This is the episode where we dive deep in to Outsourcing … that wonderful concept that has the potential of allowing you to do so much more with less.
Duration: 40 min – 55 MB.
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Tim: James Schramko, welcome back to the beautiful waters of the Freedom Ocean.
James: Isn’t it lovely, Tim?
Tim: It is excellent! And listeners, welcome back to Australia’s most popular internet marketing podcast, as quantified by the Apple iTunes Store. And James, this is probably a bit this way, but how would you summarize the show? Timothy Ferriss I often summarize it at the start. How would you summarize what we do here?
James: Well, I think the whole premise is, Freedom Ocean is about discussing internet marketing-related topics and it was pretty much born with you, Tim, asking me, James, all the questions about internet marketing. So it sort of started out as a Q & A and I think it’s moving more into a discussion, because we’re on Episode 13 now, and it would be fair to say that I think you’re able to answer some of your questions a little bit in the how of the internet marketing thing.
Tim: Finally! Finally, you say!
James: We’re doing our job!
Tim: We are! Yeah, absolutely, we are!
James: Have you run out of questions?
Tim: No, no, I haven’t. And if I do, the listeners have got plenty, so don’t worry about that. There is many, many questions to come. Last episode, we covered sort of sales and copy, and what it means to sell and engage with people. And you shared an absolute ripper template. All the bones of the ripper template, one that which will show itself in an information product in a couple of months time. But if people were looking for a way to develop a good sales copy, whether it be verbal or in video form or audio form, then I really recommend them going back to Episode 12 and having a look at that. Having a listen to that.
James: Yeah, I’m going to broad brush stroke that, Tim, to say forget all the academia and the writing thing and the copywriting this and all that. It ultimately—no matter what—when someone comes to your website, you want them to do something, whatever that is, just put some thought around how you’re going to do that. It doesn’t matter if it’s text or video or whatever. Just you’ve got to get a hang of the sales methodology of taking someone from where they’re at now to where they should be.
James: I hope you can do that.
Tim: Now this podcast here isn’t sequential. We jump around from topic to topic, and today’s topic is no exception because we are talking about something that is on the tip of absolutely, I’m sure, every listener’s tongue. And that is the O-word. James?
James: Oh, I thought you were going to say Rebecca Black. Friday! (laughs)
Tim: (laughs) Who’s Rebecca Black?
James: You’ve got to be kidding me!
Tim: No, I’m not! I’m not a big consumer of media outside of the podcast, let me tell you.
James: Oh, dear! I think I’ll leave that to the listeners.
Tim: Oh, okay.
James: That’s the quote of the episode. “Who’s Rebecca Black?”
Tim: I’ll go and Google it. Okay. (laughs)
James: Okay. (laughs) Tell me about the O-word.
Tim: Well, the O-word would be Outsourcing.
James: Right. You’ll be getting questions about that.
Tim: Oh, yeah! You know, here’s the thing. We share a lot of good quality information with our listeners, explaining how to do various parts of internet marketing, lifting the lid on lots of aspects of internet marketing. But there’s a time where you have to do, where you have to implement an action. And often, what many people say is that they either, they lack the time, or they lack the skill sets, so therefore, in steps outsourcing, yeah? So, and I know that your view on outsourcing and approach to outsourcing is different to maybe what our listeners expect to hear. And that’s a good thing, because once again, there’s no silver bullet here; there’s no one way of doing it. But maybe let’s talk just broadly right now about what is outsourcing. And clearly, it’s going—putting the feelers into the world. That’s what I love about outsourcing. Into the big, wide world; looking for good people to be part of your virtual team.
James: Yeah, I think there’s a few different aspects to it. Team is one way to look at it. And it’s certainly my preference; it’s building a team. Some people think when you say outsourcing, they’re thinking tasks sourcing. So we should clarify the difference between tasks sourcing or building a team. Because most people listening acts–I think they’ve got to be wanting lots of tips and tricks on tasks sourcing. And I’m not really qualified to teach you anything about that. I prefer to locate a recurring service that I can continue to use and build a relationship with, so that I consider them as almost like a team member, even if they’re a separate company and even if they’re on a contract basis. But I like to build up a team of suppliers around me, who can share the load. Because (a) I can’t do everything, (b) I don’t want to do everything. But if you want to scale your business and make it hugely profitable, there’s only so much you can do by yourself. So you do have to look to external places.
