Tips and Tricks for Outsourcing Memberium Setup to Upwork Successfully

David Bullock — 

Outsourcing Membership Site BuildsYou’ve pulled the trigger: you have Infusionsoft. You have Memberium. You have your vision, and you’re ready to go. HOWEVER you don’t want to do it yourself.

Your first stop should be the Memberium Implementation Partners page. This page has a complete list of all Memberium certified partners, most of whom are also certified with Infusionsoft.

Your second stop should be with an Infusionsoft Certified Partner or Infusionsoft Certified Consultant. You can find current certified partners in Infusionsoft’s marketplace, and in the Facebook groups dedicated to Infusionsoft, or Memberium.

Your third stop should be to find a Virtual Assistant who is experience with Infusionsoft. Again, Facebook is a great place to connect.

If you can’t schedule with an Infusionsoft or Memberium certified partner then you may be tempted to look to a freelancer for a solution. The most common source of freelance workers we see is Upwork. However when engaging with a Freelancer, you should be cautious.

Iron Motivations

Cost shouldn’t be the only driving factor for selecting a freelancer to implement your site. The Project Management triangle teaches us that any project exists in a relationship between time, quality and cost. Shortcutting cost will cause your project to take longer, or suffer in quality.

The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
– Benjamin Franklin

The Double-Edged Sword

Most freelancers are bright, motivated people who are willing to tackle different projects every day of the week. They develop a can-do attitude and a self confidence that they can learn and solve problems on the go. They’re also highly motivated because they have to be actively seeking jobs and work to get paid. This confidence and motiviation is both a strength and a weakness. I often see freelancers tackle projects with zero practical experience with the software, determined that they can learn it on the fly and figure it out.

That’s a great mindset to approach life, but it’s generally not fair to the employer who’s project will take longer, cost more, and not be implemented properly because the freelancer is over their head. Optimism isn’t enough; real experience, and knowledge are critical.

Experience, What it Is and Isn’t

We commonly see ads on Upwork for workers with Infusionsoft and/or Memberium experience. We also sometimes work with the freelancers that respond to these ads, sometimes more closely than their own client does, so we see the realities of their skill sets.

We see freelancers all the time who claim Infusionsoft experience, but don’t know the basics of applying tags, creating tags, Campaign Builder, actionsets, etc. When the actual project is in progress, these weaknesses come to the front and stall things out, because many freelancers have no support network to lean on. Infusionsoft and Memberium are both niche markets in the Upwork space. You’ll get the best results by focussing most strongly on Infusionsoft experience, with WordPress as a secondary. Memberium need not be a requirement.

Inexperience isn’t the Opposite of Experience

The second challenge we see is with freelancers who backfill their lack of Memberium / Infusionsoft experience with some other kind of experience. Frequently we’ll see this with coders who will create their own proprietary, over complicated hardcoded PHP solutions where shortcodes would work fine.

They view this as reasonable since they can cut corners and work faster using tools they’re comfortable with (PHP) instead of visible and easily editable shortcodes. Their code often is hidden from view and you may not even know it’s there, continuing to affect the pages after changes are made to the visible settings and shortcodes. This creates a huge maintenance headache for you, the customer. We’ve also seen programmers implement entire API interfaces to Infusionsoft. They skip the API we provide and create problems by inefficiently consuming the limited Infusionsoft API, and not keeping the Memberium data in sync.

Further, experience with the tools doesn’t automatically grant skill, or strategic thinking. There is a large skill gap between knowing how to code, and writing secure, or complete code that works with the system instead of it.

What to Look For

Look for good communication skills, and a friendly attitude.

Experience with a different membership system can be a negative.

Look for actual projects done with Infusionsoft with good reviews. Infusionsoft is the harder and more strategic part of your project, and should be the focus of the skillsets. It’s easier to bring an Infusionsoft worker up to speed on Memberium since Memberium is built on Infusionsoft concepts. Doing it the other way around is a recipe for failure.

If you’re expecting your freelancer to do work in both Infusionsoft and Memberium then at a minimum they should have proven Infusionsoft experience, and WordPress experience.

If your freelancer claims Memberium experience, then don’t skip the step of contacting Memberium support to verify their experience. Experience doesn’t automatically mean they’re proficient.

Require your freelancer to work with Memberium support to understand how to implement your system, and to CC: you on support tickets.

Require your freelancer to present their code and explain how they implemented your system.

Screening Potential Upworkers

Start with a couple of small test jobs with some basic tasks, stay involved, and observe how well the freelancer performs in your “live” audition. It’s important that it be useful work, it could be something as simple setting up a page to display a contact’s info and showing it working, creating a sequence to generate a password, or implementing your membership levels.

What to Beware Of

Freelancers who won’t communicate with the Infusionsoft or Memberium support teams. This is usually to mask poor communication skills, or a poor understanding of the product.

Freelancers who can’t do basic setup on your Infusionsoft app without assistance. Use those live audtion tasks! If they can’t sail through the basics, then you’re in for a stormy seas in your implementation.

Freelancers who claim experience with no referrals. The Infusionsoft community is small and if a developer has worked with Memberium before then they’ve likely come to our attention.

Freelancers without proven WordPress experience. Memberium builds on top of WordPress’s conventions, it can be learned without WordPress experience. Freelancers without proven Infusionsoft experience. This is most critical, since Infusionsoft is the core of your marketing and membership automation system.

Full Disclosure

We hire many (but not all) of our staff from Upwork. We also invest an immense amount of resources in documenting, training, supervising and setting culture and expectations from the team, with an investment on par with that of a full-time, permanent employee. We spend months bringing new hires up to speed. It’s not the sort of investment that most customers make in their temporary team members.

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