Does your business card proudly proclaim “Content Marketing Professional, Chief Cook, and Bottle Washer?”
Now’s the time to change that to simply “Content Marketing Professional.”
We often take pride in the fact that we’re in charge of every aspect of running our businesses, from doing accounting to changing the light bulbs in the office.
But here’s some shocking news, especially if you’re new to content marketing and are still bootstrapping your way to success: Hiring help — outsourcing tasks you struggle with so you can focus on your strengths — will allow you to grow your business and your income at a crazy-fast pace.
Let’s talk about how to go from “doing it all” to “doing only what you do best.”
Step #1: Determine what you don’t need to do
Is there one aspect of your business that you despise — or that you’re just not that good at?
Chances are, there’s someone else who loves that task and offers it as a service.
And think about it: If you’re doing your taxes, you’re not polishing your prose. If you’re cleaning your office, you’re not sharing your content on social media.
Tasks you may want to delegate include:
Content formatting and finding images
Perhaps you love writing blog posts or email newsletters, but you don’t have a lot of experience formatting your content or finding compelling images. Find someone who does, so you have the time to write more.
Editing and proofreading
Even professional writers benefit from editing and proofreading. The bigger and more complex the project, the more likely you’ll want a second set of eyes on it. I hired a developmental editor for my new book, How to Do It All, and it ended up so much stronger after he took his red pen to it.
Social media management
Too busy creating content to share it on social media yourself? Hire a social media whiz to take care of it for you, so you have more time to do what you do best.
If you need to interview people for case studies, blog posts, or other content — and the idea makes you want to drive spikes through your forehead — there’s no shortage of professional writers who will take this task off your hands.
Check out Copyblogger’s Certified Content Marketers for experienced writers with a wide variety of expertise.
Unless you’re an experienced graphic designer as well, consider hiring a design professional to create stellar ebook covers, custom blog graphics, and infographics.
I hired a PR assistant to reach out to bloggers and other media outlets about my new book, and she’s doing a much better job than I would have done. Not only that, you also add a layer of sophistication to your business when someone who represents you approaches big-name podcasters or reporters.
Tax prep and accounting
Take it from me — you will likely save more than you spend.
If you work from home, it can be difficult to focus on your work when you’re preoccupied with the sticky kitchen counters and piles of unfolded laundry in your direct line of sight. Cleaning services help create an environment conducive to working (and earning).
Step #2: Decide you can afford to hire help
Hiring help may sound like a good idea for internet celebs who rake in millions by sending out a single email — but not for little old you.
I disagree, for several reasons:
Hiring help will enable you to work more, and faster
I’ve had months where I labored under 13 magazine deadlines, and that productivity has enabled me to make a damn good living as a writer. I could never have done that if I were attempting to transcribe 40 audio files in a month on top of researching and writing the articles.
In many cases, spending money equals making even more money!
Paying for help motivates you to only accept the highest-paying work
You’ll have a good reason to stop entertaining lowball offers from prospects. For example, I hire a transcriptionist to transcribe my interview files. If I were writing $10 articles for content mills, hiring a transcriptionist wouldn’t make sense — but I try to not accept assignments that pay less than $400, which is how I can afford this type of help.
Your helpers should pay for themselves
A business owner I know once told me that your job isn’t to earn enough to pay for help — it’s the job of the people you hire to pay for themselves. For example, if you pay a content marketer $500, they should bring in many multiples of that in terms of paid gigs or products sold.
It’s not always about money
You may be able to find a local university student who wants to gain experience. Years ago, I found a proficient transcriptionist by contacting the English department at a college near me.
Believe me: I’m far from loaded, and I’ve been hiring most of the types of help listed above since the early years of my business. If I can do it, you probably can too.
Step #3: Find your pro
So, I’ve browbeaten you — er, I mean — you’ve decided it’s time to hire pros to help you with certain tasks. Great!
Now, where do you find these people? And how do you know they’re any good?
Before placing an ad or turning to bidding sites, ask around in your business community. Someone you’ve connected with on social media sites or in an industry forum may be able to recommend the perfect pro.
Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake I recently made …
I tend to be overly trusting when it comes to hiring help because, hey, they’re small businesspeople like me! I ended up getting burned to the tune of $6,500 because I didn’t want to be a hard-ass and question the service provider about what they were offering, how it would work for my situation, and exactly how they were getting it done. (Expensive) lesson learned.
So ask, ask, ask until you’re satisfied, and don’t be afraid of offending anyone. Professional service providers will clearly communicate what they offer and their terms of service — a topic that will be covered in an upcoming Copyblogger post.
Over to you …
Once you’ve hired the help you need, you’ll be able to focus on your strengths, provide the most value to your clients, and generate more income.
Have you hired people to help you with your workload? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Need to hire a professional writer to help with your content marketing?
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