From Man…to Team

The more and more I work online, the more I learn. Even though little bits and pieces may not seem to teach me much, collectively over time I can see the bigger picture of what I needed to learn. I’d say the most recent large step in my affiliate endeavors has been the slow transition from Man to Team.

How My Operation Started

I started ~3 years ago on my own, just a solo affiliate trying to learn the business. I had my own campaigns that did well, but after going to some events and talking with industry friends I realized I was small potatoes. Most of my affiliate friends were solo as well, so I pretty much stuck with that route for a while. I had a few partnerships along the way, but that’s an entire post on it’s own (hmm perhaps the next post then?).

After a while of working on my own and building out my skills, I took a step back and looked at what was happening. I was making pretty good money but I was doing everything myself. That’s when I went golfing with Matt and he jokingly suggested that I hire him. That day I thought about it a lot and it actually seemed to make sense. I’d pay him hourly (more than he was making at his current job) to work on things for me. The more work I gave him, the more free time I had to work on things myself, start new ideas, and network a lot more. And play Call of Duty here and there ;).

So I went through with that idea and it proved to be beneficial. Now a few months later I see that my plan was still very flawed. I thought about things and what I was good at, and what I was training Matt for. I was good at coming up with ideas, setting up a decent landing page, and driving traffic to it. I pretty much spent months teaching Matt the same thing. WRONGGGGGGGGG.

Instead of initially looking for someone to compliment my skills, I should have been looking for someone to supplement them. Meaning instead of training someone to do what I’m already good at, I should have been looking for someone to work in the areas that I’m weaker in; primarily programming and design. Now that I realized that small roadblock I made for myself, how could I take it to the next level? By…

Building a Team

If I could break it down into a step-by-step process, I’d go something like this.

Step 1 : Making sure you’re in the proper mindset.

Building a team is serious stuff, and for it you have to be serious. That means not only will you have to take a risk in paying all these employees that may not make you anything more than you are now, but you also risk them being counterproductive to what you’re already doing. These risks can be minimized by simply hiring the right people. You have to be prepared and ready to accept a potential loss, it’s all a part of the game.

Step 2 : Asses the strengths/weaknesses in your company/yourself.

In my own case, I mentioned that the strengths in my company from myself were traffic generation and ideas. My ideas come to life, but not at their greatest potential. If I were to take things seriously, I would want employees that would specialize in :

  • design
  • content creation
  • programming
  • accounting/legal/bookkeeping

Now that you know what you have and what you don’t have, it’s time to actually make it happen.

Step 3 : Set up your game plan.

There’s actually a few ways you can hire and manage the team you’re going to build. I’ll list a couple of them:

1. Hiring an outsourced team. I’d suggest hitting up a place like or even a design/writing forum or some sort of internet forum. Post up a job and take resumes and portfolios. Take all the info, look it over, and then choose your team to hire over the internet. Communicate via email, phone, and IM.

Pros : Can find much cheaper work, it’s faster, you can communicate anywhere, cutting someone is no hassle, you have the opportunity to just hire on a per project basis and not hourly/salary.

Cons : Everything that comes with hiring a remote staff. They may not pick up your calls or take a while to respond, time zone differences, quality of work may be lower because you’re not there, and things are generally easier to explain in person.

2. Hiring an in-house team from scratch. I’d say the younger the better, so if you were to build a team from scratch I’d try and find some students fresh out of college. Post listings at local colleges and design schools, in English buildings and computer buildings.

Pros : We just made the change to in-house, meaning you have a constant watch over everybody, communication is easier, and teamwork is a lot better. Simply put in-house is just much more effective. They’re fresh out of college and are ready to learn and work. They know nothing about the industry and with your proper guidance will never know enough to quit the company and go off on their own. Just make sure that you really specialize what they’re doing and not tell them anymore (i.e. don’t show a designer affiliate network stats, traffic stats, revenue, or anything).

Cons : Training. Depending on your current skills, this can take either a long time or a really really long time. Matt still has a ton to learn and he’s been with me approaching a year now learning everything that I know. Also you run the risk of them just not working out and not learning well. If you’re going this route make sure you have an extensive interview process. Also costs. You’re going to want to get some office space, equipment, and then the employees will most likely be more expensive.

