One of the most common questions I’m asked during interviews is what major mistakes I made on the path to the success I enjoy online today, which if I had a chance, I would do over differently.
Usually the first or second response I offer to this question is that I would outsource much earlier than I did.
Although you can call me one of the “oldies” when it comes to making a living online, since I’ve been doing it for over ten years, the first five years were very, very slow. Part of that is because it takes time to build momentum, but not five years. Simply put, I messed around with too many different ideas and spent most of the time hand coding all aspects of my websites using a basic understanding of HTML I learned from a book and through trial and error.
This very slow development curve could have been avoided if I sought help from other people sooner, though it wasn’t a complete waste of time. Forcing myself to learn how servers work, set up websites and scripts, and control all the technical aspects of my websites meant that I understood how the world wide web worked. Even if you don’t build the machine, it helps to know how it works when it comes to operating it, though you don’t have to.
This is an interesting question, which I think does not have a specific answer.
The better question is how much outsourcing is required given your unique situation? What skills and resources you currently possess, which business model you are following, where are you located, how many hours you have available for work and what mindset you possess, all form part of the answer to this question.
It’s fairly clear that for all but a few unique success stories, every online business that grosses at least a million dollars a year relies on more than just one person to operate it. Even the most hard working talented individuals need help, and if you want to grow, eventually you must bring on board more people.
Recently I’ve talked to several Australian Internet marketers, who rely upon outsourcing as their core leverage point. These particular marketers have teams of programmers, writers, customer support staff, telemarketers, and admin assistants, most of whom live in countries like India, Romania and the Philippines.
Some of these resources are put to use to do things for clients, like create websites, write content, build links for SEO purposes, do keyword research and essentially create fully functioning web presences that attract targeted traffic for a purpose. Outsourcers are also used to do all these things for the company itself, not the clients, with the focus on creating niche websites which they monetize using the usual methods of advertising, affiliate programs, pay per action/lead offers and products.
The result of this is a multi-million dollar business, which is built on outsourcing. The business model changes, but the fundamentals of finding niches, attracting targeted traffic using content and link building, and the monetization processes, do not change. It’s simply a numbers game, where once you get the formula to work, you multiply it by bringing on more and more outsourcers.
Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek, is a poster child for outsourcing. He has helped the average every day person understand how leveraging other people can make their lives simpler, freeing up time to do more fun things.
Tim leveraged outsourcing not just to create a solid online income stream, he applied it to many other areas of his life. Tim demonstrates that if you think outside of the box, your entire life can be managed, everything from buying plane tickets, to ordering flowers for your significant other, to organizing your birthday party, or conducting online research about the new car you want to buy or even management of your online dating efforts. If you need it done, other people can do it for you.
If you haven’t done so already, I recommend you listen to my interview with Tim to learn more about how he lives his life.
So where does this leave us?
It’s clear outsourcing represents a huge opportunity, but like most things, the potential is far too significant for us to implement from day one – just understanding the potential, let alone doing it – is challenge enough.
You might call me lazy, you might call me smart, and I’m probably both of these things, but when it comes to outsourcing, I’m not actually doing much of it.
But wait, if I revealed my lack of outsourcing as one of the biggest mistakes I made early on, how can I say I don’t actually use it that much now?
The main outsourcing I do use is for technology (my websites/blog) and email management. I won’t go into detail here as I’ve already explained what I outsource in previous articles (try this one to start with – How To Find A Good Customer Support Person (Or Any Outsourced Staff) ).
The main reason I don’t outsource significantly is that I use an elegant business model that’s leveraging my past work. Of course I can’t rely on the past for my future forever, so I will need to create something significant and new eventually, but for the time being I’m happy serving you with blog posts and working with my existing members.
But let’s not talk about me, let’s talk about you.
I’m going to assume, like the majority of my audience, you’re starting up an online business and struggling with all the different things you first have to understand, and then get done, in order to build momentum in your business.
You’ve been told that outsourcing is a good idea, you’re just not sure how to start. What are the most important elements to outsource first, and does it matter what business model you are following, where exactly can you find good outsourcers, and how can you know a good one from a bad one?
These are all great questions, and no doubt you have many more, but for now I want to focus on just one question and then I’ll leave you with recommendation for more help to answer the rest of the questions.
I’ve asked several of my most successful peers this question and the unanimous response is…
Every single successful online marketer, even if they are technically savvy themselves, recommend you seek technical help first.
Most people are not technically savvy, and unfortunately this creates confusion. When you’re confused about what you are doing, that’s when you become scared. Fear is the worst emotion to build a business on, so the first step to eliminating this fear is to find a person who will build your online web presence for you.
The great thing about the web is that you can pretty much copy everyone else. You don’t need to know HOW a website does what it does, you just need to know what the end experience is like for the user. Since you are capable of emulating the user experience by actually interacting with other websites as a user, you can learn what you want your website to do.
Of course it’s important you are capable of creating solid specifications for a tech outsourcer to follow, but if you start small, like a basic WordPress blog installation, with a few key plug-ins, you can keep thing simple. From there you grow and expand as your understanding of how the Web works, and your relationship with your tech outsourcer develops.
In order to begin outsourcing you’re going to have to answer questions like…
Although outsourcing can make your life much easier, and it’s a mandatory requirement if you’re not good at technology if you want an online business, it can take some time to find good people.
I’ve had plenty of people come up to me telling stories of how they hired a person from overseas only to fire them shortly after because they were poor communicators, or they couldn’t actually do what they said they could, or they realized they didn’t know how to properly instruct an outsourcer to get the work done.
As you can no doubt tell, the answers to all of these questions are beyond the scope of one blog article, however I do have a recommendation for you if you are serious about your outsourcing.
Tyrone Shum is someone I’ve come to know and respect as an Internet marketer and expert at outsourcing.
I admire Tyrone because he participated in my membership site mastermind program and was one of the very few people who went out there and took action and launched a membership site around his expertise. This signifies him as someone worth associating with because he gets results.
Tyrone is practicing what I preach and giving away some of his best stuff on outsourcing as a means to introduce himself and what he does, to you.
If you want answers to the questions I listed above and you understand how important for your online business it is that you grasp outsourcing, Tyrone’s training is a good place to start.
Tyrone has a free ten-part video course, which take you through his outsourcing system, that you can claim if you are willing to build a relationship with Tyrone by giving him your name and email.
You can see what the videos cover, meet Tyrone and opt-in for the free video course on this page -
Once you watch the ten free videos, you will definitely have a much stronger understanding of what outsourcing can do for you, and how you can begin the process of hiring your first tech person.
And learn how to build a better blog.