The Importance Of Having Good Staff

Posted on by Frank Haywood

I’m back.

Sorry, what was that?  You didn’t know I’d been away?  Good.  I’ve been ill for the last two and a bit weeks, and I’ve hardly been online, but now I’m back.  I’m glad to say that the business didn’t collapse while I was away.

I can see there are a few things to clean up, but mostly, everything continued to work.  I think.  I’ll know more over the next couple of days as I dig in.

Let’s see.

  • Most support tickets have been answered (still the odd one or two that need my attention but I’m working on it – thank you Ava).
  • Articles for my niche sites have continued to be written (thank you Ava).
  • PLR Code Mine has been looked after by James Cunnington, the lead developer (thank you James).
  • Work has carried on with software development for WordPress plugins at PluginGreat.com (thank you Edesa).
  • The new designer has been doing his thing and created 3 new sales pages for PLR Code Mine products and is about to start on some WordPress themes for a new business / pro-blogger WordPress themes site (thank you Ronald).
  • My low cost eCover Actions for Photoshop are almost complete.

Okay, not everything is perfect, but each mistake is a learning experience, and things get better.

I like general posts like this to also be a learning experience for everybody that reads them (thank YOU), so let’s take a look at the background behind all this.

Here’s the premise.

I can’t do everything and neither should you.  I have to rely on other people to do their thing, and so should you.

The downside is, as we take a back seat, and because we apply our personal touch to day to day matters less and less, then things aren’t done in the same way as you or I would do them.  It’s inevitable.  Some are done much better, some are not so good, but the important thing here is that we’re not doing them.

And if we’re not doing them, then it releases us to do other more important things like a bit of planning (aargh) and thinking (ook), and come up with a few new product ideas (aha).

And it also releases some time to come up with ideas for additional income streams, and to investigate and test to see if they work.

If we rely on other people to do the things we used to do, then we can spend more of our time on the really important things to any business.

Now don’t get the wrong end of the stick here, because I’m fairly sure I already know what you’re thinking.

“I can’t afford to take on staff just yet.”

Am I right?  Let’s assume so.  If that’s what you’re thinking, then you’ve got it all backwards.

The thinking for most new(ish) online business owners is that they personally are responsible for making all the money, but this thinking is false and is a leftover from having a job.  I used to think the exact same way, and I believe it’s fairly common.

But when you had a job (maybe you still do), then did the business you were working for operate in that way?  Of course not.

It just takes a little change in attitude and the way you think about your business to realise that it’s impossible for you to do everything.

I can positively say right now if I were starting all over again, the last thing I’d do is try to do it all myself, because that’s what I did, and it’s crazy!

We all have to relinquish control to other, trusted people.

Those people are then responsible for making the money for the business, and we’re the ones who oversee it all.  (Even that can be handed out to someone else if you want.)

So let’s look at the statement above about not being able to afford to do it.  Let’s pull it apart and show it for the nonsense it is, and that’s very easy to do.

Here’s the way you should look at it.

Everybody in your business earns their keep.  There are no passengers, and no free rides.  If you’re at an early stage in your business, then you simply can’t afford to be carrying administrative clutter.

One of my #1 rules (and I have several for different circumstances) is that every project pays for itself ASAP, and by that I mean within 30 days.  Hand in hand with that is that everybody either adds value to the business and is directly related to income, or they’re no longer a part of my business.

I don’t talk about this much, but in the last 12 months I’ve had to fire several people for either not performing, not doing what they said they would by the date they said they would, or not communicating with me about it.  Some have done more damage to my business and reputation than would have happened if I hadn’t taken them on, but the important point is things over all have become much better, and I’ve learned to spot the good staff very quickly, and reward them for jobs well done.

And one of the important lessons I’ve learned that I’d like to pass on to you is to take your time over hiring someone, but don’t waste any time in firing them.  (This idea of firing goes for customers too, but more on that another time.)

If you’ve made it clear what you want them to do, and they say they understand, and then don’t do what you expect of them, then they’re damaging your business and your personal livelihoood and they must go.

This isn’t being ruthless, it’s being focussed.

