How to Scale and Automate Your Online Business 2021
Once you have set up your successful online business, it is natural for you to want to scale it. The problem is that it is very easy to get this wrong. You need to use the right approach when it comes to scaling your online business and that is what this guide is all about.
To scale your online business successfully you need the right mindset. You also need to set goals and create a plan for the scaling. It can be difficult for some online business owners to make the transition from working in their business to working on it. This guide will explain the right approach to use to maximize your chances of success.
We have worked hard to provide you with everything that you need to know about scaling your online business successfully. You will find it an easy and engaging read and we encourage you to read it from start to finish and then start to implement the tips and advice you find here.
The Benefits of Scaling Your Online Business
You have an online business that is working and earning you a regular income. Congratulations – this is not easy to do despite all of the hype that suggests creating a successful online business is easy to achieve.
You have put in long hours to make your online business a success. Every day you are working to keep it going and performing several tasks on your own. This keeps your costs down and it seems like the smart thing to do.
So what do you do now? You have two choices at this stage:
- Carry on with your online business as it is and hope that the revenue keeps coming
- Scale your online business
At this point, you may be thinking that you are very comfortable with your online business as it is. You are very proud of the fact (and so you should be) that you created this business from nothing and now it is earning you consistent income. So why should you even consider scaling it?
The harsh reality is that things change all of the time online. Today you have a great online business that is earning you good money. Tomorrow it could all be gone. It just takes a larger competitor to spot what you are doing, replicate your business and target your customers with more enticing offers.
Do you think that this cannot happen to you? It’s time to think again! Many online businesses that were successful at one time have disappeared because they stayed where they were and didn’t scale. It is not difficult for a competitor to reverse engineer your online business and copy it. They can throw money at this and wipe you out very quickly.
Ok, this doesn’t happen to everyone. There are many examples of small online businesses that are still going on today after many years. But is it worth taking the chance? Let’s take a look at the benefits of scaling your online business.
Benefits of Scaling your Online Business
You have probably already made the decision to scale your online business, as you wouldn’t be reading this guide if you hadn’t done this, would you? This is a very good decision and you may not realize this but there are several benefits from scaling.
It increases your chances of Survival
It is a “dog eat dog” world online. Just about every online business out there is easily copied and if the people copying your business have more resources then this can be a real threat to you. When you scale your business to make it larger and more powerful, it is not so easily copied.
Does your online business rely on a single product or service to generate income? If it does then you are vulnerable right away. It just takes one competitor to copy your product or service and make it more appealing to the market and you can say goodbye to your online business.
We live in an uncertain world. Right now, your online business might be thriving and you may have a solid customer base. However, if things change in the economy, for example, the smaller online businesses are likely to be the ones that suffer the most.
Having a larger online business will make it more likely that you will be able to withstand changes that you have no control over. You will be building an online business with longevity in mind that will keep going while others are falling by the wayside.
Most owners of small online businesses do almost everything themselves. They don’t do a lot of planning and are therefore susceptible to the whims of the market. You spend most of your time working on your business rather than working on it.
As an individual, there is only so much that you can do. You have a limited amount of time and the results that you achieve with your online business are totally dependent on how you use your available time. This is not an efficient way of running an online business.
By scaling your online business, you can increase its efficiency. You will have more time to plan for growth and anticipate bumps in the road and how you will overcome them. This means that you will be in control of your online business more than you ever were before.
Customers expect consistent treatment when they deal with an online business. This can be difficult to achieve when you are doing everything yourself. If you treat one customer better than another word can quickly get out about this and your reputation can take a nosedive.
Individual online business owners usually become inconsistent due to market pressures. They need to survive so they do whatever is necessary. How this looks to the customers is of secondary concern.
When you scale your online business, you can maintain consistency a lot easier. You now have the resources to see you through the difficulties in the market and this enables you to maintain a consistent approach. You run the risk of losing your customers if you are not consistent.
You may find this one a little puzzling. Surely if you are running your online business on your own, it will be easier for you to adapt and make any necessary changes? This is true to some extent, but when your online business has more resources you can make any necessary changes even faster.
Once you have decided to scale your online business you will have more time to plan and think ahead. This means that you can anticipate what is around the corner and take action to protect your online business. You can make a decision to change your product offerings or scale up your marketing for example when you know there is a threat on the horizon.
Running an online business alone rarely affords you the time to anticipate the short-term and long-term future. You are so fixated on the here and now that things can really take you by surprise. Yes, you can act quickly, but it is better to anticipate things happening and plan for them in advance rather than reacting all of the time.
Building a Long Term Online Business
Why go to all of the time, effort, and trouble of creating a successful online business if it is only for the short term? For some people this is OK – they have an exit strategy where they want to get out as fast as possible and let someone else take care of the scaling and growth.
Nevertheless, most people don’t have this kind of plan. We have discussed the survival of your online business at some length already in this chapter, and planning for the long term will usually increase the survival chances.
Fending off Competition
The online marketplace is now more competitive than it ever was before. Consumers are a lot more relaxed about making purchases online than they used to be and this presents a big opportunity for you and your competitors.
