02:47 – Do you remember this day?
04:10 – Realization at 37,000 feet in the air
06:41 – This could happen when you’re too overworked
08:07 – The Superhero Syndrome
10:02 – Is your business running you?
12:28 – You should be doing this
13:58 – Common mistakes when outsourcing
15:36 – 3 types of outsourcing
18:40 – The most recommended type
18:54 – A clear rule of thumb
19:38 – The individual roles to outsource
22:14 – Managing a business VS. managing people
24:18 – Secrets to hiring the right people
James: Our next guest asked me to let you know that he’s a very sexy man, and he’s changing the world, when I asked him what I should say about him. What I would really say from the heart is even though when you first find out about him, you’d probably think maybe he’s a little bit cocky, but he’s got a huge heart. He’s one of the nicest people you’d ever meet. He’s also a real business expert. He runs an enormous call center with hundreds of people.
Anyone who’s run a team, whether it’s 2, or 3, or 5, or 10, or 50 or 100 staff would know that 300 people in one place is pretty epic. He’s got a very solid credential business background prior to that; big corporations like HSBC. He’s from the U.K. but he’s living in the Philippines, and he’s currently visiting Australia so he’s a multinational. He travels around the world. He’s a blogger, he’s famous. He has a huge list, a great following. He could have talked on any number of topics. He could have talked about blogging, or podcasting, building an audience, speaking, and so many of our experts are multi-talented.
But today, because it does affect your ability to scale and because it’s something that I utilize and something that you’ve heard Buck talk about, you will not get that far by yourself; even Dan said that. He’s building out his team at a great rate. You’re going to have to have a team. So we’re going to find out how to leverage that through outsourcing. I want to introduce Chris Ducker to the stage.
Chris: Thank you mate! Thank you very much. Hello everybody! Just a quick aside to get going. I was in the toilet, just washing the hands. You know, I want to come out and look my best and everything. I looked in the mirror just for a split second and I said, “Oh my God, I’m a walking tablecloth.” Thanks to the missus for packing my shirts.
The day you became an entrepreneur
OK. So here’s a question for you. Do you remember the day that you became an entrepreneur? I’m not talking about roughly around the moment, or the month, or the year, but the actual day when you said to yourself, “Enough is enough.”
No more job, no more boss, no more paycheck and weekly meetings to prove how fantastic you are, even though nobody in the room really cares because they’re all in competition with you. No more anything. “I’m done. I’m going to work for myself. I’m going to go out and do amazing things. I’m going to change the world.” Effect change, provide awesome solutions to people’s problems, and get paid very handsomely for it. Do you remember that day? Do you? There are about 3 hands. How many people have we got in here? There are about 20 yeses there.
But whether you do actually remember the exact day or not, you should think back to that moment just for a second. The enthusiasm you had when you woke up in the morning. You wake up, swing the legs off the bed, jump up, brew that first mug of coffee for the day, get going, get online, kick some ass, take a few names, rinse, repeat, do the same tomorrow. I had that enthusiasm when I first started my first business. But for me, that moment of “enough is enough” began at 37,000 feet in the air.
I was on a plane just like this one, flying back from Miami, Florida, where I’d been there for about a month or so, working for an ass****. Just being honest. Away from work, he was a really nice guy. Miami, Florida, floor seats to The Heat games, VIP tickets to Princes, free Super Bowl party, thank you very much. Carlos Santana to one side, that hot blonde chick from CSI on the other, I was living the dream, except, when it came to the actual working relationship. He used to make me BCC him into every single email I sent. He used to get a copy of every single email that I received in his inbox as well. Micro-management to the maximum.
So on that flight, I took out my laptop, I said, “Enough is enough. I’ve been there for a month. I can’t do it anymore.” Got out my laptop, started typing out my resignation email. Landed in Hong Kong from my connecting flight to Cebu, in the Philippines, which is where I live, and hit the send button. Thank for their ridiculously free and very, very fast free internet. If anybody’s travelled from Hong Kong, you know what I’m talking about. That airport is on steroids, I’m telling you. And I’ve never looked back.
Fast forward a few years later, I’ve had my first feature in Entrepreneur. Gets up there. Right? Notice how I said “first,” been there a few more times. But my first real press mention. Out of 120 or 130 people working for me, I had a jacket on. What a wanker! Look at him, with a little jacket and everything. I did all these things. I mean just image, 120 or 130 people working for you. You’re the boss now. I was really, really happy. I was working 16 hours a day, building my own castle, sitting down in my very big, very expensive, cheap Italian leather imitation, China-made chair, and I was living the dream.
