Outsourcing and Teams: How to Have Productive, Profitable Meetings
My first job straight out of college was for a marketing agency.
I loved the job. My co-workers were amazing, and I got hands on experience with Google Adwords (without bleeding my own money).
But there was one part of the job that I hated…
I took this job to learn about internet marketing, not to sit in on meetings all day!
09:00 AM – Staff meeting
09:45 AM – Marketing team meeting
02:35 PM – Company wide meeting
05:10 PM – A meeting to talk about the next meetings
And because I was in a low-level position…I just sat in the back doing nothing. I was daydreaming of traveling to Bangkok while my boss was talking about the TPS reports.
Has this ever happened to you at a company?
People naturally wanna get things done. Nobody likes mucking around and the feeling of pointless work.
Management has to have some way of getting everyone on the same page, but a lot of employees live “meeting to meeting”.
I think of running a company like a rowing competition.
Imagine if you have a row boat with 5 people, and they’re all rowing in a different direction or pace. It’s chaos.
That’s what meetings do – they help get everyone on your team rowing in the same direction.
(And imagine being in a rowing competition by yourself vs 5 people. It’s impossible to beat them.)
I want to give you guys some quick wins for having meetings with your own crew.
Even if it’s just you and a programmer you found on Upwork, start getting into good habits early.
7 Quick Wins for Having Fast, Effective Team Meetings
#1. Have a company wide calendar that everyone has access to.
You don’t wanna have John ask you every single day what time a meeting is. If you have a company Google Calendar, you can share it with your employees so they know when you’re free.
Note: This is NOT access to my personal calendar. It’d creep me out for all my teams to know what I’m up to 24/7 and where I’m at.
The company calendar has meeting times for everyone, holidays, major events, travel planned, and scheduled time off that people take.
Protip: Use the Titles Appropriately.
Bad: Marketing Meeting
Good: [C+A+P] Marketing Meeting or [ALL] Marketing Meeting. The initials and “ALL” shows who needs to be in the meeting.
You can also throw in [ALL] Marketing Meeting [AGENDA]. The Agenda shows that an agenda is attached.
#2. All Meetings Start on Time, No Exceptions.
I like to start meetings at an odd time. For example 1:03pm vs 1:00pm. People are more likely to show up on time.
You should also encourage everyone to jump in on the meetings a few minutes early. This gives them a few minutes to fix any headphone / mic issues before it starts.
What happens if you’re missing a person? You start it. By waiting for that person you’re creating a culture where lateness is tolerated.
If I start waiting around on people, it develops the culture of “Charles doesn’t care when I miss meetings, so I’ll just show up when I feel like it”.
Show your team that you take timeliness seriously.
#3. Have meetings that are routine, and can go without you.
What happens if there’s a 1 PM meeting and Charles can’t make it? The meeting happens without me – my team knows the drill.
Protip: Eventually you should groom your employees to take over for you in meetings.
You don’t wanna be the guy running the logistics of a meeting. That’s wasting brain power. You want to be the idea factory, and making sure everyone is working on the right things.
Not the guy fixing technical issues or putting together agendas.
#4. Prepare an Agenda.
ATTACH it to the Google Calendar as a note.
People know where to find the agenda instead of hitting you up on Slack before every single meeting and asking questions.
Some meetings like monthly / quarterly / annual planning need a command center style agenda.
Other meetings like a 1:1 performance review only need a one-page doc with a few questions answered from each of you.
For our daily company-wide meetings there’s no documented agenda. We’ve done it so many times now we all know the drill and we go through it without having to refer to a document.
#5. As part of the weekly huddle, we spend 10 minutes finalizing all meetings next week.
While you’re all there as part of a team, get the meetings set for next week. We’re all busy people, and everyone who works for me has the freedom to run their own calendar.
This means there are timing clashes, so this few minutes spent planning out the next week while we’re all on the call saves a ton of back and forth time between us all in individual channels.
#6. Always try to cut meeting time down and make them more efficient.
