This post was originally intended to be another one of our quick tip, short form blog posts.
However, once I started writing, I realised I needed to go more in-depth to properly answer the question.
So, on that note, let’s take about 1,765 words to discuss when you should start to transition from doing everything yourself, to hiring a team to help.
Deciding when the time is right to hire somebody is a difficult thing to do for most first-time entrepreneurs.
Especially if you’re bootstrapping and are used to doing everything yourself. I know some people who have sold websites for six figures, but still like to do everything themselves!
Ultimately though, for your business to scale, you’re going to have to start hiring people. It’s a simple numbers game.
There are only so many hours you can work, and at some point you will max out those hours.
Unless your site is not yet earning much money, it makes sense that to grow your business, you’ll need to start buying other people’s time.
Is your problem Time or Money?
For the first part of this article, I’m going to talk about the situation where your website finally starts earning some money, but you want to grow it faster and are unsure if you should hire someone or not.In the second part, we’ll talk about what to do when you are time poor, but your site isn’t yet earning enough to justify hiring some help.By the way, this is a subject I’ve talked about a few times in the past, and we’ve also created an entire module on hiring & outsourcing in our course The Human Proof Method.At HPD we have a lot of experience with hiring, to the extent that we are on upwork.com's Christmas Card list, so we’ve learned a thing or two along the way.
Defining hypothetical situations.
You run one or two websites, and you bring in around $2,000 USD per month. This is a healthy budget for hiring somebody.
Depending on what stage those sites are at, you may be spending anywhere from 5 to 20 hours per week running them.
Your biggest tasks are writing content, doing keyword research, and general “blog work”, like formatting articles, tweaking pages, adding affiliate links into different places.
This is the kind of situation where a lot of people start to wonder if they should outsource all, or some of the work.
Let’s break down the actual tasks into hours (these are estimates, because everyone works at different speeds):
1. Writing Articles – 4 hours per week
2. Formatting and General Publishing – 2 hours per week
3. Checking rankings, researching keywords – 1 hour per week
4. Building links, outreach etc – 4 hours per week.
This is of course an example and your mileage may vary.
What exactly do you do with this information?
Well for one, you can total up the hours you work, and divide the amount of money you make by that number, to figure out your effective hourly rate.
In this example, you make $2,000 per month, in exchange for around 44 hours work. This is about $45 per hour.
Now, scaling a blog and growing an income should never really be analysed purely on your hourly rate, especially at the beginning when you work more hours and earn less, but for the sake of justifying whether or not you can outsource things, it’s a useful task.
Let’s say you can hire people to do tasks 1, 2 and 3 for you, at an average of $20 per hour (writers may cost more than this, but a general VA and project manager will cost less).
Your new number would look like this:
You pay your hires $560 per month for 28 hours work. This leaves you $1440 profit, from 16 hours work, raising your effective hourly rate to $90. Essentially you’ve just freed up two thirds of your time, and doubled your hourly rate.
Well yes, but the end game of internet marketing is to create freedom for yourself. At least for most of us. I’d rather earn $1,500 working 4 hours per week than $2,000 working 11 hours.
But here’s the main point of this exercise; you now have 28 hours free that you can use to grow your business even more.
“But I’ll be earning less!” I hear your cry.
Maybe you can start another website, or do more link building, or whatever activities are going to put more dollars into your pocket.
Essentially, anything that you can outsource for less than your current hourly rate is something you should consider outsourcing.
But this isn’t going to be a sum that all of you can perform.
Maybe you’re working way more than 44 hours and earning way less than $2,000 per month. This is definitely something that we all experience in the beginning. I know for one when I first started I was working 40 hours per WEEK and earning nothing.
Which brings us on to:
What do we do when we’re not earning anything, but we’re maxed out on our hours, or we’re burned out from working so long with little to show for it?
This is a much tougher situation, as there’s no simple maths we can perform to justify hiring somebody.
So in this case, I’d recommend you ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do I have a budget to hire somebody to help me? Ie, you have another job and have spare cashflow
2. Will hiring somebody get me to where I want to go faster?
3. Is there some skill I don’t yet have that I can hire for?
If you can’t answer yes to either of these, then your best bet right now is probably to keep on doing what you’re doing, and stay a solopreneur until your situation changes.
To help you answer the questions, let’s look into them more, particularly numbers 2 and 3.
Answering question two is actually a tricky one, because if this is your first website, and it’s not yet earning, your biggest issue is knowing if you’re doing the right things, and knowing how long it will be before you earn.
The single biggest reason I see people quit building an online business is because they lose faith that they will eventually become successful.
The feedback loop with internet marketing is so long that it can be confusing knowing if you’re doing the right thing.
Maybe you ARE doing the right thing, and you just need to do more of it. In this case, hiring somebody to help you will definitely be a good move, because you’ll reach success faster.
But what if you’re NOT doing the right thing? What if there’s something you’ve not learned yet, or not got good enough at yet? Will hiring somebody just be a waste of money in this case?
Well maybe, but maybe it will help you find out the answers sooner too.
I guess one simple way to think about it is this:
If it takes you 1,000 hours to reach success, will you get there faster by doing 1,000 hours yourself, or by doing 500 hours and hiring someone else to do the other 500? Assuming they are good at what they do, the latter will get you there faster every time, surely.
So really, if you have a budget to hire help, it could still be a good move, even if your site isn’t yet earning.
Incidentally, this is why we created a course, so that you can borrow OUR knowledge and join our community, meaning you’ll learn what you need to learn that much faster, and your feedback loop will be shorter.
Now, for the third question, is there a skill you don’t yet have, and hiring out could be better?
This is definitely something viable, depending on what that skill is. For example, building backlinks, writing articles, email marketing, or Facebook ads.
Learning any of these things can be a full time job in itself, and it might make sense to just outsource some or all of those tasks to an agency or freelancer.
The downside to doing this is that without having the actual skill yourself, you’ll find it tough to know if you’ve hired someone quality or not..especially as it takes a few months to find out if they’re decent or not.
Look at our recent article on our PBN link customers as an example, a lot of our customers rely on us to build links for them, but don’t get results for a few months.
The ones who stick it out can definitely see great results, but some people lose faith and cancel the service after a short period. This is sometimes just down to them not being sure if we’re actually doing something effective or not.
So if you are in a position where you’d rather pay somebody to do something for you than learn to do it yourself, it’s very important that you go with somebody you trust, who has a good reputation.
A well known service/agency with reviews and recommendations from industry peers? Go for it. A random freelancer or fiverr seller who you can’t train yourself and you have no idea if they’re trustworthy? Probably best to avoid it.
Hiring freelance writers is fine though, because it’s generally pretty easy for even a beginner marketer to know if their writer is useless or not.
Hiring out for other things like email marketing or Facebook ads is probably better left until you have more experience.
Now, for the final scenario, where you are considering hiring somebody because you simply don’t have the time to do it all yourself, it’s pretty similar to the previous scenario.
The only difference is that you need to at least dedicate SOME time to your business yourself. I’ve never seen somebody be able to fully outsource their business and have great success with it, unless they’ve done it a few times already.
So if you don’t have much time, and you want to build a team or hire somebody like us to do most of the work for you, you should at least take on a project manager role yourself, and learn everything you can about the work required. If you do this, and just have other people as the ones physically doing the work, you can build a successful site without eating up a huge chunk of time.
..which is another reason we recommend our course. You can learn everything you need to know, and can plug a team into the training too.