If your online business is larger and has more resources, you have a much greater chance of fending off the competition than if you are small. It is all about survival of the fittest. Your larger competitors can copy what you are doing easily. You are always at risk if you stay as you are and don’t scale.
You will make more Money and have more Time
We have saved the best until last! When you scale your online business, you will sell more products and services and generate more revenue. If you approach this in the right way (we will tell you how to do this in a later chapter) then you will increase your profits.
Not having to do everything yourself will free up some of your time to do the things that you really want to do. You can really live the Internet lifestyle and work when you want, wherever you want. We are sure that you didn’t create your online business so that you could be a slave to it (like having a second job). So scale up and be free!
In the next chapter, we will discuss the mindset changes that you need to make to successfully scale your online business…
The Right Mindset for Successfully Scaling Your Online Business
You have created your online business all on your own so far and made it successful. This is a real credit to you. However, if you are serious about scaling your online business then it is almost certain that you will need to make some mindset changes.
It is important that you change the belief that you have to do everything yourself. There may be many reasons why you think in this way such as the cost of getting someone else to assist you and trusting others to do as good a job as you do.
But you have to let go. If you don’t then it will be incredibly difficult to scale your online business as you will insist on being involved with every part of it. You need to change your mindset so that you can start working on your business rather than in it all of the time.
Making these mindset changes may not be easy for you but they are necessary. Some people reading this guide will realize the value of changing their mindset right away and the transition will be quick and painless. For others, it will be quite a tough thing to do. You need to be consistent in your efforts.
Why do you want to Scale your Online Business?
This is where it all starts. You need to identify the real reason why you want to scale your online business. Making your online business more efficient is a good reason for scaling but it is unlikely to stir the emotions within you to make the necessary mindset changes.
You need a reason that has emotional power. Are you scaling your online business because you want to provide a secure future for you and your family? This is a good reason as you feel very strongly about your family and you want them to have the best possible future.
Take a pen and paper and go to a place where you will not be disturbed. Put your phone in silent mode and then write this question at the top of the paper “why do I really want to scale my online business?”
Focus on this question for at least 20 minutes. Your subconscious mind will provide you with a number of answers. Write all of these answers down – do not make any judgments at this stage. When you have run out of answers review what you have written.
Examine each answer and see how it makes you feel inside. The ideal answer will evoke strong feelings within you. This is exactly what you want. Choose the answer that provides the strongest feelings – you are going to use this as your WHY statement.
Write the answer down on a separate piece of paper. Put in in the format “I want to scale my online business because…” Think about the feelings you experience with this and write these down as well. Therefore, you could write, “By scaling my online business I will feel…”
You are going to read your WHY statement every day. Doing this first thing in the morning is best, as it will set you up for a great day ahead. If at any time you feel your motivation waning, get out your WHY statement and read it aloud again to give yourself a motivational boost.
Think Investment and not Cost
This can be a difficult mindset shift to make but it is essential. When you are running an online business on your own, it is normal to consider any expenditure as a cost. Paying for your web hosting is a cost as is paying for your autoresponder service. In fact, any expenditure that you make you consider to be a cost.
The problem with this way of thinking is that the word “cost” has negative connotations. Costs are something that you need to avoid or at least minimize. Investment is a positive word. It suggests a positive decision and the expectation of a profitable return.
To scale your online business successfully, you will need to make some shrewd investments. This is positive thinking rather than the negative approach of “increasing your costs”. It can take a little while to make the transition in thinking from cost to investment but stick at it as it will work for you in the end.
Think Team and not Self
Do you do everything yourself for your online business? Or at least the majority of tasks? This is fine if you are happy to stay where you are, but no good if you want to scale your online business. You need to think about a team effort rather than you doing everything yourself.
If it has taken you a while to get your online business where it is today by doing everything yourself then it can be difficult to let go. This is understandable, but you must shift your mindset here. There is only so much that you can achieve by yourself – to scale successfully you will need the help of others.
When you think about outsourcing tasks for your online business to others what comes to mind? Do you think that outsourcing is expensive? Perhaps you think that other people can’t perform the tasks as well as you can? Maybe you think that other people will steal your ideas?
This kind of thinking is common but it is totally negative and you need to change these thoughts if you want to scale your online business successfully. You must trust others to follow your instructions and to see outsourcing as an investment rather than a cost.
We are not going to pretend that it is going to be easy for you to scale your online business successfully, especially in the beginning. You will need to take the time out to educate your team about your business, and how you want things done. Monitoring what they do initially is very important and you need to get them on the right track if they make mistakes.
Although you will need to put in the effort at the start, a good outsourcer will soon adapt to your way of thinking and you will get the results that you want. In the long term, you will definitely benefit from this.
So stop thinking that only you can do the things that are necessary to keep your online business going. Many smart and capable outsourcers are available that can do what you want. They can even bring new ideas to the table, which you may not have thought of. Teamwork is essential for the successful scaling of your online business.