Tim: Let’s talk about task sourcing and clearly, that’s about finding someone to do something for you one-off.
James: Pretty much, yeah. That would be top and tail for our podcast episode.
James: Or a—
Tim: An article or—
James: A one-time logo.
Tim: Website or logo. Yep.
James: Yep. And then there’s other things that you’ll be using over and over again. If you’re going to be doing something a lot of the time, then you start thinking about “Should I hire someone full-time to do this, a full time contractor? Or should I find a service who specializes in this that I can use over and over and over again? And both of those approaches are valid and there are pros and cons for having your own team in-house and then outside. And a lot of big companies use outside supply contracts with tele call centers—
Tim: Might have been doing it forever!
James: They have! It’s really just become—I think it was popularized probably by Timothy Ferriss in the 4-Hour Workweek. That’s definitely where I started thinking about having a virtual assistant. And from that thought, it developed into hiring one, even though I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough to keep her busy. But it sort of snow-balled from there.
Tim: Yeah, right. So is that how you actually started as a—you actually, “Well you know what? I’ll go and find myself a VA or virtual assistant”, and give her some things that you didn’t want to do, and then over the time just managed to fill those excess hours.
James: It’s not really how it started. I only did that about a year ago, a year and a half ago. Before that, I started identifying leverage points in my business; things that I’m doing over and over again, that I shouldn’t be doing. It started—I actually call this my Richard Branson thinking. It’s like “Would Richard Branson do this?” Richard Branson wouldn’t be sitting there writing an article, I’m telling you right now. That’s not what he would be doing. So I figured, I need to get someone else to do this, because I’m going to continually be writing articles as long as I have websites.
Now my own business, we are writing hundreds of articles every month. Probably even a thousand, who knows? I’d probably know, but I wouldn’t say anyway. But the thing is, I can’t write a thousand articles a month, it would be impractical. So I actually have a whole team of writers, in my business, who do that everyday; that’s what they do. But before I had my internal team, what I did is I actually found someone who is good at writing and I trained her to be an internet writer from scratch. And then I recognized that she was going to be too busy writing just articles for me. So I encouraged her to hire her own team under her and build a business around it, which she did, and it was very successful. And then she expanded it to press releases and writing maga-logs and other written type documents.
So that was how I started. I started finding the things that I shouldn’t do, couldn’t do, didn’t want to do, and started finding other people to do them. But I use the same supplier over and over again. I still have this person write articles now, and we’re talking about, I’m guessing, maybe 4 years? On my original designs, I recognized that I suck at Photoshop, so I asked a friend of mine, who is a designer called James Darson, to design—
Tim: Who we talked about the last episode?
James: My logos and templates, yeah. And most of my figurehead products are James Darson designs, and it was with that relationship that I ended up helping him build up his business with his optimized press.
James: So I took on a designer from UK, I took my article writer from Sydney, and then another thing that really helped me was I wanted to speed up my web development process. I was building all my websites. And I spoke to a friend of mine who’s a programmer, and actually had him program a tool that would speed up the time it took me to build a website. So whilst I didn’t outsource that task to anybody, I outsourced it to a machine, to a system, to a software program.
So the key points with the outsourcing, I think that really need to come up, firstly, should you be doing it anyway? Can you eliminate it or stop it altogether? Because that’s the best thing of all. If you don’t have to do it, stop doing it. Secondly, if you do have to do it, can you automate it somehow, using software or by something that speeds it up. And that’s why we use a lot of tools in our business. We use a lot of software to leverage our effort. And thirdly, can you delegate it? Yeah. Who else can you get to do it. And I started taking on these corporate clients and I didn’t want to do all their SEO for them directly. So I started contracting different suppliers. And I went through about seven different companies to find the eventual supplier. And that was so good. That actually built the business around it and then started telling them what I really want them to do and modifying the processes, and actually training them on my techniques, and building a strong business around it.
So I basically started around finding individual suppliers who specialize in that thing, that could continue to supply that service. So that’s what I do. It’s design, articles, press releases, search engine optimization, and then I moved into web development; exactly the same thing. And here’s the funny thing, Tim: to this day, I have still never, ever used oDesk, Elance, Jobstreet, any of them, Fiverr, I’ve not used a single one of those popular outsourcing places—
Tim: All those directories where you can go and find people to do job for you.
James: Apparently you can, and hire and monitor them—
Tim: So where did you find your first person?
James: Which one?
James: The article writer?
Tim: Ah, yes.
