You may now be, or may eventually be at, a point where you’re slammed and you just can’t take on more projects as a solo-preneur. When you get to that point, you have 2 options:
You can raise your rates significantly and lessen the amount of projects/clients you have since you’re more in demand or…
You can start delegating by hiring subcontractors to assist with your workload
Having done both options, I can say in full confidence that option 2 is much more fulfilling, fun and scalable!
In this episode, I give you my top 10 tips and most impactful advice for when you’re ready to start hiring subcontractors for your web design business.
And the good news is, we’re not talking about bringing on full time employees, payroll, tax implications, etc. We’re simply talking about how to delegate the tasks in your business that are draining, taking a lot of your time or are repeated that someone else can assist with.
Even if you’re not at this point yet in your business, I still highly recommend listening to this episode so you’ll be prepared for what to do when you DO get to this point!
In this episode:
00:14 – Introduction
02:20 – Foundational tips before hiring
07:15 – Josh’s subcontractors
09:50 – 1) What are you suited for?
10:53 – Do a task inventory
11:58 – 2) Hire out lower level tasks
15:15 – 3) Create a job description
17:53 – 4) Figure out the best pay option
20:46 – 5) Team communication
23:25 – 6) Test with a small project
26:40 – 7) Start small
31:45 – 8) Create an SOP video
34:45 – 9) Keep them internal
35:18 – 10) Give more responsibilities
38:37 – Where to find subcontractors
40:09 – Recap
41:20 – Bonus tip
Featured links mentioned:
Episode #154 Full Transcription
Hey, friends, welcome in to podcast episode 154. It’s just me with you in this one, I want to give you my thoughts and share some tips, insights, methods, strategies, lessons learned, and all the above about hiring subcontractors for your web design business, I’m actually going to give you 10 practical tips here, that’s going to help you if you are in this situation. Or if you think you’re going to be in this situation eventually. It’s interesting because I’ve been talking with quite a few of my web design students, and in particular, a couple members in my web design club, about hiring subcontractors because they’re at a point where either they’re ready to scale and take their business to the next level, or they were like me, they’re a solopreneur, who was comfortable with doing everything themselves. But they got to a point where they literally cannot do everything at the level that they’re at right now. Because they are just slammed. And this is what happened with me at one point.
I will talk about my experience with the amount of scaling and subcontract in the I did. But in short, I got to a point where, because I had never intended on scaling and delegating and hiring out, I just got to a point where I could literally not do all the work I had on my plate. So I want to give you some tips, if you are in that situation. And even if it’s a situation where you are running your business, and you don’t plan to ever hire subcontractors, I think this is going to be really worth your while just in case you do get to that position. And when you do get to that point where you have just got to start hiring out.
And the cool thing is, I’m not talking about starting a legit agency where you’re going to bring on full time employees with payroll and more complicated taxes. That’s not what I’m talking about. We’re just talking about subcontractors, these in the States, we call it 1099 employees where you are 1099 subcontractors where you essentially hire them out for either one project at a time or as as an as needed basis. Or, in some cases, you’ll have subcontractors on retainers as well, depending on if they’re going to work with you consistently. That’s what I’m going to help you out with this. We’re going to talk practically about how to do this with 10 steps.
First off, there’s a few things I want to make note of that I want you to remember, these are going to be foundational things when it comes to scaling and hiring subcontractors. First off, I know it seems a little painful to give up some revenue. But I promise you, it’s going to save you time, it’s going to free up your energy. So you can focus on the tasks and work that you enjoy that you really like doing in your business. It’s also going to help you focus better in your business. That’s one of the big things I found when I subcontracted was, instead of just being in hustle mode and working on the business, or working in the business, excuse me so much, I actually had time to work on the business, which was huge.
So coincidently enough, my business grew not only in revenue, but in just in every aspect possible, it became such a better business when I was freed up to work on the business. So I know it’s tricky, you’re giving up a little bit of revenue, but I promise it’s going to even out for you. And you will make more, you will absolutely start making more because projects will get done faster, you’ll be able to take more projects on you’ll be able to get done stuff and meet deadlines better. And as you work on your systems and get more help on some of the time consuming tasks and things that can be repeated, you are going to be freed up to do more high level stuff, and then potentially even create better services and better experiences for your clients. So you’re gonna make a lot more with hiring subcontractors out, I promise you that.
Now another thing I want you to remember, I’m just laying some foundation here for us, it will and can be a little time consuming in the beginning. But it’s going to even out there’s a little more work when you bring somebody on in the first phase of it. But once they get to know you your systems, your processes, your way of doing things and they know what they’re doing. It’s going to even out and I’m telling you right now, there’s nothing more amazing than when you list out a set of to do so you get everything lined up for your subcontractor, you go to bed, and then you wake up the next day and it’s done.