You are the CEO and not a worker
This is another essential mindset shift. You have to make the transition from worker (the guy that did everything) to the CEO. Your role with your online business is now going to be planning for growth and not writing articles and doing keyword research.
If you think about the CEO of a business, is it likely that you will see them on the shop floor making products or dealing with the customers? Of course not. They are constantly thinking about changes in the market and the new opportunities that this will bring. CEOs are all about strategy and future planning.
This is where you want to be. You are in control but not involved in the nitty-gritty. Your job is to make the important decisions that will grow your online business and protect it from future market changes. It is someone else’s job to implement your decisions. Of course, you need to monitor that your decisions are implemented properly.
Time is more important than Money
This can be a really difficult mindset transition to make but it is critical that you make it. You can always make more money but you cannot get more time. Spend your time wisely for the future benefit of your online business.
One of the most stupid sayings is “there are not enough hours in the day”. So many people say this, but it is just a way of saying that they are not spending their time in the most efficient way.
There are 24 hours in each day – no more and no less. You cannot change this so what is the point of wasting your energy wishing that you could?
By making shrewd investments in your online business you can save yourself a great deal of time. You can then use this time to plan your next move. So think long-term here and accept that your time is much more important than money will ever be.
In the next chapter, we will discuss the importance of goal setting when scaling your online business…
Setting Goals to Scale Your Online Business
You are never going to scale your online business successfully without a plan. In order to create the right plan, you must first decide on your goals for your online business. So in this chapter, we will discuss the importance of setting goals the right way and then developing plans for their achievement.
Most online business owners do not set goals. They just try and generate as many leads and sales for their business as they can. This is fine if you are happy with your online business remaining a small concern. If you want to scale your online business then you must set goals.
You must Set Goals Properly
Have you set goals before? Did you achieve them? The first thing that we want to point out is that just setting goals is part of the process. Yes, you need to set goals, but you also need to push yourself to achieve them every day.
In the last chapter on mindset, we started with creating a WHY statement. This is the most important thing that you can do. The reason for this is that your WHY statement should always stir strong emotions within you that provide you with the inspiration and motivation to follow through. You need strong emotion linked to your goals too.
Don’t worry, we will show you how to set inspiring goals in this chapter and how to use them so that you keep your motivation levels high. Without this, you are very unlikely to achieve your goals.
SMART FOR ME Goal Setting
We recommend that you use a goal-setting process known as SMART FOR ME. As you have probably guessed, this is an acronym. Let’s start with SMART:
Specific – all of your goals need to be specific. You cannot successfully scale your online business with non-specific goals. It is essential that your goal spell out what you want to achieve. So if your online business generates $100,000 a year in revenue now, a specific scaling goal would be to increase that revenue to $500,000 per year for example.
Measurable – you have to be able to measure every goal that you set for scaling your online business. This is essential, as you want to be able to see the progress that you are making toward your goal on a regular basis. The revenue goal above is measurable – you can easily track your progress towards this.
Attainable – when you set a goal for scaling your online business, do you really believe that it is possible? All of your goals need to be attainable. Going from $100,000 a year in revenue to $10 million in the first 12 months may be possible but do you really believe that you can attain this? If you have an eCommerce store, having a goal to be larger than Amazon is not attainable.
Realistic – this is similar to attainable. We are not suggesting that you don’t test yourself with your goals to scale your online business. However, if you set unrealistic goals you will just be wasting your time and get frustrated.
Timed – every one of your goals must have a deadline. You need to set an end date for the goal to be achieved. If you don’t do this and leave it open-ended then you will have no target to aim for. Always add a timeline. For example, “I will grow the revenue of my online business to $500,000 in the next 12 months.
Next, we have FOR:
Focus – a mistake that many people make is to set too many goals. When you do this it is more difficult for you to focus. Focus is critical to goal achievement. Trying to achieve 10 goals will dilute your focus much more than trying to achieve 2 goals for example.
Optimism – all of your goals need to be optimistic. Never use any kind of negativity in your goals. Be positive with your wording and avoid terms such as “wishing” and “hoping”. Instead, say that you will achieve something.
Ready – never set a goal where you are reliant on something else to happen before you can start working on it. Your goals all need to be set so that you are ready to take action immediately. People that successfully scale their business start on their initiatives immediately.
Use the ME component to make your goals passionate and inspiring:
Meaningful – any goal that you set must tie in with the WHY statement that you created. If a goal doesn’t align with why you want to scale your online business then it is really going to be a challenge for you to achieve it. Always set meaningful goals that align with your WHY statement.
Exciting – set goals that will excite you. Think about what achieving a goal will mean to you and note the emotions that you experience.
When a goal links to a strong emotional experience, you will be a lot more likely to see it through. At times, the going is going to get tough, so you need this strong emotion to overcome any obstacles that you will inevitably face.
Write your Goals Down
There is a lot of power in committing your goals to paper. Once you have written them then you can type them into a document on your computer if you want but be sure to write them down first.