And then, early on in December 2009, I woke up and I couldn’t get out of bed literally. I kid you not. My body had finally given up on me. Those 15 or 16 hours a day of working Monday thru to Saturday, with very, very little down time, diet (what’s that?), rest (don’t believe in it, don’t need it), I’ll rest when I’m dead. I used to say that. I’m not joking. And I burned out. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks. Acute exhaustion, the doctors called it. I called it “I need more beer.”
But you know what else I needed? Antidepressants for 2 weeks as well. Valium to make me sleep, and when I got out, not jail, out of the hospital, when I got out of the hospital, my wife said, “I’m taking you away for a couple of days. We’re going for a little sabbatical. No phones, no laptops, nothing.” We’re heading down to the Shangri-La Resort in Cebu. One of the most beautiful resorts in the world.
We go down there, and I’m feeling rested. Finally, I understand what it is like to have a little bit of time off. Now I’m telling you all this because there’s a backdrop here. Some of you might be at that point of overwhelm right now. Some of you might be right there, right now. Some of you might be a week away, a month away, maybe 6 months away. But you will hit it, unless things change. Because we’re weirdos. We are.
Entrepreneurs, we suffer from what I like to call Superhero Syndrome. We’re bred differently, we’re wired differently. The DNA, it doesn’t add up, it doesn’t work out. We’re strange. We should be committed. We’re certifiably insane.
Be honest with me. Show your hands if you’ve ever left a shower or the bath to register a domain name. Show of hands. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? Hundreds for only $10. Say 10 bucks. I’ll use it one day. Sure you will, mate! Yeah. Do not order renew, do not order renew, do not order renew, right?
But we suffer from the Superhero Syndrome. We truly do. We believe that we’re better than everybody else in the universe. So what do we do? There is no one else out there that can do better than this, that or the other task better than us. If there’s a way for us to be able to do something right, we will do it ourselves instead of pawning it off to somebody else. If there’s a way for us to learn how to use the new, biggest, sexiest looking piece of software so that we can amp up our business, what do we do? We try to learn how to do it ourselves.
Unless you’re a graphic designer, which I’m going to go out and say, there might be a few of you here. But unless you are a graphic designer, as an entrepreneur, you have absolutely no right to be in Photoshop designing bloody logos. Why are we doing this to ourselves? It’s silly. We’re not graphic designers, we’re entrepreneurs. We should be running businesses. And that’s what I was doing. That’s exactly what I was doing. I was running my business.
But then, when I was at the Shangri-La with my wife, she said something to me, and she’s a bloody smarty pants. I hate that in her actually. She’s always right most of the time. All the women in the audience are like, “Yeah.” But she said to me, I’ve never forgotten, “You know what your problem is? You’re no longer running your business. Your business is running you.” She was right. You know what else it was doing? It was killing me. Ask my back right now. That’s my tin tack as we would say in London.
All those hours sitting in that cheap, imitation leather, Italian chair from China had resulted in me crushing my L5-S1 vertebrae. That’s a 6-hour fusion surgery, calcium deposit where my disc used to be, along with a couple of rods and 4 titanium screws, I am part-Terminator. Don’t mess with me. But that’s exactly what we’re doing to ourselves.
Change your habits
Nowadays, things have changed. I no longer go into the office, other than for a 1 or 2-hour stint once a week. I only work Monday thru to Thursday, for approximately 6 hours a day. I have one simple rule. If I want to be productive, if it doesn’t go on a schedule, it doesn’t get done. My schedule looks like I’m really, really busy. I’m not. Honestly speaking, I’m not. I’m just really, really, really strict with my own schedule.
If I want half an hour to spend on social media, it goes on a schedule. If I need 1 hour to record 2 or 3 podcast sessions with buddy Pat Flynn over in the U.S., time zone differences taken care off, it’s going on the schedule. If I need to do all of these things, they go on the schedule. I now stand up 70% of the day. I’ve got one of those cool desks that moves up and down; they are very cool, I’ve got to be honest.
That’s exactly how I work now. If you guys are sitting down for any longer than a few hours a day when you’re working, please change your habits because otherwise, this is going to happen to you. It happened to me, it can happen to anybody else in this room.
This is me now. This is my home office. This is where I like to work. This is the way I become the most productive. I’ve discovered that I’m going to do what I do best and delegate the rest. See that little blue bird? Tweetable. I’ll wait. About 100 characters or so. Delegate the rest @chrisducker, send. Thank you for playing. But we should be doing this. Do what you do best, delegate the rest.
