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Graham Griffin
Graham Griffin
Articles (46) 

1,000 Entrepreneurs: Nicole Sahin on Easy Employment for Global Companies

Our profile covers the founder of Globalization Partners

May 11, 2020

Since founding her company in 2012, Nicole Sahin, CEO of Globalization Partners, has been able to spread her business around the world. She has operations in 170 countries, helping businesses employ white-collar workers overseas. Sahin has taken a process that usually would have taken months of time and hundreds of thousands of dollars and cut it down to days. Thanks to these efforts, she has allowed companies to spread around the world and even saw Globalization Partners reach number six on the Inc 5000 list of top growing private companies.


Prior to starting her business, Sahin found herself very successful in the work she was doing. At the time, she was working for a company that was focused on high-growth initiatives and international expansion for companies. During her time there, she was able to aid companies in navigating the complex legal problems that arise during international expansion.

During her time with her previous employer, she was able to become one of the top closers, bringing in multiple millions of dollars in deals. Thanks to the nature of the business, she became an avid world traveler, making her way to over 50 countries around the world. These travels sparked an enjoyment in meeting new people and ingesting new cultures.

The problem

It was during Sahin’s time with her previous employer that she noticed that many companies faced difficulties when expanding to global operations. The first problem came down to time. To hire just one or two employees overseas, it would regularly take upwards of a year for that company to actually begin paying their employee. This came down to the legality of employing someone overseas.

As companies make the attempt to expand, they are forced to adhere to local legality and taxes in whatever country they are attempting to lay roots. The easiest way for a company to make this expansion was to actually start a business in that country and then employ people through that business. Needless to say, this is where things take a long time for the company. Alongside the amount of time it takes to create a business, jump through legal hoops and then actually employ someone, a company could be down hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The idea

After seeing the difficulties that companies were facing, Sahin theorized a much simpler process to allow a company to globalize their workforce. If a company did not have to establish their own infrastructure overseas and jump through all those legal hoops, they could save both time and money. Here she found a huge market opportunity that she could get her hands on.

The idea itself was relatively simple. Globalization Partners would bear the brunt of the legal issues. The company would establish itself in as many countries as possible so that they could handle the legality issues and help their clients avoid the headache. The employees of those clients would then be paid by Globalization Partners in the country of their employment. The clients of Globalization Partners would pay the salary of the employee.


Sahin knew the idea was going to be a success and went ahead and left her successful career. Over the next year, she traveled around the world speaking with as many legal and tax advisors that she could to create the basis for her company. Once her non-compete agreement had expired, she set out to make her business a reality.

With a focus on being legally compliant everywhere she was doing business, Sahin set out slowly to build her business. Her first steps were to create a website, get a new bank account and incorporate the business. From there, she personally traveled to countries to set up what would become the infrastructure of the business.

The appeal of Globalization Partners came in that a company would not have to start from scratch when entering a new market. They could utilize the network that Sahin had built to quickly and efficiently spread their business into new territories and hire new employees. What would have taken them months now took only a few days.


For Sahin, starting off on her own had a few hurdles that needed to be overcome. The first being one that is all too relatable for many Americans, health care. Upon leaving a job, many people would be faced with the fact that for the foreseeable future they would no longer be provided with a health care option. Sahin described this as a scary thought, but was extremely grateful that her husband was able to cover her on his plan until her business was established and had their own plan in place.

The next problem to bubble to the surface for Sahin came from the different types of laws in many countries regarding taxes and employment. This was a large wake-up call for her when she set out to do international business. In many places, the burden of salaries falls solely on the head of the director of the company. This means that Sahin would be held accountable for paying any of the employees she had working for her.

At any point in time, if Globalization Partners started to struggle, Sahin would have to find a way to pay employees. There is no option to go bankrupt. These legal ramifications added some caution to her expansion of the business at first, as she wanted to guarantee she was building something that would be both successful and compliant.

Oddly enough, the biggest problem Globalization Partners ran into came in 2015 when Sahin realized they were expanding too fast. The company was starting to fail to provide the level of service they had established and were forced to take a step back.

Sahin explained that for three months, they entirely stopped taking on new clients. This allowed them to train their staff to be fully knowledgeable in their fields as well as expand their internal infrastructure to support the business. Unfortunately, QuickBooks would no longer cut it for a business of their size. In the end, many prospective clients were actually impressed with the decision and waited patiently for Globalization Partners to begin expansion again.


Moving into the future, Sahin is excited about expanding their sales and marketing efforts into both Europe and Asia. She described the efforts as “greenfielding,” meaning that they are developing those areas from scratch. She believes they have an unparalleled opportunity to “fundamentally change the way the world does business” and is confident that this will occur in the next five years.

Alongside their expansion, they are also working to develop a new onboarding portal and app for their clients to use. This will allow them to have access to all required legal information and benefits that they should be offering their new employees in real time. This essentially automates the process for companies to employ people around the world.

While she wouldn't have chosen it, Sahin believes the current pandemic will cause people to see the benefits of working remotely. As more and more companies transition to this style of business, the platform that Globalization Partners has created is ideally situated to help companies employ remote workers and continue their operations around the world.

Question and answer

GuruFocus: Would you ever want to sell the company?

Sahin: So I have that opportunity quite frequently and indeed we just took a minority investment of $150 million into the company in January. Basically, we did take some minority investment, but I was not interested in selling the company. I think we have barely scratched the surface of what we are capable of and we have so much more to build and to do. I am really excited to make all of that happen. We will just see what happens in the future as things continue to build, but right now we are in build mode and having a lot of fun doing it.

GuruFocus: What are you most grateful for at this point in your life?

Sahin: Besides my amazing family that has supported me through this, and more specifically my husband, who is just awesome, I would say that I am really grateful for my team. I have learned so much. I have teammates in at least 40 countries right now and they have opened up their homes to me, literally and figuratively. I thought I knew everything about international business, but then when you put these people in place and they take your vision far beyond what one person ever could have created herself, it is truly unbelievable and extraordinary. They take the original nugget and carry it so much further than I ever could myself, so I am really grateful for the opportunity to be at the helm of a team that is so global, and so passionate, and so creative.

Sahin’s advice for entrepreneurs

The opportunity is there:

Entrepreneurs just need to go out there and get their idea started. Sahin believes that every entrepreneur has a force inside them pushing them to go out and start something great. There is no way that they cannot make something happen. At the same time, she emphasized that with access to the internet, now is the easiest time it has ever been for someone with a little creativity and sense of business to go out and make something a reality.

Make it something you like:

Sahin also emphasized that the business should be something that an entrepreneur can enjoy for a significant amount of time and that it is their duty to make a positive impact. If an entrepreneur does not like what they are doing, it is all too easy to fall into running the business poorly and not supporting their employees. Make sure you love what you do and spread the positivity to those that decide to take the leap with you.

Make sure to check out the podcast.

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