Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat
It's Time to Outsource
What would your business ACTUALLY look like if you started having an influx of website traffic, generating more leads, and didn't even lift a finger? I'll tell you what that looks like - HEAVEN ON EARTH!
Join us as the women from The LadyBoss Collective talk about how to spot the areas that you could use a helping hand in, what outsourcing REALLY means, the costs involved, and what outsourcing can do for your business (like actually grow it instead of spending all your time just maintaining it, for example)! From social media strategy and content creation to copy writing and graphic design, we're about to cover it all!
Episode 14 Coffee Chat Replay
Episode 14 Podcast
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The LadyBoss Collective: Website
Lauren Dragon-Cook: Hello everyone! I am here with the Lady Boss Collective today.
Lauren: Without further ado today we are going to be chatting about outsourcing and what that means for people in the wedding industry…the benefits, and answering all of your questions!
Sandi: Hey everyone! You might remember me from the Pinterest chat.
Jen: My name is Jen! I have been hanging out in this group for a little bit. I am a copyrighter and content creator for the Lady Boss Collective. Before that I was a teacher for 11 years. So I was able to bring my love of English and writing into the online world. Now I help people take that stress away from them. Some people can spend hours writing one email and it takes me 20 minutes! I’ve got two little boys and I live in Charleston!
Is It Worth It?
Lauren: So ladies… everybody that I have had email about this coffee chat… one of the biggest questions that has come up is… is it really worth it? Whether that is social media, writing my blog posts, writing newsletters… all of the things! People already know my take, so I’d love to hear from you!
Jen: We get that question a lot on Discovery calls. It is a fear to invest in your business and outsource. What if someone doesn’t do it the way you do it? What if you’re worried about money? But one thing I think is really important to remember is when you hire a team it is more about the freedom and time you get back, coupled with the bringing and the ROI of money. We are really clear with our clients that it might take a couple of months to see some return on investment, but you will see it in time as soon as you hand things over.
If you’re anything like us you wanted to be in this online space because you want to spend time with your kids, you wanted to travel, you want to go to Target whenever you wanted to and not have to worry. You can be shopping and traveling and doing all that stuff, while we are doing all the business stuff for you. So is it worth it? It is what you are looking for, if those are the things that you want. Time and money are two big factors in having a business, but you will see a ROI in time. But it is just like hiring a coach. A coach isn’t going to start to show you results within the first wee you start working with them. You have to give them some time to work a strategy out. That is exactly what hiring us or any other team would do for you.
Lauren: Absolutely! A lot of people I have spoken to recently, wedding pros have it in their head that having a team behind them… that is helping them either with blog posts or social media or growing their following, they feel they aren’t worthy of that. Or they are not a real business in order to hire an outsourcing team. I don’t personally really understand this, but some of the people who have spoken with me this week don’t quite understand what you can do for them. So what is it exactly that you all or an outsourcing team can help with?
Jen: In terms of wedding professionals, when I first started being in this VA world, I wanted to really niche down to work with wedding professionals. But you’re right… finding wedding professionals that could either afford to have a VA or could see the investment would be worth it in the long run was really hard. I closed myself off to other opportunities and its just funny because I love wedding professionals! You might be good at writing, you might be really good at telling a story of your couple, but do you know ow to put the SEO in there so it can be seen? Do you know how to optimize your stuff? Will it pop up on Google when they search for somebody? That will be the biggest thing you will miss if you don’t work with someone who specializes in those areas. If you want someone to write your blog posts or newsletters, you are going to get somebody who already knows what you do but also knows what to do to make it better. You want to be seen! You want to pop up! Do you know where to put the location in your writing? Do you know how to do SEO tags? Do you need to know all of that? No! All you need to do is focus on those two needy people having a wedding! They need your attention, not your blog post or website copy.
