Simplify Your Outsourcing

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I’ve experimented with dozens of platforms, software, and tools to improve my outsourcing over the years. I’ve also spent and wasted way too much money and time on first learning how to use these software tracking systems and then trying to teach it to the people I outsource projects to. Here’s the bottomline, simpler is ALWAYS better. Always. This is why I’ve finally found the program I will be using from now on. Best of it’s free.

You may even be using this downloadable software in your business right now.

I used to just use it for sharing videos, articles, and family photos with others, but now I‘ve adapted it to my business.

It’s called DropBox.

The cool thing is that even if you’re already using it right now, I’m hoping I can help you make it better.

I used to use Google Docs and other sharable programming tools, but DropBox seems to be the easiest to use and it updates almost immediately depending on the file size, so that we can share updates in real time.

Plus, I can create tons of folders to assign to each outsourcing team member. This keeps tracking and locating projects very simple.

How I Outsource

  • My studio fitness manager (daily updates)
  • Graphic designer (uploads of actual graphics)
  • Web designer (updates and links)
  • Assistant (printing files, daily updates, etc.)
  • Private Coaching Clients (share marketing pieces, action plans, etc.)

Of course, I still use it for sharing other things with family members, etc., and that’s the real beauty of DropBox… you can select whom you want to share what folders with.

So, back to my business sharing outsourcing… here’s what gets uploaded:

Graphic Designer

My designer works for me on a freelance basis. When I have a project I need completed I email him the details and he creates these items for me:

  • Website banners
  • Clickable graphics for website
  • eBook cover
  • Product package photos

Once he begins working on the project I have him upload rough ideas of what he has started. This allows me to critique the work without him spending hours on something I don’t like. This is a BIG tip you should implement with your free lancers. It will save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars and time in wasted productivity.

Web Designer

My web designer is on a part-time schedule with me (about 16-20 hours/week). Basically, I book him out for 2 full days a week. Sometimes, it is double that if I have a project I’m looking to push out. This is what he works on for me on a weekly basis:

  • Website WordPress updates
  • Backing up website
  • Website redesigns (currently converting StephenCabralStudio.com and PersonalTrainerBoston.com into WP sites)
  • Making edits to existing Aweber and html code that I can’t do
  • Creating new websites for special offers (will show you this in the future)
  • Adding new WP plug-ins

You my not have then currently for a web-designer that you keep on staff, but it is always good to have a reliable freelancer that you can count on to get work done fast, or if your site ever goes down…

Assistant

I know a lot of people have a full-time assistant that works 40 hours a week for them, but I haven’t found the need yet for that. I simply don’t have that much work for them, since my fitness manager and team of CPTs take care of most items that an assistant would do. Having said that, when I do open up my 2nd location I will have a full-time assistant that will completely eliminate any extraneous activities I now complete, so that I can fully focus on making that new location a success. My in-office assistant completes these tasks:

  • Files workout programs
  • Files invoices
  • Deposits checks on Fridays
  • Answers phone when she’s in office
  • Does research for me on specific topics
  • Prints new client packets as needed
  • Runs errands
  • Books maintenance appointments
  • Any other small task that comes up…

Email Assistant

I also have an assistant that works remotely that checks my email. You may not need this unless you begin creating an online presence. If you do become mainstream online you will begin to get a ridiculous amount of email. And I mean ridiculous… It’s nothing for me to get a couple of hundred emails a day.

So my email assistant basically checks my email through my email server and forwards me the one’s I must answer personally (colleagues and private coaching clients). She will also forward new studio leads directly to my fitness manager that I have taught how to follow up with using specific email templates.

Then once I get through the personal emails I must reply to I will go back and check the other emails which have also been filtered for junk. Many of them are questions from online customers that may have purchased one of my products. By now, I have answered all of their questions in some form or another and so my email assistant just copies and pastes the answers and replies to them herself. Very simple.

I pay her a flat fee to check email 3x per day (about 1.5-2 hours/day), Monday – Friday.

Studio Fitness Manager

Many of you have met my fitness manager at my private events or at Sam vs. Steve last year. He is excellent. I now trust him with the majority of all tasks I used to do at the studio – even inputting invoices. Of course, I sat beside him to train him how to do each of these items, but it was worth it. It has allowed me to be out of the studio for more than 3-4 months in each of the last 3 years on internships, etc. (more on this later).

Here are a list of items Julian may be working on:

  • Input invoices
  • Follow up with leads using our formula of email, call, email, call, email (see separate post)
  • Create backlinks to website
  • Add pages to website
  • Make new business contacts for JVs
  • Put out rack cards are business locations thorughout neighborhood
  • Look for new trainers (even when we aren’t hiring…)
  • Train new CPTs when we hire them on how our systems run at studio
  • Coordinate projects with CPTs
  • Hold Monday meetings when I’m not in town
  • Get articles from CPT team for our newsletter
  • Post to our Facebook page daily
  • Take trash out
  • and about a hundred other things…

So, to keep things SIMPLE for me and not have my mind having to remember every little thing, what I do is set up a DropBox folder for each person.

(As a side note this started out as just a post on how to use DropBox and has now turned in to how I outsource my life… hopefully, it helps)

Here’s an example of how my fitness manager and I check in using DropBox.


(*Just as a side note: I was testing out a new video recording software (it was free), called screencast-o-matic. As you can see the volume and mic control is terrible… I’m always trying out new resources to save you money, but this isn’t one of them! For now, I’m going to continue to use ScreenFlow…)

So as you see, outsourcing your life really can be simple as long as you make it that way.

Too many people have to many systems for their systems and it just becomes a headache having to remember what and where everything is. That’s why I either stick with a product or switch over to something completely.

Plus, just having a “what did you complete today task sheet,” makes checking in on your free lance people a breeze. You don’t need to hound them and micromanage what they’re doing. You see what they did right in DropBox and then you can follow up with questions as needed. This is also great for me when I’m traveling overseas and the time difference may be 10-12 hours different and phone calls become difficult.

Plus, if they know they’re going to have to account for their time, they’re more apt to actually do stuff ; )

The other piece to this is that I do have 1 weekly meeting with all of my outsourcing people in person or by phone. This is typically at the end of beginning of the week. It’s usually a 10 minute conversation to each recap where we are, or what we have planned for the next week or two. It’s actually more important to just make sure you’re both crystal clear on what needs to get done and how, so that no time is wasted.

This entire system probably took me about 5 years to create and has now cut my actual studio owner work down to 15-30 minutes a day. And to be honest, when I’m out of town I may not check in for a few days at a time depending on travel, etc. And, when I do it’s just with an early morning email before I head out for the day.

That’s been the best part of outsourcing…

I can work more if I want to, but I also can just take off whenever I want to as well.

This also allows me to do what I love doing, which is working with clients, writing, and taking over the world.

All in a day’s work ; )

 

Hope you enjoyed the post and please let me know if you have any questions. And if you don’t already have DropBox – download it today (it’s FREE!).

I’d also love to have you comment below and share what you do that has worked well for your outsourcing!

 

Committed to your success,

Coach Cabral, CSCS, CPT, NS
Founder of Smart Studio Systems.com
Health consultant for MTV, Maxim, Men’s Health, Women’s Day, Dietcom, SELF
http://SmartStudioSystems.com

 

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  • If you use office autopilot, basecamp, or any other outsourcing tracking system feel free to let us know how you like it!