Either the people around you are helping to build your business or they’re against you.  This is black and white thinking and is not negotiable.  It might even upset some people, but look at it this way.

You can’t afford to hire two people, have one who is great and the other one fail to perform, because the bad one then wipes out the efforts of the good one.

All your staff must be good.  And once you have good staff around you, things really start to change.

(I believe I’ve written before about the importance of only thinking positive thoughts and only taking positive action and dismissing and ignoring all negativity, and this is a very good example of it.  If I haven’t published anything about this yet, then you can be sure I will.  There’s no point in giving negativity the time of day as focussing all your efforts and working towards your personal goals little by little is a key way to succeed.  Some people will unfortunately drain you and drain your business.  You don’t need them.  Most people are just like you and me, and are golden.  But all it takes is one or two jerks to bring you down and suck up all your time.  Most of the time, they don’t even see their own whining negativity.  Learn to ignore them – they won’t be around for long and they’ll become a problem for someone else who will listen.)

It’s an amazing feeling to find staff who are as good as you, and an incredible feeling when you find people who are actually better than you are.  I know that sounds a little egotistical, but from what friends have said to me, a lot of us think that we’re the only people who can do a job properly the way it should be done.  And of course that’s just not true is it?

There are plenty of people who can do any job better than you or I can, it’s just a matter of finding them, and hiring them at the right price.  And having the right staff will even allow you to automate important parts of your business.

If you want to know how I find my staff, and what I look for, then please leave a comment and if there’s enough interest, I’ll write about it here.

-Frank Haywood



27 Comments

  1. I think the important thing is to realise that you can’t do everything yourself and actually having staff can be cheaper than not having them as you can get far more done…

    I resisted delegating anything to anyone for years and eventually caved in because of one job which was taking me a day a week and which I absolutely hated. I hired someone to do it and not only did it take my pain away but he was actually much better at the task than I was. I haven’t told him but he is actually almost twice as productive as me! :-)

    That was four years ago – lesson learnt!

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @RichardGravydotcom:

      Spot on.

      When I had a job, I always found my bubble slightly deflated when coming across someone who was better at something than I was. You know the kind of thing – you think you’re really good at a particularly challenging task and then someone comes along and makes what you do look easy.

      That used to be exasperating and annoying. Now I can’t wait to find someone who can do the job better than me, and if the price is right, they can have it!

      :roll:

  2. Ken Ostrye says:

    Frank, what you speak I know is true …

    perhaps my edge when coming to the Internet was my experiences as upper management in small businesses … I learned by working closely with the owners what they did, and how to deligate …

    I admit learning to outsource on the Internet was different than interviewing candidates for employment … but each must provide a service that puts money into the business … some directly and some by allowing the manager to be more creative …

    I did my best to surround myself with people that were superior to me in some way, as that challenged me to a higher level of excellence; and I could learn from them …

    I appreciate this article as it resets my compass and will help me regain focus for the tasks that I do best and to remember to ‘hire’ people to free up my time for those tasks …

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Ken Ostrye:

      What a REALLY good point Ken. We learn these “common sense” things in one role, and then forget to apply them elsewhere. I was a manager for years at Land Rover until I left and started my own business. Because I had to learn so much new stuff for an online business, over time I forgot to use some of the very useful things I’d learned while in a job.

      Then came the realisation that actually, a bit of project planning wouldn’t hurt at all. And applying deadlines to tasks was probably a good idea. And why not set some simple costs for a project while I’m at it?

      Blimey! That stuff works in my online business too! None of this is rocket science, but we just lose sight of it. :roll:

  3. Sally says:

    Hi Frank, yes I really would love to know how to find great staff.

    But with limited funds I feel I am at a catch 22 stage right now.

    I need to employ people to grow my business and make more money, but I can’t really pay anyone a lot of money right now.

    Sally :)

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Sally! Ah, well, the world gets smaller and there are now plenty of places where you can hire excellent people full time for a month for just a small amount of money – probably what you’d make on a single promo.

      Would you like to be my guinea pig? ;-) I’ll drop you a line.

