Tega Diegbe, Author at Tega Diegbe
Open post

The Current Tools in My Content Repurposing Engine

My previous blog post gave you a deep dive on how I actually delegate my social media management to my virtual team. There was also another blog post where I showed you how I systemise my content creation.

Today, I will talk about the tools that I use when it comes to delegating anything content-related to my virtual team. When it comes to actually delegating tasks to my team, there are a few tools that we use. 

Our Content Repurposing Engine (in a nutshell)

The first tool I use is Streamyard, which is where I record videos which are then to be turned into blog posts. Most of the time, I record my screen while talking, to show a better visual representation of whatever I’m discussing.

Once the recording is done, I download the video & the audio, and then upload the audio to Otter for it to be transcribed. I also have the option of uploading the video file, but that would take too long as the video file ends up being too heavy to upload. This is why it only makes sense to upload the audio. 

From there, I upload the video to my Amazon S3 server. This is where I store all of my video files, making it easy to share with the team and whoever is in charge of content. 

The next thing is to make a note of what’s been done in our content database on Airtable. We place all the details for our blog posts there such as the transcription link from Otter, video link from Amazon S3, blog post file from Google Drive, and so on.

Airtable

Once I have all the details from my side, I go to Slack and let Gabbie know that a new video has been recorded for her to turn into a blog post. 

Slack update

As much as possible, I provide Gabbie with the video file at least 2 weeks before the blog post is released. That way, she has time to write, edit, and have me review the file without us having to rush through everything.

From there, Gabbie works her magic and starts to write the blog post. She also adds the other necessary details to Airtable such as status, date for the blog post to be published, etc. 

We made sure that our Airtable database acts as a centralised platform for all things content. That way, as our content manager, Gabbie, works on anything new, I can simply check Airtable for the status and to keep track. 

The Benefits of Video

The reason why our starting point is a video is because there is so much more we can do with it as opposed to if we just started with text or audio. With the video, we can create shorter video clips, screen captures which can be turned into social media posts, audiograms, and a whole lot more.

At the moment, we aren’t utilising the videos to their fullest potential, but I plan to change that soon. 

In terms of posting all the micro-content to Facebook, Gabbie is the one in charge of that as well so that I don’t have to worry about that aspect. I give my team members access to whatever they need and I trust them. 

Facebook manager

Right now, we’re working just on Facebook so that we can build a strong foundation for our content creation systems. Eventually, we will use that system as we branch out to other platforms. 

And that, ladies and gents, is my super quick walkthrough on the tools and systems we use when it comes to us turning my videos into multiple pieces of content, all while keeping everything in one, easy-to-understand database.

Open post
How I Get 200 Visitors to My Website Every Month

How I Get 200 Visitors to My Website Every Month (While Spending 45 mins per Month Recording Videos)

In the last blog post, I talked about how to run your business, without you having to be trapped in the business. And this is something that I believe is every business owner’s goal.

They want to create their business, grow the business, and when they’ve grown the business, eventually remove themselves so that they are not stuck doing everything in the business. 

It makes sense, and is an alluring goal to reach for, right?

Social media management

I mean, that’s why internet marketers sell programmes of them working from the beach, drinking mojitos as the money continues to roll in. But anybody who’s tried or been around for a little while will know that that is not entirely accurate. And, honestly, that’s not really the way that businesses work. 

After the last blog post, I decided to show you what this looks like, especially when it comes to what I/we do for content, research, content production, and content promotion via social media.

In short, I want to show you the “Leveraged” way in which we create content that has my experience and personality, without me being the person DOING things… In other words, I will be talking about how to hand off your social media management to your team and still have the content sound like you. 

SETTING THINGS UP

For the most part, the way that I do this right now is that I have my content managed by one person on the team. And how we work together is systemized in such a way that my input is given at the start of the process. After my input has been given, that team member then goes away and does what needs to be done.

Before you think about handing things off to somebody else, there’s some things that you need to have in place. 

Step 1: Choose Your Platform

The first thing is that you need to know what platform you want to be active on. Do you want to be active on Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter? TikTok?

The primary driver for choosing your platform is finding out where your prospective clients or audience are. You don’t want to be the loudest person in an empty room. 

And when you can answer that question and you know where you want to be active, it helps to understand the platform and the content requirements of that platform. 

For example, you can’t write blog posts if you choose to be on YouTube. You need to have videos, and if we want to take this a little bit deeper, you have to also be aware of the sentiment of the platform that you’re on. 

A good example of this is TikTok. At the time of writing this blog post, TikTok is a platform that is growing in popularity. On the surface, it may be considered a video platform, but if you delve deeper, you will quickly realise that TikTok is an entertainment platform. And it’s an entertainment platform for a world where attention is very, very fleeting.

When it comes to being active on TikTok as an entertainment platform, you have to be creating videos. And these videos should be entertaining and engaging, not how you would have traditionally done videos four or five years ago. 

That’s what I mean when I say to understand the platform and its content requirements. 

Step 2: Establish Your Performance Baselines

Once you figure all that stuff out, the next thing you want to get clear on is to establish what your performance baselines are going to be. What I mean by this is that you need to decide what your output is going to be on that platform. 

If we’re using me as an example, what I want is to post twice a day on my Facebook page. You may be saying your Facebook pages are not effective, which is in a way true. But the goal for me in creating content on Facebook was to get into the habit of creating content and putting a system in place to prepare for when I venture into other platforms.

Lesson here is not to get swayed or carried away by what other people are saying, stay true to YOUR objective without outside influence. I want to build the habit of being consistent so I fashion a system that will allow me to do that provided I STICK to the plan.

That is why I want to post everyday on my Facebook page, and then I post new blogs every 2 weeks. 

My plan is really to start small and create a system that would allow us to scale content production. If the system works, we end up with a leveraged way to create content and CUT DOWN the amount of time it takes to actually create content for multiple platforms. I wouldn’t have to worry about planning a video for YouTube, then filming and editing the video, only to realise that I still need to create blog posts and social media content after. 

For now, that’s the extent of my content production and content distribution. 

Step 3: Determine How to Measure Success

Another thing you want to do is you want to have a way to measure “success.” The reason why I placed success in air quotes is because what is going to be successful to me is going to be different to what somebody else would class as successful.

Measure success

To give you an idea of this, at the time of writing this blog post, we are currently getting results from just one platform. From posting 1-2 times a day on the Facebook page, and 2 blog posts a month on the blog, we are seeing on average 200 site visitors every month just from one platform.

Website traffic

Those numbers may not seem successful for some, but what it does is provide feedback that at this stage of where we are, what we are doing is working and we can go back later to refine and improve the results based on the goals we are aiming for at that time.

You need to have a way to measure and know the results of the efforts that you’re putting in. And I know my results because I have some super simple and super basic tracking on my website that tells me how many people are landing on my website, where they’re landing on my website, what they’re reading, and all that good stuff. 

And it just so happens that where people are landing and what they’re reading is the content that we’re sharing from social media.

Step 4: Choose the Right Tools

The final thing is you want to make sure that there is a way for your team members to access the different materials that you’re going to need to create content for social media. 

When I’ll talk through the system that we have in place later, you’ll get a list of tools that you can use. You can definitely find alternatives to these tools, but these tools form the foundation for us when it comes to content production and content promotion efforts on social media.

IT’S ALL ABOUT LEVERAGE

When it comes to creating your content for social media, I’m of the opinion that you need to start with video. 

When you start with video, you give yourself room to actually leverage that video and turn it into so many different content types. I call this method a repurposing engine, but most people simply call it content repurposing.

Building this machine will allow you to leverage the amount of time that you put into planning and creating videos. And when I say video here, I’m not talking about talking head videos. The videos I’m referring to are different because you are simply just dictating the subject matter of the thing that you’re talking about. 

That’s not to say you can’t use talking head videos. Matter of fact, it’s best if you actually use talking head videos because you give yourself more room to use that video content however, I personally did not want the fact that I wasn’t ready for talking head videos to stop me from actually doing what I needed to do. 

I learned how to record videos in this manner from a guy called Colin Theriot, who runs a Facebook group called the Cult of Copy. He has this programme called F**K it, Do It Live, and when I record my videos, I frickin’ do it live.

The idea is that you just plan the content that you’re going to talk about and then you record yourself talking about that content. 

I find that this is a great way to create content for me because the content has my voice, my personality, my stories and my experience, simply because I’m talking about those and dictating those as the video goes.

The key reason why we use video is the leverage that it gives us. For example, one 20-minute video can become (depending on what you’re doing) 1 to 5 podcast episodes. That same 20-minute video can become one 500-word blog post, multiple audiograms, Instagram posts, tweets, and so much more. 

From that video alone, you are able to create up to 35 multiple different bits of content. How cool is that?

If you had to create those 35 different bits of content individually, how long do you think it will take for you to actually do that? Would you be able to do it in a fraction of the time that working with video allows you to do? I personally don’t think so. 

And the reason I can say that is because from experience, I’ve found that to be true. At the end of the day, starting with video first gives you leverage because you can move quickly and make more micro-content from there. 

Remember that the video doesn’t have to be perfect. 

To give you an idea of what I mean when I say that, you can check out this link to see one of the videos I created that eventually became this blog post you’re reading right now. 

With that said, going back to the power of repurposing your video content, when I record my videos, I focus on quality over quantity. This means that I’m not looking to create the most amount of content from one video.

Quality Over Quantity

My aim is always to create good quality content from that one video that makes sense on different platforms. 

Yes, you could go away and create all of those different bits of content, but if you’re not being diligent in the quality of the content that you’re putting out, most of those pieces of content will make no sense. 

And if it makes no sense and you post it, it ends up looking like the ramblings of a smart lunatic. As opposed to something that can actually help people know, like, and trust you, and help you generate clients from the efforts that you’re putting into your content production. 

The next logical question is, how do you then get a virtual team member to actually manage your social media? For that, I have to show you and talk you through how we do that in my business. 

HANDING OFF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT

When it comes to creating content, you have to decide what your goal is. 

For me, when I started creating content, I wanted my focus to be on really in-depth, as-complete-as-possible-with-nothing-held-back blog posts. When I say this, I’m talking about blog posts that range anywhere from 3000 to like 7000 words. 

Reason for that being, those kinds of blog posts can be SEO-optimised so that they can generate organic traffic for you. And I’m finding this to be true from the efforts that my team and I have been putting in for the last roughly 12 plus months.

Because my focus was blog posts, that created a problem for me, and that problem was I don’t like staring at a blank screen. I can’t just sit down and start writing a blog post because, for some weird reason, it doesn’t work for me (I even struggled all the way through uni with that).

Because I knew and I understood that writing would be tougher for me to pull off, I had to sit down and think about what type of content I can create that will allow me to have leverage without forcing me to start with a blank screen. 

For me, that type of content was video. I could record a video and then somehow get that video turned into a blog post. 

The first thing I had to do is figure out how to structure the content of the videos I recorded or created. That way, when it gets turned into a blog post, it translates really well. 

The one thing that you don’t want to do is create a video that makes no sense and has no logical flow because it’ll be hard to turn that into a blog post

Once I figured that stuff out, it then became a case of figuring out how to turn that video into a blog post. And that was phase 1.

Once I had my blog posts ready, the next dilemma was that no one was reading them. So I needed to get active in promoting my blog post so that people read it, which then leads to traffic to my website, which then leads to people subscribing to my email list, which then leads to people inquiring how they can work with me. 

The easiest way to promote my blog posts was to get on social media, and share the blog post, right? Naturally however, you can’t just post the link for the blog post on the different social media platforms then and hope that you get traffic. 

So what needed to happen was that we had to create micro content from the blog post that encouraged people to read. Here is a sample of one piece of micro content:

Micro content

And then in terms of leverage and making the most of my content, we also need to find a way to repurpose the video itself. 

This step then involves repurposing the content of the video so that this video becomes a micro content in itself that promotes the blog post. What you’re doing here is that you’re doubling up on the work that you do. 

And once I had all that figured out, the next step was creating a system so that I can remove myself from this process so that I can spend my time ON the business.

That’s where I leveraged the power of delegation and had to refine my repurposing engine even further. This allowed me to not only record my video in an organized manner, but turn that video into a blog post in a shorter amount of time by paying someone else to do it.

I currently have someone in my team called Gabbie who is in charge of all of my content. After recording the video, I strip the audio and upload that file into a transcription service called Otter.

From the transcript, Gabbie turns it into a blog post, and from that blog post, Gabbie creates micro content that we then use to promote the blog post on social media.

To give you an idea on how the micro content is made, let’s say for example that I’m talking about 5 different ways to delegate more effectively. Those 5 different ways can each be turned into little teasers as micro content to be posted on the different social media platforms. These posts then drive traffic back to the main blog post. 

At the moment, we aren’t leveraging the video as much as we could be. 

There’s so many different things that we can do with the video in terms of making that video a piece of content in itself. That way, the video is not just sitting and gathering digital dust, but is actually promoting my content. Eventually, the goal is to leverage our video content to its fullest extent.

THE TOOLS I’M USING

In terms of the tools used to do this, we have Otter primarily as our transcription service. 

For creating our images, we have Canva. As you can see, Gabbie has been able to create a whole bunch of images over the past 12-15 months.

Canva

For me, when it comes to planning the video, I use a service called Miro, which is a good planning software and collaboration software. 

Miro

It has a mind map feature, which allows me to actually plan the videos. 

Miro Mindmap

The mind map you see above was used to make the blog post you’re currently reading. And you’ll notice that this blog post reflects the talking points in the mind map.

