How to Outsource Article Writing
How To Outsource Article Writing
David Jenyns: Hey. David Jenyns here, from Melbourne SEO Services. I've just been asked by the guys over at Market Samurai to make you a video on how you can outsource the whole article-writing process more effectively. Now, I know you've already gone ahead and purchased yourself a copy of Article Samurai. You might have even written yourself an article and taken it through the submission process. If you have, you know how time-consuming it can be.
The fact remains. You've got to get this stuff done. Building good-quality backlinks back to your website really is the cornerstone of excellent SEO, so you just must do it.
In This Video
So in this video, I'm going to take you through a few different things. I'm going to start off and talk about why you should outsource. We'll only spend two or three minutes, but we'll go a little bit deeper into why you need to start outsourcing these sorts of processes.
Then we'll have a look at making sure we've got some key understandings for you. I want to give you a few different definitions, just to make sure that we're on the same page, talking the same language.
Then I'm going to move into our hiring method. Here at Melbourne SEO Services, we have a huge virtual team, and we also have some people in the office as well. I'm going to take you through the process we go through, step by step, when we're hiring team members to join our team. That way you can model it.
And then I want to give you a real-world example. I want to take you through the steps of when we hired Manuel, who is a star writer for us. And in fact, he was one of the first people, the alpha testers, of Article Samurai. He is a great asset, and I think giving you that real-world example is just going to tie everything that we've talked about together. So let's get started.
Why should you outsource? Let's have a look at this little diagram I've put together. You're right in the middle of it, that blue circle. We've got all of these different red, yellow, and orange arrows pointing in at you. They're all the different ideas that you've got, all of the different things that you know you should be implementing in your online business to make sure it's a real success.
You've got all of these great things firing at you, but if you imagine that green arrow shooting over to the right-hand side, that's how much you actually get implemented. You've got all these great ideas, but you're really only getting maybe 1-10th of that actually implemented.
And to compound that and make matters worse, when you start to add in all of the new ideas that you keep on adding, from different product launches and things that you might read and ideas that you pick up out of books, those ideas just keep growing, and that makes it even harder to take things through to implementation. That's why I like to say, "Who needs another good idea?"
What is holding you back right now? You are the bottleneck. That's what's holding you back. You're in the middle there with all these great ideas, and it's not getting taken through to implementation. There are so many hours in the day. Everybody only gets 24 hours in the day, and you don't get any more than that.
How Can You Take More Action
So you need to think about, well, how can you start to take more action? And that really is why you need to think about outsourcing, because it's time to take more action.
But I want to make sure as well, when you start to take this action, of course, you're working on the right things. You want to be smart. You want to work on your business, not in your business. You might have heard that term mentioned. It comes from Michael Gerber, and in his book, "E-Myth," he talks about this idea of getting you to work on the right things, building systems and processes and making sure that you don't really get caught up in the daily grind, kind of like writing articles.
The fact is, you need to get articles written, but it might not be the best use of your time. So I want to make sure that we get you working on the right things and make sure that you start implementing more.
Now, if you think about trying to hire someone, maybe even locally, at certain points when growing your business, that's a great idea. But when you're starting out, it actually can be very cost-prohibitive for someone to try and hire someone for $20 or $25 an hour if you're based in one of the first-world countries. It makes it very difficult.
I think another great solution that you can think about, and makes it even easier for you to get started, is to think about outsourcing virtually. There are people all around the world, in different countries, where maybe the cost of living for them is a lot less than you in your country. So you can still pay them incredibly well in their country, and they can live a great life because their cost of living is less, but it still might mean that you pay a quarter or even less of an hourly rate that you might pay for someone in your own local area.
Now, I'm not going to go into real great detail, what it takes to build a successful business. That's another webinar for another day. But, if you want to find out a little bit more about building successful businesses and systems and making sure that you're working on the right thing, there's that book, Michael Gerber's book, "The E-Myth," that I talked about.
