I have two friends. See if you can spot the difference in them…
(names and details are changed to protect the innocent)
My buddy Steve:
Steve is a copywriter who lives in Nashville, TN. He works a normal 9-5 job and spends his day writing email copy for banks.
You know those automated messages you get from your bank, like, “Notice: You’ve had a large withdrawal from your account“?
Yeah, Steve wrote that.
He’s been doing this type of work since he graduated college. He likes it alright, but it’s a bit repetitive and doesn’t really get him fired up in the mornings.
When I started Videofruit I introduced him to the world of direct response copywriting. Sales pages, launch sequences and the like.
He started a blog shortly after and wrote about his strategies and techniques. His content was really good but he encountered the exact same problem we all face.
How do I get people to read my stuff?
So I came over one night for drinks and I described to him the process I go through every time I publish an article.
It’s called the Skyscraper technique.
Brian Dean at Backlinko taught me this strategy and it works like a champ.
I also told him, “It’s a TON of work to do a Skyscraper on each article, but I have a guy you could hire to do it for you. It’ll cost $150 but save you 8 hours of time.”
He wasn’t a fan of the idea of paying someone else to do that type of work.
“Oh, I can do that myself,” he said.
And he tried…
He spent 2 hours the next day learning about domain authority, finding high traffic and low competition keyword phrases in Google and trying to figure out what a backlink was.
Then he gave up.
His blog slowly sputtered.
Shortly after, he stopped writing.
Then you have Keith.
He recently moved to Seattle from Nashville.
The weekend before he left we had a big guys’ camping trip. While we were out in the wild blue yonder he started asking me questions about my business.
Fast-forward two months and he now runs a fast-growing blog-based business where he teaches people how to buy and sell items on eBay.
Funny thing about Keith: he had the exact same problem as Steve. Traffic.
But he actually listened to me and hired someone to do the Skyscraper technique on all of his major posts.
He DIDN’T try to figure it all out himself. Instead, he focused on improving his writing and launching his coaching program.
As a result, he routinely gets 500+ visitors to each of his posts, has a growing training program and is steadily building his email list.
He plans to quit his job as a CPA in early 2015.
What is the difference between these two guys?
Keith hired someone to do key tasks that he wasn’t good at while he focused on his core competency.
Steve tried to do everything himself.
I call this the Steve Fallacy.
When Steve’s car breaks down, he doesn’t take it to a mechanic; he tries to fix it himself. By doing that, he falls victim to two lies:
Lie #1: “I can do it quicker than they can.”
No, you can’t. It takes you 3x longer to fix your car than it takes a professional.
Lie #2: “I’m saving money by fixing it myself.”
What Steve doesn’t take into account is that he could be charging $100 an hour for his time as a copywriter and pay a mechanic $50 an hour to work on his car.
Instead of doing that, though, he does it all himself, making him a crappy mechanic and losing over $400 of revenue by not focusing on his core competency.
Moral of the story = Focus on what you are good at + Hire people to fill in the gaps
How to make outsourcing easy
It’s not quite that easy though…
It’s nice to hear about people who outsource their entire life to the Philippines and work from their laptops one hour a day.
But if you have ever attempted hiring a $3-an-hour worker off of Odesk, you know how ludicrous that idea is.
Finding good contractors is incredibly difficult.
Today I’m going to share with you 4 things that I outsource and show you my step-by-step process.
[Case Study] How to get an ebook designed for cheap
I suck at design.
When putting the final touches on this release of the Vault, I wanted to pretty up the framework manuals that come with each launch sequence.
So I jumped into Google Docs and did my thing.
90 minutes later, this is what I had come up with…
I told you…
I suck at designing stuff.
My next idea was to jump into my swipe files and see if I could come up with a little inspiration.
After a few minutes of browsing through, I came across this…
It’s a free eBook that Unbounce had promoted a while back. I initially saw it on Twitter and liked the design. So I saved it in my swipe file in case I ever needed some ideas for an ebook cover.
Next, I opened up my rolodex of contractors and found Cathryn, my designer.
I shot her a quick email telling her what I was looking for.
