How to Scale Your Business and Hire Freelancers

Use this guide ONLY IF you’re trying to scale your freelancing business into something bigger such as a Digital Marketing Agency where you have employees/freelancers working for you. If you don’t want to scale your freelancing business past just working for yourself as a solo freelancer, then you can skip this guide.

As a business owner, especially a small business owner who is just starting their business, you will likely be tempted to try to do everything yourself in an effort to save money and keep all the revenue you bring in to yourself. I 100% understand this logic as I too originally did this in an effort to keep as much of my hard earned money in my pockets as possible.

However, do be mindful that this can drastically slow your progress down unfortunately. This is a very common pitfall that a lot of new business owners fall into. Running a business takes a lot of time and marketing itself also takes a lot of time. It can be hard to do both effectively so if you have some extra money to spare, consider hiring a freelancer to help you grow faster. Although it might be nice to make for instance $8,000 a month profit for your small business, it might be worth it to spend an extra $3,000 a month on some help so that 4 months down the road you’re now making $13,000 per month consistently and growing your business from there.

The problem that a lot of business owners face though is not knowing what role to hire for though. So I want to give you some advice on this to help ensure your mindset is in the right place so you can grow your business as quickly as possible and then I’ll show you how to vet the best person for the role.

Choosing Who To Hire

When determining who to hire, you should typically be thinking about things this way:

1st, what do I need to do to get my company up and running as fast as possible? And 2nd, how do I get my company in front of the right people?

Let’s start off with the first consideration. If you’re planning on doing any digital marketing, which you likely are if you’re trying to scale your business to much bigger numbers, you’ll of course need a website to drive traffic to. Now, as I’ll get into over and over again during the training videos, you do not want to create a website from scratch just based on your own ideas of what should be on your website. Instead, you’ll want to look at what 5-10 competitors in your space are doing and see exactly what they have on their website, what order they have their sections in, and then pull from those what you like the most in determining what to have on your website. These other companies have likely spent years making reiterations of what converts customers the best so there is no point in reinventing the wheel here and starting from scratch when you can skip all those painful months of wondering if you have the right content on your website by emulating what these other companies have on their website since they should have the same target demographic as you. YOU NEED TO DO THIS.

If you go out and hire a freelance web designer or a web developer without giving them the proper guidance, sure they may build you a nice website, but they 99% of the time aren’t building one that focuses on converting customers and having the right marketing language on it. That’s up to you. You need to provide them with that language, samples of what you want it to look like, and what email lead collection forms you want on it (like your competitors which we’ll get more into in the video trainings) otherwise you’ll spend a decent amount of money on a website that doesn’t convert people into customers which is probably the main reason why you’re creating a website in the first place. So, be mindful that you need to know what you want based on what your competitors have so that you can make sure they know what your website needs on it.

For website creation, there are tools out there for you to create your own website and there are tons of templates making website creation easy for small business owners. I won’t get into all the tools online as you can just Google “best website builder for small business” since there are TONS of them out there. There are even AI website builders claiming to make it even easier to get your website up and running. I personally never build my own website as I’ve always needed to spend my time elsewhere as I could grow a company better by having someone else do this while I spend my time improving another part of the company. But, feel free to build this yourself if you have the skills to do it as I understand not everyone has money to hire someone. If you do do it yourself though, you need to make sure that it looks professional and loads quickly. I understand that it may be cheaper to do it yourself, but, if you build something that doesn’t look professional or loads super slowly, people will have a bad first impression of your company and it’s not easy to drive traffic to your website so you might not get another bite at the apple with them. So, it would defeat the purpose of having a website if it doesn’t look good as people are much much less likely to convert into customers if it doesn’t look good as you could just be another random person on the internet trying to take their money so you need to make sure your website looks professional and trustworthy.

If you go the route of hiring someone, I really like using Upwork because of all the reviews they have of the freelancers. Sometimes it’s hard to find company reviews online which means you could end up hiring a website development company and not really know how past people liked them. With Upwork on the other hand, you can easily filter by “website designer” or “website developer” and then use the filter options and click “Top Rated Plus” or “Top Rated” so you’re only seeing those that have a lot of good reviews:

From there, I recommend you use even more filters to help you narrow down your search even more to ensure you get someone who is proven and good at what they do. I will always go down to the “Job Success” filter and click the “90% and up” because I only want to work with those that have done a good job for past clients as there can be a lot of flaky freelancers on Upwork and this helps you avoid them as much as possible.

