Actually Talk to Your Employees Using Skype

I got an email today from someone who claimed my bonus package and I wanted to share what I noticed.

This entrepreneur had hired 3 people from various places, including and given them the task of installing WordPress (just as John Jonas recommends). Let’s call this entrepreneur “Paul” just to hide his or her identity.

Paul had not heard from his employees in a few days and noticed they were taking 8-12 hours to reply to emails during supposed “working hours”. He was beginning to worry that outsourcing just doesn’t work.

I suggested getting on Skype and having an actual conversation. This is a HUGELY important thing to keep in mind, guys. You can’t just rely on email for problem solving. Sometimes you’ll have given your person a task that they have no idea how to handle. If you just get on Skype and have a voice chat, you can often resolve many problems.

My guess is that the employees were not given enough direction and somehow got confused and / or intimidated by the task assigned. Maybe these employees won’t work out for Paul (it sounds like they aren’t). But there may have been a miscommunication and using email will take FOREVER to resolve it.

The reason these people were taking 8-12 hours to reply to emails may have been because there was no understanding of what the working hours would be. I’ve often found that some of my guys like to start in the afternoon and work into the wee hours of the evening. I get daily updates from them at 2am their time.

The point is that you just DO NOT KNOW what is going on and you’ll not find out quickly enough by email. It will eat you up and it will piss you off to no end. So get on Skype, have a call, and figure it out. It’s way faster and more effective.

Making Money with Article Marketing and Product Reviews

Today I want to give you another simple case study about article marketing + blogging. This is a story about how I got a first-page Google ranking for a profitable keyword within one month. It will generate me auto-pilot income for (likely) years to come. It took some up-front investment in time, but it is easily outsourceable and repeatable.

Got your interest? Good. Let’s move right along.

Important side note:
When I say “article marketing” I’m specifically talking about Unique Article Wizard, which is by far the easiest way to accomplish these results. It is not free, but as you’ll eventually learn throughout your marketing career, you need to pay for good quality stuff if you want to succeed. If you subscribe to this service using my link I will give you the same bonus package that I offer to people who join Replace Myself. See this page for info on the bonus package, and then just come back here and use my link to join UAW.

About the Product I Promote:

I chose an information product that has a recurring monthly fee and pays a decent commission. It’s something I feel very good about promoting because I’ve seen the content. Pick stuff you feel good about. Be ethical. Enough said.

The Keyword:

My goal was to rank very highly for the product name, and for variations such as “product name review”, etc. When people are searching on a product name it means they are interested in buying, but they need more information. It’s a great area to start with your marketing efforts.

Just so you know, the product name I want to rank for is two words. It’s harder to rank for two-word phrases compared to something like “Captain MonkeyUncle’s Large Brown Underwear”. Duh.

Assessing the Competition:

I don’t believe in huge keyword research. Keep it simple. Type the keyword into Google within quotes to reveal the number of pages with a phrase match for your keyword. Reminder, if the keyword is “Stinky Shoes”, you want to know exactly how many pages say those words in that order. You don’t want to skip the quotes or you’ll get a total number of pages that says “stinky” and “shoes” anywhere on the page.

In this case, my competition is about 90,000 pages. Certainly not child’s play, but definitely not rocket science to beat.

Now we look at Page Rank. Type the keyword into Google again, but without quotes this time. This is how your prospects type stuff, so copy them. Look at the top 10 results and get the page rank for each page. I use the FireFox plugin “SEO4Firefox” to do this. Average it out. If it is under 2 you should be in good shape. Above 2 and it will be harder to compete.

In my case, the average worked out to 1.1 (a few zeros, and a few pages with PR 1, 2, 3, and even a 4).

The Work Involved:

First, I setup a WordPress site. As usual I made the static home page the sales page. I then created a “blog” page and set that up so that’s where the blog posts go. Pretty ordinary so far. I have a guy who sets up sites like this for me and it takes him about 45 minutes to install WP, add the plugins, setup the pages, install the theme, etc. From there anyone can do the posting (myself or an employee).

I started publishing some decent articles as blog posts. Nothing huge, just stuff that I could whip off easily. I’m up to about a dozen posts on that blog over the course of a month.

