How To Avoid Relying On Manual Labor


Outsourcing Workload to Grow Your Business


Lesson Info

How To Avoid Relying On Manual Labor

Okay, so our last segment here that we're gonna be talking about is other ways to streamline your business so you can avoid relying on manual labor. So earlier on we were talking about, you know, if you're sewing some bags, you can have someone help you sew. If you're relying on manual labor, for the production of your product, you're always subject to kind of like these bottlenecks. You really have to have the people show up and sew them. You really have to have the materials, you really have to have this other thing, you know. You really have to have the warehouse space to store them. And so I just wanna talk about some other ways that we can brainstorm about ways to sell things that may not be an actual physical thing, for those of you who run product based businesses. And it always helps to diversify. Never hurts to diversify. So one idea you can do is to create a complimentary digital product. So if you make a really great thing, consider a digital product that you can put along w...

ith it. So this may be, it could be a tutorial, it could be something else that you either give away for free, as like a newsletter add-on. Or it could be something that you sell as part of your regular shop. The first thing people kind of think of is, oh, a tutorial to make the bag that I'm making. You don't always wanna do that, right. So if you're making the bag, maybe you wanna keep it secret, how you make the bag. It also might not suit your audience very well. So if a woman is coming to you and buying a bag, she might not want to sew her own bag. Right, so, that's not exactly what we're thinking of. We're thinking of things that can be compatible with the same audience that you're already selling product to. So, for example, if you sell lotion that you're scenting yourself, maybe you wanna create an ebook on how to use aromatherapy for your life, and selecting the best fragrances for your goals. Things like that. These ideas also work great as blog posts. So I know a lot of people, who have products, struggle with, what do I blog about, what do I write about, what do I post about on social media? These are the sort of related topics that could be like that. If you sell hand-dyed yarn, maybe a pattern or project ideas. Some sort of tutorial along that line. If you make kids printables, I know tons of people do, maybe a summer camp project idea, or a birthday party planning guide. Like here's everything you need to know to plan a perfect first birthday party. They don't all need to directly relate to sells. Right, some of these are just advertising, basically. Like hey, if you want to have a really great first birthday, you need some cute printables. And it's, you know, sort of like sales. If you're a photographer, so like a guide, the ultimate guide to framing and displaying artwork, right? Maybe you have customers who love getting these photos, and then they come home and it's like, where do I put them, you know? So like a guide to gallery walls, things like that. If you sell succulents, how to care for your succulents, how to create arrangements with your succulents. If you sell monogrammed drink glasses, you might want a monthly cocktail book. And you never know how big a part of this business you could be. Right, if you started selling monogrammed drink glasses, you never know when the digital product's gonna take off. So you could turn this into a subscription club, right, that you're getting a new drink recipe every, whatever, week or something like that, for 99 cents. And maybe that download portion becomes way bigger than your glasses ever were. You just never know. And the really great thing about digital downloads is that they sell whether or not you're actually doing the producing. Right, so once you create the content of the recipe book, that's just out there selling. You can take a month off from monogramming and you're still selling the download. So that's a good idea to think about, ways that you can offer a digital product for sale or as a freebie to like your newsletter people. Another thing you kinda wanna start thinking about is a lot of times with products, people are one-time customers. So, if I buy a bag, okay great, so I have a bag. Do you need a second one, do you need a third one, do you need a fourth one, right? So it can be hard to get people to be repeat customers. But you can kinda turn people into repeat customers if you have kind of like a digital product that you're getting out to them, right. So if you sell a bag, but they're also getting, like, this monthly newsletter from you about how to organize your purse, then maybe when it's time to buy a gift, they think of you. Or maybe when it's time to buy a favor for a wedding, they think of you. So these are also ways to keep appearing in peoples faces more often than your product can. Okay, another way to work, to sell things without doing work (laughs) is collaborations. So you don't always have to make the products you sell. And your company doesn't always have to make the products you sell. So, purse