There is something so freeing about not doing the actual work, but then knowing it’s done. Even if you’re not working with somebody in a different time zone, even if you just let them know what they need to do. You do your thing and you come back at the end of the day, and it’s done. It’s an amazing feeling that I definitely want you to experience because it’s awesome. So it’s a little bit of time consuming in the beginning but it will even out for you. I promise you that.
A couple last things I want to note before we get into the meat of this. It’s difficult to give up control. And I know this because I’m a bit of a control freak myself when it comes to my business. But as soon as I learned to give up a little control, not only did it free me up like we’ve already talked about but I learned something invaluable. And that was that I actually learned during that period by giving up a little control I learned from my subcontractors, particularly if they were better than me in some areas, or if they learn more, or if they discovered new things.
I actually, it’s interesting because suddenly, when you start sub contracting, you get to mines, in two people, or maybe more, if you’re going to subcontract numerous tasks out. And you get to, you get to learn more, you’ll learn their insight, they’ll be able to learn a lot of things on their end that you would have never had time for. They can bring that to the table. So it’s incredibly empowering, when you do learn to give up just a little bit of control. So I want that to be something to remember as well, when it’s when it’s you that is a little bit you like controlling every aspect of your business, I promise you, there’s going to be all these amazing takeaways, when you do start to give up a little bit of control.
And then finally, when I talked earlier about focus, and being able to free up energy, one thing I learned that caught me by surprise, when I started giving tasks up is that not only did I realize I didn’t really enjoy a lot of the things that I was doing. But I realized I loved certain aspects of the business so much more. So I was truly able to focus on the things I loved doing. And then even the tasks that I thought I don’t mind doing this stuff, once I stopped doing them. I was like, I never want to do that again. And I learned this when I scaled my agency. And I learned this now as I run my business here with Josh Hall CO, for example, my podcast, I was doing all the podcast distribution and posting the articles and doing all the outlines and stuff. And I realized once I started handing that off to my awesome VA Kam, it’s not that I didn’t I never hated that work. But I realized, wow, I don’t miss that that much. I don’t miss it much at all. Because now I can focus on creating better content for you. I can focus on really doing more content and better interviews.
Same thing with my podcast editing. I learned that because I actually really enjoyed editing my podcast. But once I started handing it off, I realized I don’t ever want to edit another podcast episode again, because I’d rather focus on creating them and not get bogged down with actually editing editing them. So cheers to my podcast editor, Nathan.
So you might want to know, what is my experience with hiring subcontractors before we get into these 10 tips? Well, in short, I have kind of two areas of experience with hiring subcontractors because I’m no expert in hiring. But I hired several subcontractors for In- Transit studios, my web design agency, and I actually have four subcontractors for Josh Hall co. I have my VA Kam, who does a plethora of things in my business, including podcast distribution, she does all the posts for the YouTube, Buzzsprout where my podcast goes kick out to all the directories, she does outlines, transcriptions, all that stuff, all a bunch of other stuff in my business as well that she does.
Nathan, who edits the podcast. So once I get done recording this file goes into Google Drive, he takes it over does the intro outro and then puts all graphics together. I have Christian who is an advanced Dev. web designer who helps me out with a lot of development things on my site, I still design all the things on my site, but he helps out with some advanced development kind of stuff. That is just not my area of specialty. And then I have Kevin, who helps me out with Facebook ads right now I’m dipping my toe into Facebook ads. So I currently have four subcontractors with Josh Hall.co.
Now with my agency, I dipped my toe I started small, I ended up hiring one lead designer who basically almost became full time at one point, who helped out with design fulfillment and things like that. And then I started hiring some other subcontractors out to help with other bits of the business who were specialists in their area. So they I had I had a gal who was really good with WooCommerce, who helped out with that stuff. I had another guy who was really good at linking like MailChimp and other things together. And then I had some other folks within the SEO realm I had an SEO guy for a long time.
So I eventually started hiring more people and brought them in all as subcontractors within my agency and everything that I learned with scaling my agency and growing a small team with that that’s what I applied here to Josh Hall CO which is why I’m able to get to 154 podcast episodes without being burned out. Because I’ve learned to focus on what I do best, hire out the rest. So that was really a lot of things to lay the groundwork to talk about these 10 tips and after I give you these 10 tips, I will give you some tips on where to actually practically find subcontractors. But I want to give you these 10 Tips without waiting any longer than you have to and I should say do this could totally be like a full course and maybe I will eventually do an in depth course on hiring.
1) What are you suited for?
But right now I least want to cover the most important thing starting with number one tip number one, figuring out what you should do and what you are well suited for that is tip number one, when it comes to hiring, a lot of people want to just jump right in and hire somebody or they write out a job description for something. But until you know what it is you should focus on in your business, there is no point in doing anything else. So it really all starts with you.