OK. So now, I've mentioned this idea of outsourcing a few different times. You might have heard that term thrown around before. You may have even done some outsourcing yourself. But what I've found is, when I talk to some people, sometimes they get the terms confused, and sometimes they think they're outsourcing when really what they're doing is out-tasking. So let me just clear that definition up for you.
Out-tasking is when you get one-off tasks done. So let's say you need to get a website built. And you only need to have your website built once, and once that's done, it's done, and chances are you're not going to continue to work with the person who builds that website. So maybe it's a website build, or maybe you need to get some graphics done. For me, those one-off tasks are out-tasking. It's where you're not going to have that reoccurring work with the person.
To compare that against outsourcing, what I think about outsourcing, it's really when you've got some business functions. So these are things that happen in your business that might need to get done and it happens on a regular basis, but it's really not a core part of your business.
For example, every business needs to get accounting done. That doesn't mean that you're running an accounting business, though. Your business might be plumbing or something completely off-topic outside of that, where accounting isn't your core business. That's when you might outsource that component of your business. It's not a core function.
You might outsource the accounting to an accountant. Or maybe it's something like pay-per-click, maybe driving pay-per-click. There are lots of changes that go on in the pay-per-click space, and maybe you don't want to keep on top of that, so you might look to outsource that. It's something where you've got regular, ongoing work. And typically, you might find a specialist in that area that you can build up a rapport with over time. You can teach them your processes, and you can learn how each other works and how each other likes things.
Now, the difference and the benefit between out-tasking versus outsourcing is, when you're out-tasking, you need to explain everything, probably down to the minute detail, because it's the first time you've worked with them and you haven't built up that rapport, they don't know exactly what it is that you want, whereas outsourcing, over time, you both get to know each other and things move a lot easier.
Now, there is a final term I wanted to introduce, because I think not very many people think this way, but I want to introduce the idea of insourcing. Now, for me, insourcing is all about building up your own team. And the things that I like to build up my own team to focus on are the core business functions. So, obviously, we run an SEO company, and building links back to our websites is really important.
Let's say writing articles and link-building, that's a core function for us. So I like to insource. And what I'm talking about there is finding team members that actually join the team and they hop on the payroll and I pay them regularly. So it's like they're a full-time, paid staff member.
Now, some people get that confused with outsourcing because, usually, an outsourcing person, it's almost like they run their own business. It's like they're an independent contractor, whereas an insourcer is a member of your staff, a team member. The things that I get them to do, those core functions, like link-building and building up videos or doing customer support, for me, that's what I like to insource.
That's what I want to talk about in this video, insourcing, because, obviously, there are different courses for different horses, and it really depends on where you're at. And I think starting off with out-tasking is good. Evolving through to outsourcing is great. But getting to insourcing, I think, is where you'll find the biggest efficiencies.
Building Your Teams
So building your team's obviously key, and there are a few little tips I just want to give you to make sure that you stay on the right track and keep focusing, I suppose, on the big rocks, the most important things, when you're hiring people.
Firstly, you want to make sure that you only work with A players. The fact is, A players just are so much easier to deal with. And you know what I mean by an A player. That's the person that, when you give them a task, you don't have to explain it down to the minute detail because they just get it, and things run more smoothly with A players. I really feel like that's where you need to focus.
You'll see, the way that our hiring process works, it's actually quite a slow process. And that's by design, because we want to filter out all of those B players. I've found, more often than not, B players will drag those A players down. So you just want to make sure that you surround yourself with the best talent you can.
Now, there's a book, and I'll flash it up at the end of this slide, called "Top Grading," by Brad Smart, and he went ahead and did some analysis and costed out what it costs you as a business when you hire the wrong person. If you hire someone and get someone on board and they start working with you, he estimates that it's going to cost you, if it's the wrong hire, a mis-hire, six times their annual salary.
