Almost all of us here started our dropshipping journey doing everything ourselves.
From product research, to video editing, to media buying and even some cases, customer service.
While that’s perfectly ok when starting out…
It’s a huge productivity killer as you scale towards 5 – 6 figure months and beyond.
And here’s why
As we know, it takes a huge amount of time and effort to launch a product.
From finding the product to writing the copy to edit the thumbnail and video to setting up the bundles.
(You can easily take 2-3 days just to launch 1 product.)
And if you’re looking to test 2-3 products a day to scale to 7 figure months, be prepared to work 16 hour days.
I don’t know about you, but working 16 hour days sounds like a nightmare to me.
With such working style, you’ll eventually burn yourself out in no time.
You end up dreading finding another product…
You start procrastinating and trying to motivate yourself by watching motivational videos on YouTube (guilty of that)…
You end up falling into the trap of envisioning yourself becoming a 7 figure entrepreneur but end up executing no tasks at all…
And you start to think that dropshipping is not your thing.
This is why 7 figure dropshippers have huge teams for them to delegate these tasks to, so that they can have the time, energy and brain space to focus on higher-level tasks.
But, a common misconception that most dropshippers have is that they assume that as long as they hire new team members, they’ll immediately free up their time and brain space…
When in actual fact… It’s the opposite.
Because for most dropshippers, despite hiring new team members, they end up delegating only 15% of their work to them.
Which not only does it not solve their problem, but they also start to incur higher manpower costs, resulting in a lower profit margin….
After working with many 6-8 figure dropshippers in my operations agency we found that most dropshippers aren’t able to delegate because of these 3 Delegation Killers.
Fix these 3 Delegation Killers and you’ll be able to delegate like a 7 figure dropshipper in no time.
The 3 Delegation Killers And How To Solve Them
1 . Inability to find and hire a good VA
A key factor in delegating successfully is to have competent and great VAs on your team.
(Or as we like to call them, A+ players)
The better your team = the higher chance for them to perform at the same standard (or even better) as you.
So what does A+ players look like?
They are independent, resourceful and solution-focused in solving problems without waiting for your instructions every time.
They have a great sense of responsibility and ownership not only in their tasks but the end outcome of the company
They take pride in their work and consistently overdeliver in their KPIs
They’re always finding ways to improve on existing processes and SOPs instead of just taking instructions.
They are capable of getting the work done efficiently (highly productive), managing themselves autonomously (highly professional), and well working in the system and team (highly responsible)
They focus on outcome and results and automatically do everything that needs to be done to get results instead of just doing the bare minimum (whatever they can get away with)
They love the company, the work that they do and always strive to do their best so that the company can grow quickly.
Sounds awesome to have them in your team, eh?
It sure does! (Trust me, I love my team members)
But for most people, finding these A+ players is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Some think it is impossible.
Some think that these A+ players cost thousands to hire. (Not true).
And that comes down to one reason…
They don’t have a proper hiring system so they spend days, weeks or even months trying to find A+ players and wasting their time interviewing 100s of candidates.
In our agency, hiring A+ team members is something that we do for our clients and we use our own SARV hiring framework to source these A+ players WITHOUT spending weeks interviewing bad candidates.
2. They assume no one is better than them
Another common mistake that most people make is that they assume that their team members are, and will never be, better than them.
They don’t think that their team members can spot a winning product like them…
They don’t think that their team members can write better copy than them…
But this is just a false belief.
Or what we call “Superhero syndrome”.
And even if you have A+ players in your team, with the superhero syndrome, it’s highly unlikely that your A+ players can perform.
So what’s the best way to wipe out the superhero syndrome?
By recording your entire process and turning them into Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
However, most people think that SOPs take ages to create and their team members just end up not using it.
After helping many people to document their process, there’s one key factor that most people miss out that results in their SOPs being effective.
It’s to be as detailed as possible.
With a detailed SOP, it’s much easier for your team member to fully understand every single step.
Which results in ease of implementation.
An example of a non-detailed SOP vs a detailed SOP:
“Turn ads off when CPP above $25”
Possible confusion that your team member may have:
“Do I turn the specific ad off? Or the ad set? Or the campaign?”… “What is CPP?”
Confusion like this leads to the team member not applying what’s on your SOP and end up giving you bad results.