Meetings cost money.
Remember that a one-hour meeting doesn’t take cost one hour. If you have 7 employees then it took 7 total hours.
If each person makes $50 an hour, then that meeting cost you $350 to hold.
Was that one-hour meeting worth $500?
A great exercise is to see if the meetings can be shorter. If the meetings are normally an hour long, try to make them 45 minutes instead.
“Cutting costs is the easiest and fastest money you’ll ever make.”
#7. Once your company starts getting bigger, it’s time for department meetings.
When you’re a lone affiliate you might get your developer and designer on a call so you can work together.
But once you’re full time and business is booming, you’ve got totally unrelated people to deal with.
After a while, it won’t make sense to have the whole Marvel crew on one call.
What My Meeting Structure Look Like
You’re probably wondering what kind of meetings I have.
Keep in mind that I run multiple companies: campaigns, AFFcelerator, and this blog. So there are a ton more meetings here than you probably might need.
Daily Huddle [15 minutes]
We have a DAILY meeting.
It starts at 1:03pm EST everyday.
I like to do my deep work in the morning, have an hour lunch break, and then we have the company-wide meeting.
There is a problem if you have employees in Asia because they’ll have to stay up at midnight for the meeting. But there are workarounds, and a lot of people around the world work to US time zone, or they’ll make time for the meetings if they want to work for your company.
We go around the room and ask:
- What MAJOR things have you done in the past 24 hours?
- What MAJOR things will you accomplish in the next 24 hours?
- Are there any BOTTLENECKS you have that prevent you from achieving this?
The point of this meeting is for EVERYONE to get a bird’s eye view of what we are all up to as a company.
The more informed everyone is, the more seamlessly we work together.
The most important thing is the bottleneck section. Bob might have 24 hours left to complete a task, but he can’t get it done until I approve a part of it.
Weekly Huddle [1 hour]
- What did you achieve this week?
- Did you hit all of your weekly MITs? (Most Important Tasks)
- If not, why not? And what’s your plan to hit them going forward?
- Which tasks are you going to achieve next week?
- What did we do really well as a team this week?
- What could we improve on as a team?
- Is there one small initiative we could work on to improve next week?
The purpose of this meeting is mainly to plan out the next week and analyze this week.
You always want to look at past performance as well as plan for the future.
Strategic Meeting [1 hour, every week]
I got this meeting idea from the Tony Robbins Business Mastery course.
Every single week, the entire company comes together to brainstorm solutions to a problem.
We’ve had strategic meetings on topics like how to go about hiring new employees, coming up with our company values, analyzing why a certain process went wrong etc.
Learning Debrief [30 minutes – one hour, as needed]
I’m always going to events, seminars, masterminds, and marketing conferences to learn.
One of the most valuable things you can do is to share what you learned with your employees.
- Most people love learning
- You understand the material better when you teach it
- Employees feel exclusive learning what happens behind closed doors at 4-5 figure events
Often you go to an event and you learn a ton of things that you’ll never be able to implement them all yourself. Hand that knowledge off to your team and see what they can do with it.
Team Training [ 25 minutes, every two weeks ]
This is where one person in the company teaches something to the rest of the team.
- Here’s a campaign I did last week. Here’s how I optimized it to profitability.
- This new traffic source is performing really well, here’s the 80/20 on it.
- We have a new project management software. Here are the best practices.
My employees will often teach me something new during this training which is how a company should work.
You want your employees to become better than you at their tasks within 18 months.
Gratitude [10 minutes, every other week at the end of weekly meeting]
We go around the room thanking members of the team for one thing. We normally do this at the end of the weekly huddles.
When you’re all working remotely you’ve gotta do something to build a culture.
- Larry thanks for re-doing the branding on the site. It makes it feel premium.
- Curly thanks for installing the chat software on X.
- Moe thanks for fixing the server that crashed the other night. If you didn’t, we would’ve lost $2k.
What would make you happy? [10 minutes, every other week at the end of weekly meeting]
Each one of us takes a minute to explain what would make us happy within the company.
