It's no secret, I almost gave up on this whole internet marketing/blogging thing. No, bump that – I actually did give up.
It was too stressful. I was spending so much time at my computer and hardly anytime doing any of the things normal people do.
Fast forward to today – I get much more done online than I would've ever imagined. I have a Biology Blog that runs on autopilot (literally).
I spend MAYBE an hour or two per month working on that blog and it generates a passive income for me every single month.
I have an assistant that manages that blog, and a team of 6 writers (I think it's 6) who submit content for the site so that there's fresh content every single weekday.
I honestly don't even know much of what happens there, but I know it's happening, which is a great thing because Become A Blogger keeps me pretty darn busy.
Why is it running so smoothly?
Because I outsourced and I did it EFFECTIVELY. That's a very important word, because I've outsourced in the past in ways that simply cost me money and more of my time.
So, I want to share with you some of the things I do to ensure that things run smoothly.
A word about cost
If you don't have money to spend, $1 can be A LOT. I know exactly how that is.
I've been in situations where I had no idea where my next meal would come from.
If you asked me to outsource then, I just simply couldn't do it. So, lets say you're not in that situation, and can afford to spend a few bucks.
The great news is that you can find people to do GREAT work at an affordable price, if you are willing to go beyond and think in a more global way.
I've outsourced to people from various Croatia, the Philippines, India, Pakistan and some other places I don't remember. Personally, I LOVE working with people from the Philippines.
My best workers have been from there, and my current assistant (who I just love) is from there.
I've been able to find very qualified individuals to work for me for as little as $2.50/per hour. I know what you may be thinking – that's slave labor, right? Not at all. Because of the currency exchange, that ends up being a pretty decent wage for them over there. Sometimes, I feel like moving to the Philippines and living like a king because of that whole currency exchange deal 🙂
My current assistant started at $3/hour but is now up to $5/hour, because of how great a job she's doing. So, cost is not as big an issue as many people might think because the benefit really outweigh the cost!
Where and How to find outsourcers.
There are a bunch of places online where you can find people to do the things you don't want to do (or can't do). I've used a number of them in the past, but my absolute favorite is Odesk.
Why? Because they have some awesome features. One of the features that REALLY stand out to me is how they allow you to track the work your team is doing. I've had situations in the past where I was quoted a very low hourly rate, but then SIMPLE projects would take MANY more hours than you would imagine.
Odesk randomly takes screenshots of your outsourcer's computer screens and tells you how active they are at each point by giving you a report of how many mouse clicks and keystrokes they did during a given time period.
So you can quickly glance at their report and see if they were actually doing what they were supposed to be doing.
How to know what to outsource
This is a very tricky thing, but I figured out a way to determine what things need to be outsourced that could reap the greatest benefit for your blog and your online business.
- Step 1. Make a list of EVERY task that needs to be done in your business.
- Step 2. Make note of the things that ONLY you can do in your business
- Step 3. Make a note of everything that NEEDS to be done, but can be done by someone else
The things you noted in Step 3 are ideal candidates for things to outsource! For me, those things were tasks such as checking and responding to my biology email, transcribing my videos and posting them to the blog, reaching out to other blogs and websites in my niche and a number of other miscellaneous tasks.
How to choose the right outsourcer
When I'm looking for someone to do a particular ongoing task (like transcribing my videos), I make a very detailed posting of what I'm looking for. With oDesk, you are very likely to get a ton of people applying for the job you posted.
This is because they have a ton of people there who just respond to job posting in masses.
So, I use a trick that I was told by my buddy Chris Deals from DayJobKnockout.com. When I post my job, I ask them to reply in a very specific way.
For example, I tell them that they will only be considered for the job if in their first line they say “Yes, I would love to be a part of your team”.
What this does is very simple and effective – it shows me that they actually read the post and can follow instructions. If I don't see that in the first line, I delete their application and move on to the next.
This helps me to narrow it down pretty quickly to the few individuals who actually follow instructions.
Then, I actually end up hiring 3 people for the job. I give them all a task to complete, and let them know that they are competing with 2 others for the position.
I then wait for their completed tasks and choose the best from the three to continue working with me. It's a beautiful thing, because I usually end up with an AWESOME worker by going through this process. It also lets them know that you are serious about your business
How to Train your outsourcer
This is the most important part of the entire process. You can have the best worker in the world, but unless you give CLEAR, STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS, you may just end up wasting a lot of time and money, and the only difference to your business will be the added stress.
Before I hire an outsourcer, I like to go through the processes that individual will be doing, and put together guidelines and procedures so that they know exactly what to do. That way, I don't leave it up to chance.
What do I include in those manuals? Well, rather than telling you, I'm just gonna give them to you. You can check out the ones I provide for my assistant and feel free to use them for your own purposes.
Feel free to modify them to suit your needs. All I ask is that you don't provide them freely to anyone else besides yourself.
If someone else needs them, send them over here to grab them for themselves.
Setting the Tone For your Business
I like my business to have a certain feel. When people encounter my brand, I want them to feel something different. I want them to feel as if they are encountering someone who cares about them, and wants to provide them with tons of value.
Every point of contact needs to be something special. Something different.
Since my assistant checks my email, that's a very important touch point. So, I made sure to let her know how I feel about my business and that I want everyone who encounters my brand to feel something special. I gave her specific examples of how I reply to people and asked her to include similar elements in all of her communications where she is representing me.
What followed was absolutely amazing. She did what I asked even better than I do it myself. Here's an example from an email she sent to one of our writers recently:
Thanks for being prompt as always with submitting your articles. You're doing a really great job. . . Well, what can we say? You are one-of-a-kind writer. We (especially, Leslie of course) are glad to have you on the team.
The photos are good choices for your articles. I'll add them as I schedule the articles.
Thanks for all that you do once again, XX. Really great to have you.
I read that and it just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If I were on the receiving end of that email, I would feel special.
That would most likely not happen if I weren't absolutely clear about the kind of tone I wanted my business to have. So as you consider outsourcing, think about the tone of your business, and if you outsource to someone who interfaces with your audience, make that extremely clear.
So, in conclusion
Outsourcing can be GREAT for business. Odesk is a great place to start. Use the strategies above for finding a great outsourcer, training your outsourcer (download my manuals), and setting the tone for you business. You'd be surprised at what it can do to help grow your blog, and you online business in general.
Today's Question: What tasks have you outsourced and how did it help your business?
Let me know in the comments below