“Turn ads on ad level when cost per purchase is anything ABOVE $25. If the cost per purchase is $25 AND BELOW, leave it ON.”
See how specific and clear it is?
There’s little to no room for confusion if you write an SOP like this.
Tip: If you think that SOPs are a chore and it’s not something you want to do, just record a simple Loom video and get your team member to turn it into a written SOP with screenshots for you.
This way you not only save time but also see if they understand your SOP.
(Though our clients just prefer to let us handle this for them)
3. Taking too long to train their team members / new hires
When you think about training your team members, what comes to mind?
It’s probably the time and effort spent on training just ONE team member.
Some people I know spend 3-4 days training ONE team member.
Just imagine scaling your business and hiring 4-5 additional team members….
(Kinda scares me just thinking about it)
And the reason why most people spend so much time training?
“I want the training to be as detailed as possible and for them to become experts after the training.”
But, it’s actually possible to not only create a detailed training, but also “Automate” the entire training in a way that doesn’t involve you.
In our agency, we do that for our clients using our 7D training system.
The 7D Training System is a training program that spreads throughout 7 Days that we use in our agency to turn our client’s new hires and existing teams, into A+ team members.
Day 1: Introduction
Most people just go straight into the training or getting new hires to work immediately.
But what we’ve found is that setting the right context and culture is much more important so that they can fit easily with the rest of the team.
In day 1, we’ll be going through the following:
– Company values: It’s important to have a clear set of values that helps your employees understand what you stand for.
Your company values act as a guidance for their work and a sense of security, so that they are more likely to make the right decisions that can help them to achieve the company’s vision and goals.
This is often one of the most overlooked aspects of the onboarding system. But the benefit of it is huge, especially once you automate it.
– Company reporting structure: Again often overlooked, the company reporting structure is to let the trainees know who to look for whenever they face an issue, or have a question.
Oftentimes what most business owners do is to get everyone to report to them.
Can you imagine if you have a team of 10? Or 15? Or 20?
How much time you’ll spend solving problems for them….
By having a clear reporting structure and letting them know to go to a team leader whenever they have questions, it saves you, the business owner, a bulk of time and not to mention head space to focus on higher level tasks.
Tip: The majority of them will be asking the same old question over and over again, so just get them to report to a team leader instead of you.
– Daily Huddles: If you ever find yourself asking whether your team is working on the right thing, or being productive at their work, then you find this extremely valuable.
In our agency, we like to implement something called a ‘Daily Huddle’ or ‘Stand Up’ in our client’s team.
For those who don’t know, a daily huddle is a short 15 minutes meeting where we have team members sharing what are the 3 tasks that they have to complete today, what are the potential challenges that they face when completing the tasks, and if they need any help from anyone else.
Why do this?
This is so that the team leaders, or you (the business owner), is able to check up on what everyone is doing, and most importantly making sure that their priorities are correct.
From our experience, clients with teams who are not implementing daily huddles are constantly finding their team members working on tasks that are not urgent…
Causing them to panic and firefight whenever an urgent task is due.
– Access to SOPs: In day 1 of the 7D Training System, we also give access to all SOPs, and excel/google sheets to the trainees (only those that are related to their roles).
For example, if the trainee is a product researcher…
We provide him access to the product research SOP, product research criteria, and product research google sheet/excel sheet.
The purpose of this is for them to familiarize themselves with the role, before even starting to work on it.
Pro tip: We help our clients to automate this by putting all the resources and SOPS as part of the onboarding system where they can refer to easily.
Day 2: Onboarding
On day 2, we onboard the trainees by going through their roles and responsibilities with them, and tutorial on communication tools.
Roles And Responsibilities: One of the most important parts of the 7D Training System is going through their roles and responsibilities.
Specifically, state the importance of the task.
Most people think that by stating the roles and responsibilities to a team member, it just means telling them what’s their role and what they should do.
That’s not enough.
The most important thing you should do is to also state the importance of the task, and how it affects the company.
For example, let the product researcher know that products are the lifeblood when it comes to product research.
This shows them how important it is to get their work done right.
(It’s also kinda like letting them know that they’re important and treasured. Humans like to feel important that way.)
But more importantly, showing how their work affects the bottomline will give them a great sense of purpose, ownership and responsibility.
By applying this in our client’s training program, we found that this also gave the team members a greater reason to stay whenever things get tough.