CHOOSE WHAT FLOATS YOUR BOAT

Now, how do you actually go about doing this for yourself? 

It’s primarily based on creating a system that works for you. From there, finding somebody who is reliable to actually work with that system. 

At the start of the blog post, I talked about determining what platforms you want to be active on, which is the first step. 

From there, it’s figuring out the type of content that suits the platform you’ve chosen. And when you know that, you can go about creating the big piece of content which sits on your main website. And then you can create the micro-content based on the context of the platform that you are going to be active on to drive people to your main piece of content. 

To create that piece of content, figure out what your strengths are and start from there. If you’re a writer, you just sit down and write. 

For me, who’s not a writer, it helps to plan the video, record the video and then strip the audio, and finally put that into our transcription service so that Gabbie can then create the blog post from the transcript. 

And because I’m working with video, it gives me a high leverage asset, which I can turn into further different types of content other than just the blog post. 

When it comes to figuring this stuff out, doing it for yourself, and handing it off, I would suggest figuring out your system first and putting that system in place before finding somebody else to manage it for you. 

Once you find someone to manage that for you, you need to have clear instructions on the platform that you’re going to be active on, especially how you want your personality to come across. 

Most people make the mistake of their content being void of personality and their stories. 

And that is how I was able to hand off my social media management to my team and not have it sound like an alien wrote it.

If this explanation has helped and you want to talk to me about helping you come up with a system for managing your social media so that you can hand it off, you may contact me here. I’d love to chat and see how I can help you get this system built in your business. That way, you can focus on growing your business instead of wasting time on social media like most business owners do today.

Open post
What It's ACTUALLY Like Working With Filipinos (1)

What It’s ACTUALLY Like Working With Filipinos

This blog post is going to be a little bit different from the usual ones I’ve been posting in the sense that this was derived from an actual (and rather pleasant) conversation I’ve had with my team members who are mostly from the Philippines. 

This conversation turned out to be really useful and insightful to me because I got to better understand how my team members think both in terms of working with me and generally working with business owners from outside the Philippines. It was a super open conversation and we got to talk about a lot of raw, unfiltered topics which I believe you would appreciate… especially if you are thinking of building a virtual team.

If you have plans of hiring virtual team members from the Philippines and are curious for some “insider information,” then it is my hope that this blog post will be full of golden nuggets for you. 

I decided to break it down into 2 sections, section one being where my team members ask me their questions, and the second section will be me asking them questions. The team members I am speaking to are Gabbie, who is our content manager, Bless who is our media buyer, and Drei who is our web designer. 

So if you’re curious to see what it’s ACTUALLY like to work with Filipinos, then read on.

Part 1

Part 1: Questions for Tega

Question 1: What, for you, is the best way for foreign clients to manage Filipino VAs, especially with all of the cultural differences?

That’s a good question. The answer to that is twofold, because it really requires having proper systems in place for communication, and getting clear on what everybody on the team is going to do. So having systems in place is the first thing. 

Then the second thing is to be patient and communicate clearly. I like to think that’s something that I do very well. I don’t get angry often when mistakes are made, because it’s more of a case of figuring out why the mistake was made, then using the mistake as a teaching opportunity. 

Question 2: How do you measure each person’s performance for future salary increases?

Personally, the way I do that is I look at the quality of work that the person is doing, in combination with the financial results that the work is bringing in. A good example is earlier on, when Gabbie came on the team, the work she was doing was really, really good. And there was a point in time where I was promoting my blog posts and as a result, got inquiries from those blog posts. 

And because those blog posts actually brought money into the business, I saw that Gabbie deserved to be properly compensated for her work. 

Remember though that you also need to think about the financials of your business and whether you can afford giving a raise. 

Question 3: Why did you choose Filipino VAs in particular? 

My experience when I started doing outsourcing was that I’ve tried working with people from all over the world. I’ve worked with people from Eastern Europe, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc. Honestly, there just seemed to be something missing whenever I was working with all those guys. 

I never understood why, but maybe it’s because of the way I communicate or say things. It could also be because of my social construct. Another possibility could be because the things that I consume are mostly American. And based on my observation and experience, Filipinos have quite an American culture. 

Because you guys have an American-like culture, I just think there is that synergy there. An example was that when I worked with Indians, there were certain jokes I would make that they wouldn’t get. They would either take it out of context or take it the wrong way. And you know, a joke isn’t funny anymore once you have to explain it. That, along with a few other communication differences, made a bit of an uncomfortable working relationship. 

That’s probably why I get along with Filipinos more. 

I remember the first Filipino I hired was named Jov, who was a web designer. Working with him was such a good experience that I just defaulted to looking for Filipinos after that experience. 

Question 4: Can you describe Filipino VAs in three words? 

There are so many words to describe a Filipino VA, but if I had to choose three words, these would be FRIENDLY, DEPENDABLE, and TRUSTWORTHY. 

Question 5: How would you describe yourself as a leader? 

I would like to say I’m a lead-from-the-front kind of leader, but I definitely miss deadlines and don’t push myself as hard as I should. You’ll notice that the deadlines I set are usually for myself. But when it comes to client stuff, I don’t mess around. 

So when it comes to being a leader to deliver stuff for clients, I believe I’m a strong leader. But when it comes to pushing my projects forward, I’m a little bit relaxed.

Question 6: There are some clients who would take advantage of Filipino freelancers when it comes to giving workload and and underpaying them. In your case, how do you ensure that you are being fair when it comes to compensation and workload?

It’s a balance. The primary way for me to do that is in terms of compensation, I look at what the market is offering and I try to offer above that rate. So if I see that the market is offering, for example, $300 a month, I try to offer anywhere from $500-550 a month, as long as there’s space in the business budget to do so. 

In terms of workload, I operate quite patiently. There’s usually going to be a learning period whenever somebody starts working with me, where I discover what they can do. I get to see how much they can do on both the good days, and on the days where they’re not in tip-top shape. 

So for example, with Bless and Gabbie, they can both do 3-4 things on average per day. If I really push, I can get both of them to do around 5 to 6 things. But if you don’t do more than that, I’d still be fine with it. And I can see how much each of my members do per day through their end of day (EOD) reports.

Question 7: What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with Filipino VAs, based on your personal experience?

I think that the key disadvantage is the distance. And as I mentioned earlier, you guys have a somewhat American culture, but at the same time, your own Filipino culture is also unique. But because of what’s going on in the world right now with Coronavirus and lockdowns, I can’t travel and experience that unique culture. 

Now the biggest advantage for me, again, is that you guys are dependable and trustworthy. So I know when I ask you to do something, you will get it done unless there’s something happening that you can’t control. And whenever the latter does arise, you never fail to let me know and you communicate everything with me. 

Timezone actually has never been an issue for me. In fact, I actually find it kind of perfect. Because we work in a flexible way, what happens is that when I go to sleep and give tasks, by the time I wake up, the tasks are all done. So for the time difference, I choose not to see it as a disadvantage. Plus, it doesn’t really matter, because I give you guys the flexibility when you want to work anyway. 

Question 8: How important is it to give commendations to your virtual team members?

This is honestly something that I struggle with because I have a tendency to be too enveloped in what I personally do. I end up getting lost in what I’m doing so I sometimes forget to check externally how things are going. 

A perfect example is at the start of the year, Gabbie mentioned on LinkedIn that she worked for my company and that actually shocked me. It made me realise that I actually do have a company and hire people to work for me. Sometimes I really forget that and as a result, I forget to give my virtual team members the commendation they deserve.

Part 2

Part 2: Questions for the Team

Question 1: How important is it to feel like part of the team, especially when you’re working virtually? 

Gabbie: Just like you, I get engrossed in my work a lot so I’m fine if I work on my own. But just the fact that I belong, and I feel like we’re working together, actually gives me a sense of accountability. And I’ve tried working solo before, but it’s really different. 

Also being able to talk about things outside work with people who are from different areas of the world is something that’s a good cherry on top of the freelance world. 

Bless: In my case, I used to work in a corporate setup and I was part of a multinational company, so it’s a huge thing. Then when I first transitioned to becoming a freelancer, I was working all by myself. It’s actually very different now with the team, because I have other people working with the same client. 

It somehow gives me the same feeling I used to have when I was in the corporate world in a sense that I now have things to talk about with my teammates. Let’s say for example, with Gabbie or Greg, if there are ideas that I want to throw around, I can easily do that. It also provides sanity as well.

Drei: As someone who sometimes craves social connection with other people, it’s great to work with and belong to a team. So if I’m not working and just need a break, I have other people to talk to so that I can refresh myself. For example, when I get to a certain point when creating websites, I need to stop working and talk to someone so that I’m not so stressed. 

Question 2: How would you guys say Filipino VAs are different from other nationalities? 

Bless: In general cases, Filipinos get taken advantage of. For example, in my case, I noticed that my Filipino workmates would just take loads of work. This makes us so dependable, and it’s actually in our nature to finish whatever task is thrown to us. So many foreign employers actually take advantage of this. 

In addition to this, many of us are also underpaid. And because we cannot express ourselves and are afraid that our clients wouldn’t accept us, we settle for the rate dictated by our employees even if it isn’t fair. 

So in a way, it’s both an advantage and a disadvantage to be naturally accommodating and dependable. 

Gabbie: We’re very hard working, and just like what Bless said, many foreign employers take advantage of that.

Another interesting fact is that Filipinos have a tendency to impress foreigners. So whenever it’s a foreign client who we just want to keep pleasing, we always say “yes.” We Filipinos are “yes” people, so we say “yes” to most things because we just want to please people.

It’s also kind of sad that Filipinos don’t really speak their mind. So if we’re overworked or underpaid, we don’t always express that. 

Drei: Just like what the others said, we are very dependable. And a really popular Filipino trait is that we’re very hospitable to foreigners. So this is carried over when it comes to our work life and when we work with foreign clients. 

I’m connecting to what Gabbie said that yes, we like to impress both Filipinos and other nationalities. There’s this thing about us wherein we like making a name for ourselves, so we work really hard just to get our name out there. 

And Gabbie is also right when she said that Filipinos don’t speak their minds. From my own managerial experience, Filipinos will tell their workmates that they’re overworked or burned out, but when you, as their boss, asks them how they are, they say that they’re completely fine. 

Question 3: How do you guys feel about the weekly team meetings? Currently, we have the ones on Monday which are more serious. Then we have the little laissez faire affairs on Friday where we just get together and chat about the week real quick.

Drei: I actually look forward to these meetings. Because we’re from different time zones or have different schedules, we all don’t really work together or talk during the week unless it’s work-related. So I treat the weekly meetings as more of a time to bond with the team.

Gabbie: This actually goes back to having a sense of belongingness with a team. So yes, I really do enjoy them. And I noticed that we slowly started to talk more about our personal lives or other random topics during our calls, which I really enjoy.  

I think the only downside for me is when we’ll go back to daylight savings and our meetings move an hour later. This means that in the Philippines, we’ll be having our meetings at 11PM instead of 10PM, which is pretty late for me. 

Bless: For me, it also gives me a sense of belongingness. However, I think we can make it more by putting structure. Let’s say, for example, during Mondays, we can have more serious, structured meetings then on the latter part, we can talk about random and fun topics. Sometimes, I think the Friday meetings are actually not necessary, especially since we just talk for around 10-15 minutes. 

But that’s just my opinion. And that’s because I’m a mother and I’m also busy taking care of my daughter. 

Question 4: What do you think my weak points are?

Gabbie: Well, you have a lot of plans but don’t always move forward with them because you have so many other priorities. I remember we talked about posting on Instagram last year, but we never started doing it yet. Also, your TegaDoesBusiness.com website has been pending for 3 months already.

So you’re a very big dreamer, but the execution part is a bit lacking. I think you just need a bit more of a push. But I do see an improvement, especially when it comes to meeting deadlines. We’re now ahead of schedule with content which is really great.

Drei: I noticed that you like to do a lot of things. You have your 2 brands, your different agencies, you also have the Intent Podcast. There are so many things going on that I’m getting confused on what the business really does. And if I’m confused, I think other people would be confused as well. 

I think what you really lack is a business model.

Bless: Well, actually they already said most things. I think it all boils down to your belief that you can be a jack of all trades. You’re kind of trying to do all of the things in your head. So, the tendency is that, as Gabbie said, the execution part is lacking. 

You just have to decide what you really want to do at this point. And I think it’s really about creating a system and organising your thoughts together and putting it into action. 

Question 5: What are my strong points? 

Bless: What’s good about you is that you accept feedback and you are a good listener. I think that’s one of the good things about you. And earlier, you said that you’re kind of weak when it comes to giving commendations. I think you’re actually good at that. Your feedback is also very timely, and you make sure to give feedback to each and every one of us who stood out with regards to work. 

Drei:  I’ve been here the longest amongst the three of us which is a really good indicator that you’re great to work with. I usually stay at a company based on how my boss acts. So 3 years and 7 months is a big thing for me because the longest before you, Tega, was 2 years and 9 months. And it’s because you’re really good and we learn a lot from you about so many topics. 

You also give great, constructive criticism and you do it in such a way that it doesn’t hurt when it comes from you. You don’t sugarcoat, but you’re good at softening the blow.

Another great thing about you is that you really know how to take care of us. Many of the Filipino freelance groups that I’m a part of in Facebook talk about a lot of horror stories of clients not taking care of their VAs. But you go above and beyond and even provide us 13th month pay and let us go on holidays. These may seem like small gestures, but are actually really big things. 

We’re very lucky to have found you and not everyone realises this but when a team member is working comfortably with you, it definitely encourages more ideas and instills a genuine drive to let the business grow.