The way that he calculates that is this idea that you're going to have to spend more time, and, obviously, money, in training them. It's going to take longer to get them more efficient, and they're not going to operate as efficiently as well. And then that's not even to take into consideration the opportunity cost, where what would you have gained if you did hire the right person?
So that's how he calculates it out. So I suppose the real key takeaway there is just make sure that you get the right people on board.
You'll also want to make sure that, as I said, our process, and you'll learn, is quite a slow process. I think hiring slow is smart. You want to take your time, to make sure that you get the right people. And if someone does sneak through the cracks and through your hiring process and you know that they're wrong, you need to fire quickly. The quicker that you get them out, the easier it is for you.
I've been in this place before, where I've had someone on the team, and I knew that they weren't an A player and I knew that I needed to get rid of them, but they'd been with me for so long that it made it even harder. And it wasn't till I was getting together with my mastermind and talked about it with a few of them, and they were just like, "No. Before our next meeting, you need to get rid of him. He is dragging the other team members down."
So the real key takeaway for me is it's much easier for you to fire someone, if they're not quite right, earlier on. It's harder as time progresses. Of course, you want to give someone the benefit of the doubt and make sure that you give them every opportunity to succeed. But, deep down, you've got that gut feeling if you know that they're not right. So, if that's the case, you need to make sure you get rid of them.
The next thing I've got is you want to make sure that you follow a process. When you go through hiring - and again, I'll show you my process in just a moment; I'm going to take you through step by step. You want to make sure that you have that systematic process and then you apply it every single time. I think, when I look back, the times when team members haven't quite lived up to my expectations or what I'd hoped, usually it's when I've cut a corner or not fully gone through the process that I'm about to work you through.
In fact, all of my best hires, and you're going to see some of them, I'll show you some of the photos of the team members for them, they all went through this process. And you'll find that A-players actually enjoy this process. It gives them a chance to show who they are and shine.
Now, I'll take you through our molded process. But, if you want to learn a little bit more about the topic, you can check out that book, "Top Grading," by Brad Smart. It's great. It's quite dense, and I think you might just be able to take pieces out of it to help create your own process for when you're hiring A players.
The George Forman Method
So, without further ado now, I want to introduce you to our "George Foreman Method." It's a little bit of a joke that we have here in the office. The reason we call this hiring process the George Foreman Method is because we really give our applicants a grilling before they make it through and then join our team.
Define What You Want
So where does it all start? You need to make sure that you know what it is that you want. You need to get really clear on that and knowing it upfront. When I am thinking about hiring someone, what I do is, over a period of time, I just keep a list. It's like a little notepad, and anytime an idea comes up where it's, "Oh, I'd like to get this done," or "Maybe the person can work on this task..."
Basically, I've just got an A4 bit of paper filled with all of these different tasks that I'd like someone to do. And I think it's important to figure that out upfront because I want to know the skills and the attributes required by the person I'm looking to hire. Because they are not often when someone...
First things about hiring someone, they're like, "Oh, here are the 50 million things I'd like to get done. I'd like to get them to work on video. I would like them to write articles for me. I want them to handle my customer service. The greatest thing you WordPress and they're a little bit techie and could handle my FTP program." And basically, you're looking for this super person that knows everything about everything. It's not realistic. I think it's a much better way you can to clamp those skills and attributes together.
So, you go, "I'm looking for a writer," and that's I supposed what we are going to talk about here is thinking about how you can go ahead and hire someone that can effectively do your Article Samurai process and link building. So, get them to focus on that area. Don't try and get them to be a little bit of an expert in everything. Find someone that's really good at writing and then, you want to think about what does that perfect week look like.
If this person and once you've find them, they join your thing, what are they going to work for a week? In fact, write out a schedule for a week. What tops of things? How would the week actually look? And I think that way, you start to get really clear before you actually hire.
