Secrets Of Using Virtual Help, Releasing Stress, Getting Things Done And Overcoming Frustration
Why do some marketers burn out and others keep on keeping on?
Why do some marketers come out quickly with two or three products that are “hits,” then disappear?
Why do some people get products and web sites out — even when they have poor computer skills?
The difference lies in help. Getting help. Early on in this business, I began using independent contractors to help me get the work done.
That’s mainly because I have the ability for attention to detail of a pet rock! If I don’t have others proof read stuff, there are ALWAYS typos, misspelled words, and omitted words — if not worse.
I also suck at html. I mean, I can do the basics of Dreamweaver or Front page and DID stuff myself in the early days. As soon as I had cash flow, I hired people to help out.
The hardest product you’ll ever create is your FIRST. The hardest sales letter you’ll ever write is your FIRST. The hardest email you’ll ever send out is your FIRST. And the hardest person you’ll ever hire is your FIRST.
That’s why I recommend you START with independent contractors. Meaning they aren’t full time and you aren’t locked into the regulations you have with an employee.
Really, if you can hire someone part time to come into your home and file things, handle paperwork and do basic bookkeeping,that alone is a BIG help.
Your customer service can be handled virtually. I like to hire people from other countries, so I have NO possibility that our government will consider them an employee and charge me for back taxes.
You have to be careful hiring independent contractors that come into your home on any schedule. Because your government might classify them as an employee and make you responsible for back taxes. That’s a good way to go out of business fast.
Here’s the thing: It’s hard to feel you have the MONEY to hire help. But you don’t have the MONEY to hire help until you free up your time to do more productive things.
It’s the chicken and the egg. Which comes first?
You should focus on doing the things you’re best at and then hire others to do the rest. You can use elance.com, rentacoder.com guru.com, and scriptlance.com to name a few.
Why would someone work for you or with you if you can’t pay them a big salary and benefits like the big corporations do?
In my business, I can tell you that people who work with me over the period of two years learn more than they ever imagined. For example, Matt has been with me almost a year now. And in one year, he’s almost turned into a marketing guru. No bull. There’s no area of this business I haven’t let him work in.
From graphic design, to affiliates, to writing, to email promos.
Now, I ONLY do that with people who are really fast thinkers, and fast learners. The faster someone learns, the more I can teach them and have them do. The person literally sets their own pace.
When I hired Lisa 6 years ago, she could only do a few things in Photoshop. Now, she’s one of the most talented designers on the web.
In the February issue of this newsletter, I posted for some positions I needed people for. I’m already working with a writer who I feel is very talented. And will expand that relationship and assign additional areas of responsibility as long as it works in both our self interests.
To give you an example of how you can use talent to expand your business, I hope to find someone who is a WIZARD at starting up GROUPS. You know, clubs like AA meetings or Toastmasters. I need someone to do that. I have this vision of Milcers groups that I need someone to
implement who is really a great organizer, motivator and doer.
I plan on finding someone who is a PRO at recruiting, screening and hiring people. I’m not very good at it. (Like many other things!).
I need a writer to write articles every single day that I can submit to directories.
I need someone who really ROCKS with Adobe In Design to lay out our monthly newsletters, so I can free up Matt to do other things. If they’re good, they’ll get to expand into doing magazine concepts I have that no one in this industry does.
I need someone to interview our customers and write up 1-2 page success stories monthly. You should have someone like this also. So you have success stories being churned out each week or month like clockwork.
I really, really need someone to handle parts of operations. You know, those pesky web hosting problems you run into. Those database back-up issues, troubleshooting on stuff that isn’t working correctly.
I need SEO people who have a proven track record of getting results. Finding GOOD SEO people is an illusive task. If you’re looking to find your niche online, there’s always demand for people good at SEO and pay-per-click stuff.
I need someone who can mimic our style and write killer email promotions that aren’t hype or hokey. That’s such a fine line. And takes a really good writer to do. I’m not sure I can find anyone who can do that. But I’ll try.
I really, really need someone who can assign tasks to our freelancers, volunteers and virtual workers and follow up to receive the completions and make sure they’re done. Then check the work to make sure the person did what we asked them to do! That doesn’t sound important. But you get what you inspect. Not what you request.
Remember that when you get your own people. Look don’t listen. It’s NOT what someone says. It’s what they do. Anyone can talk a good game. But can they produce? Can they get a stat and make it keep going up? Can they get things done without causing MORE work from others than it’s worth?
How can I afford all those people? Well, I can’t. And you may not either. So you may want to do what I’m doing: Find people who need a chance to grow, learn, and do things. Who need a chance to spread their wings.