Gabbie: You’re very nice and when you give feedback, it doesn’t hurt because you deliver it in a really nice way as well. You’re also so easy to talk to and you act more like a friend most of the time than someone who is superior to all of us. So we never get intimidated by you. But when you want the job done, you also let us know that you want it done. 

You also give us reasonable deadlines and are very understanding. And these strong points are very important because, like we said a while back, many foreign clients take advantage of Filipinos, but you never do. So keep it up. 

Takeaways

WHAT I’M TAKING AWAY FROM THE CONVERSATION…

After this conversation, I realised that I am actually on the right track when it comes to managing my virtual team. I always thought that because I was so engrossed in my own work that they might have felt that I was too distant. But that really wasn’t the case.

Their positive feedback of me was genuinely touching and I felt that we were all able to form an even stronger bond and have grown to understand each other more after this call.

I definitely plan on having this type of conversation again next year just so that we can update the blog and see if we’ll have even more valuable insights by then.

I hope that you enjoyed this conversation as much as I enjoyed having it and talking to the team.

Open post
How to Run Your Business Without you IN It (1)

How to Run a Business Without You IN It

If you are a regular reader of this blog post, you will no doubt have noticed by now that there’s a bit of a theme developing as we create more content. And this theme is about you taking the steps to learn how to run a business without you in it. 

This current blog post “series” works as a means of solving your delegation problems, then trying to anticipate roadblocks you might run into and also give you possible solutions to those problems as you start delegating more in your business. This is especially true because many business owners want to work ON their business, not be trapped IN it. 

The first blog post talked about the WHO first method in which I gave an in-depth step-by-step guide on how to find and hire reliable virtual team members. You can use it for in person teams, but it’s primarily developed for working with virtual team members. 

Once you’ve gone through the process, hired them, got them on board, trained them, and built your platform agnostic systems, the next step in the process is starting to think in terms of removing yourself from the day-to-day of doing tasks in the business, so you can focus on growing the business. 

Removing yourself

Accomplishing this will be much more achievable at this stage as you should already have your virtual team AND you have the foundations of your Platform Agnostic System in place. 

REMOVING YOURSELF STARTS NOW

Once you have successfully brought on more team members, you’ll actively have to stop yourself from being the doer and work on becoming the manager in the business.

From my experience, I can say confidently that before you hired your virtual team member(s), you were the one planning, researching, writing and posting your social media posts. Now that you have your virtual team member, you can make them responsible for all those aforementioned tasks provided you’re supporting them with planning and strategizing. 

By this point, you have your WHO and you’re getting them to run things and complete tasks. And assuming you’ve followed everything I have written about on how to train them, they would now know how to find solutions themselves rather than coming to you with problems. 

You should have trust and the indescribable peace of mind that comes from giving them tasks and KNOWING that it will be completed to a high standard. 

So, when you are at this point, your thoughts will naturally start veering in the direction of removing from the day to day doing in the business, and it’s not removing yourself from the business so you can go lie on a beach sipping Mai Tais while your virtual team does the work (I personally wouldn’t advise that especially early on in the process). 

THE CORE 4

Before we start daydreaming about lying on the beach, we need to understand the Core 4 of a business, which is what we’ll be talking about in this section.

The Core 4

I’m calling it the Core 4 because whenever it comes to building a business and removing yourself, you have to understand the fundamentals of what you are trying to do. And understanding these fundamentals means whenever it’s time for you to actually take steps to either bring people in or amend what you’re doing, you know what you’re doing, and you can execute with full confidence. 

If you lack the foundational understanding, you may struggle removing yourself from the business. 

So what are the Core 4?

These are:

  • Lead generation
  • Lead Nurture
  • Lead Conversion
  • Service/product delivery

If you are looking to remove yourself from your business, one of these core areas is where you would want to start. Where you choose to start is completely down to you. 

Personally, where I would suggest that you look to get started would be in service delivery. 

Why?

This is because, if you think about it, the one thing that’s going to be consistent in your business is the thing that you are delivering to your customers. Everything else may experience changes as your business grows and evolves. 

If you can remove yourself from service delivery and plug somebody else to do that for you, that now frees up your time for you to work on the other cores of the business.

The point is you want to remove yourself from as many of these as possible. I’m not saying you’ll be able to remove yourself from all of them, but from as many as possible. You then become the person that manages the people that are in the day-to-day doing all the Core 4 instead of the person actually doing them.

HOW I CURRENTLY WORK ON THE BUSINESS

To make this applicable, I’m going to talk about the Core 4 in the business that I was able to remove myself from almost completely. 

I’m saying “almost” because I still actively keep an eye on what everybody is doing. If you know me, you’ll know I am a perfectionist of sorts and like to make sure that everything is up to my standards. And it is because of this reason that I still feel like I am working IN the business, even though I’m not doing any of the work.

Almost removing myself from the business

I’ll be giving an example using my podcast management side gig. 

I consider it a side gig because it never became a full-blown business, reason being there was no lead generation nor lead nurturing. Most of my leads came from friends and clients recommending people to me, thus I didn’t need to build any lead gen system and because I didn’t have any leads to convert, I didn’t have any to nurture.

Anyway, going back to the main point. For my podcast management business, currently I am in charge of lead conversion and my team is in charge of the service delivery. 

Naturally, I started out being in charge of the service delivery. I would personally speak to people that need help with their podcasts and don’t want to do XYZ anymore. I then tell them my price to do XYZ and I do everything myself. 

When there was enough money in the business, the first thing I did was to put somebody else in charge of doing the service delivery aka the thing we were selling. 

On my team, the people I put in charge of that were Mark and Kat. Mark still works with me, but Kat doesn’t anymore because she’s moved on to bigger and better things, but the point is that I had those guys doing the things that the client paid for.

I had to train them, obviously, I didn’t just find them on the street and say, “hey, go manage my podcast management side gig.” But the point stands that I put them in charge of service delivery, because at this point, my clients and customers were paying for something they didn’t want to do anymore. 

Once I had Mark and Kat in charge of service delivery, I then moved my attention to lead conversion and, in a way, lead generation. Again, there wasn’t really a need to nurture because the leads came from referrals. 

As you’ve seen from my experience, I was initially in charge of both service delivery and lead conversion. And eventually, slowly pulled myself away from service delivery so I can focus on more income-generating tasks for the business.

Obviously, how things work with my business will be different from yours, but the idea is still the same, which is to find one thing (or more) that you can actually hand off to your virtual team. 

WHERE DO YOU STAND IN THE CORE 4?

Now, in terms of removing yourself from the business so that you can work on the business, you will have to think of how the Core 4 applies to you.

The Core 4 will be the things that actually guide you and let you know if you are on the right track. You will need to make sure that each core is being taken care of properly rather than spreading yourself too thin handling each by yourself.

Where do you stand

Each core must have a strong foundation of its own. 

So for example, there’s no point worrying about service delivery or lead conversion if you haven’t got lead generation taken care of. You shouldn’t even be thinking about the service delivery or the lead conversion if you have got no leads.

This is the classic overthinker’s problem… 

You have a tree in front of you and instead of chopping down the tree, you start walking around this tree doing all kinds of different measurements looking for what’s around to decide where you actually want to cut the tree. 

You then mark where you want to cut the tree and then something happens. The weather changes or it gets windy enough to go back and recalculate everything. The situation would’ve been different if you just sharpened your axe and actually started going at it. You would be a lot further along if you took immediate action instead of trying to plan for the perfect outcome for chopping down the tree. 

So when it comes to running a business without you being in the business, I believe that the best place for you to start is to rate yourself on the Core 4.

Do you have your lead gen system in place? Is it consistently generating leads? If it isn’t, now you know where to start. If it is, you move on to nurturing the leads. 

How are you nurturing those leads? How are you working with those leads that you’re getting from your lead gen? And how are you introducing them or turning them into your customers? 

If you don’t have a lead nurture in place, then obviously you have to go away and work on that. 

And if you have a lead nurture in place, then the next thing for you to work on becomes your lead conversion. How many of those leads are you actually turning into clients? This one is relatively straightforward and if you’re not converting them, then there’s something broken in your sales process and you need to go fix that. 

And if you are turning them into clients, it then becomes a case of how effectively you are delivering what they paid for. 

Your business will not survive with a poor customer experience, but your business may be able to survive with a poor lead nurture system because you can go back and fix that simply with the customer experience.

The point I’m trying to make is that you need to ask those questions and scrutinise everything. 

It’s important to know where you stand in terms of all of these and realistically rate yourself. Look at what you can do better to actually improve how your business operates and once that’s good to go, it’ll be easier for you to remove yourself. 

Once you have assessed your Core 4 and you find that everything is working as it should, this is where the magic starts to happen. 

WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS

Because if you know your Core 4 and you have your virtual team member, then what you now have to do is to start looking at the things that you don’t like to do or don’t want to do anymore. And that’s where you want to plug in your virtual team members.

Where the magic happens

If you can plug in your virtual team members in every level of the Core 4, you have now removed yourself from the business and no longer have to be the one responsible for those components. 

By now, it should come as no surprise that in order to work towards that, you need to create (you guessed it) systems and processes. 

In terms of systemising the Core 4, let’s quickly walk through that.

To systemise your lead generation, it becomes a case of looking at things from an organic or a paid standpoint. They both have their pros and cons.

Organic can be very time intensive and research-heavy in order to do it extra successfully. 

Whereas with paid, you don’t really have to spend so much time finding leads, creating your offer, then creating ads. A point of note, because of the power of paid lead generations you will be spending your time monitoring the paid channels that you use, whether that’s going to be Google ads, Facebook ads, influencer marketing, etc. otherwise your costs are going to run silly high and your lead generation thing is not going to work anymore. 

For lead nurture, typically the way you do that is through content marketing or email marketing (which is still kinda content marketing). 

So for example, if you are on YouTube, content marketing means consistently making videos, putting them on your channel and promoting that video so that you get viewers to watch it. 

And then lead conversion which can be systemised by hiring appointment setters or hiring commissioned salespeople.

Finally, for service delivery, that’s where you plug your virtual team members into so that they can do what you’ve hired and trained them to do. 

ALL YOU NEED IS PATIENCE

It pays to understand that to remove yourself from your business, it’s not something that you’re going to get done in a week or two. Heck, not even 4 weeks, because setting these Core 4 takes time. 

It takes time because it’s quite an iterative process. You do something, you go back and assess if that thing is working or not. If it’s working, then cool, you keep doing more of that. 

If it’s not working, then basically you need to go back under the hood, figure out why it’s not working, come up with the things that you’re going to try to fix based on the assessment that you’ve done, and then try running it again to see if it works.

All you need is patience

Doing all that takes time. The reality is that you can’t cheat that time because you have to roll your sleeves up and do the work that you have to do to fix what it is that you are trying to fix. 

So yes, it will take time, but the time that it’s going to take is time that you save in the future. The time you spend setting things up now is the time that you get to have off when all of this is taken care of and you have systems and people working without having to pester you for solutions to questions that they have. 

This will all be possible because everything is systemised. Within your documentation and your systemisation, they have everything they need to do the job that you want them to do. 

And whenever you’ve invested that time to build a strong foundation, you find that after a certain point, you are working less IN the business and working more ON the business. 

And that is a quick overview of how to run your business without you in it. 

At this point, it is important to understand that there’s always going to be an element of you being in the business. You’re not going to be stuck in the business because you will have other people or systems or automation doing the things that you don’t want to do, or doing the things that free up your time so that you can focus on higher leverage activities. 

But you will have the luxury to do things for the business that you actually WANT to do instead of HAVE to do. And that, I believe, is where freedom as a business owner lies. 

See you in the next blog post.

Open post
How to Train Your Virtual Team

How to Train Your Virtual Team

Once you’ve hired your first virtual team member, the challenges don’t end there. In today’s blog post, I want to talk about the next roadblock or “new devil” that you are likely to come across whenever you are trying to delegate more in your business and work with virtual team members. This is learning how to train your virtual team.

New Devil

If we think about all my blog posts as a series guiding you through the process of what you need to do, this would be the third installation in this series.

The first thing we touched upon was how to find and hire reliable virtual team members

And then when it comes to the continuation, which was working with the team members, we’ve talked about how to set up platform agnostic systems so that you’re not tied to one particular tool or software service whenever it comes to running your business. 

I then explained the dangers and risks of being tied to just one system. The second topic came in two blog posts because I took a deep dive into setting up these platform agnostic systems. 

The next roadblock that you will come up against is how to train your virtual team members. The reason I’m saying this, is speaking from experience, there will come a time or a task wherein your new team member won’t know how to do the thing, or you won’t know how to do the thing. 

Going Back to the WHO

If you remember back to the first blog post, I talked about the WHO First method. I was adamant about not focusing on the skills but instead focusing on the WHO aka who you work best with. 

So in this blog post, we will continue with the point I am trying to make by not really relying on skill when training your virtual team members.

Because of that, it means that we are kicking the ball. In this case, the ball is the problem of how to deal with the fact that the team members we hire may not have the skill that we need. 

This then means that in the future, we will inevitably have to train them because as the business grows and as tasks develop, there’s bound to be a point in time where no one in the team will know how to do something. 

To throw another spanner in the works, there will also come a time where you won’t know what to do because unconscious incompetence is real. Basically, you don’t know what you don’t know. 

Because you don’t know what you don’t know, somebody asking you what to do is likely to send you into a panic.

Panic mode

So, how do you know how to train your virtual team member in those situations? 

That presents, in my opinion, both good news and bad news…

Let’s start with the bad news. 

