7.4 BONUS VIDEO! HOW TO SCALE BY HIRING FREELANCERS

BONUS VIDEO! HOW TO SCALE BY HIRING FREELANCERS

Video Thumbnail

Sarah: Hi everyone! And welcome to our bonus video inside our clubhouse. In this video you’re going to learn the secret to hiring virtual assistants for as little as $3,$4 or $5 per hour and I have with me today is John from Onlinejob.ph, which is a website I used to hire several virtual assistants from the Philippines so I absolutely love it.

Hello John and thank you so much for coming on. Can you get started by introducing yourself and telling our audience what this website is.

John: Okay, so this is Onlinejobs.ph and I created this website 10 years ago in hopes that I might be able to find people to recruit for myself. So as you can see, you can find out list of job posts, who’s using and all kind of stuff here. 

Here’s one of my favorite things, is the browse more resume section on the bottom.

John: The first thing you need to when you come to Onlinejobs is to click one of the links on the Browse More Resumes section and just start looking at resumes. I just want you to see what in here. So let’s look at the first one.

John: You can her skills, her asking salary and experience. Let’s look at her profile. So here on her profile, you can see the skills that she rated herself in these categories. You can also see what she wrote about herself. You also the top one categories that she rated herself 5 stars. So she’s a general VA with some ecommerce experience.

John: For the marketing category, there’s only 2 things that she rated herself in here. So you can tell that she’s trying to be honest in rating herself. She didn’t rate herself on a lot of things, she’s telling you what she knows. 

So you know what she’s good at. You’re not going to hire her to edit a video, right?

I do like it when I see that you have not rated yourself in a lot of categories. 

Almost a lot of the freelancers here have bachelor’s degree, some with associate degree. In the Philippines, having a bachelor’s degree is really important culturally.

When you see data entry from someone, it means that he’s looking for anything, okay, like he just want a job. I’m not super skilled, 

 

Sarah: That’s true! If I need to find some incredibly skilled individual on Onlinejobs.ph, Shopify experts, people that used to work for Shopify as part of their experts team, there are several ex-employees on there as well.

John: Yeah! You can really find some talented people. There are a lot of companies with customer service and call centers and support centers in the Philippines and so a lot of Filipinos work there. And they end finding online jobs because commute in the Philippines is terrible. It will take you 2 hours each way. And when they find online jobs and they can work from home, it’s amazing. They’re super talented and highly trained.

Sarah: That’s true! One of my staff came to me, and said his wife, her commute is exhausting, is there any way you can hire her? And I said, absolutely! Working from home is definitely a game changer for someone’s life.

John: Yeah! it’s really good. So you can go in here and contact people, however to be able to contact people, you have to be upgraded. If we go to the pricing, to contact workers you have to have paid for a Pro or Premium account. Then you’ll get instant access and a contact button will show up.

You can also post a job and have them contact you, have the workers come to you and apply for the job. With the free account, you can post a job and see the application but you just don’t see any contact information. You won’t see the applicant’s email address, you can’t reply. 

But if you post a job, you at east get to see or get an idea if there are people that are qualified for my position. You can see their applications. 

 

Sarah: Yes! And can you do an upgrade afterwards if you do find someone that you would want to contact afterwards? 

John: Yes, for sure! And then you get everybody’s contact information. 

Sarah: So, really you’ve got nothing to lose when you create a free listing and seeing what type of talents apply to you and your job.

John: Yes, that what really what I would recommend, is to post a job and see what happens. I would recommend is that you go and look at profiles and then post a job and see if this is going to work for me. And then you upgrade and get everybody’s contact info.

Sarah: Yeah, for my viewers, this is how I always do it. I post a job and let people apply to me because there are a lot of talent out there and this is the fastest way to do it. So someone then applies and you really like them, what would you do from there?

John: I have a really good recruiting process, like my recruiting process is like 90%. The problem with my recruiting process is that it takes a  little bit of patience. And it’s not hard and people want to complicate this and mine’s not hard.

So here’s what I do. When I’m recruiting people, do not try and shortlist candidates. That’s the wrong way to do this. I heard people, I’m shortlisting candidates now and I’m going to contact them. That’s the wrong way to go about this. Either post a job, and reply to everybody who applies to the job. Or start contacting workers, contact at least 30 workers and when you’re doing this, you’re not going to pay too much attention to the details of the resume. You just go look at them, yes this looks good and I’m going to contact him. And you’re probably going to send the same message to everyone of them. I get a really really good idea when doing this.

Number 1, when you send them 4 different questions in an email and they respond to only 3 of them, the chances are they’re only going to be doing 3 of 4 tasks that you give to them after you hire them. That doesn’t work for me. If I give you tasks, I want you to do all of them. So I pay attention to detail and I see their attention to detail. I see how well they respond to things like, if it takes you three days to respond during the hiring process, that doesn’t work for me.

