Aderson Oliveira: I've spoken with Dean Soto, who has a course called Outsourcing Pros and Cons on Udemy. He talked about how outsourcing is important on his many businesses and revenue streams. He was also very open and candid about which countries outsource work best and which countries do not work that well and why. He also went into details about the technique that does not take a lot of time, and he can document processes so he can outsource that. As one of his key messages, he said to outsource what is recurring and profitable.
Hello, hello, Aderson Oliveira here. This is another interview for the OuchSourcing Podcast, where I talk to specialists, business owners, experts, training people - that's one of the keys of the guest that I have here today for us.
Today, I have Dean Soto. He is the founder of Online Empire Academy, and he knows a bunch, a lot about outsourcing. Not only that, but he has done some training as well about outsourcing. That's the first time that I interviewed someone here for the OuchSourcing Podcast where they have done training about outsourcing. Dean, thank you very much for being here. Welcome.
Dean Soto: Thanks Aderson. I appreciate it. My pleasure, for sure.
Aderson: Perfect. First question, let's start with your location. Where are you located, where do you live, and what is your business about?
Dean: I just recently moved. I use to live in Southern California. Now, I'm in Central California, big whopping four hours away from where I was. You're going to hear baby screaming in the background. I have six kids, by the way, which is one of the reasons why --
Aderson: I'm a fan. I'm a fan already.
Dean: We had a house in Southern California and near Disneyland near Knott's Berry Farm etcetera, and then we move over here to Prather, California, which is kind of semi off-the-grid. We have about 20 acres over here. I look out my window and I see nothing but trees. That's where I'm at right now.
Aderson: Talk a little bit about your business. As I mentioned, you are the founder of Online Empire Academy. What is Online Empire Academy?
Dean: The Online Empire Academy is, essentially, when it first came out about four maybe five years ago, I think it was around four years ago, we were on the Amazon train. So, doing fulfillment by Amazon, selling on Amazon is when it started it really becoming popular. My co-founder, at the time, who's no longer with the academy, he sold on Amazon, and he's like, “I sell on Amazon, being successful, I have no idea how to actually teach other people how to do this. Can we figure out something where we have a website and be able to sell a course on how to do it?" So, we built the Online Empire Academy.
Right now, it's like an open thing where we have a blog post and all other stuff. Before, it was simply like a membership site that showed people how to sell on Amazon. It's morphed into a bunch of other things now, which I'm kind of steering away from Amazon to more things that are less tied to where you're buying physical products, things like that, and where you can generally live anywhere, like I do right now, pretty much off-the-grid, and make money online.
Aderson: Let's tie this together now with the main topic of our conversation, which is outsourcing. First question about outsourcing is what role does outsourcing take on your business? How important is it?
Dean: That's a great question actually. For years, it's actually been extremely important. The whole way I got into outsourcing in the first place was in 2009, around that time, I had just gotten back from deployment overseas with the military, and my wife wanted to stay at home. We were going on our second child at the time, and my wife was working at an aerospace company that I was working, and she wanted to be able to stay at home with our kids. Obviously, I wanted her to give her that too, and I had no clue how to do it. I actually started my own business at that time doing like IT work and, long story short, I was spending like 60 to 80 hours a week working and never seeing my family.
From there, I'm like, "I got to figure out something," and I think I took one outsourcing course but then I took another course by John Jonas, Replace Myself, and I'm like, "Wow, you can outsource to the Philippines for 250 bucks a month for a full-time worker?" at least at the time. I ended up starting moving towards like web development because I wanted to get out of having to be physically present. I'm like, "What if I hire a web developer, and I'll basically sell, and he’ll develop websites?" So, I actually did that for a good amount of time. I was selling sites anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.
Aderson: Dean, let me stop right there. I just want to ask about that. See, lots of people and I'm included on that as well, I will include myself there as well, I would be concerned, I would be afraid that I'm committing with this client here to deliver on something, but now, I'm relying on this individual that I don't know much about. That does not come easy to me, and to a lot of people that I know, and I do a lot outsourcing, but that is hard for me to have that level of understanding that I'm not going to be the hands-on here, I will have this guy delivering to this guy. How comfortable were you on that situation doing that?
Dean: I was very comfortable up until the time where I had one client where it completely fell apart exactly like what you said where it's great on paper, but I actually did have one time where I had a client who was paying me $4,500 to build this website. But, at that time, I'm like, "What if I try outsourcing to India as well and I actually did a company with them?" It actually fell apart not because of the outsourcers per se, but more because of my communication with the client. Web development, if anyone's ever done it, it can be just a pain in the butt because there's so many communication gaps that happen. Someone might say that, "I want this type of header, I want this," or whatever, and you're like, "Okay, cool," and you go and you interpret what they say completely differently, and it just goes back and forth, and then eventually, if the communication totally breaks down, it's gone.