You wanna know what makes your employees tick. High turnover and bad performance are costly.
“We just took professional photos. It would make me happy if you guys uploaded your Slack avatars, Skype, email signatures, etc.”
“My son has been sick the past few days and I spent my days off taking care of him. My errands are piling up and I feel stressed. It would make me happy if I could have tomorrow off to get my personal life up to speed.”
This part of the meetings has built a whole new culture at my companies.
People naturally hate waste and repetitive work. Give your squad the chance to tell you what will make them happy and it’ll have benefits for the WHOLE company, not just them.
Monthly Huddle [3 hours]
Every month we get together to plan out the next month.
The structure is almost the same as weekly meetings, but it takes longer as we’re brainstorming the best MITs for the upcoming month.
In this meeting, we’re looking at our quarterly goals and making sure we’re taking big steps towards them.
1 on 1 Meetings [25 minutes]
I meet with each person on the team, just me and them. I evaluate their performance for the previous month, and they give me their thoughts on the team and the company.
- What went well?
- Where are some areas you can improve on?
- What opportunities do you think we missed as a company?
Most companies in the corporate world only do “annual reviews.” How can someone improve if they’re only getting feedback once a year?
With these annual reviews, I’m finding out about problems I had ideas about. By knowing the problems, I can fix them early.
Finance Meeting [1 hour]
This meeting is ultra important.
We have a one-hour meeting each month going over the finances. I have the executives of my team, accountants, bookkeepers, etc.
- How much did we spend this month?
- How much revenue did we pull in?
- Where can we cut costs?
- How much are we spending on payroll / contractors?
- What is our cash flow projection?
You need to know your numbers. This meeting will save your ass one day.
QUARTERLY / YEARLY PLANNING
Quarter and Yearly plannings are a big deal and almost a whole separate post.
First of all, we always do them off-site. I’ll book a place and we’ll travel to get into the right zone.
Quarterly planning takes me two days, and my team jumps in for 3 hours each day.
Annual planning normally takes 3 days.
A lot of brainstorming happens at these meetings.
We’ll analyze how the previous quarter went, and then plan out how best to keep to our annual goals.
All of the company goals flow into each other so setting the smaller goals is easy.
Yearly Goals -> Quarterly Goals -> Monthly Goals -> Weekly Goals -> Daily Goals
They all flow from the macro to the micro.
Here’s an example from my personal life.
My goal for the YEAR could be to get my blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It’s measurable and specific.
Ok great, what can I do for the QUARTER to help achieve my yearly goal? ‘
- One Competition
- 4 Private Lessons
- Attend 50 classes.
Ok great, what can I do for THIS MONTH to help me achieve my QUARTERLY goal?
- Research which competition I want to attend
- Take 1 private lesson
- Attend 16 classes.
And then what can I do for the WEEK?
That’s easy to answer now because I know what I need to do for the month.
Does this make sense? There’s a SYSTEM. You set your goals at the one year mark, and each quarter / month / and week supports it.
Affiliate Marketing Specific Meetings
Here are some campaign specific meetings you can have with your media buying team:
- Angle brainstorming – Angles are important when you’re launching a new campaign. Instead of tackling angles yourself, why not use the collective brainpower of everyone?
- Campaign troubleshooting – Everyone brings in their campaigns and talk about their biggest problems.
- Q & A – This is especially useful for the newer media buyers. This is a section where people can ask me anything they want. No such thing as stupid questions.
- Weekly Learnings – What did you learn this week from your campaigns?
These meetings are done on an “as needed” basis.
Good Meetings Make Your Life 10x Easier (And Make You More Money)
If you’re a newbie getting started, you’re thinking “Charles just gimme the hot offers and traffic sources”.
But after you get over that first hurdle of hitting some profitable campaigns, you start to hit more typical business problems.
This is where having the right meetings with the right people at the right times is essential.
Know your team and know what they are up to, but you shouldn’t have to micromanage.