First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID-19 Times?
Dave Nevogt: We are doing well. We have always worked from home, so my kids and wife are used to it. It’s a bit stressful trying to organize e-learning, etc.. but we are handling it.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you Founded or Joined Hubstaff
Dave Nevogt: Way back in 2002, I was sitting in a cubicle, dreading the two-hour drive home, and not adding any value to the world. I got this job right after college and 18 months later, I was gone. I didn’t find any meaning in it or feel like I was contributing to the world. I changed that with my first online business, which started in a closet and grew to a million-dollar company within 18 months. When it was time to scale, I thought we needed a really nice office. I was wrong.
Everything I hated about that corporate job came back to haunt me. I started to learn that it’s my ability to be creative, free, and live each day as I please that makes me feel fulfilled. It was becoming clear that remote work was the way to go.
But, there are challenges for managing remote teams, as well. This is what drove me to start Hubstaff — to alleviate the pain remote managers feel and make remote work possible for any team, anywhere in the world. Today, Hubstaff is a fully remote team with over 60 members globally generating over $8 mm ARR.
How does Hubstaff Innovate?
Dave Nevogt: We are driven to think like our customers every day. This works partly because we are like our customers: a growing, distributed team with big goals on our roadmap. We innovate by understanding what our customers need and building features that will help them down the road.
We also use the Agile Scrum framework, which allows us to iterate on ideas and work asynchronously.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic affects your Business, and how are you Coping?
Dave Nevogt: Teams have moved outside of the office to protect their health, which has led to a huge rise in remote work. Even as restrictions ease up, workplaces might continue to offer flexible or remote work to support social distancing in an office. Or, they might keep it going because they see the benefits of distributed work.
For us, that means more companies need remote work software. If you’re new to remote work, it can be hard to know what everyone’s working on or if a deadline is going to be met (before the deadline comes and goes). You need tools and processes that support remote work.
What’s changed for us as a company: more trials and different questions when people sign up. This is a snapshot of our daily trials vs. last year. For example, You can see that trials are up on average around 200% since around March 15 when many U.S. states issued stay home orders:
As far as the illness itself, we have kept in touch with our team members, even more, to understand when they need flexibility and notice if they’re burning out. We’re all in different states and countries, which means there are different measures in place that affect not only our daily lives but also our work. We tend to say over-communicating is good with remote work, and that’s especially true in this new environment.
Did you have to make Difficult Choices, and what are the Lessons Learned?
Dave Nevogt: We were fortunate enough to have a useful product for companies during the pandemic. The lesson we learned is that companies new to remote work need a little more help getting set up and familiar with the idea of remote management. It’s different for sure, but it can be a great way to operate as a team. We wrote an entire eBook on it that we’ve found especially helpful lately.
Our customer success team has done a great job of being there for our customers through this, many of whom have told us their business would not have survived without a way to work remotely. We’ve been fortunate not to have to make any difficult decisions regarding staff when we know so many other companies have.
How do you deal with Stress and Anxiety? How do you Project yourself, and Hubstaff in the Future?
Dave Nevogt: Running a business is definitely stressful. Mostly because you are following your gut a lot and a lot riding on that. No one is telling you the direction to take. To deal with that uncertainty, we use data as much as possible to guide us, and we also take multiple paths sometimes. This helps us be right more often.
Who are your Competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the Game?
Dave Nevogt: TimeDoctor and TSheets are among our top competitors. There are those focusing on one or more of our features, such as Harvest, Scoro, Toggle, UpWork, andJobber (field services). For Hubstaff Tasks: Trello, Breeze PM, Clickup, Brightpod, Monday, Asana, Teamwork.
We are constantly looking for ways to meet customer needs, and so are working on additional features and improving existing ones continuously. We listen to our customers and try to build the best product that helps them streamline their business so they can focus on growing.
Your Final Thoughts
Dave Nevogt: Our vision is to help transition the business world to a remote-first workplace. We think the freedom and flexibility of being remote are life-changing, and we want to make that possible for more people.