Now, there’s a lot of practical ways to go about this, what I recommend doing is do some sort of task inventory. I’ve talked a lot about this recently, when in regards to scaling your business. And if you’re going to scale your business on any level, you have to do some sort of task inventory, which essentially means you got to look at what you’re doing day to day for a period of a few days, or maybe a week or two. And then figure out what of those tasks are like high level that only you can do as the owner of your business and CEO. And then what are tasks that are maybe repeated or replicated or anything that you can think about hiring out.
So you got to do a task inventory. And then what I would do alongside of that, and I shouldn’t say what the task inventory, you could you could I wouldn’t do it just mentally, I would actually write this down, get a notepad, you could do it on pen and paper, if you want, you can put it in a Google Doc, it doesn’t need to be too advanced, you don’t need to get time tracking software unless you want to, it’s not my style, I would just keep a rough track of what you’re doing over the period of about a week or two weeks, because most cycles in your business will roll over within about a week or two weeks, meaning pretty much all the tasks you do within a week, you’re going to do the next week as well from email to designed onboarding to sales.
So keep just a rough track of that. And then as a follow up to this first point, figure out what you are well suited for and the tasks that only you can do. And then additionally, what do you like doing, if there’s something that you really like doing even if it’s something repeated, but you just love doing, I don’t want to tell you can’t do that. But there are going to be things in your business that you either don’t like to do, you’re they’re not well suited for, or, you know, this is the kind of thing that just burns me out, or slows me down. And that’s what I need to hire out.
2) Hire out lower level tasks
And that is point number two, once you figure out what you can do, what you’re well suited for, and what gives you energy, you know, the only things that you can do in your business. Step two, is then to look at all those low level tasks. And it doesn’t mean that these tasks are not important. It doesn’t mean that they’re not valuable, it just means that they are something that is often going to be repeated. Or they’re going to be replicated, or they can be learned with minimal training.
For example, the first thing I ever hired out was when I got married, shortly after that I started my maintenance plan and the client reporting we did month to month, it didn’t take that much time. But it was something that I had already created templates for. And my wife was thinking about joining the business to help me out with some admin stuff. And that was the first thing I had her do, she did our monthly reports. And it was awesome. All I had to do was get the template set up, I trained her once. It was like my first taste of hiring out. And I had done some minor delegating before I had some projects in the graphic design world, I had a graphic design friend who would help me out occasionally. But that was the first thing I did in the web design world because I was very controlling of my websites and of my business because the business was a direct reflection of me, which I know a lot of you are feeling if you’re thinking about subcontracting.
So once you look at those lower-level tasks, that can be repeated, or they can be replicated. And it can be done with minimal training. Those are the ones that you want to put together and get ready to hire out.
Now there’s a bunch of other things in your business that likely can be in these lower-level tasks that it despite to depend on your services and your skill set. For example, for those of you running maintenance plans and hosting, the client reporting is a big one. When it comes to if you’re doing any other recurring services for content, or SEO or anything like that, a lot of those things can typically be replicated if you’re doing them in house. A lot of those you may hire out a partner. But if it’s something that you are actually doing, that’s what you want to look at, you want to look at anything that’s repeated, or that is lower level that can be trained. And a lot of this could even be the actual build and site design.
So you may get to a point where something is as easy as like setting websites up, or collecting content or getting certain things down in place for your actual website builds to free you up to actually focus on strategy and design. Those are the type of things we’re talking about. And then we’ll get into in a little bit. I’ll tell I’ll give you some tips on helping fulfillment of website designs that way you don’t do everything yourself.
So once you do your task inventory, look at what again, you’re well suited for what you want to do the high level tasks, the lower level tasks, those are what you want to generally hire out pretty quick because you don’t want to a lot of people think well maybe I’ll hire a salesperson but I’m telling you right now it’s very difficult to hire somebody to sell you when you are your business and if they don’t know your business really well that can be very tricky, so I don’t generally recommend hiring out sales and marketing. I already in hiring out fulfillment, delivery, and anything that can free you up to work on the marketing and the hiring and and that would be more of a phase two or phase three, as far as delegating. So, phase or step two here, figure out what you can do to hire out the lower-level stuff.
3) Create a job description
Now, once you have a good idea of that step three is to create a job description, a very simple job description, this does not have to be anything complex, I don’t want you to be overwhelmed by this, this could be a Google Doc, and you’ve just got a checklist of what you would like somebody to do. So for the average web designer, this is likely going to be something like a lot of repeated tasks in your maintenance plan, like client reporting, it could be setting up sites, once you land a job, it could be any sort of Content Collection, if you don’t have any sort of automations, in that, it could be creating pages of sites that you’ve already got started. And you just need to have them drop in content, photography, you know, photos, and all that kind of stuff. It could be any sort of coding or complex issues that you’re just not well suited for. And you want to get somebody to hire that out to help for you up for that kind of stuff.