Now, I also get to see, you know people can fake a profile, you can have your friend create your profile. But you’re not going to have your friend respond to the email across five days, right? So I get a really really good idea of who to hire.

I’m going to tell you an experience I had last week. I had to hire a copy writer and I contacted 10 people and I knew there are 2 of them that I was really interested in. And those 2 responded to me. And the first one that responded to me was my first choice. I really hire this person based on his profile. So I asked him when can you start and I hired him. And the second person that responded, I kept going with the interview. Because I already hired this first dude and this second dude is really good, anyway, 2 weeks in, this copy writer that I hired is not that good. He’s not like I thought he was. 

Sarah: That’s the one that you thought is going to be amazing to hire based on his profile alone?

John: Yes! So I hired him and his copy wasn’t as good as I thought. His English wasn’t as good as, flawless like in his profile. His English is fluent and but there’s so much audacity in it. The same day I had to let this guy go was I have kept up the recruiting process for this other person and finally I saw the English in this email isn’t great and I’ve realized if I had just done my recruiting process, I would be a 100% here.

Here’s a thing that I don’t do. I do a Skype interview.

Sarah: Why?

John: Here’s what happens when you try to do a Skype interview, Filipinos don’t really want to do it. So you have 10 candidates, out of those 10 5 of them would be willing to schedule the interview, out of those 5 that have a schedule with you, maybe 2 of them will show up and they may not be the best candidates but they showed up on the interview. And you just lost 8 because you require a Skype interview.

Sarah: Why do you think or is there a cultural reason why people in the Philippines doesn’t like Skype interviews?

John: Yeah, there’s a cultural reason. So there’s a couple, one maybe they don’t have a microphone, maybe they don’t have a webcam on their computer. The biggest thing in the Philippines is that they don’t want to disappoint you, that’s the biggest thing. They want to make you happy, they want to make sure that you are pleased with them. 

Sarah: So it’s not laziness at all, actually it’s the opposite. I do have a great working relationship with my virtual assistants and  the only times that they had not showed up is because the fact that the Philippines can have a quite, interesting weather system. A couple of issues with the weather but that’s it. And every time, my virtual assistants produce great work, I always let them know and that I really appreciate them. And I let them know that rather than just saying thanks.

John: I’ve experienced this, people drop out. Either I stop responding to them or they stop responding to me until I only have 2 or 3 left of them. And usually at that point, I know who I want to hire. I pretty have a good gut feeling about it. And I’m probably going to hire not the person that did the test better, but the one that works with me better because I can easily train someone to do what I want them to do.

Sarah: That’s a really great point. Virtual assistant, these are real human beings. Two of my best employees, the one that I hired, his wife, they had a baby this year and I’ve received pictures of the baby. That’s wonderful. I’ve sent them New Zealand sweets, candies so that we can get to know each other more. You know, it’s a real human being over there. Whenever you hire someone, no matter what, if you’re based in the USA or you hire someone locally in the USA, you’re changing that person’s life. It’s the same deal here.

And something else I did, it’s consulting with an HR firm. I did consulting with them and Iearned a lot about the HR process. I think your process of sending out several emails is really smart because the experience that you’ve had of hiring someone and having that gut feeling about them instantly and then that gut feeling not working out, happens a lot. Our gut feeling is not always correct so usually in the HR world, they ask a lot of questions and to see what the answers are. Would you agree with that?

John: Yeah, I love that. I mean that’s absolutely my experience. So can I talk about that for a second?

Sarah: Yeah!

John: So one of the objections, sometime people say, “Man, why don’t you just hire locally?”, “You’re ruining the economy!” or “You’re taking advantage of people!”, there’s some objections to these but, boy, once you do it and you see, you know this…you don’t just change your life by hiring someone, you change their life and their kids’ life and their parent’s life.

 

Sarah: And here’s a question for you, there are different platforms out there to help manage all your staffs, do you use any kind of project management platform to help handle that work?

John: Yes, I use project management. I use Basecamp. I’ve been using Basecamp for about 10 years and I love it. The way Basecamp works, works really well with my brain.

Sarah: It’s good to try a different one but for me Asana works really well. But you know, I love Basecamp too.

John: And I think Asana and Basecamp have gotten closer and closer over the years. Like Trello, usually confuses me when I get in to Trello. So, the second I was going to answer was time tracking. People often want to manage their work with time tracking.

Sarah: Yeah, that’s what I’m going to ask. Do you manage your workers with time tracking?

John: No! So we have a time tracker in Onlinejobs, we call it Timeproof and it’s free. It will track how many hours they work. I don’t use it. They don’t like it and it’s very big botherish. You can use it. I don’t recommend it.

