Monthly Outsourcing Report: February 2011

Welcome to the first edition of my Monthly Outsourcing Report!

As some of my readers know, I’m pretty big on outsourcing. It’s a great way to get things done at a reasonable cost, while maximizing profits and freeing up more of your time for more important projects.

However, outsourcing is also an area where it’s really easy to make a lot of mistakes. I’ve messed up a lot, but I’ve also learnt a ton along the way…and it’s something I think a lot of people are interested in learning more about.

So from now on, each month I’ll be putting out a detailed report outlining the projects I outsourced, the people I hired, the number of hours they spent, and the total cost of the outsourced projects.

I have several goals with this report:

  • Track Progress: One of my goals is to be a millionaire before I’m 30. I’m not going to get there just by earning a salary or consulting. Instead, I need to leverage other people’s strengths to build my business empire, and scaling a team of high-quality, low-cost individuals is the single best way to get there faster. If I’m outsourcing more projects, I’m getting more things done. It also forces me to earn more money at a faster rate (otherwise I’m going to go broke!). Having a monthly report helps me stay focused and zoned in on the ultimate goal.
  • Teach Others: I’ve learnt a lot of about outsourcing through running my own business, and this is a good opportunity to share some of what I’ve learnt. I’ve done a lot of things right, but I’ve also made a ton of mistakes, and I want to be completely transparent in helping other people run their own outsourcing operations.
  • Keep Learning: Although I’m fairly experienced at outsourcing, I still need to learn more. I want this report to become a platform for me to receive feedback and suggestions on what I could be doing better. That’s the single best way for me to improve.   

Here were some of my big projects this month:

Blog Redesign:

As many of you know, I'm planning a redesign of my blog. I hired a few designers to put together some mockups, and then I had my audience comment on which one they liked the most (if you haven't voted yet, you can do so here). In total, I spent around $200 for three designs, which took a total of 20 hours for an average rate of $10 per hour. As a note, this was just for the designs, not for the actual coding.

I'm still accepting votes from readers on which redesign they like best. If you have done so already, please take a moment to vote here!

Total Cost: $200 for 20 hours of work

Podcast Setup and Video Editing:

In 2011 I'm making a strong push on my blog towards podcasting and video content. The first step was to create an introductory video segment. I hired a video expert on Odesk for $16 per hour, and sent him a logo, a voice recording, and some photos. Two hours later, he had completed a polished 15-second introductory clip, featuring my voice laid over some theme music. Here's the image he came up with – Definitely a good result for $32.

Setting up the podcast was actually a decent amount of work. I didn’t want to make any mistakes, so I found someone on Odesk who had done the process and could help me through it. Seriously, this guy is the best; at $11 an hour it was more than worth it. $35 later and I have a fully functioning podcast! If any of you needs any help setting up or managing your podcast, just leave a comment below and I’ll put you guys in touch.

I’ve also recorded the first three podcasts, and will be rolling them out on the blog over the next several weeks. I hired a design student in Canada to do basic edits on the video and audio. Total cost was $15 for all six files (three videos and three mp3 tracks).

Total Cost: $82 for 8 hours of work

Niche Sites:

I generate a decent monthly income through niche sites, and have been focusing on growing two new ones this month. One of them is a recent domain acquisition, focused around the market for Wall Sconce Lighting.

I have a WordPress guru in the Phillippines who managed the transition, set it up in my hosting environment, and installed the wordpress theme I selected. He also set up several key plugins, including Google Analytics and the All In One SEO plugin, which are must-haves for any internet marketer using WordPress. Total time spent was around 3.5 hours, at a rate of $11 per hour for a total of $38.50.

My second site was set up awhile ago, but I just haven't been focused on it as much as I should have. That changed this month. I'm starting some serious link-building campaigns around article directory submissions. I generated 10 original articles at $6 a pop from Articlez.com for a total of $60.

Then, I hired an U.S. based article spinner to create 100 original articles at $2 a pop, for a total of $200. This guy uses article rewriting software to create new, original articles en masse. On average, I pay him around $15 per hour for his time.

Finally, I have a girl in the phillippines submit the articles to various directories in order to build links. Submitting 100 articles takes her approximately 5 hours, at $4.40 per hour, for a total of $22.

