"When you do approach this hurdle of a time suck for the first time you want to ensure they are lined up correctly and that you’re hiring in the right sequence." - Jamie Stenhouse
How To Transition From “Maxed Out On Time” To Outsourcing EVERYTHING
I still remember those days when I started my first marketing agency. Running around my local city, seeing prospects and constantly doing meet and greets with local clients. Then when I moved online to accept global clients, my time became even more scarce. Between doing repetitive admin tasks, following up on invoices, closing new clients, fulfilling the work load and the recurring reporting – I was completely maxed out on time.
Then, today, if I look where I am. Im in Vancouver having a standard normal day while my virtual dream team of 14 run and operate my marketing agency from Australia. If I’m honest, they’ve been running the agency for the last 13 months while I’ve been travelling between about 20ish countries, however that’s a lesson for another time.
So how does one make that leap from solo marketer and doing everything to coordinating a team that does everything for them.
I started to hire my first virtual team member way back in 2015, I was worried, unsure, scared and extremely nervous about the cost. Even through now most of our dream team for our agency is priced between $4usd p/h and $10 p/h for all marketing, advertising and admin roles. At the time, I was over paying and hiring the wrong people, however I knew I had to get started. I took the leap of faith, made my first hire, along with dozens of costly mistake and I’ve never looked back.
The first hurdle to overcome is that when you first begin hiring its going to be a time suck. You’ll spend hours screening applicants, doing interviews and giving them “test” projects to work on. The problem is that this is going to take time away from the current most important function in your business, driving sales and servicing clients. Ideally moving forward your most important role should be to clear the path for your team so they can drive sales and serve clients. The time suck may not feel worth it. And then once you do decide on a key person to hire, it can be expensive, draining and stressful. You’re always watching over their shoulder to ensure they don’t screw up this client for you.
When you do approach this hurdle of a time suck for the first time you want to ensure they are lined up correctly and that you’re hiring in the right sequence. The usual process which we teach inside the Dream Team Intensive is to “hire from the tools back”. The goal here is to get you, the genius, off the tools as quickly as possible. This can be photoshop or facebook ads or adwords or email campaigns etc etc. This ensures that your time is being freed up while also maintaining control over client communications and quality of work….for the moment.
A lot of digital marketers approach building their dream team for the other angle. “Lets hire someone to post on our social media” or “I’ll get a VA to handle client support” or “Finally it’s time to hire someone to manage my emails”. The problem with hiring these front facing roles first is that it doesn’t really free up as much time as you would think. Your goal when you first start hiring is to build a machine that can produce the most time intensive results for your marketing agency. In most cases, this is the actual client work it self.
When you hire from the tools backwards you still have control and the ability to proof work before YOU send it to the client. Creating the illusion that you’re doing the work yourself. When rather you’re simply duplicating your skills, ideas and genius into another keyboard and mouse clicking person while you maintain the client relationship. Once your new team member has completed the task or project, they send it to you, then you send it to the client, to begin with, this should change later down the track. You in a way, are acting as a middle person between the client and your first few virtual hires. This makes the experience way less stressful for you and gets you into the game of building a dream. The goal here is to just get you started and moving forward, instead of staying still and drowning in work.
This is because we are hiring from the tools backward, The actual client work gets outsourced first. The final hires are always the front line facing roles. Sales people. Account manager. Client support etc.
How do you get started with this idea of hiring from the tools backwards? With clarity, draw a line across a piece of paper, and mark down from left to right, what the usual client journey looks like. For example it may be
Strategy session > Receive client survey > Client meeting to discuss ad angles > Run competitor research tests > Create campaign
We can see that in this example, a lot of the communication is loaded on the front end of the production line. This is where you will want to maintain your focus, initially. Then towards the back end, the “tools” is where you want to begin hiring for. Providing someone with the input they need to actually log into facebook ads and create a campaign setup, as an example. This can seem daunting but when you follow a basic “input / output” style of outsourcing it should only take you 25 minutes to set up an entire clients campaign with dozens of ad sets and targeting and re-targeting by outsourcing it to your team. I know for my agency, every hour I spent outsourcing I usually receive a return of about 4 hours back in free time…which goes right back into outsourcing and so the cycle spirals up and the agency grows.
If you would love a demonstration of how this work, I have a case study here which is worth watching if you’re a digital marketer trying to build a virtual dream team. You can watch that here at: https://app.jamiestenhouse.com/ocasestudy
Or if you want to shortcut that and simply pick my brain, I run weekly sessions for free, 1 on 1, you and me, where I can walk you through the entire process of building a production line business and building your dream team. If that sounds cool, click here to book a time: https://www.jamiestenhouse.com/letstalk
Founder at Production Line Agency
Starting in 2009, his early success as an online marketer led him to generate customers online in over 150+ different industries around the world for his clients.
After running and selling multiple agencies and companies, he is now the creator of the "Dream Team Intensive" – A unique methodology that help digital marketers to productise their agency through systems and teams.