No, I’m not going to give you some long, motivational rant about how you can create a “set it and forget it” business model, while sailing the Indian Ocean like some other snake oil salesmen try and peddle.
In reality, these types of opportunities simply don’t exist. If left alone for too long, the revenue sources that your business derives will eventually dry up. Unless you’re one of the lucky few that happens to sell an app to Facebook for a bazillion dollars, then you’ll likely need to work for a living.
A successful business requires a lot of effort, ingenuity, and most of all…time.
However, there are going to be times when you can’t be nose deep in your computer screen. Let’s face it, life has a knack for throwing unanticipated obstacles our way, so there may come a time when you’re required to take a step back from your business to focus on other areas of your life.
Plus, who wants to spend every waking hour glued to their keyboard? I know I don’t. That is why I take occasional vacations to clear my mind, help reinvigorate the body, and maintain focus. One unfortunate consequence that many young entrepreneurs encounter is burnout.
To prevent this from occurring, rest and relaxation may be required.
When these times do arise, the last thing you want is for all of your progress (i.e. traffic, sales, and revenue) to dissipate with every hour that you’re away.
That is why I am going to provide you with a few ideas on how to keep your business running smoothly if you’re forced to take a few days, weeks, or even months away, allowing a bit of flexibility when needed.
How to Generate Profits on Autopilot
Every business model is different, so the possibility of having a business that is 100% automated may not be realistic for some.
There will be numerous areas within your business model that you will find that DO allow you to take yourself out of the equation and replace it with something that allows your business to run on autopilot, often times more efficient than it was originally.
Obviously, not every strategy that I suggest will apply to your business model, but if you are only able to implement a few minor changes, then you’d be amazed at how much smoother your entire operation will run.
Heck, even if you don’t plan on taking ANY time away, you can still implement the strategies that I am going to outline below.
This will allow you to focus your efforts on the areas that require your attention while leaving other aspects of your business to run unimpeded.
Humans vs Machines
I know that this sub-headline sounds like an intro for a new terminator movie, but is actually the first required step that you’ll need to take.
Go ahead and fully analyze your business. What areas of your business absolutely cannot be automated and require the assistance of a human? In other words, what part of your business would eventually crash and burn if no one were to pay attention to it?
There are a few ways in which you can figure this out…
- Take a few moments and draw out a flowchart of your entire business. What areas require a person in order to operate effectively?
- For the next week, write down everything that you do for your business. Obviously, if you’re doing it, then it either can’t be automated or isn’t automated yet, requiring the actions of a person in order to run smoothly.
Once you’ve dissected your business, you should be able to find areas in which you can either fully automate or at least hire someone to handle the work for you.
For digital products, the delivery of said products should already be automated, so that shouldn’t be of any concern to you.
However, there are online businesses out there that deal with physical products, making the process of automation a bit trickier.
Unlike digital goods, physical products need to be sent through the mail in order to be obtained by the purchaser, which absolutely requires some sort of human intervention.
This makes it seemingly impossible to take large periods of time away without hiring a personal assistant that has full access to your inventory, which can be rather expensive since they would need to travel to and from the post office, FedEx store, or whatever service you need to deliver the goods.
Introducing, the fulfillment center.
A fulfillment center is a warehouse location that will allow you to store your inventory until a sale is processed. Once a sale is made, they will ship your product out accordingly, often times allowing you to add your own logo / branding to the box so that it looks as if it came from your own location.
Fulfillment centers have become increasingly popular for online stores as it takes the hassle out of handling inventory. Imagine not having to deal with the packing and shipping of each individual shipment.
Of course this does come at a cost, but for most fulfillment centers, the pricing options are incredibly fair.
If you happen to sell products on Amazon, they have their own fulfillment center that you can send your products to.
Some centers may require you to submit the basic shipment information in order for the shipment to be sent, but there are those that will allow you to fully automate the entire process, allowing essentially allowing you to take a hands off approach to selling online.
The Key to Outsourcing
There may be some aspects of your business that absolutely, positively require a person in order to operate. The question you need to ask yourself is though; do YOU need to be the person to do it?
In most cases, you’ll find that you can hand the reigns over to someone else so that they can handle the task for you.
Anything from responding to emails to web development can be outsourced to someone with expertise in that specific field, which will allow you to focus on the most necessary of tasks.
Let’s be honest, do you have the time to sit around and tinker with the border width of your site or to do pertinent keyword research? Most don’t.
That’s why outsourcing the majority of tasks can help your business expand faster than ever by allowing you to focus on the essentials instead of getting bogged down with work that someone else can do (or are more qualified to do).
Think about the websites you frequent the most to read blog posts. Do you honestly think the site owner is the only person that is writing for that site?
In some cases yes, but they likely hired editors, proofreaders, etc. to ensure that their content is up to par. The majority, however, simply outsource their workload to professionals, saving them countless hours.
This approach works for almost EVERYTHING your imagination can come up with. If you have a task, then there is likely to be someone that will be willing to do it for the right price.
Below I’ve compiled a list of the top places to find readily available freelancers that will gladly take up whatever task you need.
Sites that may come in handy, but I wouldn’t recommend using for important tasks
The last two can be helpful in some cases. Fiverr can be great for basic design options like logos, headers, and ebook covers. I would tread lightly when using SEOClerks. A lot of their offers may sound enticing, but they can be seriously detrimental to your business.
If you’re going to outsource SEO, it has to be done very carefully so that you don’t end up with spammy links that force Google to raise a red flag.
Outsource Your Marketing
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your revenue stream is not impacted by a leave of absence is to build up an affiliate network.
A solid affiliate will be able to send qualified traffic that is literally salivating at the mouth to purchase what you have to offer.
One marketer in particular, who has created an entire business model that revolves around helping his affiliates sell his product, is Mike Geary. Mike is best known for his fitness ebooks, but reportedly gains so much revenue from his affiliates, that he does little to no marketing of his own.
In one interview, he claims to bring in over $1 million all from affiliate sales!
Mike spends his free time skiing the slopes or taking lavish vacations while his affiliates do all of the grunt work. Now that’s a pretty sweet set up!
There may come a time when you are forced to take time away from your business. There may also come a time when you simply need to free up time in order to focus on the most essential aspects of your business.
When this time comes (and it probably will) you should be able to put a strategy in place that will allow you to take time off without missing a beat. Don’t let your revenue stream crash because you wanted to take a week off and start automating and outsourcing as many pieces of your business as possible.