Dillon Carter

Entrepreneur, Hacker and Future Mad Scientist 🚀☕

Category: Outsourcing

The 4 Hour Work Week Muse – Automating Your Amazon Business and Taking It Online Completely

Such an interesting topic to begin with. Timothy Ferriss’ bestselling book The 4 Hour Work Week blew people’s minds all over the world. It turned cubicle slaves into full-fledged entrepreneurs and vagabonds. Although the book was written around ten years ago, a question has always plagued my mind — Does the Muse still exist?

 

A Muse is a business with a sole purpose to provide consistent cash flow for the owner. It’s not going to change the world and it isn’t brought to life to create a new job for the owner. It’s about solving your resource requirements to live the ideal life you want to live. Thousands of people have created successful Muse businesses since the publication of the book, but the success of the business model always eluded me.

 

With a sense of envy, I watched others build their successful Muse businesses from dropshipping to informational products. I was grateful to create two profitable courses that pre-sold for $1,000 each before I ever lifted a finger, but after the launch, nothing. Zero sales and no idea where to go, the cash flow became non-existent. I just about gave up on the idea that someone could start a cash flow business without much effort and live the life they conceived as ideal.

 

It wasn’t until I started this Amazon business that I really began to see a modern rendition of a Muse business. At first, this business requires a lot of time, mainly doing Retail Arbitrage (sourcing products from local stores), processing the products and then shipping them into Amazon. But even this business model is quite something, as once I ship products into Amazon, I have nothing left to do but watch sales come pouring in.

 

But I want to run this business from a laptop anywhere in the world. For that to happen I’ll need to eliminate myself from the very tasks that ensure I have sufficient inventory to make enough sales each month.

 

Removing Yourself From the Equation

How to rapidly scale an Amazon FBA business without touching a single piece of inventory

 

I knew there was a way to tweak this business model into a full-fledge Muse business and I recently developed the system. If you’re in this business you’ll notice early on that the bulk of your work is sourcing and processing, all things that are easily outsourceable.

 

If we start with sourcing we can easily break down how to outsource the whole process to scale into sourcing thousands of units each month. I’ve gotten to a decent area in my business where I know I can spend a whole day and spend 100% of the capital I have reserved for inventory. That’s great, but the issue is not being able to replicate myself properly and the fact that I’m constantly sourcing new products.

 

The quick fix for this is to hire a VA (Virtual Assistant) to do all preliminary sourcing for you for roughly $4 an hour (if not cheaper!) and eliminate yourself from the grunt work. I’m currently training a VA I worked with years ago to do just this. The way it works is quite simple enough. My VA will search through all products on a given website and check if they meet my criteria. For this the product must make a minimum of $5 in profit per unit, meet all category ranking criteria and provide at least 50% ROI, plus a few other requirements to be considered.

 

I’ve created a simple spreadsheet that my VA will input all relevant data once she’s found a great product for us to purchase. I also have her run the data for the product to formulate how many units of that specific product we can sell each month and how much total profit adding that one new product would add to our business.

 

Anatomy of A Modern Muse

 

All that is left for me to do is go through that spreadsheet and pick the products that are really worth our time and which aren’t. The ones that are, are added to a master inventory list for repeated purchasing each month. Although I’ll be personally making the purchases, I could easily outsourcing this task as each month I’ll need to refill my inventory to keep sales consistent. A VA can easily use my master list, go through inventory numbers and determine how much of each product needs to be purchased and when. But for now, I’ll keep this as my sole role until comfortable enough to make the handoff.

 

At this point all inventory is shipped directly to me for listing, quality control and shipping into an Amazon warehouse facility. This work isn’t that terrible, but it is quite tedious over time.

 

Luckily, in dealing with a larger quantity of the same product, efficiency kicks in and time required is decreased. The issue with me personally doing this work is that I have to be home to do it. I can’t run this business from my laptop in Argentina or spend a whole week in the mountains with my girlfriend. The solution to this is quite simple and actually included within Tim’s book. A fulfillment center is nothing new, but a new model of the business has been created just for Amazon based businesses. Instead of shipping inventory to myself, I can send it into a “Prep” center who will receive, repackage to Amazon’s standards, label and ship the product for me. All of this for roughly $1.35 per unit.

 

I’m potentially giving up a decent amount of my profit, but with my sourcing requirements, taking out $1.35 per unit still leaves me with quite a bit of profit and decreasing my workload by more than half.

 

The only work left for me to personally do is repurchase inventory each month of products that are consistently selling (again, easily outsourced as well) and go over my VA’s list of potential new products to add for increased revenue and profit. All easily done from my laptop anywhere in the world.

There is a resurgence of a Muse business model using existing channels instead of creating your own website and paying for traffic. This vastly decreases the cost of muse creation and allows you to quickly set up and scale your muse business to cover everything listed on your Dreamline.