Sarah: Yeah! Some people will use it. I have from the past have used it for the first week and just for one week we’ll do this and then I cut it out immediately. You’re hiring a human being and I know how it feels working in a job being micro managed. And you have to set the expectation when hiring someone. Do you expect your staff to always be working if you hire them for a set number of hours? Or if you hire full time? Like you expect them to be working every minute, every hour of the day?

John: This is such good question. That’s impossible, right? If someone goes into an office and they’re there from 9 to 5, they’re not working 8 hours everyday, right? They stand over the water cooler, they’re going to the bathroom, so this is especially relevant with Filipinos. And so they’re super concern with you seeing anything that goes on with your computer that might be a disappointment to you. Like any sort of Youtube, any sort of Facebook, any sort of email or anything that’s not directly work related. If you’re tracking their time with screenshots, they’re super concerned about it. If you going to do time tracking and you expect 8 hours a day, you’ll probably going to see 5.

Sarah: Yeah, and usually 3 to 4 hours of productivity is extremely good. And so if someone is hiring employees from anywhere in the world, you cannot expect someone to be on all of the time. And it’s extremely unrealistic. I think it’s very easy to have these unrealistic expectations from virtual assistants overseas because of the fact that, when someone is not in front of you, it’s easy to think that there might be a robot but if you think about or if you go into any office, if you see your 5 employees like standing around and drinking coffee in the kitchen and not working. That’s a really good thing to keep in mind.

I had you on here for a long time and unfortunately we’ve got to wrap this up but are there any final points that you can leave for our audience for hiring virtual assistants?

 

John: Yeah, so in the Philippines if you’re a Filipino employer, you are legally required that after has worked for you for a year, you give them a bonus or one month’s pay. It’s called the 13th month and actually it’s paid in December so you need to plan for this. It’s not legally required that you pay it but you should pay it. So, they based their lives around this.

In December, you’re going to pay them November salary because never pay ahead of time, always pay after. So December 1st, you pay November salary and December 5th, you pay them one more month salary and that’s the 13th month. It’s not a Christmas bonus, which we also give a Christmas bonus to our people. And then January 1st, you pay them December salary so you need to plan for this that in December you have an extra one month pay. 

Sarah: Yeah!

John: So, there’s one thing, use Snaggit. This changed my ability to manage more than one person because it gave me so much time back. Snaggit is a screen capture, screen recording software, it’s made by the makers of Camtasia, and ti will record video or capture images on your desktop and then the real magic, so it records a portion of your screen and every single day ” hey I really like what you did here, or drag this over here or put this over here”, the real magic is you click stop and click upload, it uploads to a server for you and put the url in your clipboard so all you have to do is click paste. And paste that into an email and now they can hear your voice and see your screen and saw exactly what you’re looking to do. So rather than typing a super long email trying to explain, you just record it and you talk through it.

And so that was a big deal to me, giving instructions and feedback, all of sudden became at the speed of thought rather than at the speed of my fingers. Everything get easier and so much more clear. And then with Snaggit, as opposed to Camtasia, there’s no rendering, there’s no uploading, no FTP, there’s no worrying about files or anything of that. it just happens.

The last thing I kinda do, I’ve mentioned before that this doesn’t work for everybody, right? So in order to find out if it works for you, you’ve got to take a leap and see does this work for me? The potential downside is you lose a couple of hours working for them, or a couple of hundred dollars, like if you pay for this worker for the work they did and it doesn’t work out. The potential upside is your business succeeds beyond your dreams and at the same time you’re succeeding, you’re reducing your workload. So you’re working less and you gain time. For me this is time, lifestyle. I work 17 hours a week because I have people in the Philippines that do everything for me.

Sarah: So the question I thought would be quite relevant for our audience would be, what are some of the most common positions that people hire that would be relevant for  my audience?

John: Number 1 would be General Virtual Assistant, Graphic Design, SEO, Social Media, WordPress Development. Content Writing, Amazon Virtual Assistance, Real Estate Virtual Assistant, PHP Programmer, Shopify VAs, Video Editors, Accountants, Bookeeper, Ebay VA, Sales people, Telemarketers, Facebook marketing, Marketing Specialist, Wed Developers, Customer Service, Project Management, Data Entry VAs, Copy Writers, Leadgeneration. I can go on!

Sarah: I remember hiring employees is one of the tasks that I’m not great at! It’s always been a problem for me when scaling my business and I’ve had so much resistance around it. And as I’m breaking down that resistance and hiring more and more, the amount of money I make just keeps skyrocketing! Recruiting isn’t just a perfect process where you can just follow step by step, there’s no magical formula to find the right person. But if pays off, if you give it a chance. And yeah, it changed my life and so I strongly recommend to everyone to look to outsource whenever they can because it will make a difference in business.

Thank you so much John for coming on. It’s really great to have you here!

John: Thank you! It’s been great!