Total Cost: $320.50 for approximately 19 hours of work, plus 10 original articles.

By the way, if you're interested in niche sites and building links through article marketing, sign up here to get a free copy of my article marketing guide. 

 

Daily Deal Aggregator:

This is a site I've been running for several months now. It's basically a daily deal compiler – each day, you'll get one email featuring all the daily deals in your area. This way, you don't need to have your inbox cluttered with dozens of emails. It's also a good business for me because I get paid affiliate commissions from the daily deal sites, simply for sending out an automated email every day.

The trick is to increase the number of signups. I've hired a girl in the United States who does social media promotion for me. This month, she spent approximately 50 hours, at an average of $6 per hour, to promote the site on various forums. I am also testing out different versions of the homepage to see which one has the highest percentage of e-mail opt-ins.

The other big change was to add a "Geo-IP" feature. Now, when someone visits the site, they automatically are directed to the specific based on their IP address. This reduces the number of fields they have to fill in, which will hopefully increase conversions. It is still too early to tell, but I'll be sure to reflect on it next month!

The GEO-IP was built by one of my back-end engineers, who charges $20 per hour for his time. He's definitely one of my most expensive employees, but it's worth it because he is prompt, follows directions, and speaks excellent English – which is crucial for more advanced web development assignments. This project took him approximately 4 hours to complete, for a total of $80.

Total Cost: $380 for 54 hours of work

Stealth Project:

I'm working on something pretty secret right now. I can't talk about it too much, but I'm excited about it because if it works, it has the potential to scale very quickly…and make a ton of money.

What I can tell you is that I’ve spent more money on building this than on any other project this month. In total, I've spent around $275 for designs/logos that took 15 hours, $150 for a video that took 10 hours, $100 for high-quality written copy which took around 5 hours, and $800 for web development which took around 40 hours. 

I really hope this works =). As I said, I can't talk about it right now, but whether or not its successful, I'll be sure to cover it in a future monthly report.

Total cost: $1325 for 70 hours

Ok…time to add everything up!

Overall, a great start to the year! January was a good month for setting up a lot of the groundwork for 2011, and I'm excited to see how it plays out. Stay tuned next month for the next update – a whole bunch of new projects, and hopefully an increase in all of these numbers!

 

7 Responses to “Monthly Outsourcing Report: February 2011”

  1. Caleb says:

    Very cool report, Vik! Super insightful and motivating also. It's sort of mindblowing to try to conceive how you are managing all these people and keeping it all straight. It's a great read. Thanks and keep it up!

  2. Maxjohan says:

    Well… I don't know what to say. I'm not the biggest, most successful guy myself. But I think you shouldn't really count the hours. Instead look for the quality of work. Article rewriting software? Why not just keep it as 10 articles. And be happy that it's original content. Then I also wonder about the hours. 20 hours to design three blog themes? More like 8-10 max? I paid a guy $450 once for a web design. He did that one in two hours. And it turned out nicely. 
    The hard part in succeeding in business is just that, finding the right people, that do quality work for as little pay as possible. You need to look closer at what you got, to see if it's up to date with the best stuff out there. I think you will fail with the million dollar goal, unless you work with quality people, instead of quantity people. Just telling you, from experience and what I know now today.
    It's ease to get caught up in the "outsource your life" lifestyle. Depends on what side your on. If you have read the "Fastlane millionaire" now. You will know the difference, the author bashes outsourcing quite a bit, and the four hour work week gets a kick in the butt too. It's quite a stale book but, there's some parts in the book that is priceless. You can read the first 40 pages free, it's all you need. The rest is just more of the same.
    Just trying to help, have a good one bro. Keep it up. I did the tweet :)

    • Vik says:

      I definitely agree that quality is important, but it totally depends on the task. For article marketing, quantity does matter, and therefore its important to scale. I agree the hours is less important, but its just good for me (and hopefully my readers) to understand how much time I would’ve spent doing this stuff myself, and how I’m effectively creating leverage on my own time. Thanks for the great comment!

  3. What about the total income?  Do you share that on a monthly basis?  Cheers, Sam

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