Labor Shortage Answers

Labor Shortage Answers

In this episode of Startup Hustle, Lauren Conaway sees hope for the current labor shortage through Kassidy Hazelton’s solutions. Our guest is the CEO and founder of HardHats. Her business connects construction workers and crews to contractors to resolve downtime and labor issues. Her business also earned inclusion in this year’s Top Phoenix Startups spotlight.

Covered In This Episode

Innovation plus grit—a formula that countless successful entrepreneurs have used. And it’s also the same formula that made Kassidy the successful entrepreneur she is today.

Follow her journey from leading a family-run business to creating a platform that solves labor shortage problems. In her conversation with Lauren, you will hear about the challenges female founders often face in a male-dominated industry. Lastly, watch out for a tidbit of wisdom she will share with every other startup entrepreneur – we think she’s spot on!

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Highlights

  • Kassidy’s journey into entrepreneurship (01:54)
  • Is innovation important? (03:15)
  • A discussion on the massive labor shortage in the contracting world (05:05)
  • What is Kassidy’s idea planning process? (07:16)
  • The greatest challenge as a founder (08:48)
  • Being a woman in male-dominated industries (11:35)
  • Her journey with HardHats and their go-to-market process (15:35)
  • How it feels to be the founder of HardHats (21:49)
  • On empowering workforces (23:08)
  • The landscape of the contractor-labor shortage (24:12)
  • Why the construction industry? (27:42)
  • Who are Kassidy’s mentors? (31:32)
  • Top pieces of advice for new entrepreneurs (34:03)
  • On forming a team who will help your business succeed (37:36)

Key Quotes

Stay lean and mean. Lean means trying to do as much as you can to keep costs down. Keep that side hustles going.

– Kassidy Hazelton

But here’s what I kept on telling myself in my head. Like just keep doing the work. Just keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing over there. And it doesn’t matter what they’re saying over there. What matters is that you put on your tunnel vision, your blinders, and you just keep what’s the next step forward.

– Lauren Conaway

I think all entrepreneurs need to have curiosity. And we all have to teach ourselves things that we don’t really have much understanding in the beginning.

– Lauren Conaway
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Rough Transcript

The following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode.

00:00.00

Lauren Conaway

And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host, Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHER KC. And today, I have to tell you about a very special sponsor that we have. Today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Now, FullScale.io knows that hiring software developers can be difficult, and they are going to be there. They’re going to help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And they have the platform to help you manage that team easily. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. So, today, we are going to be talking about a lot of fun stuff with this guest. We have with us, Kassidy Hazelton. And Kassidy is the CEO and founder of HardHats. I feel like recruitment and talent and all of that fun stuff are really top of mind for many entrepreneurs and small business owners. I know that Kassidy is going to have a lot of insights to share. Kassidy, thank you so much for joining us today.

00:59.65

Kassidy Hazelton

Hello. Thank you. Yes, I’m happy to talk and share.

01:06.54

Lauren Conaway

Excellent. Well, let’s go ahead and kick right into it. I’m just gonna say, hey, tell us about your journey.

01:15.74

Kassidy Hazelton

It’s been a really great journey. Honestly, I am really honored and privileged that I’ve been able to do what I can do in this industry. But um, you know, starting off is kind of a family business. When my early platform was developed, that was about four-five years ago. And you know, we did the family thing, and kind of became a small business. And then, I was approached by an amazing accelerator for industry experts. The company is called Komplex. And from there, people started becoming really interested in my ideas and what I was able to offer the industry, specifically just innovation around the workforce. I raised money really fast, and it just blew up from there.

02:07.11

Lauren Conaway

So you can’t, yeah well, you’ve kind of been on a rocket ship. It sounds like, um, you know, things are probably moving pretty quickly, so you said something really interesting to me.

02:07.50

Kassidy Hazelton

Ah, journey, and you know prior to that? Yeah yeah, um.

02:20.29

Kassidy Hazelton

Um, cook.

02:20.51

Lauren Conaway

And I want to drill down on it just a little bit, but you said that you know one of the things that you bring to the table is kind of an innovation mindset around talent, and so I want to hear what that means to you.

02:30.56

Kassidy Hazelton

Right? So innovation to me, I think, is really important with the workforce and our upcoming generations but just to kind of lead into some of my innovation that I’m currently working on for the workforce. Ah, just really, you know, I built this prototype, this technology that gets contractors and foremen to list crews when they experience downtime, and it kind of enables them to share crews. You know, when a storm hits, for example, say they’re in a different part of the. Ah, country, and they’re able to drive for two weeks, come out, help another contractor and really fill that labor shortage gap. So it’s kind of the best way to look at it is this door dash or something this experience where they can come in and look for a cruise, and they can exchange this service and these. Crews can still stay employed without losing their job, and so that’s really the innovation I’m focusing on throughout the workforce right now.

03:33.61

Lauren Conaway

That’s awesome and it sounds a little like it’s a little bit disruptive like this isn’t really a business model that has been tried before at least that I’ve heard of.

03:35.70

Kassidy Hazelton

It is.

03:41.69

Kassidy Hazelton

Um, right.

