Episode 204: Outsourcing For Your Agency
Rob Cairns sits down with Michael Short of GoWP to talk about why Outsourcing can benefit your agency.
- Why outsourcing?
- Can outsourcing help you scale?
- What type of tasks can you outsource?
- Where to go for outsourcing.
Hey everybody, Rob Cairns today I’m here with Michael Short of go WP how are you telling Michael?
I’m great, thanks Robert.
it’s great to have you.
So it’s like today we jump on and talk a little bit about why you should do outsourcing for your agency, which is something you specialize in.
But before we get to that, do you wanna tell us a little bit?
About your background please.
Sure, absolutely no problem. So yeah, my name is Michael Short. I work at go WP, a senior account manager. There I’ve owned and still own and manage a digital agency for the last 22 plus years.
And in that process, I’ve not only served our clients in multiple ways, trying multiple things, doing, outsourcing where there’s outsourcing copywriters and designers and developers.
I’ve had my fair share of experience there and then I’ve met Brad, the owner of Go WP at well, I actually met him.
Just before Cabo Press about 2.
Years ago, but we got to connect more at Kabul press itself and.
And I never thought in a million years in meeting him and talking to him and getting to enjoy his company, that I would ever work for him.
’cause obviously I had my own agency.
One of the other things I had done through that agency is I’ve.
Created plugins for websites as a service West.
It’s called Bass Pro and so that was my reason for being there at cobble presses to just kind of learn and explore how I can grow that part of my business.
And anyway, so uh, Brad and I connected and nothing.
I never thought like I said like that would never work for him.
And my family and I decided that we were going to take a journey about.
A year little over a year ago in our RV and travel the United States and explore everywhere and so.
Just before going on that journey, and as we’re preparing for it, I noticed that Brad posted in his Facebook group the Go WP Group, that digital agency owners group is that he was looking for someone that had my qualifications and I felt like I was reading my resume.
So I just jokingly said, when do I start?
And that kind of led to where we are today and I end up getting hired.
And so it’s been amazing.
It’s been a wonderful ride in both my journey on the RV, but also more importantly in my journey with go WP.
Yeah, it has been an attorney from the RV is something that I think many people would like to do and they just.
Never kind of pulled the plug on that type of a journey, so I think it’s great you’re doing that.
Actually, it’s really cool.
You know, talking to you and falling in saying, oh, where’s Michael today?
Deal it’s it’s really interesting.
Yeah, it’s a.
It’s an amazing experience.
We’ve been keeping record of it on our Instagram channel.
We have one called blame it on whiskey if you want to look at it, but you know, we just we are recording our travels just so that family and friends back at home or West went home in California, Southern California.
Be able to keep up with what we’re doing and and that gets also posted to my Facebook group.
I’m sorry, not group by Facebook profile as well, but yeah, it’s been.
Uh, it’s been awesome I I’m it’s able to see more things in the last year than probably my entire life prior, so it’s been pretty awesome.
Yeah yeah, the biggest thing is you know when people travel. They tend to say if you’re in the US, where are you gonna go?
You’re gonna go to the Caribbean, you’re gonna go to Europe and they never take the time to see the OS.
It’s the same thing in Canada.
Where I am people travel and I’ve been all over this country over the years and most people never.
They always say you’re Canadian we’re gonna go I’m gonna go to Florida and then I go to California or go to Caribbean over the air and they don’t care to know their own country.
And that’s quite an interesting experience, to say the least.
It it yeah, it’s sad that you know.
I guess it’s just everything else because you read or see it on TV or whatever.
That date looks more enticing, but I don’t know.
the United States is amazing place.
So many great people and great things to see.
I would like to get up to Canada.
Obviously COVID and restrictions there.
Have prevented me from going that direction, so when that when I hear that I can go up there and it’s not cold and snowing, then I will probably make my way that direction that.
Would be awesome since you.
Yeah, you’re you’re always.
Welcome, so let’s.
