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Online Business Outsourcing Basics

Sometime ago I promised to publish articles on outsourcing. Well, these aren't really new articles, they are, in reality, a former Squidoo lens that is repurposed. I won't be copying/pasting it, though: I'm going to rewrite it entirely so as to provide you with updated information.

Outsourcing A.B.C.

Outsourcing is something that is very common in our globalized world. Most companies outsource. Many of us lost their jobs for the benefit of outsourcing. However, what is outsourcing in reality? Well it's quite simple: if you have a company based in the US and want to hire cheaper employers, you're going to hire Chinese employees that work for a company that won't cost you as much as if you'd hire US employees. The job will be done anyway and you'll save money in the process. It also works if as an US based company you hire self-employed people base in the US.

So, all in all, outsourcing is the fact of making other people doing the work for you. And it it's trendy it is because its main benefit is that it enables companies to make huge savings.

Outsourcing types:

1. National --> the use of employees or self-employed people in the same country than the one of your company;

2. Overseas --> the use of employees or independent of another country or another continent.

Both types work pretty well for online business owners, though.

Benefits of Outsourcing for Online Business Owners

What are the benefits of such a thing for my online business? Well, here are some of them:

  • You can highly reduce labor costs,
  • Social covers, health insurance and other benefits for employees are cut,
  • Labour is highly increased,
  • Provides higher productivity rate as in some countries the 35 hours/week tradition doesn't exist,
  • Can even eliminate in many cases the company's charges like renting fees, equipment, etc.

Here is an example of a recipe online business that would outsource its tasks

Let's say that webmaster A has a small company based in the USA. This company sells recipe ebooks or electronic books like Kindle. In addition A manages a website that shares cooking tips and promotes cooking ustensils.

However there are only 24 hours in a day and A must deal with:

  • Finding inspiration for the monthly recipe book,
  • Recipe writing,
  • Step by step photos of recipes,
  • Creation of ebook cover,
  • Site and ebook promotion,
  • Keeping in touch with potential clients AND readers,
  • Customer support,
  • and so on (see my previous tutorial related to ebook publishing)

In addition, A must set a price for his recipe ebook. Given the quality of the recipes shared, it might sell well for as high as $29.99. But the competition in this niche is so high that A should sell his monthly recipe ebook for as low as $5.99.In this case, A can't afford hiring an assistant in the US.

Still, A could find a way to deal with this problem by outsourcing most of the tasks overseas. 

A will thus think of : cutting labor costs and insurance; cut renting fees for an office; cut on equiment purchase. The answer to this is outsourcing and what's even more interesting: overseas outsourcing. 

Our recipe publisher has now different options to ease his work

1. A can hire a virtual assistant that will do all the work of promotion, social interaction, management of mailing lists, etc. for a fraction of the price an US employee would cost,

2. A can buy private label right recipes (along with pics) and have the articles rewritten by someone hired online - sites like do that very well and for an affordable price. In the meantime, A can prepare all the recipes for his own family if he wants to provide his own pictures.

Another option would be to post an offer on sites like Fiverr or forums to have custom content made for the best price. Once the offer is posted A will review all offers and choose the one that will cost the less money.

3. A can hire a graphic designer on sites like Fiverr or in forums to have his book cover professionally done.

Though A can skip point 2 if he actually prepares ALL the recipes he published on his site and in his ebooks as not having to do the design and promotional tasks is a huge time saver in itself.

Outsourcing is a must these days if you do not want to get overwhelmed with all the tasks you have to do in order to make your online business survive the huge competition. 

Posted by Holly Day


Another Gone Squidoo Lensmaster and Some Feedback

Well it's been a while since I posted... Was quite busy these past weeks with writing for all my 4 sites, which I could update regularly. Writing online plus dealing with everyday life during Easter holidays isn't always the best way to be productive but I was.

However a few days ago I woke up to the news that one of my fellow old time lensmasters got their own account locked and deleted. I admired this lensmaster who is far better than I'll ever be when it comes to put together a good page - well, no, good isn't good enough: an excellent, perfect page. 