03:42.82

Lauren Conaway

Um, so that’s really cool and in your work I Just want to note this really quickly but your work had Actually we recognized you as a top startup in Phoenix through Startup Hustle congratulations. Yeah I and I mean just extraordinarily well deserved.

03:49.61

Kassidy Hazelton

A with it. Ah, um, thank you.

04:00.90

Lauren Conaway

So the problem that you were trying to solve was you know you’re trying to connect contractors with the crews and the people that they need and this is a difficult task. There are a lot of huge labor shortages right now, particularly around contract work and things like that. So talk to us.

04:12.46

Kassidy Hazelton

1

04:19.20

Lauren Conaway

Little bit about that when did you come to the realization that this was a problem that you wanted to solve.

04:23.52

Kassidy Hazelton

Yeah that’s such a great question because when I first started HardHats you know through the growing pains. We came up with some different solutions and right now I do provide a service. That’s simple recruiting. Ah, a service that just provides value at a low cost and alleviates construction companies from this daunting recruiting task and so we provide this really cool two week service for contractors right now but I realized it’s hard. Pandemic time I realized wow I could do so much more. I have so many awesome ideas, and I went on a whiteboard and I drilled out this idea that’s already done in this industry, and it’s done between networks and contractors and smaller groups and as I was kind of laying this. Solution out on a whiteboard kind of mimicking what technology would do through this solution. Um, you know I said what is the problem here. How can we fix this with ready available crews that know what they’re doing? And how could we get people to stop talking about the labor shortage like what can I do and it just happened so quick and it’s been validated. We’ve we’ve. You know already went through the validation process and spoke to multi-million dollar staffing firms around this idea, making sure that we really touch on what we need. You know that some of the risks that we’re gonna take and that you know they gave us the goal and that’s huge and and it needs to be more recognized I think. In this industry especially with someone like myself who’s extremely innovative.

06:01.97

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well that is super cool and I love that you just kind of shared a little bit of insight into your idea process like you said that you have a lot of ideas and I definitely yeah.

06:10.22

Kassidy Hazelton

I have, yeah, me.

06:14.59

Lauren Conaway

I Want to ask you about that a little bit later just like hey want to you know, keeping in mind that you don’t have an NDA in place are there any that you want to talk about So we’ll be but we we might drill down on that little little bit later but what I want to ask you So you said that you use a whiteboard.

06:21.18

Kassidy Hazelton

I Know really.

06:30.98

Lauren Conaway

Is that something that you use consistently in your kind of idea planning process?

06:33.66

Kassidy Hazelton

So early on building my Mvp to HardHats, the most viable product, I worked in a co-working space for entrepreneurs and early companies like myself. The company business was called galvanize. Really cool co-working space and so you know nobody was even in the building when I whiteboard this whole idea. Everybody was home scared of covid and I was there and I thought you know I just know I can drill this out I know I can go bigger or better and I sat there on the floor.

07:00.88

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

07:10.22

Kassidy Hazelton

And yeah to answer your question, Of course I use Whiteboards I use it all the time. But this whole situation was really special especially to like the growth and the journey of HardHats and the hardness and the grind and the heartache around building a company during a pandemic. You know what I mean. So.

07:27.48

Lauren Conaway

Oh man and you just led me to another excellent west and you keep on doing that. This is great. You’re kind of doing my job for me and I got to tell you I don’t hate it.

07:29.78

Kassidy Hazelton

Um, yeah, yeah I know that the great put it.

07:41.73

Lauren Conaway

So here’s the question. You know you’re talking about that grind, and you’re talking about how difficult it is, and I don’t think there is any entrepreneur or even you know aspiring entrepreneur listening right now who doesn’t understand that it’s a difficult journey, right? like it’s just it’s hard there. There are times when you feel like you’re beating your head against a wall.

07:53.50

Kassidy Hazelton

I The cost.

08:01.13

Lauren Conaway

But then there are also times that are absolutely fantastic. So first I want you to tell us what has been your greatest challenge as a founder, especially dealing with a pandemic. I mean I can’t even tell you how frustrating that must have been. So what was your greatest challenge and then I’m going to ask you to follow up with your greatest.

08:02.61

Kassidy Hazelton

Us.

08:10.50

Kassidy Hazelton

I am.

08:19.94

Lauren Conaway

Ah, success or the thing that brought you the most excitement and happiness.

08:23.40

Kassidy Hazelton

Yeah, there are so many challenges to an early startup, a disruptive startup at – you know, I can probably list a ton of things but um, due to time and everything, you know, the biggest challenge really is just being. Early like an idea for a baby startup and getting to those next levels and breaking through those walls and you know. I never see walls, I never see barriers, I always run through them. No matter what like that’s just my personality like I actually get myself in trouble sometimes because I just don’t I don’t see I’m like how can I get through that around that dig under it. You know like what? what is it going to take and so you know that’s really something. Um.

09:00.91

Lauren Conaway

Sure I bet I bet.

09:15.84

Kassidy Hazelton

I think any entrepreneur is going to face it. Ah, but you know being I don’t want to say being a woman you know today today’s day women actually have a lot of opportunities and um, but there are some challenges you know, just being a woman. Um, because there are a lot of them. You know mill dominance and construction and startups that do get a little bit more pats on the back and a little bit more lead when it comes to the resources that they need and so not saying it’s not fair, but that is a challenge and really the success that I’ve had. With HardHats and um, just my whole entrepreneur life, it is really, really cool to see you know where I’ve come and how great I’ve built myself as a person and just I mean.

