In this edition of the Affiliate Buzz, James Martell is joined by his wife Arlene Martell and JambMedia’s manager of business services, Kimberly Juchnowski, to talk about the game changing tool Basecamp. This virtual team management tool is brilliantly developed to help with business building and online success.
James begins the podcast with an introduction to the business game changers he has taken on board over the years. In 2001, he came across Google, which was really big for affiliate marketers. The next new finding was Elance, while he was a speaker at a university. The third was WordPress in 2007 and the fourth is the topic of today’s podcast, Basecamp.
Kimberly was quick to embrace Basecamp, which offers a 60 day free trial not requiring credit card details. James is at a point now where he is awaiting an invoice for the first 30 days of paid subscription to the site.
Arlene goes on to describe the situation prior to the use of Basecamp. Arlene has always been a real ‘to-do list’ maker. These lists would have questions to be answered or actions to undertake for current projects on the go. Everything on her ‘to-do list’ had a due date and she struggled to know where everything was, often unsure if her note was on a piece of paper or on Google Drive.
James knows that Arlene is strong on business organisation and when she gets a little disheveled something needs to change. To show how important being organised is, James recalls that when they were finishing off the Affiliate Marketers Handbook in 2002, they settled on the first chapter being ‘How to Get and Stay Organised’.
James clearly feels that organisation is a big challenge for those with an online business and reflects on his own experience that virtual team management can be tough. He was getting very frustrated at one point earlier this year and having to conduct regular meetings with Kimberly, to discover what stage they were at with certain projects. This is when they discovered Basecamp.
The Moment of Enlightenment
Kimberly hadn't realized how bad the organisation had become until she started using Basecamp but she admits things were getting messy with the numerous simultaneous projects. She had to spend countless time checking everything to ensure nothing was being missed, going back and forth between different team members to get work completed on time.
The situation resulted in a team which was not cohesive and it was hard to reference a recurring aspect or issue in a project. To Kimberly, Elance is a great tool, but when you have many threads contributing to one project, it can be difficult to stay on top of things.
Since the team started using Basecamp, only one meeting has been required and James laughs that they really had nothing to discuss.
During the podcast James, Arlene and Kimberly go into detail about the benefits of Basecamp. Here are some of the topics they discuss:
- The problems with another virtual team management tool they have used called Action Method.
- Have any problems been experienced with Basecamp?
- How James can use Basecamp to keep all his ideas organised.
- How Basecamp can create an excellent team environment.
Information at Your Fingertips
James loves Basecamp as it can easily tell him the status of any project. He looks at the statistics on the site and it shows him there are currently 38 projects on the go. James admits that if he were to start an affiliate business from scratch again he would run everything through Basecamp.
One of the best features of Basecamp is the ability to create templates for projects. This saves time when similar projects come in; you don’t need to create them all from the bottom up. For example James has a template to build an affiliate site. On this project there are 107 to-do’s, six discussions, three text documents, two events and an area to upload documents so it can all be brought together.
Also, once a project has been completed, it can be archived for ease of access at a later date.
The trio then discuss their favorite elements of Basecamp which includes:
- A calendar to demonstrate at what stage each project is currently at.
- An individual ‘to-do list’ with a due date assigned to it.
- The ability to assign a job when something is missing.
- The ability to see the virtual team.
James asks Kimberly how she recommends others start on Basecamp. The first thing she would suggest would be to get an account and begin a project. Invite all the involved freelancers and designers together on Basecamp and keep the team on track working together.
Arlene ends the show by mentioning how the best virtual team management tool offers several options to help you learn how to get the most from it, including three training courses and great video tutorials.
They all give Basecamp a big thumbs-up.