variety of experiences and challenges and then tell them they are not allowed to use this imagination outside of the scope of their job. That’s not how the human brain works.
While many companies tolerate (in silence) that their employees nurture other interests, or even a side gig, they rarely seem to celebrate it. While millions of dollars are invested in employer branding, most employers choose a narrative where employees live, breathe, and dream about their one and only job. With the exception of the gig economy giants (Uber, Lyft, Freelancer, …) few employers celebrate their staff’s entrepreneurial journey.
“You’re not building a lifestyle business, are you?” a potential investor recently asked me. I was taken aback. What does he mean by that? How do I know if my business is “lifestyle”? And what is the opposite of a lifestyle business? A business without style? A business without life? While confused by the meaning of it all, I knew this held a negative connotation, so I reassured him: “Absolutely NOT! We are not a lifestyle business. We are in it to win it!”
Later on, I read about that term: “lifestyle business." It is a thinly veiled diss directed at companies where work-life balance is valued more than shareholder returns. The notion that you can only achieve business success by demanding single-minded commitment to only one job, which seems outdated to me. As a solo founder, entering my 6th year as CEO of Talkpush, I am pretty darn obsessed myself, and yet I still leave room for myself to dream of other projects. Why should I hide that from my colleagues? And why should my colleagues hide their other interests? Why wouldn’t it be OK to have more than one job? Work is something you do, not a religion.
Some jobs are indeed more intense and time-consuming than others. To make sure the side job doesn’t affect performance on the main job, we measure work output (stuff that gets done), rather than input (number of hours). We don’t count the hours people put in, or the amount of vacation they take, only the results they have achieved. We’ve implemented Google’s OKR (Objective, Key Results) methodology and try to hold each other accountable for achieving our targets. We seem to be doing fine without timesheets so far.
I have had the pleasure and honor of working with a wide variety of entrepreneurs at Talkpush. Some of them are now alumni with their side gig becoming their main gig, and becoming incompatible with their work at Talkpush. Most of them are still Talkpushers, and while kicking ass at their “day job”, they manage to carve out some time to pursue other interests. I want to attract more people like them: people who think for themselves, create their own opportunities and take the bull by the horns. To encourage them to join our team, we now share the story of these Talkpushers and their amazing ventures:
Alvaro: The Seasoned Salesman who Provides Fresh Cuts in CDMX
Alvaro, a BM in Mexico City has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. At 36 he co-owns three barbershops in CDMX, under the brand Barberia de Autor, and is also dedicated to growing Talkpush in the Latin American market. He says that part of his success is the remote philosophy at Talkpush. Since he first started his business in 2016, the barbershops are almost self sufficient, but as any successful business they rely on his watchful eye. Sometimes, he takes his laptop and does Talkpush work from the shops. It’s even helped him build his contact base in Talkpush, as a preferred spot for execs and business leaders in the city, he’s had the chance to talk them up while they get a stylish cut.
He says that a lot of what he’s learned in Talkpush has helped him strengthen his own business. Barberia de Autor is about to make the leap into automation, “now that I’ve seen the correct structure and how to correctly adopt chatbot automation, I’ve got three vendors lined up, ready to help us get there,” he said.
Elric: Prospecting Rockstar with his own French Podcast
Elric, who started out in Talkpush in Business Development in Mexico City 7 months ago runs a sales podcast in French, The Sales Game. He carves out about 10 hours a week to get top sales experts to speak with him, cut, edit and publish his podcast. Elric’s strategy is foolproof, he plans his interview questions according to pain points he spots in his own job at Talkpush. So while he grows his LinkedIn following and establishes relationships with experts, he also gets valuable insights on how to improve company processes that affect his output. His passion project has given him personal satisfaction as well as professional growth. This month Elric was promoted to Global Business Development Manager and has already implemented many of the lessons imparted from his “side gig.”
His advice? If you have an idea, just do it. Block some time in your calendar and get to it. “People think too much about their ideas, and I think what are you waiting for? Just start now. It won’t be perfect but in time you will gain experience and get better,” he said.
Steven: From Key Account Manager to CEO
Steven, our Key Accounts Manager, has just launched his own automation company, Auty. He has been with us for two years and has had an amazing run opening new markets for Talkpush across Latin American. At Talkpush, he fell in love with RPA and this year he decided it was time to go build his own automation solution. Auty facilitates RPA (Robotic Process Automation) , with a drag and drop, no code system which users can use according to their business automation needs.
