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Startup Idea: “Entrepreneur In Residence” — a new approach to finding meaningful part-time work.

I recently finished a 12-week web development bootcamp at General Assembly and fell in love with coding.

My friends and family keep asking what I’m going to do next — and it’s a really tough decision to make.

I could go back to marketing and contribute product ideas with my new development skills, but I would probably become busy and stop coding.

After many long nights thinking about my decision, here is what I’ve realized:

I’m in no rush to accept a full-time position. I want to spend a few more months practicing my development skills.

I am getting better and I’ve never been more challenged in my life — it’s an awesome feeling.

I might go back to marketing full-time eventually, but I still have some serious learning to do.

As I continue my education, I would love to spend 15–20 hours at a company to help with marketing, product and growth.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been approached by several startups for consulting work, but they are mostly my friends, and there is no place beyond LinkedIn to announce my availability.

So how can I make my “free agent” status known to interesting companies? And how can they find me and other people who are in the same position?

LinkedIn and AngelList are great destinations for full-time opportunities, but both platforms are more effective for full-time positions and saying “I’m available for consulting” feels desperate.

There should be a marketplace that is 100% dedicated to helping experienced professionals find meaningful part-time work.

Venture firms have “entrepreneur in residence” positions available, but these roles are usually reserved for entrepreneurs who have previously worked with the firms, and the opportunities are not advertised.

Using this model, I propose that companies of every industry start offering “Entrepreneur in Residence” roles to talented professionals from different backgrounds.

These EIR’s can think about & work on different ideas than your core product (like EIR’s at a venture firm) and test new ideas.

Or they can fill a gap on your team and give you a better idea of whether you need to hire a full-time employee.

If you decide to a full-time employee, you have already given this EIR a “tryout” and can recruit them to join the team full-time, as happens in many consulting situations.

There are two parts of this opportunity that fascinate me:

Part 1: Companies “outside of tech” can hire employees from the technology industry to offer new technical skills to their business.

Working in technology can be exhausting and living in the Silicon Valley bubble can get boring at times.

I’d love the opportunity to try something new for a few months, and to bring my background in technology to a new industry.

We’ve already seen the demand for short-term technical employees during political campaigns.

What other sectors might benefit from hiring part-time employees from the tech industry?

I’d personally love to see city organizations and “boring industries” hire employees from technology to help them update their online strategies.

I’d love to hear your ideas too.

Part 2: Tech companies and venture firms can hire employees who work “outside of tech” to offer real-world perspectives to their business.

True story: my Mom has 24,542 pins on Pinterest and has used the platform since the day they launched. She is the most dedicated user that I know.

Last year, I interviewed for a marketing role at Pinterest and told the interviewer that they should consider hiring my Mom, too.

I was being serious.

My Mom understands the value of the platform and might offer a really fresh perspective to their team.

She’s raised 5 kids, designed multiple homes, and usually plans our family vacations — the type of things you might want to pin.

Would my Mom’s perspective on the marketing team be an interesting addition to Pinterest? I think so. Maybe they can hire her as an EIR ☺

Last week, Upfront Ventures announced that they are hiring rapper Chamillionaire to serve as an EIR at the venture capital firm.

I won’t bullshit you. When I first read this headline, my first reaction was “this looks like a pretty lame marketing stunt.”

But as I read the Upfront blog post and learned more about Chamillionaire’s background in technology, I began to understand the decision.

Why not hire a really successful rapper to be an EIR?

Chamillionaire’s life experiences are completely different from people who have worked at Google or Facebook, and he knows how to build a product.

This was much bigger than a marketing stunt, and I expect to see other venture firms hire successful “outsiders” to serve as EIR’s too.

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When I initially proposed this idea, the response from new Mom’s was really awesome to see. Here is one example from my Facebook feed:

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Like Lauren, my older sister, Kimberley Morris, is expecting her 2nd baby in a few weeks.

Kimmy is amazing talented — she studied at Princeton and was the one of the top graduates at Stanford law school.

She recently announced that she is transitioning out of her role at Emerson Collective to focus on being a Mom, which makes complete sense.

This would be an amazing platform for Mom’s like Lauren and Kimmy to find meaningful part-time work as they focus on being the CEO at home.

I’m interested in testing the EIR concept, starting with myself.

If a startup, venture firm, creative agency, or company “outside of tech” is looking for an experienced marketer & engineer-in-training to work 15–20 hours per week, feel free to contact me.

Relevant information to consider before you approach me for an EIR role:

  • Marketing and Creative: I have a background in growth, paid acquisition, email marketing, and copywriting. This skill set is perfect for early startups who wants to test marketing concepts without hiring a full-time employee. Or venture firms who want to offer their portfolio companies a dedicated marketing resource.
  • Technical Skills: I’m currently studying Javascript and Rails and just finished a 12-week development bootcamp at General Assembly. If you hire me as an EIR, I can build things for you — and you might be able to hire me in a few months when I’m a real developer ☺
  • Product: I love building products and testing new ideas. In the past 2 months, I’ve launched two #1 products on Product Hunt: Slack Chats and Requests for Startups. I also was one of the early employees at Zaarly and joined the team two months before our first product launch — I know how to do this.
  • Here is my LinkedIn profile and a link to some of my creative work.

If this experiment works, I will build a curated website that features experienced professionals like myself who are looking for meaningful part-time work — as I believe it’s an important project that could help the world.

Email me if you think I can help your company or firm as an EIR: jeffreymorrisjr@gmail.com

Startup Idea is a new series by Jeff Morris Jr., co-founder of Requests For Startups.

Follow Jeff on Medium to receive updates when a new Startup Idea is released.

Written by

Founder and investor @ChapterOne. Previously led revenue @Tinder ($MTCH). Became #1 top grossing app. Follow me @jmj.

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