maker. I gotta think of a new example. You have this bag, right. Let's say a planner would go in it just perfect. And you know those audiences are really related, right. Women keep calendars and they carry them with them, right. So what if, it would be a lot of work to develop your own custom planner. Should it be weekly, monthly, daily, blah, blah, blah. But you could contact a planner maker and say, hey. You could either create a custom one and buy the whole chunk. Buy a hundred of them and sell them. Or you can say hey, do you just wanna collaborate. One way it works really well is that maybe you buy them on consignment. And you just say, hey, you're selling these planners for, whatever, 40 bucks apiece. I'll take a certain number, you know, can you give me a discount on them, I take a certain number and include them in a deluxe package. So you're selling the bag plus the planner. You get a little cut of the planner sells. And whatever I don't sell, I'll send back to you. That can be a really easy way to sell your product, along with getting a cut of these other product sells, without a lot of risk, right. And the other person might be very interested in that arrangement, because now they might sell 30, 40, 50, 100 planners without really doing any of the marketing, okay. Another really great way to collaborate, that isn't so much about making money, is having guests create digital content for your newsletter. I know a lot of us get really stuck in, like, (sighs) what am I putting in the newsletter this week? What am I going to tell my people about? Having people write guest posts, it's advertising for them too. So that's another great way to collaborate. And just the idea of bundling, I'm always surprised, customers like a kit that has everything in it, you know. So even if you sell, like the person with the monogrammed glasses, if you also sold the shaker, and the stirs, and some mix, or whatever, people love getting these one stop shop bundles. And you can work with other people to get their products and get a cut of those products, without having to stock them yourself. Affiliates is another way to kinda earn money without having to actually manage the product yourself. So the way an affiliate, like some people might be familiar with Amazon affiliates. The way affiliate marketing works is you get a cut of something for recommending it. So if there's a lip gloss you love, and you talk about it all the time, you can put a link to your website and earn money from every sale. And so Amazon is probably one of the most famous affiliate links. So if you do a tutorial for your blog and you use this knitting needle, you can put an Amazon link in there. And you're getting a small cut every time you make a sell. That's kind of the smaller scale way to get started. You can also contact a maker, specifically, and ask, do you have an affiliate program? A lot of people say no, I don't. (laughs) So one way you can negotiate working, is maybe you really advertise it one weekend. And you get a cut of all of their sales that weekend. Right, so they don't have the software to kind of track affiliates. But it was really the only weekend that you were really promoting it. So maybe they agreed to give you a certain cut. Another kinda easy way to do it is they give your customers a coupon code. And you would get a cut. So you would say, oh, 10% off if you use this coupon code. And you would get a cut from the maker of all the people who use that coupon code. That does all require, obviously, a bit of honesty. Cause, I mean, right, the person could just be like, wow, you didn't sell any. But most people are pretty honest about that. Alright, fulfillment help is another way to kind of just alleviate some of the physical workload off of your business. So there are fulfillment companies, and you can just Google fulfillment companies, and these are people who you ship your product to. They keep it in their warehouse. And they ship out the orders as they get the orders. I feel like this is turning into an ad. Perhaps one of the best known fulfillment companies, Amazon has turned itself into a fulfillment company. So you could send your product to Amazon, they will ship it for you, with all of the orders that come in. And, of course, they take a cut. Like, nothing's free. But this is like if the shipping of your item is what's like bogging you down and stopping your company from running. Then it's something to think about, right. Cause we're always balancing this time, money, energy equation. So we do wanna think about, is that something that we can offload to make our businesses easier? Another way of solving the fulfillment problem is moving to a wholesale model. So a lot of us might be used to selling directly to the consumer, right. So I sell patterns, I sell you one, you buy one. If you have a product that works well in a retail store, you can move your business to being mostly a wholesale business. So that would mean you would sell a box of to a retail store. So it's a pay cut, because they're buying at wholesale pricing, but, at the same time, you're selling 20, 30, 40, however many at a time. You're putting