From there, I go to the “Earned amount” section and I choose “$10k+ earned” as I don’t want people that have a 5 star rating but have only done 2 small projects as this doesn’t really prove to me that they are consistently good for their clients (even though they very well may be and are just new on this particular platform). When there are so many options for freelancers that you can choose from and you have limited time as a business owner, I just find it’s not worth the hassle of risking this and just filter to get the best person possible asap for a reasonable price so you can move on to growing your business.

Next, select “Hours Billed”. I’d recommend choosing “1,000+” but you can also do “100+”. Once again, this is just a way to get to the people that have proven they are consistently good and have a big sample size of being consistently good. 

Next is “English Level”. For building a website, I personally don’t care if their English is all that good as long as they are able to understand my instructions. In fact, for website jobs, you’ll typically get much much much better rates for people in non-English speaking countries and a lot of companies hire from India, the Philippines, and Eastern Europe as they have good developers that charge a lot less than those from English speaking countries. So, that might be something to consider as it can stretch your budget further and you don’t have to worry about their quality too much as we are filtering down to those who have great reviews from a lot of people already. When it comes to your digital marketing though or anything where the hire is going to be coming up with content in English, you want to make sure that if they are from a non-English speaking country, that their English is good as this will be a reflection of your company and if you end up having to correct their spelling and grammar over and over again, this could end up costing you a lot more time than you realize.

However, if you want to stick to people in the US only (or your country only), then you can click the filter at the top that says “US only”.

Once you get to the results page, I typically will only work with someone that has earned $50k or more on the platform and has a 95%+ rating. From there, I’ll click on their profile and see if they’ve done the exact work I’m looking for. A lot of these people will have a lot of services listed on their profile. What you want to make sure of is that their great reviews actually came from the type of project you want them doing. For example, a person may say that they are a web developer and a social media expert. If you go to their page, you may realize that 99% of their reviews are on social media services. This doesn’t prove that they’ll be a good web developer for you and that’s all you really care about. So, to avoid this, you can go to the left side of their profile under “View Profile” and segment to the actual type of area you want them working for you to see how they’ve performed in that particular area and when you do this, you’ll also see their written overview for their work on these types of projects as well as all of their reviews that fall under these types of projects.

Down at the bottom of their profile, you’ll also be able to see their portfolio so you can check out other projects they’ve worked on so you can decide if you think they’ll be able to do a good job for you.

From here, assuming you’ve already created your job post on Upwork stating what you need done for this project, you can “Invite” them to the job and add a little message to the invitation. I recommend personalizing this message with the gist of what you need done for this project.

Rather than just creating a job post and putting it on Upwork, I always recommend going through the above process and inviting about 5-10 people based on your own research to your job. I typically hire people that I’ve personally reached out to via the above method as this lets me get to the best people on Upwork the fastest as you’ll have a lot of people mass applying to your job posts on Upwork so you’ll get a lot of people that don’t have great reviews applying and this allows you to save time by getting straight to the people you want that have good reviews.

Getting Clients and Customers

Alright, now that you have your website up and hopefully your company is ready to start getting customers/clients, the next thing you need to ask yourself is, how can I start getting more clients or customers as fast as possible?

This is where businesses struggle the most and if you can’t bring in money, it doesn’t matter how good your services are as you won’t be able to survive unless you can bring in money. So you need to focus on this area first as this is the bloodline for your company. Once you get this set up where your company is bringing in money from clients, then you can use that money to reinvest back into the company and set up new streams of revenue so that you can bring in even more money and keep doing this over and over again until you feel as though you’re squeezing all of the juice out of your market.

Depending on how much money you have to spend on marketing, this is going to typically dictate how you’ll try to start getting your first customers and grow from there.

For Service-Based Businesses

If you’re a service based business (like a digital marketing agency) without much money to spend on ads, you’ll likely try to get your first customers from platforms like Upwork (designed for freelancers and outside hires such as agencies), applying to roles on Indeed (and other job boards – typically they are looking for in-house employees but could be persuaded to use you), 1-on-1 outreach on Instagram and Linkedin, and/or cold email outreach campaigns like I showed you in the previous guides.

