Optimization, Automation, and Outsourcing

Microworkers — While they may be small, they are mighty

People often come to me with a solution rather than a problem.

A lot of times when the person comes to me, they believe they need to hire people.

They have a problem.

They have a process that’s not working.

There’s an inefficiency in their business.

They are convinced that adding people will make things better.

So they look for guidance in terms of where to find the people, how to train them, how to identify what kind of people they need. The problem with that is if you add people to an inefficient process or broken process, all you’re going to do is create frustration, lose money, and possibly worse.

So I always start with the optimized part of my methodology first. But today I had a conversation with one of the Less Doing Leaders and was reminded of an exception.

There are situations where you don’t want to add a few people… you want to add thousands.

It’s a situation where you have automation by human and there’s a website called microworkers.com, which I suggest everyone take a look at so you can get an idea of the kinds of things that you might have people do.

It’s a very interesting niche for a specific business opportunity because there are lots of tasks that are so small, so minute that a human being can execute in a matter of seconds with little to no error, but it’s still beneficial to have a human being look at it.

Here’s a very basic example.

Show somebody a picture of an apple and you ask them to click, is this a fruit or vegetable? It’s a task that might take somebody a second to do and they’ll probably get paid three to ten cents for doing that task. Because the system has access to literally thousands of people, what they will do usually is show that same images to five people. Those five people will weigh in. If one of them doesn’t agree with the others, it automatically kicks that image back to the system and has five new people weigh in on it.

The entire process takes a matter of 15 seconds.

There’s an unlimited workforce essentially available to do this. So when I was talking to one of the leaders today, he said he had a very tedious and very repetitive process around recruiting. One of the things that are required as they go through Linkedin listings, is to find certain people.

Yes, it could be automated, but the human solution is a better alternative.

In this scenario, people actually can do it better; if given such a small slice of the pie that they can do it quickly, cheaply, and without making mistakes. So in this particular process, they look at a candidate’s profile and if the person has had three jobs or more in the past five years, they are automatically rejected. For obvious reasons.

A human being can look at that and just say, one, two, three, yep, done, yes or no, a few seconds. We can do that at scale and we can do that extremely cheaply with no error.

Cool, right? Think of some processes in your business that could benefit from an army of workers. Inputting SKUs, making yes or no decisions, either or, judgments, well you get my drift.

Why Content Matters

We finished 2018 hearing all about the unmistakable power of content for marketing and promoting your business.

Content is king.

Marketers are increasingly investing in content marketing.

Consumers love content!

No matter where you look, you’re bound to find a headline talking about how incredible content marketing is.

I’m not here to tell you that’s not the case.

Content definitely is a marketing powerhouse, but it’s so much more than that.

And the question I frequently get is: why, and how should I use content to grow my business?

The Truth about Content Marketing

No matter how great we are at what we do, there’s always going to be someone better at it than us. There may be thousands.

And the only thing that really differentiates us from all those people out there is our unique perspective.

Content is the way to share it with people it resonates with.

If you’re a marketer, you know there’s a lot of marketers out there. But why do your clients prefer you over anyone else?

Your perspective resonates with them.

But how will they understand your perspective, and realize that you’re the person they want to work with?

If you don’t amplify your voice and your perspective with content, they won’t know. Everyone out there is producing all kinds of useful and valuable content, but it’s the perspective that matters.

It’s the difference between reading a valuable article full of tips and reading a great article.

Different kinds of content work for different people, and that’s why it’s important for you to produce it. And not only produce it — you have to pour some of your soul and your perspective into it.

But I’m Not a Good Writer, I’m Not…

That’s not an excuse.

We have so many resources at our disposal that there’s no excuse for not producing content and growing our businesses by sharing our unique perspectives.

I’m producing Facebook Live videos that become blog posts, and blog posts that become Facebook Live videos. That video can become 12 social media posts, an infographic, and an ebook.

There’s no limit to what content can be, and what form we can get it in or turn it into.