There’s a plethora of like lower-level tasks that you could basically put together in some sort of job description. And this is going to come into play with your processes as well, particularly as you get help with your actual website jobs. And we’re going to talk some more about that here with how to balance design and, and everything else that you’re probably pretty particular up here.
But step three is to create some sort of job description, because it’s very hard, I daresay impossible to hire somebody and make them feel comfortable about working with you, if they don’t know what the heck they’re doing. And this is really, really key, you have to know exactly what they’re doing. And they should know exactly what they’re doing. So those are biggies. And then if there’s anything you’re doing administrative wise, like if you have an email list, or if you’re doing anything that is repeated that again, somebody else can be trained. If you have any admin work, a lot of people do tend to want to hire out administrative work and billing and stuff like that. Go for it. That’s that’s I’m totally fine recommending you do that. Because that’s often the kind of thing that bogs a lot of people down.
I wouldn’t say this as a subcontractor. But I hire out a CPA to do all the books for me, because I hate that stuff. It’s just not my area of expertise. It drains me hate looking at financial reports, that just sucks the life out of me. So I want to have somebody else do that. So you can have that same mentality, whether you’re partnering with somebody and dishing off a service completely, or bringing in internally and just saving yourself from what you don’t want to do, or you’re not well suited for. But it all starts with that job description. And you’re always gonna change this, it’s always gonna evolve. This could just be phase one, just remember, when somebody signs on with you, and you get a subcontractor started, it’s phase one, it’s always going to evolve, it’s always gonna change. But it’s got to start with what you want them to do and what they’re going to help you out with.
4) Figure out the best pay option
Now, step number four here, you got to figure out payment. And I know a lot of people are curious about this, how do I pay subcontractors? Is it by an hourly rate? Do they tell me their hourly rate? Or do I propose an hourly rate? Do I do it fixed? Like per project? Is that like 500 bucks for a website? And they do this area? Or is it percentage based? Do I do it with like a monthly retainer? The answer is, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, and maybe. Honestly, it’s all of those, you can literally do all this, I have actually done every single one of the methods that I just told you about. I have presented hourly rates to people, I have asked about what their hourly rate is and decided from there. I have done fixed like, Okay, I’m gonna we got this project for 2500 bucks, I’ll give you 500 bucks to help out with this area to project we went that route.
Some cases I did percentage base where I was like, you know, if you’re gonna do the design, you’re gonna do the, after I get the main design done, you’re gonna do the all the fulfillment content pages helped me launch it, and do all the revisions and stuff like that, then you’ll get like, 30% of the project. I’ve done it that way. And then I’ve done retainers all the subcontractors I have right now, for editing my podcast producing the podcast helping me out with a lot of VA work, website work, Facebook ads, they’re all in retainers. So it really just depends on what works best for you and your contractors.
I would say, Well, I think the best place to start is just to ask them their hourly rate, and go about it that way. That way, they know they’re getting paid, you can kind of decipher, okay, maybe I’ll use let me see like what you can get done, like five hours for this project. And that will help you out that will help you determine whether you need to adjust hourly work, or eventually create a fixed model or what’s really honestly best for both parties typically, is some sort of retainer. And that’s actually what we’re doing. My agency right now has a guy from Bulgaria, Peter, who’s on a retainer. He gets paid a certain amount a month, and after a couple months, we kind of know what he tends to get done and we can always bump that up, or we never drop below the retainer or we can give him more like add hope kind of one project at a time, if needed.
So I think the best way to sum that up here and point number four is start hourly, then you could go fixed, or you could go with a monthly retainer, as a kind of progresses moving forward. But the best thing to do to start out with, just ask them, How much do you charge an hour, they’re going to give you what they think they’re worth is, and you can see about that, and it’s likely going to change when I hired my first hire for insurance studios, Jonathan, who was my lead designer, his, really his, excuse me, his hourly rate started at 20 bucks an hour, by the end of it, it was at 50 bucks an hour. So it was over double from where he started, because he leveled up that quickly, and was that important to the business. So I’m not gonna say you’re gonna have to do that. But that’s always an option. So hourly fix a retainer, start hourly, and then go from there. That’s my recommendation, at least.
5) Team communication
Now, number five, here is a biggie, don’t miss this one. Because I think this is probably something most people don’t talk about when it comes to hiring, you’ve got to solidify your lines of team communication. So hopefully, we just recently talked about client boundaries with my good colleague, Emma Kate. And a lot of that was communication boundaries. But that was from the client side, we need to talk about that with the team side too. So if you’re going to use just email, and randomly get back to your team on like Facebook, messaging, or stuff like that, it’s gonna be a nightmare.