First off, if you don’t know what you don’t know, and your team member also doesn’t know, then it might seem like you’ve made a big mistake. Because you’ve hired this person to help you, but then the tables have turned and now they need your help. 

And if you don’t know what to say, this will likely cause some anxiety in you as the business owner. While time passes and you’re trying to figure this thing out, tasks could be piling up because your attention is now being taken away from where it needs to be. 

The bad news then compounds if the person is not the right person, in the sense that if you’ve hired somebody who is not resourceful and just wants to be spoon-fed, then the onus is going to be on you to actually solve the problem.

Alright, enough of the bad news. I wouldn’t want to scare you into not using the WHO First Method (in fact, this method is the solution to all of this). 

Now, there is a good side, especially if you’ve hired the right person aka the right WHO. This being someone who is a self-starter, resourceful and likes to think in terms of the solution first. If you do find someone like that, 7 out of 10 times, that person will go out of their way to try and find a solution to the problem and come back to you with solutions instead of coming back to you with problems. 

If you focus on the WHO First Method, then that kind of takes care of you not knowing what to do, because they’re going to find the solutions themselves. 

Going back to the first blog, one of the things I talked about was the importance of focusing on the WHO instead of focusing on the skill. And this is because this new virtual team member joins your team as a sort of blank slate for you to mould or grow into the best way that you know how to.

Do note that this only works if you find good people. If you get low-quality people who cut corners, then you’ll need to work extra hard to avoid that trickling down into your business. 

How I Train My Virtual Team

To kind of counter all of the bad news, I’m going to talk about how I train my team and what has been effective for us in the hopes that sharing that with you will give you insights into how you can think laterally about training your team and get more confidence whenever it comes to hiring someone. 

There will be three ways that you can go about training and I will walk through each of these one by one.

Training #1: Teaching From Experience

When it comes to training your team, the lowest hanging fruit is training your team from experience. Now, if you train your team based on the things that you do everyday, it then becomes a hell of a lot easier for you to train from experience. 

Teaching from experience

It’ll be much simpler if you already have SOPs and processes in place to show your new team members. That way, they know what to do and how to do it the way you want them to.

For situations wherein I already have standards in place, I use a tool called Loom which allows me to record myself going through the task while explaining what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. 

If they know why they’re doing it, when problems arise, they can come up with solutions that fit the ethos of what I’m trying to do. 

In other words, rather than them coming up with solutions that I don’t like or coming up with solutions that don’t support the end goal that we’re trying to achieve, they are more likely in the future to come up with solutions that fit that because they understand the what and the why. 

That’s why it’s important to create SOPs because these act as guides so that your team can replicate tasks in almost the same level that you complete them. 

Do note however that things won’t be perfect even if you have all of these SOPs in place. There’s always going to be teething problems and misunderstandings. And I use these situations as learning opportunities and feedback to fix anything in my systems and processes.

From my experience, as I create SOPs, I document my processes so that there is as detailed a guide as possible to show my team members what to do and how to complete the specific tasks that I need them to complete. 

Training #2: Courses

The second way is to use courses. When it comes to using courses to get them trained, I found that you can’t just buy a course and give it to your team members and say “go through this course and I want you to do what the course says to do.”

This is because with most courses (depending on the course, obviously), they are created for entrepreneur-minded people. This means that they could talk about big concepts, which in the context of training, would only serve to confuse your virtual team members.

When using courses, you actually have to put the time in to find a suitable course. And when I say find a suitable course, you need to avoid those that are filled with fluff and use big concepts. It’s a case of looking at the courses on the market and determining if you need the whole course or just segments of the course. 

You need to choose only relevant courses because the last thing you want to do when training them is to confuse them. And outside of confusing them, you want them to be able to work quickly.

Confusing your team

So there’s no point telling your team members to go through a 10-hour Facebook ads course if you want them to only set up Facebook ads and that Facebook ads course only has one lesson on how to set up a Facebook ad. In that instance, you want them to watch that particular lesson of how to set up a Facebook ad as opposed to going through the entire course.

Going through the entire course is not what you need them to help you with at that moment. 

Now I’m not saying that they should never go through entire courses, but be more discerning on what you tell them to go through because that is what will help you get them trained quickly and effectively.

Training #3: Get Help From An Expert

And then the final way that I’ve trained my team is to pay for a consultant. This is relatively simple. 

You’ll need to find an experienced practitioner whom you can pay for an hour or two of their time. And during that time, you want to make sure that you’re asking questions specific to the things that you or your team members don’t understand. You also want to make sure that the calls are recorded. 

Which Should You Pick?

So which method should you resort to in order to train your virtual team member? 

When your team member doesn’t know how to do something that you have the experience to, simply go with the first method and train them with the SOPs that you currently have. Then adjust and refine your processes if necessary.

When using courses, this is kind of like a hybrid, because this can be used in cases when you don’t know much and when your team member doesn’t know. And if you do have some experience, that’s where you have to use your experience and your knowledge to discern whether you’re going to give them the whole course or just particular segments. 

And then whenever it comes to training your team by paying for a time or consulting with an experienced practitioner, that’s to be used in a situation where your new team member doesn’t know and you also don’t know. 

This is the best solution for this case because paying someone for their time and paying for consulting basically shortcuts the process of you not knowing and you having to learn.

It also makes it easy for you to instruct your team because you’ll be instructing them from a place of knowledge. And it’s not just knowledge in that you read a book, but it’s going to be knowledge backed by somebody’s experience. 

That’s why I recommend an experienced practitioner because they have to have complete knowledge on what they’re teaching you because that is what they do.

And there you have it. Those are the three ways that you can train your virtual team member which you can resort to depending on what the situation calls for. Just remember that you don’t need to know EVERYTHING, and your virtual team member certainly doesn’t need to as well. 

If you haven’t gone to find your first great virtual team member yet, head over to my first blog in this series and work your way from there. 

Best of luck and I’ll see you in the next blog post.

Open post

Building Platform Agnostic Systems for Your Business

In my last blog post, I briefly mentioned platform agnostic systems being a way to ensure your business and virtual team were working effectively. I also mentioned that systems and processes are the keys to your business freedom because they give you a way to tidy up your business house and run a tight ship.

In this blog post, I want to expand on what I call platform agnostic systems to show why I rate them so HIGHLY and in the hope that you get a few nuggets you can take away and apply in your own business. 

Putting together my systems has given me the confidence to delegate tasks to my team and more importantly, it’s allowed my team the freedom to do what they need to do, so long as they’re operating within the lines of what our processes and system say they need to be doing. 

Giving them that freedom in my opinion keeps them productive and it makes it easy for me to analyse and interpret what’s going on and find where there are roadblocks that need to be addressed.

Creating Platform Agnostic systems

Platform Agnostic Systems in Action

The idea of platform agnostic systems is you create processes and systems that work how YOU work and by that virtue, they free you from being tied to one specific platform. This usually means sitting down with a pen/pencil and paper and manually mapping out your system before it goes digital.

Why pen and paper? Simply because it allows you to think about WHAT needs to get done and HOW it gets done without the distraction you would get from starting with your favourite project management tool/software. In my case, I was reading and researching about systems and task management when a friend of mine showed me how he was using a super simple Kanban system to manage the tasks he had to do in his business.

After seeing how he used the Kanban system and how effective it was for him, I did a bit of research and I liked everything I saw during my research.

If you don’t know what a Kanban system is, it is basically three columns: one for “To Do”; another for “In Progress”; and the last for “Completed.”

kanban-project-management

When I show you how I’ve set things up, you’ll see that we follow the same basic premise, with a couple of adjustments that work for us. In each of those columns, you put the tasks you want your team to work on, and assign to it the relevant member/s of your team. 

The first project management software that I used was Trello, which I can’t really show you right now because I’ve shut down my Trello account. Trello was good because it was so easy to set-up your Kanban board and assign tasks. Currently, I’m on Teamwork.  

As far as setting up the system for communication, I mentioned in the previous blog post that I didn’t want to use email because I have had negative experiences in the past where conversation threads just get lost. Or sometimes important tasks slip through the cracks, because it’s sent via email, and it’s relatively easy to forget and or lose. 

The final thing is using automation to either trigger tasks or to send a message that triggers some form of action from the team. An example of an automation could be if we have a guest book a time for a podcast recording, we could do one of three things. 

  • One would be to set up a card in Teamwork to say when this interview is. That way, we are all aware that it’s coming down the line. 
  • Another thing we can do is we could set off a notification to get somebody to start doing some preliminary research on the guest. 
  • And then the final thing is we could set up automations to send SMS notifications either to me or to the person who’s requested to be a guest whenever it’s closer to the time to the podcast.

Don’t Rely on One Platform

The idea of this entire set-up is to have your systems mapped out in such a way that if you outgrow a tool or if a tool goes out of business, you don’t end up hamstrung because you’ve built your system and processes around ONE specific tool. 

If ever you do need to change tools, now you have to go and find another tool that does something similar or worse yet, you have to now build your entire system from the ground up on a completely new tool as well as learn how to use the tool.

One important bit to point out is that when I show you Teamwork and how we use it, you’ll probably notice that what I have there is a little bit of a Frankensystem, this is due to the fact that we are not necessarily using Teamwork the way it’s designers and developers intended for it to be used. What I did was I made sure that the tool is fit for MY purpose. 

This way, I am not swayed by any calls to upgrade or fancy new features. Provided my system is working and continues to work, there’s really no reason for me to be using any of the fancy additions or getting distracted by shiny objects that they add to the tool. Not to say that I wouldn’t use a feature that would enhance how we work, but I am far more judicious about using that new feature as it would cause friction in the early stages of implementation/integration

The reason I don’t need to listen to any new upgrades or features is again, because the way that my system has been built out is that it’s platform agnostic. If I want to use those fancy tools, I can. But if I don’t want to, then there’s no point and the tool continues to work as we need it to.

My Own Platform Agnostic Systems

It’s time for me to do some showing and telling. 

Project Management: Teamwork

The first thing is going to be Teamwork

Depending on when you are reading this blog post, the homepage might have changed simply because applications and tools online tend to change quite often. 

This is currently what Teamwork’s homepage looks like. 

Teamwork Homepage

You can sign up and try it for free. They have different solutions and different add ons that you can use. 

Teamwork Add Ons

For their add ons, I did try using their chat software when it was just new. It wasn’t as good as it could have been, which is why we ended up settling with Slack

But don’t get me wrong. Even in the early days, this chat feature was powerful because it integrates directly with the task management side of things. And anytime that you talk about something, you can just link to the task or you can link to the specific item that you’re talking about. 

Teamwork Features

They also have this thing called Spaces, which you basically use to manage your company documents. 

In terms of what Teamwork looks like for us in the team, this is what you see.

Teamwork Home

Again, I will preface this by saying that I signed up to Teamwork in the early days. So I’m on what’s called a legacy account. And kind of to drive the point home about shiny objects and getting distracted within the tool, there’s been some changes on Teamwork. 

They’re actually trying to get me to upgrade and pay for a different plan. I can ignore this. And I have no problem ignoring that just because of the way things are set up. 

This current set-up is what works for me. 

You can actually see what tasks need to be done on your homepage. But I find this view to be quite cumbersome in the sense that everything there’s just kind of laid out and is quite confusing(for me) because of the list format.

The way that we use Teamwork is we use their projects feature, and for the different things that we do we have different projects. 

So this dashboard that I have here is primarily where all the activity for the business takes place. 

Teamwork Projects Dashboard

The Client Hub is used as a project to hold information about our clients so that whenever we get new clients, their information is stored here. And if somebody from the team needs access, they can get access by requesting access from either me or my other team member. 

When it comes to Advertising, I wanted to remove it from this dashboard because it needs its own space just because there are so many different moving parts for what you have to do, and because I do a couple of different things, it needed it’s own space/project. 

Today, I’ll show you what my main project board looks like and then I’ll also walk through an example of how to set this up for yourself. 

As I mentioned, we have a variation of the Kanban system. Traditionally, the Kanban has only three columns. But you can see that ours is different.

Teamwork Columns

We have the following columns for the following purposes:

  • Tasks – for tasks that need to be done.
  • Podcast Tasks – this needed a separate column because at one point, there were so many podcast episodes being managed that we would’ve missed them if they were still in the Tasks column.
  • In Progress – for tasks that are currently being worked on.
  • Needs Review – this is where things that need to be reviewed by either me or the client manager to  make sure everything is as it should be.
  • Review Completed – this sends a signal to whoever is in charge that the task is done
  • Completed  – for once a task has been completed.

And that is our variation of a Kanban board.

Also, I just wanted to note that I don’t use any of the menu items on the top because everything we need to do can be done here from this board view.

I also mentioned S.M.A.R.T. tasks in the previous blog post. You’ll notice how certain tasks are named very specifically. Let’s take this card for example.

Teamwork Card

And when you open a card, you will see all the steps that need to take place for that task.

Teamwork Task Details

This makes the task measurable, because we can see what’s being done and what’s left to be done. And each thing that needs to be done is assigned to somebody or there is someone primarily responsible for doing that thing.

In terms of it being attainable, we have a documented process that lets us know that this task should take anywhere from two to three days. And the bulk of that time is primarily editing the podcast audio. 

The tasks are also realistic and timely because we have a due date that is reasonable. 

And that is an example of a S.M.A.R.T. task. 

In terms of using Teamwork to set all of this up, let me show you how. 

First step is to go to the Projects tab and click +Add Project.

Teamworm Add Projects

Then go and give your project a name, choose a company, and add a description.

Teamwork - Create Project

Next step is to add the people who are involved in the project (but I won’t actually do that because I don’t want to confuse anyone in my team).

