Monthly Outsourcing Report: March 2011

It’s time for the second monthly outsourcing report! I started this report last month to share some of my experience and projects in outsourcing, how much I’m spending, and the types of things I’m accomplishing.

After publishing my first report last month, I received a flood of questions, and I want to take a moment to discuss a few of them here:

  • Do you reveal your monthly income? No, and I don’t plan to any time soon. There are a couple of reasons for this, but the biggest is that I perform certain consulting projects and cannot really talk about what I am being paid on these. If you’re interested in this, my friend Pat Flynn has a very popular monthly income report.
  • These numbers are cool, but I’d like to learn more about the process: Absolutely. Going forward I’ll emphasize some of the processes I use to effectively outsource work, find and retain great talent, and keep my projects moving along at an affordable price point. Please continue the great feedback; my goal is to make these reports as helpful as possible and the best way to do that is to learn from you.
  • What is your “secret project?” Still can’t talk about it too much =). But I will be talking a little more about it in this report, so keep reading. Also be sure follow up in future months for more information!

Ok, on to the report!

Blog Design and Updates

Thanks to everyone who voted on my new design for my blog. After listening to everyone’s feedback, I decided to go with design #2, but with a significantly enhanced banner. I paid my designer $80 for about 5 hours of work to code up the CSS for the design to function properly within WordPress.

I also completed setup of my podcast, which you can find here. A huge shout-out to my boy Vincent, who was super helpful and actually did some of the work without even billing me for the time. In total, I only paid him for around 3 hours of work, but he probably put in closer to 5-6 hours of total time. If you need someone to guide you through the podcast setup process, just shoot me an e-mail and I’m happy to put you in touch. The entire process cost me about $34.

Total: $114 for 10 hours of work

Facebook Campaign Management

One of my projects involves developing a group of facebook pages targeted around specific niche interests. I then use paid Facebook ads to drive traffic to the facebook pages, which in turn drives traffic to targeted landing pages for advertisers. I then get paid affiliate commissions for each sale or lead.

This is a fairly new business idea and I’m still working out the kinks, but so far it seems quite promising. However, there’s a lot of work involved. I paid a designer approximately $280 for 15 hours of work in tweaking and optimizing the facebook pages.

I also hired an advertising specialist to write copy and find pictures for my facebook ads, and launch my campaign. This advertising specialist also set up tracking in Google Analytics in the back end, so that I can track the return on investment throughout my campaign. This process took around 8 hours, and cost me $90 in total.

Finally, I hired a “social media expert” who would manage the community I have built around these pages. Her job is to get people to come back to the page and share the content within the broader facebook community. She does this by sharing content (articles, infographics etc) that is posted on my websites outside of Facebook.

With any luck, some of this content will go viral, and leads to a massive inflow of traffic. So far, I’ve paid her $150 for around 11 hours of work.

I’d like to emphasize two things here. First of all, when it comes to advertising effectively online, I highly recommend you pay a small premium and go with someone within the United States. Advertising is cultural, and you need to find someone who has at least a basic understanding of your target market.

The second thing to remember is that it’s crucial to track your results. This is one of the cornerstones of my business philosophy: if you spend a dollar, you need to figure out how much you are going to get in return. This is especially true with advertising, which can quickly get expensive if you don’t know what you’re done.

Total: $240 for 19 hours of work.

Niche Sites:

As I mentioned last month, I am working on a couple of niche sites. Although I’ve done well with niche sites in the past, I think that they have a very uncertain future, which is why I’m not investing nearly as much as I used to in this area. 

This month, I focused on wallsconcelighting.com, writing and submitting 25 articles to a variety of directories around the web. Writing up the articles cost approximately $6 each, and the submission cost an extra $1 per article, for a total of $175.

I also had my WordPress Guru add a few additional articles to the site and complete some basic SEO (metatags, headlines, and a sitemap submission). This took approximately 2 hours at $11 per hour, for a total of $22.

Interestingly enough, the site is not generating any real organic traffic right now, which leads me to believe that there may be some domain level penalty from before I purchased it. I submitted a reconsideration request to Google last week to see if I can get the website ranking properly, but all I can do now is cross my fingers and pray.

I will probably hold off on additional link-building activities until I have some clarity on this issue. For more information about how to generate traffic and links through article marketing, take a moment to sign up for my free article marketing guide, whichyou can sign up for below. I've also talked a lot about article marketing in my recent article on Google's algorithm change.

Total: $197 for approximately 17 hours of work

Stealth Project:

Ahhh….unfortunately this is STILL not something I can talk about too much, and it will probably stay that way for several months, but I promise that at some point I'll reveal exactly what I've been doing here.

 The reason for this is because I want to build up a serious head-start in my niche before I go revealing it to potential competitors. Some people are super-open with their business activities, and that’s great, but I believe that knowledge is a valuable competitive advantage, and therefore I’m hesitant to reveal too much too soon.

Just like last month, this was the project that ended up being the big money pit.. I spent $300 on 10 hours of design and CSS work, another $1100 for about 40 hours of database development, $150 for 10 hours worth of revisions to a promotional video, and $120 for 10 hours of research about vendors/clients in my niche.

Total: $1670 for 70 hours of work.

Ok – time to add up all the numbers!

Overall, another productive month…hopefully March will be even better. Onward and upward!

3 Responses to “Monthly Outsourcing Report: March 2011”

  1. Matt says:

    If you're investing significant time in money in using Facebook pages as a marketing channel, you should read this article discussing major changes to functionality and design of the framework for said pages:
    http://mashable.com/2011/02/24/facebook-pages-iframes/

  2. Rob says:

    What is your secret project?
    Just kidding.
    I like seeing the numbers going into the work. A lot of folks just show what has come in, but not the expenses.
    Thanks.

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