 

Life becomes incredibly interesting when you match travel hacking with a Muse business ran from a laptop. Suddenly the global world opens up to you. Not only can you travel for near free thanks to travel hacking, but you can do so for increased periods of time thanks to the cash flow provided by your Muse business.  I’m so close to achieving one of my yearly goals in creating a business that generates $10,000 a month in income while in college, but I’ll be reinvesting all of my profits back into expanding inventory to scale up 10x faster each month.

 

Resources and Tools

 

  1. Upwork (https://www.upwork.com)

This is where I find and hire a VA to do just about anything I need done, including sourcing products to increase my cash flow Muse business.

 

  1. Prime Zero Prep (https://primezeroprep.com/)

The company I’m currently researching to handle all of my inventory needs before units are shipped into Amazon directly for sales.

 

    3. Restock Pro (https://www.ecomengine.com/restockpro)

Restock Pro helps in the restocking department. Rather than me doing all of the forecastings myself, Restock Pro does this and send me a weekly report to go through. Total time saved: 10+ hours /week.

 

    4. Vendrive CRM (https://www.vendrive.com/)

Vendrive is a CRM tool that helps me manage all of my suppliers and build an actual pipeline to put potential suppliers through. Instead of relying on spreadsheet after spreadsheet, I use Vendrive to manage it all for me and have my VA enter suppliers here. 

 

    5. Aura Intelligent Repricing (https://goaura.com/)

Aura is a new breed of repricing tools. Instead of charging outrageous fees for high performance or offer discounted tiers for lower performance, it gives the highest performance for a lower cost compared to the competition like Informed or BQool. 

 

5 Things You Should Already Be Outsourcing

Everyone knows that I’m a huge outsourcing freak. If I can outsource or automate it, I will. I guard my time viciously and because of how much I value my time, I don’t go shopping (I use a monthly subscription for clothes) and I don’t go to the store for things I can get on Amazon (thank you Prime!).

 

I’ve had a lot of people ask me about getting started outsourcing, mainly what they should start with. In this post we’ll do a simple exercise to help you specifically and then I’ll share the 5 things I think everyone should outsource without question.

 

Creating Your Hit List

When creating your list, we want to create a list that will give you back your freedom and allow you to focus on the more important parts of your business.

 

Task You Don’t Like Doing

The obvious first 3 tasks should be the things you simply don’t enjoy doing, such as repetitive daily, weekly or even monthly tasks. Write those down now.

 

Task You Don’t Know How To Do

Would you rather spend your time learning how to do something trivial or make more sales? The answer should be pretty obvious. Specific things just need to be outsourced as it will save you a ton of time in learning how to do them. These tasks can be skills such as SEO, Graphic Design etc. However, if you enjoy learning these things, then by all means, do them!

 

Tasks You Shouldn’t Be Doing

What are some tasks you do on a daily or weekly basis, you know you shouldn’t be doing? Write those down as well! Everyone within a business should focus on playing a role, including yourself. What kind of tasks would the CEO of a business NOT do? Remember, we are building a team to make your business more profitable, NOT wastefully outsource.

 

You know should have a nice size list of things you should be outsourcing right away. I have to remind you that the goal of outsourcing isn’t just to free up your time as the founder or CEO, but to give you more time to focus on what is important within the business like increasing revenue and profits. Don’t outsource social media marketing if it does nothing for your business. Be smart!

5 Things Everyone Should Outsource

If this is your first time hiring a VA (Virtual Assistant) I highly suggest you ease in with a GVA (General Virtual Assistant) that can cover a small batch of tasks easily for you.

 

*When hiring a GVA include every task they will be responsible for in the job description. Never drop a load of tasks on your VA without properly training them.

 

Tasks a GVA should be able to do with minimal training are research, maintain social media accounts, manage your calendar, upload your recent blog posts and maintain a publishing schedule, make small personal purchases on your behalf and most important your GVA can eventually move into a project management role to manage your team as it grows!

 

Your GVA is your starting point and your holy grail of building a true team.

 

Here are the 5 things you should be outsourcing:

1. Research

I unfortunately spend a decent amount of time doing research, but I’ve found that I could easily create a system/document (shared Google Drive Doc) that makes it super easy for my GVA to do the research and present her findings in an easy to digest form. No more spending hours searching through Google!

 

2. WordPress Fixes

All hail WordPress… Free themes for days and a countless amount of plugins, but for some this can even take up to much time. I’ve used WordPress for a long time, so most changes don’t take long, but I sometimes get locked into the WordPress dark hole and it’s 5+ hours later. Instead, I’ve created a Trello board for my site. It’s basically the Hub where I put in all content ideas and design ideas. One board saves me a huge amount of time is the “Changes” board. The Changes board is for my GVA. Whatever is on that board will get done each week.

 

3. Search Engine Optimization

Do you honestly think you have enough time to keep up with the ever evolving world of SEO? Unless you do SEO full time for a living, you don’t. SEO is a tricky one to outsource because there are a lot of low quality people to outsource this to. Do some (not your VA on this one) research and find someone who is already outsourcing this task successfully and ask for an introduction to use their VA.

