Hiring Technology as a Resource


Outsourcing Workload to Grow Your Business


Lesson Info

Hiring Technology as a Resource

Hiring technology as a resource. So this is something we overlook when we talk about hiring 'cause we think of people. And there's a lot of ways in which people are easier, right? I can look at this person, and they smile at me, and they tell you, "Yup, I can do that for you," and you're like, "Oh, great," and it sort of seems easier to work with a person. But I would encourage you to always ask if a computer can do that. So at the end of the section, I hope you'll have gotten at least a little bit of a feeling that you could consider technology as a way of alleviating some of your tasks, and you'll want to streamline... Behind... It's a message that I'm gonna keep saying it over and over again. Before you hire, I really encourage you to streamline your business. So get things down to, like, the most efficient that they can be before you go ahead and just hire someone to do it. And so I'm gonna give you an example in this section of what it would've cost me, I mean, without actual numb...

ers, but to hire a person to do it versus just getting a computer to do it. So my favorite question, can a computer do it? (laughs) So most tasks, if you hire someone, you're gonna be paying them per hour. And so usually there's this little system, this little equation. So how long would it take someone to do that, maybe over the course of a year, that task, versus maybe paying an upfront fee to buy a new piece of software to make that kind of what seems like a big investment in your business. And this is a really difficult thing to weigh because you never get these hours upfront. Like, if the computer sent me a thing that says, "Beep boop boop, I will take 10 minutes and cost $70," and the person would be like, "I'll take exactly 5.2 hours and charge X amount," then you'd be like, "Great, I'll pick this one." But that's never how it works. You never know how long the person's really gonna take. You never really know, like, when you're reading a product description of software, you never really know, is it gonna solve this problem and this problem and maybe this problem? But I don't know how it's gonna work out. So this is a really tricky one. So the best thing I can do is show you a situation I had and how it played out so we can start thinking about what kinds of technology might be out there. So I ship lots of things. I've shipped lots... So I run an online store that has craft eyeballs. It always makes people giggle when I say that. They're, you know, they're these plastic eyes that you put on stuffed animals. And I've also shipped, like, boxes of my crochet kits, lots of different products in my online shop. So you have to ship things, right? It's the nature of many online businesses. If you want to ship things, I have always felt really strongly about charging the actual shipping rates. Like, I don't, I've... And keeping shipping cheap, right? 'Cause they're eyeballs. I can't charge, like, $7 to priority ship them wherever. And I've also always had the good fortune of having many international customers, as well. So the shipping problem is, like, crazy pants if the postal service changes its rates, and I'll tell you why. So, and once, once I pre-charged customers for shipping, and the postage rates changed that weekend, and I had kinda forgotten about that, and it cost me a heck of a lot of money. So it's something that's important to be accurate about. So here we are. Back in the day, I had PayPal buttons. Who remembers these? So someone would buy a thing, and I have listed, right, it's .04 pounds, which is way not good enough of a, like, it's not a small enough... What's that called? It's not fine enough of a distinction. Anyway. So I would put in how much everything weighed, and then the way PayPal would charge for a package is if it was between this and this, I charged this amount. If it's between this and this, I charged this amount. Okay. Now, the postal service in the United States is very good. I'm a huge fan of the USPS. We offer many, many things. This is, like, my little soapbox. We offer many things other countries' postal services do not. But they have had to do a number of rate increases. I think two happened in 2016. This is just a brief taste. This is a summary of what happens when the postal rates change. There's the flat rate envelope, there's the padded flat rate envelope, there's the small flat rate box, there's the medium flat rate box. Depends if you're commercial plus. Not commercial plus. This is a nightmare. This is... There are 84 different files available for download. This is what first class mail costs. This is one ounce, two ounces, three ounces, four ounces. This is how much it costs. This is the price for an additional rate. That's just one. Help you if you have something that's a pound. That's priority. That's a different chart. Okay, there are 84 of these charts. (sighs) It goes on. Yeah, there we go. So what I would have to do is go back to that PayPal thing, look up the prices. That was just domestic I was showing you. Type in, oh, between this and this, it's gonna cost this. Between this and this, it's gonna cost this. Looking at these spreadsheets, figuring out which one, and have to do all the same thing international. And I didn't even, I had books, and I couldn't even ship them