David Kent

David Kent

The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team.

We built the business originally to Unbottleneck ourselves so we could work less inside our own client base, when we realized the real value in what we do is establish deeply valuable relationships with highly skilled remote team members that can help scale a business.

David Kent is up.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is David Kent. I'm the Cofounder of a company called Unbottleneck. We provide Remote Staff as a Service to US clients in various industries. We've excelled in placing highly talented team members in dev and marketing agencies, the eyecare practices, Dental practices, continuing education platforms, etc.

My background is a serial entrepreneur who started as a digital and content marketing expert before going on to launch, build and sell various companies. These companies ranges from a US based model RC company, an athletic compression sock company, fully drop ship furniture and home goods ecommerce store, to eventually getting involved in tech companies such as Hytch Rewards (mobile app that pays users to share rides that is being funded by a federal grant in Tennessee) as well as WaitSmart (a full service management and dispatch platform that is being customized for industries such as non emergency medical transport and aftermarket auto body shops).

The area of expertise I bring to ask of these organizations is my strategic relationship management, business operations management, and specifically my background in building and managing skilled remote teams.

What did it take to get your first handful of customers?

The business I built with Unbottleneck was based on my partners and my own book of clients. We built the business originally to Unbottleneck ourselves so we could work less inside our own client base, when we realized the real value in what we do is establish deeply valuable relationships with highly skilled remote team members that can help scale a business. So we ended up focusing on this as a Service.

Have you had to pivot the business to get to where you are today?

We made a couple of adjustments along the way. Primarily, we decided to focus on operational roles and avoid doing placement in sales roles. Our biggest pivot was from a pilot we did with a private equity firm. The pilot we did was a Recruiting as a Service model, where we actually operated as the recruiting department for several US based plumbing, electrical and HVAC companies.

Our team took over the entire recruiting process to find licensed and experienced professionals in those industries local to the area and fill 20 positions in about 4 months for roughly 6 locations. We were very successful, but decided to not focus on that model going forward. Instead, we continue to focus on placing remote team members from various countries with a deep skill set in the areas clients are needing to hire.

What drives / motivates you on a daily basis?

When it comes to Unbottleneck, I'm driven by the reality that we're changing the lives of our clients who have been facing a stark gap in talent, especially locally. When they are connected with our team members, they are able to unlock the growth potential they've been missing.

I'm also driven by the lives we're changing for the team members who get to work from their homes with US clients. My personal passion, though, is to be able to live a life that where I spend my time on impactful projects supported by open minded and inspired people.

When will you know you've "made" it as an Entrepreneur?

Ooouughh... this is a fantastic question. I've honestly had several moments where I would look around at my team and be like, "Wow... this feels like a real business now." I think the reality is, "Making it" isn't a singular destination. I've had so many moments where I felt like I could say, "OK, NOW I've made it."

For example, when I had my first regular client who was willing to pay for ongoing services. Then it was when I had enough clients to bring on a full time team member. Then it was when I had enough clients to pay multiple full time team members AND pay myself. Then it was when I was able to do all that and fully displace my best salary I'd ever been paid as an employee.

Today, I'm actually writing this answer from my phone in Sorrento Italy during my first trip to Europe which my team and my company has enabled me to do. So I guess for me there's always this sense of hitting a new place I'd never been and thinking I've finally made it.

What has been the hardest part of your business journey?

I think there is certain things that have taken me longer to get comfortable with than others. The toughest thing for me was accepting that I need to be a leader and I need to be public about it. I had always been an integrator. Technical operations guy that did a lot of social engineering and stakeholder management. Before owning my own business, I was rarely the face or voice of the organization, out in front. My style is more servant leader, if you will. But here I am.

Who or what has helped you the most in your journey so far?

My wife has been a huge help. Taking that leap to start your own business rather than just grabbing a job that has a pay check is hard. If you have a supportive partner who believes in you and will literally help carry you during the early phases, you have an unfair advantage. That is what my wife has been for me. Beyond that, I've had a lot of very good mentors along the way.

Career wise, I've been lucky enough to work with Mark Cleveland who is the CoFounder of Hytch Rewards. We've worked together in several companies over 15+ years. During that time, I met my current business partner Scott Falk who has been a huge part of the success of our company. The thing I've probably learned most about being a leader through three entire experience is surrounding myself with good people and learning to enable them to the best of your ability so you can rely on them when it counts.

What are a few resources that you'd recommend?

Atomic Habits has been a great book for me.

The STATS

List the founders

David Kent and Scott Falk

How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?

30-40

# of Employees?

5 "full time"

When did you start?

2017

How much did it cost to launch?

Sweat and time. No cash

What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?

No cash

Annual revenue?

~$2M

Projected revenue?

$3M-$4M

Any call to action?

Access senior level talent for entry level rates - Contact Unbottleneck today

Blog posts by 

David Kent

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