You’ll first want to set up your specific messaging and your way of getting leads yourself just like I mentioned in the previous guides and then handle these outreach campaigns by yourself for at least a few weeks if not longer to see what the reaction is, what types of questions you’re getting, how you can improve these and overall, just paying attention to what you’re hearing from your target audience so that you can personally figure out the adjustments that you need to make to make your outreach more effective for your particular business.

Once you’ve done this for a decent amount of time and you’re seeing what works and what doesn’t for your specific audience and business, you can either decide to keep doing this yourself or you can go onto upwork and hire a VA (Virtual Assistant) to handle the manual labor that continuing to run this process takes so that you can start devoting your time to growing your business in other areas rather than spending your time doing tedious tasks.

If you do hire someone, make sure that you both agree on the amount of hours that they will work and on how much they will charge per hour. You now know how long it should take to get these tasks done since you’ve been doing it yourself so you can now set reasonable expectations. Oftentimes, you can find inexpensive people to handle these types of tasks (especially overseas) but if they will be responding to potential leads for you, just make sure that their English is good as this could be a poor reflection on your company if their responses aren’t good.

If you decide to hire someone, you’ll want to give them some type of Google document called a SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) where you clearly explain in writing what you want them to do for you. You will essentially lay out in step-by-step format exactly how your process works (you’ve been doing it yourself already so you just need to document what you’ve been doing) so that they know exactly what they should be doing. In this document, you should also provide template responses so they know how they should be responding on your company’s behalf. As you’ve been running these 1-on-1 outreach campaigns for a bit now yourself, you’ve likely realized that you’re getting a lot of the same questions over and over again and are likely providing the same responses over and over again. So, rather than keep typing up the same responses, create a really good response for these questions and then save that question and answer in this SOP so that your VA knows how they should respond instead of leaving it up to them to craft a response as this will not only save them time so they can get more done for you, but this also allows your voice and your message to still be conveyed without you having to spend your valuable time doing it. Make clear to them that they shouldn’t just copy and paste these responses as you don’t want them getting lazy and using responses that don’t really answer the question the person asked. They should usually adjust the beginning of the response so that it doesn’t look like they are just using templates to the possible client.

Have a system in place that if a potential client asks a different question than those you’ve highlighted in your SOP, the VA should reach out to you with that question so that you can answer it. Then, you’ll put that new question and that new response in your SOP so that if that question is ever asked again in the future, your VA will know how to handle it.

For hot leads, depending on how many you have and how busy you are, I typically recommend that you tell your VA to send these people over to you (or to one of your in-house sales people if you have any) so that you can handle them personally at least initially until your business is running smoothly enough where you can miss out on some clients and it not kill you. This way, you can make sure you put your best foot forward in trying to seal the deal in getting the client so that your business can make money as you don’t want to let these early customers get away especially if your company is still trying to bring in enough money to stay afloat. Then, set some type of reminder in your calendar or in any software you’re using to remind you to reach back out to this hot lead after 2-3 days if you haven’t heard back from them. Your VA doesn’t care about the sale nearly as much as you do since it’s not their business. So, this is something to keep in consideration.

For Both Product-Based and Service-Based Businesses

If you’re trying to become a product-based business (rather than some type of agency where you’re providing a service), I typically wouldn’t recommend doing 1-on-1 outreach like I mentioned above unless what you are selling is worth a lot of money to the point where it’s worth your time to do this type of outreach.

Typically speaking, here is at its core, the easiest way you’re going to bring in more clients/customers in a scalable way once you have enough money coming in where you can reinvest to grow larger and faster:

Golden Rule: It’s always easier to convert people that are actively looking for your product or service as opposed to trying to sell someone simply because they COULD use your service or product.