Usually up to 5X longer than usual.
Communication & Management Tools: Together with roles and responsibilities, we also teach the trainees how to use our project management tools and communication tools.
This can be as simple as how your team uses Slack or Clickup.
What most business owners do wrong is that they assume that the trainee will be able to figure out the communication tool themselves.
That’s where miscommunications like:
– Not knowing how to update the next team member from another department that their task has been completed, and that they can now work on it causing unnecessary delay in launching products.
– Not knowing the specific channel to use to find someone from another department.
– Not knowing the due dates for specific tasks.
With these may sound like a small thing, it can get very disruptive and leads to a lot of bottlenecks with the rest of the team.
Like a Porsche engine that gets “choke up” once every 30mins. Not a fun driving experience.
So what do we do?
We create SOPs and video tutorials on how to use these tools.
We then show them what should be done if they wish to contact or update a person from another department.
Just this alone would speed up and smoothen their workflow significantly
(At our agency, we usually recommend our clients to use both Slack and ClickUp as they can both be seamlessly integrated together).
Day 3 & 4: Education
On the 3rd and 4th day of the 7D Training System, this is when we start to teach the trainees on how to perform their roles.
And to ensure that the quality of the training is maintained while you don’t waste too much time with each new hire, make sure to automate everything.
For this, we need to prepare the following assets:
1. Books, Blogs, Articles, Case studies relating to the specific role.
For example, providing a case study on Amazon and Zapos’s customer service to the customer service trainees.
2. Segments of Dropshipping courses related to the specific role.
For example, providing the product research segment of a dropshipping course to the product research trainees.
Now this is important to ensure high quality: Run them through the assets and get them to write a learning report to you
The learning report is one of the best ways for you to see their understanding of the courses and the assets that you’ve provided them.
It’ll also help them to conceptualize whatever they’ve just learnt.
If the learning report is not done well or has a lot of gaps, it means that either your training is not good enough, or they are not good hires (or they didn’t put in a lot of effort, which is a huge red flag)
Day 5 & 6: Shadowing
On day 5th and 6th of the 7D framework, we’ll get the trainees to shadow the existing team members in their department.
Sometimes, there may be too many context or scenario based questions for the automated training to cover.
So getting the trainees to shadow the existing team can help to cover that.
(For example, getting a product research trainee to shadow a product researcher).
The main purpose of this is for the trainee to understand how to solve a certain situation when faced with a problem.
This will train their critical thinking skills and teach them how to become a “problem solver” instead of a “problem presenter” (only telling you about a problem without trying to solve it).
By the end of the 6th day, issue them with a task to note down their findings and learnings into a learning report again.
Day 7: Examination
Lastly, no training is completed until we can be 100% sure that the trainee is now an ‘expert’ of his role.
At our agency, we help our clients to conduct examinations as a way to be sure that the trainee has sufficient knowledge in his role.
In the exam, we test them on the various topics:
– Company values: List down all of the company values
– Roles and responsibilities: Pick what’s the desired outcome for your role (Options given)
– Communication: Which communication channel to use when communicating with another department. (Options given)
– Education: What are the criterias to look out for when finding a winning product? (Product researcher)
– Scenario based: What should you do when your ad gets disapproved? (Media Buyer)
In our tests, we have a total of 20 questions mixed from the various topics above.
The passing score for this examination is 80%. (16 out of 20).
By having at least 80% for the examination, you can be fully confident that the trainee is ready to take on his role.
Anything below that, they’ve failed the test, and will be let go immediately.
You may be wondering why we let them go instead of training them more…
The reason why we let go of the trainees who failed the examination is because this training is designed to filter out people who have way too little experience and understanding of dropshipping to join the team, or that they did not put enough effort when it comes to learning.
Pro Tip: You can use the app “Typeform” or “Google Classroom” to create these examinations.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…
“Trevor, where’s the automation in this?”
At our agency, we automate this entire 7D Training System by building it inside Google Classroom, which is a knowledge portal where we put the videos, assets and examination for each module.
Each new hire will be placed in that training and by the end of 7 Days, the project manager or HR manager will be able to see if the new hire has passed or failed the examination.
Anybody who passed the test will be added into their specific department.
(It’s kinda like a car factory and assembly line. It goes in as car parts and comes out as a fully functioning car).
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