book rate 'cause, like, PayPal buttons didn't have a book rate. Oh my gosh, crazy sauce. So this, at the time, when I bought this, felt so expensive. Oh my goodness, $79. But what it does is it syncs up my website with the current shipping rates. Holy guacamole. So I just have how much this weighs. These are really big eyeballs, so they're .9 ounces apiece. And I say ship by weight. Drum roll! It checks with the UPS and it charges the exact amount that it is currently charging. That would've taken me so much time, so much effort, right? So if I had a VA or someone that I was paying, let's say $12 an hour, this software cost me six hours worth of work, but you have to think about how many hours would it have taken for me to have someone go in and code that. The other thing to think about is this is always... I mean, without thinking about a bug. It's always error-proof. People aren't error-proof. People make mistakes, right? I myself have typed in the wrong number for shipping a 10-ounce box to Australia, and then, wow, boy, they only paid me $4. That looks cheap. Oh wait, I had a problem with that, right? And then the other factor I want you to think about is it's not... I say this so casually, like, well, you would just pay your VA $12. Not all of us have VAs, right? We don't always have a person available that we work well with who can just do this thing, right? So a lot of times if you're the entrepreneur, it falls back on you that you have to do this thing. And then, ugh, (laughs) when are you gonna fit that in, right? So this is... It's hard for me to just say, like, oh, go find some technology, 'cause there's so many different things. We're gonna talk about, as we go, identifying problems, things that are taking too much time, and then before you hire someone, I'd just encourage you, it's always worth spending a little bit of time just thinking, like, oh, is there a plug-in that does that? Is there some kind of solution? Because for sure, I feel like you never know that that thing exists until someone tells you about it and you find out it exists. So do we have any questions. I think we're good over here. In studio? Yeah. So on your sheets, you said you were gonna give us about where to find people. Um-hum. Like, for me, like, branding... Yeah. ...is, like, one of the things, and I, like, looked up how much does it cost to have a brand, like, a consultant or something. Yeah. 'Cause I really wanna redo my website. Yeah. And from there, the logo and things. So then it was like, oh, 10% of your income. And I'm like, ugh, that's so vague to me. Exactly. And then also I wanna make sure they're, like, if you do somebody kind of online versus somebody in, like, in San Francisco, I live in a really expensive city. So I'm having a hard time trying to find that. And then also to make sure they have, like, they're legitimate. You know what I mean? Sure, for sure. Like, they have a... So a couple of those things I answer, I'll answer now, and a couple of those things I for sure want you to bring back up when we really get into it. So one thing about the beauty of the internet now is that a l-, almost all of the sites I'm gonna recommend have reviews and ratings. So I think the risk of finding someone to redo your logo and they're actually a scam artist, like, running away or gonna do really poor quality work I think is not so big of a concern. You know, it's super easy to find someone with a five-star rating and who's completed at least 100 hours of work or whatever, whatever. The deeper question you're asking about is, like, I could sell, like, a million dollars if I had the answer to this question, and it's weighing up, like, how do you decide what to spend and how much better that's gonna make your business. So this is, like, so hard to answer. So we're gonna dig into it a little bit more, but just, the website example you mentioned is so good. So you can have a person do everything. This is the bathroom remodel issue, right? You can be like, okay, I want you to really identify my brand. I want you to do the website and a logo and, like, just fix all of it, right? The other thing that I want you to think about is a smaller step, though, is if you really know your customer, you are really feeling good about some of your best products, you can go to an illustrator, maybe not a brand, you know, professional, but say, like, this is my product, this is what I have, this is what I'd like to achieve. What could you do for me? Because the answer may be that a nice, clean website, you know, done from a web person that's not a complete, you know, a completely brand new thing, with some nice logos, might achieve 95% of your fantasy, and from a price perspective, maybe that's what you need, you know? So as we start thinking about people, I want you to think, I guess that's three steps now. So think, like, what's a little task I could give someone, what's some expertise I could bring on board that would really bump me up to the next level, and maybe you don't, you know, I don't, I'm, I had, I'll show you examples. I had my website and logo completely redone. I still didn't go to someone who just, like, wha-bam, brought the whole thing in. I was willing to spend some time, decrease the money, spend the time to find my favorite illustrator, find my favorite web designer, do some of the piecing together myself at a level I felt comfortable with for