Your basic workflow to get more customers from a high-level should start and look like this:

  1. First,
    • Create a website that converts people into leads (by having email opt-in forms) or customers. Don’t create your website from scratch. Instead, look at what your main competitors’ websites look like and make sure yours looks somewhat similar to theirs and is giving away the same or similar things that they are in exchange for email addresses or contact info as this is how you’ll collect leads. Also, pay attention to their sales process. Do they allow you to purchase directly on the site or are they focused on getting you to set up an appointment? Your sales cycle should probably be relatively similar to your competitors as they’ve probably tested out various options on what works best so if they are all doing the same thing here, there’s probably a reason why and you should do something similar. Your website is an incredibly important way that you’ll get customers and bring in leads so make sure you have this set up.
  2. Second,
    • You need to get your company in front of the right people. As mentioned above, it’s always easier to convert people that are actively looking for your product or service as opposed to trying to sell someone simply because they COULD use your service or product. What a lot of people do is they start off on social media by creating a bunch of posts thinking this is a free way to attract people to their business and they think they’ll get a ton of clients this way because they heard some influencer say that (this is not reality). Also, do remember, just because you’re using certain hashtags and creating content for your target audience, this doesn’t mean that these people actually have any intent on buying from you. They may just be interested in the topic. So, your best bet is to typically get in front of people who are already actively looking to get this type of service or product. As I previously mentioned, if you’re a service-based business, you can do that via job boards like Indeed and Upwork as these people will be easier to convert into customers as you already know they are looking for this service. Additionally, this is where Google Search Ads come in (which we’ll go over later in the program). People type in certain keywords into Google such as “SEO services for small businesses in Austin” or “Healthy Dog food for small dogs” and you can pay to have your company’s website show up at the top of Google. This is how you get in front of people who are actively searching for the service or product you provide in the most effective way possible.
    • Additionally, you can also run pay-per-click ads on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin just to mention a few. The searcher’s intent isn’t nearly as high here as with Google Search ads as these people are just scrolling these platforms for other reasons but, you’ll be able to provide the ad platform with targeting details that match your buyer persona and the ad platform will then show your ads to all the people that meet the criteria you’ve given them. Then, if you choose a pay-per-click ad campaign, you’ll only be charged when people actually click your ad which will take them to your website as this is a great way to control your ad spending cost as you’re now only getting charged for people that have an interest in what you have to sell. So, rather than working super hard creating tons of social media content that you hope gets seen by hundreds and maybe a couple of thousand people (especially early on when you don’t have much of a following), running paid ads will allow you to immediately get your business in front of thousands of people every day (assuming you have the budget) driving a lot more traffic, and likely much better traffic as these people are much more interested in buying from you since they clicked your ad talking about your service rather than just an organic social media ad where you give out free tips.
    • Remember, not all traffic is good traffic. Not all traffic will convert. So, it’s not just about figuring out how to get your company in front of people, but it’s about figuring out how to get your company in front of the right people that will actually convert. This is where SO MANY businesses mess up as they are just trying to get their business in front of anyone and everyone. DON’T MAKE THAT MISTAKE. You care about getting clients and customers. Focus first on getting in front of people that will actually buy and then, once you have those funnels fully taped, then you can start thinking about how to market to people that have the problem that your company solves that might not be looking to purchase just yet and you can create content to help get them, over time, to convert into customers. This is how you want to be thinking about things and it’s INCREDIBLY common for new business owners to not be strategic in their thinking like this.
  3. Third,
    • Now that you’re driving people to your website, you want to make sure you have a Pixel set up for Google, Facebook (aka Meta) and whatever other ad platforms you decide to run ads on. The reason why is, at the very least, even if you don’t have much money to run ads, I recommend that you run retargeting ads. Retargeting ads are ads that show up on the particular platform you are running ads for and all those that visited your website will be retargeted with these ads.
    • You see, most people don’t convert into a customer on their very first visit to your website. The rule of thumb in marketing is that a person usually needs to see your company around 7x before they convert into a customer. So, if they just go to your website once and then leave, you don’t want them to just get away that easily and be gone forever.
    • With retargeting ads, you can have it so that they keep seeing your company over and over again via blogs on Google, or on social media sites such as Instagram for example. The more they keep seeing you, the more they are going to think you’re a legit company that deserves their attention. The great thing about retargeting ads too (or digital ads in general) are the fact that you can run them as PPC campaigns meaning you’re only getting charged when someone clicks on your ad. So in essence, they are going to keep seeing your ad over and over again getting you to that 7 impression mark pretty quickly without you having to pay anything other than the times they’ve clicked on your ad. So you’re essentially getting to that 7 mark for free in that regard. Additionally, you’re getting a second and third bite at the apple with these people by getting them back to your website for some more consideration in purchasing your services or product. I know it’s never fun to spend money, but if you are to spend money on anyone, it probably makes the most sense to spend it on trying to convert people that have already shown some interest in your company as these are the people that have already visited your website. I’ll of course go into this much more in the training videos ahead, but this is how you should be thinking about things.