So Flynn the Cat is moving on from Squidoo. No doubt this excellent lensmaster and wonderful artist will do pretty well in any place and any job but seeing the Cat leaving makes me sad. It also makes me realize that an entire generation of lensmasters disappeared from my screen and that nowadays the voices I hear are voices I don't know, never virtually met or only met when the dramatic events hit Squidoo last year.

Anyways. Let's see what I've been up to these past days.

Easter printable games giveaway

Given the fact that I only started giving away these printable games two weeks before Easter, I consider that the number of downloads was really good. This makes me confident that giving away little gifts is absolutely good when it comes to traffic and I plan on putting together some more offers like this.

I now have to perfect my designing skills - which are absolutely bad - and go create some more printables. Not that I plan on only doing themed games like word scrambles or crosswords, but I could go for even more printable things. Will have a look online at what works and will apply.

Pinterest traffic

Another feedback I'd like to write about is traffic driven through Pinterest. To be honest, I've seen a benefit in using Pinterest... in the past. However, with time I also noticed that such a traffic fades away. It may depend on the kind of things one promotes but I will take an example so as to make things more clear.

Let's see my Squidoo lens "Friends, the best sitcom ever". I started promoting it late as I didn't have a movie/tv series board in my early Pinterest days. Since the very first day, the lens had some success on that site and is regularly repinned. Not that it's repinned by the thousands but it's pinned each and every day. However, traffic to this lens never ceased to drop. Despite the increasing number of pins, it's now getting 10 times less traffic than in its early years.

So why is that lens pinned so many times? For the sake of its front picture... nothing else. But in this instance, I don't see the benefit of pinning my work. To say the truth, I use Pinterest as a traffic driver, not a picture giveaway. Though this picture can't be given away.

I notice the same kind of trend when it comes to fashion. People won't particularly go check the page, they just pin the image. They love this dress, so they repin it. They don't mind the content that is tied to the dress and sometimes I really wonder if they're interested in knowing where to buy it.

Though there was a time when Pinterest was useful to promote products - you uploaded a picture and then edited your pin and added a link to the store you found it. It was a good way to get some commissions from potential sales.

Thus I'm currently questioning the point of wasting my time pinning my stuff on Pinterest. And I could go even further since I know that the main links that brought people to my Easter printable giveaway didn't come from Pinterest! They mostly came from this blog and search engines. On Pinterest, images must be so big to be featured that people don't have to go to see your page to download a printable game.

Let alone those that repin not only your pictures but your content word for word. In this case as well, there is no need to even bother to check the link out. This associated with the new Google trend to literaly unveil your whole article to the right of their page results lead in to a huge traffic mess for most of us.

Social traffic

I could question social traffic as well; this worked pretty well in the past but given the huge number of people advertising their business through social means - Facebook, Twitter and the like - I really doubt they are as powerful as they once were.

Let's take the example of someone who has 400 Facebook contacts. 50% of these contacts are some kind of co-workers --> small business owners. This means that a certain number of times per day, this person will see 200 ads from their contacts. 200 ads x 3-4 times/day means that for hours, this person won't be able to work on their own projects and/or business in order to go check their contact's advertisements.

Honestly is it reasonable to spend all our days visiting others' pages instead of working on ours? And still, when one visits others' pages does that mean they will visit ours? Not sure... Most of the time I bet people just like our posts because we know each other and that themselves have so much work to do that they can't keep up with checking everything that's published on their timeline.

I'd say that Facebook pages would work the same way. Who on Earth would have the time to check 100's of different news on 100's of different Facebook pages while working on their own stuff?

The same applies to Twitter. I have +/- 7,000 followers; how could I follow up with everything these 7,000 people tweet in a day? It's just not manageable to follow, read, retweet, and interact with everybody's tweets. To do so, I'd need twice 24 hours in a day. For them it is certainly impossible to follow each and every post I share on there.

