Almost all dropshippers started their dropshipping journey by doing everything themselves — from product research, to video editing, to media buying — until they’re able to scale winning products. From there, they’ll focus on building a team so that they can scale faster and more consistently with more product testing and launches.
While building a team to scale is definitely the most effective and consistent way to find and scale winning products, here’s what they are doing wrong that prevents them from scaling past 6-figures a month:
They put themselves in every single part of the process.
For example, we frequently see dropshippers making these mistakes:
- The product researcher has to get their approval before it can be imported to the store
- The video editor has to get their approval before launching the video
- The copywriter has to get their approval on the product description before launching the product
By doing this, you are restricting your team’s workflow and potential, which limits them to only launching a few products a week no matter how many people you hire.
Here’s why: By creating the system such that every single step of the process requires your approval, it will result in you spending a lot of time going through these things.
It’s not only because it is very time-consuming, and not a good use of your time. Essentially, you become the bottleneck of the business, hindering your business from moving faster by testing more products and scaling to 7 figures.
Not just that, most of the time you end up becoming so mentally and physically drained from the day to day work — feeling like you’re stuck in the daily grind, unable to take a break, feeling like you’re chained to your business, leading to mental fog.
You will also be unable to focus on higher-level tasks such as strategizing for the business and thinking about the next step to take to reach 7-figure/month.
When the business owner is the bottleneck of the company, it’s usually a big red flag. A sign that the entrepreneur is the bottleneck is when they can’t go for a two weeks vacation because the company cannot function without them.
If you watch Jeff Bezos’s interviews, he’s always focusing on the future while delegating the day-to-day operations to his team. The truth is, with the right systems, most if not all of these things don’t require your involvement.
This is the reason why when the top dropshippers want to scale to 7 to 8 figures per month, they will build delegation systems so that their team can run the business without them having to constantly be in the process. This allows them to focus more on higher-level tasks and strategies.
The Four Dropshippers Delegation Traps
When it comes to delegating, most dropshippers fall into these Four Traps:
The “No One Can Do A Better Job Than Me” Trap – The business owner who constantly thinks that they’re the best person for the job, and anyone else will just do a crappy job, killing their business.
The “I Got Burnt Before” Trap – Burnt from prior bad experiences. Hired a product researcher to source for quality products but all he found were crappy ones. Ended up having to go a whole week without any new product launches.
The “I Don’t Have Time To Train Them” Trap – Refusing to spend time to train the team members to do a proper job, resulting in a lack of confidence in them, having to micro-manage them every single step of the way.
The “I Don’t Want To Lose Control Of My Baby” Trap – The fear of losing control of your dropshipping business that you’ve painstakingly grown from the ground up.
After working with multiple 6 to 7 figure dropshippers at Atomatic Agency, we found that most people are not delegating because they fall into one of these Four Traps.
However, the thing is that these traps are actually “self-imposed” limiting beliefs, which can be solved with the right delegation system in place.
In this post, we’re going to share with you the delegation system our agency built for our clients. We call it the 3 Part Delegation System (3PDS).
Before we dive into the 3PDS, I want to first show you what your life and business will be like after you implement this system. Instead of spending all of your time doing low-level tasks and fighting fires:
- You’re able to spend 80% or more of your time planning for your business and the “road map” to 7 figures, instead of being flooded with questions from your team members.
- No more feeling trapped or weighed down by your business, knowing that your business will still go on even if you take a day or two off.
- Never having to constantly check and ask for updates from each of your team members, and know that your business is in safe hands.
- Have the freedom to take days off whenever you want to travel and attend masterminds. Or just simply take a holiday with your loved ones.
- Go from testing 5 products a week to 10 products a week, and double or even triple your revenue!
- Have the brain space to plan for the launch of your next eCommerce brand.
The 3 Part Delegation System (3PDS)
Part One: Do You Have The Superhero Syndrome?
Before we can begin delegating, we must first tackle the root cause of the problem — YOU. Most business owners don’t realize it, but they are usually the bottlenecks of their company.
This is usually more common for businesses that build everything their own from the ground up. They tend to suffer from what we call the Superhero Syndrome where someone thinks that he must do, or be involved in, every single task. They do it either because they think others are not as good as them or they don’t trust others to get the job done.
In other words, the business cannot “move” without them being involved in every single step of the process, and when the owner must involve himself in everything, make every decision — product launches get delayed. This is lethal because product launch is the lifeblood of dropshipping.
Many of them even end up launching lesser products during revenue-generating periods such as Q4. This is one of the BIGGEST and also the most dangerous things that prevent many dropshippers from scaling to 7 figure a month.