10:03.41

Lauren Conaway

Now.

10:09.21

Lauren Conaway

Um, yeah, that is awesome.

10:13.74

Kassidy Hazelton

It’s so awesome to see? Yeah, it’s like you know I have my own challenges just in life. My person you know and here I am like looking back, I’m just like that is like a high for me I Just I love it. Yeah well.

10:24.60

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well I you know clearly you know you have you have kind of worked through some obstacles and you’ve you know you’ve you’ve developed this really incredible thing. So hats off to you. Let’s just take a moment to celebrate and honor that now you know you.

10:31.56

Kassidy Hazelton

Yeah, um.

10:44.15

Lauren Conaway

Kassidy, you just said something that is like right in my wheelhouse friend like so so I am I’m going to ask you this question because I want to so we’re going to take a moment and I just.

10:51.38

Kassidy Hazelton

Then.

10:55.86

Lauren Conaway

I also came up through male-dominated industries. Most of my career I worked in automotive and aerospace, and so I’m kind of I Grew very accustomed to operating in spaces that weren’t necessarily built for me right? Um, and so I want to.

11:01.29

Kassidy Hazelton

Adam.

11:08.65

Kassidy Hazelton

A.

11:13.22

Lauren Conaway

Want to ask you about that like how did you? How did you keep on keeping on because and so for our listeners at home and and some who may maybe don’t necessarily experience this like Kassidy I’m going to speak for you a little bit but you know when you’re when you’re in these rooms. Not only do you have to.

11:25.20

Kassidy Hazelton

Okay.

11:32.50

Lauren Conaway

Sell your product or your service, but you also have to sell your own credibility. It’s not given as a matter of fact and so you have to work twice as hard. Um, you know that gets compounded you know for women of color. You’re going to have to work 10 times as hard and like every layer of privilege that you remove.

11:34.37

Kassidy Hazelton

Okay. Oh hey.

11:45.23

Kassidy Hazelton

Ah.

11:51.40

Lauren Conaway

Means just a little bit. Not even a little bit but a lot more work and a lot more. Um, you have to be very strong in yourself to be continually living in that right? and so I’m asking you. How did you work through that Kassidy?

11:54.20

Kassidy Hazelton

The heat.

12:01.57

Kassidy Hazelton

No.

12:10.70

Kassidy Hazelton

It’s honestly my personality, so that is a given like I was just blessed in that Yes, very very exactly and I and but you know I’m not saying that.

12:13.49

Lauren Conaway

I mean you said you’re pretty. You’re pretty strong like you know, blowpath obstacles or blast the room I think he said and I love that.

12:25.96

Kassidy Hazelton

There wasn’t times where I felt like oh my gosh I cannot do this like this is way too hard and I absolutely have those moments and what kept me going is just like to be honest, like keep working and even though there was days where like I’m done I’m done I am so tired of this.. It’s mentally breaking me down. And I Just yeah, so at those times I find myself just dabbling into something that I know I’m really good at like design and marketing you know and then I get like amped up again and then I’m kind of back on my my so my path and so those are ways that I overcome those moments of like. Can’t do it anymore and people like you even reach out to me and remember that I am valuable in this industry even though I don’t feel valuable at times. People out there, men and women, everybody can see what HardHats is doing and.

13:20.10

Lauren Conaway

Well sure.

13:22.40

Kassidy Hazelton

Have to think about those times. Um, even if they’re a year old, you still remember you know and that will keep you going.

13:25.78

Lauren Conaway

Um, that was a really, really profound Kassidy and I’m going to share just a little bit, but I you know I think there’s no one out there who hasn’t had that moment where they’re just like do I quit what do I do.

13:32.82

Kassidy Hazelton

Other. Problem is.

13:42.39

Lauren Conaway

– of the really interesting things that started happening with innovators as we started to grow at one the pushback that we received was this isn’t necessary and then as we you know started to grow really really quickly and so many people responded so positively to what we were doing. We had moments where people would start to copy and and that’s you know that’s fine and people people would call me and they’d be like oh I saw so-and-so so and they did this with their organization and you know there’s that saying out there that imitation is the sincerest Tom of flattery and I was like.

14:02.12

Kassidy Hazelton

Well.

14:16.60

Lauren Conaway

But here’s what I kept on telling myself in my head like just keep doing the work just keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing over there and it doesn’t matter what they’re saying over there. What matters is that you put on your tunnel vision, your blinders and you just keep what’s the next step forward.

14:22.78

Kassidy Hazelton

Right? Yeah. Well.

14:35.38

Lauren Conaway

Because if you consistently put out quality work. It will be recognized as yeah like you’re doing yes and that’s and that’s how you build.

14:37.90

Kassidy Hazelton

Um, quality value recognition like people talk yeah people talk you do.

14:48.65

Lauren Conaway

That’s how you build an organization, and that’s how you build a really good reputation, and that’s how you are.

