A Few Good People
Posted On: 2015-05-20
by: Bill Platt

May
20, 2015

This is perhaps the most difficult thing to learn when you start working for yourself.?

I can say that, because I once had great difficulty bridging from self employment to self-employed with part-time staff.

After I went on my own, it took me three years to hire someone to do some work for me.

It took another two years to add someone permanent to my staff.

Know Thyself

The most important thing you should learn when working for yourself is what you do well and what you don't do well.

For example, I am an awesome writer, and I am ready, willing and able to write something every single day of the week, however, I am limited to about 10,000 to 15,000 words per day even when I am excited about my topic.

Although I can do the mechanical work of assembling a book cover, I am color-stupid -- I cannot seem to pick from a wide pallet of colors or pick different colors that will work well together. Additionally, I am creativity-deprived when it comes to picking good fonts for my book covers.

Further, when it comes to video, I am even more stupid. With a face made for radio and a voice made for print, I am much better to have someone shoot a video on my behalf.

The result is that depending on how many words I want written, I can either do it myself or hire someone to do it for me.

Unless I am working with a really simple book cover idea, I am better to find someone to do the cover for me.

And when it comes to video, I only do that during webinars when someone else is there to do the video production. If I am doing a promotional video, I always hand that to another person to do for me.

These Kinds of Decisions Are Essential

We are the people who are going to fill book store shelves everywhere -- digital or physical book stores.

We are the creators.

This is why it is important for us to understand our strengths and our weaknesses so that we can hire people to help us do what needs done.

Your time should be spent doing those things you do well, even if you are an author instead of a publisher.

You should spend your time doing what you do well, and you should be hiring others to do what you don't do well.

Book covers are essential to good sales, so I'd be stupid to do those myself.

I hire book cover design on Fiverr.com. There are some things that Fiverr people don't do well. Book covers is one of the things that they do extraordinarily well.

One of my Fiverr book cover designers charges $5 for the book cover design and $5 to deliver in 24 hours. She also offers the PSD file for another $20. I always pay for the cover design and delivery in 24 hours. She gets paid well, and I get a good product in a timely manner.

I don't do much video, but if I did, I would outsource nearly all of it.

I am a great writer and a good editor. Because I am limited to the number of words I can write, by the time I have available, I do some of my writing myself, and I outsource writing to others on different projects.

If I am doing a nonfiction project, there is a 60% chance that I did all of the writing myself.

If I am doing a fiction piece, there is a 100% chance that I hired someone to do the writing for me.

If I am doing this newsletter, you can rest assured that I did the writing myself, if my name is attributed as author.

Fat Bank Accounts

Fat bank accounts belong to those people who create the most content in the shortest amount of time.

Time is money, and people who can send products to market more quickly will make more money.

This is why I pay others to help me in my business.

The last time I shot my own video sales message, I spent two days to shoot a ten-minute video, because I screwed up every single take.

That is NOT a good investment of my time. I would have made more money to have paid someone else to shoot that video for me.

I could have paid someone $50 to shoot that video and got two days of my time back. Live and learn.

Had I done so, I could have made several hundred dollars doing something else, rather than spending those two days to create a less than perfect video.

Shooting my own video -- in the end -- was more expensive than having someone do it for me.

Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy

It wasn't until I could put a dollar value on my wasted time that hiring more people made better sense to me.

I am currently releasing about one new fiction book every two weeks. Yet, I am still working on my first fiction manuscript that I started writing 18 months ago.

The bottom line is that if I didn't hire others to help me in my business, I would still have no fiction titles inside Amazon.

I have been releasing new fiction writing guides about every three weeks for the last five months. If I didn't hire others to help me write those guides, I'd probably still be writing the first, because I am not a good fiction writer myself. Instead, I hired a college professor, who teaches how to write fiction in her classroom, to write my fiction writing guides on my behalf.

My contribution to those fiction writing guides is the editing and formatting of those guides, and writing the sales copy for them.

With the fiction writing guides, I tend to make and average of 8-times what I spend to have the basic manuscript written for me on my behalf.

This results in a great investment of my time and money. I pay my writer to sketch out the basic product, I spend two hours editing then formatting, then I spend a few hours setting up a sales page.

For a small amount of cash and 5 hours of my time, I am able to develop products that will add several hundred or several thousand dollars to my bank account in the first two weeks of the release of the product.

Even though I am an excellent writer, and I am a very productive writer, I make more now that I have assigned the writing to others and started working as the idea man and editor.

There are some projects where I do the writing, because I want to do the writing. Then there are several ongoing projects at any one time where others are doing the writing for a set fee, and I am putting together the products for retail.

By hiring others to do those things I don't do so well and hiring others to provide me more words to sell, and by focusing my time on those things that I do best, I have literally doubled my income in less than 12 months.

My next hire will be in June to bring in an assistant to help me do the things that I am doing currently. I am working with enough writers currently that I need another editor to take my business to the next level.

Small Steps Make Big Differences

I know that this might seem like more than you want to do or are capable of doing.