How To Tell If You Have The Superhero Syndrome (And The Bottleneck Preventing You From Scaling Faster)
Are the systems and processes in your company built around you?
Are you micromanaging your team?
Are you holding yourself back from hiring more people because you think that they will not do a better job than you?
If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, then you likely have the Superhero Syndrome and it’s one of the biggest bottlenecks that’s stopping you from scaling to 6 or even 7 figures.
So How Do You Solve It?
If your systems and processes in the company are built around you, that means that your team will not be able to launch a product without you giving approval every step along the way.
If you are doing this, you are very likely the bottleneck of the business. The business will not be able to operate with you in it and you will never be able to take a day off from work.
Do this instead: Create systems and processes that do not require you to be inside at all, and importantly, ensure that the system can still work even if you scale from testing 1 product a day to over 20 products a day.
It’s extremely important to have the foresight of scaling when creating such processes.
Are you afraid that your team might not do a good job or up to the standard you want?
At our Operations agency, one of the ways we help dropshippers to scale three times faster without them being the bottleneck is this we create for them a system with an automatic feedback loop and scorecard metrics that their team can use to self-evaluate whether they are doing a good job that is up to your expectations.
This helps them to know whether they are performing well based on a set of criteria you set for them while improving their skills at the same time with the continuous feedback loop. From there, we continue to optimize and improve this system so that the team can get better faster automatically.
While this system may sound simple, the impact can be huge!
One of our clients was able to scale up his team from a 5-man team to a 30-man team in just 3 months. The best part is that we were able to extract him out from the system, which frees up his time by up to 80%.
This means more time to focus on scaling the business rather than working in the business — what every business owner should be doing.
If you are constantly interfering with your team’s work and micromanaging them, it’s very inefficient and reduces the pace at which your team can launch new products.
On top of that, not only will your team feel suffocated, but they will also feel like they’re not trusted by you. In turn, they create a bad working environment for the entire company.
This will affect morale and productivity and makes it harder for the team to hit their KPIs.
Do this instead: Select great team leaders, focus on training them, and allow them to lead the team. This creates motivation and trust.
As minor as this may sound, whenever we help dropshippers to train up leaders and lead the team, we always see a big improvement in efficiency and effectiveness.
Here’s a tip: If your team is from the Philippines, it is encouraged to train someone from the Philippines to become the team leader. This gives them better communication and cultural understanding.
Second, create a good reporting and communication system.
The reason why most people tend to micromanage is that they are not aware of what’s happening in the company. This creates a lot of fear and no sense of control.
One solution is instead of using communication apps like Skype, Whatsapp, or Telegram, use project management tools and apps like Monday, Asana, Slack, or ClickUp. This allows you to have a clear view of what’s happening every step of the way in the company, without having to micromanage.
(At our agency, we usually help our clients to set up Slack for communication, and Asana or Clickup for project management.)
If you’re holding yourself back from hiring more people, it’s most likely because you think that they will not do a better job than you.
Perhaps you have tried hiring someone and they turned out to be a nightmare.
It is not uncommon to have bad hires that randomly disappear or constantly fail to hit their KPI, but one way to reduce such hires is to have a good hiring system that filters out the potentially bad ones.
At our agency, we help our clients to get great hires by using this S.A.R.V Framework. There is an in-depth post talking about this framework You can check it out here.
Part Two: Create Delegation Systems
In our agency, we build delegation systems for our clients through Flowcharts and Decision trees.
1. Flow charts:
By having flowcharts in place, it allows the team member to complete their tasks without having to come to you for any approval.
For example, a product research flowchart. You have set strict criteria for your product research team. In order for the product to be qualified to be tested, it needs to first fulfill 5 criteria.
Here’s how you can build the flow:
Start > Has the product generated over 10k likes on Adspy in the last 1 week?
No > Do not use the product.
Yes > Does the product solve a pain?
No > Do not use the product.
Yes > Does the product have a wow factor?
No > Do not use the product.
Yes > Is the competitor’s selling price 3x higher than our COGS?
So on and so forth. By presenting it this way, it reduces the need for them to ask for your approval drastically.
2. Decision trees
Say you have a customer service team but they are sending you 20-30+ emails/day seeking extra clarification before they hit “send” to customers. How do you construct decision trees?
Step 1: Map out all the common scenarios when dealing with customer emails
This is the 80% of emails your Customer Service or CS team faces daily. Mainly general questions that your team already has canned replies for.
For example, emails on shipping fees, on refunds, and on product detail clarification. Map them all out with their responding solutions.
Step 2: Once done, get together with your team and identify points of uncertainty
Points of uncertainty are where your CS team can’t send back a typical reply because the questions are more specific and require much more information, or they are large-consequence emails like approving a $100 refund.