James: Or the designer? The designer I found in Warrior forum.
Tim: In which forum?
James: The Warrior forum.
James: He was—actually a client of his bought a template package and came to me and asked me if I could convert them to XsitePro, which is a software that I was selling as an affiliate. And I actually looked up the designer; I found him in the Warrior forum. And I sent him a private message. I said, “Listen, one of your clients wants me to convert these templates. Firstly, do I have your permission to do that? Because they’re your templates, and I don’t want to infringe upon that. And secondly, these are the most stunning designs I’ve ever seen. Would you like me to convert them all to XsitePro and sell those templates as XsitePro templates? And cut you in as a 50-50 partner on it. You don’t have to do anything, except say yes.” And he said yes. And we built a website together called XsiteProfit, and we set up a video sales page 4 years ago, with the name Capture, giving away free logos. And we built a list with thousands of people. And from that original joint venture, we went on to do lots of projects together, and we both have built successful businesses. That was how I found my first person.
Tim: I think one of the things with outsourcing, and I’m guilty of this, is to look at them and go, “Okay, I’m going to outsource, and therefore go to a site like Elance or oDesk or Fiverr, or whatever it may be, and then methodically go through the process of finding someone whereas, really, outsourcing—and often, someone overseas.
James: Well, you’re basically becoming an HR Manager.
Tim: Yeah, which is not really the criteria. The criteria shouldn’t be “I want to find someone overseas for this job because they might be cheaper or they might be working on a different time zone, so they’re up while I’m asleep and vice versa, and I’ll get turnarounds quicker and things.” That is not clearly the criteria. It’s about—for me—it’s being about finding the best player, the best A-player in the world for the job that I have, that I need doing.
James: Well, that makes sense.
Tim: At a price that is often not what you’re going to pay locally. That just seems to be how it pans out.
James: Yeah, I’ve seen people publish guides on the outsourcing, and I read them and it really makes my blood boil for a few reasons. One is, someone will spend 2 or 3 hours looking for a $5.00 job on Fiverr, and I think, “What are you doing?” You could have just written it yourself in one hour.
Tim: But it is fun going through Fiverr! (laughs)
James: Is it? I wouldn’t know. I don’t waste time on stuff like that.
Tim: Yeah, well.
James: You see, I don’t think they will place a value on their time and their task, sourcing everything. That approach, business from half of us save money. And I can tell you, you will only ever save a hundred percent of your costs, at the most, true? So if you have a hundred thousand dollars a year in sales, and you save a hundred percent of costs, and your costs are a hundred thousand dollars, then the most profit that you can make is a hundred thousand. That’s the wrong approach. You should be thinking, “How could I make more profit? How could I make more sales?” It doesn’t matter if your costs are a hundred thousand dollars, if you’re doing five hundred thousand in sales, because now you’ve made $400,000.00 profit.
So it’s always easy to actually leverage a business up than it is to reduce costs. So don’t task source or outsource because it’s going to save you money, do it because it’s going to make you money. Do it so you can leverage that purchase. So you take a $10.00 article and you put it on a website and sell $20.00 worth of affiliate commission, now it makes sense. And how many of those articles would you get? That’s why I might get six, seven, eight hundred articles a month up onto my websites because I’m going to leverage them into six, seven, or eight thousand dollars in affiliate sales.
So I think it’s just a different mindset around this would be good. And I’ve seen these people publish guides when they have no clue how to manage people in most tasks. They don’t run successful businesses, the ones that they set up crash and burn, and then they’re teaching other people all these, you do it, hiring, and the task sourcing strategies and they’re celebrated because it teaches people how to save money and save costs. But it’s not going to build a business that’s profitable.
Tim: Yeah, I think too, or one of the things that I was saying with people who were successful at outsourcing, is that they really do treat it as a team, and build a camaraderie and, you know, have people live the–and genuinely then think about your business, and how to increase profits, how to increase sales, and, you know, or even myself with the people I outsourced too, you know, rewarding them for job well done. Not necessarily incentivizing them for incentivizing sake, but just knowing that how you guys—it doesn’t matter where you are, you’re part of a team, this my vision, and I know you—I mean, you know, the daily making, you treat it—whether you’re going to or not, with your outsourcing team, but there’s a real connection there and I think, once again, if you do it on task basis, you’re not going to get that. You know, you’re going to get a task done, whereas when you do it on a long-term basis.