I almost actually lost my business doing that. I almost went completely out of business because I was already strapped for cash. That particular client was like totally pissed off at me and it totally fell through. Luckily, he was like a multimillionaire and his office administrator, she was my life saver. She loved me and she said, "No, this was his fault. I'm going to tell him right now.'' He ended up saying, "Just refund half; you keep the other half." Through that, it was extremely scary. In my mind, I could have quit, I could have stopped, but I'm like, "I know this could work, because it almost worked. That was my fault that it didn't work." I ended up --
Aderson: You say it was your fault. What was the lesson learned there? What would you do differently on what I call a horror story like that? What did you learn then? What would you do differently today, on that note?
Dean: When I say it's my fault, it was mainly, like I said, a communication breakdown. Especially when you're outsourcing to some place like India, they're very requirements-driven from what I've seen, from all my experience with them, which I've hired a good amount of them, very requirements-driven. I would interpret it with the customer wanted the wrong way, or I wouldn't be super-clear and do a lot of mock-ups and things like that. When I gave them to the Indian developers, they're like boom, okay, good. They actually did the right thing. They did everything well, but it was the right thing from what their requirements were that I gave them the wrong thing from what the customer actually wanted.
What I would do differently is, and what I ended up doing differently is I ended up finding a developer from the Philippines who was able to speak really good English and was also really good at what he did. Basically, I would go sell and then on using Basecamp at the time, I would actually have my developer and the customer talking back and forth. There was no intermediary with me in it, and when I changed that, when my guy was able to talk back and forth, and they thought it was someone here in California or something like that, they still, to this day, any of my clients who had it still think that the guy is here in California. They would talk, he would go back and forth, and the project would be a lot easier, and plus I could go out and sell at the same time doing all those other things, not managing the project.
Aderson: Dean, as I mentioned to you before we started recording, there are so many different ways that we can have this conversation because you have such a large footprint in the outsourcing space that there are different ways that we can go about this, but I'm going to try and get some hooks here and see where they will take us. One of the things that I saw on the introduction of your training on Udemy, which is called an Outsourcing Pros and Cons, you have some strong opinions, and I don't know if you recall them because it was about two years ago. You may have things fresh, you may not, but let's see.
You have some strong opinions about not working with India. Again, sorry Indians out there. If you're watching this, I'm really sorry, but hey, we have to tell how it is and why it's good, why it's bad, and why someone had an experience like this or like that, good or bad. We have to tell what it is. I'm not here to put lipstick on the pig. I want to show how it is. Tell me a little bit why you have those strong opinions there, and again, come clean here.
Dean: I have nothing against Indians. In fact, I don't recommend India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia. There's a couple other places. But, they're generally -- I love Indians; most people mistake me for being Indian. The main reason is kind of what I said before that a lot of people are not good, especially new entrepreneurs are not good at giving requirements, and most Indian outsourcers whether they are - there's actually two reasons - administrators, web developers, whatever, they want strict requirements. It's almost like an input-output thing. If you're not good at that, if you're not good at giving those requirements, it's going to all fall apart, and you're going to get frustrated, they're going to get frustrated, etcetera.
The other reason is there's kind of a stigma in the United States, especially if they have to do any client-facing research, or client-facing communication, they're going to have to talk to them at some point in time over the phone, or even via email, and their English isn't -- as soon as I hear somebody from India, I know it's being outsourced. Philippines, not so much. Venezuela, South America anywhere. Venezuela is a kind of an up-and-coming place because of the economy there, outsourcing. There's not any stigma, and most people don't even recognize that they're in the Philippines. Someone from the Philippines will call me and I'll know, because I've been outsourcing for long and be like, "Hey, where you at in the Philippines?" and they'll be like, "Sir, I'm over in Manila." I'm like, "You have really good English. You want to apply for a job?" That's why.
Aderson: You know what? It makes sense. Someone that I've interviewed before, he mentioned something like this. Outsourcing to a place like India is great when you are in a maintenance mode. You have developed what you want, and then you have a processing place, a very well-structured that you can hand off. You can say, "Hey, do one, two and three." Great. That's it. It might be culturally related, whatever it is. I'm from Brazil, I have the accent. Who am I to talk about accent? I have a bad accent. Again, it's not just about accent. It's about cultural connections as well. There is just a clash between the way people are in a certain place as compared to the way the demand is: North American, Europe, whatever it is. That's fine. Nothing wrong with that.