14:51.36

Kassidy Hazelton

Like even even if you feel like just you know stupid or even like you’re like why did I say that you know you’re like go scream at a pillow like I’ve honestly done that like I have broke down cried my eyes out in this power. Yes.

15:01.22

Lauren Conaway

Yeah I saw I’m a crier like I’m definitely i’ so I cried into a pillow really hard.

15:11.11

Kassidy Hazelton

And it’s absolutely necessary. Um, as to start it because we’re doing so many things and we’re putting so much pressure on ourselves and you’re gonna just have those moments you know and just go for it. You know, lose your mind for like 30 minutes and you’ll be okay.

15:24.50

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, yeah, no, I think that that is an absolutely incredible Incredible motto Slogan Life life directive. Whatever you want to call it. No I love that So talk to us about.

15:35.84

Kassidy Hazelton

Yeah.

15:42.99

Lauren Conaway

Your journey specifically with HardHats thus far like so so you said that you’ve validated the product and you have people who are you know, interested and really excited but what has the go to market process looked like for you.

15:47.93

Kassidy Hazelton

Um I see okay. Yeah, so you know I mean yeah I’ve mentioned on the journey and you know I it’s.

16:08.35

Kassidy Hazelton

Validating your product early on seems really easy. You’re like okay I just need to make some handshakes get some traffic on my website. You know do these little tasks but it’s extremely important for like investors and and that is something that I was able to do. Early on you know it was like get this done and get that done and then I would check the list off I mean literally I had a list that was like – pages through Koplex and I would hit every single one. Um and in the good, you know getting to market through that process takes incredible courage. Um, especially depending on what type of industry you’re in um, what has worked for me is being completely authentic like putting yourself out there. You know, if you’re at an new event if you’re speaking at a event, make sure someone has taken a picture for you. Make sure you’re hashtagging to make sure you’re mogging people.

16:58.48

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

17:02.77

Kassidy Hazelton

Eventually it gets around and you can do a lot of those things for free and that is the easy way to get yourself to market. You know? Of course. There are different paid ads and et cetera things like that. Um, but being out there 1 on one especially in this industry-shaking hands is extremely important and that’s with any industry. But. I’ve been extremely successful because this kind of comes to the journey as well as my family. My dad has been.. He’s a veteran in this industry. I have about over 70 years experience just with family in this industry, and so I’ve been grandfathered in I have been told and you know even my yeah.

17:33.83

Lauren Conaway

Oh that’s nothing. You’ve been around your whole life.

17:41.70

Kassidy Hazelton

Yeah, even my fiance you know I hear and I remember the journey. This is what kind of ah you know, established cruise Sherry Cruise because I was listening to my fiance one day and he was There was a huge storm that hit and he was talking to his crew and they were like what are we gonna do I need to work if you guys. So get me going in a week I’m leaving and I’m hearing a lot of stuff and it was it was it was that moment. You know that was like the moment that you see in movies and I was like oh my gosh. That’s it and then I went and whiteboarded it and so you know it takes you know. Being and really involved I feel like in your industry in order to come up with these solutions and innovation and getting to market and things like that. Yeah.

18:23.28

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well, so that is super cool I have to tell you about something else that is super cool. Kassidy, dear listeners, I want to tell you about FullScale.io so full they are episode sponsors. We love them. You know.

18:29.20

Kassidy Hazelton

Ah.

18:36.75

Kassidy Hazelton

Oh yeah.

18:43.40

Lauren Conaway

That actually begs a really interesting question Kassidy when you were building out your platform. Are you a software developer?

18:47.79

Kassidy Hazelton

No, and that’s I haven’t like this really a cool ability to teach any teach myself anything and I when I first got into this I built my entire platform on WordPress with like 49 plugins

18:53.82

Lauren Conaway

Um, yeah.

19:04.44

Lauren Conaway

Oh my gosh you’re liked. You’re speaking of my journey friend. I’m just like ah every time you’re like speaking and I’m just like oh vibration I Know what you’re talking about.

19:05.28

Kassidy Hazelton

That drove me crazy. Ah. Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah, it was hilarious and then yeah, from there I you know I taught myself you know, certain platforms. You know Ruby and rails airtable are certainly different. Platforms that you can plug into each other you know I don’t fully code. But yeah, that’s kind of how I got into this too, it was a workshop around coding and I was like I want to teach myself how to code. But you know that’s how crazy I am like you know I came from. Um.

19:37.26

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well so wouldn’t it wouldn’t. It has been nice though and I’m gonna speak for you a little bit, but I feel like wouldn’t it have been nice to have like an expert just step in and lift that off your plate so you could focus on other things. Of course.

19:45.78

Kassidy Hazelton

I

19:51.58

Kassidy Hazelton

Oh of course but I’m an entrepreneur I mean I have to teach myself everything? Yeah yeah of course, right.

19:58.40

Lauren Conaway

You’ve got you got that entrepreneurial spirit but folks if you don’t if you don’t have the time and if you don’t have you know the the inclination we know that finding experts in software development can be can be really tricky and it doesn’t have it but it doesn’t have to be you can visit https://fullscale.io

20:09.25

Kassidy Hazelton

Um, absolutely. Okay.