So what I did is, uh, most teams use Slack for internal team communication. And that’s a great model, I actually just use Basecamp, because we had our projects in Basecamp. What I worked out is particularly I’ll just keep this from when we had just Jonathan and a couple other subcontractors who would chip in on projects, we would use Basecamp. And we would set up and one reason I like Basecamp is you can create a like team only type of threat. So the client would never see anything that we’re talking about, you definitely want to make that distinction. And a lot of other platforms have that I think Asana has that too, just cheaper option of Basecamp.
But you got to solidify those team communication, meaning when we talk about projects, they go here, if it’s in Trello, or whatever system, you are running your projects, and that is where the team communication should happen. Yeah, there’s occasionally going to be random emails and stuff. But with web design, it’s likely going to get out of control unless you solidify the lines of team communication.
Now, the other aspect of this is you’re going to have business talk in personal talk, you may want to chat with your subcontractors just about life and stuff. And, for example, when I brought Jonathan on, he was a big hockey guy, and I am too. So we wanted to talk hockey. So what we did is we essentially use Facebook Messenger for personal stuff. And then Basecamp for business. And I highly recommend you do something similar whether you feel open to have them text you or whether you whatever it is, have a line of communication for business, and personal. That’s a gold nugget of advice that I wish I learned early on, because what I realized is we were in the early days of hiring out, we were essentially mixing business talk with personal talk, or excuse me, personal talk with business talk in Basecamp.
So then I would log back into base camp and the project and I’d see a bunch of hockey stuff and like, shoot, we need that. Let’s Let’s separate this as a personal business solidify those lines of team communication and let them know, let them know all business chat goes in the project. And here whether it’s Basecamp, Trello, Asana, whatever, personal chat, I want to talk with you I want to hang out and talk about stuff that goes here, Facebook, messenger, Instagram, whatever. Or slack if you just have a personal slack.
6) Test with a small project first
Number six, the question is, okay, if I find somebody who I think might be a good fit, do I hire them right away and just go for it and fingers crossed, hope it works out. I don’t recommend that what I did. And what I would do is offer some sort of test, or a very small paid project to see how they do. Now you’ll likely we haven’t really talked about how to get subcontractors necessarily, as far as like finding them and stuff. But I’ll give you some tips on that after these 10 tips. But either way, once somebody comes, once somebody comes to the transom, and they you get to talk with them, you’re likely going to check their portfolio out. Once they see the job, the job description, they should let you know if they can handle this and if they’re interested, and if they’re a good fit.
So you’ll likely already get a feel for their design skills. Hopefully at that point, they’ve already told you what they’re comfortable with. Or if they’re comfortable learning something and can learn it pretty quick. That’s actually the number one thing you want to look for. You don’t want to find an expert generally in a certain field unless you have the budget for that. You want to find somebody who can learn quick and adapt very quickly. That is the most important thing. So what I say in that case is just offer a test.
It’s exactly what I did with Jonathan, when he came on I had a little I’ll never forget I little icon in the footer of Divi that I was messing around with. And it was a custom icon. It was like a custom graphic image that I created because the client wanted this. And I just could not figure out for the life of me how to get the CSS to work perfectly to line up with the other standard icons. So I said hey, well, when he came through and I said listen, I’m actually I’m working All sudden right now, I found out that he was pretty good with CSS and he was interested in it. I said, Can you figure out how to do this? And he came back the next day and had it done. And I was like that, that is a great sign. Because he said, I think I can figure it out. Let me check it out. And then he did it.
That was a great first test. And I did that with a lot of other subcontractors as well, I’d say, can you think you could do this, if it goes over a certain amount of time, let me know. And we could even I can try to copy compensate you, if it’s going to go, you know, over an hour or two, or you could do a small project, you could have something that is replicated, or is minimal as far as training, and you could see how they do with it. And whether you want to compensate them for that or not, is totally up to you, I do kind of recommend that because there’s nothing worse than somebody, you know, potentially wanting to work with you and then them spending five hours on something and then you actually go in with somebody else. And then they never, you know, not only did they waste five hours, but they didn’t get a chance to work with you. It’s definitely a bummer.
So you got to think about them as well. But a small project could even be something is can you mock this homepage up, and then give them a deadline given like if you can do this within three days? You know, that’s that’s what I’m looking for. I did that early on with Jonathan. In particular, when we were doing some projects, I just gave him some sort of small projects for sites that were either live that I thought were pretty simple that a junior type web designer could do. And then I had some that were more examples where I was like, can you read? Can you replicate this on the homepage, and I’ll cover you know, at least three hours at a time or something. So that was it, that’s the best way to go that I found to start getting people in is offer a test or offer a small project, or whether it’s live, or whether it’s just a test type project, do something like that, that way you can really get a feel for if they are going to be a good fit.