3. Collaborating with and poaching existing industry folk. Say you have a really good friend and he’s bomb at programming or something. You two decide to team up and hire a team. Someone will have to move, but you both get together and build the company together. You can either hire fresh students, or you can hire existing industry affiliates and affiliate managers. I’ve known more than one instance where I’ve seen an affiliate manager be poached by a private affiliate.

Pros : Most members already know the industry. Training is kept to a minimum, ideas flow much better, you have everybody’s connections combined, and it’s all just much faster.

Cons : Already being in this industry, employees like affiliate managers will want a decent salary or some sort of revshare. You’ll already be splitting the company with a partner (if you choose), so that means you get even less of a cut.

Step 4 : Take the plan to action.

Now it’s time to put the game plan into action. Go out and find your employees whichever way you choose. Hit up colleges with flyers, talk to professors, talk to your industry friends, etc. This is where 95% of you reading this will just stop. You’ll get psyched about the money you could make with a full team, plan on actually doing it, and then never following through. Maybe the campaign your working on now takes up too much of you’re time, or maybe you’re just a baby and don’t want to take a risk. There’s nothing I can say that will change your mind or reveal anything to you, so I guess that where it’ll end. Either do it or not.

I’m probably going to cut the article off here for now, because that’s pretty much what I can report on. I have multiple friends that employ teams EXACTLY the way I just described to you, and they’re raping it. Right now I’ve started taking some steps to outsource a little work, and partner up with some industry friends for single project revshare deals. Next year I plan on getting out of Buffalo and moving somewhere nicer. Once I do that I’d like to get an office and just start hiring in-house.

So while I can’t give many tips on managing a full team yet, hopefully it’ll make for a decent post next month.

See ya’ll in NYC in a couple days.

EDIT: I think comments are back and working.


  1. Matt
    August 7, 2009

    Great Post!

  2. August 8, 2009

    That’s an excellent post :-)

    Having your own team is definitely going to help you make more money because you’re leveraging on other people’s time and knowledge.


  3. August 8, 2009

    Call of Duty? Nice game. I’m love play, too :)

  4. August 8, 2009

    Excellent post on a very important subject, seen too many fails in the transition to ignore this subject, and I’m glad to have learned a little bit more today.

  5. August 8, 2009

    You’re moving in the right direction. Another thing you may want to consider if you’re anywhere near a college is an intern. First, they need the job for credits. Secondly they are either really cheap – or free. But most importantly, they allow you to do what you do best.

    Consider this: Add up all the time in a month you spend doing the following.

    Getting Gas. Grocery shopping. Dry Cleaning. Paying Bills. Washing Your car. Getting office supplies. etc etc etc. When I did that, it came to 14 hours in a month. That’s 14 hours that I, as the CEO wasn’t doing what I do best (playing call of duty)

    You find its the cheapest and best investment you’ll ever make.

  6. August 8, 2009

    Fabulous post! Really useful for me as I grow my business and begin to outsource some of my tasks and project components. It’s either time or money, right? I especially like the tip you gave about finding someone who supplements your skills instead of complimenting them!

  7. August 12, 2009

    Just subscribe. Its great post. Its very useful thanks for it.

  8. SuperPhil
    August 13, 2009

    Thanks bro! I’ll hopefully get to that point one day :D

  9. August 16, 2009

    Excellent post about the benefits of building a team. The problem that most people have is that they don’t treat this like a business. It is easy to build a website but not so easy to build a business. And just like in any business the top man doesn’t try to do all the jobs himself. The aim is to become the project leader or CEO and oversee all the parts of your business while you drive the overall message across.

    Your time should be spent on the important issue while all smaller jobs and problems should be outsourced or delegated.


    Andy Michaels

  10. August 16, 2009

    Good stuff. If I didn’t have my team of designers/developers/SEO etc behind me I’d be screwed. I don’t even know how to put up a pretty webpage these days.

    If I could give people one tip about managing a team of staff, it’s communication. You can’t overcommunicate. Just about all the problems I’ve had with staff have come about because we were on different pages.


  11. August 17, 2009

    The presence of a large team certainly increase revenue. But do not forget that they have to share …

  12. August 18, 2009

    Building team for expand a business is a must, if we do all alone, we can get exhausted.