Teamwork Add People to Projects

And then you have the advanced options where you can create a category for this project or create a tag.

Teamwork Confirm Project

And once you’re done with all the details, click on Create Project.

Now, when the project is first created, this is what you’ll see since it’s still a new project. There is absolutely nothing.

Teamwork New Project

What I’m going to do is go to the board view since that’s what I’m used to. And this is where you build the Kanban system.

Teamwork Board View

Go ahead and click Add a Column. 

From there, you can start with the basic Kanban system which is composed of the 3 columns.

Teamwork Kanban Board

We also started with this board, until the team grew and the number of things we’re working on grew as well. We had to add columns to represent those changes and make it applicable to us. 

To add a task, click +Add a Card.

To make it S.M.A.R.T., you would assign it to someone and add a due date. You can also choose the level of priority.

Teamwork Task Priority

For what I do with my team, generally the highest priority goes to things that we have to do for clients. This is in the sense that we have clients who are going to be paying us money and that money is important for the business, because that’s how I pay the team and pay the bills. 

Anything else that’s not client work and is related to my stuff usually gets medium priority. 

Other stuff such as creating process docs or creating process flows gets low priority, because we can work on that in the background when things are not quite as busy.

I don’t worry about progress, tags, or estimated time in the card options. But you can definitely use those features if you like. The reason I don’t worry about the estimated time is because we have our processes documented and we know roughly how long certain things should take. 

When things are taking too long, we can actually see that and either dive in and investigate why or grill the person responsible for the task to figure out why things are taking too long. 

When this happens, it either means someone has been lazy. Or it could be that there are a couple of steps missing in our documentation of the process, which is then slowing down the work that they have to do. 

And once the card is good to go, you can just move it to the next column whenever something has been completed. 

When I was talking about choosing a project management system, I mentioned the ability to create task templates. This is something that we can do with Teamwork, but you need to have the paid plan. 

Teamwork Templates

You have the option to go for a project template or a task template because everything we do is kind of at the task level. That’s why we have the different task templates as you can see in the image below.

Teamwork Task Templates

Whenever we have a podcast task, for example, having this task template means when it comes time for a new episode, I can set things up so that whenever somebody books a time to record, I can let the right team member know what the next steps are. 

And to remove any unnecessary communication, I use an automation program, Zapier, to send a message or create a task to a member of the team to say we just had a podcast begin, can you start XYZ on the template. 

The reason this is useful is because when it comes to creating this task, we can just create the new task from a template as opposed to having to create the task and then add all of the sub tasks, and then assign the sub tasks and then do all of that finicky stuff as as we are setting the tasks up. 

Teamwork Task Template Sample

And that’s it for task or project management. 

Communication: Slack

In terms of communication, I mentioned that we use Slack.

Slack Homepage

This is currently how my Slack’s homepage looks as of writing this.

Slack is a communication platform that allows you to set up different channels for the communication that you are going to be doing between you and your team members. 

Let me show you how Slack works.

On the left side, you have these things called channels, which are basically specific locations for discussing specific things.

Slack Channels

And you get to include only certain members of the team on each channel. 

Some of our channels includes one for #clients, where anytime we’re carrying out a task for a client, all communication happens in this channel. Now this is a private admin channel for myself and my “number two” where we talk about ways that we can improve the business. 

The #content channel is where the communication for our content plan goes. Anything from resources to communication to output is posted here.

We also have a #team-chat channel where we mainly give meeting notifications or anything else team-related, whether it be funny or serious. The idea here is this is an open channel for the team to communicate and share anything that they have.

One more channel I want to talk about is related to automations. I mentioned automations and notifications earlier so that people know when things need to be done. These can be found in the #notifications channel.

Most of the tasks here are from me because I use Zapier to send a notification or to just ping this channel every time something is done or added in Teamwork. The reason we did this was because there were times when tasks were being missed so I decided to automate the notification, instead of sending a message EVERYTIME a new task was created.

Slack Notifications

Automating this means that I don’t then have to go to Slack and manually send a private message or send a channel message to anybody on the team to let them know there is a new task in Teamwork. 

Setting-Up Automations

I’m going to show you how you can set this automation up in Zapier. 

Zapier is basically like a middleman or a middle monitoring mind that is constantly checking for what it calls “triggers.”

In the example I just showed you in Slack, the trigger for that notification channel would be a new task created in Teamwork. 

This is a very simple thing to set-up which consists of two steps. Whereby you have the trigger and the action. So in this case, the trigger is a new task in Teamwork and the action is to send a channel message in Slack.

Zapier

Naturally, you can have this tool do a whole bunch of different things. But because I was only trying to solve the issue of tasks being missed in Teamwork, this simple automation was all I needed. 

For now, let’s keep this tutorial simple as I don’t want you to get confused. In the future, I may do a simple Zapier tutorial so that you have a better idea on how to make the most of this tool.

Going back to this example, once the trigger is established, you need to choose the app & event, which is Teamwork. If it’s not connected, you’ll have to connect your programme usually through an API.

Zapier Trigger

Once that’s done and you have chosen your account, you can then test the trigger. This is basically sending Zapier to fetch a task and making sure that it can communicate with the programme. 

And then once that’s done, you then set up the action. This is similar to the previous step, but this time, you’re choosing the action instead of the trigger. 

Zapier Action

In this case, to set up the action, set the channel to #general in Slack (it’s currently named #notifications). Then you just need to set everything else up to instruct Zapier on what to do once this trigger is pulled.

Zapier Action Set-Up

You can see that I have other Zaps as well, which I turn off when things are quiet.

Zapier Agency Zaps

The New Client Gravitas Assist automation sends a notification anytime we have a new client for this service. Whenever a new client pays us, Zapier then creates a task in Teamwork to notify the right people to start the process.

In terms of getting information from the clients, there’s a page that the client is directed to after they’ve paid so that they can fill in all the necessary details. 

That way, we don’t have to play email tennis with that client to get all the information we need. 

This information is then stored in the Client Hub in Teamwork I showed you earlier. And anytime the team needs any details about the client, they can just pull the information from the Client Hub. 

Creating Your Foundations 

So that in all its glory is how I think about and have set up my platform agnostic system. I made sure everything is platform agnostic because things keep chopping and changing. But the three things that are stable are project or task management, communication channel, and then automation.

All in all, this is how I work with my virtual team. Everything that you see here today in this blog post is the result of years of practice, aka trial and error. 

To figure out what works for me, the core of it really comes down to this idea of the platform agnostic system and processes. And once you have established what your system is going to be, then you get to go out and look for the tools. 

The big benefit of deciding what your system is going to be before using the tools means that you don’t get dragged into the analysis paralysis stage of all the shiny objects that the tool offers. 

In my case, figuring out the Kanban system beforehand actually created a lot of freedom because it made it easy to work with Trello. And then when we outgrew Trello, it was easy to make the switch to Teamwork without having to get overwhelmed by any of Teamwork’s extra features. 

And that’s how to work with your virtual team through platform agnostic systems. Once you’ve taken the first step of actually using the WHO first method to go out and hire virtual team members, the next step is then figuring out how to work with your team.

If you haven’t read the first part of this blog post, be sure to check it out here.

I hope that this blog post helps you figure out the systems you need in order to have everything organised for both you and your team. 

Best of luck and I’ll see you in the next blog post.

 

Open post
How to Work with Your Virtual Team

How to Work with Your Virtual Team

If you are reading this blog post, chances are you have read the previous blog post where I talked about and showed you how to find and hire reliable virtual team members. 

Now, when sitting down to think about what to write about, it was really easy for me to settle on writing about “how to find reliable virtual team members”. I mean, it was only the most sensible thing to write about, being that it is what people are paying me to do for them.

It wasn’t until I had a conversation with a friend of mine yesterday (at the time of my writing this, not when you’re reading it) that I realised that I have been doing you a disservice. And for that, forgive me. 

So what is this disservice?

That disservice is not addressing what generally happens AFTER you hire a virtual team member(s). 

If you’re reading this because you’ve read the previous blog post on how to find and hire reliable virtual team members, congratulations. I hope that the process has worked for you and that you found someone who is working up to your expectations. 

From my experience, I know that solving that issue of “How do I get more done without working to burnout” creates an entirely different set of Gremlins for you to deal with.

Like my friend Mike says…

New Levels, New Devils

When I had a conversation with my friend, we talked about this whole idea of “new levels, new devils.” And the concept of this is really simple. 

It is mostly referring to the problem-solution-problems cycle. Meaning every time you have a problem, and you figure out how to solve that problem, you ultimately end up exposing another problem. 

New Levels, New Devils

For example, let’s talk about hiring a virtual team member. 

Initially, you have the problem of having too much to do. So the solution is to hire a virtual team member to delegate some tasks to. 

When you’ve hired the virtual team member, another problem shows up, usually that is figuring out how to work with that team member, especially if this is your first time hiring help. 

In other words, one solution exposes the next problem down the line and the cycle continues until the day that we shuffle off this mortal coil. You’re on this path, and the path is laden with issues.

Issues ranging from things such as: 

  • How do you work with your new virtual team members? 
  • What tools do you use in the business to make sure your team members are working effectively? 
  • How do you pay them? 

These are issues that I went through myself for a little while until I figured it out. These are mostly little things that you should maybe consider that most people don’t, simply because they don’t know what they don’t know. 

To give you an example of that, when I started working with virtual team members from the Philippines, I had no idea what the concept of the 13th month was. So I had to figure that stuff out and figured it out by chatting with the guys I hired and to people who had been hiring from the Philippines for several years. 

True to the Problem-solution-problem dynamic, it now created the problem: how do I make sure there is enough to pay them from the business and how do I make it make sense to my accountant?

The Keys to Your Freedom

It should, I hope, come as no surprise when I say that when working with your virtual team, systems and processes are the Key to your success and freedom. They are the key to freedom because they give you a chance to organise your “house” 

This doesn’t literally mean actually tidying up your physical house in this instance, I am talking about tidying up your business house. 

Things like what are your naming conventions? What happens when you get a client? What happens when you lose a client? What happens when there is a mistake? There are so many things that can happen, especially if instructions aren’t clear.

After reading The E Myth by Michael Gerber, the one of the many things I took away from reading this was the idea that everything in the business has to be systemised. 

I personally agree with that up to a point. That point being if you operate from the place where everything in the business has to be systemised, then you’re always going to be stuck in the business because there’s always something to do, and you’ll be in admin hell trying to create or document all those things as and when they come up.

Emyth

When we talk about systems and processes, in my opinion it’s very important to think long and hard about what gets systemised and what does not get systemised. 

There are two things which most people don’t seem to talk about that you need to consider. These two things become the foundation on which your business is built. 

And if you lay those foundations properly (with freedom being your ultimate goal), you can eventually free yourself from your business to the point where there’s other people taking care of everything for you. This means you don’t need to be hands-on 24/7 anymore. 

These two key things, are:

  1. Task/project management – this gets everything that you do in the business in one place. It makes sure that everybody knows what they’re responsible for, what the deadlines are and what they should prioritise. 
  2. Communication – I find that having a completely separate channel for communication goes a long way to build culture in some form, especially if you’re working with a virtual team. You don’t want to be getting messages on WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and Email all from one team. That’s the worst because things can get lost. Things can get lost in terms of what needs to be done, who said what, and when something was said, etc

When it comes to tasks/project management, the way that I find tends to work for me is I like to create and work with “platform agnostic systems”. And what I mean by that is I want a system that can be plugged into whichever tasks or project management tool there is out there and still be effective. 

For example, if I’m coming up with a system for task or project management, I want it to be flexible. I want it to be stable and flexible enough to be able to work in either Trello, Asana, ClickUp, Basecamp, etc. That way, you don’t get tied down to one particular tool. 

The reason you don’t want to get tied down to one particular tool is if your team grows or if your business grows, you tend to find that these platforms start to charge you on a per user basis. So, say you have a team of 10 and it costs you $25 per user to use this software, that operating expense is now going to shoot up because you’ve tied yourself to one particular platform. 

Another thing that you want to work on when it comes to task or project management is making sure you’re always using S.M.A.R.T tasks. 

If you have done any project management course, they tend to talk about S.M.A.R.T goals. I have just taken a step further or deeper if you will and applied the concept of S.M.A.R.T to our tasks.

S.M.A.R.T stand for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

So for example, you can’t ask someone to build you an e-commerce website in two days because that’s not Achievable and Realistic. 

One final thing that I like to consider whenever it comes to your task/project management system is the ability to set up and manage templates easily. This is important because when it comes to carrying out tasks or completing them, there are going to be things that are repetitive. Things such as upgrading a WordPress website. For us, there are certain steps we have to take that never really change. 

What we’ve done is we’ve set up a website update task template, whereby the web developer on the team can simply look at and already have a complete checklist on what needs to be completed and then mark the task as done. 

Having easy template setup and management also means that if the worst were to happen, such as my web developer disappearing on me, I can simply find somebody else to plug into the system. 

When it comes to communication, the other vital bit of the foundation needed that I mentioned earlier is having a dedicated communications channel. That makes sure that the communication is kept clear and cluster free. There’s no ambiguity in what’s being said and if there is something that’s unclear, you can communicate it right there and actually see how the conversation plays out. 

How I Manage My Virtual Team

In terms of what I do in my business, for tasks/project management, we use Teamwork. We originally started with Trello. But as my team grew, and I got more proficient in setting up thinking about how I wanted to use systems in my business, we eventually outgrew Trello. 

For communication, we use Slack. I used to communicate via email and Facebook Messenger, but things always got lost. Either lost in translation or tasks just kept disappearing because an email gets mistakenly. 