Because it didn't work out that well for you in India, you went to other places and you mentioned Philippines. I ask this question to other guests as well, what is it with Filipinos that they fit so well in the virtual assistant world, in the outsourcing world? What is it?
Dean: The only things I can think of when it comes to it, just from my experience, is they have a very similar work ethic. There's two really big things. One is that they have a very similar work ethic. My general manager for Online Empire Academy and all my other businesses that I have, something will pop up and normally, because I'm super OCD when it comes to like customer service or things like that, I'm like, "Okay, I need an answers." More often than not, he has already either answered it or he's worried about it.
That is something that you don't find from, at least my experience, you don't find really anywhere else. That's not always going to happen, but they generally have a very good work ethic. Even the ones who are my lower-level guys, whom I love, they just want their task, and they want to do their thing, but they will this task and thing, and they will not complain. They'll chat on my Slack channel, and they'll do their thing. They don't need much guidance other than the processes that I've created for them, which we can talk about later.
There's that, and then the other is that a lot of the times, they're able to infer certain things. I have detailed processes for all my guys step-by-step. I can give it to my grandma right now and she can do all of them. I actually hire my guys to create processes for me. That's a big difference, a big change that's happened within the last year is I hire guys now to create processes and then, from those processes, they can grow into other things. Because, now they can, because I have Drop Shipping business, I have the Online Empire Academy, I have my Infusionsoft marketing, consulting, a lot of other stuff. They can do all of those things, and if something happened, something changes where they don't understand something in the process, generally -- like, someone in India is going to say they're just going to go and do it. They're just going to go and do the wrong thing, or they're going to stop or whatever, my guys will generally say, "This seems kind of off. Something's wrong," they'll either try or fix it or they'll just say, "Hey, this is wrong, get some clarification," and then they'll update the process.
Aderson: You mentioned about Drop Shipping and then you have the Online Empire Academy. Can you give us kind of a laundry list of what types of tests you outsource? Is that media production? What is it? What do you outsource?
Dean: That's a great question. Kind of going back a little bit of what I do, my wife always asks what I do and I don't know all the things that I do. I do a lot of different things. After the web development stuff, basically because I wanted to be with my family and because I never wanted to be tied to anything -- it's probably not the best thing, but I started creating a lot of different little businesses. Now, it works out really well, but I could have gone a lot faster. I actually have the list of all my different processes and things that I do. All of my different processes, these are just folders. I use a thing called Process Street to create --
Aderson: I want to ask about that as well.
Dean: Okay, cool. I have new team member onboarding, I have eBay Drop Shipping, Pro Sulum, which is my main business, Pro Sulum Management and Hiring, cash machine project creation. Cash machine is with Online Empire Academy, and I'm going to spill the beans, so don't be surprised if you went into my Online Empire Academy. A lot of the promotions you see are all done in Infusionsoft, and when you go in, you get automatically sold to in all these different fashions and stuff.
My guys create all those Infusionsoft different campaigns. I have a business partner who does the copyrighting and everything like that, I do a little bit of stuff, and then I hand it off to my guys, and they do the rest of the campaign. Affiliate marketing folder, my real estate properties folder, they manage my real estate property stuff, a couple of different consulting clients: Online Empire Academy, Amazon Drop Shipping, Social Media Marketing, General Marketing and Product Creation, Domain and Website Creation, Payroll for Employees and Contractors, Drop Shipping using Gear Bubble, and then Merch by Amazon Creation.
Aderson: This is all documented in Process Street?
Dean: This is all documented in Process Street, and these are just folders. If I were to pop open the Merch by Amazon folder, there's 13 processes in there, and in those processes, there are probably anywhere between five to 30 steps.
Aderson: Let me ask you that about process, because I'm a true believer of process but I'm not so much of a practitioner of that, I believe. I know that logically that's what -- I'm a coder myself, so I know that, logically, that's what I should be doing, but I'm not doing that. Do you think that, for someone to be successful with outsourcing, is it right to think that the first step is to systematize in applied processes and then bring people in? Is that the way?
Dean: Yeah. That's actually a really, really good question. That's awesome that you're a coder by the way. I'm jealous of coder because I don't have the focus. I always try, and then I'm like, "I'm going to do it this time," and then you realize, "I'm just going to hire someone to do it." Yeah, that's a good question. I always recommend people to first read "Work the System". It's one of the books out there by Sam Carpenter. It changed my life.