7) Start small
And then number seven here, once you feel like they are a good fit, you’re ready to go with them. Start small, you do not have to immediately jump into hiring somebody out as a full time employee or even for 1520 hours a week, just start small and see how it goes. Maybe start with five hours or 10 hours again, depending if you go hourly fixed or retainer, just start small, maybe book them for five hours of the time to see how much they could get done with a website you’re building, for example. And here’s one thing I talked recently with a member of mine in my web design Club, which is available to you.
By the way, whenever I say web design club, I don’t want you to think that this is something that is only for me in a certain amount of people, it is open to you, you can go to Josh hall.co/web design club. And if you would like to chat with me on the rag and if you are getting ready to scale, I would highly encourage you to do that. Because I would love to talk with you here about your situation and give you practical advice that is catered to you and your business. So you can check that out Josh Hall co/web design club.
Anyway, I was talking to one of my members about this. And she was saying, you know, I’m really leery about hiring outside contractors, because all my clients know me, they know my design style. And I’m terrified of bringing somebody in who doesn’t meet my standards. And that’s a very valid, that’s very fair. And I totally understand that because I felt the same. But what you can do, the beauty about this is if you start small, you can still do the majority of the design, get all the branding elements in place, do all the font, typography on stuff. And then once you get the homepage design and main pages design, you can then have a junior or your subcontractor do the rest.
So maybe, for example, you got a standard Small Business brochure type website, nothing too intricate. But they got a homepage, they’ve got quite a few services pages, they’ve got an about page, they got some blog posts, contact, testimonials, etc. Well, maybe you do the initial design strategy, you do the initial design elements, you create the homepage, in one service page, you get feedback from the client on that. And now you can hire the rest out. So your junior can go in and create the rest of the services pages based off of what you’ve already designed. They can create the about page Contact Us testimonials, blog, post pages and everything else. And it’s not going to look terribly different because you set the precedent.
So you will eventually get to the point where you can hire more and more design out. But in this first step, you got to start small, it’s the only way to go about it. Otherwise, if you don’t start small, and you just say Hey, can you design the site for my client? And you just hope it goes, well? Guess what, it’s probably not going to go really well. And you can’t really blame your subcontractor for that. Because you may have not given them any sort of direction or processes or branding guidelines or anything like that. So that’s the best way to do it is just get some help with the fulfillment and things that again, going back to the repeated replicated tasks or anything that can be done with minimal training, have them do that.
And I’m telling you this because that’s exactly what I did. And I will never forget it. I had in this case, one of my sites, I was like, halfway through, and I had Jonathan pop in and help out and I already had the design in place and everything and I said hey, man, we got quite a few pages that still need to be built. Can you just build these out? Here’s the content clients already given all that stuff. One of them was an FAQ page in this particular client had a lot of different FAQs for different segments of his customers. And I was just gonna create a just a general, plain old accordion text box, and just change the background color for each section. Well, Jonathan came in a day later, a couple days later, and it looked awesome. It like blew away what I was gonna do, because he added custom elements and images and really stepped it up to where it looked really, really great.
And that goes back to the like, you might learn something from somebody. And that’s exactly what happened all by starting small. So he made that page look great. And one thing I want to say, too, is, this is something I just relayed to one of my members about subcontracting is you are likely going to spend a lot of your energy and your focus in the big aspects of a website, a homepage, a service page, the branding the strategy, by the time you get to creating an about page and an FAQ page and a contact page, they’re probably not going to be real great. In fact, they might kind of suck compared to the rest of your work. Because that’s the latter end of the process, you’re probably a little burnt out or fried, and you’re just wanting to get the project done at that point.
So when you have a subcontractor come in, and do those little fulfillment pages, that’s their, like their energy. And their focus is on though, so it can actually elevate the whole website in a way you never thought possible. Because now suddenly, all your energy goes into landing, the Client Onboarding, great client experience, the initial design, and then the rest of the site design will be awesome as well, because instead of you being fried, just pounding through the rest of it, they’re going to do it at their best ability, and it can really make the site look awesome as a whole. So that’s something I wanted to mention, all going back to starting small. So you have to start small. And then as things go, well, then we’ll talk about what to do here shortly.
8) Create an SOP video
Now, when it comes to having your designers or subcontractors do something, the best thing to do, and this kind of goes off of a job description is number eight to create an SOP, a standard operating procedure. Now, this could be something that’s super complex, for sure. Or it could be very simple. It is kind of like a job description. For example, when I hired out my podcast distribution, what I did was create a job description. And I had a few VAs in mind to do this. And I just reached out and I said, here’s what I need help with, which would be posting the podcast or, you know, doing outlines of the podcast, doing transcriptions, using otter, which is the tool we use for that. Posting the podcast on my website, and then helping format and get all of the emails ready to go out for the podcast. And then also adjusting the description and title on YouTube. Those are some of the main things that were the job description.