Business systems

One final thing that we also utilise is automations. This allows us to remove redundant communication and automatically create tasks, which frees you from the business. It can also let you automatically create notifications for people on the team or yourself to take action. 

Growing the Right Foundation for Your Business

Now everything that I’ve just said is just a brief and general overview of how I run things in the business so that we are more anti-fragile to whatever changes may come. Changes such as new team members or new tools.

At the end of the day, it’s the businesses that are flexible yet structured at the same time that can last a long, long time. 

I know I briefly mentioned “platform agnostic systems”, and how this is such an important step to take when setting up your systems and processes. So in my next blog post, I’m actually going to show you how all of these tie together to alleviate some of the day to day drudgery of running the business, and also explain the idea of “Platform Agnostic Systems.” 

I’ll see you in the next one. 

Open post

How I Systemised My Content Creation

Content Content Content.

It seems as though EVERYONE and their cat is talking about content. When do I create it? How long does it have to be? What “tone” should I write in? What makes good content? Should it be written, audio or video? And on the questions go till you decide there is no point in doing anything because you can’t get a straight actionable answer when you ask those questions. This was way before I knew about systemising my content creation….

How do I know?

I know because that is exactly what I went through when I wanted to start creating content to highlight the skills and “expertise” I have picked up in my business owner journey thus far.

In this blogpost, I am going to walk you through how my team and I create content for my presence online. One thing that I really struggled with was “what happens AFTER the content is created?” You see, when creating content, depending on what you want to achieve, the creation is only half the battle because after you have created it, you have to figure out how to get it in front of people that will find use from it.

I talk about how we create and how we do light promotion of the content to get people reading and interacting with the content. So, without further ado, let’s get to it…

For me, when it comes to creating content, I view it as creating something that either educates, informs or entertains people. As I mentioned at the start of this blog post, there was a time when creating content was quite the struggle for me (which I’ll be talking about more later on). 

I use the term “creating content” loosely because creating content has become a term primarily used to describe people on YouTube that create videos and do brand deals and they are primarily doing this to become an “influencer.”

I'm not an influencer

Due to the way I am set up, it makes more sense for my content to fall in the aisles of educating and informing with a generous helping of entertainment to encourage consumption and implementation of the points the particular content piece is talking about. 

For me, when it comes to creating content, I look at content in the micro. This can mean a blog post, podcast, or video to show someone or a group of people how to do something. 

For business, especially business today, creating content is the foundation that a lot of first time entrepreneurs build upon. You have to write blog posts, you have to then promote those blog posts so that people can see or read what you’re talking about, and see if it interests them. 

My Battle with Content

You might say that I’m a little bit ashamed to admit this but for the longest time, I would not create any content. This is something that I’ve honestly struggled with.

When I’d try creating written content like blog posts or articles, I would turn on my computer, open Microsoft Word or Google Doc, and I would sit there, staring at the screen. It still happens to me now, but not as often anymore.

The reason it doesn’t happen as often anymore is because I’ve systemised the way that I create content and also leveraged a virtual team member (but this isn’t the point I’m trying to make at the moment).

The point is, for me personally, whenever it comes to creating content, I’ve always, always struggled.

I struggled because I was never sure what to post, when to post, how to post, or even something as simple as how long the copy should be. That’s my confession. Outside of an academic setting, I’ve never been comfortable just creating content for the sake of educating and informing people. 

My Battle with Content

But if you look at my website now, you would not know this because there are over 10 blog posts. And those blog posts are pretty in depth, talking about things that interest me and things that I’ve done. You can read about the things that I’ve tried and the results that I’ve got from trying those things. 

The truth is, I was a little bit scared of creating content and that fear stemmed from a whole raft of different reasons. 

What should I say? 

Who’s gonna read this? 

How do I make sure the person I’m writing it for gets to see it? 

How long does it have to be? 

Why should anybody listen to me? 

After all, I haven’t made a million pounds or dollars, I don’t have a Ferrari, I don’t have a private jet. So why should anybody listen to me? 

Those are the fears that I had. And it wasn’t until someone gave me a chance in holding my first guest expert session that I realised that I really had to get over myself. That meant I had to put aside the fears that I had about the content and just create it. 

To answer the question of who was going to read this, I decided that I want to create content for my past self. 

And in terms of not knowing what to write about, I worked my way around that as well. 

Anytime I’ve ever had a roadblock around a subject matter that I had no theoretical knowledge of, I figured a good way for me to get around that would just be to show myself doing the thing that I was trying to talk about. 

If you look on my website, you’ll see that I wrote some blog posts on how I made $2,000 while running a 5-day challenge. I also wrote a blog post on how to start a podcast, and another on how to hire virtual team members. 

All of those spawned from this idea of creating content for past me, i.e Tega 6 to 12 months ago. That gave me the freedom to explore the things I wanted to explore and actually create something that would be useful to somebody who wrote to me 6 to 12 months ago, struggling with that particular thing I’m writing about. 

Getting Over The Black Screen of Doom

Once I decided I had to get over myself and figured out the steps I would take, the next thing that I had to navigate personally was the fact that I don’t like starting with a blank screen. 

That realisation meant that I would have to come up with a way of creating written content which did not have me starting with a blank screen. Which ultimately led to what I am showing/talking about in this blog post. 

Getting Over The Black Screen of Doom

Once I got over some of my hurdles and accepted the fact that I’ll be creating simple, uncomplicated content for Tega from 6 to 12 months ago, what I needed next was leverage. This leverage should allow me to create content in a way that works for me, and allows it to be created consistently and relatively quickly. 

So the first thing I had to do was hire a content writer. That content writer was Gabbie, and we still work together and we actually just celebrated her 1 year anniversary of working with me. 

What she does is she takes the assets that I create, churns it through a machine that we both collaborated on, and then turns that one asset into another form of content, which inevitably ends up being the blog post (which you’re reading at this very moment).

Second part was after Gabbie was hired, she and I came up with a system for consistently creating the blogs to post on my website.

Now the beauty of this system that we’ve come up with is that should we desire, we can create more types of content from that ONE asset. Currently we’re just creating blog posts, but we can also create other things like short form, easy-to-consume content that drives people to the blog post as a way of promoting the blog post. 

However the current iteration of the system is primarily for blog posts. 

Once we had the idea for the system in place, then we had to build the machine, which I have rather crudely dubbed “The Repurpose engine.” 

The Repurpose Engine

The repurpose engine is relatively straightforward in the sense that we know what we have to create. What we then have to do is figure out a way to create this thing in a way that works for me and the entire team. 

Let me talk you through the repurpose engine.

The Repurpose Engine

Above is the repurpose engine that the team and I designed. The key thing that we have to do is create blog posts or “mega” blog posts as we’ve affectionately come to call them, because these things range in length from 2,500 words all the way up to 5,000 words. 

Because of the way I work and because of the fact that I tend to struggle with the black screen of doom, I had to think of a way for me to actually create the assets and then have the leverage point in place. The goal was to have the asset used by me or somebody else, in this case Gabbie, to create the mega blog. 

To make the process of creating the mega blog much faster, I usually record a video, strip out the audio, and upload it to a transcription service called Otter. This transcription is then converted into a blog post. 

Every single one of my blog posts on the website started out as a video. The mentality that I took with the video is that I was doing a guest expert session, whether actual or “pretend.” This means that I’d have to plan the video and make sure that everything flows and makes sense. 

The reason this is called the repurpose engine is because from the video, audio, or blog post, we can then proceed to create audiograms, image quotes, social media posts, blurbs and so much more. 

So in summary, I was able to create leverage through three things:

  1. Hire Gabbie
  2. Come up with a system for consistently creating mega blog posts
  3. Use the repurpose engine

The point of the repurpose engine is actually twofold.

The Point of the Repurpose Engine

So what is the point of all this? 

The first is to distribute the posts or the mega blog posts that we create. This creates a sort of omnipresence by posting on multiple platforms in various types of media. 

At the moment, we’re posting only on Facebook. That way, we can actually refine our processes and get clear on what we’re doing before we can roll it out. 

As you can see from the repurpose engine, all the content we put out on multiple platforms stems from one point. In my case, that point is the videos I record. Recording the video is just something that works for me but if you feel that you are a good talker and you just want to do audio, you can definitely do audio. 

Just bear in mind that creating audio (as opposed to video) will affect what you can do in terms of repurposing. Basically, you limit yourself in terms of what you can create if your asset is just an audio file.

To recap how this repurpose engine works, we are basically reverse engineering. You start from that one strong point that works for you, and then you break that down so that it’s sequential in what you can do until you arrive at the point where you can create your ultimate end goal. In our case, that ultimate end goal is the mega blog posts. 

To get to the mega blog posts, we need to have a mechanism and our mechanism just happens to be Otter. Otter makes it easy to take this original asset and turn it into the ultimate thing that we are trying to create through transcriptions. 

Tools We Use for Creating and Repurposing Content

There are a few tools that we use to help us identify and organise our repurposed content.

The first one was the Content Creators Planner. This was a tool that appeared to me on a  Facebook ad one day when I was scrolling Facebook. I like it because it allows me to plan my content from the macro view before I have to zoom into the micro view and figure out the things that actually need to be created. 

Then I’ve mentioned Otter, which is a transcription service that we use, where we upload the audio files from the videos that we record. We then take the transcript of those audios and use it to create the mega blog post. 

Google Docs is where we end up writing the article so that everybody on the team can review and make suggestions for changes. We can also see the complete blog post before it goes on the website. 

For basic SEO optimisation of the blog post, we use Yoast SEO. We don’t use advanced SEO methods because this kind of goes back to where I talked about no fancy gimmicks. We don’t do keyword research for articles but we just wanted to optimise enough so that Google knows what the blog post is about. This allows me to come out in the right searches. 

We record the videos using Streamyard which is one of these new video tools that popped up in the last year or two as streaming has grown in popularity. 

And then the final tool that we use is Canva. If you noticed in my blog posts, you’ll see that we have all these different images within the blog post to just break things up. Those images are created in Canva. The way it works is that we have these assets that we upload to Canva to then work with. 

The great thing about Canva is that it’s very easy to use and you don’t need to learn Photoshop. 

Focusing on Improvement

At the end of the day, the question that we have to ask is how can we make this better? 

In the current version of this repurpose engine, the goal is to create the mega blog post and then have it go out to all the different platforms. 

Now in the second version, which is something that we are going to be working on, we will focus on amplifying the blog posts. In simple terms, it means running paid traffic to the blog posts so that we can build a brand off of the hard work that we’ve done in creating these pieces of content. 

Because if you think about it, what good is creating the blog post if nobody sees it?

We actually already have a sort of amplification engine already since we’re posting to Facebook. And what we can do with this is we can increase the number of places that we post to or we can put money behind it to make sure it reaches more people on these platforms. 

At the moment, organic reach on Facebook is really bad. So it only makes sense that the next step is to amplify the work that we’re doing right now

Currently, this is what the blurb looks like. It’s basically a simple post about what the blog post on the website is about, followed by a call to action which sends them to the website.

Facebook Blurb

The power of what I have just shown/explained to you, is now responsible for winning me 2 clients. 

I was talking to a friend about this and how we use the ONE asset to create several bits of content to go on other platforms and drive traffic to my website, and I showed him an example, and he asked “how do I pay you to do that for me?”

The second client we got is actually someone like me who also strigged with the Black Screen of Doom and they had tried to solve this issue themselves SEVEN times but to no avail. I showed them what we do and they also offered to pay me/the team to handle it for them.

The one area where I am going to be shifting my focus over the next few months is to AMPLIFY the results we are getting. With this first iteration of the production and promotion, I am averaging 200 visits to my website every month. Where this is limited is that it is only people who KNOW me due to my privacy setting on Facebook (where we primarily promote). To expand that reach, I am researching how to run low budget campaigns to make the numbers “better”.

Our organic posts are currently driving traffic to the website. And because we have our tracking pixels installed, we have data being gathered to help us when we start doing paid traffic. 

So, to wrap this up and drive the point home…

  1. Figure out where your strength lies when it comes to content creation. Are you good on video, are you a talker or are you a writer?
  2. Plan the content you want to create.
  3. Use your strength. For me it was recording real or “pretend” guest expert sessions.
  4. Repurpose for the platform you are going to be sharing to. For example take the audio from a video and turn it into a podcastv(provided it makes sense).
  5. Promote the main piece of content.

And that ladies and gentlepeeps is how my team and I have systemised our content production and to a VERY basic level our content promotion. Go forth and create all your content with relative ease.

Open post

How to Find and Hire Reliable Virtual Team Members

As your business grows, so does the need to find more people. You can’t always be wearing different hats. Eventually, you will need to step into the shoes of the CEO instead of trying to do everything in the business. There will come a time when you will need to hire virtual team members to grow your team.

You will need to find trustworthy people who can “replace” you in the business.

I’m doing air quotes because as a business owner, you will never be truly replaceable in your business. What you do is you move up a level from being the person that’s doing to being the person that is managing the doing and then move up another level to manage the managers and on it goes to the C-suite Level.

I used to believe that I could do everything myself in the business (sometimes I still do). But after trial and error, I realised the importance of team members and STRONG documented processes. You can read all about my experiences in managing own virtual team here.

You can't do everything yourself, Tega

What to Expect

In this blog post, I will be talking through the process of how you can find and hire reliable virtual team members for your business. You will be shown how this process works and the results you can get from it. And hopefully at the end of this blog post, you will be motivated to actually go out and give this process a try. 