  4. Pete Fulham says:

    Hi Frank,

    Glad to hear you are better now and getting back on form.

    I seem to raise a support ticket whenever it’s most inconvenient to you lol!

    The last time was when you hired someone to take care of the support desk and they didn’t. An example of not so good staff. I know that I raised the point in here (I don’t know if you published it) but that was because I know you had problems in the past and I wanted to give you a heads up that something may be amiss. I was not really concerned, about the issue as I know from experience that you will do your best to ensure you have happy customers.

    I have for the first time paid someone to help me get my web site setup in my business.
    Whilst apprehensive initially about giving up ‘my baby’ to see it completed and ready to go was a fantastic feeling. Job done in a couple of days.

    I now want to drive some traffic to it, and am thinking can I get this done by someone else (and still make a profit)? Any ideas would be useful from you Frank or any one else reading the blog.

    Glad your back, keep up the good work, hopefully we’ll get to meet in person one day especially as we can only be 30 miles apart.

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Pete, it’s true. I’d like to say I’ve had some bad luck with choosing staff, but it’s been my own stupid fault. I just didn’t know how or where to hire the right people, and then I gave too much unwarranted trust in the the people I did hire.

      But of course, it’s all been good learning. By a bit of trial and error and paying for some of it, I now know how to do it properly. I can’t say I won’t still hire a lemon from time to time, but I’ve learned how to (largely) avoid it, and to fire them as soon as my gut tells me to.

      Would you like to be my second guinea pig? :)

  5. Carol says:

    Sorry you’ve been unwell – good to hear you’re better now.

    My online business is starting to take off (thanks in no small part to SmartDD) and I’m just at the stage of finding I need some extra help, at least until I can afford to give up my day job. It’s hard to let go though. I’ve started to show my husband how to do some of the more straightforward tasks, but I must admit I tend to hover and check up on him!

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Carol:

      Letting go – tell me about it! ;-)

      I’ve been the world’s worst. Yes I think it’s important to learn at least something about a particular task so that you can talk about it authoritatively. But once you know how it’s done, then it’s time to hand it to someone else.

      I’ve learned some great stuff over the years, and I know that if put my mind to it I could probably design a web site in Photoshop from scratch and then slice it and turn it into HTML. But why should I do it when there are people out there that will do it for me for just a few dollars? And make a better job of it too!

      I think maybe my problem is I’ve enjoyed the technical aspect too much, but I realised a while back that’s not where I’m best occupied…

  6. I gave up on having a “staff” back in 2004.

    At that time I resigned in frustration to doing everything myself … as it seemed impossible to find people who would actually DO what they agreed to do.

    Realizing the ultimate limitations of running a one-man dog and pony show, I say ….

    YES FRANK – please tell us how and where you find credible and qualified staffers.

    Wishing all the best
    Dan B. Cauthron

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Dan B Cauthron:

      Yep, a few years ago, having any kind of staff was a no-no unless you had a respectable turnover as it was too expensive to find the level of people you needed to do the job.

      But times change rapidly.

      If you look at all the developing countries out there, their cost of living is very low compared to ours. And there are a lot more of them. If you look at the percentages in terms of education and skill sets, then you realise that the reason that there are so many Indian doctors in the UK for example, is because there are a billion people in India at this point in time, and there are only 60 million people in the UK.

      So if one percent of the UK were to become doctors, and one per cent of India were to do the same, you end up with a lot more Indian doctors. More so if you use China as your comparitor. (3 billion population?)

      Make sense? (I don’t get my staff from India or China by the way.)

      The exact same is true of any other skill. The difference when dealing with online skills is that people can live almost anywhere in the world and work online. So just like many large corporates are doing, you can take advantage of the difference in labour costs versus cost of living, and pay people in developing countries a relatively high (to them) full time salary.

      The economics behind it all is a bit frightening, especially in these uncertain times, but the logic behind it is irrefutable.