Sandi: When I think of hiring out I think about our niches. Don’t ask me to plan a wedding… not my thing! I hired out because it is not my zone of genius. Same thing for wedding planners. You are amazing at planning these beautiful weddings, but do you really want to know the back end of Pinterest or Instagram or landing pages? Probably not. Nor do you want to spend time on google to do it. That’s why I do it. I can spend more time doing what I love and I don’t have to worry about Instagram, I give it to someone else. It is better to hire people that know what they are doing, so you don’t have to spend the time and effort learning something you will probably never use again.
Jen: Absolutely! I don’t want to know the backend of Pinterest! Lauren was telling me something the other day and I was like… No! Don’t want to know!
Are You Already Outsourcing?
Lauren: I wonder if there is anyone out there that is hiring or outsourcing some aspect of your business. It can be something super tiny even!
Jen: Sorting your emails.
Sandi: Setting me up for Pinterest! Some people want to run it, they just don’t want to set it up. Set me up for success and walk away. I do that for a lot of people.
Lauren: Someone on here is outsourcing for their blogging! They’ve found someone who can help them in that realm and saving them that time! They’re spending $100-$150 a month.
Someone shared they hired a copywriter for the first time in ten years and it ended up being the best money spent so far!
Sandi: That is what we like to hear! It is such an amazing feeling when you get that success back.
Lauren: You can always try outsourcing an aspect of your business for one month. It doesn’t have to be a contractual thing. What do you do ladies?
Jen: We personally prefer a three month contract just because of the ROI. Unless we are a terrible fit.. personality clash or you hate everything we are doing… if that is the case then we don’t want to keep working together. However if you are just not seeing the ROI quick enough, we suggest waiting at least three months so you can see something.
Lauren: So full disclaimer! Jen actually helped me write my campaign and launch for the SEO course. When it was gearing up back in November, Jen helped me write every single bit of information that I threw on her! I would just DUMP information on her… raining information! That poor google drive worked into overtime! But anybody that received those emails or has seen any of that copy... that wasn’t me writing! That was Jen! She knows my voice though… she knows how I speak! Its not like that’s not me. I am a colorful individual and she is able to embrace it!
Where do I start?
What is one of the biggest questions or fears you experience?
Sandi: I think a lot of it is trying to navigate and figure out what you need to outsource. They are afraid to give things up or they don’t know what will be cost effective to outsource. Where to start, I would write down the things you hate! The things you dread doing! That is the stuff you want to outsource first, because why make it dreadful! I am a horrible writer… I call Jen! So write down all the things you don’t like and start there.
Lauren: That is the easiest way to go about it, for sure!
Jen: Yes! I get the question “what do I outsource?” all the time. But the other one is they are cared of the money investment. “Well what am I going to get for all this money?” What we do as a team is lay out every single thing you are going to get for that money. We don’t leave any questions. It is very explicit and detailed to what you get. Some people might say they are going to give you 20 hours a month for a VA. But what is that going to be? Are you going to fake me out of 10 hours just for sorting my emails? Unfortunately it does happen sometimes…
Lauren: I have seen that happen… it does come up.
Jen: We had a mentor tell us it took 20 hours to do a landing page and we were like… that takes two hours TOPS!
Sandi: And sadly he was using his knowledge and her lack of knowledge to his benefit.
OPT In’s and Landing Pages
Lauren: Can you explain what a landing page is?
Jen: A landing page is that one page you land on whenever you click for a freebee. How you got those was you landed on a landing page… told you all the things why you wanted it and what it could to do to make you feel better. You click on it and it brings you to your inbox. It’s a long process because you have to connect it to your email and other lead pages… its all automated. Not something you want to do on your own if you don’t have lots of time.
Lauren: I connect everything to my Squarespace site. That’s how I personally do it, but there are other programs out there that work just as well.
Sandi: So what if you are a photographer… what would a landing page be helpful for you? One thing for newborn and all those DIY people… give them some free examples of how to position your baby. If you do a little layout of what to bring or what to do… BOOM they are now on your email list.
Jen: They don’t even have to be long! They can be five things to check off! And then all that landing page is doing is getting them to get that freebee so they can now be on your email list and continue to get your knowledge.
Some people don’t have newsletters because they don’t have time or they don’t know what to send… Lauren says because she forgets to send things out to people she just don’t have time to do it. That’s when you would outsource!