Next Comes the Promotion via Article Marketing

I wrote a whopping total of 2 articles with educational information about the niche. I didn’t even mention the product in the articles. I just wrote for the reader, and I provided links back to my site in the resource box. It took me about 45 minutes to do each article, including the “re-writes” needed for the Unique Article Wizard system. Making the resource boxes took 10 minutes.

I submitted the articles separately (about 2 weeks apart) using Unique Article Wizard. I made sure to use a variety of titles and a variety of anchor text and resource boxes.

Ok Let’s Get to the Good Stuff … The Results!

At first I was nowhere to be seen on the first 3 pages of Google. I wasn’t even cracking the top 30! That is typical. I had no backlinks yet, and my site was pretty new. Remember, the articles had not yet been submitted at this stage!

About 2 weeks after I submitted my first article I was on the 2nd page of Google if you typed “product name review” (no quotes). But still nowhere to be seen for the product name alone. Mind you, my first article was still in the process of being drip-fed out to the directories.

That’s when I submitted the 2nd article. Again, I waited another two weeks. Every day the Unique Article Wizard would submit my articles to blogs and directories. I could see the pingbacks coming to my site each day, so I knew I was getting about 10 new backlinks per day (I set the articles to drip out to only 20 sites per day). BTW, I don’t keep the pingbacks. I delete them. But I like to see them come in since it tells me that backlinks are being formed.

After a total duration of four weeks, my rankings had significantly improved. And I mean SIGNIFICANTLY. I’m now showing on the first page for the main keyword. I’m ranked #8 as of this writing. If you add “review” after the keyword then I’m ranking #6.

Do you think I plan to stop there? Of course not! I’ll just submit another fresh article into the wizard every couple of weeks (or maybe every week if I’m aggressive) and I’m very confident I can get to the #2 or #3 spot (the top spot will probably always be owned by the product vendor’s site).

Very Important SEO Point: Results do NOT come instantly. Quit thinking that you can post something today and rank for it tomorrow. That’s definitely true for non-competitive phrases, but if there is even only mild competition it will take some time. Just be cool with that concept and plan to build a business around it.

The Money:

The site I’m referring to has brought in a few hundred bucks so far. Nothing huge, but remember that it’s still new and my rankings are still being built up in Google. I expect that making $1000 per month is very doable from this site. That’s just ONE site. Keep that in perspective when you think about the $67 cost for Unique Article Wizard.

Also remember that the time investment is only modest up-front, and then very light going forward. All I need to do is keep submitting a new article every month to ensure that competition doesn’t creep up behind me and push me out of the way.

Outsourcing These Projects

In this particular example I wrote the website content and articles myself. That’s because I know the market better than anyone who works for me. Plus I actually enjoy writing (as you may have noticed), so I pick topics that I want to write about and I outsource other topics. There are plenty of projects where I do none of the writing. I just manage the process. I have someone else setup WordPress. Someone else writes reviews. That same writer will do the articles and submit them to UAW for me (I literally don’t touch them).

Then my VA keeps track of analytics to see what’s getting traffic and what’s not. We’ve done this on tons of products and sometimes you get “easy rankings” with only a few backlinks.

If you know the rankings are coming quickly and the product converts, you can then go back and improve your review, add more content, add a bonus offer, or whatever. That’s the power of outsourcing. You can test a LOT of stuff very cheaply with someone else’s labor, and then you can go back and re-invest in the stuff that is working.

This way your efforts are concentrated on only worthwhile projects.

UAW Bonus Offer

I think you can tell that I’m pretty passionate about the power of Unique Article Wizard. If you buy it through my link I’ll give you the bonus package that I created for Replace Myself members (outsourcing stuff). The bonus covers a lot of important concepts involving UAW, outsourcing, and hiring English writers, so it will definitely be useful to you.

Outsourcing Article Writing vs. Website Content

There is a major distinction that I eventually learned when it comes to content creation. It is important to understand if you are going to get involved in outsourcing “stuff that is written”.

Here it is:

Articles are for backlinks. Website content is to make sales.

It really is that simple.

When you publish articles to article directories, you are generally doing it for the backlinking power of the articles. Because of this, it is not critical to have awesome content.

When you publish content on your own website, you want to drive the reader to take action. That could be to click over to an affiliate link, or to sign up for your autoresponder, or to buy YOUR product. Whatever it is, you are looking for action to be taken.

So how do you maximize ROI when you invest in outsourcing?

