043: Systematize & Checklist-Enable Your Online Business (You Don’t Have to Outsource Everything)

Do you find yourself struggling with when you should be Hands-On vs When You Should Outsource? Robert shows you how the E-Myth can help you make the most effective decisions.

Robert is the author of Double Agent Marketing-a book about how to do the "day job" while starting up a successful online marketing business.

When you're starting an online business, sometimes you have to be in the "Must Have" mode and sometimes in the "Nice to Have" mode and you need to know the difference between the two.

Must Have: an online platform and a product. You won't achieve any income without these two in place

Nice to Have: attractive business cards, pretty graphics, multiple social media accounts

The average person attempting to make money online and failing has nothing for sale. They're focusing on the "nice to have's" which give the illusion of productivity but they are not income-makers.

When you're building your online business, you're in one of two places:

You want to increase your online income or you want to scale back the number of hours you're working on that business so you can spend more at home and doing the things that you enjoy.

People get into online marketing so they CAN achieve having more time to do the things they enjoy. What Robert keeps hearing from these entrepreneurs is that, in order to achieve this, they have to outsource everything.

But, you have to start somewhere and even Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, started by driving packages to the post office himself.

Let's Talk about Outsourcing

You DO have to be hands on when you're first "out of the gate"

People can get discouraged at first because they feel like they are doing all the work themselves and aren't seeing much initial progress.

The solution to that problem is to go for the first shortest path to making money--making an information product.

This will make you a handful of sales but most importantly, you'll start building a list of customers and build a relationship with them. You can start "talking" to them about what they're interested in, i.e. what kind of products will they buy in the future.

Then, you make the next biggest product. You start to grow, you start to raise capital. You won't ALWAYS have to invest 100% of your time in this business but as you grow, you can add "outsourcers."

Why else is immediate outsourcing a bad idea?

You need to know exactly what is going on in your business. You need to know the in's and out's.

"Learn enough to be dangerous."

Let's say you want to develop an app. You need to teach yourself how to get an app submitted, what it takes to market it, and then source code. If you hired out all of this, what happens if you want to add new features or the app developer you used goes out of business? You are locked out of your own product!

This is why YOU need to learn the basics (and even more if possible) so that the future of YOUR business does not depend on an outsourced agent.

Most of the time, the outsourced job will never be done to the level that you would have taken it to. This is not the outsourced agent's business-it is YOURS. So, you end up taking even more time to check on the progress of the work, pay the agent, etc. Then, you feel you have to hire a manager to take care of these things and then you feel the need to oversee the manager. It becomes a vicious cycle. This is where Checklists come into the mix and they are vital.

If you outsource everything, you won't see any profit! If you are constantly paying everyone else to do tasks that you can and should be doing, especially at the beginning of your business, you will not see any profit and therefore you will not stay productive or motivated to keep driving forward.

The E-Myth: One of Robert's favorite books dealing with Systematizing your Business

A. The Fat and the Thin Person Mentalities

a. Everyone has BOTH in their natures.
b. It means that one day you wake up and you feel like a fat person and you're on the wrong track so you say you're going to work out, eat right, etc. This generally lasts a few days until you "feel thin" and you fall of track. Most everyone fluctuates back and forth between the two.
c. What this means in practical terms is that generally once people get "on track", they take a break and then things go off the rails again.
d. What's the solution? Solve a problem BEFORE it becomes one.

i. For example, when Robert and Lance first started out, they had fixed-term membership sites. Initially, they'd get a lot of members but when he looked ahead a few months, he realized their income would drop off a cliff.
ii. So, he put new products in place to generate income so that does not happen.

B. The Differences between Workers, Managers and Entrepreneurs

a. Worker-just follows instructions. Does not really care about the business itself. An example would be a support desk employee. Their only responsibility is to take support calls and fix the issues.
b. Manager-keeps things neat and organized. Examples are accountants and IT techs.
c. Entrepreneur-the "creativity" behind the business, the one generating ideas.

C. Job Titles

a. List out the job titles in your business. Don't go crazy and list 50, just do about 10. An easy way to think of this is "how many hats are you wearing?"
b. Examples would be sales copywriter, graphic designer, customer support, product creator, etc.
c. Then, you start with the one with the least amount of thinking involved and/or what's the one that if the resulting work is not perfect to you, it would not be the end of the world? THESE are the positions/responsibilities you want to outsource.

D. The Checklist-this is the CORE of our discussion

a. Even though you may not need perfection (as discussed above), you NEED consistency for your business to thrive.
b. Think about a hotel. In a hotel, housekeeping comes and changes the linen, vacuums, puts out new water glasses, etc. Although it may not be perfect every time, any single person in that hotel could do it effectively because there is a CHECKLIST that outlines what has to be done in every room.
c. Even when you have total mastery over a subject, the execution of it will never be consistent unless you have that Checklist to work from.
d. In all of Robert and Lance's programs, they have Checklists that you would personally use. For example, in PodcastCrusher (www.podcastcrusher.com), a Checklist would include:

    • Use this headset to record
    • Run a Mic Check
  • Resize your Frame, etc., etc.

You break down each task into sections so that you can easily outsource pieces of it that you may not want/have time to do. Perhaps you want to create the podcast, but you don't want to do the publishing tasks. If you've created the Checklist for Publishing your Podcast, you can outsource that to anyone to pick up and as long as it's followed, you could have multiple publishers over a period of time and still provide a consistent product over and over.

Let's Talk about An Easily Outsourced Element of your Business

One of the first, and best options, for outsourcing in your business is going to be customer support/help desk.

When you're first starting out, it's fine for people to email you once or twice a day. Oce you get over that volume, it becomes impossible to keep managing those responsibilities and get anything else done.

Robert and Lance used ZenDesk when they first reached that level. It is really cool software that, when people email you with issues, it creates a "ticket" and you can then assign that ticket to a particular person in your organization or an autsource agent to remedy the issue. For example, you may get 3 tickets for people wanting refunds and 2 tickets for people who've forgotten their password. You can now assign those "tickets" to outsource agents who will handle those requests for you.

You can easily find outsourcers/freelancers on oDesk (now called Upwork).

On this website, you can pay someone by the hour to resolve the ticket(s) and you have the added bonus of seeing what their screen looks like while they are working so they cannot overcharge you.
You will also need a help desk/customer support system that provides canned responses to certain issues. In reality, you probably really only answer 5 to 10 types of questions, no matter how they're phrased by the customer. Depending on the problem, the customer gets a canned response back asking for further 3-5 pieces of information, then depending on that, the ticket is assigned to the correct person to fix the problem.
Because you know about the 5-10 repeat help desk queries you get, you can now "Checklist" your help desk so that any outsourcer/freelancer/employee can take that email and/or ticket and resolve the issue without you having to do it.

What would happen if you died today?

When you're running a business, you have a lot of people depending on you: your family, your business partners and your employees.

You have to think about: If something happened to me today, what processes do I have in place that will keep this company functioning and moving forward?

Use those processes to formulate your checklists!!

Robert's Book Suggestions for Today:

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