Maybe you’re not a great writer — but do you like podcasting?

Maybe your voice isn’t radio-ready, but can you express yourself in words and make your audience both laugh and think?

Let’s face it:

Thinking that you can’t produce content in the medium your audience loves shouldn’t hold you back.

There are so many tools that can help you. A lot of them are free. There’s no reason not to start right now.

Ok, Where Do I Start with Content?

Before you start thinking about the format your audience likes and/or you like, start by thinking about value.

What do you think your audience needs to hear to understand how you can help them?

What tone do they need to hear it in?

For example, if you’re running a B2B business, you should think about your typical audience. Are they young people who like funny articles and memes? Do they need thoughtful pieces on long-term strategies or concrete tactics they can try out right now?

And if you’re selling B2C — let’s say you’re selling flowers — who are (going to be) your customers? What do they like talking about?

Don’t just think about your industry. Think about other interests of your audience.

You can use tools like Answer The Public to find the most common questions your audience asks, and then give them answers.

That’s the most straightforward way to think about providing value, but it’s really all about creativity. Just don’t forget to add some of your unique charms to whatever you produce.

The second step is actual content production.

You should definitely look at what kind of mediums your audience prefers, but at the end of the day, you should pick the format you’re most comfortable with; where your personality translates well.

If you’re not a good writer — if your brain just isn’t wired that way — articles and blog posts may not be your “weapon” of choice. If you don’t feel natural when writing, you may not be able to express your personality through it.

So if you’d like to speak, speak. If you’d like to be on video, do video. If you like to write, then write.

And finally…

Automate and Start Promoting

When you produce a piece of content, your work shouldn’t end with publishing it on a platform of your choice.

In fact, there’s an article I wrote: How to produce a month’s worth of content in one minute.

It’s definitely possible. All it takes are some automation tools and editing.

I personally love starting with Facebook Live videos — it’s a medium I enjoy, and I think it shows with my audience.

After I publish the Facebook Live, I use a tool to repurpose that content and cross-promote it. Then I adapt my video for a podcast and outsource written content creation. I turn it into a social media video with a tool that gets it all done with very little input from me.

I get a lot of content from just one piece of content, and it fuels my marketing for weeks to come, providing value to my audience without having to sit down and do the work for hours every day.

Even though I’m not equally skilled at every type of content production — I don’t have to be.

And once I stopped thinking about my faults and started thinking about pooling resources that are going to help me overcome my limitations and reach my goal, content creation got a lot easier.

So if you think you’re not a good writer or a good podcaster — don’t let that stop you.

All that matters is your perspective, and showing the audience that you are the person whose expertise they need.

Here’s The Solution To The Hardest Automation Problem

You know when you do something really cool but you try to play it off and pretend it’s not that cool so ultimately you can seem super cool? This is not one of those times. I just figured out the holy grail of automation and its….kind of a big deal.

I’ve gotten this questions several times in the past…

Is it possible to trigger an automation when something doesn’t happen?

To which I’ve always had to answer with “no” because all of the standard automation platforms out there IFTTT and Zapier are very clearly structured around a trigger and an action. Some trigger happens here, and as a result, some action happens somewhere else. The key, of course, is that something always has to happen in order to trigger something. By definition, something not happening just doesn’t cut it. So every six months or so I would get that question and do that thing where you suck air in hard through your teeth and cock your head to the side like you just stubbed your toe and give me a response in the negative. That was until someone asked me a few weeks ago and I couldn’t say no.

The person who asked me is a member of my Less Doing Leaders coaching program and I’m constantly asking them to bring me their most interesting business problems, and I always figure them out one way or another.

The Magic

In the movie “The Prestige” we are told that every magic trick has three parts.

Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course…it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.

When I figure this one out, it felt like I had performed a magic trick, on myself.