This is great because a lot of people when they first hear about this idea of outsourcing particularly over to some countries where they've got a lower cost living. For those that you know and you might be paying four or five dollars an hour, they just think, "Oh, for four or five dollars an hour, I'll just hire them and I'll figure it out because it's smaller amount of money. Maybe I'll just get them and we'll find stuff for them to do." But, if you're able to be more strategic about this, and think about it up front, I think you're business will grow much quicker and much more strategically.
Once you've done that, I like to write a job description and here's a little bit of an idea of... It doesn't have to be much. I've just flashed up one of my job descriptions. It's almost like a bullet point of here's everything they're going to be working on. If you get that sorted first, it will make writing your job ad that much easier. So, the first step is get clear on what it is that you want…
Write A Job Ad
…And then the next step is you need to think about writing a job ad.
Now, I've just got a few of my team members up on the screen there, some who are local and some are virtual. Each one of the ones on the screen went through that process. All except for the one in the bottom left because that's my mom. But all of the rest of them went through the process I'm showing you right now.
You need to make sure that you understand your target market. So, once you are clear on what it is that you want, then you can start to think about well, what is the type of person that I'm looking for. OK. Well, let's say that I'm looking for an article writer. I want to get in the mind of that article writer when I write this job ad.
Now, I'll give you a little bit of an example of one that we've used and that we used to hire MJ. So, MJ is right down the bottom in the middle. So, that's MJ and he's the person that we ended up hiring for writing that ended up using the Article Samurai as an alpha test. The ad that I wrote was for an SEOs/webwriter and if you're talented, organized, reliable, efficient writer, looking to work from home, then you want to read this entire message.
And then I sort of I go on in explaining what it is that I'm looking for. But it's almost like upfront, I understand who they are and I want to make sure that I try and build the job ad around what it is that they would be looking for. I supposed it's almost trying to apply a little bit of copywriting skills. So, I think... If you haven't already checked out some of John Calton's stuff and I know the Market Samurai boys mentioned John Calton to a lot of you before.
Definitely worth checking out. I think copywriting is a skill that every business earner needs to learn because it filters through everything. It might be the copy on your website. It might be writing job ads. It might be writing order response to series. Whatever it is, it is a skill that ends up filtering through everything. So, learn that and start to incorporate it into writing these job ads.
So, another good example is let's say, Adrian who is on the top right hand corner up on that screen. And when we were hiring him, he's a videographer, and I wanted to get in his mind what would be important to someone who makes videos. Well, someone who makes videos wants to be creative and then they also want the opportunity to have their work seen by a worldwide audience. So, what did I do? I incorporated that into the job ad.
I shared this idea of "If you are looking for a great opportunity to express your creativity and make videos using the web to get seen by the worldwide audience, then this might be the perfect job that you are looking for." So, that really spoke to him and made him apply. That's what the A player is looking for. Because A players often times... For them, it's not so much about the money. The money is important. You want to make sure that they get paid and paid well. But they also want an opportunity to really express and show their talents and skills. So, I want to make sure that I give them the platform for that.
Then, when I write the job ad, I want to make sure that it's personal. I make sure that it's as real as possible. So, oftentimes, I'll say look, I'm an Internet entrepreneur who's struggling to keep on top of everything. There's just so much going on and I'm looking for someone to step in and help this article writing process for me.
I mean that's the top of thing. I've got the job ad here. So, I'll just read out a few other things. We've got the intro so the sentence that I've mentioned. But then after that I talked about here's the situation and then I say, here's what it is that you'll be working on and I list some of the task and that just comes from the previous slide where I was talking about knowing what it is that you're looking for. And then I talked about to be successful in this role and then I list a few of the things that they need to have to be successful in this role.
And that comes back to what's important to me. Well, I need them to have excellent English skills. I need to make sure that they've got a high sense of integrity and honesty and make sure that they've got a basic understanding of HTML. Because when I'll be doing resource boxes and anchor text links and things like that, I want to make sure that they sort of understand that.