Keep a copy of your goals with you all of the time. Every morning after you read your WHY statement, follow this up by reading your goals. We recommend that you start a journal if you don’t use one already. You can write your goals in this and then make an entry about your progress every day to help keep you on track.
What Goals should you set to Scale your Online Business?
Every online business is different so we cannot give you a definitive list of areas for goal setting. But there are some common areas that we suggest you focus on. Please don’t get carried away with this. As we have already said, trying to achieve too many goals can end up being counterproductive.
Here are some areas of online business that you might want to consider when setting your goals:
- Growing your revenue
- Increasing your profits
- Fully automating your online business
- Adding more products and/or services
- Increasing your reach with marketing investment
- Using email marketing to increase revenue
- Increasing your brand awareness
- Expanding on the number of orders, you can accept
- Ramping up your social media marketing
- Utilizing other channels to sell your products e.g. Amazon
These are just a few examples. We recommend that you have a revenue/profit goal and then one or two others for the first 12 months. When you are setting your goals, don’t think about how you are going to achieve them – we will cover that next. Remember that it took Amazon decades to become as successful as they are today – so don’t set “miracle” goals.
In the next chapter, we will discuss planning to scale your online business…
Planning to Scale Your Online Business
You will not successfully scale your online business without a plan. At this stage, you have set goals for your business to scale it and now it is time for you to think about how you are going to achieve your goals. So in this chapter, we will provide you with a great way to create your plan as well as some ideas that you will find useful.
Your plan is never going to be perfect. So accept that you will need to adjust your plan as you go along. There are always changes in the market and some of these you are not going to be able to predict accurately. You need to monitor your progress against your plan regularly and make any necessary adjustments.
Use this great Planning Technique
Coming up with a good plan to scale your online business successfully can be challenging. So we have a great technique that will help you construct your plan. Take some paper and a pen (yes you are going to do some more writing!) and find somewhere quiet where it is unlikely you will be disturbed.
Take one of your goals and write this down on the top of one of the sheets of paper. Let’s go with the example of “I will scale my online business to generate $500,000 in revenue in the next 12 months”.
Now you are going to ask yourself the question “how can I scale my online business to generate $500,000 in the next 12 months?” You need to focus when you are doing this. Your subconscious mind will work for you here and provide answers for you. Don’t judge any of the answers – just write them all down.
If you find that you get to the point when no more answers come to you, focus on the question again. This usually helps to generate a few more ideas. After you have completed this exercise, you should have a list of ideas that you can use for your plan.
You do not have to stop with this single session. Write the question down on another sheet of paper and take it to bed with you. Ask yourself the question again before you go to sleep. Make sure that you have your pen and paper handy to jot down any ideas that come to you during the night or when you awake.
This is a very powerful planning technique. It may not provide you with all of the answers but it should give you a great head start with your plan. There are other things that you can do to come up with other ideas as well as using this technique.
Look for Case Studies Online
You are not the only person that ever wanted to scale their online business. Others have gone through this before you and some online business owners will have written about what they did to achieve their scaling goals.
So use Google or your favorite search engine to uncover case studies or other information about how people successfully scaled their online businesses. Take your time over this. You are not against the clock to come up with your plan.
There are training courses online that will explain the techniques you can use to scale an online business. You will have to pay for this training, but consider it as one of your first investments. Just one good idea from one of these courses can literally mean thousands of dollars to you.
Try to find courses created by people that have really scaled an online business. Unfortunately, there are people that sell training courses based on theory rather than practice. It may be difficult to establish who has really scaled an online business and who hasn’t, but it is worth your time and effort to find this out.
Ideas for your Plan
We are going to use the example of increasing your revenue to $500,000 in the next 12 months again. Here are some things that you could include in a revenue plan like this:
Know your numbers – how many sales did you make in the last year? How many customers do you have? How many of those customers have made more than one purchase? You need to know your base numbers so that you can use them to extrapolate.
If you made 1,000 sales from 10,000 leads and this generated revenue of $100,000 in the last 12 months, you can use this to predict the number of customers and sales that you will need to generate $500,000.
In this example, you are going to require 5,000 sales and will probably need 50,000 leads to generate this number of sales. This is simple mathematics, but you can use it as part of your plan.
Marketing – to generate more revenue for your online business you will need to increase your marketing efforts. In the example above, you need to go from 10,000 leads to 50,000 leads in order to achieve a target of $500,000. How are you going to increase your leads by this amount?
What did you do in the last 12 months to generate the 10,000 leads that you already have? Did you run pay-per-click (PPC) ads? Was it through content marketing? Did you grow your social media following? Did you use video marketing?
Find out what the most successful method was of generating leads and think about how you can scale this up. If the majority of your leads came from PPC ads then look at how you can run more ads for example.
Products and services – what were your bestselling products or services last year? Can you introduce new products or services to help you generate more revenue? What about selling related products or services to your existing customers?
How will you find these new products and services? Will you create them in-house? Can you promote other people’s products and services to your customers as an affiliate and make commissions? Do you need to find wholesalers that can provide you with new products?