So the SOP for that, can you can you guess what the SOP looked like? I took the job description, which was the outline. And then I just filled in the outline, I just filled in all the details. So for each one for posting a podcast episode on my website, with the SOP, I basically just did a little loom training a little video of me doing it. And that’s all that’s every single SOP item was just a little loom video of me actually doing it. So I literally did one of my episodes, I recorded it. And then I made that as the SOP I just put it in the SOP and I did that through YouTube. I did that for all the aspects of hiring my podcast out and you can do the same thing for the test that you’re gonna hire out, just create, you can do a little loom video, if you’re going to do the work and you’re going to hire it out, you’re gonna need to explain to somebody, you might as well record it. That way, they can always reference it.
And then for you know, for any reason, if they leave, or they’re not going to subcontract with you anymore, you don’t need to recreate your SOPs, you’ve got the video there and little pro tip if you’re going to do videos on what to hire out, don’t say their name. Don’t say the name. So like, when I did my podcast stuff, I didn’t say okay, Kam, here’s what we’re gonna do with this and this and this. I said, Okay, here’s what we’re gonna do with this and this and this just in case for whatever reason, Kam moves on from a VA role or something like that, that way, I still have those SOPs there. So that is a little pro tip I highly recommend doing because you don’t want to end up having you know, Jimmy, come along and do your SOP or do your processes and then all of a sudden, you know, you’re saying like a different name. Just keep it general little little tip on the SOP.
So that could be simple or complex. Either way, get it down. It could be a Google Doc, it could be something fairly simple. Whatever you’re doing create a basic SOP for and it’s really awesome to get stuff out of your head and on paper are all file are on file. So we could really go ham and SOPs that’s kind of why I’m thinking about making a course about this one day because I got so many ideas, but I want to keep this brief. So anywho that’s number eight create some basic SOPs again, they can be off of your job description, you can literally just do the work that you would have them do and then just record it. And then if you want to document and write it out, you can but I would just use loom just keep it simple.
9) Keep them internal
Now number nine, here’s a biggie. Keep the internal communication internal to you at first before eventually having them talk with clients because this is a big one. A lot of people are terrified of having a subcontractor talk with clients because they represent you either good or bad, and I understand that. So what I learned is to have them to report to me first, before I would ever even think about them, talking to clients. And it’s as simple as that if you’re using Asana, or Basecamp, or something, have that team thread. So as they get work done, and if they have questions they talk to you.
10) Give more responsibilities
And then if things go really well, and you’re ready to give them more responsibility and give them more roles to do, that brings us to the final point, number 10. Now’s the time to give them more responsibility. That’s more responsibility with potentially design builds, whatever it is, it’s also more responsibility, potentially client stuff. So I got to a point, for example, where once I, once Jonathan was working with me on quite a few projects, he was did a really good job and I felt comfortable with him. Even though his native language was French, he spoke really good English. So I felt comfortable with him talking with clients. But I didn’t throw him right to the clients right away, what I did was I still handled the onboarding, sales, initial design. And then I told them, once we get the initial design signed off, then I’ll have my lead designer, Jonathan, take over and complete the rest of the website for you.
And that’s exactly what we did. Once we got the front page done service page done, whatever the pages that I was going to help out with. I then had him jump in. And he was able to talk to the client for revisions. Why was that awesome? Because suddenly, I wasn’t the middleman anymore. So I didn’t need to talk to the client and get revisions and then relay it to him. I just had him talk to the client about revisions. And that worked great. That worked really, really good. Now, we had some good experiences with that. And we had some things to work through with timeliness and how to keep clients updated and when to update them. And one thing I had to be pretty quick to learn was I had to tell him, you need to over communicate. And even if you’re working on something, tell your clients what you’re doing, or just say I’m working on it, even if you don’t have an update.
So you can give your subcontractor more responsibility and potentially have them client facing as they move forward. And as they get better in your business. And that’s going to come with more hours, perhaps a rate increase. But again, remember, like we talked about in the beginning, you’re going to make more, you’re going to get projects done faster. And how awesome, think about this, if you’re doing everything yourself, right now, How amazing would it be to land a client, do the onboarding, help out with the initial design, and then have somebody else do all the rest of the work.
If that sounds awesome. This is the episode that I hope gives you the nudge to actually do that, or just to try it out. Because I’m telling you, it really was a game changer for me. And it’s very practical. And then eventually you can get to the point like I did, where I got the project started. I brought Jonathan in and my other subcontractors, when needed on certain projects. So they knew about the client and had a good idea of the design and the goals and all that stuff. And then eventually, I just handed the whole design over to them, which was crazy awesome. And that’s the only reason I was able to build courses Josh Hall .co while running my business. Because I was just running my business.
At one point, I got to the point where I wasn’t doing any projects myself, I wasn’t working in anything other than just talking with clients. I had subcontractors doing all the fulfillment. So that’s the goal. You want to get to eventually if you want to get to that.