20:15.71

Lauren Conaway

Ah, they help you build the software team really quickly and affordably you can use their platform to define your technical needs. You’ll see what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team. So definitely visit https://fullscale.io to learn more. If you need some of that lifted off your plate because Casty I got to play casidy like I adore.

20:26.49

Kassidy Hazelton

That’s Cool. You know what I will do.

20:35.33

Lauren Conaway

Your take chargeness and your chutzpah. But you know sometimes we can be easier folks. We are here with Kassidy Hazelton. She is CEO and founder of HardHats and I’m going to.

20:37.11

Kassidy Hazelton

Um, but absolutely.

20:49.15

Lauren Conaway

Shift directions just a little bit. We’ve been talking about you know, HardHats the company. But really, we’ve been talking about Kassidy as a founder and how tenacious she has been. I mean you really have to be but Kassidy has achieved so much in a pretty short period of time. What has that been like?

21:08.18

Kassidy Hazelton

It’s been stressful. It’s been exciting and very exhilarating. Um, you know I could probably go on but you know entrepreneurship is definitely in my blood. I’ve always found myself even public speaking when I was little. Um, being the boss just even when I was like in pop Warner Cheerleading you know I was the one in charge wanting to lead that team and crew and um, but it’s not for everybody and I don’t recommend it for anybody because you know sometimes it’s easier to do nine five s and just get that check.

21:41.87

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well and it it has to be something that you really believe in and it has to be a product or a service or an initiative that like that you’re super passionate about because there are some nights when like that’s all you have to hold on to I mean I’ve had nights with innovator where I’m just like this is so hard.

21:44.78

Kassidy Hazelton

And now, right? Yep exactly.

22:00.36

Lauren Conaway

I could easily quit and go get a 6 figure job elsewhere that came with all the benefits and the perks and but I do this because I believe in it and because I think that it is important for us as a society and because I believe in the strength of women and.

22:02.20

Kassidy Hazelton

Yes, but well right? yes. With my answer.

22:18.75

Lauren Conaway

I Mean you believe that there is a way to empower our workforce you know and that and that it doesn’t have to be as hard.

22:21.79

Kassidy Hazelton

Yeah, well well and I just want to say this really quick. My birthday was on labor day and I when I once I realized when I was building this like six years ago I was like wait my birthday’s on labor day wait a minute wait a minute must and I just remember.

22:36.68

Lauren Conaway

Ah, no way.

22:41.69

Kassidy Hazelton

Having like I mean it was like an explosion in my mind and I was like you know and so I’ve been listening to that little weird epiphany all this time and I’m like something’s up here other means yeah you.

22:49.99

Lauren Conaway

And like that means something it’s almost. It’s kind of like it’s kind of like a comedian who was born on April fool’s day or you know I don’t know like a priest who was born on Christmas like ah this is this is something that I meant to do that’s really that’s really cool

23:00.76

Kassidy Hazelton

Like right? I. Funny story. Yeah.

23:07.99

Lauren Conaway

And I love that you listen to the kind of reverberations of the universe that made that possible. Um, well that is really neat now I’m going to switch directions again and you’re probably getting whip last year but this just popped into my head. Um, sorry I do, I do want to talk to you about it.

23:10.76

Kassidy Hazelton

Right? yes.

23:18.14

Kassidy Hazelton

Um, sure. Yeah I Love it. Yeah.

23:27.38

Lauren Conaway

The labor shortage and can you talk to us about the landscape of the construction industry and kind of what that looks like because then I have a follow up.

23:34.12

Kassidy Hazelton

Yes, yes, it’s something that has taken me years to really gather research having just those conversations with people in this industry workers professionals contractors, owners of all, you know if we were to just to talk about. Um, the shortage in general. Of course we’re seeing a shift in work ethic 1 Um and people not really wanting to partake in these types of trades and skills. Of course there’s one of the resources out there. Um, like building your future is one? Um, so yeah, there’s that but you know if we really were to look. Down at the statistics of it. You know it’s really like – out of 10 companies. Really you struggle to fill all of their roles in their company and they’re often looking for resources for training things like that. Um, in there. Companies out there right now that really don’t even have an entire workforce their crews are limited by, you know, very minimal um capacity. But right now. Um, they’re having to look at so many different options like sharing Cruise within networks people are. Becoming very desperate and that’s kind of where I come into play like people are coming to me when they become desperate at that point. Um, and and that’s a lot of companies I’m making great money because of it and there’s a need for it for sure. Um, but there are not enough people to go around. Even globally because I do get a lot of people to reach out to me. Um, just in different countries like India for example, um, you know, looking at services and innovation like mine. So. That’s what’s that.

25:11.37

Lauren Conaway

Ah. I mean that is something that you’re interested in per Seaway like expanding into international markets.

25:22.33

Kassidy Hazelton

For I mean yes, that would be really cool. There’s you know a whole bunch you have to chew off with liability things like that. Um, but you know just I like to stay here and in the US you know Arizona specifically is my home state.

25:30.78

Lauren Conaway

Sure.

25:41.72

Kassidy Hazelton

So um, but there’s such a need for it and we have to stop relying so much on these training programs which are great. They’re they absolutely have to be there like e it things like that. Um, but what about like. Long term care issues and like that’s what I do I focus on court issues problems and if there’s – thing I’m good at it is solving problems like I’m such a problem solver like give me anything I’ll figure it out and um and so I think that we need to start looking at other ways where we can utilize quality.