Lauren: My brain just don’t work that way! Sandi, Jen, Naomi and I do create OPT in’s for people. You could do what to pack for a newborn, how to coordinate your outfits for a family shoot, how to choose your location, what to bring for a boudoir shoot… anything you maybe would have already created that you would send to your clients that book you for your session. Send all of that information out ahead of time! Why wait!? Send that shit out way sooner… it might catch their attention!
Even if people don’t live near you… they will be part of your mailing list and if they have family or friends that live near you, they will refer you out! You will be viewed as the expert! You will climb the SEO ladder and will start to build a presence. It may not always link directly to booking somebody, but sometimes the best thing you could do is passing around the knowledge.
Jen: Another thing you could do… ideas for certain seasons and holidays! You want to keep getting in their inbox and pushing something free for them to get. They will view you as the expert and super helpful.
Lauren: You never know where it could take you! Around the holidays, I am always trying to find the right verbiage for my holiday cards. You could do that as an OPT in!
Sandi: I have clients all over the world and I see it happen all the time… people will ask if they know any photographers in specific areas. All the time! It is amazing how small this world truly is. I own a company with two ladies… one form North Carolina and one from California.
Let’s pretend you’re out in Seattle… you could reach someone in Florida who has family or college friends, somebody… it is a very small world. So expand that reach because someone will know you.
What is the Cost?
Lauren: What is the cost involved in outsourcing?
Jen: It will really depend on the expertise of that person. You could hire a starting out VA for hourly rates. Those will probably be your cheapest in pricing. Its not that the quality isn’t good, they just don’t feel they have the authority yet to charge package pricing. That’s exactly how I started out. They are typically going to run $20-$25 an hour. I know some with $30 an hour. So if you hire ten hours a month you’d pay $300. That would probably be somebody who does general stuff for you. They could get something up and going for you.
The further up in expertise you go you will be looking at packages. So Sandi, what is your Pinterest package to maintain it monthly?
Sandi: To maintain I start at $550 a month.
Jen: Copywriting can also be in packages. Some people do $100 an hour, but again that isn’t fair to the copywriter who can write really fast. So you’ll see them do a lot of package deals, so a website that is four pages might cost you $1,200. And that is probably on the low end.
So it really does depend on the expertise and the hourly rate versus package.
Lauren: That makes a lot of sense! I’ve hard a lot and seen a lot of people finding VA’s on UpWork and Fiver, where they can get this great deal! The one thing I would just say with that regard… you can do that! But think of the name… its Fiver. On average you are going to be paying $5. That is great for getting your schema for your website for SEO. And UpWork. You will find people that offer their services but they may be an overall type deal, a one stop shop. What Sandi and Jen and Naomi specialize more in is an overall comprehensive strategy and a path for your business. With a VA they are doing what you tell them to do and that is it. If you want to grow your business versus just maintain… there is a big difference in where you are getting your services.
Jen: Can you find some good people on there? Sure, that’s where I started. That’s all I knew, I didn’t know where to start. But one of the best things I have learned to help my business is referrals. We could not be where we are today without referrals. So if you are looking for somebody, reach out to your Facebook groups, reach out to someone that you know. Word to the wise… don’t post in a Facebook group you are looking for a Copywriter because you will get 14,000 comments and then be super overwhelmed.
Sandi: What I will do is ask for referrals and then once I’ve received like 7, I will lock it down! I will turn off commenting.
What are the Results?
Lauren: Who are the typical people you work with and what results have you seen from people?
Sandi: We usually work with established business people. Start up people… we will work with you! But often they are looking for quick results and it just doesn’t work that way. You won’t find them anywhere. You have to work your way up. We like established people who understand the basis of what it is to scale your business.
For ROI’s… we’ve had people that will bring in 400+ people in two days. I go from starting a brand new Pinterest and when we parted ways she had just shy of 50,000 people hitting her Pinterest monthly. And we worked together for three months.
Lauren: Excuse me?!