Order capacity – is your existing order capacity holding you back? Is there a limit to the number of orders that you can process each day? If there is then how do you increase the capacity of your online business to be able to accept more orders? Can you do this through additional automation?
Having an order capacity limit is something that a lot of online business owners face. You must fix this if you are going to scale successfully. There is always an answer and you need to find it otherwise you will be stuck at your current capacity with no chance of scaling.
We have just scratched the surface here with these ideas. No matter what kind of online business you run it is essential that you know your numbers. Sometimes by just doing some simple math, you can uncover several opportunities for growth. Add all of these things to your plan.
In the next chapter, we will discuss automation strategies to scale your online business…
Automation Strategies to Scale Your Online Business
There is a degree of automation involved with most online businesses. Nevertheless, very few online business owners automate their businesses fully. When we say “fully” there is normally a limit to the amount of automation that you can achieve. There is usually an element that you cannot automate for example customer support.
So automating your online business as much as you can is the name of the game here.
What is Limiting your Capacity?
Here is a good place to start with automation. If you have a limit on the number of orders that you can process in a day what is the reason for this? Is it simply a matter of logistics or is there some other reason?
So your first task is to analyze the processes that you use to fulfill and order. Is there any manual intervention required? If so, can this be automated? There may not be an automation tool that you can purchase “off the shelf” to automate all of your processes. If this is the case then you will need to find a good software developer(s) that can do this for you.
One of your aims of scaling your online businesses should always be to remove you from the business. You can do this by outsourcing tasks to others, which we will cover in another chapter. However, if there is a way of automating what you do then this is always the preferred solution.
You need to think about investment here. If you have to pay a good developer a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars to provide the automation that you need then you will only have to do this once. It will be worth it just to remove yourself from day-to-day involvement in your online business.
Online businesses that sell digital products and services are the easiest to automate. The customer makes a purchase and then they are automatically taken to a membership or download area where they can access their product(s).
Digital product businesses will usually have a sales funnel that is used for lead generation and sales. The first landing page intends to capture the email address of your prospect so that you can communicate with them again. Then the prospect is automatically taken to a “front end” offer, which they either purchase or not.
If they make a purchase then they are shown a related “upsell” which they can decide to purchase or not and so it goes on. The final upsell is something of a “high-ticket” nature such as personal coaching for example.
Ecommerce stores can work in a similar way. The first section of the sales funnel is all about grabbing the email address and other contact information. After purchasing the item that they want, the customer can then be presented with other purchase ideas. Amazon does this extremely well with their “customers who purchased this also bought these” approach.
So the question that you need to ask yourself here is “do I have sales funnels in place for my online business?” Sales funnels are a great way to automate things as well as increase the number of leads and sales for your online business.
You may not be able to completely automate everything with your sales funnels but they are an easy way for you to generate leads and increase sales with upsells in your online business. If you are not technically minded then you can subscribe to a service such as Clickfunnels or Kartra to build your funnels easily.
Here is another good automation tool that you can use to generate more sales. If you provide value in the emails that you send to your prospects and customers then they will like and trust you and will be far more likely to make a purchase if you present them with an offer.
When you get a new email lead, it is best to subject them to an autoresponder sequence. This is a preloaded sequence of emails that you just add to your autoresponder service. Tell your autoresponder when you want the emails sent and it will do the rest.
Some people will tell you that email marketing is dead but this is not true at all. There is a lot of competition out there, but if you construct your emails in the right way then your subscribers will open them and read them.
With email autoresponder services from Aweber, Get Response, Mailchimp, and other providers, you can see at a glance in your dashboard how many subscribers you have and how people react to your emails. You need to know how many of your emails were opened and what the click-through rate was for any links.
You can also use email to make your customers feel appreciated. Each time that they make a purchase set up an automatic email to thank them and remind them about the support that you offer etc. Online businesses that care about their customers like this are far more likely to succeed.
Social Media Marketing Automation
If you have social platforms that you use to promote your online business then it can take a lot of effort and time to post new content. An online business is likely to have a Facebook account and possibly Instagram and Twitter depending on the target market. B2B online businesses will probably have a LinkedIn profile as well.
It takes enough time to create posts for your social media profiles let alone manually post. Then there is responding to comments that you receive on your posts. Checking your social media profiles every day is time-consuming so we recommend that you automate.
There are services available such as Hootsuite and Social Jukebox where you can automatically schedule social tasks. It is very important that you keep your social profiles going to scale your online business so check out all of the automation tools available and use those that will save you time.
In the next chapter, we will discuss outsourcing tasks to scale your online business…
Outsourcing Tasks to Scale Your Online Business
If you only take away one thing from this guide, it needs to be this:
You will never scale your online business successfully if you keep doing everything yourself!
You only have a certain amount of time each day and there will be a limit to how far you can scale your online business if you insist on doing all of the necessary tasks to keep it going yourself. Here are the 3 most common reasons why online business owners don’t outsource tasks:
- The cost
- Believing that nobody else can do things as good as you can
- Fear of others stealing your business ideas
If you believe one or all of these things then you need to get over it. Some very good outsourcers can do the work that you do for less money than you might think. You can protect your ideas by asking them to sign an NDA.
