When you first thought about starting an online business the idea sounded like a dream –
- You could work from home or anywhere in the world
- Spend more time with the kids or do what you love
- Work your own hours
- Wake up when you want
Little did you know there’s actually more to it than simply setting up a website and letting it run hands-free.
In fact, many beginners aspiring to become a successful online entrepreneur don’t even make it past the initial stages of setting up a website because they don’t even know where to begin.
The ultimate goal with an online business (at least for me) is to make it as passive and automated as possible.
Just because you work from home, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll work less hours.
I used to work more hours than a regular person working at a 9-5 job. 12-14 hour days to be precise!
I then said to myself, “This isn’t why I started an online business”.
I wanted to be able to be anywhere at anytime without being tied in front of my computer answering emails, doing the bookkeeping and doing customer support.
This is where I learned about the power of outsourcing and delegating.
Outsource, Delegate And Leverage Your Time
It’s about leveraging your time to give you more freedom to do what you want to do.
Outsourcing is one thing but training staff is a subject that’s not quite covered thoroughly, at least from my own research.
The secret, really, is to create proper procedures, processes and documentation in a form of checklists, videos, screenshots and more.
Systemize Your Online Business For Automation
Michael E. Gerber in his book The E-Myth shares this subject in detail.
It’s what successful franchises like McDonald’s and Subway use to replicate its success. They have everything systemized.
Applying these simple principles is easy to do in your online business if you know how to.
Here’s my process to streamlining and systemizing your online business. In addition, finding, hiring and then giving the proper instructions to staff you hire.
Create Your Procedures and Training Documentations First
Most people do it the other way – hire first and then waste hours trying to train their new staff.
The next time you’re performing a task you want outsourced, simply record every step of the process. This could be in the form of screenshots or video tutorials.
Once I’m done recording a video, I upload it to YouTube but set the videos as “Unlisted” so that only those with YouTube video URL can watch it.
Your aim is to be as detailed as possible so that your staff dont keep going back to repeating how to do a certain task. They simply go over the tutorial.
It’s as simple as:
Step 1, do this.
Step 2, go here.
Step 3, click this.
The next step is to create what I like to call a “Staff Center”.
Create A “Staff Center”
A staff center, essentially, is a simple password protected site where your staff can go to find tutorials and guides for running your day-to-day operations.
This makes it so much easier than going back and forward through email or other platforms.
I simply use WordPress as my staff center because of many reasons such as the ability to create new users, add new posts, categorizing tutorials and more.
Honestly, it can look as ugly as you want because only you and your staff will ever see it. So don’t waste time making it look all pretty and fancy.
You don’t need to register for a new domain name. It could simply be installed in a subdirectory like www.yourdomain.com/staff or staff.yourdomain.com.
Once you’re all set with creating your documentations and setting up your staff area, you’re now ready to find a suitable candidate to take over your tasks.
It’s Time To Find A Virtual Assistant
When you think about hiring a staff, your initial thoughts are that it’s costly and that it’s an expense. It should never be looked at in that way.
Ultimately, they will be doing the tasks you hate doing and as a result, you’ll free up your time to work on more important parts of your business.
Hiring a staff doesn’t need to cost you an arm an a leg.
For a full-time staff you can expect to pay just $250. Now, this is probably the minimum you would pay for staff in the Philippines, but I have gotten away finding excellent “A player” staff for that little.
Where Exactly Do You Find A Virtual Assistant?
I’ve heard many positive things about Chris Ducker’s service called Virtual Staff Finder. Though, I have not tried it myself so I can’t comment from experience.
Basically they offer a service where they find suitable assistants based on your criterias. They then narrow it down to three candidates and you can interview each one afterwards.
You then pay a “finder’s fee” to Virtual Staff Finder. You are then responsible for your staff where you can negotiate wages, tasks they are responsible for, contracts, and so on.
Delegating Tasks To Your New Assistant
When I first hired a VA, I gave them a dozen or so task to handle, all at once!
Take a step back or perhaps a few steps back and start with just one task.
It could be as simple as posting a new update to your Facebook Page. That’s one task.
Don’t be greedy and try to milk your VA at the very start, just because you’re paying them.
Give one task at a time until they are competent at doing it themselves.
Now, remember that staff center you created? Well, it’s time to make use of it.
Simply give the tutorial to your VA and let them go through it.
If they have any further questions, answer them and also post it as an additional comment on that tutorial page so next time it doesn’t get asked again.
Slowly but surely, you’ll eventually delegate a lot of your day-to-day tasks.
Of course, the whole point of delegating is to free up your time to work on important things such as working on the strategic sides of your business.
As you progress more and more in your business, you will learn from mistakes and find better, faster and easier ways and methods of doing things so updating your procedures and tutorials is maintenance itself.
The idea is to streamline your business and future-proof it as much as possible so that incase a staff of yours disappears for whatever reason, you’d be confident in finding someone new to replace your loss staff.
Here’s a tip: Get your staff to create the procedures for you. Ask them to record a tutorial on exactly how they get a particular task done and then upload it.
To sum it up, no matter where your business is at the moment, I know for sure that you definitely don’t want to be sitting in front of your computer wearing all the hats and processing emails, answering the phone, doing live chat, bookkeeping and more.
You want to free yourself from a job, not create a new one.
And one of the biggest benefit is to work when, where and how you want. I actually wrote this blog post on my iPad while sitting at a resort lounge in Bali. Yes, the picture above is what I’m describing 🙂
And I do hope the photos I shared in this post inspires you! They were all taken from my most recent trip in Bali.
One last note, don’t be afraid of letting go and putting your trust in others.
Yes, it will take time, but the time you spend finding, hiring, training and maintaining staff is well worth it.
As always, just do it, even if you don’t get it right the first time.