This is a guest post from Chris Ducker from VirtualBusinessLifestyle.com. Chris has quite an impressive resume, with 19 years in sales, marketing and PR. He's a CEO of a total business outsourcing company with a staff of approximately 165 full-time employees. I've gotten to know Chris fairly well recently since our recent interview, and he's got some really exciting stuff planned in regards to generating passive income streams and truly living a super-mobile lifestyle. Enjoy!
As someone that has been involved in the outsourcing industry for almost 10 years, I've seen it change a lot over that period of time. It used to be something only the big boys would get involved with, outsourcing scores of customer service and technical support staff over to countries such as India and the Philippines—but, it's become a whole different animal in the last 3-5 years.
No longer is outsourcing, or utilizing virtual, offshore staff something just for the large companies and corporations of North America. Nowadays scores of entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized business owners from all around the world are catching up by working with virtual employees to be able to grow their businesses, or simply have one-off projects completed quickly and with cost saving benefits in mind, too!
There are fundamentally two ways to be able to engage and start working with virtual staff—and which avenue you decide to go with depends solely and completely on your needs and requirements. To give you a quick idea, I'll go over them real fast for you, because this is a post on how to work with virtual assistants to create passive income, not a lesson on the outsourcing world!
Working with Freelance Virtual Staff
This is for the entrepreneur. The one-man-band type of business person. Potentially even someone just starting out, and wanting to ‘see what can be achieved' by hiring some virtual staff. Very often these types of people are really boot-strapping it, so the lower cost affiliated with working with freelance virtual employees (meaning they work from home or a web café, etc.) is a slam dunk of a decision to make.
It does come with some pitfalls however, such as the fact that they are not dedicated to you, and a lot of the countries where you can find good people, at a low cost, are still ‘developing' countries so to speak, and internet connections are sometimes not as stable as you might like them to be. So, from time to time communication can be a bit of an issue.
Working with Virtual Staff from a Solutions Provider
This is something that larger companies will get involved with, or entrepreneurs happy to pay the slightly more premium dollar required to work with this type of set-up.
Historically speaking, the infrastructure in regards to this solution is a better, more professional one and usually has a better track record, in terms of performance and production. But, you must be sure to do your due diligence and get involved with the right company. Make sure that these types outsourcing providers can provide client references for you to talk to, etc.
Now, based on the podcast interview I did with Pat for my own blog, and the insights that came from it, I am going to assume that the large majority of you reading this drop into the ‘entrepreneur' category, or perhaps the ‘aspiring internet marketer' group, which is great, because there are a TON of things you can work on with virtual staff to be able to be more effective, productive and to create more streams of passive income for yourself and your family.
Let's take a look at some of the ways you can create passive income, which I'll grab directly from Pat's awesome video post (the first filmed in his new office, I believe) entitled How to Earn More Money Working 9 to 5 Versus Working For Yourself Online. I'll focus on just a few in the spirit of space saving and quick reading time, plus give you some tips to leverage working with virtual staff to get these ideas together, set-up, online and making you money in no time at all..!
Creating an Ebook
A lot or people nowadays are using ebook's to build up their subscriber and newsletter numbers (both Pat and myself included!), and it really does work if you have great content and great, professional design. This is even more true when it comes to actually charging something for the ebook (just as a side comment here, if you are thinking of creating an ebook to giveaway or sell online and you haven't already downloaded Pat's Ebook on this exact subject—do it right now!).
There are several ways to utilize a virtual employee when creating an ebook. Let's say you're a huge rock climbing enthusiast, and you've traveled the world scaling the highest mountains and rocks known to man. People are going to want to read about your experiences if they are also into the same stuff. However, although you have all the experiences and lots of knowledge to share, you're not a great writer. You can hire a virtual copy writer to help put your words into a strong, informative format for your potential readers (customers).
Finding a copy writer is simply as easy as visiting an outsourcing resource such as www.Freelancer.com and posting a job description requirement. Believe me, I've searched on this exact thing before and there are literally hundreds of great writers ready and waiting to work with you. The same can be said for a reliable, experienced graphic designer, to be able to professionally layout your work into a nice presentation, so people really feel as if they have gotten more bang for that buck.
