Business Thoughts: How Can You Prevent Employees From Stealing Campaigns?
Every affiliate reaches a breaking point where they have to go from a one man operation into a team.
They know that they’re the bottleneck, and it’s hard to compete unless they grow.
There’s one big problem though: how do you find employees and keep them loyal? I know the feeling well. It’s an uncomfortable process to trust your livelihood to other people.
The campaigns are how you eat. It’s how you take care of your family. It’s how you pay for Louis Vuitton belts.
Affiliate marketing is a unique industry. The problem is there’s not that many barriers to entry. You teach someone how to run a $5,000 a day campaign, then they pretty much have everything they need to compete against you.
I’ve been there, done that. I’ve had employees steal campaigns from me in the past, and I’ve also had media buyers work with me for years.
It’s a catch-22 where the better your media buyers get, the easier it is for them to go into business for themselves.
Here are some lessons that should save you some headaches.
The first thing we have to address is the compensation – that’s why people are working for you.
Imagine this scenario.
You’ve helped your boss make $10,000 profit. You know EVERYTHING about this campaign and have the ability to run it on your own. You’re doing ALL the work but the boss only pays you 10% commission. Why would you stay on?
If you want to keep employees loyal, you have to pay them well.
This is hard for affiliates to swallow. They think, “I’m the one who built this company! I’m the one who took all the risks! I should get all the money!”
The problem is that talented workers don’t come cheap.
What’s the right amount to pay someone? I’m a huge fan of paying by commissions as it incentivizes them to work harder on games.
You can start off low like 20% and then increase the percentage as they hit certain milestones.
I know what other affiliates pay their employees, and I pay mine much more. I rather overpay an employee to ensure their loyalty.
Add in extra benefits like health, retirement, adequate vacation time and you’re good.
Happy employees = productive employees.
Productive employees = more money in my wallet.
I think another compensation is that I act like a trusted advisor to everyone that works for me (some would say fatherly figure).
They’re not just learning affiliate marketing and making money from me. I call it the Ngo effect. Everyone starts working out more, reading more, and just have a higher level of motivation in life.
Where to Hire People
I hate when people ask me “Where do you hire people?” The truth is that it doesn’t matter. There’s not a magic website where you’re going to find perfect employees.
What matters more is your interview and your training processes.
One tip I can give is to ask for referrals. Get referrals from friends or referrals from existing employees.
The Type of Person They Are
If I’m hiring a media buyer, I don’t like to hire people who have never ran campaigns before on their own. You bring in someone with zero experience, and they’ll get a “false” sense of how easy it is to run campaigns.
Of course it’s easy when you’re “managing” campaigns or you’re not losing your own money.
Instead I prefer to hire people who have dabbled in affiliate marketing campaigns before. They’ve launched campaigns, failed, and know how hard it is. That means they’re more likely to be loyal.
You should also evaluate the personalities of the people you hire.
Don’t just assume that the person’s “loyal” because they’re your friend. It’s easy for them to say that they’re loyal when they get the job. But give them the keys to a 5-figure a day campaign and not many people can keep their word.
Leverage means what do you bring to the table that they can’t get on their own.
Some leverages include exclusive offers, relationships with advertisers, relationships with other affiliates, etc.
If all you do is copy and paste the hot offer of the week, then what’s to stop them from doing the same?
How Much Do They Know?
There are two schools.
The first one is to give them everything. They get access to the stats, can upload ads, and see everything from A – Z.
The second school of thought is to divide the tasks. One person focuses on optimization, another on the creative side, and another on the technical side. The idea is for each person to only see one piece so they don’t have enough information to run campaigns on their own.
Personally I prefer to have my employees know everything. I believe in transparency. If they only get one piece of the pie then they can’t truly innovate and bring new ideas to the table.
My suggestion is to train them slowly at first.
One trick is to systemize the whole process. Anytime you train someone, screencast it and create standard operating procedures.
Protip: Have your team use LastPass. There’s a function there to share passwords with your employees, but they never know the “real” password.
How Well Do You Treat Them?
This is HUGE. If all of your employees keep quitting, then maybe you’re just an asshole. Seriously. Don’t treat your employees as slaves.
How can you be a better boss?
- Autonomy. No one likes to be micromanaged.
- Gratefulness. If they do a task well, saying “Good job” goes a long way.
- How do you treat mistakes? Mistakes are inevitable. Are you the kind of boss who yells at them and degrades them? Or are you the kind of person who sits down and helps them learn from the mistake?
I don’t make any employees sign contracts such as non-competes or non-disclosures.
Most of the time they’re not enforceable. Not only that but it’s a huge waste of my time to take them to court.
I feel making someone sign a non-compete from day 1 says, “Hey I don’t trust you.”
By the way, if you need a lawyer who specializes in internet marketing law: Aaron Kelly
You have a provide an environment where it’s better for them to work for you, than to go off on their own.