Let’s go over what we’ll be covering today:

  • Some Common Hiring Mistakes
  • The Process
    • Building the funnel
    • Identifying your WHO
    • Identifying the WHAT
    • Creating the job post
    • Creating basic automations
    • Conducting Phase 1 & 2 tests
    • Conducting interviews
    • Making the job offer

As we go through this, you’ll notice that I don’t really I don’t use the term virtual assistants. In my experience, that term has been generalised too much. I see people who are not traditional virtual assistants call themselves virtual assistants and end up devaluing how the market views them.

And on the flip side, you see people that are actually virtual assistants. But because everybody else calls themselves a virtual assistant, they have this somewhat price war going on where they raise their fees to match specialists. 

I have been able to build a couple of businesses through the process I am writing about now, and I will talk about the businesses later on.

One of these businesses is a podcast management company. 

I was able to find a podcast editor to edit the podcast audio, and a writer to create the show notes. I also have someone on my team who just makes sure that the podcast is loaded according to the SOPs that we have in place. 

Once we get a client onboarded, my team then gets to work based on the systems and processes we have put in place. This gives me peace of mind and the freedom to work on more important aspects of the business. Such as finding more clients. 

At the height of that businesses’ success, it was making approx $2,000 a month, and my involvement was minimal. This is LARGELY thanks to the team we have in place. 

And by following this process, you too will be able to hire reliable virtual team members to achieve similar or BETTER results for yourself. 

IT’S TIME TO BUY BACK YOUR TIME

As business owners, our time is limited and precious. 

Time is of the essence

Outsourcing allows you to buy back your time by hiring help to do the work for you. You may think that outsourcing is too expensive, but it’s actually very affordable because the price of labor is cheap IF you know where to look. 

As a business owner, there’s no reason why you should be spending your time doing things that you don’t want to do. Especially when you can find somebody else who can complete the tasks better and most times quicker than you. 

You can then use that saved time to do the things that you’re good at, that you enjoy or GROW the business.

Before you take the first step into hiring your first virtual team member, you need to be wary of some of the common mistakes other people are making.

Common Mistakes I See People Making

By sharing these mistakes with you, I hope you will learn what NOT to do whenever you go out to the different websites or job forums to hire your first virtual team member.

Here are some of the common mistakes I see people make

  1. Looking for “unicorns”
  2. Hiring contractors or freelancers
  3. Hire the wrong person/people
  4. Not accounting for the experience gap and/or skill gap
  5. Inflated wage expectations without the skills to command those wages

Let’s go in depth with each of these mistakes…

Looking for “Unicorns”

This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make. 

What is a “unicorn”?

A “unicorn” is this idea in a business owner’s mind of someone who can do EVERYTHING the business owner does. They believe that when they find that person, life will be perfect. That person will be able to do everything in their business, and then they can stop doing those things.

I’ve made that mistake myself. 

As long as you have the chance to delegate work, people will continue to make this mistake if they are aware that finding a unicorn isn’t the best way to go. This is because people don’t really think about the bigger picture of what they’re trying to achieve.

And even if you do find a unicorn, you simply can’t pass on everything to them while you go rest on a beach somewhere without a care in the world. Chances are you will come back to no business because everything will go haywire, or your unicorn will take your clients/customers and start their own business!

Hiring Contractors or Freelancers

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with hiring contractors or freelancers. 

But the problem for small business owners hiring contractors or freelancers is akin to something that my American football coach told me whenever I started playing football…

No matter how big you think you are, there’s always going to be somebody else out there who is bigger, faster and stronger than you.

I found that that is true for business as well. 

There are so many different business sizes and there are many people with different experience levels. This means that no matter the success you have, there’s always going to be somebody out there who’s bigger, faster, and more agile than you. 

That is relevant because I consider myself a “small fish.” So when it comes to contractors and freelancers who decide to work with me, they may start working really well and delivering things really quickly at the start. 

But as time goes on, and as they realise that working with me is going to be a little bit of a slow burner, they start looking for other clients…

Clients that are bigger, faster, and more agile than me. Clients who can pay them more money for the same amount of work that they’re doing for me. Because of that, what happens is I slide down the priority list.

Freelancers

So stuff that usually takes them an hour or two to deliver starts taking three or four hours and sometimes a day. In the worst cases, a week or two.

Hiring the Wrong Person/People

As a business owner, you have your own way of working and communicating. There will be certain people that will not abide by your way of working and communicating.

An example of this is if your business requires you to hire somebody that is a fast mover, but also pays attention to detail. But you hire somebody who’s a fast mover, but doesn’t pay attention to detail. I bet you that relationship isn’t going to last long. 

That is because as the business owner, you’re not going to have the trust required to give them a task while you go away and do something else. Your experience is telling you that this person doesn’t really pay attention to detail.

Because I’m a slight control freak, every time I give my virtual team members a task, I have to go back and almost micromanage and just look through everything they’re doing to make sure they’re doing things my way.

But thankfully, because I hired the right virtual team members, I always have peace of mind whenever I delegate.

Not Accounting For The Experience Gap And/Or Skill Gap

What people generally do when hiring someone is they look for somebody who knows how to do the thing that they’re hiring to do. But they’re not looking at it in the context of their business and how they do things. 

When I first tried to hire an audio editor for my podcast agency, I ran into issues. The way he edited was not the way that I wanted. Yes, he had the experience, but he wasn’t willing to learn how to do it the way I wanted to do it. Even though I feel like my way was better for my business.

He felt that because I was hiring him as the person to edit the audio, he could dictate to me the way it should be done. 

That’s what I mean by experience gap.

The skill gap happens when you choose to hire somebody who is at the start of their journey and you do not have proper documentation or proper systems in place yet. 

Because this person has this thing called unconscious competence, they don’t know what they don’t know. And if you don’t fill this gap through proper systems and documentation, then you will constantly have to give direction and put more effort to guide them into doing something right. 

Inflated Wage Expectations

The last mistake is more from the side of the virtual team members, which I know you guys can’t see. 

Because everyone calls themselves “virtual assistants” these days, they’re coming to the table with inflated expectations of what you are going to pay them. And in some cases, they don’t even have the skills to match the wages that they’re asking for. 

They see what other people are charging in the market, copy them, without taking into account their lack of experience. 

As a result, they end up getting discouraged when they don’t find anyone who wants to hire them because of their asking price. 

Now that we’ve covered these mistakes, let’s talk about what the right way is to hiring virtual team members.

How To Hire Your Virtual Team Member

Hiring virtual team members doesn’t have to be complicated or intimidating. In the next few sections, I will be going over our “Who First Method” in detail to give you a clear understanding of the principles we use when it comes to finding reliable and trustworthy people to help you in your business. 

Build Your “Hiring Funnel”

This step involves setting up a process for people to go through. 

Just like digital marketing and Facebook ads, you want as many eyeballs as you can on the front end. And then you want the right message to speak to the right people which gets them moving through the funnel.

Here is how the hiring funnel works:

  1. Get as many people to see your job post/offer (front end)
  2. Get the right WHO to go down the funnel
  3. Let candidates go through Phase 1 and 2 tests
  4. Filter the prospects after each test
  5. Invite candidate for interview
  6. Make the job offer
  7. Onboard the new team member

Hiring Funnel

Let’s walk through  each of the steps of the funnel in detail.

Start with WHO

The first step that I recommend to people is to figure out the WHO.

When you create ads for a campaign, you need to figure out who your avatar is. Similarly,when you want to find your ideal virtual team member, you also need to define your avatar aka the WHO.

The WHO is important because you’re going to be working with this person and you want to make sure that you have great synergy. Your personalities should be able to work together rather than clash.

Your WHO is going to be different from my WHO and everybody else’s Who. But generally, whenever it comes to choosing the WHO, you should focus on the personality types that you enjoy working with.

Your ideal virtual team member avatar should be someone you will get on with best. 

When I hired my first virtual team member to edit audio for my podcast, there was a personality clash. He wasn’t open minded enough to try out what I was suggesting, which created a friction point. 

Every time I asked him to do something, I was unhappy, because he wasn’t doing it the way that I wanted it to be done. 

It probably had to do with the control freak in me. But I strongly believe that because I spent the time creating these processes and systems, they should lead to an almost predictable outcome. If there’s another variable in there that hasn’t been accounted for, that’s just more headache than I want or need in my business.

A key reason why I’m putting an emphasis on the WHO is because I believe skills are trainable (not EVERY skill though, as you will see later on).

For example, the very first person I hired successfully had no idea what digital marketing was. 

After six months of working with me, that person was able to set up and manage podcasts, conduct the required research, create basic Facebook ads, and  even build a basic WordPress website from a template. 

This is hiring somebody that had absolutely no idea how to do any of those things. The reason that worked is because the focus during the hiring process was the WHO as opposed to what skill they can bring to the table.

Why can I say skills are trainable? Go to Udemy or Lynda. Any skill that you want to train somebody on, you can buy a course that shows them how to do it. The more technical the skill is, the more courses there are out there that you can put people through to get them that skill.

Figure Out the WHAT

Once you figure out the WHO, you need to know the WHAT.

Figure the Who and What

This is a bit easier than the previous step. WHAT is simply what they are going to be doing for you. This can include tasks like podcast editing, video editing, show notes, video, transcription to blog, post content writer, etc. 

Just like the WHO, the WHAT will depend on your business as well.

The only advice that I can offer here is once you know your WHO, spend some time deciding what you want them to focus on during the first month. 

The reason I’m saying for the first month is that it will give you and your team member 30 days to figure out the things that they want and don’t want to do in your business. 

It will also give you 30 days to put systems and documentations and processes in place if they aren’t established yet. That way, you can fully delegate the WHAT to this person, doing that removes you from the doing of that thing. 

As a result, you move up to the next level, which is going to be managing the doing of the thing because that is a completely different headspace to maintain as a business owner.

I did say earlier that the WHO is more important than the skills, but there are cases where skills are also important. 

For example, if I’m going to look for a graphic designer, I need to make sure that they have good graphic design skills and match my WHO

I know that kind of contradicts what I said earlier that skills are trainable. The caveat when hiring someone with no experience is that if you do not have those skills yourself, you’re not going to be a good judge of the work that they produce. 

Using myself as an example…

Where I’ve struggled the most is when I’m trying to hire people to do things that I don’t understand how to do. When I tried to hire a graphic designer two or three times, the results have not been as encouraging as I would like. 

And that is down to the fact that my idea of graphic design is very, very basic. 

That becomes a problem when I’m working with a graphic designer, because I cannot eloquently communicate what I need them to do. So even if I hire the best graphic designer in the world, if I can’t communicate what I want, then they’re never going to be able to produce what I want.

It’s because I don’t know how to communicate what’s missing and what I specifically want. 

So that’s why WHAT is important in certain cases, because at the end of the day, the idea here is to get this person involved in the business doing the things that you don’t want to do. That way, you can focus on the higher leverage tasks.

Create a Job Post

Once you have figured out your WHO and WHAT, you will need to create a job post. 

As you create your job posts, you want to make sure you call out your WHO. You must be clear about your WHAT as well. That way, you increase the chances of attracting the right WHO to go down your hiring funnel. 

The website I use to find people is onlinejobs.ph. This is a job board website for people in the Philippines. 

I personally like the Philippines because for some weird reason I just get on with Filipinos. They operate mostly on American time so there’s not that much of a gap in terms of when they’re working and when I’m asleep. I’ve had experience with different nationalities, and I’ve had the best working relationships with Filipinos.

But take note that this entire process is not “country specific.” So if you want to hire other nationalities, feel free to. The reason this system works is because it’s process-based. 

So you can take it and run it in whichever country or platform you want to hire your team member from.

In terms of your headline or job title, check out these examples below. 

#1

#2

If you were to put yourself in the shoes of someone looking for a job, which one would you be more likely to apply to? 

Option 2 right?

Talking about funnels and digital marketing, headlines that highlight benefits are attractive. Just like the second job title, it is more detailed and includes benefits, which is more likely to catch the attention of your applicants.

And what I found is that having the benefits in the “headline” gets people’s attention. It gets them to actually look through things properly because of the benefits that they’re likely to get.

Establish Basic Automation

I create basic automation through canned responses in Gmail. So if they follow instructions, they move on to the next phase. If they don’t follow instructions, you pay them no attention. 

If they can’t follow simple instructions, which is the very first hurdle, the chances of them making a good team member is slim to none based on my experience.

One example of automation is asking them to use the subject “Rockstar Executive” when emailing their application. These 2 words are the trigger for the automation that move them to the next step. If they don’t use these words, they don’t go to the next step. 

Phase 1 Test

Those who passed the first hurdle are then given a test. 

This test is really just for me to figure out their “basic working infrastructure.” I ask them about their internet speed, which includes the download and upload speed, and also typing speed. I also like to throw in a fake fictional customer support query, just to see how they handle that.

I do all of these tests in Google Forms. 

These tests do not have to be something done for your business if it is not required or relevant. You can also tailor it based on your business needs. 

Filter Prospects

Once enough responses have come back from phase 1, I then filter all the responses based on the criteria that I’m looking for. 

Filter Prospects

To give you an example, for a general assistant, I like them to have a minimum of 1 megabyte download speed and 1 megabyte upload speed. For typing speed, a  minimum of 33 words per minute. And if they meet those two, the final deciding factor is whether I like their answer to the fictional customer support ticket.

For those that don’t meet the criteria, just to be a nice human being, I send them an unsuccessful application email. I remember the days when I was searching for a job, and didn’t like it when I never heard back. 