To answer your question of starting a system first and then having someone do it, I did that in the beginning. I'll take that back. When I first outsourced, I had no systems at all. I just created training videos and things like that. It was really haphazard. Luckily, the developer I had and the people that I had were very good at inferring. It could be a mess if you don't. But, I ended up reading "Work the System". I want to say that was like two or three years ago. I'm like, "Wow, I should just do that."
I started making all these handbooks. I was even outsourcing my podcast. I was outsourcing my YouTube videos and all other stuff to people that I had here in the States. If you go to the Online Empire Academy YouTube page, you'll see a guy named Josh Woodward, who was doing it for a long time. I actually had a little handbook where he had never podcasted anything at all, and he just went step-by-step through the handbook and he was just making podcasts. I'm like, "Pretty dang cool." But the downside was it took me four hours to do just one handbook thing. I ended up following a guy named Gonzalo. I actually knew him because of a friend, one of my business partners, and Gonzalo Paternoster, and he took the Work the System's side of things, and basically kind of turned it on its head, which is pretty cool. Essentially, what he does is he hires people to create processes for you.
I'll actually just get onto a video and I'll just tell my guys, "This is how you do a podcast, or this is how you set up a WebinarJam." I'm doing this on like a five-minute Jing video, "First, go to webinarjam.com, click the Log In, log in with our username and password with LastPass, then go and click this, click that, do this, do that, do this, blah-blah-blah." They take that video and they make it into a process. What would have taken an hour to five hours to do takes 5 to 10, maybe 15 minutes. That's why I'm able to create all those processes.
Aderson: You know what? I love that. I love that because, with that, I'm a guy that I like camera. I like talking to the camera, I like recording what I'm doing, so I can see myself doing what you just said. It can take me 10 minutes just to go around and do stuff, and then ship that over to somebody else who will then take the time to, "Step one, do this, this, and that, step two..." I love that. I love that and I have not seen that strategy out there yet. I love that.
Dean: It was a life-changer and game-changer. My entire Drop Shipping business is 100% outsourced because of that. Everything, pretty much, is 100% outsourced because of that I just need to get behind a camera and do that. One thing that's been really cool is, with a lot of my consulting clients, I just did one for one this last weekend, I'll set up like an Infusionsoft campaign or something like that for them, and rather than just giving them a video of, "Hey, this is what you do," or send them an email of what to do, I'll get behind a five-minute Jing video and I'll say, "First thing you're going to do is do this, click here, go to this campaign, double-click on this email, blah-blah-blah," then I send it to my guys, they make a process out of it, and then I just ship a PDF of that process to my consulting client. Now, their staff can do it all day long if they wanted to. It's really, really powerful, and it has been just an absolute game-changer for me for sure.
Aderson: See? That's why I interview smarter people they need because this whole interview focus just a big scheme for me of picking smarter people than me brains and then supplying that to my business. I love that, I love that. Let me ask you a question here. You said you send this little video to your people, your guys. Is that a virtual assistant? What type of guy or gal is that one?
Dean: Yeah, they are hired predominantly to create processes. One thing that's really good that Gonzalo does, which I never thought of doing before, is with his system, he basically says, "I need somebody to document processes." That's his like when he's posting an onlinejobs.ph or wherever it is, "I need someone to document processes," then you basically test them on creating a process, and all the other stuff. They're coming in knowing exactly how to create the processes that you want them to create. They're expecting to do processes, etcetera. What happens is, from what I've seen at least, you basically train them on how to create a process before you even hire them to do the testing. When you do hire them, you can either have them create processes or you can have them execute on the processes.
All of my guys can handle pretty much everything because they are all step-by-step processes, and I've never had any of them complain like, "I thought I was only going to create processes," or, "I thought whatever." All of them enjoy the different aspects that they have, and then, on top of that, because you are creating this documentation, just this massive step-by-step documentation, they learn your business extremely well, and they have a framework, so they know when things are wrong, they knew when things are right, and if something happens, they usually figure it out themselves. Because you have that framework there, it gives them the freedom to be able to work in your business a lot more easily. I don't know if that makes sense.
Aderson: It does. It gives them, as you were saying, a good view of how you're operating, how your business works. That's really it, and hopefully, they are also motivated to come up with -- that's what I try to do with my team as well is, "Hey guys, if you have ideas, if you have suggestions, I don't know everything. There's a bunch of stuff that you guys know that I don't. So, bring it to me. I want to enhance this," and again, in your case, it might be enhance the process, or enhance whatever aspect it is that they see a flaw. I get it, I get it.
Dean: Yeah. It's neat because, generally, if you're -- I also hire by the hour. That's actually a change that's happened. I used to be totally full-time with workers.
