Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 279. Today we’ll be talking to Pavel from Solar Staff about the use case or business case for why his customers choose Solar Staff.
Solar Staff is a solution for secure deals, documents and payments.
Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think. Thanks, William.
Show length: 23 minutes
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Welcome to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case Podcast, a show dedicated to the storytelling that happens or should happen when practitioners purchase technology.
Each episode is designed to inspire new ways and ideas to make your business better, as we speak with the brightest minds in recruitment in HR tech. That’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
William Tincup (00:24):
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s William Tincup and you are listening to the Use Case Podcast. Today, we have Pavel, Paul, on from Solar Staff. We’ll be talking about the use case or the business case that his customers and prospects use for purchasing Solar Staff.
Why don’t we jump into introductions? When Pavel and I, we were going back and forth on eVAL, and he showed up on Zoom, his name’s Paul. We spent probably 20 minutes talking about the origin of his name and things like that. If I go back and forth during the broadcast of Pavel and Paul, don’t be freaked out by that. It’s okay. He goes by both.
Pavel Shynkarenko (01:07):
William Tincup (01:07):
Pavel Shynkarenko (01:07):
Yep, it’s good.
William Tincup (01:09):
Paul, teach us a little bit. Well, introduce yourself and also introduce Solar Staff.
Pavel Shynkarenko (01:17):
My name is Pavel Shynkarenko. I’m a co-founder of Solar Staff and I have over 20 years of experience in financial and legal technologies. I start with a legal practice and had an experience of legal practice up to 16 years.
My company provide the legal services for technological companies, where I helped them to open up new offices in many countries. It was 2014 when I find out that I’m near to the ceiling of my possibilities of providing the services.
William Tincup (02:05):
Pavel Shynkarenko (02:07):
My business was like a craft. You are in that business, you have to be involved in all the procedures, and you spend a lot of time. That’s why I understand I would like to establish the technological company and start the technological business, to pass through that ceiling and raise my business in many countries.
That’s why I decided to open the Solar Staff. It was an idea looks like a lot of my clients face with the problems when they start to use international freelance forces.
William Tincup (02:58):
Pavel Shynkarenko (02:59):
There are different kind of regulations and procedures in many countries, different payment systems and methods. They spend a lot of time and money, and the labor forces to manage that procedures.
I think, “Oh, it sounds like a good point of automation and starting a business, which can help my customers and other companies to manage their international freelance forces more easily, faster and more cost effect.”
William Tincup (03:41):
First of all, I love this. I love the platform. Especially because with COVID, we obviously opened up our aperture. You can work anywhere in the world. A lot of knowledge working jobs, but you can work anywhere in the world. Your talent pool is anywhere in the world. Now, that’s great. Up until the point where you’ve got somebody in South Africa and you’ve now got to pay them, or you’ve got compliance that’s local, or federal or whatever. Now, you’ve got to be able to understand what laws, tax laws and things like that.
Take us into that world because first of all, I think people are fascinated with the world of work and the way the world of work has changed with remote and hybrid. Being able to access gig workers, freelancers, all of this talent that’s everywhere in the world, but now it’s great. That’s the good news. Talent’s everywhere in the world. Bad news or something to be worked on, is all of those places have laws. All those places, you got to get money to them, et cetera. Take us into that world a little bit.
Pavel Shynkarenko (04:56):
Yeah. I think the COVID was a game changer in our industry. So many companies try to use the remote teams and remote workers. After them, they think, “Oh, now we use only the local ones.” But there are no differences when you use a remote team in your city, or in South Africa or in India, it doesn’t matter. It looks all almost the same.
But all the difference is placed in regulations, in payment management and contract management. Only that kind of differences are really difficult for the companies to start to use international freelance forces. We help them to manage that kind of problems with our business infrastructure and technological infrastructure. That’s why our service grows very fast the last couple of years.
William Tincup (06:18):
Paul, we talked about freelancers but I want to make sure the audience understands. Is it just freelancers or is some of the talent full-time talent?
Pavel Shynkarenko (06:33):
There are two types of freelancers in our service.
William Tincup (06:41):
Pavel Shynkarenko (06:41):
One of them are some kind of part-timers, or a case-by-case use freelancers. But some of them work with the same company, for the same client for the long period of time. They could be named permanent, independent contractors.