The Pledge

My client owns a very successful group of pizza restaurants in Canada and every week on Monday they expect the manager of each location to check in and report on the state of the restaurant’s performance over the previous week. Since there are a growing number of locations in this pizza empire and they are expecting to continue to expand for the foreseeable future, they want a sustainable way to keep track of managers reports, as well as missed reports, in an automated way. So they want to create a trigger that automatically triggers when no report is received. As we started things off with, this seems like a very ordinary thing, but it’s a really big deal. And keep in mind that this specific example is merely to illustrate how this type of automation works but once you open your eyes to the possibility of starting automation based on the absence of an event the idea of becoming more replaceable ex[ands by orders of magnitude.

My head went through dozens of iterations of ways to tackle this problem. Initial ideas were extremely complicated and involved multiple automations running in parallel at the same time, crossing paths and diverging multiple times like fighter jets at an air show. At one point I got so stuck and frustrated that I was going to retreat to using virtual assistants to manually complete the task until…

The Turn

So we start with a simple web-based form as or trigger. I like to use jotform but you can use any that you like. We put in all the info we want to the manager to report including a simple Likert scale to allow for some standardization across locations. As I’m always looking at ways of reducing errors I made the locations a drop-down menu so we don’t rely on a new manager or even a current one manually entering the location incorrectly. Once the form is submitted it kicks off the next step which is to locate a row in a Google Sheet that matches the info submitted in the form.

The first time we set up this sheet you only need to enter the location and the expected date of check-in (in this case, the following Monday). Once it finds the row that matches the location in the form submitted, it will look across the row and find the date of the check-in. At this point we need to slip in a Date Formatter function, native to Zapier, to take the current date in the spreadsheet (not the date of submital) and then add seven days to it because this is a weekly check-in. We don’t want to trigger it based on the submittal because if they submit early it would mess things up.

Now we update the spreadsheet with that new date. So effectively the person has “bought” themselves another week by submitting the form. Now comes the tricky part. We want the automation to delay until that new time that was entered (so a week from now) but since there isn’t byway to stop a delay in Zapier once it has begun, I sad of setting the delay to trigger the rest of the automation we delay and then have it find the row again.

Now we need to do a little bit of compare and contrast. Where we are currently is the manager did their job correctly and submitted the form, which added a week to the “due date” and now here we are, at the due date and we need to see what’s happened.

The Prestige

At this point, we need to create a fork in the road for this automation that looks at whether the current date is before the due date (good job manage) or the current date is after the date of expected check-in (bad job manager) and act accordingly.

So let’s take the first case where the manager DID submit. In that scenario, the current date, when compared with the date of expected next check-in will be before and thus we simply send an email to the manager thanking them for submitting.

Now let’s look at the other scenario, where the current date is after the expected date of check-in meaning they did not submit on time. In that case, we can do whatever we want but I chose to send a polite nudge by email to the manager with a cc to the owner. You could choose to do whatever you want, from a text message to slack notification or even a Trello card. Then we simply delay a day or two and check again, this time with a nested path that checks again and if they finally submit it does one thing and if they still haven’t submitted it does something else.

You repeat this for as many days as you want until you get your result.

The Close

I hope you can see how cool this is and the possibilities it opens up for your business. Keep in mind that the trigger can really be based on anything like form submission, a slack message, even the movement of a Trello card. Even if you never use this method In your work, my goal is for you to think differently about how you optimize, and automate the processes in your business.

Find Your Voice. Then Outsource It.

An Introduction to Less Doing’s VoicePrint

I produce a staggering amount of content. But I don’t do it alone. Automation and Outsourcing have enabled me to get my message “out there” in myriad ways, and on most digital platforms you can imagine.

It’s not mysterious or expensive.

It’s an optimized process that only really requires a four-minute Voxer rant or a two minute Facebook Live to get the process going. The rest is up to someone or something else. Click here to read more about my content dissemination machine.


Still, one of the biggest sticking points for entrepreneurs who are desperate to cement their place in a verrrry crowded content world is an inability to nail down their distinct voice. Authenticity sells. If you are not projecting your true self, especially through the written word, it’s as obvious and cringe-worthy to the reader as a 60-year-old saying his coffee is LIT AF.