I believe that every entrepreneur like myself will come to a fork in the road, a crossroads at some point. Not unlike the great blues legend, Robert Johnson, who made a deal with the devil apparently at the crossroads to be able to become a great guitar player, you don’t have to do that. You just need to decide what way you’re going to go. Are you going to go off to one side, follow option number 1, burn out; or you’re going to get smart, stop being a plonker, and start delegating some of the work. That’s option number 2. Building your team. That’s the real secret to building a successful company.
We’ve heard it several times here today, haven’t we? You need help. You can’t do it on your own. You’re not going to be able to build a 6-figure, 7-figure, 8-figure business unless you’ve got people helping you. The problem is, when people begin their outsourcing journey, and I know that several of you, and I’ve spoken to a lot of you both yesterday at the SilverCircle Mastermind as well as outside in the balcony, very romantic moments there with a couple of you.
I’ve honestly seen it over and over again, people start with the best of intentions when it comes to building their teams, and a lot of the time, they make mistakes. There are 3 mistakes that they make above and beyond anything else.
First up, they have the wrong understanding of what outsourcing actually really is and how it works. And the different types of outsourcing that’s available to us as modern day entrepreneurs.
Next, they hire the wrong people for the wrong jobs because of that wrong understanding, costing them money, and more importantly, costing them valuable time.
And lastly, they make assumptions. God forbid, we try to be perfect in everything that we do. But the fact is that we make assumptions all the time.
So I wanted to spell these myths, I want to go over them a little bit and make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes as the very, very large majority of people that start outsourcing, or even actually are already outsourcing are already making. Is that OK with you? OK.
So let’s go through the 3 main types of outsourcing as I see it. Not being funny, but I wrote a book on it. It sold 45,000 copies so listen up, yeah?
James was right about the cockiness, just a little bit, if you know what I mean.
First up, there’s task-based outsourcing. So instead of puttering around in Photoshop trying to become a graphic designer overnight, or changing codes of a pre-purchased WordPress theme that you bought for $79.99 at Woothemes, and then spend the entire weekend buggering the code beyond all recognition because you want to become a Web programmer like I did, you can actually start outsourcing these tasks one off.
So you can go to a place like oDesk, Elance. Need a logo design? Boom! Need some audio transcribed? Boom! Need that transcription turn into an e-book to be able to put into your landing page, to be able to create an opt-in offer, to be able to build a mailing list, thank you very much, bring it home, let’s all get it done on one of those job posting sites.
Second kind of outsourcing, project-based outsourcing. You actually go to the same places for both of these. Freelancer, Aussie-owned company, Matt Barrie, the CEO of that firm, based right here in Australia. oDesk and the Elance, they’re both kind of together now, but they’re still quite operating on as individual-type businesses. Project-based outsourcing tends to last a little longer than task-based outsourcing. So you don’t just need a logo design.
A perfect example of a project being outsourced is a brand-new website design. Let’s say you’ve got a blog. It’s getting a little stagnant. It’s looking a little bit 1996 Geocities. There’s only a few of you who know that. And you want to get this thing redesigned, redeveloped. You need a graphic designer, you need a Web developer; they’re two different people, and you need maybe a copywriter to help you with the copy. That’s three people. Maybe a general VA, and I’ll introduce you to all the different roles in a minute, to actually help you go ahead and start putting that project together. Maybe the project takes 3 months to be able to complete start to finish.
That’s project-based outsourcing. You pay them for the project, not for the hour, not for the task, but the project as a whole. And when everything is said and done, everybody goes their separate ways, and thank you very much.
Here’s quick comparison between revolving tasks that you might be able to give a full-time member of staff, and projects. Pretty simple, I’m not going to bother reading them out. You’re big enough and ugly enough to take care of that yourself. But the fact of the matter is, on one side of the screen, the left-hand side, you’ve got all these tasks that come up day by day by day. Be honest. Hands up if you do at least 2 of the tasks on the left-hand side of the screen. At least two. Oh come on, be more honest with yourselves. OK.
On the other side of the screen, anybody handling any of that? Managing your schedules, designing or launching a new website; anybody doing that stuff? Suffering from Superhero Syndrome, aren’t you? OK.
Lastly, and this is the type of outsourcing I advocate above and beyond everything else and that’s role-based outsourcing. If you want to build a team to help you build, support and run your business, you’ve got to fill that team with the right people for the right roles. One very, very clear rule of thumb here, ladies and gents, is make sure you hire for the role, not for the task. You understand?
This gets you away from thinking that you can hire 1 person to do all your graphic design, to handle your website development, to do your SEO, to do all your social media, update your blog, edit your podcast, turn you into a YouTube superstar and up yours, Justin Bieber. It doesn’t happen. That’s a super VA. They don’t exist. I don’t think you can hire 1 person to do that. You cannot do it. You hire for the role, not for the task. Understood? You’re being warned if you want this thing to work.