James: But just some basic stuff, like treating people like a human being, will get you a long way. There’s a whole racket of people who go to those sites, and get people to trial jobs and don’t pay them. And they don’t like [sounds like phonies] and they rip them off, because they’re sick of being abused. So that’s why they tend to take on multiple jobs and not come back to people with the work done.
I’ve never had that happen to me. But I hear people saying that this happens. And I think it’s because they’ve been poorly treated. And if you’re not going to those job boards, and if you’re not dealing with people in that environment, you can size up that whole drama. And I often joke, but I seriously think one of the best way you could hire somebody, because someone’s going to ask this, is to phone up one of the large corporations, you know, like Dell or, you know, Case Telstra, you’ll get someone to fill the panes on the phone. And you could just ask them if they’re happy in their call center job, I’ll bet you they’re not. Probably three quarters of my team worked in American call centers
Tim: You’re right.
James: And they worked at night, and if they were late for work, they get locked out of the building, and they got paid pretty shitty wages, and they were treated like rubbish, and they had plaques on their wall that said, “You should be happy because there’d be someone else more than happy to sit at this desk.”
James: Yeah! So, you know, when you start to factor in this whole inhumane, treat-people-like-robots thing that’s going on in the outsourcing language, it’s wrong. It’s, you know, you wouldn’t treat animals like that. Why would we do this to humans? So when you think outsourcing, don’t think this is a job function, this is a profit task for me. I mean, you can. You know, I’ve seen people create whole products around, you know, setting up your human factory and all that. I just think it’s wrong. It makes me upset and saddened as a human to think that people feel that way. I’m thinking it’s so much more from developing a real team, with real humans; these people have children, they have families, they have bills to pay. If you reward them and look after them and compassionate, and you share, you’ll have a relationship that you’d hardly ever find in the Western company. A culture that is beyond comparison. You become almost a family member with these people, and the amount of respect and performance that comes is indescribable. And especially, if you’re going to meet them face to face and look them in the eye and give them a hug. These people who are building your business, that is when things go to the next level.
Tim: Do you think it is about outsourcing outside of, you know, in our case, Australia? Outside of the country which we live? Is that for you? I know majority of the people that you outsource to are overseas. Is there a reason for that?
James: I don’t really mind where they’re from. I have people around the world. I have got 60 people in India. I have lots of people in the Philippines. I have—mostly our web developments stuff is in the United States. I mean, our currency is strong here, they’ve got great English in the United States—
Tim: Yeah, they do!
James: Mostly good! They butcher a few words.
Tim: Yeah, they do!
James: But they are very—
Tim: Too many zed’s instead of s’s but we’ll excuse them for that.
James: Yeah. Well-educated and massive unemployment rate. And their economic climate means that our work is good work. So I don’t care what country they’re in, my designers in the UK—so I have people around the world, and it doesn’t matter. I’m like you, I want to get a good person for the job that allows everyone to win. They’ve got to be happy doing the job. I’ve got to be happy that I can take that job and still make a profit on top. And there’s some countries that are better than others for certain tasks, and if you’re looking for programming, then you might find that Eastern Europe is going be a good country for that. You know, the Russian programmers are great.
Tim: I’ve had some great work. I mean, I think I’ve said before, my best designer is Serbian. And, you know, talk about a passion for creativity, great understanding of the whole design thing. English, you know, not so good, but we get by. Productivity—they’re just so grateful, too, to get the kind of work we give them, and I don’t say that in a condescending way, it’s just I guess we have more opportunities than they have, with the kind of work that we give them. So I’m getting some great results our of Eastern Europe, but then I’ve got a great article writer in the States who, as you say, sometimes you think, “Oh, maybe the States aren’t up for it, because they’re going to be too expensive.” Not in my experience, not at all.
James: No, there’s plenty of people who will do good work at good rates. And remember, my whole business philosophy is not about trying to find the cheapest. I pay all of my team members above the industry average. And I don’t mind one bit. They’re worth it, and I bonus them, and I buy things for them. I share in their success because they drive the business. And the great thing is, when you have that communication and you’re open with them, you can translate your vision of the business in clear data. I have no problem telling my team what my financial goals for the business are or how profit is driven in each department, which jobs are making us the money, because as long as they know that, it helps them help the business because they understand how it works. And I found out one of the best techniques is to tell them what results you want, but you don’t necessarily have to tell them how to do it.