  13. August 21, 2009

    Sometimes, you don’t have to manage the team yourself. You can even hire someone experienced to handle them for you :)

  14. August 24, 2009

    Really great post! I have been considering hiring a few people myself or at least out-sourcing some work, now I know what type of people I am looking for.

  15. August 27, 2009

    This is actually pretty helpful. I would say that I’m a loner when it comes to my business, but I would think to hire someone that I could teach MY way.. reading your way makes a lot more sense. I think I might be too much of a control freak to hire someone that complimented me.

  16. August 29, 2009

    That is awesome. It can be a very difficult transition and hats off that you pulled it off.

  17. September 1, 2009

    Its a awesome post. Its very worthy to read this article. thanks for sharing this valuable info.

  18. September 1, 2009

    Nice post, i’m always scared that if i employed someone they would just steal my ideas.

    Is this blog back?

  19. September 2, 2009

    i think this philosophy could be applied in many things, man to team, that’s great sentence

  20. September 10, 2009

    I wish to be at this stage to realize the need to have a team to run my business.
    so far, not there yet

    but at the same time i am teaching my friends to do online business, the outcome can be one of the other; one – they can be very successful on their own, or they can be my extended team as my business grows

    A team in a way .. but virtual for now

  21. September 10, 2009

    Fantastic post, outsourcing and working with other people is vital if you want to succeed online.


  22. September 12, 2009

    Your important information certainly will help internet marketers to a great extent.The guides are most essential part while outsourcing most important jobs.

  23. September 12, 2009

    Outsourcing most important works like web designing, content writing, article writing are really tedious. Referring sites that you mentioned is really helpful in getting right person or organization.

  24. September 17, 2009

    Doing the job alone can really be nerve-wracking.. Being assisted by someone or by a group of skilled people can surely make things a lot easier..provided that you have open communication and being open to ideas..

  25. September 22, 2009

    Fabulous post! Really useful for me as I grow my business and begin to outsource some of my tasks and project components. It’s either time or money, right?

  26. September 23, 2009

    I am really bad working by myself! I feel that I need someone to work as a team. keeps you motivated I think

  27. September 24, 2009

    yes,for making money,team work is very important because you can do same work in a team so after awhile,you can be master what you do and then you can do it very easly and in a short time.

  28. September 27, 2009

    I acquire a lot of info on your post, This helps me and serve to be my basis, team work is definitely something. Currently I’m working on my own and sooner to construct my own team.

  29. October 1, 2009

    If income already stable, better build tema work..


  30. October 1, 2009

    For the longest time my claim to fame was the oxymoron: “one woman team.” Now I realize more than ever that I need to outsource parts of my business if I hope to actually turn more than a marginal profit.

    While I still do all design work myself, writing content, promotion, etc are areas that I outsource. Let me tell you, a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders since then.

  31. October 19, 2009

    team work is get 100% good result…superb article..

  32. October 21, 2009

    Thanks for sharing that story. That is what every entrepreneur goes through to break through but hearing the story is a rarity.

  33. October 29, 2009

    I learn this stuff from Eben. Outsourcing almost doubled my business. It’s a no brainer. My strategy is pretty simple. I was doing everything myself and used to make a good income, but now it’s much better. I earn more, have more subscribers and more free time.

    ‘And most importantly, my sites are promoted every single day. It wasn’t like that before.

    Thanks for the good reminder.


  34. November 2, 2009

    I’m definitely looking forward to the mentioned series of articles. Gathering knowledge and experience as and advertiser is really hard sometimes, and I’ve learned to appreciate every hint and tip I can find.

  35. November 30, 2009

    very nice post on team management and building a new team. although i am still in first phase of team building but i hope if i will follow your recommendations i will surely make an effective team soon.

  36. January 13, 2010

    Interesting post… it reminds me of a book I read that says that no one can ever make it alone in life, but you indeed need the help of others, that is, a (your) team!

  37. February 6, 2010

    thanks this post for me it is really useful

  38. Greg
    April 17, 2010

    Any follow up?

  39. June 22, 2010

    Great One – I’ll be checking back the site regularly for some new updates

Leave a Comment