Hire “decent” writers to write articles. If you are going after backlinks, then you don’t need works of art. You need articles that are relatively useful and relatively free of spelling and grammar mistakes. I can hire someone any day of the week for about $300 per month to write these types of articles.

Hire top quality writers when you want content written for your own website. This includes landing pages, pre-sell pages, opt-in pages, or whatever you need. A higher quality writer will cost more, say $500 per month. But quality is important.

When doing article marketing is is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to submit unique articles to a wide variety of article directories and blogs. You need to use unique titles, and unique resource boxes.

The best way to do this is to use Unique Article Wizard. It costs $67 per month, and it is WELL worth the price. That is what I use. Seriously just do it and judge for yourself.

Just TRY to take my Unique Article Wizard account away from me. I’ll fight you all the way. It’s THAT good.

Tasks that I’m Outsourcing These Days

Often people will ask “what kinds of tasks do you outsource”. Here’s a list of stuff that I’ve been outsourcing lately, and what I think works.

1) Keyword research.
: If we start a new project we need to decide what keywords we are going to go after. I own a copy of Market Samurai, which I like to use to automate a lot of the information gathering on keywords. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on keyword research so I’ll ask an employee to come up with the “big giant list” of keywords, then I’ll delete anything that is obviously not useful, and run the list through market samurai. I export a CSV file and send it back to him. He can then go through it to check for the best opportunities according to some screens that I learned. One of my favorite screens is to look for keywords that get reasonable traffic, have phrase match competition (search in quotes) of under 20,000 results, and where the average PR of the top 10 results (search without quotes) is under 2.

2) Writing landing pages and product review
If we have a specific product that we want to promote we might either create a series of landing pages, where one page is targeted at one keyword, or we will create a product review where we are going after keywords such as “product name review”. Either way, this is something that is easy to outsource. Make sure you outsource this to a good writer. The content needs to be high quality here.

3) Article writing.
We write articles mainly for backlinks. I have never found that articles have been a good source of traffic on their own, but they do propel us in terms of off-page SEO, so we get more direct traffic for our keywords. I use a method of article marketing that John Jonas teaches inside of Replace Myself.

4) Article submission. We use EzineArticles, along with other free directories. But, the KEY to our SEO success is using Unique Article Wizard. This service does cost money but it comes back in spades. I wrote this case study in using unique article wizard, and the same thing keeps happening over and over again when we write specific product reviews and aim links at them through UAW. I don’t do any of the submission myself. It’s incredibly easy to outsource.

5) Mini-net creation.
We setup a series of blogs that link to each other and to our “money sites”. We link using a mixture of anchor text. These are easy to setup and require a new blog post ever few weeks to keep them active. This is an ongoing product that I outsource. I have not ever touched it. It certainly helps us with SEO. The guy that takes care of this project also does a monthly rank-checking spreadsheet and we can see that we DO move up. One trick: Make sure to log out of your Google account before checking your rankings.

6) Blog setup and maintenance.. We run a lot of WordPress sites. The setup is now templated. We do the same thing, pretty much, for all sites. One of my guys just sets them up and he does a weekly check for comments, spam, etc. We may shift to every two weeks on this because all comments go into a moderation queue anyway.

7) Split Testing.
We use Google Website Optimizer to perform A/B tests on landing pages, or on offers, etc. I simply had one of my guys learn how to install the split tests using a WordPress plugin and he runs the tests. I usually get involved only to come up with a good idea … something I think is worth testing. He does the legwork to make it happen.

8) Google Analytics.
If you run websites you should be using analytics. I like to use analytics for content ideas. I can see how people are finding our sites. Say that we setup a new site and we have a product review for XYZ. Say we have VERY few links pointing to the review, and somehow we’re getting traffic for it anyway. I taught my guy to dig into this. So he can now look for sources of traffic, and then go to Google to see where we rank on these keywords. Sometimes we rank within the top 20 but not on the first page. So we write some articles to throw backlinks at these reviews using the keyword as anchor text. Within a few weeks we’re ranking better and we get MORE traffic.

It ain’t rocket science folks … but you need to be organized and execution-driven.

Important Point about Tools:

I notice a lot of people are hesitant to try out a tool that costs money. They go to forums and ask people how well they work, or they read reviews. That is DEFINITELY smart, but please do not fall into the trap of standing still because you are not sure if it works. Guess what! Pretty much every monthly-fee tool out there has a free trial period, or at the very least, allows you to cancel anytime.

