Goals of the week

Like I shared in the last week’s update , this week we only had one goal for ExitTaiwan, which was to complete the writer onboarding workflow.

I didn’t have a clear idea of the complete workflow when I set this goal. It was when I was in the process of working on this workflow, I started to work it out and break this big goal into smaller parts.

During that process, I knew that I would need to complete 4 things. These things combined will provide me a functional onboarding workflow.

Things I completed are the onboarding form itself, a project management template for duplication, and two email templates.

All in all, the workflow looks good to me. Although we don’t know if it’s actually good or not until we put it live and test it.

There IS one potential risk I can identify.

The potential risk is that there are a few parts that aren’t automated. I might need to be the one doing the manual work like sending out the first email after someone submits this onboarding form.

I think that’s fine for now, because that also puts a limit on how many writers we can work with at this stage when we’re just about to begin.

That will let us know what our current capacity is.

Onboarding form

A challenge I encountered while designing the onboarding form was in distinguishing two types of content and the potential actions our applicants would take.

Like I mentioned in the first podcast episode, there are two types of content on the website, one is the main content, and the other documentation. The way to create these two types of content is fundamentally different because the readers who read the main content and the content on documentation website have totally different intents.

Readers who read the main content would mainly be travelers. They are here to look for recommendations, inspirations, maybe information of a local business like a restaurant or tourist attraction.

Readers who go to the documentation website are those who have a specific goal to achieve in a certain country: to study, to do working holiday, to be an exchange student, and so on… That means on the documentation website, it’s project-based, goal oriented, step-by-step content.

So to create content for the docs website, the writer needs to be someone who’s aware that it’s a step-by-step project, and that we’ll need this person to finish writing a step-by-step tutorial for a specific project in a specific country from start to finish.

Comparing to writers who write for the main website, where they can write one article and move on to the next one that has nothing to do with the previous one, it’s another level of commitment for the future writers to work on content for the documentation website.

Based on this reasoning, I designed 2 logics for 2 types of writers.

Writers for the main content will go through the whole onboarding flow without the team getting involved.

Writers for the doc content will have to schedule a 30-minute call with the team to learn more about the project as a whole. This will make sure we build a stronger connection with these writers and so they may be more likely to finish the content for the entire project they’re about to work on.

Project Management Template

After creating the onboarding form, I moved on to create a project management template. This will allow writers to have a bird’s eye view of all the steps they’ll go through in creating a piece of content.

The tool I used for this is Todoist. But I think any project management tool with the functionality to export as template would do the work.

Onboarding Email

The next thing I worked on was the create an onboarding email.

This is the email writers will receive after they fill out the onboarding form. It’s an official letter to welcome them join the team.

This email will lead them to the project management template I’ve just mentioned.

It also highlights two manuals I talked about last week — the content production and photography manuals.

In addition to that, I talk them through the process of how they will get paid. Although I already did that in the consent form in the onboarding form, I want to make sure they are clear about how the point system and payment work so that we don’t run into unnecessary arguments in the future.

When someone gets this email, they should have the ability to start writing their first article, and that article should be at good quality — based on everything we’ve done.

Publish Notification Email

If everything works well, we’ll get notified by our writers when they finish an article. This is a necessary step for them to have the article published.

Once the article is reviewed, scheduled, and published on the website, the writer will get an email notification.

In this email, they’ll know that they’ve got one point, and that how many more points they will need to receive the payment.

I try to be as visual as possible to provide some sense of gamification here.

If a writer goes through everything and reaches this point, we have succeeded with the 1st version of onboarding workflow.

Goals next week

I don’t plan to do too much work next week. It’s time for holiday, and work life balance matters.

I’ll do design for the recruiting poster. I’ll have a training session with my content manager to make sure we both understand how the whole thing works and what our respective responsibilities are.


At the end of this week, I do quite a few takeaways I want to go through.

Make use of existing resources

The first one is making use of existing resources. Making adjustments based on resources that already existed is going to save you a ton of time when compared with creating it from scratch all by yourself.

I did this with the consent form in the onboarding form. I did this with the content templates and content management sheet borrowed from the previous side project — SohoCafé.

Having something is better than nothing

The second lesson is that having something is better than nothing. I’m clear that the current workflow isn’t perfect.

Like I’ll have to meet with every writer for the documentation content. That’s definitely not ideal. But we haven’t even started yet. Maybe no one would show up. Maybe there’s a bigger problem we can’t identify yet before we start recruiting.

The same applies to the fact that I’ll have to send onboarding and publish notification emails manually. If the workflow is running, automation will be added at some point in the future. Right now? We have to focus on launching and testing.

System built, a shift in time spent in the next quarter

The last takeaway: now that the system is built, I’ll reallocate how my time is spent on this ExitTaiwan project in the next quarter.

This past few months has been a lot of grinding and labor work. I don’t think it’s very healthy from a business perspective if I’m going to treat it like a self-running content business.

In the next quarter, I should be monitoring how the system works. There’s still labor work involved for sure. But that will be my main focus.