Scaling your online business requires you to make the transition from working in your business to working on it. You can achieve some of this through automation as we discussed in the last chapter, but you are going to need a virtual team of outsourcers to cover the rest.
If the thought of outsourcing tasks for your online business is a difficult one for you, then start by outsourcing a small number of tasks and then gradually building this up. Use the free time that you create by planning for the future of your business.
Decide what you will Outsource
Make a list of all of the things that you have to do yourself for your online business. This could include the following:
- Content writing
- Graphic design
- Social media marketing
- Paid advertising campaigns
- Product creation
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Order fulfillment
- Customer support
There could be many other things that you have to do to keep your online business running. Make a complete list and then identify those things that take the most time. Also, think about those tasks that you don’t actually like doing that much, and those that you are not very good at.
Outsourcing tasks that take up most of your time is a good place to start. If you don’t particularly like writing it can take you a very long time to write a blog post for your website. Someone that enjoys writing could probably do this in a fraction of the time it takes you. Just decide what you will outsource first and then move to the next step.
Find Potential Outsourcers
If you are new to outsourcing then you will be happy to know that there are a lot of websites where you can find potential outsourcers for the tasks that you need to complete. There are freelancing websites where you can post projects that freelancers will bid against for example. Well-known sites that provide this are:
Then there are “gig” based websites where freelancers offer to perform specific tasks for a price. Well-known gig sites are:
It is a lot easier to use the gig sites than it is the job posting sites. Let’s say that you want to outsource your content writing. Go to Fiverr.com and then search for freelancers that will write content for you. There will be many gigs available for a task like this.
Each gig on Fiverr and other gig websites will have ratings. You can check what the customers thought of the work that the freelancer did for them. Choose gigs that have the highest ratings even if it means that you will pay a bit more.
Upwork and the other job posting websites also rate their freelancers. You will be able to check the rating of anyone that bids on a job that you post. It is also possible to look at the freelancers before you post your project.
Provide Precise Instructions
To ensure that you get what you want from an outsourcer that you use you need to give them precise instructions. They are not going to know anything about you or your online business so you need to tell them.
The more precise you can be with your instructions the better. Tell them exactly what you want them to do and how you want them to do it. Good freelancers will always respond well to your instructions, as they will be keen to satisfy you with their services so that you will go back to them again.
In most cases, written instructions will be fine. If the task that you want to be performed is complex then you may need a call with the freelancer using a messenger service. Another way to provide good instructions is to create a video using a service like Jing.
Check their Work
Even if you have provided the most precise instructions, you must thoroughly check the work that you receive from an outsourcer. Mistakes happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe the freelancer slightly misinterpreted what you asked for. If they make a mistake then don’t use this as a reason to give up on outsourcing!
Tell your freelancer what they did wrong and explain what they should have done. Most of them will re-do the work as part of the deal. They do not want a negative review and will be eager to continue working with you.
You need to be patient when you are outsourcing tasks for your online business. Many very competent freelancers out there do not speak English as their first language for example. This doesn’t mean that they cannot perform the task that you need – it just might take you longer to explain exactly what you want.
Build a Team of reliable Outsourcers
As you outsource more and more of your tasks you can begin to build a reliable team of outsourcers that you know you can depend on. You have taken the time and effort to teach these people how to perform your tasks as you want them performed. Now you can send them work without having to watch their every move.
This is exactly where you want to be. Having a great team that you know you can rely on is a fantastic feeling. You know that it will be a lot easier to scale your online business successfully with these people on your side.
Outsource to Experts
Have you ever spent a lot of time trying to do something for your online business that you know you don’t have the skills or knowledge to do? Here is a classic example – logo design. People will spend hours using an application like Photoshop to create a logo for their online business. They have no graphic design skills at all.
This is a total waste of your precious time. You cannot be good at everything. The guy that is a great graphic designer is probably hopeless at some of the things that you do really well. Just accept that it is better to get an expert top to perform a specific task for you and then get on with something that you are good at.
In the next chapter, we will discuss marketing strategies to scale your online business…
Marketing Strategies to Scale Your Online Business
To scale your online business successfully you are going to have to ramp up your marketing. You need to be able to reach more prospects that will become leads initially and then convert into customers.
You have probably used different online marketing methods to get your online business to where it is today. Do you know which of these methods produces the best results for you? If you don’t then you need to find this out as scaling up what works the best is a smart thing to do.
If you have been doing everything yourself to make your online business a success then you probably have not devoted enough time to marketing. You have been so busy performing other tasks for your online business that promoting it has become a bit of an afterthought.
When you are scaling your online business, marketing must be very high on your list of priorities. Marketing is vital to successfully scale your online business. By using automation methods and outsourcing tasks to competent freelancers, you will free up your time to focus on marketing.
Test and Measure Everything
There are so many ways that you can promote your online business and we suggest that you test a number of these to see which works the best for you. Testing is essential; as you do not want to spend a large amount of money on a marketing tactic that you are not sure will be effective for you.