 

4. Video Editing

This has become a hot topic lately and something I would love to get into. Video adds such an amazing level of content and visuals to a site. It really shouldn’t be neglected. Making the videos yourself is the easy part, but putting them all together into a seamless, beautiful with gorgeous graphics is an art. Leave this one to a VA who knows what they are doing!

 

5. Any Sort of Development

Unless you are a developer yourself or actually interested in learning to develop (like myself) you shouldn’t even mess with this one. Development can cost you a lot of money, but can easily cost you years of learning on your own for a half-baked app that still doesn’t do what you want. Save yourself years and outsource your ideas to bring them to market 10x faster than on your own.

 

* I highly suggest you at least become familiar with technical concepts to better understand and communicate with your developer, though.

 

Some of the above tasks a GVA can easily do, but don’t expect your GVA to do Development and SEO. When outsourcing you must think in terms of roles. A GVA should only do general tasks that you can do without special skills. Something with a developer, only hire for the developer role.

 

I’ve used outsourcing in my business as well as my personal life and it has completely changed my outlook on what is possible. It’s time for you to take back your freedom, increase your profits and build a team that works while you sleep.

Outsource Yourself To Freedom | Hiring Your First Virtual Assistant

Outsourcing, at this point, is nothing new but, your either one of three people right now. The first person has heard the word “Outsourcing” but doesn’t really know what it means. The second person knows about outsourcing and has done a bit of research to understand it but is to afraid to take the lead and start outsourcing tasks. The last, and my favorite of the three people is the person who took the lead and is now enjoying valuable free time because of your smart decision.

For this post I will only focus on the first two people. You see outsourcing is that one thing that can really change your life without much investment or risk. We are going to delve into outsourcing and how to eliminate all risks and not destroy your wallet by doing so.

A Little Story (I Like Stories)

Now, imagine your overwhelmed, not to hard to imagine is it?…. Your boss stacking tasks on your desk without mercy and given you crazy deadlines to meet. You’ve already worked your forty hours for the week and you deserve to relax and enjoy a small portion of your life. You send one email to your VA (Virtual Assistant) with a chunk of your tasks to be completed within 24 hours or less. You go home, watch that hilarious new movie you’ve been wanting to see, you spend time with your family or take your girlfriend out to a nice dinner before she dumps you for always being at work and at the end of the night, you go to bed feeling the best you have in months. What about all of that work?….

Good morning! How did you sleep?! Good. You now roll out of bed, check your email and notice your VA responded with all your tasks completed, knocking out a huge part of your work for the week. Sound to good to be true or illegal? It’s done every single hour of the day and by more people than you think, including your boss and myself.

 

How Does This Work?

This is the most simple thing in the world but you must follow some good practices to limit risk and wasting your money. I want to make this as easy to read and just as easy to implement that ANYONE can use this guide to begin outsourcing the mundane tasks in their life tomorrow! Here we go…..

The Basics:

1. Where do I find VAs?

Odesk.com

2.  How much should I pay them?

Not over $5 per hour for administrative tasks, which is what we are focusing on here. For programming and other tech related tasks, expect to pay between $10-$30 per hour.

3. What country should I outsource too?

The Philippines and this is very important! The VAs in the Philippines are very loyal, hardworking and talented people. On top of that, they speak perfect english. The biggest problem with outsourcing is communication. For this reason alone, many people refuse to work with Indian virtual assistants because the language barrier is too high and thus requires more of your time, which is the complete opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

4. What tasks can I outsource to my VA?

There is a vast amount of tasks you can outsource. Think of everything you do that does not require you to be in a specific location. Pretty much, everything on a computer….. That’s what they can do for you! Are you starting to see the huge potential here?

5. How can I limit my risks?

For starters, use a credit card payment option with Odesk.com incase of a rare instance of you being charged for work that was not completed. This allows you to cancel the charge and not waste your money. Limit your tasks by time. Giving your VA a task to complete is simply not enough. You must be very descriptive and detailed, as well as giving a time line. I typically give my VA an hour to complete each task. This task can be completed in 30 minutes but I allow time for my VA to comfortably do her work and get more done if she sees the opportunity. This alone can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Always limit the time per task!

That is really it….. It’s not as hard as it is portrayed to be. I am a visual person and believe most people learn from watching. I created a video course covering everything outsourcing.

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How To Hire Your First Virtual Assistant

Look over my shoulder as I go through the whole process of hiring another “VA” for an affordable hourly rate and with great quality work.

You will learn how too:

– Spend your time on things you enjoy

– Spend less than $5 an hour

– Make MUCH more money with your business

– Focus on the work YOU actually enjoy doing!

Also Included:

– 20 Things entrepreneurs should outsource

– 227 Things you can outsource

A virtual assistant can increase your profits, help you start your own business for little dollars and focus on enjoying life more. Imagine waking up in the morning with an email from your virtual assistant containing all the completed work you needed done. Now imagine all of this work being done WHILE you were asleep all night!

 

 

 

 

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