William Tincup (07:07):
Pavel Shynkarenko (07:07):
Yeah. Their services, companies order and order again for many times and make a lot of deals with one chain. This helps companies to build their own private talent cloud. It looks like a pool of freelancers.
One of them could be used in day-by-day operation, another one case-by-case. Our customers feel themselves free to use that freelance forces when they need it or permanently.
William Tincup (07:54):
Who’s using the platform themselves? Because I could see procurement, I could see HR or recruiters and sourcers, or I can see hiring managers. Who uses Solar Staff right now?
Pavel Shynkarenko (08:08):
Thank you. I think it depends on the type of the company and size of the company. In smaller company, smaller clients, we work with the CEOs or with project managers. In companies who are bigger, we work with remote team managers, or vendor managers or HR specialists.
It depends on the structure of each client. Sometimes we work with the financial department, sometimes with the legal. I think it depends on the client.
William Tincup (09:01):
Makes sense. What types of talent are being sourced right now? If you were to put a finger on the pulse, what’s the type of talent?
What I mean by type is are we talking about Java developers versus consultants? What is the type of talent that’s being sourced the most right now from the system?
Pavel Shynkarenko (09:23):
Now we have more than two solvent types of freelancers in our system. Of course, a lot of them are software development, or designers or copywriters.
But we have customer support specialists or copywriters. So many types of specialists are in our system. Even legal consulting providers and so on, so many types.
William Tincup (10:03):
Right. Right. Obviously, you’re helping them with making sure that the regulations’ compliance is straight for wherever the freelancer exists.
Making sure that people get paid on time and in the appropriate manner. Also, managing the contracts for each job, each role, all of those types of things. Then that’s managed all in one platform.
Pavel Shynkarenko (10:32):
Yeah. Yeah, it’s true. We help our companies with KYC and onboarding procedures and compliance, and also with the financial management with some dispute resolutions. It looks like all-in-one solution for freelance force management for our companies, for our clients.
William Tincup (11:03):
Yeah. Yeah. No, it makes sense. Let’s do some buy-side questions for just a second. When you show prospects or customers Solar Staff for the first time, anybody, what do they fall in love with?
I call it the aha moment, but you can call it anything you want, but your favorite part of the demo when you know that when you get around to this and show them that, they’re going to freak out, they’re going to love it? What is that?
Pavel Shynkarenko (11:31):
Yeah. Yeah. I have the first point, it’s reducing of the time and the cost of all administrative procedures, all onboarding and KYC, and compliance. We talk to our clients, “You can do what you really need. Do not spend a lot of time on the boring administrative procedures. All of them will be done by Solar Staff, will be made by Solar Staff.”
“It looks like some invisible procedures for you. You’re just pressing a button, invite a new freelancer, and all the KYC compliance and onboarding will be made by Solar Staff. You just receive a notification when your new freelancers will be ready to start.”
William Tincup (12:32):
I love that. I love it. Favorite without brands or company names, or any of that type of stuff. Not trying to get you to disclose that stuff, but your favorite customer stories where maybe someone took a chance.
Maybe they hadn’t worked with a bunch of freelancers before, hadn’t thought about talent in this way before, took a chance and all of a sudden, can’t imagine a life without it.
Pavel Shynkarenko (12:57):
Yeah. My favorite customer story about Ridero is the Micro Edition Book Service. They start to use us to work with book designers. Before starting with us, it took them from six days to even three weeks to start working with each new freelancer. And after, it takes about 15 minutes to start. In addition, each of Ridero’s managers were able to manage contracts with maximum of 20 performers.
After that, this figure was tripled, and this helped the Ridero service to cope with their growth. In fact, we eliminated the bottleneck and held back the growth of their business. It was a great story for them and for us. I really receive the approval of our, I don’t know, of necessary of our service. It was a good story and they’re still our clients for three or four years.
William Tincup (14:29):
Wow. Well, first of all, just them coming back. You try something once and it works out or it doesn’t work out, but then coming back over, and over and over, just shows you it’s working.
Let’s say someone’s never bought a platform like Solar Staff. What are some of the questions that they should be asking and your team? In terms of before the purchase, what should they be asking you?
Pavel Shynkarenko (15:03):
Sometimes they ask how much money they should spend or time they should spend to start.