Aderson: Let me ask you on that. Actually, that's a great segue for my next one. Two years ago, on your training, you said something like, "Don't hire part-timers; hire full-timers." What has changed there?
Dean: Yeah, that's a great question. I need to update that training, by the way. I am super lazy. Just so you know, I build these little assets, and I let them out, and I make money off of them, and sometimes I forget to update. But, I'm glad it's been updated on your podcast, so people who watch this will know that.
It's actually two things that I've noticed. So one, I notice more and more in the Philippines, I used to say, and it used to work, I used to say, "Hey, you can only exclusively work for me. I'll make it worth your while to work with me, but I don't want you working with anyone else on the side." Just about everyone I hired, within the last year, year and a half, when I tried that, was also working with someone else, despite knowing that they would be terminated. I even had a friend of mine who had a VA who he paid very well for the last, I'm going to say, four years, she did the same thing, and it has happened over, and over, and over again, and I don't know why. For me, I was just realizing I'm paying someone full-time, who's really doing probably about 20 hours a week of work, if that.
That was one thing, and then the other thing was with -- I started thinking, if that's the case, and if I have all these processes in place, I can have eight part-timers working five hours a week or 10 hours a week, I know that I'm going to get five hours a week or 10 hours a week with them tracking their time and everything like that. I know, for sure, that they're going to do that. They have the step-by-step processes, so I can actually scale bigger if I wanted to do that.
Right now, I have four people who work just on my normal business stuff, and then I have two other people who work on other client stuff. But, they track their time, I get amazing work out of them. I have one guy who does probably about 50 hours a week of work. He's my project manager, and I'm like, "Sweet." I see a screen and everything. He's always working. But, then I have people who do 10 hours a week, five hours a week. I don't care because it gets done, like the stuff gets done.
Aderson: What are you using there? Is that Upwork?
Dean: No. I hire off of onlinejobs.ph, and then I use a thing called Hubstaff, and the reason being is because I'm lazy. The reason being is Hubstaff, you can track time with it, and I have my guys actually track time on their own with it, and it gets their screen. But, the cool thing that I like about it is that it will automatically pay them every week. Every Monday, I don't have to worry about it, and I'll just see paid, mass payment every Monday, boom, boom, boom.
Aderson: Awesome. I love the tool. I usually have the segment that I ask for the tool belt, but you dropped so many already there that I'm not going to ask you that. I like the Process Street one. I may or may not get to that at some point, but let me get going here. Dean, let me ask you this. What is it that most people out there that try to outsource, what do they do wrong? Because, I have to tell you this. Outsourcing, when you say that to someone, usually it carries a bad reputation, and I don't know what other word we could use instead of "outsourcing", but it has bad reputation attached to it. Why do so many people try and fail at that?
Dean: That's a great question. I used to not think it was this, but I honestly do think because I failed at it just tons of times. It's going to be a learning experience. It's the same as if you were to hire someone here in the States, and maybe it's someone who's in Florida, or Chicago, or something like that, and it's the same if you said - and this is what happened with me when I first started and with most people when they started - they'll say, "I want to hire someone to build a website for me," and then they go basically say, "Okay cool, I want a website that pops, it needs to be modern, and it has to have these three things," and then the guy goes, "Okay sir, let's do it," and they go build a website, and you're like, "Wait, that's not what I wanted," and they go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. You're like, "I just wasted X amount of dollars; I'm done with this outsourcing thing."
Most people are not clear in what they want. That's why I always tell people now to rework the system or find some way to create systems, to create steps. They have to be step-by-step guides. Obviously if you're doing a web development, you're hiring someone for web development, and things like that, it's going to be a little bit different. But, for the most part, if someone, say, is running your Amazon business, or if they're running your affiliate marketing business, or anything like that, you can't just create a video doing affiliate marketing and saying, "Okay, this is how you do keyword research. You go to Google Keyword Planner, think of some keywords, and then go and find ones that would work with our website." They're going to look and go, "Okay, it's a dog website," they're going to look at it and, "Dog has a lot of people who are searching for it."
Aderson: The keyword there is "think". Think of a keyword. It's too creative; it’s too abstract.