them all in one box, with one invoice, and getting rid of it. So it's a different model for the way your business works. And you definitely wanna run all the numbers, and see if the pricing works for you. But that's another way to kind of solve the fulfillment problem, is moving your model to where you're moving more product at once than just one at a time. Okay, so that was talking about different ways that you can get exclusive products for your business. So we talked about small scale production. So this could be as little as going to one maker and just saying, hey, can you put my logo on this thing, I'd like to add it to my bags. All the way up to large scale production. And the root of this is streamlining your business, picking the products that you're already selling well, and that you think you can capitalize on to sell more. So, in the next section, we're gonna be talking about evolving and growing your business. And so that's really like moving to the next level of businessnessness. (laughs) But if anyone wanted to tell me a bit about like what kinds of products are you thinking you could move on and start developing. Like what was your best selling product. And what do you think is the way to take it to the next level? What, yeah? Well, I don't think I'd take advantage of albums. Yeah. And basically, mainly, copybook albums. So I just bought a program six months ago. Learned how to use it. And it makes it a lot easier and streamlines that process. Cause I used to do everything on Photoshop. Pretty old school. And then I got this program and I paid a large upfront fee. But I'm not taking advantage of it. And so I, while you were talking, I was just, like, thinking how that would apply to my photography business. And with every family, you know, people do it with weddings, but, with family, I want to offer, like, oh, hey, every six moths, every year, you have a beautiful album of your family growing. And, you know. But I need to like market it more on my website. And so they can see it. Exactly. It's like more, like, just in their. Cause if I don't do this, who's gonna print their images? It's just gonna sit on the computer. And that's not why I do photography. Exactly, and packages, too, like the idea of packages. So I know I worked with a photographer when my baby was little. Birth photos, three, six, nine, and one year, right. And it was a bundle, it was a package. And, at first, you're like, who wants to take that many photos? But every new parent wants to take that many photos, right? And so it's a way of packaging it together. And, in a way, it's not five times the work for you. I mean you have to still do the photo. But, from the client end, you've already gotten the client. So you're not needing to do that more advertising. And how can you put it together. And then you print the albums for them. And, then, they're reminded again when they get it. And, then, when a person comes over and says, like, oh, hey, that's a really cute album. Of course it is, you know. And it can branded with your logo. So, yeah, I'm really glad you brought that up. Because I think a lot of times, if you run a digital business, you kinda think, like, oh, I just do the digital part. But there's so many opportunities to have a really high quality product. And to set yourself apart from the websites that print things, right? Like you're bringing your aesthetic eye to it and customizing it for your customers. And even this is a really great way, like, all of like the little extras. Like, maybe they would like some pins that go along with it. Or maybe if it's for the coffee table, like there's a mug with your logo on it, that they get when they sign up for your package. I'm gonna talk about some packaging examples later that are just like super cute. So if you get a photography client for a wedding, you can send them like, I don't know, two weeks before the package, like what impression would it make if you sent them, like, you know, getting ready for your wedding package. And it's just a simple box, it has like a little spa mask, it has like a little, some tea. And it's like these are some great tips for taking nice photos on your wedding, you know. Get some nice sleep, you know, here's my favorite touch up brush, you know, whatever. And so they're like. You're taking care of the whole experience for them, right. So that's sort of what I was talking about earlier for making, you're the one stop shop. Like, I know if I come to you, you're taking care of the whole weekend, right. You could even print little cards. Like, you know, the postcards about, like, tips for managing difficult family. Like, right, you know what the problems are when you're a wedding photographer. There's uncle Bob who's all like, you know, getting in the way of the photo. And you can even have like cute little tips for, like, make sure someone's babysitting uncle Bob. Or, you know, whatever. So, yeah, I think about creating that whole package. And once you print the buttons once, you just have them in your room, you know? You printed 50 of them and now turning through them all year long.

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!