Jump into the world of outsourcing and that’s when the things go down.
EP specializes in so the first question I’m going to ask is if you want to scale your business.
As far as I’m concerned, you have to do one or two things you’ve gotta hire staff or you’ve got outsource.
Why outsourcing over hiring?
Yeah, before we even answered that question I would say you know there’s I don’t know if you heard the guy named Robert Kiyosaki who wrote Rich Dad poor Dad.
Yeah, I mean one of his statements and I’m not sure if he coined it or not, but basically said there’s two ways to make money, other people time or other people money.
So in other words, you can leverage off of other people by investing in something and borrowing money, or you can leverage off of other people’s time and just mark up their their time so that you can, ’cause we’re limited on our time.
As an individual, you know we only have so many hours in every day and a lot of those times we have to be sleeping to just get rest.
So yeah, we’re going to be a bottleneck at some point, and so the best way to scale is going to be leveraging other people’s time and building a team in a way that.
Is productive and efficient so that you know you’re able to make money and so the reason.
So to answer your question, the question being is that what’s what would.
Why outsourcing instead of hiring in house and I would say there’s a lot of reasons for that, but for me, one of the ones that stick out is when you hire in house.
You have a lot of tax implications that come with that.
If if you’re you know, having someone on staff and coming in, or they act as an employee, you’re going to have to pay taxes in ways that you won’t have to when you outsource.
Outsourcing is great too, because with with when you hire someone in house, you’re responsible.
More responsible I would say for that person’s livelihood like you, you feel more obligated to make sure that they’re that they’re taken care of.
And even in down times you want to make sure that they’re taken care of, whereas and when you’re outsourcing is a service and so just like any other service, you can cancel and restart whenever you need to.
And that’s I think when it’s another reason or another benefit.
Also, a really big benefit that I’ve found personally because I also use go WP dedicated services in my own agency and what I found is that the quality of talent that you get with outsourcing you don’t have to pay the rates that you would have to pay if you were to hire them in house.
So in other way.
It’s or even outsourcing outside of a company like Go WP, where if you were to just bring on someone for let’s say 2 hours a day, five days a week.
So 40 hours a month that you wouldn’t they.
They may agree to work with you under those conditions.
However, if someone another company were to come in and and have their other six hours and provide them.
With more stability and say I need you do full 8 hours they it’s very likely that they can say hey look Michael I I just can’t work for you anymore.
I got this other opportunity whereas we at GO WP the other two the.
The other six hours from the two hours that I would get, they’re being serviced by to other clients of ours and that way like they’re still getting that security from go WP without me having to pay in the front.
You know front the the bill on it, so it’s an amazing thing, because now I have the security annoying that the you know the outsourced partner is going to be able to work with me for long term.
And not worry about them getting poached or going somewhere else.
Yeah, and when we think about outsourcing the two things in our business, when I say our business, the agency business that come to mind right away is virtual assistance. Vad’s and.
Uhm, outsourcing some year development.
Whether their casts are really good for agencies to look at it, outsource.
Yeah, so echo WP.
We offer designers, developers, copywriters, project managers and we are looking at also adding account managers.
Someone that can answer the phone and take calls for you.
So these are all things that we’re looking at ways that we can truly help agencies scale and grow their business in ways that maybe they haven’t even thought of.
In terms of the type of people that could be useful in their business so.
Yeah, yeah, there’s there’s a lot of ways.
Villiers is, you know, one of those.
Personally, I’ve tried hiring Villiers in the past and I actually have a couple now.
I might actually have one VA on my team and then another SDR.
Just sales Rep.
Uhm, yeah, there’s there’s some.
There’s a different ways.
There’s dress, dress basically business development reps or sales development reps, people that will take on phone calls and then transfer those calls to a proper sales wrap up.
BDR would be one that actually take the call and close the deals in the SDR would just redo the reach outs.
Uhm, so yeah, it’s there’s a lot of ways you can grow and scale your business.
