AskPat 130 Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 130 of AskPat. So happy you're here. I do want to mention that if you want to get a hold of the Smart Podcast Player which is the podcast player that you can see for this particular show at AskPat.com.
A lot of people have been asking about it. We had a beta launch a couple months ago, it went really well, and we're collecting interest emails for the next launch. So if you want to go there and check it out if you're interested, if you're a podcaster yourself, go to SmartPodcastPlayer.com. Now let's get to today's question from Josh.
Josh: Hi Pat. Thanks for taking my question. I've got a financial question. So financially speaking, when is the best time to expand, hire additional help, scale your business?
Pat Flynn: Josh, thank you so much for your question, and to answer your question, I'm going to ask you and everybody else out there listening to this, of course, a question from me. And that question is, how much is your time worth? Do you know that? We always hear that phrase, “How much is your time worth?” But have you actually every tried to figure that out? Because I think if you actually figure that out, you can see that the answer to your question if as soon as you possibly can.
When should you start hiring help? As soon as you can. This is something I learned the hard way up front, because I wasted a lot of time and a lot of money after calculating how much my time was worth, doing things on my own that I shouldn't have been doing. And this has been a recurring cycle with me and my business because I've had issues with letting go of parts of my business to other people, especially with email. After six years, I finally got my head on straight and hired somebody to help me with my email, but I'm at a point where I'm getting 300 to 400 emails a day sometimes, so it makes sense for me to hire email out to someone else now. But are there any parts of your business that you shouldn't be doing that you are? It's a big question that you really have to focus on, and I think you should write down everything that you're doing and then circle the things that you have to do yourself, everything else you can hire out at some point. And you should start small if you need to and if you want, and if you don't have very much of a budget for hiring help.
But I swear, the more I've done it, the more I've seen the benefits, and just what it has done for my business because I've been able to spend more time focusing on the things that I need to focus on in my business, and it's a challenge it's tough to manage people at times, it's tough to work with other people and let go of parts of your business and trust other people with things that you are working on, especially if you consider your business a baby like I do, or your baby like I do.
But I will tell you a quick story. My first experience hiring help was back in 2008. I had just launched an ebook at GreenExamAcademy.com. It was a study guide to help people pass an exam in the architecture industry, and it did really well. It did extremely well, actually. And I was advised by people around me, and people who are doing online business in a mastermind group that I was in, to have an audiobook to go along with it, so that would be my second product. I had a written ebook, and then I wanted to create this audiobook. So for three, almost four days, I sat down for eight hours each day and recorded the entire thing. I recorded the entire thing, and it was after listening to the whole thing, it was just complete and utter trash. Because the quality was terrible. For some reason, even though I was reading stuff, I kept saying “um.” I don't know how I did that. I was just nervous, and you could hear it in my voice. I didn't like my voice, and I just wasted three or four days.
And so I went back to my group. I was like, “Guys, I don't think I can do the audiobook myself.” And then they started laughing at me, like, “Ha ha ha, you tried doing this on your own?” I was like, “What? I tried, but it's cheaper. I thought I'd be able to do it and not spend any money.” And they were like, “No you should hire somebody else to do it.” So that's what I did. I spent a couple days working on a description of what I wanted and posted that on Elance.com, and a few days later, I had dozens of other people out there who were voice over talents message me saying they'd like to help, and actually created an audio file, or actually a script, to give to all the candidates that I liked to hear what their voice sounded like, and I ended up selecting this woman named Trish. And I spent like $1,400 which was more money that I'd ever spent on anything in my life at that point. I was about 25 years old, and the most I've ever spend on anything was for rent, of course.
And I did that. It was weird. I didn't know what it was like spending money on my business, and then especially considering I could do all of that on my own, or I thought I could. And then a couple weeks later, I was delivered these amazing MP3 files, super high quality, super professional, and they were great. It was about 63 of them in total, one for each section or chapter of the book that I had, and I released it to my audience, and I ended up making up the costs for the development of that book or that audio book in two days. So immediately I started profiting from that investment, and it was then that I really . . . “Wow! I need to be doing what I'm good at, and I need to hire out when I'm not.” As Chris Ducker from ChrisDucker.com says, “Do what you do best, and outsource the rest. Or hire out the rest.” I forget what it is exactly, but it's something cool like that.
And so financially speaking, whenever you have a little bit in your budget to hire out, I would recommend doing it. There's a lot of things that I'm sure you are doing right now that you could have somebody else doing that you don't need to do yourself. Can another human being do those things for you? Now there are things, of course, in your business that only you can do, and you should continue to do those. And what's going to happen is, when you hire out or outsource these other things, you're going to have more time to do what you should be doing and focusing on, and your business is going to grow in whole, just exponentially from that point forward. That's why I've been spending a lot of money with hired help as of late, and as a result of that, I've been making more money.
