Just because you CAN make a buck, should you?
There’s earning a buck with hustle and then there’s earning a buck with systems.
In most cases, you’re better off foregoing the buck and instead investing time into setting up a system that earns not one buck, but many bucks. You just have to wait for the system to be in place.
I know from experience that when starting out, you have to do pretty much everything yourself due to lack of funds for hiring help.
But that doesn’t mean you have to do everything.
Just because you read that Twitter is a good traffic source doesn’t mean it’s a good traffic source for you.
You need to protect your time and energy.
When starting your website you must decide what type of traffic you want in the long run. Then set up systems to generate that traffic.
Same with monetization. Sure, you can hustle selling your services to make $50, but once you get on that treadmill, it’s hard to get off. Instead, pursue a monetization strategy that can work with systems.
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What’s a system?
A system is a process you put in place that fulfils your objective(s) with little or no ongoing effort on your part. You manage or oversee the system, but other than that it functions independently from you.
Your goal with building up a website is to plan, test and implement systems over time so you aren’t handling too much of the day-to-day tasks.
In order to do this, you need to hire some people to help you. Unless you have extra money kicking around, you probably can’t hire anyone until your website starts earning. This means when starting out, focus only on those things that will start generating money. The key, though, is that you start generating money in the way you ultimately want your site to earn money.
If you dream of earning from affiliate commissions as your primary revenue source, focus on earning affiliate commissions. If via display ads, focus on revenue from display ads. My preference generally, is both if it works in the niche.
Once you have a couple of hundred bucks per month coming in from the site, it’s time to hire some help.
The When, Who, What and How of Outsourcing for Beginner Bloggers
I employ several VA’s, each performing specific tasks on my niche sites. I’ve outsourced for years using individual VA’s, freelancers and agencies. Currently I use both VA’s and writing agencies.
Below is a simple roadmap for outsourcing many tasks on your niche site or blog so that you can grow more quickly.
Once you know what you need done, you can outsource. You may not have the funds, but if you do, at the very least wait until you have a blog growth plan to hire someone. If you don’t, you won’t know what work to assign. I find I get much more benefit from outsourcing when I know exactly what I want various people to do.
With respect to how much money you need, if you can reinvest all your early profits into hiring help, do so. While I wouldn’t go into debt (I would not go into debt for any website), I do suggest reinvesting profits, even if small, into paying for help.
Who and What?
The who and the what of outsourcing are a critical aspect of outsourcing for beginner bloggers. You obviously want to get the most out of your investment which means hiring the right people for the right tasks.
The “who” refers to which individual or service or source you should hire. This depends on the what.
The “what” refers to which tasks you should outsource.
Both questions are addressed in detail below.
In my experience with niche sites (the corporate type site), the very first task you should outsource is content. Content is your product. The more you can publish, the better. At this stage of my business, I prefer using writing services (aka content agencies), but if you’re able to hire a great freelance writer, that can work well too.
Whatever you do, hire writers who are native English writers. It makes a huge difference.
If you are going the personality-driven blog, you will likely write most of the content (like I do for this site). If this is the case, I’d hire the next most important hire, which is a graphics person for creating social media and blog graphics.
The second task to hire for is a graphics person to create professionally looking blog and social media graphics (especially Pinterest pins).
While I’ve used graphics agencies, I get way more for my buck hiring a skilled Filipino from Onlinejobs.ph.
3. Content formatting
Your next hire should be a VA to upload and format your content. This is especially true if running a high content volume website where you publish multiple pieces of content per day. Formatting all that content takes a lot of time and it’s very easy to outsource. You could probably get away with hiring someone part time.
Again, I hire from Onlinejobs.ph for this position.
4. Link building
Next, if you are into link building, you need to hire someone to handle link building tasks, whether it’s outreach, building PBNs or whatever link building methods you use. If you don’t proactively build links, skip this (like me). Alternatively, you can pay an agency to handle it for you.
Because I don’t do proactive link building, I can’t recommend any one service or freelance site.
5. Tech help
Next, you’ll find it helpful to get some tech help. As your site grows, you’ll need help with CSS, PHP code and other tech issues. I use WPRadius (I’m grandfathered into an older plan). There are several such options available. Basically you want unlimited minor coding job tasks monthly.
6. Manager / Editor
Finally, you need to hire a manager or editor to oversee everything. I’m not quite at this phase yet, but hope to get there soon. This is when you can step back and only delegate freeing up your time to focus on new projects and/or testing stuff for your current projects. You don’t want to cheap out hiring for this role. Expect to pay $25 to $40 USD per hour to get someone capable.
Since I’ve not hire for this role, I can’t recommend a service specifically. However, when I do hire for this position, I will take my time looking for the right person. I’d probably start with Upwork, but may reach out to people I know who may be able to recommend someone.
The how to outsource is developing a hiring process. Keep in mind that no matter how careful you are, you will hire people that don’t work out. The most seasoned hiring managers who have done it for years hire people that aren’t a good fit.
However, the following are some hiring tips I follow for various positions.
Place small orders with a variety of agencies. Assess quality of research and writing as well balanced with how long it took to complete the order and cost per word.
Hopefully after trying several agencies, a clear winner emerges. It may well be though, that some agencies excel at certain types of content you need and another agency excels at other types of content. If this is the case, use both.
Pay for an article or two. Don’t base a decision on existing work. You always want a custom article based on your instructions for your niche. It’s good form to pay for this instead of asking applicants to work for free. One exception is if it’s plagiarized, in which case I would refuse payment.
Once I have a shortlist, I assign graphic design projects to 3 to 5 applicants and assess from there. Again, I pay them for their time. I ask them to submit their time spent which gives me a sense of how quickly they work.
It can be as simple as producing 3 pins or as complicated as a full blown infographic. Customize the hiring project for whatever types of graphics work they’ll be doing.
Because this is a pretty basic task, I don’t ask for test work. I hire the first person I think can do the job based on resume and experience.
Because I haven’t hired for this type of work except for a few outreach agencies, I can’t specify a hiring process.
Because this is a higher level position, I’d want some references and would check out past work carefully. This position is one of many hats and many skills are needed so I’d be sure the person has experience with most of it. My priority would be an ability to assess content quality and make changes so that everything published is as good as it could be. However, social media knowledge is an asset.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.