26:08.66

Lauren Conaway

Now.

26:18.40

Kassidy Hazelton

Quality talent you know crews ready available that know what they’re doing and that can help other companies complete timelines that aren’t experiencing downtime. So yeah.

26:18.11

Lauren Conaway

Now.

26:27.20

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well and there are a lot of you know industries out there that are currently experiencing labor shortages I mean they think about the hospitality industry like they can’t they can’t keep people in to save their lives, and you know it’s become a real struggle like I actually know of several businesses around me.

26:34.30

Kassidy Hazelton

We hear you? Oh yeah, no.

26:46.84

Lauren Conaway

That has literally shut down because they didn’t have the staff and like they had to take a moment to restaff and it’s like and some of them didn’t you know recover or come back. So have you thought about adopting the platform for other industries or are you just kind of happy in your niche where you’re at?

26:49.47

Kassidy Hazelton

You know.

27:02.41

Kassidy Hazelton

Happy and very happy in my niche. I know a lot of people just like in the food and beverage industry. For example I actually worked with a company alongside Koplex they take all these industry experts and they build out these MVPs and companies. Um.

27:05.34

Lauren Conaway

Like it was valid there as well.

27:18.93

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

27:21.68

Kassidy Hazelton

Quick is the one that really hits the hospitality industry and they took such a hit I won’t you know I am you know I follow them of course and I just saw the aches and pains they went through and you know it’s too much to kind of pivot and turn although I did think about it for a minute when you know Pandemic was going through.

27:31.10

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

27:37.90

Lauren Conaway

Sure.

27:40.70

Kassidy Hazelton

No, I’m too good at construction. I have such a way I know how to talk to people in this industry and that is huge. My dad taught me that early on to keep it real. Keep it 100 and you know you’ll be really respected in this industry and I’ve always done that so you know.

27:55.13

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well that is awesome. So the next steps for HardHats. You know, actually you know what I want to take a moment because I think that we just kind of hit upon something very profound without even really realizing it. I think that you embody some life advice for entrepreneurs Kassidy. Are you ready to hear what it is, yeah where it comes, sometimes you don’t have to do all the things just because something is shiny over here or something might.

28:16.59

Kassidy Hazelton

Yeah, yeah, right? um.

28:25.18

Kassidy Hazelton

Oh yeah.

28:27.95

Lauren Conaway

Make you more money over here. I love the fact that you’re so firm and resolute in you know this is who we are and this is who we serve, and this is why we exist? Um, you seem to be really really firm in that. That’s awesome, congratulations. Not everybody can say that um you know the impact.

28:35.75

Kassidy Hazelton

Ah.

28:47.86

Lauren Conaway

Organization industry. We call it mission creep where you’ll have sponsors or stakeholders or interested parties who like to try to convince you. You should do this even though it’s not really what you do, it kind of adapts to our needs. You should try it and you have to be very very resolute and strong and just be like hey. That’s not what we do, you can support what we do and we would love that but we don’t have to do that thing. There are other people who are doing that. There are other people who are going to do it better. I’m going to get really good at this – thing that we do yeah so.

29:10.55

Kassidy Hazelton

That’s great advice.

29:15.40

Kassidy Hazelton

Yeah, right? Yeah I just love to you know yeah piggyback off that and you know it’s a great point because there’s a lot of you know mentors in this in the startup ecosystem. Especially here in Arizona you know they. Often try to, you know, tell you things that they think is ideal. Um and they often want to speak for you on a lot of things especially when you’re working on that business development aspect and so that sometime and mentors I love mentors I wouldn’t be here for without them but they um.

29:44.70

Lauren Conaway

Right.

29:52.87

Kassidy Hazelton

They tend to be really a little bit too opinionated around. Someone’s specific startup. You know they have the knowledge they’re experts for a reason. But yeah, you have to kind of hold ground on some of the things that went through.

29:58.75

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

30:04.74

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, it’s It’s one of those things where I feel like like I’m going to ask you who your mentors mentors are in just a minute but it’s one of those things where it’s like you have to be strong enough in who you are and what your organization is to know when it’s okay to say no like there are certainly times when yeah, listen to your mentors like please.

30:09.88

Kassidy Hazelton

Are the.

30:19.10

Kassidy Hazelton

Well um, from.

30:24.27

Lauren Conaway

Understand that these are people who are looking out for you and they have your best interests at heart, and they really want to help you succeed. But you’re also the expert on what you’re doing and in fact, in a lot of cases. You’re the only expert in what you’re doing and so you have to be able to kind of stand strong and firm.

30:40.87

Kassidy Hazelton

With her.

30:43.80

Lauren Conaway

And in who you are, what you stand for and why you do what you do? So let’s ask the question though, Kassidy who are your mentors I want to know who.