And then after that, I'd moved in to who I am and tell them a little bit about me, what we are offering. We are offering a full time position, 40 hours a week, and we are paying between four and five dollars per hour and then finish out with what you should do right now, which is almost like that call to action. Here is your next step.
So, that is your first two stages. What it is that you want? Then you want to make sure that you write a really good job ad and then from there, you need to make sure that you go and advertise it.
I go and use the website called JobStreet and I have a few people tell me though that sometimes, they are having trouble running ads on that website. What I would recommend is go ahead and contact their support rather than just running an ad on their website through all of the automated, not have to talk to anyone, forms and things like that. I would go ahead, get in touch with someone and then once you've got that point of contact, that can sort of help and make sure your ad gets guided through and make sure to piece live.
But basically, it's like the seek.com that I use or the monster.com for the Philippines and Southeast Asia. It's a massive job board where you can go and post job and then applicants go and apply for that job. Another website is bestjobs.ph. That particular website is run by John Jonas and he's beginning to outsourcing as well. He sort of collects different resumes and you can list jobs. So, that's another one. Another great one that Page Williams uses, I've not use it but it's called remotestaff.com.au. Perfect if you're here in Australia.
But obviously, it still works if you're in any part of the world. Basically, they source staff in the Philippines. Do all the prescreening for you and then you can just jump in. You pay a little bit premium price, but it might make it a little bit easier. Another option is you start off out-tasking, so maybe you run some little one-off tasks on websites like oDesk or vWorker or Elance.
Just run little one-off tasks where you might run it and get two or three people to complete the same job. So that you find people who can execute quite well and that can sort of generate a person that you can now take through this process, this screening process. So, that might be another way to get started as well.
Write A Questionaire
So, with my advertisement running and like I said, I tend to go to jobstreet.com. Once it's running, here's a new little technique that I started doing and it actually came from some advice from Ben Strickland, one of the guys behind Market Samurai. And what we do is we drive all of the traffic from that job ad straight to where a SurveyMonkey questionnaire. It gives you an opportunity to prescreen people before you even have to start looking at their resumes.
Traditionally, you run a job ad, you get all of these different resumes back and then you spend the next two weeks, filtering through different resumes. But now, using this method, we find the people through a survey and think about the psychology here. Who is the person that is going to take the time to fill out a questionnaire? If the job ad is written interestingly and it really speaks to that A player, the A player is going to go ahead and fill it out. B players can't be bothered. They won't take the time to fill out that questionnaire. So, already you are filtering down to a bit more of the cream of the crop. So, I think that's a really valuable insight there.
I talked about some of the things that you want to ask them but I'll ask them between 10 to 20 questions based around the type of role that they'll be going for. So, if it's a writing position, you'd ask questions about, "Have you had any formal writing experience?" "Have you done any copywriting training?" These types of questions, questions that you might ask in the interview that can give them a chance to say, "Yes, I've got experience. I've written 500 articles before and I know how to SEO optimized them and do some basic key word research." Those are the type of questions that you want to ask.
And then, all you do is you load it into a SurveyMonkey. That's how we do it. There is, obviously, different surveying software out there, but that is what Noble Samurai does too. It's a great way to make sure that you prescreen someone before you even start filtering through their resumes.
Start With A Simple Task
OK. So, keeping up with me here. What have we done up until this point of time? We talked about what it is that we are looking for and we make sure that we document that. Then we go ahead and write a job ad. Then we go ahead and run the ad and then we drive the traffic from that ad straight to the questionnaire.
Now, the next step is we give them a simple task. So, of the people who complete the survey - and we usually have a few different filters, just some basic ones.
I mean people who don't fill out the questionnaire obviously aren't going to move through to the next round. If you imagine it this way, it's almost like we've got a funnel and each step of the way, we are slowly chunking down to a smaller group of people. We have all the people who applied for the position through the survey. Then underneath that or even high than that, we've got all the people who read the job ad. Then we've got all the people who completed the survey.
