I’m a serial entrepreneur, so I’ve had my fair share of mistakes and lessons learned. But, I’ll be honest, one of my constant struggles throughout my career was hiring. For years I could not find a way to build a good team, so I turned to the only solution I knew: not hiring. Shocking, right?

After all, the average cost of a bad hire is as high as 30 percent of the employee’s first-year of earnings. It’s a mistake I couldn’t afford to make over and over. 

I finally found that a subtle adjustment in my business model paved the way for a better hiring experience. I stopped hiring the smartest person in the room and instead became a leader who was passionate about caring for, protecting and promoting my employees. 

Here’s how I changed the narrative when it came to hiring and built a rockstar team with proven results. 

Define Your Why

For a long time, I misunderstood my reason for working. I got up every morning and went to work to make money. Yet that answer was never going to be enough to fuel my vision, my passion. 

The best advice I ever received was to find meaning and passion in whatever you do. Once I did this, my whole outlook changed, and my business did too. I began to love what I did, regardless of what I was making. 

I found my “why” in giving back and it changed the whole course of my life. For example, about 12 years ago, I had a friend who was struggling in his business. I began to help for free, expecting nothing in return. So did another individual, who would later become my business partner in SUBTA and together, we built an eight-figure business. 

Now, anytime I come up with a business idea, I start with the question of “how can I give back?” How will this idea impact someone else’s life? After all, entrepreneurship is about changing people’s lives and building relationships. And there’s no better place to start than with your own team. 

Stop Hiring Smart People

I used to hire the smartest person in the room, the ones with the most credentials on their resume. Yet they were never the right fit. 

It was then I realized that hiring was never about intelligence. I can teach someone how to do the day-to-day in their job. But I can’t train for attitude, for culture fit. 

Now when I hire, I look almost exclusively for someone who shares my vision, whose approach matches the culture of my organization. Rather than hire the person that checks the box on the job description, I hire the person who is going to help me be better. The one that can bring challenging visions to life and bring savvy solutions to the forefront with confidence. I look for someone who is going to paint the picture of my company with me, not just complete tasks off their never-ending Asana list. 

Specifically, I look for a strong work ethic, culture fit, and a willingness to learn. Ultimately, I want a team player who keeps working because they believe in our mission and what we’re hoping to build. 

And then, because I have people who care deeply and are invested in the same culture I am, I get out of their way. I let them flourish and shine. I give my employees autonomy to make decisions, to build their roles and collaborate to build the best thing possible. 

Take Care of Your People

Relationships are everything. This includes relationships with your employees. After all, your life isn’t about you. Your life is about all the people around you. When you source your life by giving to others, including your employees, it’s amazing how much things change. When you take care of your employees as human beings first, they’ll take care of your business. For example, I happily paid a speeding ticket for one of my employees simply because I wanted to help out. Later down the line, that employee stayed at the office with me until midnight working hard on a timely project and when I thanked the individual, they simply said, “I will never forget the time you paid my speeding ticket just because. I’ll always have your back.” To me, that’s a prime example of the notion of “doing good” coming full circle. 

Good leaders don’t have employees that work for them. They work for their employees. They care about their success, not just in their roles, but also in their personal lives. Often, I talk to my employees about their passion and purpose. Passion is what they love doing, what motivates them. Purpose is why they do it. When they can identify both, they find true happiness 

After all, isn’t that what we want as business leaders? Happy, engaged employees? 

For me, that’s the heart of building a truly phenomenal team. It’s not about me making a living. It’s about ensuring my team is able to live.