There is nothing more exciting for an entrepreneur to see another entrepreneur be born out of his mentorship. Steven honed his skills and vision during his time in Talkpush, which set him up to pursue his new dreams.
Manon: Managing Talkpushers all Over the Globe while Curating Artwork
Our Global Head of Candidate Experience, Manon, also runs a virtual art gallery, L'Epicerie Fine HK which focuses on emerging street artists. From managing such a visual enterprise from a digital perspective, Manon has learned a few skills that are useful in her role at Talkpush and our remote business model. “I learned to work connected, as a digital (only) gallery, I understand the importance of communicating, both with my partner and the public,” she said. She has used that experience to keep our distributed team aligned, informed and delighted.
She says that she dedicates about 3 hours per day to the gallery, focusing on social media and external communications, while her partner, an experienced art dealer works for L’Epicerie full time. Her advice to fellow entrepreneurs who are thinking of joining Talkpush is to constantly monitor their goals on both ventures to make sure neither fall by the wayside and to make clear distinctions on the calendar. If you’re only dedicating a couple of hours to your business make sure those are uninterrupted.
Tanya: Talkpush Service Desk by Day, All Girl Band Bass Player by Night
The leader of our Service Desk operations in Asia, Tanya, is also a member of an all girl garage-punk rock quartet. She plays the bass for the Flying Ipis Band. The band’s notoriously cheeky name ("ipis" = "cockroach" in English) endeared them and their music to rising cult status. Originally formed in the corridors of an all-girl, Catholic high school, Flying Ipis debuted their music in the local circuit with The Flying EP in 2009.
She says that playing at gigs is her way of balancing her work and hobbies. As a bonus it contributes to her performance at Talkpush by allowing her to get that endorphin rush to energize her during business hours!
Logan: A BM that Connects the Right Investors with Startups
Logan, one of our newest Business Managers in Costa Rica is also owner of Unexpected Ventures, a company dedicated to introducing investors to startups being built in emerging markets. His role at Talkpush and his own business are a match made in heaven. “Talkpush has helped me understand the markets I work in, the kind of effort it takes to help large orgs adjust to new tech, and introduces me to fascinating people around the globe,” he said.
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For years I've been fascinated by underrated cities and how they use startups to put themselves on the map. I've been able to witness this personally during my time living in Austin TX and Provo UT. Living in Southeast Asia has opened my eyes to how many places there are in this world with startups that have a lot to offer. I've decided to dedicate myself to sharing stories of the startup hubs that are in their infancy. I hope to learn how a city successfully builds a startup community, and how that can help the local economy as a whole. Welcome to The Unexpected Startup. I'm excited for you to go on this journey with me #seasia #austintexas #provoutah #startupstories #futurecities #economy #venturecapitalist #venturecapitalists #techinasia #investor #investors #investment #underrated #potential #startup #startuphub #entrepreneur #livingthedream #unexpected #stories #startuplife #startupcommunity #business #growingtogether #cities
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One of the biggest benefits is that as a BM for Talkpush he often has to travel to meet with customers. For him, that’s a big incentive to maintain performance, since he can take advantage of being a globe trotter to meet new people for Unexpected Ventures. His two jobs compliment each other, and he’s able to build a network that benefits both at the same time. Logan says Talkpush enables autonomy. “I'm really fueled by the entrepreneurial nature of this company. The kind of autonomy we often seek in a side gig is pretty attainable at Talkpush as long as you do well and fulfill your obligations,” he said. His advice: “Don't view it as an escape so much as an opportunity to do something creative in addition to your current role.”
Aurelien: From Talkpush to CEO of Research Platform
Another success story comes from Aurelien, a Talkpusher from 2016 who started a specialized research platform called Brainsfeed. With Brainsfeed, members can search for questions, case studies, and more, through a dedicated search team that puts together relevant findings. He says that his time at Talkpush was essential when it came time for him to leave the nest. He has replicated much of our distributed business model in his own company, especially our penchant for staying connected on Slack and the focus on performance instead of hours.
While working for Talkpush he launched Brainsfeed. He was determined to make it work, working extra hours and putting in weekends. Doing both things helped him make executive decisions, only to keep what was actually valuable, without wasting time on superfluous features. His advice, “work smart, not hard.”
I look forward to celebrating the future accomplishments from the inquisitive minds at Talkpush (present and future). Do these people I described above sound like the kind of colleagues you would like to work with? If so, please apply. Entrepreneurs welcome!