Sandi: So it can happen! It didn’t’ happen overnight. It happened because she hired an expert in Pinterest. It happened because she hired someone who was an expert in blogging.
Lauren: Holy crap!
Jen: Something we hear a lot is “well I could buy followers on Instagram, I could buy followers on Facebook”… you could waste a lot of money there if you want to do that. But Facebook and Instagram algorithms do not like bots. You could have a bot on your messenger or your website, that is great for automation! But when you put a bot on your website for followers sake, you will hurt your engagement.
We were looking at our followers the other day, our personal Facebook business page and our engagement and reach for like so much higher than somebody that was buying followers. We compared side by side and they were getting 1-2 reach, 0 reach on some of our post and we were getting 123 reach. It is because all of our people are organically there.
It is just important for you to keep in mind. Organic is the only way you are going to get clients.
Sandi: So our other team member Naomi does a lot with Instagram. She deals with bots all the time with our personal clients and other people. She comes in and goes through and sees they have paid for bots. She has to go and unfollow them because, again, they are hurting our client.
Lauren: I love all this information! This is awesome! So regardless of whether or not your reach out to the Lady Boss Collective… write down all of the things you’d like to take care of! From there, write down your budget. However, if you are of the mindset “there is no way in hell you could afford that”, you have to remember when you outsource anything in your business that is time you are saving yourself you could be booking! There are all kinds of things you could be doing. Just keep that in mind when making these decisions.
There are all things in our businesses we should consider outsourcing. Emails! Maybe that’s your number one killer! The point is… you know where you are at in your business but it can’t hurt to reach out to these ladies and pick their brains!
Closing Remarks, When Do I Get Started?
Any last words of wisdom? When do people know it is time to begin outsourcing?
Jen: I think the right time is when you get to the point where you are not actually enjoying every aspect of your business. You are dreading getting on Facebook or checking your emails. Or maybe it is still fun and you’re enjoying it but you can’t fit everything you need to do into your day, while also giving your client everything they need. You will be tired of doing it all, and you can’t do it all! The scariest part is investing. It is absolutely scary! Everyone we have booked has been scared to take the leap, but a month or two in they tell us this is the best decision they have made for their business.
We have been told personally that they don’t even need a business coach they just hire us! We don’t advertise we are business coaches, but we do do a lot of strategy. Does your team understand your business and understand what you want? If they don’t understand it and live it every day then the stuff they do may not match up to what you need. It is scary, but worth it!
Lauren: I feel this was a super successful coffee chat and I really appreciate you both joining me today. I hope you all enjoyed it.
Q + A
Q: Do you recommend attempting to learn how to blog write before outsourcing?
A: You could try to learn. You could try to spend time learning that. But SEO is not easy and not something you learn in a day. Could you learn how to write? Sure. But if could find someone to do that for you it will save you months off your plate.
Q: What would be the start up package for all three services with the Lady Boss Collective?
A: We have some different options. One thing you should keep in mind is each level of service, we will still give you as much as we can! So our first package is “I need help, but I can’t afford everything right now”. We can lay all of that out there, but that starts at $1,500. We offer a strategy session for $475 to help figure out where you want your business to go, we can brainstorm freebees or blog posts… lots of stuff. That’s a 60 minute session with either all three of us or just one of us depending on your preference. And that includes one full week of support.
Q (Follow Up): What would you recommend for someone who is just starting out and maybe can’t afford the full $1,500 right off the bat?
A (Follow Up): We would recommend starting with a strategy session. Let us help you figure it out. We are just now dipping our toes into starting small. If you want to just try out our blog posts for a month or a couple months… we can start small and once that strategy session is over we can figure out how to work your way up to that $1,500 package. Our $3,000 package literally does all of that for you. So social media, landing pages, blogs, graphic design… but maybe you’re not there yet! We would start at that $475 and work with you.
Q: What is the best website to use to run your site? What about Zenfolio?
A: It is not good for SEO. I use Squarespace and on average I am getting 3,500 hits to the website a month. I personally love Squarespace! But I know a lot of people that love Wordpress. You just have to find something that works for you.