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Unlocking Sustainable Growth for Your E-Commerce Business

Written by
Jai Dolwani, Founder of The Starters

Unlocking Sustainable Growth


Every founder, executive, or marketing leader I've spoken to has numerous ideas on how to scale their businesses. These ideas range from launching new products, running A/B tests to improve site conversion rates, overhauling email flows to increase repeat revenue, or adding new marketing channels to the media mix. However, resource constraints are always cited as the primary reason most of these initiatives sit in the backlog indefinitely. There always seem to be more ideas than resources or time available to execute them.

The Trend

Resource constraints weren't nearly as acute before this year. When the liquidity floodgates opened in 2020 and 2021, companies were scaling as quickly as they could to capitalize on and capture long-term growth opportunities. However, talent was expensive as wages were rising, unemployment hit record lows, and candidates had all the negotiating power. Nevertheless, with near-zero interest rates and massive equity raises at inflated valuations, organizations could fund growth without worrying about the bottom line.

As we've all come to learn, that didn't last forever. Interest rates are rising, and investor dollars are drying up. Similarly, lenders are tightening guidelines and renegotiating terms in their favor. Leaders and executives have started to realize their outlook on growth and profitability needs to change. In efforts to shore up costs, companies - both large and small - have started mass layoffs and hiring freezes. Even cash-stable behemoths like Meta, Amazon, and Netflix have looked to layoffs as a cost-cutting measure to weather the storm.

Tech Layoffs in 2022 & 2023

So what happens to all those growth initiatives? In short, they stall because there have historically only been two feasible options to drive quality talent to organizations - hiring someone full-time or bringing on an external agency. The problem with both models is that they're expensive, they require long-term commitments, and they take significant internal resources to execute against.

To hire someone full time, you have to craft a job description, get headcount approval from finance, post on job boards, read through hundreds of resumes, put together an interview committee, negotiate an offer, all to deal with the risk of the hire not working out. In many cases, you'll also have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to a recruiting agency (typically 20-33% of the hire's 1st-year salary). Similarly, on the agency side, you're paying 2-3x the cost of an internal team (they have to make money somehow) and going through an arduous RFP process involving multiple stakeholders and long sales cycles with countless hours of calls.

Now, these are viable options, despite their downsides. In fact, a great full-time hire that sticks with your organization long-term is worth the effort in multiples. But the reality is that, in today's environment, increasing full-time headcount isn't an option for most organizations. Luckily, there's a third, often overlooked talent model - hiring freelancers.

Hiring freelancers has historically been overlooked for good reasons - the quality of talent on open marketplaces like Upwork or Fiverr can be incredibly low (it's a crapshoot), and other "pre-vetted" staffing agencies can place up to a 200% markup on freelancer rates, making it more expensive to hire from them than making a full-time hire. The world of hiring quality freelancers lacks the critical infrastructure needed to make it a viable option for e-commerce brands.

The Solution

I founded The Starters to help fix this problem. The Starters a premium freelancer marketplace that helps e-commerce brands achieve sustainable growth by providing access to top-tier freelance marketing, creative, and technology talent. Unlike other freelance platforms and staffing agencies, we don’t charge any commissions or rate premiums and all talent on our platform is pre-vetted through our 3-step vetting process. The Starters offers full transparency, allowing users to see all freelancers, their rates, availability, and prior work examples. 

From small brands doing less than $1M in revenue to massive, celebrity-backed businesses, The Starters has helped brands of all sizes find their next great freelancer hire and open up new opportunities. Sign up for free and see if The Starters can help your brand improve your business’s top and bottom line.

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