One of my favorite sayings from late-great marketing guru Gary Halbert is:
“You can’t multiply zeros.”
In other words, if something ain’t working, just “doing more of the same” probably won’t get you too far.
This is where a lot of entrepreneurs go wrong when they hire someone to help with their marketing.
They make the hire in the hope that just bringing in more manpower will somehow change the game.
One of my subscribers, a software developer named Aziz, was considering doing this in his online training business.
He asked for my advice, and I said, “You’re not going to like this, but here goes anyway…”
Marketing is pretty much the #1 most important job in a small business, especially early on.
No customers, no business, right?
It’s also one of the hardest to outsource.
NOBODY knows your customers and your product like you do.
NOBODY can bring the same passion and drive to your business that you have.
The reality is, if you want your business to succeed, you have to be the one to “solve the marketing puzzle”—at least at first.
Aziz had outlined several ideas to me about how he might start to scale up:
1. Improve conversion with copy
2. Scale with partner webinars and special offers
3. Paid traffic -> Facebook traffic, Adwords, Youtube, Taboola, etc.
I suggested that he should pick ONE of those items and make it his personal mission for the next 6-12 months to develop a SYSTEM that works predictably.
To test copy effectively, he needs more traffic. And I can attest personally that paid traffic is HARD to get working, especially in the market that Aziz is in.
That leaves #2—partner webinars.
So for the foreseeable future, Aziz should focus on building a standardized process for discovering new partnership opportunities, reaching out to them and persuading them to work with him, and executing the webinars and follow-up sales.
Then, when he’s done 5-10 of these things and proven that they work to reliably generate sales, THAT’S when it’ll be time to hire someone to help him “turn the crank” on his new machine.
This is an important principle that I’ve learned from my business partner John.
John never hires anyone *hoping* they’ll be able to grow the business.
He develops a system, verifies that it’ll generate results, then brings someone in to keep that part of the business humming along.
Today the Simple Programmer website is a finely tuned content machine that publishes 3-4 blog posts a week and gets over 3 million pageviews a year. 90% of the content is written by guest bloggers and polished and published by a team of editors. John never even touches it.
That’s not how it started though.
John spent a long time learning how to write blog posts that brought in eager readers.
And only after he’d mastered that process—and demonstrated that he could get results—did he “outsource” the content creation.
He’s taking the same approach to grow our YouTube channel, and even our email list (that’s where I come in).
The key to making this work is finding that ONE channel that consistently brings you customers.
Turn the crank, get a customer. Turn it twice, get two customers.
When the main limitation to your growth is that you can’t turn the crank any faster, THEN you get help.
Until that point, resist the temptation to “buy your way” to growth.
Cuz the only thing you get when you “multiply zeros” is… debt.