It’s a big challenge learning to run one successful website. It’s even more of a challenge when it comes time to consider expanding your portfolio.
You’ll eventually reach a point where you know you need to hire.
This comes with its own set of problems; where do you even start?
In fact, you should probably consider hiring even before you are ready to move on to your second site. If your first one is big enough, it’s definitely going to be eating up too much of your valuable time.
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At Onfolio, we run websites for people, so maybe it’s against our interest to teach you how to scale your own team. We still think it’s useful for you to know how to build your own team though if the time comes.
When it comes to deciding when/who/what/why to hire, our portfolio manager Alejandro recently said in a Facebook Group discussion:
“The general rule of thumb is to stop doing $10/hour jobs”.
What he meant was that it’s often difficult to get your head around justifying the costs of freelancers when you can do everything yourself for free. Especially if you’re not yet making the mega-bucks.
However, your time is worth well more than $10/hour, yet you’re still likely doing all those menial jobs.
So going back to the question I posed at the start of this article, “Where do you even start with hiring?” the answer is with those jobs that are just not worth your time.
This is going to be something like updating your website, doing keyword research (believe it or not, it IS outsourceable), editing articles, uploading articles, and doing technical fixes to your website…
Pretty much everything that you’re likely doing on a day-to-day basis, or worse, ignoring on a day-to-day basis.
Further down the page, I’ll explain exactly where you go to hire people (there are a few options), but before that, let’s talk about setting systems up first.
Why You Should Start With Systems
As I mentioned, here at Onfolio, we run an ever-growing portfolio of sites.
When the portfolio was small, we knew it would be important to create systems first, so that we could add team members later as needed.
Where a lot of people stumble with their first hires, is hiring without a thought as to how exactly you’ll train those new hires. Or people will train them, but the whole process will be too manual.
When Alejandro and I first started focusing on our portfolio, we spent pretty much the first six months building out systems.
What Do I Mean By Systems?
Basically, training documents, SOPs, screencast videos, and a lot of step-by-step guides. You need to figure out “How exactly am I going to train this person and what tasks will I train them on?”.
We also made sure we had a way of tracking what tasks our team members were good at, and what they still needed training on.
At the time, it was a chore, and creating all this documentation just for 1 or 2 people felt slightly frustrating. Future Dom and Alejandro are very much grateful for putting the time in though because now our growing team can learn on the job a lot more efficiently.
You likely won’t need to create anywhere near as much documentation as we did.
We always knew we were going to scale to a large portfolio, so we were prepared to create a LOT of systems.
The best way for you to start is to write down a list of everything you do on a daily, and weekly basis.
From there, figure out which ones are any of the following:
- Least interesting to you
- Easiest to teach
- Add the least value to your business
- Most repetitive.
From there, you’ll probably get a list of tasks that involves WordPress updates, formatting content, keyword research, publishing/replying to comments, checking inbound emails, and so on.
These are the first jobs you’re going to outsource.
- Pick one or two tasks, the more similar the better (so something like formatting content and performing WordPress maintenance).
- Document how to perform them. Some people prefer to make a screencast of themselves doing it, while talking through the steps. Others may prefer to just use screenshots and a Google Doc. The format is less important than being detailed.
- Go out and find someone to train on the role.
Where To Hire
There are of course many other platforms and ways to hire as well, but we want to stick to the ones we’ve had personal experiences with within this article.
Upwork is the most generalist of the bunch, and you can find pretty much anyone here for any role. It’s the most well-known platform as well (though this can be a bad thing, as there is more competition for the top hires).
Onlinejobs.ph is exclusively for hiring Filipino staff, and Jobrack is for Eastern Europeans.
Both are excellent platforms as well.
Generally, you can find anyone to do any task because the modern world allows people in pretty much any country to have special skills. You don’t need to go with westerners or Filipinos or eastern Europeans for specific tasks.
That said, we’ve had success hiring Filipinos as web devs/WordPress experts, and sometimes as writers too. Eastern Europeans have made excellent Project Managers and general VAs, as have South Africans actually.
I’m generalizing here though. You will find excellent people in many different countries, and I don’t like pigeonholing certain nationalities, I’m really just sharing our personal hiring successes.
How To Get The Best Hires
We’ve had some very good hires at Onlinejobs.ph and Upwork over the years, and we’ve had some not-so-good hires too.
The problem isn’t necessarily the platform or the nationality. The best way to ensure a good hire is to set the right expectations in your job listing and to look for good communication skills among your candidates (rather than just focusing on a Resume).
Another good way to hire well is to just go ahead and start hiring. The more you do it, the more experience you’ll get, and the better the process will become.
Applying These Lessons To Your Own Sites
The experiences I’ve shared in this post can be applied fairly broadly to a number of industries and niches.
If you’re reading it though, it’s most likely because you’re interested in building a portfolio of sites (like all Onfolio readers), or because you’re running a successful one already, but don’t want to be a one-person band anymore.
If that applies to you, and you could take one thing away from this post, it would be this:
The best time to start hiring and building your own team is right now. No hire has to be permanent or full-time right away, so the financial risk is low and there’s no real commitment needed.
Of course, a lot of you will be interested in Onfolio specifically because you’re looking for us to run your portfolio for you, rather than hiring your own team.
We still think it’s useful to understand some of the processes and some of the places you can find help though, which is why we decided to write this post in the first place.