Dean: Totally. I'll give you a perfect example with that. I have my guys do keyword research for me for my Merch by Amazon shirts, and basically, it's still a system. What I do is I have them go to a tool, like you go to Keyword Planner or whatever. This one is called Keyword Inspector, but it's for Amazon. They can type in whatever they want. I don't care what they want. They can type in whatever they want, they can think of anything. But then, what happens is they find something, like maybe it's a political thing like maybe with Trump or with Hillary Clinton or whatever, they see the results from it, and then I tell them, "Okay, well take that keyword that you think would be good and then go and you're going to go and search for it on Amazon, and then you're going to see how many people are actually searching for or have a product with that, and then you're going to take that, you're going to put it into this other tool, and you're going to make sure that this other tools says that it's A, B, or C ranked or whatever, and then you're going to take that, you're going to check out this other tool, see how many sales there are," and it's very systematized so that, at the end of the day, they can come up with all these different ideas and think about it, but it's being tested through the actual system and filtered through the system.
Aderson: I see. Okay, got it. Dean, as we said here many times, you outsource a lot, but I assume that certain things, you don't outsource. My question is what is it that you don't outsource and why?
Dean: That's a good question. I don't outsource my coffee making. I make good coffee. I never really thought of that before. With my Infusionsoft consulting business, I don't outsource the strategy of what the system is going to do. A perfect example with this is just last week, a friend of mine came to me and said, "Hey, I have this pretty much multi-million dollar consulting person that they're working with and their Infusionsoft is just totally messed up, and they are doing these live conferences every month and it's not working. They were working with some other Infusionsoft consultant and it got all jacked up."
My role in that is looking at what's actually there and what the problem is and then saying, "Okay, this is what the problem is, this is my solution to it and how we would actually do it," and working with the customer and say, "Is this what you would like it to do?" and to have it be as recurring as possible, reusable as possible, as profitable as possible, and then I'll set up the initial template for it, the campaign for it, test it out, make sure it's working and doing things the right way, and then, from there, would I know it actually works, then I start recording myself using it, and then outsource the actual use of it to the person.
Sometimes, what I'll do is if it's something that's going to happen a lot, like a campaign that's going to be duplicated or have different products or whatever, I'll create a system to create more campaigns like that, and then I'll outsource. But, the initial strategy behind it has to be me. I have to test it out, I have to do all that stuff, and then when it's done, then I'll go and outsource it.
Aderson: Let me just try to distill that. It's because it's a very creative process, and you have to draw a lot on your experience and what you have gone through. That cannot be taught easily to somebody else to do. As you said, once you get up and running, yes you can systematize and ship this to this guy, to that guy, but again, it's almost like the brain surgeon. The brain surgeon, he will only come into the room when the patient is already open. He will not open the patient and he will not stitch it back. You just come with the brain and the creative side of things. Again, I agree with that. That's great.
Again, a great example of what you cannot. It's not easy to outsource that because you need someone with a lot of experience to be able to do that. I'd like to talk about something I came across yesterday. Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine, and this friend of mine is watching the OuchSourcing Podcast and the videos as I'm putting out, talking about outsourcing, all of that and he says, "You know what, Aderson, I want to get involved with outsourcing, I want to outsource some stuff." He never outsources anything. He is an iOS developer. He is a very tech-minded type of individual. He runs a solo business. It's just himself, but he says, "I don't like selling. I don't know how to sell. I want to sell and I want to outsource the selling side of my business."
I gave him a recommendation, but I'm not going to say what I recommend to him. I just want to see if you come across someone like that, "I'm a technical guy, I know how to code, I do mobile development, I do mobile apps, I do iOS. I don't like selling. I want the sales part of my business to be outsourced. What would you recommend to me?"
Aderson: That's a good question. There's two ways around it. One is actually something I did, and the other is theoretical that I would do. I'll do the one that I actually did. Outsourcing doesn’t necessarily mean that you are sending your stuff overseas, and that you're hiring people overseas. Outsourcing is basically taking something, some process, some department, or whatever, and giving it to a subcontractor or somebody else to tell with.
What I used to do, and it worked extremely well, I like selling. I'm a super introvert, but I like selling. I don't know why. It's just because it's kind of the one-on-one thing. It's kind of weird. But, I hated lead generation, I hated going to networking events, I hated doing all that other stuff. One thing I actually ended up doing was partnering up with a designer who loved going to networking events, but she hated selling. There are designers who like selling as well, but they don't have somebody who can -- our symbiotic relationship was she wanted to get into web development because doing logos for 100 bucks was just not working. Doing design work for pennies was not working for her, but she didn't know anybody who could do development.
At that time, I was like, "I don't want to go to these networking events. I have no problem selling for you, but I don't want to do lead generation." She would go, get potential clients, I would come in like the brain surgeon at the selling point, sell, which your guy doesn't have to do if he finds someone who will sell. But then, she would handle the project the customer service side, and getting the design all done, which I hated too. I suck at design. I, to this day, can barely draw stick figures. It sucks. I don't like it. She would do all that, then she would just hand off the designs. I would take those designs for the site, great, and then hand it off to my virtual assistant developer. He would start talking with the customer, and it was done.