Tim: How to get the—
James: Like a designer. How am I going to tell a designer how to design a logo, I don’t have a clue. I might have a vision of what I like it to be, maybe colors or—
Tim: Some references?
James: Yep. I don’t know how to do it. That’s what they do, that’s what they do well. And let them be artists, let them express themselves, let them find their passion. So we’re also quite big on having out team members align themselves with their passion. They all start off in general training, and then they tend to develop into their areas of specialty, whether it’s design or copy, or video production, article writing. We tend to start off that way and then as we get more specialized, then we can specifically hire for those roles.
Tim: Do you often find—that’s interesting because sometimes I think I’ve got to find someone who is an article writer.
Tim: Versus I’ve got to find someone who maybe has a broader skill set, and may, over time, show interest in WordPress or article writing or design or—
James: But I think one of the huge mistakes people make is their hiring skills. I don’t want to hire skills. I want to hire attitude. I want the person, I want them to like turning up to work. I want them to love the people they work with and feel proud of what they’re doing. And I’m happy to teach them the skills. Not one single person in my team knew about internet marketing or anything technical; nothing about WordPress, articles. Some of them play with videos and Photoshops; the designers, for example, that’s fine. But the technical people, never heard of plug-ins or whatever. You can teach them all of that stuff, there’s an abundance of training.
Tim: So what we’re you employing up front? What were you looking when you’re employing?
James: I was employing a person who was intelligent and passionate, and had integrity and was enthusiastic and wanted to have challenges and enjoy work and—
Tim: How do you make the judgment call on those attributes? Because they’re quite—they’re not very—what are they…natural attributes.
James: We call them soft.
Tim: Yeah, they’re soft attributes. So you had to actually—
James: Talk to them.
James: I talk to them. You get them on Skype, you ask them to put together a little project, which you pay for. In this case, I asked them to put together a PowerPoint presentation on a specific topic. And I see what comes back. You can tell a lot from that, you know, if you set up a project, “Okay I want you to prepare a PowerPoint presentation on the topic of puppy love.” Or whatever, you know? Let them go in, see what pictures they put, see what thought they put, see if the story makes sense or whatever, like it’s fascinating to see how they come back with it. We now, in our team, we actually have an HR department. And they do an English test, they do a Basic Comprehension sort of thing, because, you know, we don’t want to be mopping up messes with our articles. And we have interview process in the team, two separate people, and then with me if I want. And they prepare dossier and they get references; it’s all the stuff they learned in the call center.
James: I didn’t have to teach them any of that stuff, just a little bit. Just a few things from the management world that I came from. I was happy to tell them some of the ways we do things here, which is quite different, very different. You can ask them crazy questions in other countries. Like marital status and living status and all this sort of stuff. We don’t obviously ask them in the Western society, it’s illegal to ask half of those questions. But when I saw those questions on the form, “Are you kidding me? We ask this?” Not that I’m really interested in it. But the point is, when you combine some of the philosophies from the great resources that are available to us as managers and big business people, with some of the localized things, I mean, they know where to find people. They do word of mouth, they hang out with people. I don’t mind hiring husbands and wives, and cousins, and sisters, and [sounds like RT’s] because they’re all like family. They’re loyal and friendly and talented.
Tim: One of the things that come to mind too with outsourcing, and what I love about it, is that sometimes the downside of testing something isn’t too bad. So, you know, you might do a few hundred bucks by getting some website created or some copy revision, or something designed or some SEO stuff done. But you’ve tried it and you know, not only have you tried and it doesn’t work, then there’s the opportunity to fix it, whereas sometimes when you go locally, you can actually do some serious dough.
Once again, I know it’s not about finding the three-dollar-an-hour employee, but often it’s a much more cost-effective way of doing it. And I just think that sometimes, there are things that you want to try, that if you did locally, you just can’t do it because it’s cost prohibitive, but if you do it, if you go outsource it to the world, then you may well surprise yourself and develop a whole new part of the business that you never thought possible.
James: Well, many of our business divisions didn’t exist before we found out that people are good at what they do. And we’ve expanded into areas that utilized their skill set and their passion. And a lot of them will bring skills to the table that they don’t tell you about until you dig deeper.