  4. Fourth,
    • Simultaneously when getting your Pixel installed on your website, you want to make sure that your website has lead forms on it (just like your competitors) so that you can collect people’s personal information like their name and email address in exchange for some giveaway such as a free consultation, a free SEO or Social Media Review, a coupon, a newsletter, or a free how-to-guide.
    • All of these people are your leads and when they fill out these forms, depending on what type of form they fill out, this will tell you how serious of a buyer they are. Furthermore, depending on what form they filled out, this will immediately insert them into the email marketing campaign you have set up with that form. So, you need to make sure you have your email marketing set up as this is a key way you’ll nurture your email subscribers so that over time, they begin to trust you and eventually hopefully become a customer. You’ll hear time and time again in marketing that email lists are like gold. Because once you have interested people’s email addresses, you can easily get your company in front of them whenever you want without paying any additional money like with ads or blogs, or social media posts. This is a key way to drive interested people back to your website so that your website can hopefully finish the job and convert them into a customer.
    • Now, as far as what your emails should say in them to get people to eventually convert, as we’ll go over in the Email Marketing training, that depends on what type of form they filled out as that will indicate where in the marketing funnel they are. You don’t want to be sending hard sales emails to people that merely signed up for your newsletter and you don’t want to be sending newsletter emails to people that are close to purchasing. Once again, rather than starting from scratch in determining what types of emails you should be sending and how frequently, look at what 5-10 of your competitors are doing so you have a good idea of what works for that particular demographic. We’ll go into this in more detail in the Email Marketing training section of the program.
  5. The above is the key funnel you want to have set up whenever you start thinking about scaling to get a lot more clients or customers for your business or agency as you don’t want to work super hard in getting in front of the right people, driving them to your website, and then you don’t have your sales/marketing funnel set up to actually close them into becoming clients or customers. This would be a big waste of your money and time so you want to get the above set up asap before spending too much time on other areas of your marketing.
  6. But what about social media and writing blogs for SEO? Yes, I agree that it’s important to have maybe 15-20 social media posts on your social media account (if you have one) and 4-5 blogs on your website just so that when people who are interested research you (which they will), you won’t look like a completely new company which could scare people off. However, for the most part, you are only getting these posts and blogs up for this purpose in not looking like a brand new company and not because you’re necessarily focused in those areas of marketing yet as you don’t want to spend a ton of time in those areas of marketing just yet as your focus should first be on getting enough of your sales/marketing funnel up and running to get clients/customers first, and then you’re going to want to expand your marketing efforts into other areas to help create more streams of revenue.
  7. Once you have the above all set up, and you feel like you’re squeezing as much juice out of the above as possible, it’s time to start getting your business in front of even more people via other forms of marketing such as via Social Media Marketing and SEO Marketing. Both of these areas of marketing take much longer to start converting people into customers as it’s just flat out harder to get your company in front of people organically than via paid ads. However, if you do this right, these can be highly lucrative channels. But, they do take a lot of time, consistency, and effort in order to start bringing in money via these ways. We’re of course going to go into all the strategies on how to do this in the training videos so stay tuned on this. Typically speaking, you just once again want to make sure that you’re focused first on the most direct ways to bring in clients and customers first before focusing on Social Media Marketing and SEO Marketing as these usually take a while to bring in clients via these forms of marketing. I’m not saying these are bad forms of marketing whatsoever. You just want to be strategic for your business and bring in money the easiest way possible first, and then once you’re steadily bringing in money, then reinvest that money and your time into other areas of marketing like Social Media and SEO to help you with your long term growth. At least this way, you have money coming in while you’re trying to build your SEO and Social Media channels as opposed to doing it the other way where you focus on trying to build your SEO and Social Media channels while 0 money is coming in as most people end up closing their company if they can’t figure out a way to bring in money so you should focus on that first. When choosing who to hire for these marketing roles, it may be tempting to hire someone from a non-english speaking country. That is perfectly fine to do so, but just be aware that this is your outwardly facing marketing that the whole world will see. So, you want to make sure their grammar and English is good since this will be a reflection of your company. If their English is not good, you’ll find yourself having to redo a lot of what they have done which could add up and take a lot of your time. So, be mindful of this when making this decision.
  8. Alright, so, that’s the overall framework of how you want to be thinking of things when trying to get customers for your business.