William Tincup (15:12):
Pavel Shynkarenko (15:14):
We tell them our platform costs zero to start and zero to own. We provide the services without any commitments or any subscription fees. On that point, they start to try our service. After then, they use our service day-by-day.
William Tincup (15:50):
Right. I would assume because some VMSs, that’s contiguous to it. It’s not the same as what y’all do. But some VMSs, the financial model, the economics is they’ll give people the access to the platform. Then they make a transactional fee for transactions that go through the platform. In some VMSs, again, not the category of software that you’re in.
But some VMSs, they don’t make a part, they don’t make fees for anything that goes through the system they make. It’s more of a pure SaaS model. It’s based on subscriptions, et cetera. In that case, it sounds like your economic model is not pure SaaS in a traditional sense, but it’s more based on the actions that they take through the platform. Do I have that correct?
Pavel Shynkarenko (16:49):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it’s absolutely correct. It’s the part of our, I don’t know, philosophy.
William Tincup (17:00):
Pavel Shynkarenko (17:03):
We would like to make some space, that in that space our customers should feel themselves free. Free and without the borders and without some commitments. If they need our service, they will use it.
If not, it’s not a problem. Okay. Now you don’t do not need the international freelance force. You have no or any obligations to pay some kind of subscription.
William Tincup (17:41):
It’s interesting because I could see arguments on both sides, especially if they use it a lot. But it’s fascinating because you could stand it up pretty quick, get them to try it. Then if they like it, which the bet is that they will.
Two questions I probably should have asked you earlier, but let’s do it now, is it’s a two-sided marketplace. You’re building on one side, the corporations that have jobs or projects, et cetera, but on the other side you’re attracting freelance talent. Without getting into the secret sauce, how are you attracting that talent?
Pavel Shynkarenko (18:21):
First of all, I would like to tell about our service. We are not a marketplace.
William Tincup (18:32):
Right. Good. Thank you for correcting me.
Pavel Shynkarenko (18:36):
Yeah. Yeah. We’re just some kind of tool, and some kind of huge number of tools. We help companies to work with their freelance forces and their freelance pool of the freelance talents. In that case, we do not need to match the new customers with the new freelancers.
William Tincup (19:05):
Pavel Shynkarenko (19:06):
We do that to be able to work with competitors. For example, we have some CPA networks, it’s automated advertisement platform. They work with the bloggers and they don’t want to share their bloggers with any competitors.
William Tincup (19:30):
Pavel Shynkarenko (19:31):
That’s why we tell them, “Your team is only yours. We do not share your team with other customers.”
William Tincup (19:41):
I’m so glad you clarified that Paul, because it made sense before, but now absolutely makes sense. The last thing I have in terms of you mentioned, you touched on it just a little bit around dispute resolution. But I was wondering how you manage quality in the projects and in the freelancers?
Because you’re helping them obviously with compliance and regs, and pay and also contracts. Well, you and I both know, contracts can get sideways quickly in terms of expectations and stuff like that. How do you help them with that?
Pavel Shynkarenko (20:20):
Yeah. Yeah. In one time it’s difficult and easy question.
William Tincup (20:27):
Pavel Shynkarenko (20:29):
We work with the customers and provide them the service. We built in some task management system and document management system. We turn their negotiation process into some forms, answers and questions. After filing that form, they clarify all the necessary points of each task. They think about, “Oh, we need those services.” It looks like an internet advertisement. We have to fill the form out what we really want, when we want to receive the results, what kind of measures, how we can measure the results. Our understanding points on that thing.
That when you receive some kind of checklist for each task, and you agreed with all the points before the start, it helps you to manage this process easily and do not have a lot of disputes after. In that case, we help our companies and freelancers to have less difficulties after the work will be completed. In our service, the number of dispute are very low. For example, it looks like 0.001% of task that finalized with some dispute, and it’s really less amount of dispute that we have in our system.
William Tincup (22:40):
Love it. I love what you’re doing. Paul, I just think it’s great and obviously it’s needed, and was needed before COVID. But because of COVID and even after, it’s absolutely just a great solution.
A, thank you for coming on the show, the podcast, and sharing your wisdom. B, just thanks for building just a wonderful company.
Pavel Shynkarenko (23:05):
Thank you. Thank you for your invitation. It was a pleasure to talk with you.
William Tincup (23:10):
Absolutely. Thanks for everyone listening to the Use Case Podcast, until next time.
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The Use Case Podcast
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.
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