In my case, I’m looking for people who want to work with our crack team and have the chance or opportunity to grow, expand and learn different aspects of my business without having to pay to do it.
I figure people are paying $10,000 for protege programs and coaching programs where they’ll quite frankly learn a fraction of what they have the potential to learn working with me.
However, you have to be careful in hiring people this way. If people come on JUST to learn and NOT to work hard, DO and contribute, they’ll just suck up your time and not produce anything.
You know you’ve made it in my business when I give you a production statistic that you are responsible for increasing weekly.
I expect production.
But what I DO is when someone is producing and doing a great job without requiring much oversight, training or management, I give them a chance to expand, learn, and do more and more things.
We don’t have a lot of time to train. So that’s why I need fast learners. I’ll often give someone a book or ebook and basically say, “Do this.” We’ll give some feedback and guidance. And if the person catches on fast, and can produce, we’ll expand their responsibilities.
You can do the same thing. There are retired people who LOVE learning and contributing. The are college students and graduates who would give anything to sink their teeth into real projects where they can learn 10X in a year what they would shoved away into a corner at a
I can guarantee Matt has learned in almost 1 year 50X what he would have in a corporation. Ditto for Lisa. So it’s this odd balance.
You need people who are hard workers and fast learners. But you probably will have to do training. And yet, you can’t let their motivation be to learn and not produce or your time will get sucked up and NO PRODUCTION will happen!
Been there. Done that.
The challenge I ran into is that I used to ask people to apply on our web sites for positions. Man, it was crazy. Every single person who applied listed $75,000 to $150,000 as their salary!
They assumed that because we’re high visibility, we also pay a fortune!
Then, one day, it dawned on me that there are people paying HUGE bucks for protege and coaching programs and not really learning “in the trenches.” I thought, why can’t I plug in people like that?
Maybe you can do the same thing. Did you know TONS of people volunteer around the world for different causes? It’s true.
So what I did was put together our “Marketing Practicum” program, where people work with us for 10 or more hours a week. The emphasis is on production, not learning. But in producing a stat, you’ll learn more than you ever dreamed of!
Crazy how that works.
I tell people there’s a chance what they do will result in a paid position. But that should NOT be the motivation. It is what it is. And if something more develops, that’s just a bonus.
In YOUR business, you can do the same. Find students who need either official “practicums” or work experience. If you can offer them 10X the valuable experience they’d get anywhere else, you’ll likely have takers.
You can find retired people who want to plug into a vision or use their time in a worthwhile way.
You can find people beginning careers where learning and production and doing things is more important than money.
You can hire volunteers or pay minimal money. Or, possibly, in some cases more money. There are no rules. It’s whatever is win/win.
The other issue is once you find people, how do you SCREEN them and select the best?
What I do is give people an assignment that’s really simple. If they can’t do that fast, accurate or without asking a lot of questions and needing help, forget about it!
I’ll sometimes even give a totally nonsensical task and see if the person does it or complains.
Like if someone wants to be in sales for me, I’ll ask them to send me an email selling me a pen or a pencil. As stupid as that sounds.
Or I’ll make up a sequence of activities that have no purpose whatsoever other than to see how quickly and accurately someone can do a task with no meaning at all other than to see if they can complete a sequence of activities without mucking it up.
Or even complete a project AT ALL.
One third of the people will not even COMPLETE a simple assignment. Another third will muck it up. A few more will ask high maintenance questions about the simplest task, sucking up my staff’s time. Can you imagine what would happen with a halfway complex task?
Others will do the task. Someday. But speed counts. An internet business moves at light speed. You need people who can produce at that speed. Not slow pokes!
And I’ve learned the really, really hard way that if someone can’t get things done and produce right off the bat, it isn’t going to get any better.
There will be some people who you don’t use immediately just because you don’t have the manpower to manage them. I have one person like that right now. I’d like to use them but I don’t have anyone to assign tasks, check up, train a little, and so forth.
Does that help you open your eyes to the possibilities? I wanted to take you into the inside of my business and show you what we’re doing to give you some ideas on what YOU can do.
Here’s what I CAN tell you: You can’t do everything yourself. You can’t. And even if you could, you’d burn out like others. And if you don’t get
help, after 2 to 4 successful products, you’ll get inundated with customer service and end up in a major cash flow crunch that could put you under.
One of the most crucial turning points for you will be when you start finding and using talented people in your business, whether that is on a volunteer basis, practicums, or paid.
I hope this article gave you ideas and is useful to you.