Look at Unique Article Wizard as one example. It’s $67 per month. I hesitated in the beginning because I didn’t know better. I thought, “Is it really that useful”. Then I re-read something John Jonas wrote over at his blog. He said something like, “This is the way article marketing was meant to be done”. So what’s the worst case scenario? I login to the system, absolutely hate it, and ask for a refund? I know I’ll get refunded if I ask. You know it too.

So if there is a tool out there that you think might help you, GO FIND OUT. Test it.

What About Those “Bad Experiences” Outsourcing?

I read a lot of threads about outsourcing on forums, and a lot of blog posts on the topic. Whenever anyone talks about how effective it is for their business, it is virtually a sure thing that someone will come in and reply with a comment like this:

“Well, I don’t really know about this. I tried outsourcing overseas before and it really didn’t work out. The guy couldn’t do anything that he said he could, and I kept giving him chances. Eventually I had to fire him. I don’t think outsourcing works.”

Let me ask you a few questions:

  • When you were a kid and you missed the bus, did you say that “Well, I just can’t use the public transport system. it’s impossible”?
  • When you had a date with a girl/guy, and it didn’t go well, did you say, “This dating thing just doesn’t work. I don’t think I can do it”?
  • When you bought some toy and got it home, only to find yourself disappointed by its quality did you say, “That’s it .. I’m not buying any more toys”?
  • When you take the milk out of your fridge and find it sour, do you say, “I’ll never buy milk at THAT grocery story again”?

Of COURSE you don’t!

So why is it that when someone has a bad experience outsourcing, they just want to give up? Probably because it is NOT a complete cakewalk, and it is a bit scary to become a “manager”. So if you are reading this and you fall into that camp of “not being sure” about outsourcing, just ask your self this:

Would you rather stop, and simply cease to move towards your goal?
Would you rather do EVERYTHING yourself? (This is impossible)?
…or would you rather figure out what you did wrong and get back up!

Maybe you hired the wrong person
Maybe you were a crappy manager
Maybe you provided no training or direction
Maybe you did not define tasks clearly
Maybe your expectations were wildly unrealistic

There are SO many possible reasons why you didn’t achieve what you expected when you first “tried” to outsource. You can either conclude that “all those offshore workers are no good”, or you can get smart and realize that you probably have more to learn.

There’s my rant for today. I hope you learned something from it. Seriously.

(Oh, BTW, this kind of stuff is exactly why you need to learn from what John Jonas teaches about outsourcing)

Throughout the internet marketing field, there are many business owners who would rather hire a writer rather than write for themselves. This is because working on your business is generally better than working in your business. Let me share with you a few tips that I’ve developed for hiring and training writers.

1. Ask your potential candidates to send you samples of their writing. Ask for more than one sample, also. You do not want to blindly hire someone based on the content of an email message.

2. If you come up with a fictional topic, you can ask candidates to write about that topic as if it were a real topic. This prevents the writer from being able to copy material from elsewhere. It gives you a chance to see how they write, creatively, without being given any material to start from.

3. Test candidates on their ability to correct basic errors. Pre-write a one or two paragraph sample that is injected with basic English grammar and spelling errors. Focus on verb tenses and plural vs. singular formats. If they can fix all of the mistakes, they are likely better qualified.

4. Avoid having the above-described test done by email. It’s better to have this short test done right on the spot, via Skype chat. This way your candidate won’t have a chance to get help anywhere else. You need to see what they can do on their own.

5. Discuss the volume of writing output that you’ll expect ahead of time. But avoid asking for any kind of software time tracking to be used. You don’t want to make your writer feel like he is punching a time clock. That’s not cool. Focus on quality and quantity, rather than hours.

6. Early on, for example in the first week or two, ask for revisions to any work that is not absolutely perfect. But be nice about it! This will set the tone for what kind of quality you expect while not having you come across as a mean boss.

Stick with it. These are just a few ideas, but ultimately as you outsource your writing you’ll develop more ideas to grow your business. Just take action.

I’m an Internet Marketer, and like most of you, I’m on a ton of other people’s lists. I get promotional emails every day about something. Lately, I got a promotional email about some nifty project management software that competes with what oDesk provides you. The big feature they talked about was time tracking.