Now hiring per project is different than hiring part time or full time. There's two different approaches, and if you just want to get started and try something, I would hire somebody per project. So if you're working on something and you need a developer, you need a graphic designer or somebody to do something for you for the completion of that project, that's what I would start out with. Because it kind of gives you the taste it kind of gives you an idea of what it's like work with somebody else, and before you hire somebody full time or part time, although that said, it's not that hard to work with somebody full time or part time.
Now if you are going to be working per project, the place I would go to, especially if it's . . . actually Elance has a lot of things, not just web-based stuff, but I've hired people for legal help. I've hired people for graphic design, I've hired people for web design, I've hired people for voice overs like I said. You could hire all types of people. There's also sites like Odesk.com and even sites like Taskrabbit. I hired someone the other day to get Chipotle for me. I was doing a presentation at a co-working space here in San Diego, and I knew that I wouldn't be able to leave the presentation to go and pick up the Chipotle I ordered for everybody. So I hired a guy on Taskrabbit to do it for me, and then all of a sudden at 12:30, I walk outside and all the Chipotle burritos were right there for everybody. It was super cool. Totally worth the small payment for that person. So there's a lot of sites like that.
Now if you're going to hire somebody full time, if there's recurring items in your business that continually need to be done, then I would consider hiring somebody full time or part time to find a VA overseas. I would recommend going to VirtualStaffFinder.com, so you can go to AskPat.com/virtualstafffinder. That's my affiliate link there, and I have an affiliate link for Elance too: AskPat.com/elance, if you choose to go with that. But either way, there's one big warning I have for you. If you're going to be working with somebody else, make sure you do what you can to make sure to tell them exactly what you want. You can't assume that when you hire somebody that they're going to do all the work that you want them to do. I have made that mistake before. I have lost thousands of dollars, especially in the iPhone app industry, assuming that the developer I hired was going to to what was in my brain. No. So I've learned to since write down every single detail, everything that I want.
In your business, you might want to consider creating procedure lists or step-by-step how to's for all the things that you want done. That way, if your virtual assistant or the person you hire happens to leave for whatever reason, or stops working for you, you can hire somebody else really quickly to pick things right back up because you have that procedure list, those lists of instructions. Don't defeat the purpose of hiring by micro-managing. Yes, you want to be detailed with the procedures that you have and all that stuff, and you want to work with them to get them up to speed with what you want to do. But then you also don't want to look over the shoulder 24/7. You want to make sure that you give them a little bit of room to do what they need to do because once you start micro managing, you've defeated the purpose of hiring out because you're focusing so much on how they're doing their work or what they're going. Make sure they meet their deadlines, make sure they know you're professional and that you're their boss and you have expectations. But also make sure they're having a good time, they're having fun.
We could talk for hours about hiring virtual assistants, and working with virtual assistants, and building team. I would recommend going to ChrisDucker.com for more information about that. He has a great book called Virtual Freedom, which gives you everything you need to know. It's like the encyclopedia for hiring help and building a virtual team. Go ahead and check that out. And also, I think the best thing to do, and actually I wanted to finish off on this point of, if you don't have any money, financially speaking, you can't afford to hire additional help, there are some options for you too.
And those options are, you could find somebody and do a profit share. For example, if you are working on some sort of software program or an iPhone app, or something like that, you could split the profits with somebody. For having them develop the whatever it is for you, you split the eventual profits with them, that way you don't have to pay them up front but you pay them from the results. Typically, that's a little bit harder to negotiate because people want to get paid for the work they are going now, but whatever the case may be, there's other options for you as well. You could hire somebody as an intern. For example, you could bring them on and help teach them things that you know along the way whilst they're helping you, almost like a sort of pro bono deal. Whether it's an intern or not, I think pro bono is a great way to go of you don't have any finances or any budget to hire help, you could get help by giving. You could give somebody some skill that you have, or if you're a photographer you could shoot somebody's wedding in exchange for having them do your website, or you could shoot product photos for them in exchange for them designing something for you, whatever the case may be. I think it's important to know that you have skills that people want, and you can share those skills and give them to people in exchange for things you might need yourself.
So Josh, I hope that answers your question. Again, what it all really comes down to is understanding how much your time is worth, and understanding that there are things that you shouldn't be doing that you probably are, and as soon as you possibly can you should have other people doing those things or you. Thanks so much for your question, Josh. An AskPat t-shirt is going to be heading your way. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head over to AskPat.com, and you can ask from right there on that page. You'll also get a glimpse of the Smart Podcast Player. We're continually adding new features to it over time, so if you haven't checked it out in a while, head on over to AskPat.com, and you can of course go to Smart Podcast Player to sign up for the next public release, or the first actually, public release of the Smart Podcast Player for your podcast. Again that's SmartPodcastPlayer.com.
And as always, I want to end with a quote, and today's quote comes from Chris Guillebeau, the man who puts on the World Domination Summit in Portland which is where I just came back from. If you haven't checked it out, you should absolutely go. Chris Guillebeau says, “If plan A fails, remember, you have 25 other letters left.”
Cheers, thanks so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.