But those are the top 10 tips. Now real quick. Let me just give you a few quick ideas as we wrap this up on where to find subcontractors because this probably sounds great. And then we’ll do a recap of the 10 tips. Oh, I meant to say a bonus tip as well. One thing I would owe you I’m going to say the bonus tip, I’m going to save the bonus tip to the very, very end. So hang with me, I’m going to give you an invaluable bonus tip.
But a quick note on where to find some contractors. First off, look in your professional network. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues if you know anybody who might be a good fit for this. A lot of people tend to just want to jump into indeed or something like that. But ask the people you know that already know like and trust you your professional web design friends, ask them first they may likely know somebody. There’s Facebook groups, there’s forums that are often really good hubs for putting a notice out there saying I’m interested that’s why I have my Divi web designers Facebook group, there’s also the Divi freelancers for hire group for those of you who use Divi, so socials, forums utilize those, any sort of premium clubs you’re in, or forums. That’s one.
This is one of the main reasons I have my web design club, because I have a lot of people in there who are scaling, but then I have a lot of people in there who are interested in partnering with other members as well. And it is a beautiful, seamless type of relationship, which is again open to you Josh Hall co slash web design club. Just let me know if you have any questions about that.
But if you’re part of any forums or premium groups or anything like that masterminds meetups, ask them put it out there either, you know, if there’s people directly in there, or people they down, and then finally any marketplaces, there’s Upwork they actually I just recently did in Episode 146, about how to get clients on Upwork. So you would actually listen to this from the opposite perspective. You will listen to it as how do I hire from work, but 146 Check that episode out that I’ll give you a lot of details on that. So a quick that just a few notes on where to find subcontractors. Again, that’s a whole nother episode.
But let me just recap these 10 tips. And then a final bonus tip number one, figure out what you should work on after you do your task inventory. Number two, figure out those lower level tasks. And then what anything that’s repeated, replicated or can be done with minimal training, that’s what you’re going to hire out. Number three, put all those minimal things in a job description that you’re going to hire out number four, you can either go hourly, fix a retainer, start hourly, ask them what their rate rate is, and then go from there. And number five, solidify those lines of team communication separate business from personal number six, offer a test or a small project to get them started. Once they sign on with it. Number seven, start small, just start small, have them do fulfillment and things that can be done internally, start small and things will get better and better. Number eight, take the job description and create an SOP out of it. Just do little loom videos just showing what you’re going to do, ideally, to save your time. Number nine, keep all the information or communication internal to you at first they report to you. And then finally, once they do a good job, and they get better and better number 10, then you can start giving some responsibility. And you can start giving them some client facing interaction that’s going to help you save more and more time moving forward as well.
And then finally, my bonus tip, something I wish somebody would have told me early on when I started scaling, ask them how they’re feeling and what they’re interested in. So I would do this like monthly, if not monthly, quarterly, for sure. And I did this monthly with with a couple of my first hires. And then eventually as I got to know them better, I just checked in about quarterly. And I would just ask him, How are you feeling? Are you liking the work? Is the things I can do better? What are you enjoying? What are you not enjoying? And what are you interested in because right now they might be really interested in the fulfillment. But maybe they’re getting better at design. And they want to do more design or they want to do more strategy they want to or maybe they are interested in email marketing, they want to potentially do copy or, or conversion based cutting all that kind of stuff.
Ask them how they’re feeling and what they’re interested in. That’s going to help them stick with you. Because it’s vulnerable when you have subcontractors because they can always easily leave you as easy as they are to sign on. It’s just that easy for them to sign off. So you want to keep them with you. And then who knows where the relationship will go. So there we go, guys, a lot of thoughts and tips in this episode. But we’re really just scratching the surface this really, I’ll be honest, it’s kind of planted the seed for me to do a course about this eventually, because I think we could definitely go into each one of these in a lot of detail. I love to be able to like visually show you some of this and maybe do some case studies about hiring. So there we go. I think we just like we just saw the, the conceiving of the next course here.
So I hope this has helped if you guys have any questions, and you would like to pick my brain about this to help you directly in your business. That is why I have my web design club. It is for you. It’s not like this private community that no one else is welcome to it is open for you. I would love to be your coach. I would love to be able to chat with you one on one. Apart from that it’s the most amazing community in the world, you’ll be fully supported by so many great people. We do live calls every week, where I’ll give you some coaching. That is a Josh Hall co/web design club. I would love to help you get ready to hire some subcontractors to take your web design business to the next level.
And until next time. Hope you guys enjoyed this episode. Be sure to go to the show notes at Josh hall.co/ 154 For the full transcription outline and everything that my subcontractor Kam is putting together for you. So there you go. Alright guys, enjoy. See you on the next one.
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