So most of the time, social interaction is just a word. Most of the time, social sites are a waste of time.

Except for one thing: the great support in some occasions that we definitely get from some groups and people. That is why I'm still Facebooking, though. Without some of my contacts, I'm pretty sure I'd have closed my account.

All in all I think that if you have great content and some good people who follow you and interact with your content through comments on your site/blog, you don't need any more means for promotion purpose. Since the competition in huge, the ways to waste our time are vast... It's all a matter of knowing how to manage to work for the sake of our success and not dilute our time in useless tasks.

But as one could say: do as I say, not as I do. As for me I enjoy wasting some time in a day interacting with my Facebook pals... 

Posted by Holly Day


An Experiment on Site Promotion

Easter word search printables
What have I been up to these days?

I have been quite busy and, รด miracle - yes, they happen - productive on my own sites this week. I'm still surprised with my ability to work that much in a day. So as I could see, I can stop procrastinating when I want to. 

So this week I worked on my 4 sites. I added almost daily content to the broad holidays one, then published a new article on my best gift ideas site and scheduled two others for later. Halloween and Christmas were also provided new content and I don't plan on stopping there, I'll keep adding content.

Last week however I was busy working on graphics. I hate creating graphics but I had to since I wanted to do some experiment with Holly Day's traffic improvement. So I created decorated Easter eggs that would become headers of three printable games that I give away on the site.

From what I've heard, people love getting free things and thus, although Halloween and Christmas are already delivering gifts, I designed one (three sheets actually) for Holly Day. The first two days, nothing happened despite the promotion I did. But on the third day download started and I must say that it was a good idea which I'm going to renew for other major celebrations this year.

However, not being an American will certainly not be helpful if I want to create 4th of July printables, but I could make some for barbecue parties, for example, this will also probably work fine. Then back to school or home coming might also be good times of the year to give free printables away. Next to come are Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hm... for next year I'll give a try to Valentines and Mardi Gras as well. 

All I need is some creativeness and graphics to adorn the sheets. 

In reality, when starting creating those printable games, I didn't plan on making word searches, word scrambles or crossword pages. Instead I wanted to create paper items that would symbolize the related holiday. For example a paper Easter egg template or paper Christmas train template for the kids to make. These would have been great ideas.

I ended up making games that people can download and print and that is a good start. 

Apart from that, I don't have a lot of things to say except that I made some sales from my Squidoo lenses and that some once again reached tier 2. This won't certainly last for long as most of them are Easter related.

I'm however quite surprised to see that my prom night lenses - which include mermaid, A-line, Sherry Hill, chiffon prom dresses - don't make it this year, low traffic numbers, low tier rank. And even worse: growing strawberry plant lenses aren't doing good either. And this is for me a "scoop" as previous year, at least before April 2013's disaster, they used to do pretty well on the site.

I might have to find another place to host them or rewrite them entirely so as to make sure nobody would have stolen my content - though I did a quick check and didn't see anything 100% similar else where.

OK. That's it for today. I'm looking for making a new short guide that would help some of you in your online business endeavours. I don't know where it is going to be ready to go live and I'll keep you updated on this.

Have a great weekend and see you soon.

Posted by Holly Day


More Repurposed Squidoo Lenses

As said earlier, I started repurposing some low performance Squidooo lenses a few weeks ago. What I did is deleting the lenses in question (began with lens deletion one year ago and went from 200 to 106), wait for a while so as them to disappear from Google's index - and, by the way from the cache - and then posting them to other platforms. 

These platforms cover my own sites, HubPages and Wizzley. Most of the time, those lenses that don't fit within my niche sites will find a new home at HP and Wizzley. 

So I recreated a TV series lens (Agatha Christie's Miss Marple series) that didn't get any visit on Wizzley. It's getting some traffic, not a lot but more than in its previous house. I find the layout more attractive than on its previous one (product reviews). So I'm happy with it as it is and where it is.