Fortunately, most paid advertising methods allow you to test their effectiveness very quickly. You can run some pay-per-click (PPC) ads with Google or Microsoft for example and start generating traffic to your online business in minutes. Most social media ads will drive traffic pretty quickly too.
Always track your traffic sources. If you are running several different marketing campaigns such as PPC, content marketing, social media ads, and so on, you need to know where your traffic is coming from.
The reality is that some of the marketing methods that you will test are going to produce better results than the others. By tracking everything, you can see which are the best performers and then scale up on these.
Scale up what is currently working
You will be using some marketing methods currently that have helped to get your online business to its current level of success. Can you scale these methods to bring in more leads and sales? Most marketing methods are scalable so identity what is working the best for you right now and then do more of this.
For example, you may be running some PPC campaigns for search engine marketing that deliver good results for you. You can ramp up most PPC campaigns by either increasing your daily spend on impressions and clicks or by adding additional keywords to your campaign.
The keywords need to be related to your niche and your online business of course. So do some additional keyword research (or outsource this to an expert) to find more keywords that you are not currently using to drive traffic.
Many online business owners only use one or two methods to drive traffic to their websites and offers. When you are scaling your online business, you need to think more “multichannel”. This means that you will utilize more than one marketing channel to drive targeted traffic.
You may have used content marketing to drive free traffic to your online business successfully. This is an excellent form of marketing and it certainly works. However, what about all of the other channels that you can use such as paid advertising and other free traffic generation methods?
Think about where your prospects hang out online. What are the most effective ways that you can reach them? If you drive a lot of traffic from free social media posting now, then how about increasing the reach of your content by investing in ads? Facebook will provide you with the option of boosting posts to extend your reach for example.
Here are some of the most popular marketing channels for an online business:
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- PPC ads
- Social media ads
- Native ads
- Forum marketing
- Video marketing
There are more of course. If you are not currently using some of these marketing channels, assess whether they could help you to drive more targeted traffic to your online business. Not all of these channels may be suitable for your business, but it is likely that some of them could help you to generate a lot more leads and sales.
If you are not currently doing content marketing then you need to start. Here you will publish something of value on your website and other platforms to prove to prospects that you know what you are talking about and that they should listen to you.
Content marketing can take a number of different forms:
- Blog posts / articles
- Audios (podcasting)
- Presentations (PowerPoint files or PDF documents)
- Social media posts
All of these different formats allow you to showcase your expertise and make your target audience aware of what you have to offer. You should start by adding valuable posts to your website and then use social platforms to spread the word even further.
You can outsource the creation of your content. There are good content writers that will create this for you. All you have to do then is post it on your website and your social media accounts.
Something that many online business owners overlook is video marketing. People prefer to watch videos far more than they will read blog posts, so you should be creating as many videos for your business as you can and sharing them on YouTube and Facebook.
Email marketing works really well but it is overlooked by a lot of online business owners. Not everyone that visits your website is going to purchase your products or services the first time around. In fact, most of them won’t.
If you do not have a way to capture details of your visitors then you run the risk of losing them forever. You can offer your visitors something of value in exchange for their email address. This could be a report on PDF format or a special video that is not available to the public for example.
You will need to use an autoresponder service to build a list of subscribers and be able to send them automated emails and broadcast emails.
It is a good idea to create a sequence of emails that go out automatically as soon as someone becomes a subscriber. You can present offers in these emails to increase your sales.
Email marketing works but you need to be smarter than ever these days to get your emails opened and the links within them clicked. Most people receive far too many emails so you need to use subject lines that will stand out in their inbox.
There is plenty of information available online about how to improve email open rates and click through rates so use all of the best tactics in your email marketing. It will take some effort to setup a good automated email sequence and to send out broadcast emails for special offers but the results should make this all worthwhile.
In the next chapter, we will discuss using the right metrics to successfully scale your online business…
Use The Right Metrics to Scale Your Online Business
In the chapter on setting goals, we emphasized the need to be able to measure a goal as part of the SMART goal setting process. You cannot manage what you cannot measure and thankfully, there are many metrics available that you can use with your online business.
In fact, there are so many metrics available that it can be a bit overwhelming. So in this chapter we will recommend the most important metrics that you need to monitor regularly to see how well your online business scaling efforts are paying off for you.
Monitor your Scaling Efforts
You need to get into the habit of monitoring key metrics for your online business on a regular basis. Far too many online business owners fail to do this. It is up to you how often you check these metrics but we would recommend at least once every week.
It may not be an effective use of your time to monitor your metrics every day. Some marketing strategies that you could deploy to scale your online business may take time to work effectively so it could be a waste of time checking the metrics for these each day. This is really dependent on the methods you are using.
If you don’t monitor key metrics with the scaling of your online business then you will have no idea what is working and what isn’t. Some marketing strategies can be expensive, so if you are using them and they are not delivering the results that you want then you would be better off investing in other methods.