A lot of folks I work with come to me and say, “I sent this out to a respected copywriter, but when it came back, it just didn’t sound like me.”

My answer has always been the same, “Well, what does ‘me’ sound like?” and that’s where most people glaze over. They haven’t first taken the time to analyze their communication style.

Analyzing Your Communication Style

And no, there’s not an app for that. But there is a terrific two-person exercise you can do that will solidify not only how you communicate, but how that message is received. The importance of working through these steps with another person is simple. The sweet spot for content lies where your intention and its reception live.

For example, you may think you are one funny guy, but maybe your comedic arsenal is overstocked with Dad Jokes. Dad jokes your audience has heard a million times. Perhaps you love to cite other thought leaders to bolster your observations or arguments. But your audience wants to hear from you and what you think. We’ve all become quite adept at sniffing out BS, so don’t waste your time pretending to be something you are not. Your story is enough. Your point-of-view is unique.

Margaret Atwood, the author of “The Handmaids Tale,” among other fantastic reads, said something worth remembering when embarking on the journey to find your voice. “The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read.”

Next, it’s imperative to work through not just your style and tone, but to do an audit of existing content, (to use it as samples for a prospective writer), and then prioritize the intent of your content.

Setting a Content Intention

Do you want to entertain? Inform? Educate?

Who is your audience? The one you have and the one you want. Describe them with words that give texture. Don’t just say, “Financial Advisors,” say, “People who are fully committed to protecting the financial future of their clients through cutting edge technology and the human touch.”

Commit to writing the foundational principles of your business. These are big concepts, like Integrity, Expertise, Empathy, Experience. If you have trouble coming up with these pillars, and many people do, it’s time to take a moment to think back to why you started your business in the first place. What was that moment of inspiration like? Describe that.

Working With The VoicePrint

The rest of the exercise is relatively self-explanatory. Make two copies of this VoicePrint. Fill one out yourself and have a trusted ally fill out one as well. Then get together and compare notes. Where both points of view collide, is where you should focus your messaging.

Next, comes the outsourcing part.

It’s been my experience that asking writers to send samples of their work is a big old waste of time. You have no idea how long it took them to write that masterful 500-word blog post. You don’t know if they even wrote it or who edited it for them. I prefer to send them a piece of copy and ask them to fix it using the VoicePrint as their guide. It can be a raw transcription of a part of a speech, interview, Facebook Live or a rant I voiced into my phone when something inspirational struck me while I was driving.

Obviously, pay the scribe’s hourly rate. No one should work for free. But give the writer a limited amount of time to fix it and then see if he or she was able to mimic your VoicePrint.

It’s like owning a burger place and interviewing new cooks. You wouldn’t say, “Tell me more about all the great hamburgers you’ve cooked.” You would send them into the kitchen and ask them to make you a burger.

I’ve found that this process works for just about every business and it has the added benefit of really crystalizing your Marketing Strategy and Customer Journey. Because once you have developed an identity, it’s clear to see what works and what doesn’t, who you can help and who you can’t.

The VoicePrint is attached below. Onward!

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The Best Investments Entrepreneurs Can Make At Every Stage of Growth

There’s one question I get asked by entrepreneurs all the time:

What’s the most important thing I can invest my money and resources to make sure my business grows?

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve probably asked yourself the same. I know I have.

It always seems like there’s not enough money or time to allocate to all those important things. And that’s problem number one.

Problem number two is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution that’s going to help every entrepreneur out there.

The answer depends on the stage your business is currently at.

If you’re running a 100k MRR business and spending 80% of it on overhead costs, you’re probably going to want to automate as many tasks as possible.

On the other hand, if you’re only starting out and your business is still your side hustle, you’re going to need to get profit to make it full-time. Fast.