That is definitely a possibility. That works because I did that a ton, and it was very, very profitable. So, finding somebody who is maybe design, but has no development whatsoever works out really well. The other is if your guy is willing to do things like, say, WordPress or templated mobile stuff, or whatever, then you can have your guys - it's totally spammy - get a process going to search for certain things and then go to the contact forms of different websites or different businesses and say, "Hey, I noticed you didn't have any good mobile sites," and sell a $500 mobile site or $1,000 or $5,000 or whatever.
Aderson: It's a good angle, you know. Again, it's, in a way, along the lines of things that I recommended to him, but I wanted to get your take here. To be quite honest, the way he came across asking about outsourcing sales, it's almost like I think that that's a mistake that a lot of people do with outsourcing. He was expecting that he'd say, "Hey, I will hire you to do my sales. Do that for me," and just walk away and wash his hands. It's not like that.
Dean: A lot of people do that, for sure. They think it's kind of like a magic thing, "I hired this person," because even with a commission sales guy that's just making a commission you're putting out there, you still have to give him the demographic, you still have to give them who you want your targets to be, how they're going to reach out to people, what to say, all those other things. They don't know about your business. They don't know what you can and can't do. You send the sales guy to go and do that, to go and sell, and they have no clue about your business. They'll promise the world to your customer.
Aderson: They need direction. You cannot walk away. Actually, this is a great segue to something that, throughout the different contents that you put out there, Dean, I wrote down this phrase that you mentioned that you outsource what is recurring and profitable. In this case of my friend, he never did any selling. He doesn't know how to sell it. How can he hire someone to do that on his behalf? No, no, no. I think that it goes against even what you said. Outsource what is recurring and what is profitable.
Dean: Exactly. I can't tell you how many people come and say, "Hey Dean, I want to outsource and I want to hire some people in the Philippines to start selling private label on Amazon or whatever." I'll say, "Cool. So, how much private label are you selling right now?" "I'm not right now, but I figured they could do it. I have a course and I could just give them the course and they'll go and do that." I'm like, "Well, what's working for you now? What's making you money now?"
I was just talking to a coaching call client, and he was selling some wholesale stuff. He was selling maybe about $600 a month doing just wholesale on Amazon, and he wanted to go move into all these other things, like affiliate marketing. I'm like, "Look, dude. You want to outsource all that other stuff, but right now, if you just get to 600 bucks, that means you get to hire someone already, no problem, and you clone yourself, you can start growing that 600 into a lot of money. That's already working. You know that's profitable, you have the system, you're doing it all the time. So, you just build a system around that and you're good."
People would die. I know when I first started online business, I would die to make $600 a month on something. I would die to make $100 a month. I do real estate investing now too. I was telling him and I'm like, "Dude, I have to pay about $25,000 in a down payment to make $250 to $300 a month with cash flow real estate. Why don't you outsource that and then you can go focus on this other stuff."
A lot of people want to outsource something that they have no experience in and they don't know if it's profitable. Outsource something that's profitable, even if you don't like it. It's best to outsource stuff that you don't like. My Drop Shipping was profitable, and it still is. It's still profitable, and I outsource that, and I don't touch it anymore. I don't have to touch it, and I can move onto something else.
Aderson: Dean, we're coming towards the end here and I would like to ask you, think about someone that is like my friend that is just trying to get his feet wet on the outsourcing space, getting to experiment a little bit. What would you say? What would be one thing that you would want to leave for someone that is watching this video and trying to get their minds around outsourcing? What is one thing that you'd like to stick around?
Dean: For somebody who is starting, I would say to just do it. Most people are scared to do something, and the best way to learn is to actually do it. I had no clue what I was doing when I first started. No clue, and now I have a staff. You're going to end up making mistakes. It's okay; it's the way it is. Just do it, and then you're going to start seeing -- when you've hired someone, you're going to start learning how to communicate with people, how to keep them motivated, you're going to learn how to create processes, you're going to learn all those things, but just to do it.
I would just say go to some place. It can be Upwork, it can be onlinejobs.ph. Hire someone, test it out on a small little project or something like that, and see how it goes. The worst thing that can happen is that you lose a little bit of money, but other than that, it's not even that much, but it's a lifetime of experience. I wouldn’t give it up for the world. It's brought me freedom to where I can live wherever I want now.