Now we've got all the people who completed the survey and we go through and do some basic filtering. We then ask them to complete a task. It's a simple task. And the way that we figure it is, "If you can't do a simple task, chances are you are not going to be able to do more complex stuff once you start working with us." So, usually, I don't pay for this task. I just tell them it's part of the hiring process. I try to make the task not more than half an hour or something like that.
And I relate that back to what it is that they actually are going to do. So, for example, if we are hiring for a writer, I want to make sure that it's a writing task. Maybe I'll get them to write an article or can you rewrite this headline. I usually give them two or three little tasks like that.
So, MJ Manuel, our writer that we hired. We got him. He rewrote some headline and he also wrote a very short, I think it was a 3 or 400 word article, just so I could get a feel for his writing skills. And I gave him a few little pointers just to make sure he'd say on the right track and make sure that he came out with a desired outcome.
So, what are the types of things that I'm looking for? I want to obviously see if he can follow instructions. I want to see how quickly it was done and the speed of communication and the skill level. I think just a simple task you would be amazed how much great insight you'll get from getting them to do a little task for you.
...And from there, we've got, now, a handful of people who've made it through at that point in time. And that's when we start our resume screening. And we look through their resumes, we ask them to send in a resume plus a cover letter.
Up until this point, we haven't asked for that. All they've done is the survey, and then they've done the little task. And then we ask for a resume, and also for a cover letter. We do the resume screening and we have just a few different filters. And it really does depend on the number of applicants. So, obviously, the more applicants that have made it through to this point in time, the tighter those filters need to be.
Or, if we've only got a few applicants at this point in time, we keep them a little bit loose. But I like to look for things like, has the person had some consistent work? You don't want someone who just keeps on jumping from job to job to job. You want someone who's stayed at somewhere at least for a few years before progressing on.
Then you want to see a logical work path history. Ideally, see them improving over time. And you want to have a look at their cover letter and find out how they write and why they think they should work with you and that type of thing. So, for me, I try and use it as well to build the questions. Once I read their resumes, or we get them filtered, I make sure that we've got a good list of questions that I can then ask them when we interview them.
Because that's the final stage, when we actually get them on Skype and have a chat with them. And I just want to make sure I'll highlight things in their resumes, anything that doesn't quite make sense for me, or maybe I want to make sure that they expand upon. And that's what I do at that stage.
My mum actually helps me with that prescreening. So, it might be something that you do, or maybe you get another team member to do it. But my mum will go through, I'll give her a set, criteria, of things to look for and then she'll filter it down.
At this point in time, we might only have two or three applicants. But can you imagine, I've gone from a big pool of people and just sifted it down, each level, until I'm just left with the absolute gold. And they're the ones that I want to think about interviewing.
So, we're into the final stage now. And I've got this photo here. This is MJ, and this was the guy. And I'll give you the real world example at the end, but this is that article writer that we ended up hiring.
Now, it's a great idea to interview the person that you're going to hire on Skype. I like to do it with a webcam, because what does that do? Not only can I get a feel for who they are. You know, you get a feeling, if they're a good guy, or if they look like they're a little bit of fun. Because that's part of the culture that I want to build into my business - that fun and enjoying coming to work.
But also, on a more serious note, as well, it demonstrates whether or not they've got a good solid Internet connection. And if they're a little bit web savvy. Not everybody can use a webcam. You don't have to be too smart. But, if you can't do a webcam, and you don't have good enough Internet, then you're probably not going to be right for this position.
And then we do what we call smart interviewing. And it's called smart interviewing because it comes from that guy, Brad Smart, and top grading that I talked about. And there's just a few things that I want you to think about here.
Obviously, we build some of the questions around what we found out in the resumes. But the way that it works is, I would like to have a tandem interview. So, I'll have two people who are involved in the interview. I'm one of them, and then I'll get another team member. And you want to make sure that you get a real A player, someone who's a star in your team, because A players can spot A players.