30:45.97

Kassidy Hazelton

Love. Yeah I love volunteers. Yes I you guys are you know in for you know, a good podcast because I just actually got done with an amazing virtual accelerator through the Arizona Commerce Authority um that is surrounded and supported by mentors I was you know, honored to be chosen to enter that. Um you know, just based on my startup and things like that. So um, um, totally Stephanie Sims is one of my top. Ah, mentors. She’s really hard-pressed around financials and she’s great. Absolutely follow her. She gives great advice around financials because that area is one of the most important um Mark Mormons who of course is the Vp Of Arizona Commerce um have so many I’m like blanking all their names right now. Um, yeah, yes, my goodness I am I can’t even believe I’m spacing. Everybody’s name right now like um.

31:47.45

Lauren Conaway

It’s kind of like an Oscars meet to make sure you’re like I know that there are people that I need to thank like I Always try to be the blanket like and everybody else who helped me on my journey I’m like see you were in there. It totally happens I get it.

32:03.59

Kassidy Hazelton

Yes, I mean I literally have like a list right now and I mean those are you know top – of course Zach Ferris he is that he was the CEO of Komplex and he was like my favorite you know he’s kind of big deal here. All over actually and you know I was so honored to have him mentor me. Um, so yeah I feel kind of cool I feel cool for and yeah, no seriously he was he I mean I feel really honored to have him be.

32:23.83

Lauren Conaway

Sure you’re super cool, brush your shoulders off girl, your sweeper cool.

32:37.70

Kassidy Hazelton

Leading me into the startup world for sure. So yeah, but thank you to everybody? Absolutely yes, just Michael oh gosh I don’t know I can go on.

32:37.75

Lauren Conaway

Sure we yeah but absolutely we go there. There’s your blanket, catch all my oh thought well that is super cool and I’m gonna ask you actually you know what? I’m gonna ask. The question that I keep on meaning to ask. But you know we’ve kind of been talking about. So some advice you know focuses on what you’re good at and stays there. Don’t worry about what the haters are doing. You know I use and leverage mentor relationships. Let’s say we’re getting a lot of good advice.

33:05.95

Kassidy Hazelton

Okay.

33:14.70

Lauren Conaway

Throughout this conversation. But I’m going to ask you specifically if you know some other pieces of advice that you would give the entrepreneurs listening at home and it can be around. You know your own personal experience. It can be around labor shortages. You know what your best practices are.

33:33.55

Kassidy Hazelton

Honestly, this is the best one that I can give anybody early on is stay lean and mean and I just mean what I mean by that lean means, especially in startup is stay. You know, try to do it.

33:33.71

Lauren Conaway

Um, the best 1

33:50.54

Kassidy Hazelton

As much as you can, Um, you know keep cost down um early on and and you have no choice at that point you know, get that side hustle going I probably had like 3 or 4 side hustles early on I mean I was a kickboxing instructor I was you know doing a lot of teaching like that. I was you know waitressing at bars just trying to get that money coming in so you know those are probably my top 2 side hustle for sure. Um, and you know, don’t be afraid to ask for resources. That’s always been like my number one as well. I’m not afraid to ask like I’ll ask anybody for you know you know questions around whatever if I don’t know something just don’t be afraid to put yourself out there because you know if I if it wasn’t for me doing that I would not be where I am I’m not saying I have everything sorted out. You know, but.

34:42.57

Lauren Conaway

Does anybody really like it? Does anybody have it all sorted out? Absolutely There’s no shame in that.

34:43.40

Kassidy Hazelton

I’ve definitely come a long way. No no. And yeah, and there’s a lot of companies who act like they do and they go on these fancy trips and they’re raising out series A series B you know? And yeah, you kind of like to compare yourself to That. You’re like Wow you know I. I’m in the crowd of the Angel investment which I’m seeking by the way I’m just throwing that out there not soliciting or anything I’m just you know? Um, but yeah, when it comes to raising any type of capital getting you known shareholders, you know, taking interest in your company. You have to be very vivacious.

35:03.49

Lauren Conaway

Hint it went. Ah.

35:19.94

Kassidy Hazelton

And you really have to have a good personality and you need to find another person that also can weigh in on some of the things you’re not good at, you know, like numbers is not my thing so you got to make sure you have like a numbers person. So yeah, no.

35:21.19

Lauren Conaway

Sure. Set. Oh for sure? Well and I love that you picked up a mentor that could help you with that. I mean that’s the thing like startup founders and entrepreneurs like we’re tasked with so many things, and really we only have the product or the project or whatever it is that we’re passionate about but then.

35:36.61

Kassidy Hazelton

Yes.

35:49.75

Lauren Conaway

Suddenly you know you start a company all of a sudden you’re expected to do the accounting and the marketing and the hiring and then you know building the product and in all of the things everything that goes into it and it can be really really taxing and so I think that that’s really good.

35:58.27

Kassidy Hazelton

I click.

36:06.72

Lauren Conaway

Helpful Reminder I mean clearly Kassidy. You’ve mentioned you’ve talked about the fact that you like to learn new things and so learning how to develop a website was something that you just kind of did and it was inherently in you, but it’s all set, and that’s wonderful. I think that all entrepreneurs need to have curiosity.

36:18.36

Kassidy Hazelton

Yes, he is.

36:25.65

Lauren Conaway

Um, and we all have to kind of teach ourselves things that we we don’t really have much understanding of in the beginning but the other the flip side of that coin is sometimes there are things that we don’t need to be doing so surround yourself with a network and surround yourself with people who are invested in your success.