Aderson: Any pitfall that comes to mind that you say, "Okay, you're just starting. Watch out for this"?
Dean: Pitfalls? A lot of the times, like I mentioned before, the pitfalls are actually with you. The pitfalls are with lack of clear communication, lack of objectives for the person. Right now, I'll give you an example. With my guys right now, they're in a mode where they just they're kind of in maintenance mode. They're waiting in between projects, but I have them doing stuff because I have a system for them doing stuff. What you'll find is if you don't have -- had this been me five years ago, I'll be like, "Crap. What am I going to give him? I don't have anything to give him. I don't know what to do or whatever."
Have a clear objective for what you want them to do, and make it profitable. As soon as you make a profit with them, they seem like they're an asset. If you're just doing it to save time, I don't recommend it, because if you do, it doesn't matter. You’re going to be like, "Well, it is $300 a month, and I was doing this before, they seem like an expense," but as soon as they start making money for you, things change.
Aderson: But, making money has different versions, different views of it, and I think time is a little bit on that as well. If you hire a VA, you're trying to save some time for you. Actually, let me rewind that a little bit. I think that we get to a situation of a chicken and egg. I don't have money to hire this person because I don't have time to make more money. Again, what comes first? It's the money or the time that person will save for you? I don't know. What's your view on that? Because, I think that time, in a way, it's allowing you, as the person who's running the business, to run it more effectively, and that translates, hopefully, into some money as well.
Dean: I agree. With someone who's brand new to like a business or someone's kind of like a small business, there's a temptation that -- because you're absolutely right. Time does equal money. In my case, I'll give you an example of the difference. Great book to read is Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki. He has a small business mindset, and you have the bigger business mindset. The bigger business doesn't necessarily mean that you're a huge business, but you have, at least, the mindset of it.
For me to save time, if I'm hiring someone to save time for me, they are doing something that corresponds to either something that's already making money or something that is kind of a critical process or business thing that I let go and then I can go and sell, or I can go and make money doing something else. That makes me money, for sure. A lot of people, small business owners, they will hire somebody to save them time, but they don't have it set up to where they're actually going to go and make money with that free time.
Aderson: It does make sense. They will save time, but they don't have a plan on what to do with that free time that they now have.
Dean: Exactly. So then, they're like, "I'm making the same amount of profit with this person over here, sort of." I'm making the same revenue I should say. "They're eating $300 of my profit now. I can do it myself. I can keep that $300." That's the kind of thinking that happens, and so they become an expense more than they become an asset. If there's not something else over here that you know is going to make you money -- when I outsourced my Drop Shipping business, at that time, with my guys, it was making a little bit of a profit. It went from me making a good amount of profit to a lot less, like $800 less or $500 less, or whatever it was.
I could have said, "Oh man," but I knew that if I let that go, I can go and focus on my Infusionsoft clients, or I knew that I can focus on info products, and so on, and that was going to bring me more money, and then I build processes for that, systems for that, and then I can outsource that too, and then move on to Merch by Amazon, build systems for that, and move onto the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing, building all these little things.
My next processes that are happening are my cash flow real estate. They're going to be managing all of my -- making sure that I'm making all of my payments on time, and then also that I'm making profit off of my real estate and all that other stuff. At the same time, I should say, those little things continue to grow because they're making more listings for Drop Shipping, Merch by Amazon stuff.
Aderson: I get it. Makes sense. Dean, again, I really appreciate you being here, your help, your willingness to share all of that knowledge of your experience with me, with us. Before I let you go, how about you just plug your main business. How can people reach out to you, how can people connect with you if they have questions about outsourcing or even if someone wants to do business with you? How can they connect with you?
Dean: The easiest way is to go to theonlineempireacademy.com, and you can even email me at email@example.com, and I'm always reachable. I respond pretty quickly, like I mentioned. I outsource most of my stuff, so I'm always available.
Aderson: You have your hands full with, what is that? Five kids?
Dean: Six kids.
Aderson: Six kids. Oh my goodness. I have two and I have my hands full.
Dean: Two is hard.
Aderson: You have six kids.
Dean: Two is a hard number. Two and three that's --
Aderson: Oh, so there's a magic number that, once you cross, it gets easier, is that it?
Dean: It does. It's still not easy, but it gets easier.
Aderson: Got it. Dean, again, thank you very much. I really appreciate you being here, you taking the time to talk to us, share your experience. That's it, man. I hope that we can catch up at some point in the future. There is so much more that I like to cover, but in our mark, it's pretty much enough for us for now. Thank you very much, Dean. Talk to you soon. Bye.