It’s quite easy to start a business online or to get started in the world of affiliate marketing, but as you continue to grow in size you will soon realize that you simply can’t do everything by yourself. Even though I’ve been a “one-man” operation for twenty years now, there are still some areas I need to outsource to get everything done. The toughest part of the process was finally letting go and hiring someone else to get the job done.
In most cases, the hardest part about opening yourself up for expansion and hiring a VA or using outsourcing, is simply making sure the job is done right. The last thing you want to do is outsource or hire someone to do a project, only to have it be done the wrong way and waste more of your time and resources in the process. At the same time it’s also important to make sure you are outsourcing the right areas of your business and never losing focus on what got you here in the first place.
While you may think you can do it all and consider yourself the Jack of All Trades, you may soon find yourself as the Master of None. Below you will find a list of five key areas that every affiliate and online marketer should focus on outsourcing at one time or another.
Affiliate Marketing Outsourcing Methods
As mentioned, I prefer to do most of my business myself. If an article is published on the internet and says it was written by me, then it was written by me. If you send me an email, I read and respond to it.
Not all businesses and entrepreneurs are the same, so not all of these outsourcing suggestions will apply the same. Be sure to consider each option carefully and also not to jeopardize the quality of your product/service to save a few dollars and time in the process.
Content Creation and Outreach
Content creation takes a lot of time. Amazing content takes even longer!
Throw in the amount of outreach and promotion you need to do after an article goes live on your site and you are looking at several hours, if not days of work ahead.
If you already know the process of what it takes to create great content and promote it effectively, there is no reason you can’t outsource this as well. All you need to do is document the process, hire a VA, and work with them during the beginning phases of the process. Since the formula is usually the same 99% of the time, there is no reason why you need spend endless hours on content creation and promotion, when you could be spending it in other areas that yield higher ROI.
That is of course unless you are occasionally writing content under your personal name. Then you should definitely be writing your own work. For everything else, look into outsourcing.
NOTE: I would also throw site design, graphic design and ad copy into this group as well. You are most likely awesome at affiliate marketing because you know how to target the right audience and make campaigns work. You don’t need to be an expert designer or waste time learning how to use Photoshop. There are so many low cost solutions (like Fiverr) for getting a quick design done, that you can simply keep split testing different designs and concepts til you find one that works. Stick with the marketing and let somone else do the content and graphic design.
Social Media Management & Scheduling Events
Social media is a huge component of online marketing and branding today. However, it’s also an exhausting time suck-up as well. How many times have you went to post something to Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook and then found yourself scrolling through the most recent updates for an extra 20 or 30 minutes? It happens all the time, and it’s a huge waste of time! It can also lead to shiny object syndrome if you don’t have a clear focus and are trying to find new ways to make money online.
Just like content creation and outreach, social media management can be outsourced as well. Nearly all of the big name brands have someone that is managing their social media, but most online marketers and entrepreneurs won’t have the money (or the need) to hire someone just for this. Instead, look into services like MeetEdgar where you can automate the process and send out your most recent and best content to all of your social outlets on your own preferred schedule.
Speaking of scheduling, there are plenty of tools out there to help schedule interviews, discussions, and meetings as well. Removing the manual efforts of sending an email, writing it on your calendar and then trying to remember what, when and where you had something scheduled, can save you hours of time and frustration per month.
Again, these are all things that can be packaged up and taught to a new hire or VA if you want to fully remove yourself from the process.
I remember when I first started making money online and how I would write a check to myself at the end of each month. I also remember when at the end of the year I had to write some nasty five-figure checks to pay for taxes at the end of the year!
When you are an affiliate marketer or entrepreneur, the way you are paid is different from if you had a regular 9-5 job or an employer. This is why it’s important to setup monthly payroll processing to deal with all the tax junk and miscellaneous costs of doing business that you normally wouldn’t think about.
By automating and outsourcing your payroll and salary, you can pay towards your year end taxes out of each monthly paycheck and not be surprised at the end of the year when you owe taxes on everything you took out.
Bottom line, I’m not an accountant and I don’t want to be an accountant.
To learn more about payroll and how to set one up for your business, read through the guides at ADP Employment Tax & Compliance Services.
There are plenty to solutions out there for invoicing and automated billing as well, such as Freshbooks, Due and Paypal.
Do Not Outsource These Areas!
While outsourcing and automation are great, there are some areas that you should always manage yourself (unless you trust the source with your life).
Here are just a few to consider:
- Email: Some people like to outsource the management of their email, I personally don’t. Only you should determine the importance of email directly to you.
- Affiliate Account Management: This one is more about your security than anything else. Keep your affiliate and advertiser account access to yourself
- Campaign Tracking: Keep the core of your business safe by not allowing access to your campaign creatives, tracking, stats and keyword management.
- Paypal and Financial Accounts: There are lots of ways to outsource billing, payroll and invoicing, but you shouldn’t be granting personal or direct access to any places with your money can go in and out.
- Personal / Brand Representation: Unless you have a well-trusted PR person or agency, represent yourself with your own content and responses.
Always remember what it took to get you to where you are today. Hard work, effort and focus. Outsource the small stuff and keep your eye and personal touch on the big stuff.