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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.