      You can have graduate level employees working for you full time for under $500 and even under $300, just by leveraging global location…

  7. Frank Graham says:

    Sorry to hear you have been ill. I have been waiting weeks for an answer to my support ticket and for PlR Code Mine I am at the end of my rope. Promises, Promises and no results. Even still waiting for the autoresponder plug-in????????? Check out the posts. Thanks

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Frank Graham:

      As I’ve said several times before, all your support tickets have been replied to, including the one I’ve just read entitled “Spouting off”.

      The WPAR was a gesture to all PLRCM members, but after reading your rant I now feel like making it the last.

  8. Hi Frank

    I would love to know how to find people to help me with my business, mainly for writing articles and content at the moment, as this is something that I am not comfortable doing, but I am worried about the expense and also about finding someone who is reliable and can write to a high standard.

    Look forward to hearing more about this.

    Julie

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Julie Fletcher:

      So far I’ve found that if you have existing article content such as PLR sourced material, then the re-writing of it is usually very good with the occasional incorrect use of a preposition. Getting new unique material written is more of a problem to solve, but I don’t believe it’s unachievable.

      I recently found someone with excellent written English who disappeared for 2 weeks and re-surfaced just before payday funnily enough. If she’d done her job as I expected her to, then she was clearly a good candidate for well-written unique article writing, and I also wanted her to learn copywriting skills too.

      My next task is to search for a copywriter, as if I can outsource that too, then most of the business functions are covered as that person is likely to find article writing easy if they can do copywriting.

      That will then give me more time to work on this blog, more time to investigate new product ideas, and more time to help people succeed online which is what I really want to be doing.

  9. Ron Mahon says:

    Frank welcome back.
    Life is a long learning experience it only stops when life does.
    Hopefully both of ours will continue for a long time.

    Best regards
    Ron

  10. Frank, I would really like to find out more about your process for finding good staff.

    Due to the economic decline, I was able to purchase an internet company 6 months ago that had declined somewhat from its heyday….thus a good deal in my opinion and an instant business of several hundred month to month customers. We build auto dealer websites…. and it came with a seasoned staff of 5.

    Since everyone works from home, I wondered what REALLY was going on each day with the employees, since they were all home workers and we used an online time clock. The previous owner had told me everyone was fully engaged 40 hours a week, but I just wasn’t sure.

    So, I had everyone do a time log and send it to me each day. What I found out was that 4 people were busy everyday and my senior guy was assigning stuff out as needed. But, person #5, in the 2 week sample I took, some days was only logging working 1 hour…and in one case 15 minutes! I had been paying him for a 40 hour week…so stupid me.

    When I contacted him to let him know this wasn’t going to work, he seemed sincerely surprised that he was not supposed to clock in and just wait for work to be assigned.

    So, now…as I am growing, I am testing oursourcers such as on eLance. I am having a group from Argentina build some car dealer templates, after revamping my own site.

    It seems to be a good option. They give deadlines they never miss. The cost is contained and reasonable. The area where this does not seem to work is with day to day work (car dealers are constantly needing website changes). So, I need a good core staff.

    Your future thoughts on in-house staff would be most appreciated!

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Marshall Scott:

      I’m sure that you can get some good low cost full time staff that will fill your needs. It’s always hard to find a good all-rounder, but you can certainly find specialists in graphics for instance, and others such as web masters.

      And sometimes they need a little training and pushing, other times they know exactly what they’re doing and are motivated. It’s finding the latter is what’s like finding gold in the dirt.

      That’s why I say it’s important to quickly fire those people who don’t feel right to you.

      You business model is fascinating, and while I think I’m going to be tied up for the next 3-4 weeks, I’d love to get back to you on this later if that’s okay?

  11. Valda says:

    Hey there Frank, sorry to hear that you’ve not been well and it’s good to hear that you have recovered.
    As you know I am unfortunate to have a load of health problems that at times bring me and my internet business to a total stand still. On my good days I work non stop and end up rushing around like a healess chicken trying to catch on things that should’ve been done on my bad days.
    I’m in the same position as Sally whereas I could do with hiring a couple of helping hands, but funds are a bit scarce at the minute.
    I have so many huge ideas for income oportunities but just don’t have the time to fulfill them all.
    Oh well I suppose dedication and common sense will one day see me through.