Different roles that you can put into.
Does go WP offer anything on the on the business side for example?
And the accountant comes to mind.
Or have you have you stayed away from that side of?
It at this point.
You know, I’m we’re pretty soon going to say you can outsource everything at GoDaddy, but no, that’s not something that’s on the table that I’m aware of yet.
We haven’t gotten to the accounting side of things.
However, now that you mention that there is a webinar coming out regarding taxes this week, I don’t know when you’re going to air this.
But yeah, that’s you know you can always go look at our previous webinars and I’m sure you’ll find it.
Are trying to be as useful and helpful to our community as possible and within all areas and aspects of growing your agency and running your agency so it’s not unlikely that that could be a possibility in the future.
Now the problem with outsourcing is and I kind of want to.
Have a little.
Bit about this discussion.
I know at go WP you that the people that you employ very you know for outsourcing very carefully.
I think outsourcing gets a bad name because we all think about the people in India or in Pakistan and that part of the world and.
Not everybody is.
Bad over there, so don’t get me wrong, but I know in having spent many many years in the IT industry.
And even dealing with telecom companies, we all kind.
I kind of cringe every time I have to make a call to somebody.
And I know I’m getting an India call center or I’m getting a Pakistan call center or something like that what?
Is your feeling?
About hiring people, working overseas and how do you handle that?
Yeah, so the majority of our developer majority of our outsourced services that we provide are global and so ironically enough we don’t have anyone in India or Pakistan.
It’s not because we have anything against those areas, it’s just we haven’t.
Found you know anybody that meets our requirements and past our vetting process.
That that from that region.
But that’s not to say that you know there’s anything wrong with them.
We have a lot in Philippines.
We have some in.
Let’s see we have some Poland and South Africa and just all just basically all over the world.
Anyone with Spain and just trying to think of them as they.
Come to mind.
But we it.
It’s one of the very first things.
That we definitely vet for is their ability to speak and understand English.
That’s very, very important to us, so they need to be able to communicate well with English because they’re gonna be client facing.
They’ll be working with our clients and we, you know, that’s I think everyone first and foremost concern.
Uh, then after that then we start getting into as long as they pass that.
Then we get into the vetting process of like their their actual skill sets and so forth.
You know, after we even do that and then they pass all the skill set tests.
Then we we go into a meeting and make sure that they can articulate words well in conversation.
So we have a zoom.
Call meeting with them and make sure that they’re able to speak English well there as well.
And yeah, that that is one of our like most highest concerns is their ability to, especially with our I mean with all services, but even more importantly with our copywriters.
So if you were to read any of our copywriters, what they write you would any like you would just assume they were from the US or an English speaking like a native English speaker.
Yeah, and that vetting process I recall from a webinar I watched recently that you were one of the speakers on that you actually have them more.
Internally at go WP before you turn them out into.
The wild, so just.
Yes, we do. That’s part of our vetting process. So we like, let’s say, for example a copywriter. We will have them work on our own blogs and we treat it 100% as if they as if go WP was the first client and they are.
We are our own first client and so we go through kickoff, call every part of our process that we would have with an actual.
Agency client we do internally and just so that they can get their feet, ground it and understand how the process works and make sure that they understand what the expectations are coming from us and what our clients would most likely expect them to do as well.
So that’s worked well for us.
And how does it?
Work on the outsourcing side in terms of project management and the reason I ask this question is every agency has their favorite project management tools.
I do you do?
I’m sure they’re different.
Uhm, or the same for some in the middle.
Do you basically say to the people that hire your outsourced staff that they have to work in your?
Project management system.
Or do you?
Say they have to work in the agencies project management system.
How do you how do?
You set that up.
I guess I never thought of it that we wouldn’t say that they have to work in the agency project management system, but I guess that is the truth.
We don’t have one internally, so we recommend and they would have to work inside whatever platform that the agency has.
So if they’re using sauna, click up Basecamp.
