Many business owners ask me for suggestions on how to outsource effectively. They understand that hiring staff or outsourcing at least some tasks to other professionals – either as a one-off or on a regular, contract basis – is often necessary for the long-term growth and success of their business.
Yet for so many, the mere thought of this brings fear, or they have attempted to hire a contractor at some stage and have had less than beneficial outcomes.
But it doesn’t need to be so challenging. Once you learn how to find the right people to help you manage your business, you’ll be able to focus your energy on the things you enjoy and the things you do best.
I’ve just finished reading ‘How To Find And Work With A VA – The Business Owners Guide’ by Jo Saunders. This eBook is an easy read, in clear, simple language, outlining the essentials that any business owner should know before hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA).
Some VAs may focus on general ‘admin’ tasks, while others specialise in a specific field – for example, bookkeeping, writing, graphic design, web site management, social media – or for particular industries such as real estate, music, health and well-being, and so on.
Regardless of the type of VA you require, by reading ‘How To Find And Work With A VA – The Business Owners Guide’ first and following the guidelines recommended within, business owners can greatly improve the likelihood of building a successful working relationship with the right VA for their needs.
So if outsourcing tasks is an area you’re about to venture into or would like some helpful tips on, consider reading this first to give yourself a head start.
You may have heard of Stephen Covey’s best-seller, 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. This is a great book and well worth reading for anyone who is keen to become more effective in both their business and personal lives.
But taking that book one step further is Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits For Managers: Managing Yourself, Leading Others, Unleashing Your Potential.
This is specifically for managers and was recommended to me by a friend about 18 months ago. Actually, he recommended it so highly he bought me the audio book. I listened to it at the time but decided to recap and go over it again last weekend.
Being an effective manager is not only good for your business, it’s also a highly regarded quality for integrating your business/work and family time, as well as useful within any community or sporting organisations you’re involved with.
So what are the 7 habits of effective managers?
They are proactive. They demonstrate initiative and resourcefulness to get things done.
They begin with the end in mind. They have a clear vision and that vision drives them on a daily basis.
They put first things first. They execute superbly on the truly important goals and do not allow themselves to be sidetracked.
They think win/win. They know how to help everyone win.
They seek first to understand, then to be understood. They are superb listeners.
They synergize. They solve problems creatively because they seek rich and varied input. They actively look for the new and better way to do things all of the time.
They sharpen the saw. They continuously improve the productive capability of their people by knowing and leveraging their passions, talents and sense of purpose.
Some of these I was fortunate to have been taught in my early 20s by a supervisor at the time. I am very grateful that he was not only brilliant at managing our team, but he was open about why he made the decisions he did and about instilling those skills in each team member too. They have been extremely valuable for helping me run a successful small business for the last 14+ years.
If you’re keen to improve your own management skills then I recommend you read Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits For Managers.
(Click here to buy it from Amazon.com)
From time to time I have written about a particular WordPress plug-in that I like but for this post, I thought I’d list 6 of my favourite WordPress plug-ins.
Now, these aren’t necessarily 6 plug-ins that I use on every WordPress site I build, nor the most important ones or the most functional (those will come in another post, very soon). Rather, these are just plug-ins that have really cool features that I LOVE!
Some are free, some are paid plug-ins, and others have a basic free version and a pro-version for a fee. But they are all extremely affordable and well worth the investment.
In no particular order, here are 6 WordPress Plug-ins I recommend you check out:
1. W3 Total Cache – In short, this plug-in can improve your WordPress site’s page speed and overall user experience. This may not sound like a big deal, but you may be surprised to know how many visitors (and potential customers!) leave sites because they were taking to long to download.
Plus, the search engines may take your site’s page speed into consideration when determining your page rank in the search engines. So a better page speed can mean better search engine rankings which can then lead to more people finding your site.
2. WP Google Maps – This Plug-in makes it so easy to add a Google Map to your WordPress site. There’s a free version that allows a fair bit of customisation, or if you want more options and features you can purchase the Pro version for just a few dollars. The free version has been sufficient for my needs but it’s great to know the extra options are available at a very affordable cost.
3. WishList Member – There are now a few membership site plug-ins available but this one is still my favourite. I love that you can have so many options and, best of all for my requirements, that you can ‘drip-feed’ content so easily.
(Note: This is an affiliate link so if you purchase WishList Member via my link I may receive a referral fee. There’s no obligation for you to purchase this product but if you do and it leads to me receiving a referral fee, Thank You in advance. This helps me to continue to provide great content and training while keeping costs to readers and students as low as possible!)
4. Easy Timer – The Easy Timer plug-in allows you to add a countdown timer to your sites. This is extremely useful if you have an event or launch of some sort and want to count down to when it begins.
5. Simple-Press Forum – If you’re considering adding a forum to your WordPress site, make sure you check out this plug-in. At the time I stumbled across this plug-in, I’d just forked out a couple of hundred dollars for another forum program … and it wasn’t able to do what we needed it to.
Not only has Simple-Press Forum been able to do everything I wanted it to, it was pretty easy to install and configure and the support team are brilliant if ever you do need help with it.
6. WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart – There are some really great eCommerce and shopping cart plug-ins available, but if you’re looking for something that’s free, easy to set up and – most importantly – easy for your customers to use, make sure you try the WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart plug-in.
There’s absolutely no doubt that there’s plenty of really cool plug-ins available. But there are also some important rules you need to remember if you are like me and get excited by how easy these plug-ins make it to add all these brilliant features to your site:
1. No matter how ‘cool’ a plug-in is, consider whether you really need it before installing it. I mean, do you REALLY need it?
Honestly, there’s no point adding cool features to your site if they don’t meet a purpose, especially if there’s any chance they may distract or annoy your visitors. So before installing a new plug-in, ask yourself if it’s going to make the experience better for your
Or is it going to make it easier for you to manage the site?
If you can’t answer a definite yes to one of these questions, perhaps leave it off for now.
2. Remember also that the more plug-ins you add and customisation you do to your WordPress site, the more chance there is of there being incompatibility and other technical and/or display problems.
So go back to the last point and ask yourself, “Is this really necessary?”
3. Only ever install, update or configure one plug-in at a time. Then check your site in detail to make sure everything seems to be functioning correctly.
If you install, update or configure multiple plug-ins at once and there is an error with your site, it’s more difficult to go back and check which plug-in might have caused the problem.
That said … enjoy playing with your new plug-ins!