Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Outsource Whatever You Can - Use Elance!

When you are building an online business it is important to stay focused on what you are great at. Time is precious, and other people are certainly capable of doing many of the tasks that you'd otherwise do yourself. Time is finite. Outsourcing matters.

I tried Elance once, with little success simply because I did a bad job of defining the requirements, and I did a bad job of making sure the candidate's feedback (and prior jobs) matched up with what I was looking for.

Today I'm back in the game. My product is related to the parenting market and there are thousands of websites on the planet that might want to promote it. The hard part is finding them and telling them about your product / affiliate program.

Enter Elance.

I posted a job describing my simple requirements. Search the Web for parenting-related sites where the owner looks more like an individual, not a large corporation. Mommy blogs, small web stores, consultants, etc. If the site has an opt-in form then I know they have a list they can email about my product. If they advertise other ClickBank products, then they'll be familiar with how mine is sold and how the affiliate program works.

I got 6 proposals in the first day. Hourly rates ranged from $3 to $8. I picked a guy named John, located in India. He had great feedback and seemed to understand what I was after. He had even done similar jobs (I read the prior postings) and he had delivered good results.

I funded him for 2 hours of "test work". His assignment was to find me relevant websites and put the URL + contact name/email in a spreadsheet. One day later he gave me a spreadsheet with 40 URLs, about 35 of which looked pretty good to me.

So I've now funded him for another 8 hours with instructions to email a template letter to all of the website owners, inviting them to be my affiliate. He should copy me on all emails. The mechanical part of sending emails is easy. My worry was that he wouldn't be able to identify the type of sites I was after. But he did well, so I am looking forward to his next 8 hours of work.

If this goes well then I've just solved my biggest problem - which is to recruit a few hundred people to promote my product.

If you are reading this and are an online entrepreneur (or offline, for that matter), you should go sign up for Elance. It is free, using it is free, and the benefits it will have on your life are enormous. Just go do it now.

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