Let me introduce you to individual members of the team.
First up you’ve got the general VA. There’s a reason why this rockstar is in the middle. I believe every single online entrepreneur should have a general VA. And when I mean every single entrepreneur, I do genuinely say and believe in myself that every single person that does business online could do with one of these GVAs. Every single person. They’re not only time-savers, they’re life-savers. They’ll take all those revolving, boring tasks off your hands that your business is demanding off you, day in, day out, and they’ll do them for you so you can focus on the bigger picture.
Next up, you’ve got the SEO or the Web marketer. They’ll handle everything you require from an SEO perspective.
Then there’s the content writer. Maybe you can also use that person for transcription work as well.
Then you’ve got your mobile app developer. Maybe you want to create the next iFart and become a multi-millionaire overnight.
I always thought, just a quick aside, I always thought that there will be a time in my life when I stop laughing at farts. I’m 41, it hasn’t come yet. Something about that.
Audio and video editor. Anybody here thinking about starting a podcast after this morning? Every single person in the room should put their hand up right now if you don’t have one already. We all know the power of YouTube, it’s owned by Google. It’s the second largest search engine on the planet. What do you think is the third largest search engine on the planet that you should be concerned about? iTunes, correct. Gold star. In fact, I’ve got better than a gold star. It’s a free T-shirt from James. I told you I’d give one out James.
Next up, graphic designer. You see how they’re different. Web developer. These are different. You can’t hire a Web developer and expect them to design your website and vice versa. That’s one of the biggest mistakes I see all the time. They ask their Web developers, “Can you just design a little button to go in the sidebar to sell my…?” “No, I’m not a designer, I’m a coder. That’s what I do. I take your design, and I code it. Make it clickable.”
When these people work together in unison, what do you think happens to you? You’re doing what you do best, and you’re delegating all the rest. But here’s the problem, once you get to this point, you’re no longer focusing on your business, you’re focusing on managing your team.
So you’ve taken yourself out of the business, but now you’re right back into it being a manager of people. People that are very, very, very important to the success of your business, I get that. But nonetheless, nonetheless, your focus shouldn’t be on following up on tasks and speaking with your VAs backwards and forwards. Even if you just have two or three VAs, trust me, that’s more than enough work for one man or woman to handle on a day-to-day basis in terms of management.
So that GVA after a certain period of time as they’ve been with you for a while, and they’ve seen you grow and build your business with VAs, they become the project manager you need to once again take yourself out of the business. You let them manage the rest of the virtual team, and you manage them only.
You see what you’ve done there? It’s a bit like reverse engineer in the team building but it is what it is. You have to get to the point of going in, taking care of it, then getting back out and taking somebody else to one side and saying, “You deserve this opportunity. I’m going to give it. Don’t bunch it up.”
You can find all of the people that I’ve just introduced to you on these websites. You’ve probably heard a whole bunch of them, am I right? The one in the middle is pretty good. Just saying. #justsaying. Have you seen that clip with Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon? Oh my God, I peed in my pants. It was hilarious.
All right. So there are plenty of places to find. You’ve got no excuses guys. Stop procrastinating and start delegating. You’ve got no excuse. “I don’t know where to find them.” I’ve just given you 5 different resources right there. Put a .com at the end of any of those logos and you’ll find people. I promise.
Hiring the right people
So here are three not-so-secret secrets to hiring right.
The first one is you’ve got to make sure that people that you’re looking to hire have the right skill set. Now I know this is common sense, right? I get it. But you’d be surprised how many people, when they fill out a job description on one of those sites, and they get 150 or 200 email applications within the 24-hour period, you’d be surprised how many people glaze over this part of the resume or the covering letter. You’d be really amazed. Seriously, I see it all the time. Every single day almost.
Make sure the candidates that you’re interviewing have got the right skill set and the right experience for the role that you’re looking to fill.
Next up is mindset. I need to know before I bring somebody onboard to my company, whether they’re a part of the 300+ staff that I’ve got in a 3-floor facility in Cebu, or working virtually on my team elsewhere in the Philippines, I need to know they’ve got the right mindset. I need to know that they’re excited about working with me. They should be excited about working me. I’m a bloody awesome boss. They should be excited about working with me because I pay people properly, and I pay them on time, and I’m not an ass**** to work for, like that geezer in Miami. There’s no bitterness, I promise.
But if they don’t have that right mindset, they’ll never be able to understand your company culture. They’ve got to be open, they got to be ready for it. One question I ask on every single interview that I do is, “What have you done in the last 6 months to better yourself?”
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