    Once again glad to hear you are better.
    Take care
    Valda
    P.S. Can we have a chat about the PS eCover Action Scripts?

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Valda:

      I know you’ve had health problems, and while mine aren’t anywhere near as bad as yours I’ve never been the healthiest of people myself. My immune system is poor to bad and it seems that sometimes I only have to walk into a room with someone with a sniffle for me to walk out sneezing.

      On the bright side, because my immune system isn’t great, I don’t have any allergies. ;-)

      I would say that if you have the ideas and know exactly what to do (a plan or a vision) you should be able to find people that will do it all and do it quickly – and speed is the key.

      It’s all very well hiring people, but you have to generate income from them quickly in order to pay them. So far (other than a few mishaps with the wrong staff) I haven’t been out of pocket at all.

      I hire, they produce, I generate income to pay them, take some for myself and put the rest back into the business.

      I wish I’d known how to do this 5 years ago. Things would have been quite different. ;)

  12. Isidro says:

    Hi Frank,
    I have always ‘done it all’ and now I have to determine what parts of what I do can be farmed out. It would be good to get some direction on this. I make jewelry and in order to sell it, I built a website. Now I get some sales but to be honest, I don’t know where they are coming from. I will be interested in learning where to go to get the most appropriate help at this stage of the game.
    Be well,
    Isidro

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Isidro:

      Okay, you can get staff to take care of your website(s), and promote them with article marketing and paid advertising (if you already know how to do it yourself). Of course you can’t really get remote staff to make the jewellery easily unless you’re willing to mass produce and outsource to China, but I’ve done that too and it’s not as expensive to do as you might think.

      The first thing you should do though is invest $20 / month and go get a paid StatCounter.com account and install the tracking code on your site(s). That way you’ll know who where and when people came to your sites and what keywords each person used to find you. Once you know those keywords you can start producing written content to increase your chances of being found.

      Don’t even give Google Analytics a second thought, it’s next to useless for what you need.

  13. I have been going back and forth about this subject and still can’t get to the point of actually hiring someone. I have a day job and can definitely use a few helping hands, but I’m not sure what’s the best way to go about it. Should I hire a freelancer? should I hire a full timer from the Philippines? (seems to be popular now).

    I would love to know where you get your staff and how you manage them.

    Thanks,
    Dee.

  14. It is a good thing for people who need it and can afford to pay staff to do tasks
    BUT you have to make Money First.
    I am like 97% of people on the internet hoping to make money.
    I spent more than I make and spent countless hours trying
    I am not making any REAL money just chump change.
    It would be nice to make enough money to have the need of a outsource staff.

  15. Frank Haywood says:

    Dee, I will definitely say it’s worth taking the time out to research and hire a full timer.

    The problem with freelancers is they disappear if they’re any good. Someone offers them a full time job at the right price and they’re gone. Then you need some changes made to the work you originally contracted out and you’re back to square one.

    Now I know as well as anybody that taking on people full time can be a little scary as you have to make sure you’re either making enough money online already to pay them, or do as I do and have a plan.

    If you have a plan (that only you can really come up with to suit yourself) that will make you more and more money each month, then you have it made.

    Lay out your plan and intend to make enough money from your new hire to pay them and have enough money left over to invest back into your business. They’ll be happy and so will you.

    Be prepared to do a lot of hard thinking.

    Your plan should be in 30 day chunks, and to help you get in the right mindset for all of this, there’s a video on this site that you can get to in the menu at the top called “30 Day Projects.”

    Essentially you need to focus on one 30 day project at a time. A project may actually take you less than 30 days, but you should make sure it never takes you any longer until your business is more financially stable. By doing it that way you can have a product up and running online and bringing you in money after just 30 days.

    After another 30 days, you have yet another product doing the same thing, and so on.

    If you get the right staff and make good use of them together with your plan, you’ll make a go of it. That’s why I say you need to be prepared to do a lot of hard thinking.

    As for where I get my staff, I’ll reveal all in good time. Just keep an eye on your mailbox.

    ;-)

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