9 Stages of Growth

We’re going to be using Alex Charfen’s data for different stages of entrepreneurial growth.

http://billionairecode.com/hosted/images/6d/294020d63911e88bec41cf7da3afb2/BC-Accelerator.png ]

Alex sums up the process nicely. Each stage of your business’ growth needs different things, so responding to a question of what you should invest in now depends on what your business needs now.

Growing Your Side Hustle to a Business

This is the first stage of the entrepreneurial journey. Usually, before we reach the $100,000 mark, we’re still at the part-time mark and our businesses are side hustles we’re looking to grow.

The main thing to do at this stage is finding product-market fit.

What does this mean? Should you invest in tech?


All you need to do at this stage is put out feelers and see how people (the market, your audience) respond to your idea.

Let’s say you’re developing a new product that’s going to help 20–30-year-olds develop their careers much faster than with traditional channels.

You need to get out there and tell them about your idea.

You need to talk to your audience and see whether they think it’s useful and whether they even understand why they need your product.

The best thing to invest your money and resources into at this stage is creating content.

Create content that’s going to reach and resonate with your audience. This can be blog posts, eBooks, videos, webinars — anything that adds more value.

Content is king, after all.

For example, I’m doing it with Facebook Lives to get in touch with the people who are my target audience, and to understand how I can develop my product to best serve their needs (product-market fit is all about that).

I’m still agile in my approach so I can change strategies and adapt my product to what my audience responds best to.

If you invest in tech at this stage, you’re still unsure of the product-market fit, and the chances of losing money by investing into the wrong thing are very high. It’s better to get in touch with your future customers and find the ones who need your product or educate them.

Of course, you can also add people to your mail list with tools like MailChimp which are free for up to 2,000 subscribers.

And this is another perk of creating awesome content — people will want to read more, they’ll want to stay informed on what you’re doing.

Promoting Your Ideas

When you’re at the $100,000 mark, that’s when you should start asking people if they’d like what you have to offer.

By then, you’ve gained their trust with valuable content.

And your main mission at this stage is spreading your voice, promoting your content even more until you’ve grown from $100,000 to $300,000.

If you want to invest in something when you’ve got quality foundations like the ones you’ve set with content, invest into technology that’s going to help you reach even more people.

Next Stop: Leveraged Sales

The next stop is definitely sales.

Sell as much as possible.

You’ve found the right kind of customers, motivated them with content, and its time to leverage that (and tech) to get sales.

If you’re doing it right, you may find that the best thing to invest in here is automating your sales process.


You want to be focusing on scaling your business and increasing sales, and you can’t do that if you’re still doing everything manually. That’s why we need some degree of automation to get leveraged sales.

Yes, I often talk about not needing CRM systems (customer relationship management systems) but they can be a good fit if you’ve got specific needs.

If you need something right now, improvise a CRM system to get leveraged sales with Trello and Zapier.

You can create corresponding boards with Trello, and automate the process with Zapier. The best thing is that you can get a lot of automation done with just free accounts.

For streamlining bookings and learning more about clients’ unique needs, check out Calendly.

At this stage of your business’ growth, you need to introduce some degree of automation to be able to generate even more revenue.

Creating Systems & Processes

Once you’re en route from $300,000 to $1 million, you can no longer say that you’ve got limited funds.

However, your needs change. You no longer need to push as hard on sales manually, or focus on getting your content out there.

What you need are systematization and processes.

You want to create systems and processes that reflect the methods that helped you reach this level of success. If you want to replicate them and use them to fuel your future growth, you need to make a system out of these behaviors and methods.

This is the point where you get a bit more into automation. You use software like Process Street to help you understand, organize and optimize your process and workflow.

You may also need more advanced communication systems to keep everything up and running successfully. Usually, entrepreneurs use Slack to communicate with their teams, and Intercom to communicate with customers.

The main goal of this stage is understanding what methods led you to success, and turning them into systems that will keep the machine going, bringing you even more revenue as you focus on different strategies.

Do We Need Tools to Grow as Entrepreneurs?