In fact, if someone had told me on Memorial Day 2014 that I would currently have more than a dozen part-time writers working for me this Memorial Day, I would have laughed and told them they were dreaming.

I didn't see this coming, but it is here.

It started last September when I found out that I would need to increase my income by about $1000 per month.

I have easily surpassed that additional need, and now I am growing my business even larger.

I needed an extra $1000 per month on speed dial, and I have grown past that point quickly.

Every dollar I spend is bringing an extra $3 to $8 into my business.

Hiring the Help You Need

There are plenty of places you can go to hire writers, editors, book cover designers, marketers, etc.

I personally use Fiverr for book covers and Upwork (previously known as Odesk) to hire the people I need to hire to do other tasks.

Hourly people are paid once a week, and the money is drawn from my PayPal account or credit card on Mondays.

Per Task workers are paid in advance, but the money is held in Escrow until the work is done and approved by me.

Most of my people are paid hourly. Some are paid by the task.

The advantage of hourly people is that I can count on the provider to finish one task and go to the next. From an employer standpoint, it should be noted that I can generally get the work done for less money with my hourly people than my per task people.

Per Task is advantageous when money is tight. Hourly is preferred when you want people to work ahead on developing more content under the same guideline.

I have two fiction writers in one specific genre. One of these fiction book writers is per task and the other is hourly. The hourly person costs much less than the per task person.


Tips For Hiring the People You Need

The hardest parts are finding people who are both qualified and talented, and who are reliable.

The best advice I can give you for hiring is this:


* Explain the job in as much detail as you feel comfortable doing;
* Add questions to the listing pertinent to their experience and why they want the job, with emphasis on the latter;
* Request a writing sample;
* Require someone to have a minimum of one hour billed on Upwork;
* Require someone to have a minimum of 3.5 stars rating;
* Require Fluent English or at least Native English;
* Do not make your listing available to Google.

The two things that are most important:


* Why and how much they want the job;
* How well they write in their sample and in the questions that they answer.

Send at least one message to them before you hire them! The point is to see how attentive they are to your questions.

If they take a lot of time to answer your question, then they will take a lot of time to deliver your orders.

There is no need to be rude to anyone, but don't take any crap either.

If they want your money, they will do what you ask them in a timely manner. If they don't, then you should feel no guilt in replacing them.

There are people who are all too happy to have a job working for you part-time. You should find those people and keep them busy.

An Admission

I am a tight-ass when it comes to money. I hate spending money, period.

However, in order to increase my income, I needed to increase my productivity. And to increase my productivity, I needed to find people who were willing to work with me to enable me to do more in less time.

And this is the hardest part of making this important decision...

Do you have enough confidence in your ability to turn a book / product into actual cash that you can pay someone to help you in your publishing business without breaking the bank?

Yes, you have to generate a profit on the work that others do on your behalf.

This process is scary as heck...

But once you make the decision to hire, you have to take the attitude that you are not going to accept failure as a result. You must decide to do whatever is necessary to turn the efforts of other people into real profits.

Failure is not a possibility that I am willing to accept.

And the same should go for you too...

One Small Step at a Time

You must be unwilling to accept failure as a possible outcome. You must have the confidence in your decision to know how you are going to take what others have done and turn it into actual cash money.

Hiring a book cover designer at Fiverr is the easiest first step.

Hiring someone to write a 5,000 to 10,000 word manuscript for you is also a great first investment.

We are talking about very small investments of your money, to get you on the road of success, so that you can later have the confidence needed to make bigger investments in yourself.

It all begins with small steps towards building your experience with outsourced labor and building your confidence in your ability to make bigger investments that will result in real profits.

One small step has the potential of delivering one small win. A bigger step has the potential of delivering a bigger win.

Start small and grow your confidence in the process. Once you have the confidence to go bigger, you will have what it takes to win big.

Start thinking now about what you do well and what other people could do for you that would be better done by them instead of you.

Figure out your strengths and your weaknesses, then make the decision to hire someone to help you with those things you don't do well.

In time, you will find that you have the confidence to build your business in a way that you would never have thought possible before today.

Grow your confidence, then grow your business...

Bill Platt has been providing training and services to professional writers since circa 2001.

For nonfiction writers, he has created a website (http://nfbullets.com/members/) where he provides hundreds of pages of organized research. With this information, you can in fact build a nonfiction book outline from any of the pages provided. There is also a lot of information provided that would be very useful to fiction writers, because it will let you find details that will make your fiction more interesting.

For fiction writers, he has two websites that will help with story ideas.

The first is (http://fictionplots.com/members/) which provides really detailed story plots written in a series format.

The second is (http://writinglovescenes.com/members/)

which provides access to cut-paste-and-edit love scenes to help you write love scenes for your romance books.

If you are looking for basic story ideas that might inspire your creativity, he has just released his first in a series of Kindle books (soon to also be available in workbook format) called, "Fiction Story Prompts: 52 Weeks of Story Ideas". This first book is for people searching for story ideas in the Fantasy / Paranormal genres.

If one of these resources looks like it might help you in your writing endeavors, click the links to learn more about those offers.