So, I like to have a tandem interview. One of the persons, which is usually me, I'll ask the questions. And the other person will listen to the answer and write them down. They're like a scribe. And it's important, I get two people, because it frees me up to make sure that I can fully engage with the person and not be too concerned about making sure what it is that I'm writing down. And did I capture that? Now, we also record the interviews as well. So, we can go back if we need to. But I find the tandem interview seems to work best.
As far as what to ask, some of those different questions that came out from my resume screening, that's one way we build some of the questions. But the other thing I like to do, and before we actually really get into the interview questions, I start off and get them to tell me their work history. Get them to talk me through how they got to where it is that they are today. Which jobs did they have? Why did they work there? How did they get that job? Why did they move on from that position?
And just get them to tell that story. A players love to tell their story and talk about their achievement and their successes. What you'll find is B players don't. They don't like to dwell on the past. So, that's another great indicator, if they're an A player or a B player.
After I find out a little bit more about their work history, that's when I go into the questions. I cover anything that I found out within their resume, and then I've got a few other questions I like to ask. Things like, how do they like to learn best? Do they like videos or diagrams or one on one?
And questions like, what's your greatest strength? Are you stronger in directing work or doing work? How would you describe your personality style? What skill or quality would you like to improve? Where would you like to be in five years? Those types of questions. They feel a little bit like normal questions that you would expect at an interview. I sort of build those in at that point in time.
But the real key, the thing that you want to take away here, is making sure that you look for patterns. You just want to see where someone has these reoccurring things, because their past will dictate how it is that they're going to act in the future. And typically speaking, a leopard doesn't change its spots, and you want to make sure that they've demonstrated the qualities that you're looking for.
Once you make that final decision, you've probably come down to the top two or three people that you've interviewed. From that point, once you make that decision, what I like to do is, I'll put them on a trial. Usually it's like a two or three month trial - actually, it's a three month trial. And I like to get them on board, just to see how they perform. And I let them know that within that first three months, it's an opportunity for us to see how they work with us and if they enjoy working with us.
And if, for some reason, within that first three months, it doesn't work, we'll both part ways as friends and we're obviously going to pay them for that period, as well. It's just a chance for us both to just, with little notice, to say, look, this isn't working out, we can move on. It's a bit of that discovery period.
Within that trial, though, I like to make things as easy as I can for them. I don't want to give them super hard stuff. I want to give them an opportunity to shine, give them a little bit of space. They're not going to pick things up as quickly as you know things. Obviously, you have an intimate understanding of all of this sort of stuff. You've probably gone through some good Market Samurai training and you might have gone through the 30 day challenge. And you might have gone through some of this material. And they might be just new. So, don't be too hard on them.
One thing that I do like to do, though - and it sort of gives me great insight - I'll ask them to send me an end of day email. Because this seems to be one of the biggest, sort of, challenges that a lot of people have when they're hiring virtual team members. They sit there and they wonder, "Well, are they going to actually be doing the work? How can I make sure that they're doing the work and not taking advantage of me?" You just need to overcome that hurdle.
One of the ways that can help you do that is make sure that you get them to send an end of day email at the end of every shift that they have. Ask them to send you an email, basically saying, what did you work on for the day, what were any issues or problems that you encountered, and then any questions that they might have from you.
There's a great little tip that I got from Eban Pagan. And I think it's a fantastic idea, because it's such a simple thing. And talk about making things easy for them. If they can't get an end of day email right, then they're not going to be able to get the complicated stuff right. So, that's definitely worth doing.
I think, over that period, that trial period, and this comes back to that idea of making sure that you hire slowly but fire very quickly, you'll know if it's not right. You'll just get that gut feeling if it's right or not. You just keep communicating with them. I like to have either myself or, we've got another team member who's a team leader, and she checks in with the team on a regular basis. In fact, Grace, she uses Basecamp to do that.
