As you move from just being an author to running a business as an author, you will need to find people to work with you and take things off your shoulders.
You're a writer, so you need to offload some of the other tasks, even if you can do it all yourself. I know how hard this outsourcing is, but also how critical it is if you don't want to burn out. Today, I talk to Chris Ducker about the concept of Virtual Freedom.
In the introduction I give an update on my own writing and speaking events, as well as talking about Mark Coker's post on ebooks as annuity and the podcast I have just discovered, On Being with Krista Tippett which I recommend.
This podcast episode is sponsored by 99 Designs, where you can get all kinds of designs for your author business including book covers, merchandising, branding and business cards, illustrations and artwork and much more. You can get a Powerpack upgrade which gives your project more chance of getting noticed by going to: 99Designs.com/joanna
Chris Ducker is a serial entrepreneur, virtual staffing expert, blogger, podcaster and author of Virtual Freedom: How to work with virtual staff to buy more time, become more productive and build your dream business.
- How Chris got started in business and how he now lives in Cebu running an outsourcing company serving global businesses.
- What is Superhero Syndrome and how do we stop it? All entrepreneurs hit this. It comes down to doing everything yourself to save a few $ and learning new skills rather than hiring the work out. It's the inability to let go so you can focus on what you should be focusing on.
- What is a Virtual Assistant anyway? A time saver and can be a life saver. You have to stop the burnout that will eventually happen if you keep doing everything yourself. A VA can help you run your business in different ways. It's not about finding a ‘me-clone,' or a replicant of yourself. You have to break things down into roles and outsource those, and using multiple people is often better than one.
- If you break your work down into the various tasks, you can then find people to take those off your hands. This can be things from sorting out your file formatting and social media, to triaging your email. The ‘super-VA' doesn't exist. You need to hire per role. This can be just one-off tasks using PeoplePerHour or other sites like this, or get a VA or contractors for ongoing work.
The Freedom Exercise. Warning: this may be life-changing!
- List the things you don't like doing but you have to do them because the business demands it. Then a list of the things you can't do. Then a list you feel you shouldn't be doing as the person running your business. You have to be very honest with yourself. You might LIKE or BE GOOD at some of these tasks, but should you be doing them? Should you time be better spent doing something important for the core business? [I've been going through this and it's really important to do as you move through your career as an author.]
- Cost vs investment. It's only when you start to break under the strain that you start to appreciate the need to SPEND in order to have time back. There are different levels of VA – and there is a range of costs that will fluctuate over time – but you can be looking at $US15 – $80 per hour depending on the tasks. Chris talks about the different VAs he has and where they are situated. He also mentions Speechpad for transcription of interviews, which can be brilliant for podcast notes or for researching interviews for a non-fiction book.
- What do people get wrong when they hire a VA? They don't pay people what they are truly worth. And people don't spend enough time training their VAs when they start. If you spend the time systematizing your own work and then handing it over slowly, even doing things like documents and videos to show how things are done, then your VA will be able to deliver the work as you want it done.
- Chris has a great podcast, the New Business Podcast and he also has a podcast with Pat Flynn, 1 day Business Breakthrough. As Chris works with a lot of businesses, he talks about how many small businesses are hesitant to share their content for free. But content marketing is here to stay, so get off the fence and start sharing. The other big mistake people make is NOT growing an email list! [I've been harping on about this years now! Check out my recent post on how I've been growing my own list.]
- On global business and how Chris and I are both excited about the possibilities that are coming and the growth outside the US.
- Chris also talks about what he learned from writing his book and the challenges of working with a traditional publisher and how he had to do all the marketing for his book himself.