Next lens that was repurposed was one of my favorite ones: Eleanor of Aquitaine's life. I rewrote it entirely and ended up with even more content than the one that was on Squidoo. However I split the lens in three different parts: 

I was agreeably surprised to see my first chapter featured on the HubPot Challenge 10 picks of the day two weeks ago. It didn't win the daily HubPot but I was glad to see that I was still able to create good content.

Last year, I already repurposed a lens - that still exists, though - on HubPages. This one was also cut and entirely rewritten - after all, I'm supposed to write better than before - and more focused on one side of my character. 

Thus Louis XIV in Love was published. I find history related pages look nicer on HubPages. The site layout looks more serious with less ads to distract the reader's attention. 

However, and because of this, I plan or relocating former holidays related lenses on Wizzley as the site looks to me better for "fun" stuff.

I'm a 6 years old Hubber and started a niche that I never finished, so I think that time has come to put the finishing touches to that niche, perhaps move two Squidoo lenses from this niche to HubPages - the lenses don't get traffic any more although they were performing very well till mid-2013. It makes me sad as they were hosted on there and were conceived especially for this site layout. I'll rework them like I did with all repurposed lenses. More are going to join the ones listed above in the near future and I'll also work hard relocating those I can on my own sites, splitting them into focused posts and scheduling them so as to always fill my sites with content.

Posted by Holly Day


eBook Publishing: Become an Authority in your Niche

We have learned a lot of things since we started this ebook publishing course. Here is our last chapter. 

Easy steps to publish a new ebook each month

The many different tasks you are supposed to do when publishing ebooks will probaly be exhausting. However, there are some ways to help you save time and this is done only through proper planning.

So here is a monthly schedule example that you can follow while on your first weeks in this business - later on, you will find your very own schedule.

Week 1 - Research

  1. Search and buy your monthly recipes/craft tutorials
  2. Personlize the recipes/craft instructions and material list, add graphics, tips, food substitution, etc.
  3. Contact your graphic designer and choose your ebook cover

Week 2 - Edition + writing content

  1. Keep editing your recipes/craft instructions and have them ready by the end of the week
  2. Save the recipes or craft tutorials in a Word doc
  3. When all articles are costumized, compile them into a recipe ebook
  4. Post recipe related articles on your site, blog, newsletters, etc. to attract people to your site and position yourself as the expert
  5. Prepare your new craft/recipe ebook sales page
  6. Set up discount or affiliate pages

Week 3 - Affiliate set up and testing

  1. Add your new recipe/craft ebook to your shopping cart or affiliate account
  2. Test your shopping cart so that you make sure it works properly
  3. Set up tools to be used by your affiliates

Week 4 - Promotion

  1. Broacast an email to your subscriber list to let them know your new ebook is available for sale
  2. Provide your subscrivers a discount if you planned one
  3. Make a public post about your new ebook on your blog/site
  4. Post in food and recipe forums or craft related ones (or any other niche related forums and groups) and social network sites (such as Facebook groups).

As you can see in this schedule, some weeks you will have more work to do than others. Obviously, you can balance the tasks so as to not get overwhelmed. 

Here's a short list with some affiliate programs that you can use to make some money out of your ebooks: -- online craft classes (photography, drawing, quilting, cooking, baking and more). If you're a craft lover but aren't as skilled as you wish you can take some classes. Afterwards, you can use your new knowledge for craft ebook publishing and share your very own models and creations. In addition, you will be able to recommend those classes yourself and earn a residual income from the subscriptions. You can take these free online classes as a test drive and ensure that these classes are what you're looking for.

PLR Nook -- This membership site provides you with PLR recipes and food related articles each and every month. Many times these come with pictures so as to help you illustrate your own publication.

Kitchen PLR -- Another site that offers a wide range of PLR recipes that you can use in your ebooks. In addition, they also offer kitchen related products PLR reviews so as to enable you to get commissions from online stores if your readers buy from your back end offers or from your blog.

Posted by Holly Day