Tim: Yeah, well that’s exciting, isn’t it? I mean, you don’t know that’s going to happen, you only hope it does, but those people want jobs, and once they got the job and they’ve got the confidence, you know what I mean, “I’ve got an employer now, I’m here for the long haul.” To them being able to express how, you know, I’m really interested in a particular area and develop it up. And look, the are some great products out there, and if you want to teach someone, you know, WordPress, then—I mean, I don’t know WordPress, I rely on other people to do WordPress. But I know that there’s products out there that can give you—
James: Yeah, just buy—you buy a product and you ask the product owner if you can give it to your team. And sometimes you need to get a multiple user license, and that’s okay. But there’s all sorts of applications and tools that you can use to help run your team and manage the resources you need to manage, that are set up for this sort of thing, like multiple user logins and sharing drop box on the team setting. And Basecamp is great, you know. Those are the tools designed for bringing together a bunch of people. You can even use those tools with external suppliers who you want to put in your company, as if they’re in your company but they’re not.
Tim: Yep. Now James, you said you weren’t into those types like Elance and oDesk, et cetera. But really, as a starting point for many people listening, they may well be the gateway into finding outsources. So just touching on them, one thing that I’ve used—in particular, I use Elance more than the others—in writing the brief on those sites, I think what’s really important is that you’re really clear as to what you’re looking for. You set the expectations of what’s on offer, whether it is one-time work or whether it is an ongoing employment opportunity or whatever it is. But I find a real kicker, is where you actually say you are going to identify the Top 3 people who put in a proposal, and set them a task, and that will be the same task, and you will pay for that task to happen. And that way, you’re getting three solutions sent back to you, where you can compare apples with apples, and people are getting paid for that, so it’s not looking as though you are trying to get work done for free. And then it’s very, very easy to see, to compare the apples with apples. Who’s turned around the quickest or who’s really put the effort in, who’s gone to exceptional presentation lengths, who’s English is better, or whatever those criteria are, I find that being handy and, a little tip that a colleague shared with me was, is to also, in there, put in a weird question. I don’t know if we’ve spoken about this before, but it might be, you know, what’s your favorite color, or you know, what’s your favorite football team. And you tell them, I’m asking you this because I want to—and you put the question at the end of the brief, because you want to make sure that those people are reading the entire brief, and it’s not some kind of bot.
James: Well, that’s why I think John Reece, many years ago, said just put in a unique referral and say when you reply back, please reference X, Y, Z.
James: You know, everyone’s ripped that idea off.
James: He also recommended that you tip the person if they do a good job, pay them a little extra, because no one does. And take them out of the system as soon as you can.
Tim: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
James: Now, I would say, you don’t have to go to those places if you don’t want. A really good resource for finding people who are good at stuff would be forums. Because forums tend to have very passionate groups of people who know what they’re talking about on the topic. And there are load of people in a forum, who answer every question on a particular topic.
Tim: Yeah, there is!
James: And, you know, when I bought my coffee machine recently, my wife went to the coffee forum, it’s called Coffee Snobs, and there’s a guy there answering every single question like the techno expert. And she actually got a phone number from him, we rang him up and said what coffee machine do we get? And he talked to me for an hour. Loved that expert coffee guy! And I knew I was in good hands, because I’ve already seen the proof in forum. I know he’s an expert, and you can do the same with design, you could do the same with writing.
Tim: I would have felt, if that was the same way to a design forum, now let’s say I’m looking for a writer, let’s say I went to a writer’s forum, and there was a one person answering every single question. To me that’s like you’ve got too much time on your hands, or you’ve got, you know, where’s your focus? Is it in generating business for your own, you work your own business or you just want to spend time on forums.
James: Yeah, but I’d say that to you. If you even got the time to go to forum because you have to hire a writer, then you haven’t leveraged your business either. I’m not doing any of that stuff anymore. I do it once, to find the team leader, and they do all that stuff from then on.
Tim: Yep. Yeah, absolutely. I mean—
James: So I’m going to touché you on that.
Tim: Yeah, fair enough!
James: And most writers, god bless them, are not great at running their business. That’s why they’re writing for a living.
Tim: We spoke about that in the previous episode, didn’t we? Touched on it, anyway.
James: Yeah. So they do get on, and people waste hours and hours and hours in forums. And there’s a valid reason to be in a forum, to generate business. I think it makes sense for a writer to be, you know, in a forum where people pay for writing to go and answer some questions and carry their signature file. Because it’s a demonstration of their ability, and it’s right in the heart of their target audience. That’s how I instructed my friend who became a writer, to start her business.
Tim: While being active in a forum?
James: Yeah, and she got all her customers in a forum. In the beginning, she built her whole business on forum traffic.