Any of those things we recommend or we can make?
Recommendations that they don’t already have that, but most agencies that we talk with already have something in place and those that don’t.
And I do strategy calls all the time and I can help them through my experience.
I get set up with the thing, the tools that are going to be best for them.
And I think that’s the key and I always say that people people come to me all the time in businesses and stuff.
And I have a project management background and people have said me which project management tools should I use and my answer.
Usually Michael is the one that works the best for you and yeah, so I’m not a big fan of.
You know the problem in the last World there’s a sass world is we all jump around tools like we brush our teeth in the morning.
Some of us may people spend more time looking at tools than they actually do in doing the work.
And I I think that’s a big mistake, honestly.
I think workflow is everything.
Yeah, I agree, I agree and you know it’s it’s hard though, because I know a lot of us come from a background of being on a team, woman or team or two.
Or, you know, just a few people where a project management tool, in my opinion, becomes really helpful is when you start to grow and scale your company.
So you have to in the beginning act as if because you want to have those processes and.
Where it flows in place for when the time comes you do add people to your team, will make that transition a lot smooth.
Other, but it is difficult when you’re a team of 1 and to stop what you’re doing and put it in a tool because you already know what needs to be done.
It’s it, it is a little challenging, but it’s important.
I I would recommend highly that you pick a tool I we in my agency.
We we’ve gone through several, we’ve landed on Pluto is the one that we chose to use.
We were using click up and then.
Just for cost reasons like had appsumo deal so I decided to just give it a go and and it’s work.
Yeah I I did funny at mention cook up ’cause I landed on quick up after using a multitude of tools and I’m at the point where I can’t see myself switching.
It’s just the the cost and the time.
The switches is not worth it.
It comes back to that right?
So you just kinda.
Yeah, and and and I think you know it’s funny because I think a lot of agencies, especially when you go from a team of 1 and people.
Try and scale.
And then they go to outsourcing, and I think the one thing a lot of single or two people agencies need to do is get their processes and procedures down when they’re working on their own.
So then if they ever have to scale, it’s all.
There and ready.
To go, they have thoughts on that.
Absolutely, it’s it’s hard to do.
It’s hard to bank yourself.
Sit down and put those processes in place for the longest time in my agency.
It was a team of two me and one other and they got in Moses his name and he’s been with me for pretty much the start of my agency.
Like maybe a year or so after.
Yeah, he’s become my project manager and he’s good at doing those sort of things.
I’m not, but you know, even when I have to do it, it’s it’s.
It’s an important thing you have to.
You need to sit down and do it.
I make up my entire team, brought right down their processors now to so that the next guy or someone else can come in and do whatever it you know, tasks that they need to accomplish by looking at those processes.
With technology today, you know like zoom.
I mean it’s not.
Zoom loom videos and things like that.
It works really well.
I know there’s something called.
I think it’s called tangerine or something like that that we’ve used and where basically it it just screen records as you’re going through your process, you can see just click.
It there’s just tools out there that make recording.
Your process is much quicker and efficient, and so it doesn’t have to feel like you’re pulling teeth or spending a lot of time doing it, but it is important to.
I I agree with you and I I.
Think it’s a?
Great way, even if for an agency in a team, a one or a team of two and then moving forward and growing.
It’s a great way to find out where the holes are, what you’re not doing right, what you’re not doing wrong and and then going from.
If you were recommending to an agency that’s looking at outsourcing and I and I know this is a general question, what do you think is the first thing they should look at a designer or copy editor?
Do you have any thoughts there, or is it all kind of?
Yeah, so go WP.
One of the things that we recommend you do.
We have a sheet for this where you write down all your tasks that you need to hit done on a regular basis and then you separate those tasks based off the type of roles that would be responsible.
So like these tasks are like more of sales role, these tasks are more of the project manager role and so forth.
Separate those things.
Then write a scale of 1 to 10.
Which of those tasks like bring you happiness?