You can reach your million in revenue without spending a single cent on tech, but it can be time-consuming. That’s why I encourage tech in moderate amounts to make the workload easier.

However, the main thing to remember is that you have to focus on things that bring immediate value and explain the benefits of your business for your potential customers.

After that, conversion becomes a piece of cake.

25 Tasks to Give a VA Service To Make Your Life Easier

I asked the VA service we use most often, GetMagic, to give me a list of all the things they did for my team and me in December. Not because I was checking up on them. We’re long past that level of control. Not because I wanted to see if we were outsourcing inefficiencies, I mean I did invent this methodology that forbids inefficient outsourcing processes. Please. And not because I wanted to see if I could get a better price somewhere else. The relationship we have with GetMagic is not about price. It’s about trust, which as we all know is the basis for any good relationship and can’t be quantified in dollars and cents. Or euros.

No, I wanted the list because people ask me ALL THE TIME, “So what do you give them to do?”

Well, I use Magic for both my business and my personal life, so the answer is two-fold. What I’ve discovered is that the support I get in both areas, helps the other so seamlessly, that I am free to become replaceable in my business and more present in my personal life.

Outsourcing to the right people at the right time saves money and time and if you find the right VA company, will give you the freedom to pursue the things you want to do. The things you have to do can be in someone else’s wheelhouse.


Process St. — Member Onboarding
 A complicated and multi-step process that requires an attention to detail I sorely lack.

Manage Catering Service for Workshop 
I will not remember a gluten-free option, but Magic already knows the dietary needs of everyone attending.

The Replaceable Founder Book Process
The steps involved in publishing my latest book were monstrous. Magic organized it all and since they kept meticulous records, could document it for our community.

Request Refund for Calendly Account
They always get us a refund. Always.

Send Books to New Members
Every new Less Doing Leaders is gifted several copies of my book. Magic organizes this in a timely fashion.

Update Intercom Profiles
Our leads come into Intercom with spotty profiles. Magic rounds them out, so we have a complete picture of a potential client.

Send Jotform to Workshop Attendees
An automation alerts them to act, follow-up and ensure that we have all the information we need.

Add events to Calendar
 Forwarding an email to Magic takes two seconds.

Less Doing Academy Account Cancellation
We closed a membership tier within the organization, and the cancellation and refund process was repetitive but critical. Enter Magic.

Setting reminders for the Less Doing Team 
 These are a virtual tap on the shoulder for us.

Upload Process Hacker and Tech Talk to Member Site
 Magic has all of our log-ins, so it’s simple to upload files, videos, and assets.

Adding Information to Trello cards
Project Management is more fluid when Magic can go in and set deadlines, add checklists, and team members assigned to a task.

Printing Service for Workshop Workbook
Once an outside vendor completes the book, Magic sources a printer near the event and plans the production and delivery.

Instagram Integration with Meet Edgar 
 Our SM library and posting site now allow Instagram posts. Magic dealt with the integration and loaded postings to our content library there.

Sent summary of purchases Magic made on behalf of the team.
 End of year assessment of individual expenses.

Book flights
 Magic has the team’s preferences for seat assignments, airlines and FF numbers.


Handle Monthly Payments
 Every single bill my family receives, Magic handles.

Placed Online Orders and Monitor Delivery
 All I do is tell them what to order; they handle the rest

Daily Reminder to Say Something Nice to Husband/Wife

Research Painting Classes

Research School Schedule
I have four children in three different schools, with three different schedules

Research After School Activities
See above

Make dentist appointments
 See above

Set up birthday parties
 See above

Process Amazon Returns
 We order a lot through Amazon, but we return a lot as well.

Remember, it is impossible to become more productive, both in business and your personal life if you outsource an inefficient process. Giving vague direction and spotty information will make the outsourcing practice a nightmare. Know what you want, have a budget and a time frame and give simple, clear instructions. It takes practice, but anything worthwhile does. Not to oversell it or anything, but if you sign up with GetMagic using the referral link, you get one free request!