As affiliates we often start by just doing stuff.
We different things and eventually learn what are best practices and what just sucks.
But very often we just log that away into a special place in our brain and it becomes an innate ability.
Guess what innate abilities are amazing but have some real issues.
- They don’t scale well, you’re only 1 person
- It’s hard for other people to read your mind
- It creates frustration because you talk with others and there’s a level of “assumed” knowledge
There’s others but those are the big ones.
The learning process and it’s flaw in growing a business
The learning process all start with
You don’t know what you don’t know!
This leads us to the 4 basic stages of learning.
- Unconscious Incompetence -You don’t even know this thing exists. Affiliate Marketing was probably this for you at some point.
- Conscious Incompetence – You’re aware it exists but have no idea anything
- Conscious Competence – You work on the skill for a while and can start to do it. BUT you have to think about it constantly
- Unconscious Competence – It becomes Innate ability where you no longer have to think about the mechanics, it’s natural.
The learning process always breaks down into these 4 steps. You’re always at one of them or transitioning between 2.
This process happens through
- reading and educating yourself, this is the least important phase. Book learning, I feel, is 10% of the learning process.
- trial and error, if we don’t make mistakes we’re not pushing ourselves.
- repetition, doing it over and over again making small corrections through trial and error.
All learning happens this way. Whether it’s learning to setup DNS or learning to write copy for ads. In the beginning you go from not even knowing it exists to it becoming innate at some point.
Once it’s innate you really “know” it.
And knowing it is great if you’re going to work by yourself for the rest of you life.
Want to know a secret? An ability becoming innate is only half way there. Why is this you ask?
Something that is innate and not written into process becomes very hard to optimize, train and manage others with.
I think most of us want to build and outsourced team or hire employees to grow our companies. We also want to optimize our processes and make them more efficient so we can get more done in less time.
We want to work smarter, not harder. Right?????
Constantly doing all the heavy lifting yourself limits growth and gets very very tiring at some point.
You learned all this stuff once. Do you want your team to take as long to learn it? Or do you want to abstract out your ideas into systems and processes to you can accelerate the teams growth?
Abstracting out how you do what you do
Now that you agree we have some innate abilities and we need to pass them to others.
Guess what we have to build systems and processes for others to understand.
I remember when I hired my first employee. He was an affiliate so he had a lot of understanding about the space. But he didn’t know anything bout merchants, businesses, accounting, compliance, etc. And most of us talk with people with an assumed level of knowledge of the other party. Well that was all wrong. I had to go back and start to breakdown and analyze everything I do.
If you read my post on system break down we’re going to use your broken down tasks again. If you haven’t done this go read and do the exercises here Earn More $ with a Throughput Management System – 1 of 3. I’m sure you’re keeping a list next to you at all times and anything new you do you write on that list.
Lets take each of these items and start to answer these questions.
- What you do
- How you do it
- Why you made the decisions to do it that way
Now for our bad ass new tool
What you’re probably going to find is that everything you do is 90% a repetitive process. This is called “work”
That repetitive process has a work flow. I’ve posted about some of mine on my blog. I’ve posted Charles Ngo’s workflow on setting up a new campaign. So there’s plenty here and ideas how to build them.
The tool we’re going to discuss is going to give you an easy visual way to track all these work flows.
The tool I’m talking about is called TRELLO
It’s a tool that follows this thing called KANBAN methodology.
It’s very flexible and you can use it in many different ways. I’m going to explain how I use it.
It’s composed of 3 basic components
- Board, this is similar to a bulletin board you might hang on your wall
- Swim lanes, these are lanes that are stages of your project or activity
- Cards, these are the tasks that need to be done
What i do is figure out the steps of a process. For example to make creatives I create a card for an offer I want creatives for and put it in the first swim lane which I’ll call “Backlog”
Then I’ll have another swim lane called “Queued to Build”. Backlog is where ideas are but we’re not sure if we want to execute yet. Once we decide we want to execute I move the card from the Backlog to the “Queued to Build”. Effectively I own the Backlog swim lane. Anything in that swim lane I’m the one that would execute on. And that execution in this case it moving it to “Queued to Build”. Make sense?
Now I’t not going to discuss our whole process for that. But I will post a screen shot here in just a minute.
Every process isn’t done by one person so you can add people to a board. Then they can own swim lanes (not from a technical stand point, more if they see something there they know it’s there’s to act on). Same as I explained the “Backlog” column is owned by me in this example. The “Queued to Build” is owned by designers. Now you can also apply a designer to the card to make sure they work on it. Or you can leave it open and they can assign themselves.
Like I said here’s a screen shot.
You can click on each card and add description and detail. There’s also a thread for responses back and forth on the collaboration. Here’s a view of what a card looks like.
As you see you can add checklist for things you want to make sure get included. These could be things like best practices for whatever the thing is you’re trying to build. That would give your designers a constant reminder of the important stuff. You can also see where you can comment back and forth with the designer and can say tweak this or that.
I’m not going to go into how to do everything. But you get the idea. This could be used for any linear process that happens repetitively in you business.
And guess what the best part is it’s free. So go try it. Trello
Hope this helps. If you have any cool ideas on how to use Trello or any other cool tools please leave comments below.
As always thanks for reading. Stay classy!