Think about what you would do if you were able to put HOURS back into your day.
What would you do with those hours? Would you work more? Would you sleep more? Would you go to the beach? Would you hang out with your friends?
It’s kind of invigorating thinking about the possibilities isn’t it?
I think it’s about time you stopped thinking about this as a possibility and started creating this as your own reality.
There is no secret to the fact that here at SEO Cheat Guides we don’t subscribe to doing a lot of ‘work’ on our own. In fact you could almost say that we have a complete aversion to the idea that we have to perform all of the day-to-day tasks on our own.
Personally, I have been able to make bigger strides, grow faster and more importantly make more money by simply letting others do the work for me. This works in every business as long as you set-up the framework correctly.
Once you’ve done that there is absolutely no reason you won’t be wildly successful. You’ll have all the time in the world to focus on growing your business or investing your newly found freedom in whatever it is that makes you happy.
The big idea here is a simple formula (thanks to Ian for this one)
Structure + Delegation = FREEDOM
Put simply, if you can break your business down into systems, break the systems down into tasks, create process maps or video training (or both) for each task, it will allow you delegate your work to employees or VA’s. Once you have done this you will achieve the freedom to focus on building your business while your clients will receive very high quality work.
This simple formula will take you from an employee in your business (where you do the work of the business) to an entrepreneur (where you manage the system that delivers the work).
In every case, being able to hand off your work to VA’s simplifies your life and allows you to focus on;
- Growing your business
- Sitting in the sun
- Maximizing the amount of time you spend doing whatever it is you do on the internet when no one is around…
All kidding aside though and the basis of my statement is true.
If you learn to successfully delegate your work to someone else at a lower cost you will feel a sense of freedom and accomplishment that you’ve never felt before. You won’t be restricted from doing whatever you want to do and you’ll never have to utter those awful words ‘I don’t have time’ ever again.
I intend to tell you exactly how I’ve done this for my digital marketing company but know that it’s this same kind of approach that both Ian and myself have used many, many times before when growing successful companies.
Step #1 – Break Your Business Down Into Its Major Systems or Processes
Any business including your own can easily be broken down into the systems or processes you have which ensure that it remains healthy (and that you remain paid).
For example I have broken down my SEO/Digital Marketing business into several parts such as;
- Lead Generation System
- On-boarding System
- Fulfillment System
- Reporting & Billing System
Once I identified the major working parts of my business I had to take things one step further by breaking these down into the various tasks that make up the system.
Think of the system as a wheel of a bike and the various tasks as the spokes of that wheel. Without the spokes the wheel has no strength but with all the spokes present the wheel operates like it is supposed to and you don’t have to worry that it is going to collapse on you if you hit a bump in the road.
By identifying the tasks that go into each system you can also ensure that you are comfortable with the fact that you are doing enough in each area to make you successful.
Let’s take a second and examine one of my favourite systems/processes…the one that makes the magic happen…from the client’s bank account to mine!
Let’s have a brief look at the Reporting and Billing System and break it down for some of the tasks that are associated with this process;
You can see from the chart above that I have broken out several of the tasks associated with the reporting and billing system (I have kept this very general for the sake of keeping things easy).
Once I have laid out each of these tasks there is one final step for me to complete before I have prepared the framework for my entire business.
I still need to input all the deliverables under each one of these tasks. These are the deliverables that I am able to sever out and delegate many of them to someone else. I do this because my time working ON the business is simply worth more than what I am going to have to invest to complete the task that I can outsource.
Let’s have a look at some of the various deliverables under the ‘Consolidate Client Information’ spoke of our process wheel.
Consolidate Client Information (will generally depend on what you have been engaged to perform by the client)
- Gather competitor keyword usage
- Pull competitor backlink information
- Gather client web-site metrics
- Pull current competitor online ads
- Pull current client keyword ranking positions
It is easy to see that I have barely scratched the surface here on what I may need to pull together for a client’s monthly reporting package however my investment in setting up this framework makes it very easy to carbon copy to every client I have.
After the first reporting every other one becomes easy because I have the process in place to ensure I miss nothing and to ensure that everything gets executed 100% of the time.
Keep in mind that even my client reporting is a carbon copy of every other one that I have performed only it contains the data relating specifically to the one receiving the report.
You could easily stop at this point and train and delegate this to a Virtual Assistant. If you did that you’d be able to gain many hours back in your days because you aren’t doing any of the day-to-day grunt work and you have a framework to ensure that everything is completed. I personally take this one step further and prepare an SEO Cheat Guide and a screen cast video for each task in the process.
Why do I do this?
I do this because training takes time and ‘time is money’ to each and every one of us.
By adding my Cheat Guides into the mix I have broken down all my deliverables into very easy to follow steps where I can go out and get a very low cost Virtual Assistant to perform the task for me. It’s no different than having a fully cross trained team behind you where one person being unavailable doesn’t affect anyone else and everything gets done to the same high quality every time. This is worth its weight in gold!
I’ve asked Ian to prepare a little visual for you on just how effective this can be using our ‘Client Account Set-Up’ for social and web 2.0 setup for our content syndication.
So now that you’ve seen this, what’s your time worth?
In the same 115 minutes it takes you to set-up all of these accounts for your client it costs me $7.67 to have this work done for me. That means for each client I onboard I’m saving almost 2 hours of my time.
Yes, it took time to prepare the 10 step-by-step guides, but once they are setup it is incredibly easy for me to delegate the work to a new virtual assistant or a member of my existing team. This way I can rely on the process and not be concerned with which employee I assign it to.