Tim: But forums, I don’t go to a lot of forums. I spend a bit of time in a domain name forum, but other than that, it’s not kind of top of mind for me to go, “Oh, I better go and do a Google on a forum on a particular topic.” They’re pretty active places on there still. Forums to me—
James: Forums are one of the most under-utilized techniques for market research, traffic for selling things. I go to forums every single day. And I have generated so much revenue from forums for my signature file. I get back links for my website. I’m marketing for the most passionate, interested target audience possible. But also know the players in the forum, and forum owners are very well-connected people; they know everybody, they see all the data, they know what’s going on, they’re a great resource. Totally overlooked! I mean, that’s a good example. I used a forum to buy a coffee machine. If you want to buy anything, go and research forums; they will tell you every single product that sucks, they’ll tell you every single product that’s great, they’ll be discussing it, debating it, sharing their user experience, telling you what’s missing from it. It’s a mine field of information, that once you have your basic ways to sort through it, you can cut to the chase to anything. I’ll give you a tip: use the search tool. The search tool is great—
Tim: In the forum? Yeah.
James: If you go to the forum—if you go to the Warrior forum and you start searching for the writing terms, like article or cost for articles, you’ll pull up a mine of threads that have writers in them, debating how much articles should cost, and in their signature file will be, you know, X articles for X dollars. You can click on the links and go and look at their sales pages. Within half an hour, you’ve researched all the writers who are active in the market.
Tim: What is the Warrior forum?
James: The Warrior forum is an internet marketing forum.
Tim: Okay. Run by?
James: Alan Sands. And it’s free and there are writers, copywriters, tens of thousands of desperate people who are unable to make a single dollar online, debating crap, and then there’s some actual experts do surface in there, or operate under pseudonyms. But it’s got a good product reviews section, and any internet marketing product that comes out, there’ll be people discussing it in the product review section. I always go and look at there when I see any product come out. And I have a look and see people what people are saying about, you know, they’ll say that you’re making a mistake.
Tim: Well, I think that’s a pretty good wrap on outsourcing. If people were expecting a long discussion around Elance and all those other ones, then I’m sorry!
James: (laughs) I can’t help at all!
Tim: But I had to go there, because it is where my headspace is at. Although, I do agree that certainly, once you have found someone good, it is always the best place to start is to ask them if they know anyone else, and I’ve had a great, great success in that. But the forums are a good pickup.
James: I’m just going to summarize it with, look, try and employ a service for a contractor who specializes in what it is they do, you know? Like, that’s how I feel whole businesses around SEO and websites and reputation management, we just do those things. The team that does that just does that, and we do it well. And it’s easy for someone that are paying for unit of whatever they’re ordering and they get a consistent supply, because we’ve already done the homework, the research, and everything else. It’s much easier to hire service than a single person. If you are serious about building a business, think about getting some team members, but make sure that you are going to be a good leader, and that you can lead your team. People don’t leave businesses, they leave bosses. So if you suck as a manager, don’t hire people full time, it’s not fair on them. So brush up on your leadership skills, and if you do have people, treat them like humans, look after them, give them some guidelines, tell them what your vision is, and have them work with you and you’ll be amazed at what they can do.
Tim: Yeah, good points. Good points.
James: And think like Richard Branson, okay? He’s not doing the small stuff.
Tim: Sir Richard to you.
James: Sir Richard Branson. He’s not doing the little jobs. He’s thinking the bigger stuffs. So you don’t want to be bogged down and task sourcing your five dollar jobs everyday, that is ridiculous!
Tim: There’s a huge amount of leverage to be had, isn’t there?
James: There is. Hire someone to do the five dollar job task sourcing.
Tim: Yeah. Good point. For five bucks. James, thanks mate! Listeners, if you haven’t already, please go to FreedomOcean.com. Not Free the Motion or Free to Motion, but it’s FreedomOcean.com and sign up. Sign up! Because that way, you will be the very first person to know when a new episode of the show comes out. You will get a free transcript of every single show to highlight and scribble on while you’re swinging in your hammock between palm trees. And every now and then, you will get a little something special sent to you, from James and I, that we think is of high value in helping you grow your internet marketing business. So that’s Freedomocean.com, and James, until next time. I think we’ve got some pretty interesting for our next show. I think, I think it’s a listener’s questions show.
James: Oh, bring it on! Bring it on!
Tim: Bring that on! We’ve got lots of them. And so, until then. See you, mate!
James: See you!