Targeted Website Traffic
Nothing is more important than increasing the amount of targeted visitors that you drive to your website. You cannot successfully scale your online business without increasing your visitor traffic levels.
You can sell more products to your existing customers, but there is a limit to how much additional revenue this will generate for you. Scaling up your traffic provides almost endless opportunities. So it is very important that you measure how your traffic is increasing on a regular basis.
You can use several traffic analysis applications for your online business. Why spend money when you can use the very powerful Google Analytics for free? With Google Analytics you can monitor the traffic to your website on a regular basis and you can also see where your visitors are coming from and a lot more.
Google Analytics is necessary for all online business owners. There are a number of useful features and there are many videos on YouTube that will show you how to use it effectively. So if you don’t have Google Analytics setup for your website you need to do this today.
You need to know how well your marketing efforts are resulting in new leads and sales for your online business. When you know the numbers for your business, you can predict with some certainty the impact of increasing these numbers will have on your bottom line.
We are assuming that you have setup a lead capture system for your online business that will add prospects to your email list. So how many of your new website visitors are becoming email subscribers?
How many of your email subscribers convert into customers? You need to measure conversions for your offers. So for example, if you send 100 people to an offer, how many people make a purchase? If two people make a purchase then your conversion rate is 2%, but if ten people make a purchase then your conversion rate is 10%.
When you know your conversion rate, you can make some changes to your landing pages to try to increase it. Increasing your conversion levels must be a top priority for you so monitor all of the metrics that you have to calculate your conversion numbers.
If you sell a number of different products with your online business, do you know which products sell the most? You might be operating an eCommerce store where you have several products on offer. It is important that you understand what are your bestselling products and why.
It is also very important that you monitor the refund rates (or returns) of the products you sell. If your refund or return rates are high then you need to understand the reasons for this. You can then make the necessary changes to lower refunds and returns.
There are many useful metrics that you can monitor for product sales, and these will vary depending on the type of online business that you operate. If you have an eCommerce online business then you will have more metrics that you need to keep an eye on compared to a business that sells digital products.
In the final chapter, we will discuss the best practices that you need to follow to successfully scale your online business…
Scaling Your Online Business Best Practices
Here are the 8 best practices that we strongly recommend you follow to scale your online business successfully. It is not easy to successfully scale your online business and we believe that if you follow these best practices you will have the maximum chance of success.
1. Understand the Benefits of Scaling
It is essential that you understand the benefits of scaling your online business. This will provide you with the inspiration and motivation that you need to see it through. There are a number of challenges that you will need to overcome when you are scaling your online business. So having the benefits in mind will help you with this.
Scaling your online business will significantly increase the chances of it surviving. You can also remove yourself from the daily running of your business, which will free up your time. When you scale your online business you will increase your profits as well.
2. Adopt the Right Mindset
You need the right mindset to scale your online business and make it a success. Create a WHY statement with the real reason why you want to scale. This will motivate you every day. Change your thinking when it comes to expenditure as an investment rather than a cost as this is positive.
When you scale you need to have a team mentality. You can’t do this all on your own. It is important that you build a good team that you can trust. Time is always more important than money. You can always make more money but you can never get more time.
3. Set Goals to Scale your Online Business
It is very important that you set goals for the scaling of your online business. You will certainly need a revenue goal for example. Use the SMART FPR ME process of goal setting so that all of your goals are realistic and will inspire you.
4. Plan to Scale your Online Business
Do not attempt to scale your online business without a good plan that aligns with your goals. Your plan needs to include all aspects such as marketing, increasing efficiency, building a virtual team of competent outsourcers and more. A perfect plan does not exist so you will need to make adjustments as you progress with scaling your online business.
5. Use Automation
You probably have an element of automation in your online business now but you need to strive for more. If there are any manual processes involved with your online business then look to automate these. Take advantage of the many automation tools that exist for online businesses as well such as sales funnels and email autoresponders.
6. Take Advantage of Outsourcing
You will never scale your online business successfully if you try to do everything yourself. Get some help with all of the tasks that you need to perform for your online business. Many competent freelancers can help you to scale your business. Tell them exactly what you want and let them get on with it.
7. Scale up your Marketing
You must scale up your marketing to successfully scale up your online business. This is necessary to generate more leads and sales. Marketing needs to be your top priority and you can scale up existing marketing channels that work and test new ones as well. Think multichannel with your marketing rather than single channel or a small number.
8. Use the right Metrics
You cannot manage what you cannot measure so using the right metrics you can see the progress that you are making with scaling your online business. It is essential that you monitor key metrics regularly to assess whether you are on the right track. Focus on increased targeted traffic and conversion metrics.
If you have read this guide from start to finish you will have a good understanding of how you can scale your online business successfully and make the transition from working in your business to working on it.
Now it is over to you. While reading this guide will make you a bit smarter only by taking action will you be able to scale your online business to the level that you want to take it to. So start taking action right now.
We hope that you found this guide to be informative and useful. Get started today with scaling your online business. We wish you every success with scaling your online business and living the lifestyle that you dreamed of!