In same the two hours you are currently spending dealing with these cookie-cutter tasks I’ve prepared a sales letter, and had my VA e-mail it out to at least 50 potential targets, I’ve talked to 3 other potential customers on the phone and closed on at least one of them!
Now do you understand how I stay ahead?
I’m just simplifying things by breaking them down into their finer points and then I’m actively determining which ones I can send out to someone else to perform at a much lower cost than I can do it at myself.
Because I want you to be ultra successful, I’m going to give you the general framework for my entire system (and like everything else, the brilliance and workability of it is in its simplicity);
- Build a checklist for each process and determine all deliverables
- Create video guides and or SEO Cheat Guides for each deliverable (I do both)
- Keep a list of VA’s and grade their skill level so I know who to assign to each task
- Track assignment date and requested date of completion
- Record the cost of the task (Ian would be proud of me with this one)
- Rinse and repeat for each task
I’ll admit to you that the time investment can be pretty large up-front and this is all dependent on just how far you want to go to break down the tasks.
Since I prefer to delegate my work to people who are much better suited to get things done on a day to day basis for my clients. I make sure the system is strong, and the team is equipped to provide exceptional service for my clients.
Then when I know the day-to-day tasks are properly handled I can sit back and spend my time working on the highest ROI activities in my business feeling confident our clients are receiving exceptional value.
I’m going to give you the secret of all secrets here. I’m even shocked that I’d give this one away…
You can hire someone to help you with this entire set-up process!!! The identification process is the hard part and its nowhere near as time consuming. (Send me a PM on Facebook if you want assistance or you want my team to help you with your system)
Ok, OK…I realize this is no big secret…or at least it shouldn’t be. I’ve already told you that I spend my time building my business and not doing ‘work’ so you should have figured that there would be a way to have someone else do all this for you.
At the end of the day you need to see the building of this process as the valuable investment that it is and you need to just buckle down and get it done because once it is, the sky is the limit.
Once you have invested the time into the development of this outsource program for your business you’ll begin to reap the rewards immediately. In fact, as you get each piece done you can begin buying your time back to complete your entire design because you’ll begin to immediately outsource the day-to-day of each completed wheel. This is what we call the ‘compounding effect.’ The more pieces of this puzzle that you put in place the more time you are going to have to work on your business.
Step #2 – Finding and Retaining the Virtual Assistants
If I assume for a second that you’ve invested in building your outsourcing program then the next step is to find the VA’s that are going to make this whole thing work.
I find the vast majority of my VA’s using the Upwork platform and while I am sure there are many groans right now from those of you who have received shoddy work I’ll try to help you understand how to get the most from any of the people finding platforms out there. Here are the top ones I’ve found people on;
- OnlineJobs.ph (one of my favorites)
There are many more sites I am sure you’ve worked with and you can certainly feel free to search those for people using them as it doesn’t change the approach I use. Here is what you need to consider and communicate when you list a job call;
Be Specific – You need to list ALL of the skills you require so don’t be afraid to post it as part of your search (i.e. fluent in specific language, knowledge of specific programs etc..)
Ask a Question – To avoid the trolls out there who just answer any job without actually reading the entire job posting you can put a question or set of directions at the bottom of your job call. If they don’t take the time to read through the posting and deliver exactly what you’ve requested of them then you likely don’t want them to be a part of your team. (Example request 2 + 2 =, please provide answer at top of response.)
Let them know what you value – Communicate what type of relationship you want with them through what you value from a good VA (i.e. Speed, Communication, Specific Program Knowledge, Cost)
Let them know what communication means you want – Tell them how you will communicate with them and ensure they are comfortable with those means (i.e. Trello, Skype, Email)
Reporting Format – Tell them exactly how you want them to report to you. Different tasks will require different reporting intervals (daily, hourly, weekly) so you will need to inform them
Feedback – Don’t initially write someone off. Start them with a smaller task, ensure they can perform it, tell them where you want them to be more effective and try them once more. If you see improvement you should consider continuing with them and grooming them as I find these turn out to be the best and most dedicated VA’s
As you move through the pool of available VA’s and you get to know their skill level so you need to ensure you record this somewhere. I use a very simple A, B, C system where I rate every VA I have and ensure I only assign them work that is at their skill level. Remember too that you’re not a charity and ‘C’ level work will be compensated at a lower level than ‘A’ level work.
The only other thing to remember when using VA’s from one of these services is that you need to treat people well. Many times they live in places that have different economics and we tend to have different opinions on that but don’t mistake them for being any different than you and I. They have a life, family, aspirations etc.. and they are working just as hard (if not harder) to provide for them. If you treat them the same way you’d treat a local employee you’ll be shocked at just how far they’re willing to go to do a great job for you.
The last item to address here is the pricing issue as many of you who aren’t used to dealing with low cost VA’s don’t know where to start. While this is not a science and is more of an art, I personally use a divisor of 4x to determine the approximate amount I will pay for something. For example, if a task would cost me $15/hour at home I would pay approximately 4x less using Upwork or another platform for tasks that I have guides for and for which there isn’t much thinking involved. This is generally a very fair price on their end (i.e. not insulting) and it is very palatable for me (i.e. I can still make good money off the work they do).
Keep in mind that the more complex the task, the more you will have to pay and the better you need to do with your job call posting.
That’s it folks! It’s only a two-step process and there is more common sense and organizational skill than magic involved in having someone else do the heavy lifting for you.
This type of investment in your structure and how you run your business is the most important one you will ever make in your life. You can see the compounding effect for yourself and you’ll really learn how to run an effective business. More importantly, this is also how you run a profitable business.
Good luck with your delegation and please join our Facebook group for TONS of tips, tricks and free guides that show you how to become more successful.