36:29.52

Kassidy Hazelton

A head.

36:36.64

Kassidy Hazelton

Oh, it’s my favorite.

36:44.40

Lauren Conaway

And who can offer that help where you need it, that assistance or that word.

36:46.10

Kassidy Hazelton

100% and you know your Full Scale. Ah, sponsors here. You know I will absolutely like I’m actually really curious to what they have to offer because I don’t I had a really great.

36:51.32

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, but.

37:01.51

Kassidy Hazelton

Support around the software team I had around my prototype and my upcoming technology and yeah I don’t know all that stuff like I just I think it would be really great to hear what they have to offer an early startup like myself because yeah I can’t do everything No way.

37:03.60

Lauren Conaway

Yeah.

37:14.60

Lauren Conaway

Yeah, well and honestly I’m in your camp as well. So I Kassidy like I’ve had bosses refer to me ah 2 actually two separate bosses referred to me as a swiss army knife because I generally know a little bit.

37:27.80

Kassidy Hazelton

That’s kind of.

37:29.88

Lauren Conaway

About a lot of things like I’m not the tool that you use like the specialist that you use to be an expert in 1 thing I’m the one who has enough general knowledge that I can usually figure it out and I can find the resources and I can find the people to connect to and you know I’m cool to be that way but and I think.

37:34.94

Kassidy Hazelton

Right.

37:45.20

Kassidy Hazelton

That.

37:48.19

Lauren Conaway

Almost all startup founders kind of have to be Swiss Army Knives But then you reach a point when you’re going to need a bigasss machete to start chopping those vegetables or an actual fish scaler to scale the fish or whatever else comes with a Swiss Army knife. You know you’re going to need those those specialized products or those people.

37:49.84

Kassidy Hazelton

New Phrase brown.

37:59.40

Kassidy Hazelton

I’m so right? or so right? There is lots of do it yourself stuff out there for entrepreneurs like myself. But you’re so right? And yeah, you need help and I.

38:06.79

Lauren Conaway

Who can help you?

38:11.87

Lauren Conaway

So yeah, for sure. Well and I have to tell you I mean I know that you’ve had some support to get here but clearly you are a founder that is on the way.

38:17.14

Kassidy Hazelton

Love help. Yeah, I get it all the time. So.

38:28.67

Lauren Conaway

Um, you know, just doing some really incredible things and so now I have the human question for you and I’m going to ask you So you mentioned I was paying attention. See you mentioned a fiance, so I want to ask you about the upcoming nuptials Are you doing the fancy thing.

38:38.13

Kassidy Hazelton

Um, yes.

38:45.92

Kassidy Hazelton

Oh man.

38:47.49

Lauren Conaway

Are you doing you know tripped somewhere beachy like do you know yet.

38:51.56

Kassidy Hazelton

You know what we’ve, we’ve just had small conversations. We have not quite gotten to that level yet, but definitely just very humble, very chill just you know like family just you know, keep in the.

38:54.97

Lauren Conaway

Okay.

39:04.64

Lauren Conaway

Kind of like you.

39:10.12

Kassidy Hazelton

The whole situation is just, you know, very very chill. You know we’re not going above and beyond. There’s nothing fancy that we’ve talked about yet but you know well we will see I suppose No no date or nothing yet.

39:12.38

Lauren Conaway

He’s good vibe.

39:16.42

Lauren Conaway

Um, but. Yeah, no date or nothing yet. Okay well I was. I was just curious because so folks you can’t see Kassidy right now but I will tell you that she is a lovely human being with very pretty hair.

39:30.60

Kassidy Hazelton

Hello.

39:36.72

Lauren Conaway

And very well put together, and so I was curious. You know what that wedding was going to look like, but it sounds like it’s going to be very in keeping with you and your personality Kassidy. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today. It has been super fun. And I just really appreciate all that you’ve shared. Yeah, absolutely, and once again, we would like to thank our episode sponsors, FullScale.io. If you need to hire software engineers, testers, or leaders. You can let Full Scale help.

39:54.29

Kassidy Hazelton

Yes, thank you so much.

40:08.25

Lauren Conaway

They have people, and they have a platform to help you build and manage your very own team of experts. As Kassidy and I established, having experts around you is important. When you visit FullScale.io, all you need to do is answer a few quick questions, then let the platform match you up with a fully vetted, highly experienced team of software engineers, testers, and leaders. They specialize in building long-term teams that only work for you at Full Scale. Learn more when you visit FullScale.io, and friends do want to ask a favor of you, just a little favor. You know, Startup Hustle, we are all over. The dang web has a really deep digital footprint, but we want to connect with you, our listeners, so definitely join our chat group on Facebook. We’re on Instagram, comment. We want to hear the topics and the questions that you have and the things that power you as entrepreneurs and founders. So definitely keep that information coming. Find ways to connect with us. Like I said, join the chat group on Facebook. We’ve got a community on LinkedIn that you can join, but we want to chat with you. And we really appreciate the fact that you keep coming back week after week. We think you’re awesome. We are so glad you spend this time with us, and we hope you continue to do it. We will catch you on the flip side.

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