I also know several online marketers that have done their research, found a number of excellent niches that are really untapped in terms of information products and have hired writers offshore to basically write ebooks for them, from scratch, and then launched the product as their own—they make several thousands of dollars a month on products that took them very little time to work on and put together.
Online Marketing and SEO Work
The majority of the entrepreneurs I know, including myself, are simply far too busy to sit at their desks promoting their company reputation, website, blog and online presence in general to would-be customers and clients. And let's face it, almost all of us don't really know how to do it all, anyway!
Social networking / media management (getting more and more important with every passing month right now!), blogging, search engine optimization and pay-per-click management are just a few things that virtual assistants can do for you to help increase traffic to your online homes and to generate more sales of your information products.
I have personally worked with virtual assistants who have been able to get my own company to the top of the SERP's in a very short period of time, on pretty much every keyword I have thrown at them (and on several different vertical websites)—and my industry is an extremely competitive one, even more so in regards to its online space. We all know the power of the internet nowadays is huge. And if you are wanting to create even just a single stream of passive income online, you must make sure that your online marketing strategy is second to none.
Joint Ventures for Passive Income Brilliance (Real Life, Recent Case Study!)
Since I launched the Virtual Business Lifestyle blog in January this year a lot of different opportunities have come my way that are, mostly, unrelated to my core business. Because of this, within the last four weeks, I have teamed up with two completely different, relatively well-known bloggers to put together two completely separate projects online—both of which will be launched initially as ‘knowledge centers', but will quickly turn into passive income streams for all involved.
One is based on personal outsourcing and another is being put together for wannabe entrepreneurs that are foaming at the mouth to be able to ‘stick it to the man', and quit the rat-race to become their own boss.
Throughout the last two weeks, I have had virtual staff do the following, with clear instructions, with absolutely no screw-up's at all:
- Huge amounts of keyword research.
- Domain registration for a whole bunch of domains.
- Tracking down, sizing up, comparing and choosing a hosting company.
- Looking for premium blog themes, collating data, presenting these findings to me, and then purchasing the themes for me.
- Searching for, testing, negotiating (that took me off guard as I thought I'd have to do it myself!) with graphic designers and web developers.
- Setting up social networking accounts for both projects.
- Installing WordPress on servers and also installing the chosen themes, too. As well as creating administrator accounts for myself and my partners on these projects.
- Emailing respected bloggers on the subject matters, asking for their buy-in on running posts in regards to the launch of both these two new ventures.
- Massive amounts of research for content to be produced for the ventures, and even beginning to produce certain parts of the content that will be used in the launch of the projects in the next month or so.
Quite an impressive list, I'm sure you'll agree—and the whole thing, by the time everything goes live, would have cost no more than $800, all in. That's BOTH projects, so slice that in two for just one potential passive income stream to go ‘live', so to speak.
The important thing to mention here more than anything else is that, myself and my partners on these projects could have done ALL of this ourselves. However, we chose to outsourcing the work to highly skilled virtual staff instead, so that we could spend more time on strategizing and working on finalizing concepts for the respective web presences, and planning their launches with more focus.
As Pat commented in our aforementioned interview, the most important thing is that you simply get it done, make sure its full of top quality content and get it out there. It doesn't matter if it's not perfect—there will be time to create perfection.
The bottom line here is that, the way I see it, passive income is not just about making money in an easy way, with little requirement of effort from our part as marketers. It's also about creating a lifestyle that enables us to spend more time with our children and family. To be able to travel more frequently and enjoy a more mobile and varied life. However, most importantly it's about being able to get stuck in, try new things out and see how they work—with very little investment. And that is the key here, more than anything else.
So, if you're thinking of setting up any number of streams of passive income, get SMART, and look at utilizing virtual staff to get the brunt of the work done, so you can spend more time on making sure that when you do launch, it’s a home run all the way!
This is Pat again. I really have to say that if I could go back and start all over again, I would have utilized virtual assistants much earlier. I probably would have been in the market much faster and probably earn a lot more money too. Unfortunately for me, I was totally new to the online world, so I didn't even know such things existed. Luckily for you, Chris laid out most of your options quite nicely.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them below. I'm sure Chris will come by to respond. Also, if you want to learn more about Chris and what he's up to, you can visit him on his blog at Virtual Business Lifestyle.