If you work in SEO or trying
to build any kind of tech based agency, we’ve all been there. We know how to do
the work effectively, we know who needs our services and we know the benefits. But
we need clients!
And it seems pretty simple – just get a load more clients, fulfil the work and then get paid, while you relax in your pyjamas. Straightforward right?
But did you ever think about the fact that you may get too much business? And so much business, that you may not be able to fulfil it effectively and as a result, end up losing those clients? Just because you’re working from home, don’t let that make you think the work will be easy.
Believe me, I’ve been there and experienced this myself.. Here’s how to stop making the same mistake I did.
It all seems good when you starting on-boarding more and more clients… until you find that you’re having to manage 5 articles for 5 clients, all at the same time. Then one clients wants to give you a quick phone call. Then you remember you were meant to phone someone back. Then you remembered someone’s website is broken, etc, etc the list goes on…
The solution? Building your own team.
To some of you, it may be an
alien concept. I mean, how is anyone going to implement your service, to the
same level as you? And the only people that you know who could do it, would
want to be paid so much that you can’t afford to hire them!
Well, let’s remember, there may have been a point where even you didn’t know what to do, right? And either you were trained by someone else, or you trained yourself.
That’s the mentality you need to take going forward if you want to stop yourself going round and round in circles and becoming overwhelmed by incoming business.
And better yet, in this day
and age, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your bedroom to hire great
I’ll assume you’re in white hat SEO with this article, but with some tweaks, you could apply it to a range of internet businesses. Whether it be content writing, logo design, or social media marketing.
(1) Create individual tasks/jobs
Once you have your service split into multiple tasks, it’s a lot easier to outsource each one and train someone on each individual task. Generally speaking, people function at optimal level and improve faster, when they’re just doing one simple task over and over.
I.e. for the creation of an SEO team I broke it down into 4 job roles
- Prospector – They created a list of websites who would probably be interested in our client’s site and the content that’s on it.
- Outreach manager – They contacted the owners of those websites the prospector collected and negotiate with them to get a link to the client’s website.
- Writers – May need several on hand, depending on skill levels, areas of expertise, etc. Generally, you’ll just hire them per article rather than hiring them on a long term basis.
- Project manager – Essential if you want to be completely hands-off. You would normally just be the project manager, but once you have enough clients, or want to start having regular time off, you will want someone who will replace you. Their main job is to just ensure the prospectors, outreachers and writers are completing tasks on time and act as a go-between, ensuring the work flows at an optimal level.
(2) Develop systems
In order to create something which could be run by a team (and you wouldn’t have to be personally involved in every task) , you need to create training materials and systems for each job role.
I.e. every task broken down, whether in text format, or in the form of training videos. Your prospector and outreach manager will probably be the ones that require the most training material.
And certain things may be best suited to an automated system or software, rather than leaving it to a human. E.g. a CRM system to manage your client acquisition process and the communication with existing clients.
(3) Start the recruitment process
There are a few places to hire a prospector or outreach manager, but some of my personal favourites include PeoplePerHour and Upwork.
Sites like these give you access to a huge number of freelancers from across the world, many from countries like the Philippines, Bangladesh and India.
Just ensure you’re very clear from the outset on factors such as :
- The available number of hours they should have each week
- An average target they should be aiming for per hour/day
- And exactly what is required of them during their task
With a prospector you can
hire someone with some data entry or web research experience. English level
won’t have to be fluent, but enough to know if a website target is relevant to
your client’s content.
With an outreach manager however, they will need pretty fluent English, enough to hold a conversation with someone via email.
The advantage of going down this route of having a remote team of freelancers – is it cuts out all the legal paperwork, payment is streamlined as the systems on these sites often involve time trackers so it gives a good indication of how efficient someone is.
(4) Hiring and Firing
Once you’ve posted your job
ads and received some interest, you’ll get to know who appears to be the best
candidates. Common sense would say to look at the persons previous feedback,
the kind of work they’ve been doing before and even just the general vibe you
get from interviewing them. If they have good enough English, might be a good
idea to get them on a Skype call.
However, you’ll get a much clearer picture when they start doing some work. So, its always best to give them access to the training material and giving them a small sample task to start with. Even around 5 hours or so, should give you enough time to determine if they are suited for the job role. Ensure they receive feedback either from yourself or your project manager if they aren’t meeting the standards. And also make sure you can answer any questions they have about the task they’re doing (this is a good sign as it means they’re taking the time to understand the process.)
(5) Refining the team
reaching your ideal team may involve hiring multiple people, training them all, and firing a few along the way. But soon you’ll reach a nice stage where you have a solid team, who understand the process, work well together and as I found out (to my surprise) were outperforming me!
But a few tips are:
- Give enough work so that they value it. You’ll want to give no more than around 25-30 hours, but give them enough work so they don’t try to look elsewhere and spread themselves too thin.
- Try not to split someone across multiple campaigns/clients – as it can cause a bit of confusion and again, might cause them to be spread too thinly.
- Promotion! – If a member of the team is performing a task extremely well, and you think their skills could transfer to the next job up – outreach manager or project manager – then give them a shot and offer them the pay rise.
- Productivity – big big issue, especially when it comes to remote work and when you have multiple projects going on. Stay on top of what they’re doing, and ensure they’re not taking too long on tasks or missing them out completely. That’s where something like TimeDoctor can come in handy, or using Right Inbox’s reminder email feature. Ensures increased productivity and that you don’t lose track of important conversations.
(Note: Productivity even applies to yourself, as well as your employees. And its often about following the right routine and habits )
I’m not saying this’ll happen overnight – and there’s going to be a few teething problems along the way. But just think about having to hire and train a team in-person or for a bricks and mortar business. There’s always going to be people off sick, people not performing, mistakes getting made, having to draw up contracts… the list is endless!
But the clear advantages of going down this route, of an international team of freelancers can’t be ignored. Literally, without having to even leave your bedroom, you can hire, send payments and monitor progress so you can concentrate on where you’re really needed – growing and developing your business.