We have five different things that you want to scale it on and then from there, like actually I was just giving me see if I can pull that up real quick.
What that looks like if my computer gets me there fast enough.
Almost there, I just can’t.
Modern tech modern technology.
Michael modern technology.
Yeah, and indeed.
So the things that we look at are.
Is it something that is you’re skilled at?
Is it something that you’re that brings you happiness?
Is it profitable?
Is it scalable and then does it take up a lot of your time? You scale you want to grade those from 1:00 to 10:10, being the best and one being the least, and then the things that are score high determines.
But the things that you keep switching things that you start to outsource so everyone is going to have a different score and different reality.
But I think it’s important to this.
Consider all the things that you have to do in a day and then that will help you determine what you need to outsource.
First, like for example, I know like if you’re a developer then that’s something you’re really good at.
It’s a probably good practice to outsource everything but development so that you can focus on what you’re.
However, I say that and there’s this other side to that token because I think to for me that’s impede at me from growing in.
As much as I think I could have over the years in that when I have things that I know I can do, then my list gets long and I become the bottleneck and I don’t scale.
If I you know I was able to grow, build and grow my plugin business because I have no business building plugins myself and so I was able to hand those things off to.
And they’re able to get those things done if they, if it was something I was capable of doing myself, I think it would.
They would most of those plugins would still be sitting on my whiteboard needing to get done so.
By leaving the things that you’re good at May also impede you.
So you gotta kind of look at it from both angles and determine what works best.
Yeah, I kind of agree with you.
I’ve always had the philosophy.
If you don’t like doing stuff, get somebody to do it for you.
If you’re not good at doing stuff, get somebody to do it for you and kind.
Kind of concentrate on their tasks.
That makes you money and that’s always been my philosophy, so I know for example.
And I know Bo WP doesn’t do this, but I I hate doing my own books. But lately I have an account that I hand it to every month and I say do my books for me.
I’m advice I just.
That that that’s the classic example.
And then there’s stuff that you don’t want to get into.
Like you know, people are trying to.
I think they make.
Your mistake of DIY ING stuff, do it yourself too much and not realizing every time you DIY something it actually costs you business time, which actually costs you money.
Because what is your time worth back to your business?
I agree with that.
And it’s kind of, you know.
And people don’t realize that you know at the end of the day, you know it’s.
It’s like looking at.
I tell my clients this all the time.
They look at me and say I’m gonna do my own website and I kind of look at them and say OK, really so.
So that means you’ve got.
40 hours that you’re gonna throw away from your core business and they find you say, well, I don’t have that time, I said, but that’s what you just committed to.
So I think agencies need to look, and I don’t think agency owners honestly are the best that always letting go with stuff.
And that’s why I don’t think they.
Run outsourcing is because they don’t like to let go with the little things, not realizing it would benefit from the norm.
Yeah, it’s tough.
I remember having a conversation with Brad when we’re at Cobble press about, you know he at the time again, I never thought I’d worked with him, but I was aware of what go WP offered in terms of the maintenance and content edit plans, and even at that time I remember thinking to myself.
Like, you know, that’s something I can just do on our own.
I don’t want.
To let go.
At the financial you know gain that I’m getting from these clients.
I don’t want to lose my margin or and now having worked at go WP and seeing the other side of it and having now putting my clients all on maintenance plans, it makes it just relieves me from doing the mundane things that I shouldn’t be doing in the 1st place and allowing me to focus on the things that I should.
If I if I’m concerned about my profit margin, then I just increase my rates, I mean just.
You know you have to instill the value to your clients, why it’s important for them to have these things and and have a nice you know, concise way of explaining that to them.
But after that you know it, it gives you like if it takes a big weight off my shoulders on knowing that something like maintenance is being handled in the background.
And I don’t even have to worry or type, you know, worry about or touch it at all, ever.
You know, and and it’s funny. We talked about me, it’s fine and I’ve got over 100 clients on maintenance clients and I don’t do any of them anymore. I just.