Businesses use this story of “if you don’t hear back from us, it’s because we’re overwhelmed with applications.” The internet gives us the tools we can use to automate most of these things and if you get that right, you can send a super simple message saying “thank you for replying and I appreciate you taking the time. But on this occasion, you’ve been unsuccessful.”

And that’s what happens when people don’t meet the criteria.

Phase 2 Test

For the people that go on to phase 2, this is where we do a bit of a deeper test on the WHAT.

Where phase 1 is getting them to prove they are who we’re looking for, phase 2 is then getting them to display that they have some idea of the skills that we need.

You don’t want the test to be too hard, but it should be challenging enough that they get a mental workout to prove they have the skills you are looking for.

If it is someone who you are going to train, then this phase tests resourcefulness as opposed to testing for the skill.

Filter Prospects

Just like the filtering after phase 1, we have the filtering after phase 2 as well. 

Depending on the number of applicants who pass phase 2, you can choose for the top 5. I generally pick the top 5 or 7 as a rule of thumb. This depends on how confident I am with the candidates. 

There may be some people who don’t meet my criteria for phase 2 after filtering but because they’ve shown some kind of promise, I invite them for the interview to chat with them and see how they are as a person. 

And because the WHO is more important than the WHAT, some of them will meet my standards after the interview. 

Interviews

The reason why I only limited the candidates to the top 5-7 is because you don’t want to take up too much of your time interviewing a lot of people. From my experience, interviews take roughly 60 minutes. So the more people you invite for interviews, the more time it will take and the more strain it will cause on your workload.

Interviewing candidates

There are specific questions that you need to ask to get this candidate to prove that they are the WHO that you’re looking for. I personally ask more open-ended questions because I’d prefer that they do most of the talking. Some of these questions include: 

  1. Do you currently work?
  2. How much money are you looking to make?
  3. If the internet goes out, what are your other options?
  4. When would you be available to start work?

Feel free to include these questions in your interviews as well if they are relevant to you.

Make the Job Offer

Once you decide who you like the most out of the people you interviewed, it’s time to make a job offer.

This job offer acts as the contract because it states all of the arrangements that we have agreed upon, including rate and working hours

If they accept the job offer, you onboard them as a new team member. 

If the job offer is not accepted, negotiate to find out if you and the candidate can come to an agreement. If not, then you can choose to go to the 2nd best candidate or go back to the start.

The latter option is almost like snakes and ladders. But the beauty of going back to the start is that you will already have established your funnel. So all you need to do is do any necessary minor tweaking and run the funnel again. 

And just like phase 1 and 2, don’t forget to let those who didn’t make it know their status. 

Time To Get To Work

And that is how you find and hire reliable virtual team members. 

The funnel basically moves people through each phase. You get them to prove they are who you’re looking for and that they have the skill that you need.

Don’t get intimidated if everything seems too complicated based on my explanations. I just have more experience doing it, that is why I am able to explain everything in more detail.

If it’s your first time, you don’t need to make things complicated in order to find the right virtual team member immediately. The importance of going through this process is actually experiencing doing it yourself.

Trust in the process and have the confidence that the person you find at the end of it is going to be the right WHO that you’re looking for. 

And if they are the right WHO, you’re not going to find yourself 3 to 6 months later trying to recruit somebody else, because that first person didn’t work out. 

The person that you hire is going to be in it for the long haul because the both of you work well together and will be able to form a great bond.

Congratulations for making it all the way to the end! I wish you all the best on your journey. 

Open post

Tasks That You Can Delegate to Your Virtual Team Members

After reading Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek and Mike Michalowicz’ Clockwork, I became a  believer in the power of delegation. I admit I am nowhere near an expert and I still have much to learn, but from my own research and experience, I have found  that there are a myriad of tasks that you can delegate to your virtual team members, and with easier access to technology and the gig economy the possibilities are almost endless.

Unlike all the other articles you have probably seen online that give a list of these certain tasks, I want to be a little contrarian and talk about my personal experiences with delegating tasks to a virtual team and share  generally what I think about delegation instead. 

I’m not saying that lists are a bad thing and that everyone else is doing it wrong, but what I’m saying is that I figured that it would be better for you to understand the driving factors and the core foundations so that you can learn to delegate effectively on your own terms. 

If you remember the old tale of giving the man the fish or teaching him to fish, this is along the same lines. If you understand the idea of delegation, you will stop looking to posts and listicles on tasks you can hand over to a virtual team.

YOUR FIRST HURDLE

In the online world, you have literally thousands of virtual team members to choose from who possess different skill sets to meet the specific needs of your business. 

So the challenge isn’t really about deciding WHAT to delegate, but in my case, it was more about deciding HOW to delegate. 

Your First Hurdle

When my business reached the point wherein I had to outsource more aspects of my business, I needed to learn how to delegate, and a hurdle that I had to overcome was learning how to relinquish control. 

And it’s been a goal of mine to delegate more of the tasks effectively where I let the team know what needs to happen, and through creating proper documentation, they can just get on with the task with minimum to no supervision from me.

I also needed to know how to draw the line between knowing what to delegate and knowing what not to delegate. I realised that I shouldn’t be too rigid with  control which could result in not giving my team opportunities to get better at their craft. I have had to learn to trust my team to learn on the job, and yes, maybe even make mistakes along the way. 

But before we get into the foundations, let’s cover some other points that you may be curious to know as well.

SHOULD YOU DELEGATE TASKS YOU ENJOY? 

The beauty about delegation is that because every business is different, there is no set rule as to what you should delegate.

Deciding whether you want to delegate the tasks that you enjoy is really a matter of personal preference, and this will depend on where you stand among these 3 types of people:

  1. People who want to outsource everything in their business
  2. People who want to outsource only the things that they’re not good at
  3. People who want to outsource the things they don’t enjoy so that they can personally do the things they enjoy, even if some of these tasks are time consuming

This means that deciding how much you should delegate is completely up to YOU. I believe that outsourcing and delegation give people the freedom to decide what type of business model they want to run and how involved they want to be.

Should you delegate tasks you enjoy?

In other words, if you want to be the business owner that’s always doing stuff, you get people to do the things that you’re not good at and you keep doing the things that you enjoy doing. If you want to build a business that works for you, then you find and hire people to run the business for you, and all you have to do is give your strategic input and guidance and then they go and do everything. 

So, there is no straight yes or no answer to this. People are different and people have different motivations and different drivers as to why they choose to outsource, delegate, and start their business in the first place. 

In my case, there are times when I don’t want to do anything at all and I let the team do everything for me. Other times, there are certain things that I want to do myself so I let the team do the things that I don’t want to do and I go and do the things that I want to do. 

IS THERE SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE DELEGATION?

This may be something that you’re asking yourself as well. 

Is it wrong to delegate E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G?

Is it wrong to delegate just one thing while you handle 90% of the business yourself?

Well, knowing the answer to this is really going to depend, and there are a few variables to take into consideration. 

The first variable is the human element of the person who has to delegate. In my other blog post where I talk about My Experiences in Managing a Virtual Team, I mentioned that I am a bit of a  control freak. 

This vice of mine is causing a little bit of an issue right now, because I am not able to identify whether I’m delegating too much. On the other hand, I recognise the symptoms when I am delegating too little because I become stressed, I feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day, I feel like I can’t take in more clients, and in some extreme cases, I feel like the team is useless (but that is not true because it is just a story I tell myself because I’m not delegating).

Everyone on the team has expressed that they are willing to help me out in whatever task so choosing to delegate isn’t really the issue, but it’s really just more of me relinquishing control over anything else. 

So this variable will vary from person to person and there may be some people who find it easier to delegate tasks than others.

The other variable that determines the degree to which you want to delegate will depend greatly on the confidence that you have in the team  working with you. 

If you don’t have confidence in your team, then you’re not going to feel as confident in giving them tasks to do because you feel like they’re going to make mistakes and you’re better off doing the tasks yourself. 

You need to give the team the opportunity to do better at things that you need them to do. And as the person who is the business owner and the person who is going to be delegating, you need to put those systems in place so that your team doesn’t have to constantly harass you for answers or for things to do.

To recap, being able to identify whether you are delegating too much or too little will depend on how comfortable you are with giving tasks to other people, and whether you are completely confident in those people to carry out the tasks for you. 

SHOULD YOU LEARN HOW TO DO A CERTAIN TASK BEFORE DELEGATING IT?

As a person who wants to make sure that everything is done right (hello, perfectionist Tega), I would much rather prefer to have knowledge over a certain task before delegating it to one of my team members.

And because I am naturally curious, I want to make sure that I know how to solve something, especially when my team needs answers.

Learn how to do a certain task

But don’t get me wrong. This does not mean that I (nor anyone else for that matter) have/has to be a complete master in a certain skill before delegating it. We aren’t Google and we can’t have the solution to every problem. 

There will be times when you will need to leverage other people’s systems — such as courses and templates — and then taking their systems and plugging it into your business so that these solutions get the results you and your team want to get. 

In my case, there are times where I pay people for consultation as well so that they can offer their solutions and help you fix the problem.

Now that we’ve covered some top-of-mind questions, let’s talk about what I feel are the foundations of delegation and get those wheels turning.

THE 3 TYPES OF TASKS YOU CAN DELEGATE

Delegate the Implementation

Whenever it comes to outsourcing tasks, the first thing that I prioritise is the implementation part of my business, whether it’s my own stuff or stuff for a client. 

Implementation is what takes the most time, and if it’s something that someone else can do and do just as well, if not better, with as little guidance from me as possible, it makes sense to outsource that. 

This is the reason why I believe that establishing systems, processes and documentation is so important. Once you have all of this in place, it’s easier for your team members to implement what you need them to do since everything is already in place. 

In the case of my podcast management agency, it took a while to outsource the implementation because I had to figure everything out myself first, but once I was able to outsource the implementation aspect, it became so easy to simply collect the payment from my client, and have my team take care of the next steps to deliver the service we sell/solution we provide — Podcast Management. 

Taking care of the entire process became second nature for my team because everything was documented and standardised.

This goes to show that outsourcing the implementation is a very solid first step, because you know what everyone else has to do, and everyone else knows what they have to do. Which cuts down on the scope of errors and me and that the team can just get on with the work we have to do.

Get to work

And as I mentioned in the previous section, having knowledge in what I needed to delegate mattered to me. I wanted to make sure that I would be able to answer my team members’ questions so that when the team members become stuck or if there was a roadblock, they would come to me to help them solve the problem. 

If they think that I wouldn’t be able to answer their questions, it could mean that they would have to go elsewhere. And it’s risky because the validity of where they get their answers from then comes into question. 

Not knowing where they get their sources from could lead to them developing bad habits or not properly implementing the things they need to do. 

But I do not want to take monopoly over the solving of all problems (however because of how my brain is wired, I more often than not want to figure out the solution myself). So I definitely give my team the freedom to find the solutions themselves and come back to me with some options so that we can choose the best solution together. 

Delegating the Admin

Admin is a great thing to delegate as well because it takes a chunk of your time and mostly consists of repetitive tasks.

Using the podcast management agency as an example again, what happens is that when the client pays, there’s a whole bunch of things that need to be settled before the actual implementation.

Things like:

  • Do they already have a podcast?
  • If they don’t have a podcast, do they have a preferred podcast host?
  • Do they plan on creating a website for their podcast?
  • Have they already started recording?
  • And a whole lot more…

If they do already have a podcast, it makes things a bit easier on your end because you’re just working with what they already have, including the systems that they have put into place.

And if they don’t have any systems yet, this is where having an understanding of the process becomes useful, because all you have to do is transplant your current system into their operations, depending on how malleable your system is.

 

Malleable in the sense that if they have a podcast and they don’t have processes in place yet, your processes can easily fit with what they do because all they need to do is record the episodes and you can handle everything else. 

Because admin tasks are mostly repetitive, it only makes sense to create proper systems and documentation for this. That way, everything from processing payments to handling any necessary “paperworks” is completely standardised and less prone to errors.

Delegating the Creation of Systems and Processes

I don’t know how many times I’ve mentioned “systems and processes” in this blog post, but you probably figured that it’s such an important part of delegation.

It only goes to show that creating these systems and processes should be delegated to your designated team members as well.

As your team members get more proficient in carrying out their tasks, eventually they start to have their own processes. These processes should be documented so that if they’re ill or take a leave, someone else on the team can pick that up because they just need to look at the processes and follow the steps. 

This is exactly what we’re doing for our team, and if there is someone new that comes on board, then that new team member simply has to follow the steps written down by a current team member. 

The creation of these documentations naturally has to be delegated because I myself do not know the ins and outs of the tasks that have been delegated. That’s why whenever I have a new team member onboard carrying out a completely new task, I eventually have that person create a step-by-step flow of how he/she does the work.

documentation

Documentation is so important in fact, that I have a separate folder in our Google Drive that holds all of the processes that we have put into place. 

FOCUSING ON THE WHO

We’ve pretty covered the foundations of delegation, but before you go and start applying this to your business, you need to understand that proper delegation is a two-way street. 

Through my own personal experiences, I realised that in order for me to properly delegate all of the tasks above, I need people who are self-starters. 

This means that my approach when it comes to hiring people is to take a WHO FIRST approach. And what I mean by that is I like to find people who I personally think I would work well with. I try to find people who are persistent, pay attention to detail and people who are also problem solvers like myself. 

Making sure that you work well with your team members and vice-versa is paramount to making sure that you can trust your team and that you can delegate the tasks with relative peace of mind that the delegated task will be completed to a high standard. 

To read more about finding the right virtual team members for your business, check out the full guide HERE.

So when you feel ready, go out there, find the right individuals, trust in yourself, and start delegating!

Posts navigation

1 2
Scroll to top