Create a Standard Operating Procedure or SOP such that your team will forward these emails to you. You want to identify where these situations usually happen and come up with solutions for those, because these questions tend to be more open-ended, your solution should be in a range.
For example, when it comes to refunds: allow your team to approve any refund under $60 and only seek clarification from the team leader when it’s over $60, and your team leader can approve any refunds under $100 without your consent.
When you have this in place, you only need to deal with emails that really matter, like big-ticket refunds instead of receiving clarification emails for every $30 refund.
After testing this system in our agency for our clients, we found that not only did this system reduced the number of questions from his team members by over 80% (from an average of 23 questions a day to only 5 questions a day), but it has also actually made their team members feel more motivated to work.
This is because by giving them the authority to make certain decisions, they now have a heightened sense of responsibility to work even harder.
Part Three: Optimize Your Delegation System
A common mistake most dropshippers do is to create the delegation system and leave it as it is. They only think of it as a one-time job. However, this is false, because as we know, as the business scales, we are faced with new problems and scenarios almost every single day.
Without constantly updating the flowcharts and decision trees with new scenarios, it’s highly likely that your team members will end up bombarding you with questions all over again — making you the bottleneck of the business, unable to scale.
You’re probably thinking that having to constantly update the delegation systems sounds like a chore, but there’s actually a way to automate the entire process. There’s no need for you, the business owner, to even touch the delegation system. It just updates itself whenever a new scenario arises.
In fact, this is what we do for our clients in our agency.
Here’s what we did:
First, we created training videos on how to properly create SOPs. In the training video, we cover 3 principles of creating great SOPs.
Document Every Single Thing In Your Head – Most of the time when creating SOPs, people tend to unconsciously hold back information. They think that “this information isn’t necessary”, and end up withholding more information than they imagine — making the SOP incomplete.
In our agency, what we do to solve this is to get the team members to record an SOP video first, then document it into a written SOP. The video SOP should minimally last 45 seconds no matter how small the task is.
This ensures that the team member is releasing all their knowledge and thoughts in their head, into the SOP.
Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.) – The second principle of creating great SOPs is to document it in a way where even a 10-year-old kid can understand. Treat the person who’s reading the SOP as sometimes that’s totally new in the industry.
To do this, we write our SOPs in steps. (For example, step 1: do this, step 2: do this.) Essentially, write it in a way like you’re right beside them giving instructions.
Avoid Using Dropshipper Language – A common mistake that most dropshippers do when creating SOPs is to use dropshipping terms like “If ROAS below B/E ROAS, Turn Ad off”
By doing this, a less experienced team member may not understand the SOP and end up coming to you for questions, resulting in you telling them what to do before moving on to the next task.
Instead, use language that a total beginner can understand.
For example: “If the return on ad spend (ROAS) is below the “breakeven return on ad spend” limit at (1.5 ROAS), turn the ad set off” By phrasing it this way, it’s a lot clearer for the team member, resulting in lesser time wasted for them to come to you to ask questions.
Secondly, we train the team members to document and add the SOP in the delegation systems whenever they are faced with a new scenario. This is so that whenever the scenario arises again, the next team member will know exactly how to solve it, without the need to waste time asking you or anyone else.
By having these two steps in place, our client’s delegation systems are consistently updated with new scenarios and solutions, without even needing the business owner to do anything.
Hire an operations/business manager that can help you optimize your systems.
This is probably the most important point to focus on.
When systems are not continuously updated and optimized, they can create multiple bottlenecks and chokepoints, and when it’s left alone for too long, having to revamp the entire system is a huge pain and requires a lot of time. A lot of times when this happens, the business owners will usually procrastinate and not do anything about it, because it’s just so tiring and painful to work on the system.
The longer they procrastinate, the worse it gets.
It’s kinda like when you know you need to file your taxes but procrastinates because it’s bothersome — until it’s too late. Well, an unoptimized system is even worse than not filing your taxes on time because there is a huge operational and opportunity cost to it.
In our agency, one of our core services is to provide our clients with what we call an Atomatic Business Manager (ABM) which is essentially someone to manage your team, and making sure that the team members are executing on their tasks and hitting their KPIs.
Their most important responsibility is to ensure that all the systems are continuously updated and optimized when necessary. This allows the team to get better, more efficient, and effective at the task while freeing up the business owners to focus on other things.
It’s kinda like having a highly trained Operations Manager or Chief Operations Officer (COO) in your company. With the ABM in their team, our clients are able to free up 90% of their time, to focus on high-level tasks such as planning for the company, or just simply to live their dream lifestyle doing whatever they want.
If you don’t have a COO or an operations manager, then you should definitely consider getting one to free you up to focus on the more important things.
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