I just kind of run the ship and I’ve I’ve offloaded the whole mess and it hasn’t hurt my profit margin in one.
But to be honest, it’s actually increased it because I don’t have to deal with it and I’m not the bottle neck at that point.
And you don’t cringe, you probably don’t cringe when you go get new accounts and and want to put them on a maintenance plan.
Thinking man, this one more thing I’m putting on my plate now.
You know that this is easy and I’ll make a whatever margin it is you’re going to make small or big whatever that is, but you know, it’s not something that you have to worry about yourself.
Often that is relieving, you know, it just makes so much more sense to just let someone else handle those sort of tasks then for you to do it yourself.
Actually, in my case, my code actually makes my life more stress free either I don’t.
I don’t have to worry about it.
I don’t have to worry about this.
I don’t have to worry about dealing with it.
I just kind of let it run it, show and and and and run the project side of it.
And for me that’s much easier than actually doing it.
So that’s a that’s a big deal now.
Once they do, the things I want to do, and that’s really important.
Yeah, if somebody is looking at outsourcing, do you have any good resources up for go WP that can kind of look at or besides reaching out to you?
Yeah, and on our website godub.com and anytime you can reach out to me and my cat go dub.com pretty easy to remember. But yeah, our website pretty much lists everything that we do really well and.
And anything you might have questions on, or even more importantly, like how you think it might fit into your business.
What might be the best way to get started?
All those things we can always jump on a quick call and with no obligation just I love having these conversations with people.
It’s I never, you know, put pressure anyone to start do something that they’re not ready for it’s.
More or less just let’s talk about it.
Let’s see what your options are.
That way when you are ready, you’ll kind of have a better understanding or idea of what to prepare for.
That’s what I would recommend to.
Do you know?
And the other thing I would suggest to is if somebody is really interested.
Go to the go WP website, sign up for one of the many webinars they do.
They do them every week usually.
Usually Tuesday come on the weekend and get a feel for what Michael does and didn’t feel for what his team does because they’re all pretty approachable.
Those webinars are good, have taken in several in the last well just to kind of keep my head in that game and and spend the time learning because.
That’s the only way you’re gonna get any better, right Michael?
And in addition, I would say to add to that to the webinars is you can also join us on Facebook if you’re on Facebook.
We have digital agency owners group and there we have every Friday we have a happiness hour and then every other Tuesday we just started doing a office hours so where you can join me and.
Somebody will usually have a guest that you can just ask questions to and see how you might be able to grow and scale your business using outsourced services.
Yeah, a recent one I I just took him was one with you with Adrian Toby who strange enough.
I actually know I know very well.
Michael, I actually did.
Yeah, at one time I did some training courses from his his father’s agency so I know his dad quite well too. And and that was a really good episode.
Where you you guys talked about some options that Adrian was using for outsourcing so?
When you see what other?
Business owners are doing it helps the creative juice.
Flow and helps you kind of help forge your path when you get some help like that so.
Absolutely Adrian is a great guy and he’s using our copywriters writing services with one of our dedicated copywriters and it was great to have him on the show and just learn how he’s utilizing her services and being able to grow and scale his product based business.
So it’s not just for agencies, but you know if you have product or anything like that and you can, you can benefit.
From either a developer or copywriter, a designer, it’s we have a really great team and they’re doing really great things.
Thanks for joining me, Michael.
If somebody wants to reach out to you by email, do you mind sharing your email address?
Yeah, my email again is Mike@gowp.com. Also if you want to set up a strategy call with me, it’s free.
No obligations like I mentioned, it’s gowp.com/grow and or is it growth? I think it’s either if it grow, doesn’t work, then going forward slash growth. Either way I will be able to jump on a call with you and we can.
Sort out what how we can help you scale and grow your business.
Whether use us or not.
Thanks Michael, have an amazing day.
My pleasure, thanks for having me take care.
My pleasure bye bye.