Basecamp is a great little software that we use to manage our different virtual assistants. And there's a little screenshot there, and you can actually see one of Grace's end of day emails there. It's only, it might be a little bit small for you to read, but she's just written more. What time did she start, what time did she end. And then she's bullet pointed what it is that she worked on.
And that's a great starting point for, when I chat with her the next day. We start off by recapping what it is that she worked on from the previous day. Small things like these are just going to make the world of difference for you.
Let's give you a little bit of a recap. And again, just keep in your mind, remember, hire slowly, fire quickly. And a stitch in time saves nine. All of these old cliche's, I want to bring them out, because you just want to put these working up front, because it'll save you in the long term.
Often times, a lot of these guys, you might end up working with for many, many years. So, you need to make sure that you're getting the right people. And using the George Foreman method is the way to get the right people.
So, step one, make sure you know what it is that you want. Step two, you need to write a job ad. Step three, you advertise that job ad. Step four, drive all of the traffic from that advertisement through to a questionnaire and prescreen people based on that questionnaire. From there, you give them a simple task, just almost like that underhand or underarm throw, a task that's related to the position that you're looking to hire.
From there, you prescreen the resumes. So, after the simple task, you ask them to send in their resumes, and their cover letters. From there, you do a little bit of prescreening, and you might come down to the top two or three. And from there, you bring them in for a Skype interview and you have - usually that interview, for me, probably goes for about an hour.
And then the final thing, once you think you've made your choice that you're happy with, put them on for a trial and that's going to be the real test where the rubber hits the road and you get to see how they react in the real world. And you work with them for three months, and then, at the end of that three months, you make them a real formal, here is a job offer, yes, I want to get you on board.
This process that I've just shown you now really is one of those core functions within our business. And it took a while to get it to this point. And I think you may or may not realize how valuable this is. Because if we go all the way back to our first slide, understanding that you are the bottleneck, understanding that you must build a team around you, understanding that you must build a team of A players.
And now I've given you the exact method that we use to hire A players. This is incredibly valuable stuff. If you take this and start applying it in your business, you're going to grow through to that next level at an unbelievable pace.
Real Life Example
Now, I just want to finish off by giving you a real life example. So, I want to show you how we hired MJ Manuel, and how he became on our team and just became such a valued member.
We started off, once we got clear on what we wanted. So, we obviously wanted to find a writer, someone who could build links. From there, we placed the ad, and we did it on JobStreet. We sent the people through to the questionnaire. We had 14 people go through to the questionnaire. We actually had quite a lot of people send through resumes, because in JobStreet, they have your contact details, as well. But we didn't even look at those.
So, we actually had quite a lot more people actually get to the job ad, look at the job ad, and chances are, we would have probably had 100 or more people if we just asked for the resume to submit through. But already, we prescreened them right down to 14. And 14 people who actually completed the questionnaire.
From there, we gave a simple task just to five of them. Because of the 14, a lot of them didn't fill out all of the questions, or maybe they got filtered out in some of the basic things. Like, how many hours do you want? Do you have good access to Internet? Those questions, or maybe they didn't fill everything out. There's a few pre-filters that we had there. And we got it down to five.
We gave five of them a simple task. Of those, we ended up getting four. So, we sort of prescreened their responses back and we culled it down even further. From there, we chose three for an interview and we actually lined up the times on Skype, and then we did our tandem interview.
And then the final step, once we made that decision, MJ Manuel, joined our team and you can find out more about him if you check out our website, melbourneseoservices.com. You can actually see, like, underneath the "About" section, I like to list my team members and tell a little bit about them.
Anyway, I suppose that brings us to the end of this presentation. I hope you got a lot out of it, and I hope you start to think about, well, how can I apply these strategies into your business. You don't have to apply everything that I've talked about straight away. Just take some key lessons out and maybe you start doing some out-tasking. Then you look at doing some outsourcing. And work towards building your own team and start insourcing.
I hope it's been helpful. Anyway, my name's David Jenyns, and hopefully, I look forward to talking with you soon.