Let me say what I hope many of you are already thinking. I have NO interest in using any sort of time tracking software.

I believe in treating people the way I’d want to be treated if I were an employee. This means not having anyone police my hours. Now, obviously there are some exceptions. For example, if my job was to guard the cash register at a store, during operating hours, then there is a clear relation between hours worked and accomplishing the job. The job IS dependent upon being there. Another example would be working at a restaurant, or being a Lifeguard at a pool.

But in Internet Marketing, we hire people to use their brains when they do their work. We hire them to do some mechanical stuff, but find ways to be efficient on their own. We have some internal expectations of what they’ll accomplish in a day. If they meet those expectations, we should reward them. If they fail to meet those expectations, we should ask questions and help them get better.

If, after investing some time in an employee, you find that he or she simply is not outputting what you expect, then let the employee go. But don’t tell me that I need to start measuring their hours and turn them into a clock puncher. Not interested. Thanks.

I don’t need MORE work (tracking their hours). I simply need effective employees. By treating people well, and setting clear expectations, that’s what I get.

Testimonials for

Check out these videos of actual customers of Replace Myself. It’s very cool of them to have provided these testimonials. I think that by watching some of them you’ll gain some insight into exactly what they got out of the system, and from outsourcing in general.

I hope these help you understand the importance of outsourcing. Now you need to go take ACTION.

Start here.

Another Perspective and Review on Replace Myself

From a marketing perspective, I often like to see what people are putting on YouTube. Sometimes it gives me good ideas. Anyway, I found this video review of on YouTube. It’s short, and seems fairly well balanced (not just all good stuff).

My thoughts:
He says that the training provided inside of ReplaceMyself is “weak”. I disagree with this. I think the training is actually very solid. Maybe he thinks it is weak because it is broken down into many steps. For example, on the training in sales copywriting, John basically provides about a dozen or more things that he wants your workers to go through. They could be PDF documents, audio lessons, or videos. Keep in mind this fits into the 80 / 20 rule. He is not creating novels or DVD courses to train your workers. He is giving them the knowledge that will allow them to get 80% of the job done, and enough knowledge to go out and LEARN the rest.

The free audio:
Obviously the free audio mentioned in the video is the one that John offers when you opt-in to his mailing list. It’s a great audio, and worth getting.

The training is a big time saver, in my opinion. I only wish he gave people more of the advanced hiring techniques that I’ve come to learn. But that’s why I created a bonus package as an affiliate :)

I wanted to share something that I’ve learned over the last few months, and I think it’s important.

Generally speaking, you’ll have better success if you hire someone on a full time basis as compared to hiring them part time.

I can’t say I know exactly why, and my sample size is not massive here, but I know that John Jonas gives out the same advice, as do many others who outsource to the Philippines.

I suspect it has to do with the fact that part time employees have other top priorities in life. Often I’ve had students work for me and they would turn in awesome work, only to flake out when school assignments got in the way. They just didn’t really seem to value the job, or NEED the job. It was nice to make money working for me part time, but not essential to their life.

The pattern is obvious. At first they are gung-ho to work. They deliver good work and pay attention to training material. Then they start delivering less work and reporting in less often. Eventually they don’t work out and you either arrange a new (less hours) agreement, or you let them go.

This has happened to me with a total of 3 part time employees so far, and ALL of them had been doing good work, and I would have kept them. I treated them very well, I looked for ways to work with them around their schedules, but it was obvious that the work was simply not high enough priority.

My full time people have ALL been substantially better. It’s very clear that they value their jobs more. So my advice is to hire people full time whenever possible.

If you can’t afford a full time person, it’s best to split their time with a fellow internet marketer friend. This is better than hiring someone part time.

If you must hire someone part time I would make it very clear that you want them to hold regular (defined) hours. Avoid having someone who just works 20 hours per week as it fits their changing schedule. I can promise you that this arrangement will fail. Get someone who can commit to 4 hours per day between 5-9pm, for example. That will be much easier to manage because you’ll expect daily communication from them at the end of their workday.

Bottom line – full time is better than part time, but if you do go part time make sure you establish some very similar rules about daily communication to improve your odds. I did not do this with my part time workers, and I’m sure it contributed to the failure of these relationships.

Hope that helps!

Make sure to read my Replace Myself Review

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