Jonathan Barnes – Founder & CEO, Staffing as a Mission

Jonathan Barnes is the founder and CEO of Staffing as a Mission, a mission-based agency that provides staffing solutions. A portion of every dollar made goes to support ministries and charities.

Jonathan has spent the past 20 years in the healthcare industry, serving on teams in staffing, recruiting, wellness, home care, and data analytics. He and his wife call Nashville, TN home, and enjoys being a dad to their six children, playing music, working out, and being involved in the community.

Tell us about the early days of Staffing as a Mission.

We started Staffing as a Mission to change the way people dealt with staffing agencies in the marketplace. Instead of being a purely transactional business, I wanted SaaM to care deeply about all the people involved and give back. Whether they are clients, candidates, employees, or mission partners, we want everyone to feel respected, engaged, and connected to the bigger picture of making a difference.

In the early days, all we had was a website and a phone number. Every day was an adventure, and it was up to me to make the days count – it’s a heavy responsibility and thrilling at the same time. While I was sharing space with another tech startup and having a lot of meetings in coffee shops, I called everyone I knew…then I called everyone that they knew! It was November of 2014 and I learned that most people don’t initiate relationships with staffing companies over the holidays.

Most people I talked to liked our concept (10% of profits going to charities/ministries), but making the leap to do business with me was another story. It was an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes, I was elated about a prospective client and other times I wondered why in the world I decided to take the leap in the first place. But incrementally, slowly, we were making progress in the marketplace. It took a couple of months to gain some traction – getting orders for positions to work on and agreements in place. We asked those clients to give us a chance to prove ourselves, and we got to show the SaaM difference: delivering excellence. The staffing industry is like other services: you’re only as good as you perform. But it’s not just delivering candidates for clients, but also delivering excellent candidates quickly.

The first full year of business we booked ~$600k in revenue, working on staffing projects and direct hire arrangements. We’ve been blessed to hire some incredible team members over the years who understand the reason we work is to help others fulfill purpose, not just merely filling positions.

Due to Staffing as a Mission’s commitment to delivering excellence over the past 4.5 years, we were honored this year on Inc. Magazine’s list of the fastest-growing companies in America. We are #353 out of 5000 with 1291.1% revenue growth over the three-year reporting period. We ended 2018 with close to $6 million in revenue, but ultimately the mission behind our company has driven our growth. Through our non-profit mission partners, SaaM has donated hundreds of hours, thousands of dollars, and impacted thousands of lives around the world. That’s our biggest accomplishment so far.



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Interviews are conducted for research purposes by author Jason Navallo for his upcoming book, Underdog.

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