my business, right? So we're always exchanging time and energy, you know? And maybe you'll find that if you work with a business coach who's advising you on many aspects, you'll get glimmers of what you want your brand to be, right? So you can also... All of these job titles are nebulous and changing, and so we wanna think about where we're making the money. And these are the, like, the worksheets we're going to get to. Where are we making the money, what's the product we're super confident in, what's kinda lacking about it, and then what can we do to fix it? And it may not be having this website that costs, like, a bazillion dollars, you know? But that's, like, the gold question. (laughs) Yeah? So the biggest challenge for my business is customer acquisition, which is probably everyone's biggest challenge. Yeah. And we bring in interns during the summer to help dig up people, and we have a weekly newsletter. We'd love to grow that 10 times. Yeah. Are there contract, people out there that we could be hiring or tapping into who could help us with that, and are you gonna address that? So is your question more about, so are you thinking... I mean, one answer could be an ads person. Um-hum. What kind of business do you have? It's called Reboot. It helps women re-enter the workplace. Yeah. And we have digital products and in-person training. Um-hum. And so a newsletter that goes out nationally to women who would be in our target demographic. Yeah. So, I mean, just a co-, and we'll be talking about more specifics as we go on with examples. But an ads person. Um-hum. You know, are you advertising to people who are also Googling about, like, work-life balance, for example? Another person you could hire to help you would be someone to do your sales funnel, right? So you may have a newsletter, but maybe you don't have auto-responder set up so that when they sign up, they get, like, a 10-week program, right? Maybe you want someone to develop a program. So I signed up, and every week I get an email with amazing tips and this and that, and then it's slowly pointing to your products. And if, 'cause there's two things. There's getting new customers, and then there's getting a customer whose email sorta fell into your lap, really building that trust with them and getting them deeply involved in your brand. So you could say, I need 10,000 new people, or your question could also be, oh, we have, like, 10,000 people, but only 2% come back to us. Well, maybe the question you're asking is how do I get 10%, 20% to buy from us? Because maybe if half of your customers bought something or shared your newsletter, maybe that's the solution to your problem. So we're going to be talking about a few more specifics in the growing your business chapter, 'cause it sounds like that's where you are, is you want to sort of grow it to the next level. That will address that. But this whole time, like, it's about thinking outside the box, kind of. Like, what else... 'Cause the answers are never, like, as easy as we think we are. Like, it's easy to say, "Just hire an ads person and throw more ads out there." But maybe that's not the answer to the question. Maybe it's thinking a bit differently about building your business. And something else we're gonna talk about is maybe it's, the answer's actually tweaking your products, right? So maybe you have a lot of people who sign up for your super first-level downloadable, right? And maybe they sort of feel like, oh, I'm missing the next thing, and the only other piece you have available for them to purchase is something that's too far away from where they are right now. So it could be about introducing new products that better serve the people you have. Those are just a couple of ideas.

Class Description

Most small business owners begin by doing it all. But as you grow, you’ll probably find that you need help. But what kind of help? And where do you go to get it?

In Outsourcing Workload to Grow Your Business Stacey Trock will show you how to navigate the options for getting the help you need for your business. From bookkeepers and accountants, to graphic designers, photographers and web designers, to virtual assistants, to production assistants, to overseas factories, to marketing agencies...there is a whole world of freelancers able to help your business run more smoothly!

In this class you will learn the following:

  • The range of freelancers that are available, and what role they can fill in your business
  • How to write a procedures manual for your business, making the delegation of work as seamless as possible
  • How to hire a virtual assistant and streamline your business into tasks that can be carried out by someone other than you
  • The difference between a contractor and an employee, and the pros and cons of each
  • How to outsource the production of physical items for your shop, including working with local artisans and navigating the process of ordering custom items from overseas factories (via Alibaba)

By the end of Outsourcing Workload to Grow Your Business you’ll learn how to decide what is truly important in your business and what your time is worth.  The secret to successfully turning over portions of your business is to structure your workload into systematic and well-defined capsules, which can be handed off to a largely-independent freelancer; freeing you up to do the things that you really love!