Are you the marketer, designer, developer, copywriter, editor, accountant and toilet cleaner of your affiliate business? Do you consider yourself a bit of a one man wolf pack? I feel your pain. Not too long ago, I was exactly the same.
But then I hired an awkwardly polite writer from the Philippines and my pack grew by one. I gave him my linkbuilding chores and suddenly there were two of us in the wolf pack. I was alone first in the pack, and then Rizaldo joined in later. Rizaldo recommended his graphic designer to me, and I thought, “Wait a second, could it be?” And now I know for sure, I just added half of the Philippines to my wolf pack. All of us wolves, roaming around the Internet, making monies and publishing bullshit 500-word articles.
So tonight, I make a post. Asking…
Do you really want to be a One Man Wolf Pack?
Making money as an affiliate marketer can be hard work. Our monthly earnings fluctuate so wildly that it’s often stressful enough predicting our own expendable income without having to deal with hiring other workers. But you can only go so far on your own.
I tried for the longest time to handle every aspect of my business. Partly because I like to be in control and partly because of my lazy logic. In my mind, it would take longer to express exactly what I wanted from a hired worker than it would to do a hack job of it myself. But that’s the problem. If you take on every task of your business, you will inevitably resort to hack jobs and mediocrity.
How many times have you looked at a landing page concept, weighed up the costs of outsourcing against how triumphant you think you are with the fucking gradient wizard in Photoshop and decided to take a crack at it yourself?
I used to sit down after breakfast, load up my brushes, bust out my drop shadows, and absolutely massacre those concepts. You end up settling for second best due to your own limitations. I would alter my concepts to coincide with the capabilities of a half arsed designer. Hey, I like to bevel everything because it looks cool, okay? Your justification for going solo is that you saved $100 on what some Elance designer was trying to extort from you. But the reality? Your own stubbornness and refusal to relinquish control to somebody more accomplished has probably just kicked you in the balls.
I think the single most important aspect of your business to outsource is the accounting. For every thousand dollars I made in my first year as an affiliate marketer, I’m betting I surrendered at least a hundred bucks by not taking on expert financial advice in the form of a good accountant. I’ve rectified that now, but Christ, why did I ever think it would be a good idea to file my own taxes? If you’re just getting started as your own boss, resist the temptation to work the numbers yourself. Pay somebody else to get their panties in a twist at the end of every accounting period.
Pro tip: Spend your own time MAKING money not counting money.
Finding an accountant is generally a task I would leave to word of mouth recommendations or whoever happens to be the real deal in your local area. I’m signed up to Crunch which is a fantastic new accounting service for those of you in the UK. It has a flat rate of Â£60/month and for that, the Crunch team handles pretty much everything.
You don’t want to be placing your books and end of year returns in the hands of an offshore shantytown, no matter how many times they call you “Sir” when applying for the job. But that’s not to say you won’t find great value for money in outsourcing the donkey work. The stuff that would otherwise distract you from the tasks that make you money. If it’s linkbuilding, design work, filler article creation, data entry or just about anything that doesn’t require your sound business judgment…get it outsourced and forget about it.
There are a ton of sites you can use to find skilled workers. I would recommend checking out Elance and oDesk. oDesk is pretty batshit insane. You can watch your workers’ screens while they go about their business. No doubt, if I worked on oDesk, I’d be dismissed before lunchtime on the first day. It’s also worth checking out WickedFire where you’ll find some excellent hired help from just about every corner of our industry.
It’s tough, as a beginner, to shake the instinctive grip over every part of your business. But understand that scaling and making this thing a reality requires the balls to actually start visualizing what you do as a business that can grow over time and prosper on it’s own legs.
If you fail to utilize the talent of the skilled individuals at your disposal, don’t expect your business to be scaling out of your mum’s basement anytime soon. You’ll be trapped by self-imposed limitations that may save you money, but will almost certainly stunt your growth.
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If you’re in the UK and haven’t sorted yourself out with an accountant, check out Crunch. For Â£60/month you get an almighty weight off your chest, some sound support and the kind of financial advice that will save you money in the long haul.
- If you’d like to advertise on this blog, I’ve got one spot available. You can grab it here.