Nicole Sahin is the founder and CEO of Globalization Partners, enabling companies to hire remote global teams anywhere in the world in as little as a few business days. The company’s Global Employer of Record (EOR) model has fundamentally transformed the way businesses hire talent by removing the burden of establishing an international presence, giving customers the ability to onboard the best talent they can find—wherever the candidate may live. Today, Globalization Partners employs thousands of people on behalf of their customers and has helped organizations expand, grow, and reach their potential across the world.
What is your business, and what do you do?
Globalization Partners eliminates the challenges to doing business internationally and building global remote teams. Hiring employees in a new country typically means a company has to set up its entity or branch office, bank accounts, and payroll system. They also need to source local legal guidance to ensure compliance with local laws, regulations, and protocols. In some cases, they have to begin doing business before hiring a single employee formally. In contrast, Globalization Partners’ EOR model enables companies to hire talent anywhere in the world in as little as a few business days. By removing the burden of establishing an international presence, clients are free to onboard the best talent they can find—wherever they may live. The result is that companies can ensure effective and smooth onboarding that empowers the employee to contribute to the business from Day One while also having a great employee experience.
What sparked your vision to launch your business?
Having traveled regularly while in college, I realized that the more people get to know each other in different countries, the more the barriers to living and working together are removed. At the same time, I also saw that there are incredibly entrepreneurial and talented people everywhere—and that connecting everyone around to a more globalized workplace would have excellent outcomes for families and outstanding results for employers.
One huge barrier to companies being able to access great talent worldwide is that traditionally, they have to leap through legal hurdles in every country where they want to hire talent. That was the barrier I wanted to solve. As I set out to develop the idea of becoming Globalization Partners, I traveled to 24 different countries to figure out how to create a global “megacorporation,” a company that would enable other companies to plug into existing infrastructure and bypass those traditional hurdles. After meeting with lawyers and tax advisors worldwide, I understood how to build that business model from an international legal and tax perspective. My confidence in my ability to construct a fully-compliant global EOR platform armed me with the motivation, belief, and knowledge that the business model would work, which has enabled the company to thrive.
What has been your favorite failure, and what did you learn?
When I finished college, I wanted to become an anthropologist. I lived in the northern highlands of Guatemala among an indigenous community known as the Mam people. However, as I started to understand that path’s realities, I realized anthropology wasn’t my calling. Next, I began a yoga retreat business in the Caribbean and realized that running yoga retreats, just like the anthropology studies in Guatemala, was not the right thing for me. But these starts and stops provided me with clarity into my passion and purpose.
I had discovered that I am an entrepreneur at heart, which led me to go to business school and eventually my founding of Globalization Partners. I also came to understand that business is the most efficient means to an end. I love what my company does, which ultimately connects excellent companies with great talent worldwide, creates jobs, and breaks down barriers for and between everyone, everywhere. As a result, people can maximize both their talent and opportunity—which is a powerful way to change the world. That’s a core part of what we do at Globalization Partners.
In 2021 Globalization Partners is expected to attain three-quarters of a billion dollars in annual recurring revenue and employ 600 people (internal Globalization Partners team) globally. Besides changing the way the world works, we’ve proven that it’s possible to have a company that employees and our customers love while having a phenomenal business by traditional financial metrics that any investor would be proud of.
What was the most memorable day of your career, and why?
I had been selling millions of dollars of services and spent a long career as the top rainmaker in my previous firm. When a large multinational signed a contract with me at Globalization Partners, they were my first client. I was too thrilled! It feels different when someone says they believe in you compared to being a representative of something else, and that stands out as a day in my mind to celebrate.
How do you continue to learn so you stay ahead in your industry?
The most important part of my job is to set the company’s strategic direction, which requires staying on the leading edge of what’s happening in technology and envision the future of our industry. I’m fortunate to be in Boston and be surrounded by great thinkers at MIT, which helps me stay ahead of the entrepreneurial and tech curve. I read the MIT Tech Review, the Economist, Harvard Business Review, and other intellectual reading periodicals. Envisioning the industry’s future requires a bit more inspiration, and I am an avid listener of podcasts. On a personal level, to stay grounded and inspired, I like poetry and historical novels. I’ve recently been listening to Maya Angelou’s audiobooks, not least because I want my daughter to overhear some of her wisdom. She has little choice in what we listen to since she’s only four months old.
Bill Gates is another inspirational business leader I follow because he has tried to make the world a better place with his resources. Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday is also fantastic—I love the insightful interviews she does with some of the world’s great thinkers.
How do you manage stress from running a successful business?
I have to exercise a lot to think straight, and I go a little stir crazy when I have to sit at a desk all day. To manage the reality that my job requires me to sit still sometimes, I jog, lift weights, and do yoga almost every day. I love to be outside too, and go for long walks—my executive team is used to taking calls with me “on the road.” Beyond that, I believe in giving myself time to think and use many meditation practices. When I want to decide, I will take the time to get quiet, envision the outcome three months or a year out if I choose one path. I usually get a pretty gut-level reaction or even a physical sensation that makes it easy to decide.
What is some bad advice you hear in your industry or with entrepreneurship that people should avoid?
It was the advice that I would need a business partner or co-founder as a new entrepreneur. I talked to a prospective co-founder/business partner, and there was a lot of work to figure out who owns what, how are we going to mesh our ideas, etc. I called my friend, who was a lawyer, and he said, “The only ship that doesn’t float is a partnership.” When he said that, it hit me, and I knew I did not want a business partner or co-founder, and it was an excellent decision for me.
Where can readers find you on social media?