What Job Roles Should You Focus On Hiring First To Grow Your Company?

  1. Get your website up (do this yourself or hire a web designer and/or web developer)
  2. Get your email marketing set up (you can do this yourself or hire an email marketing specialist (remember you’ll want to emulate what your competitors are doing rather than starting from scratch and if you hire someone make sure they do this too. If this isn’t their strategy, don’t trust them as they are just going to be writing generic emails rather than ones that convert for your business.))
  3. (For service-based businesses) – Get your 1-on-1 outreach campaign set up if you decide to do this for your company (you can do this yourself, use automation tools, or you can hire a VA to help you run this or even a “Lead Generation Specialist”).
  4. Get your paid ads running (I strongly recommend hiring a PPC person if you’re running paid ads rather than trying to do this yourself as this can take a lot of time to manage and if you’re spending a good amount of money, you want to make sure that it’s not going to waste if you’ve never run ads yourself before as you can waste money very quickly here).
  5. Once you have the above set up, then you can start thinking about what other areas of marketing are going to bring you money the fastest. Once again, look to see where your competitors are spending their time to determine what platforms you should be focused on and if you should be focused first on Social Media or SEO Marketing for example. Once you determine which areas you should be spending your time on next, you can try to do a bit of it yourself or hire a freelancer or a full-time person to help with this. These 2 areas take a lot of time to do yourself that will take a lot of focus off of your business so it’s generally worth it to hire people for these positions rather than attempt to do this yourself as these aren’t simple set-up projects but will require consistency every day to succeed successfully in these areas. You can find tons of SEO and Social Media Specialists on Upwork.

Why You Need To Know Digital Marketing To Be a Good Business Owner

Now, you may think, well, if I’m going to hire for all of these positions, why do I even need to know about Digital Marketing myself? So many business owners waste SOOOOOOO MUCH MONEY and get ripped off time and time again because they hire people for jobs that they have no idea how to do themselves. YOU DON’T WANT TO BE THAT PERSON. When someone is trying to get a job, 9 times out of 10, they are going to say they can help you achieve your goals. However, they don’t care nearly as much about your business as you do as they are just an employee or a freelancer. They will tell you what you want to hear and give you some indication of what they’ll do if hired but unless you know effective strategies in each of these areas of Digital Marketing yourself, you have no idea if they are implementing a sound strategy for your company or not and SO MANY BUSINESS OWNERS get ripped off this way as it’s very easy for digital marketers to show you some growth with data, but it might not necessarily be the right growth that you should care about that’s going to lead to more business.

By understanding what digital marketing strategies work best, how to do a proper competitor analysis, and making sure your focus is on how to get clients and customers fastest, you will be able to tell right away if the person you’re thinking about hiring actually knows what they are talking about and if their marketing strategy is actually going to grow your business. If you don’t understand digital marketing yourself, you have no idea if the strategies they are pitching you will work and you’ll spend months paying them money and not really knowing if their strategies are working properly. So, you have to understand Digital Marketing in order to make sure that you’re able to hire good people as well as so you’re able to help steer them in the right direction if their strategy or the content they are creating for you is a bit off because you know your business better than anyone else and if you don’t understand this yourself, it will be very hard for you to scale your business with other people helping you.

Lastly, when it comes to growing your company, although it’s nice to keep as much of the profit as possible especially toward the start of your company, ask yourself if you’re happy with that much or if you want to bring in more. Although it can be scary to hire people, your company will grow much faster this way if you reinvest that money back into your business rather than just sitting on the profits. You can only do so much yourself and the minute you realize this, the better off you’re going to be. Digital Marketing can take a lot of time. So, highly consider getting help with this so that you can be growing your company at a pace that you like rather than trying to be a 1-person show as you will move much slower this way unfortunately.