24 hours later, she sent me the finished product.
She designed the cover as well as the layout of all of the interior pages.
I paid $197.
Even better, she gave me the source files so I can use this general layout and design on any of the free ebooks I give away in the future.
Could I have spent 12 hours and put together something close to what Cathryn did?
What would have been the opportunity costs of that?
[Case Study] How I get each blog post proofread for $15
I can’t spell very well AND this whole grammar thing.
If you’ve spent any time on this blog at all, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.
A few weeks ago, my friend Noah told me to hire an editor.
I hated the idea. Not only was I a bad speller, I embraced my ineptness and framed it as being “focused on content and not the little stupid stuff like grammar.”
What I didn’t understand was that those little mistakes caused new visitors to lower their opinion of my work.
I get it.
“If he doesn’t take the time to spell-check his blog posts, what else is he not doing?”
So I finally gave in.
And honestly, it was one of the best decision I’ve ever made.
Now, my workflow goes like this…
Start to finish, it takes her around 30 minutes with no notice. Pretty awesome service!
I pay less than $20 per article. (Depends on the length.)
Now people don’t think I’m a moron because I can’t spell “occasionally” correctly.
[Case Study] How to build an entire app for $250
My first love was software. Not writing.
All of my writing and blog work began 18 months after I started work on my first app.
But here is my secret. I don’t know how to code.
How do I make apps without knowing how to code?
I draw them on a piece of paper, make a little Google doc describing what I want it to do, then I send it to Saad (my developer).
Kind of like this…
That app turned into Gmello, which last month made $550 in income. I’ve never used the word “passive” on this blog before, but that app is about as passive income as exists.
I update it 3-4 times a year and it keeps churning along.
Total price of development? $250
Finding good developers was very challenging and they stay pretty busy. However, over the last 2 years I’ve worked with several who are really good and affordable.
It is possible.
[Case Study] How I got an entire launch sequence written for $250
Last year I made an iOS, Five Club. It was a “don’t break the chain” app that incentivized you to wake up early and work on your side hustle.
By early I mean, 5 a.m.
Why 5 a.m.? Because, as my friend Jon Acuff says, fear isn’t up at 5 a.m.
The app comes to life every morning at 5 and allow you to check in. For every day you check in, your streak of consecutive days is measured and you get badges for reaching certain milestones.
That app wound up being the starting point for Videofruit. (I’ll share that story with you sometime.)
Fast-forward to August 2014.
Five Club is still in the iTunes stores but has quite a few poor reviews because I wasn’t actively maintaining it. But one day I logged in and discovered that it has been downloaded by over 5,000 people.
Then it hit me…
Everyone of those people had to register with an email address.
“BRYAN! Email list-building is the crux of your entire business!”
So I started brainstorming ways to introduce the Five Club audience to Videofruit. If I could get all 5,000 people to become Videofruit subscribers that would be a huge increase in my readership
A few ideas I came up with:
- Just start emailing them (meh, too spammy)
- Build something into the app to tell them about Vidoefruit (too much work)
- Write a series of emails to give them stuff and slowly bring them over (WINNER!)
But I was working on the Vault at the time and didn’t have the bandwidth to crank out a launch series. That’s when I though, “Hmmm… I should hire someone to write them for me.”
4 days later I had this email series…
We’re just 2 emails into the sequence and 25% of the Five Club app audience has become Videofruit subscribers. Major win!
Total cost of outsourcing the writing of the sequence? $250
How you can do the same thing
You have two options…
You can be Steve and try to figure everything out yourself.
You can be Keith and hire people to fix your problems.
I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and start slowly, bringing a few proven contractors into your business to help you.
It has been one of the foundational things I’ve done to grow Videofruit from $0 in October 2013 to multiple six figures per year in October 2014.
YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING.
I’ve put together all of the contractors that I use on a daily basis into a new product called the Vault.
It took me 2 years to put this list together. I’ve hired HUNDREDS of people and fired nearly all of them. The people on this list are the best that I’ve found.
Want the list? Join the vault
There are just a handful Vault passes left and registration will shut down tomorrow at 5 p.m. Central Time.