~ Russ Perry, Founder & CEO of Design Pickle
Scaling is hard. And we couldn’t have done it this fast without Trainual.
“As with any company, it has its ups and downs. I’m trying to figure out how to create new roles when they never existed before and there’s not a blueprint I’m following because we’re doing things differently,” he said.
Design Pickle isn’t like most graphic design firms. It’s an online, flat-rate subscription based graphic design company with hundreds of remote employees around the world that allows customers to enjoy all of the same benefits they would have if they had an in-house graphic designer but without all the overhead, hourly wages, or project billing.
Managing hundreds of remote employees and still growing, Perry was looking for something that could handle all the training and onboarding for him.
Here’s how Russ rapidly scaled his team with confidence and consistency—
Learning from past mistakes
“Before Design Pickle, I had what I would call in a nice way, a very dysfunctional agency,” Perry said. “We had zero processes and zero systems. Everything we did was a one-off and that business, as you can imagine, didn’t last very long.”
Without proper documentation and process in place, Perry knew he had to do things differently the next time around. Right from the get-go, before Design Pickle exploded with growth, Perry and his two other team members were documenting and creating processes to avoid recreating the chaos of his agency.
“At the beginning, I just did it all in Google Docs,” he said. “And low and behold, that documentation allowed us to keep our head on straight when we started to grow like crazy.”
Scaling at a distance
“We doubled every year since we were founded, and that would have been impossible had we not had a system in place for our people,” he said. “Our team went from three to four to five to six to 10 to 20 to 30 and I thought, maybe just random files on a cloud drive is not the best way to keep it all organized.”
He thought there had to be a tool for training and documenting, that could provide a structure that’s easy to understand and allow content to be pulled into one centralized system. That’s when Perry found Trainual. “It was an incredible, as well as an easy shift for us because we were already doing the documentation,” he said. “But the reason I was looking for a different kind of tool was because the business itself was taking on a life of its own and I needed a framework to continue to document.”
After implementing Trainual, Perry was no longer the only person doing everything and creating all the strategy. “I was trusting others to do that, and if we were to stay in the land of Google Docs, there’s no structure to it. It’s just a blank document and it would have been chaos,” he said.
“This has allowed our company to have quite a lot of content across all departments and divisions, but it doesn’t rely on one single person.” “Trainual was exactly what we needed to really take off with the growth inside our company,” he said.
What Design Pickle <3s about Trainual
Since the switch to Trainual, Perry is proud to say he hasn’t touched training at all. “All of our hires across the globe now use this tool. They’re trained on culture, systems, tools, and it works the same for all of them,” he said.
What he loves most about Trainual is the level of accountability. “Unfortunately, we had an HR issue pop up last year and within an hour’s time, we created content and distributed that all across the world to our team members, so they could learn about what happened and how to improve,” he said. Perry said by doing that, he was able to track and ensure all of his remote employees and in-house team members were informed and up-to-date.
Empowering a team, one Trainual at a time
“Sitting here talking about it now, it seems like common sense,” Perry said. “But I ran a business for almost 10 years without ever doing that, so I learned from my mistakes.”
By documenting everything in one, centralized place, he was able to empower all his team members, including his remote employees. “Enabling my team is just a powerful thing, and using Trainual to do that has been essential,” Perry said. “I can tell everyone to go ‘make a Trainual’ and they know exactly what that means and everyone can follow the same format.”
“For me as a leader, as a CEO, this hands down gives me peace of mind at night,” he said.