Podcast Episode 10: Refocus on Outsourcing

Podcast Episode #10 is live !

*This podcast used to be a part of Outsourcefactor.com and has been moved to it’s new house here, on VirtualCEO.co

Let’s revisit the topic of Outsourcing for this week where you’ll find out answers questions like why you need to outsource, what areas of your business do you need to outsource, who you’re going to hire and where you find people you need to hire.

Here’s what you need to know first.

There are two types of people you hire:

  1. Full-timers — people that can work for you on a full-time basis and you pay them directly.
  2. Freelancers — people who work and get paid on a per project basis.

 

Freelancers

Have you ever read Tim Ferris’ 4 hour work week? If you have, you’ll probably be familiar with the idea of outsourcing because he talks about sites like Elance and, one of the most popular, oDesk. They’re absolutely essential when you cannot justify a full time employee.

Let’s say you want to hire a person who knows and does GRAPHICS.

You’ll probably DON’T want to have this done at any given week. You may need someone to do some Photoshop stuff so you just pay them on an hourly or per project basis.

Full-timers

There are situations that you may need something done weekly. Like in VirtualCEO for example, it’s essential for these podcasts and podcasts transcription or note taking to be done weekly.

There are other things that may happen on a daily basis in an online business; this is where it makes sense to hire somebody in a full time basis like a VA (Virtual Assistant).

It’s nice to know that you can have something done without doing it yourself. At the beginning of your business, however, it’s always encouraged that you do things by yourself so you know the basics. It’s nice to know how things are done ,so in the future, you can ask the right things to potential VAs.

You don’t have to be a guru but what you do need is familiarity with the concepts. How will you know what questions to ask and how much to demand from your VA when you’ve never done it before?

TIP # 1: You don’t have to know everything like: Graphics, coding, video editing, etc. At least reach a point where you know what you’re talking about. So if your VA/freelancer comes to you asking for a specific software, you’ll know if it will make sense to purchase it or not.

What does VA mean?

Any online entrepreneur should have a full-time VA but what is it really?

It’s basically when you hire a person on a full-time basis but you hire this person from a different country where the rates are way reasonable.

They could be a “Jack-of-all-trades” person that knows how to do all kinds of things that you don’t have time to do OR you could be hiring someone with a specific role like hiring someone to manage your emails, someone to moderate comments on your website, someone who video edits, etc.

A VA will do whatever you need help doing. It does not mean a secretary. It’s anybody that can assist you in whatever you’re trying to achieve, where he/she is remote.

Rates?

TIP # 2: Hiring someone from a different country is much more cost effective.

Let’s take the Philippines as an example – their English is good, the educational system is good, they have access to PayPal, they have good internet, so it’s no surprise that a lot of people want to work as a VA.

 

TIP # 3: Pay someone in their local currency so they don’t have to worry about conversion or exchange rates.

 

If a person does not specialize in anything but you can train them on whatever it is that you need doing in your business, you’re probably looking at $400/ month. A specialist like a web developer, a coder, a good writer, you’re probably looking at $500/month. It’s a bargain compared to the rates you get when you hire from North America.

This is important! Just because the hourly rate is way below what you naturally pay, it is not considered as modern slavery. It’s just the value of your money in that country. Example: Your $5 can be like this in America but it can go a long way when you’re in a different country like the Philippines.

VirtualCEO is not bound to one country. In the Philippines, they have this culture where they want a steady job, not hunting for the next project, even though you find a lot of Filipinos in oDesk. They’d much rather have a regular job with stability and certainty hence most of them go for VA jobs.

 

Do I have enough jobs to be done?

Do I have enough tasks for a full time VA? Good question!

Spend 3-4 days writing down the things that you need doing. This does not mean writing down every single task you do every single day. Keep it simple like:

  • Moderated comments
  • Article research
  • Searched for Photoshop expert
  • Edited podcast
  • Etc

Once you’ve got your list ask yourself: What are the things here that are just keeping me afloat (not really productive)?

Here’s a situation:
Let’s say you’re looking for someone to do Photoshop work on your site. Talk to your VA and say, “Look, we need to get this done. Go hire someone.” And they’ll do it for you.

You don’t have to spend hours searching the internet and going through the whole  interview process because your VA will do that for you. They could be your contact point too, you could just communicate to one person and they could have like 20 other people to keep int ouch with.

 

The Value of Hiring a VA

They really grow to trust you.

Here’s something that really happened:
We have someone working for us in the Philippines. She is a mom of 2 and she just moved in to a place. She was not expecting the circumstances she moved in to and she was really getting stressed with money. So what we did was give her half of her 13th month pay which she really appreciated.

Once you have the trust, they will reciprocate that and give you good results.

TIP # 4: Treat them like their employees.

Here’s another thing that really happened:
A girl that works for Chris, her headset breaks. Chris tells her to give him the receipt and he will pay for it. You need to be able to communicate with them. And something as small as providing her with that made a difference.


Trust Issues

A VA could easily work for 2 employers. How can you make sure that you’re getting the full attention of your VA?

  1. By getting daily reports – since you don’t see them physically. It does NOT need to be a detailed report but just a bullet point of what they did for the day. If you’re able to to see that, you get a sense of how much time goes in to the tasks since you’re familiar with them.

TIP # 5: If someone cannot commit to this, don’t hire them or don’t keep them.

  1. You can use software — using this will be more comfortable for the employer. An example of this would be Time Doctor  which is about $10/month. This is basically a timer that an employee can turn on when they’re working and turn off when they’re not working.

Recommendation: Consider not taking a screen shot — this makes it more intrusive. MOSTLY RELY ON COMMUNICATION!

Productivity

Nobody works for a full 40 hours a week.

You have to keep your expectations in check. Do not expect miracles to happen.

When you think that it takes about 2 hours to write and edit an article, don’t expect for your VA to do about 4 articles in 8 hours. You will drive them crazy! You cannot hire machines! You’ll end up firing that person because you’ll feel like they’re not productive when actually they are of average productivity.

Don’t expect them to write 4 articles a day and be happy because they’re getting paid. It does not work that way. If you cannot stand the idea of writing 4 articles a day then it will be pretty rare for you to find someone who does for just a few dollars.

Treat people like how you want to be treated. Give them a variety of tasks. Stay in touch with and talk to them. Make sure that they’re interested in what you are doing.

Result Oriented

Remember that you’re paying for results! Stop thinking about the per hourly rate and start thinking about someone who’s going to help you in your business. If they’re super efficient and if they work for another person and no one ever knows about it, who cares?

 

SEO: Can it be outosurced?

SEO is search engine optimization. It’s for Google to find you better.

There are 2 types of SEO:

  • On page SEO — Optimizing your key words, and your hit lines and etc.
  • Off page SEO — basically it’s link building. You want to have a lot of links to your site.

The best way to do it is to create content. When you do have really good quality content, you could make videos on them on YouTube, embed them on your website and then have someone transcribe that for you.

People will link to you naturally when you have great quality content. You need to find people who can help you produce good quality content, you’re SEO will be 99% done. You’ll have people who want to link to your good content, you’ll have really good content on your site ready and Google will see you as an authority site.

When you go for link building, eventually, Google will get smarter and detect the unnatural links that you’ve put somewhere. That VS links that are natural form people saying, “Wow! This is great content” Which do you think is better?

 

Article Writing

Try your best to post something new per week. We’ve posted something helpful that can let you do this: Curation of Content.

If you don’t have a ton of unique articles, hire someone to place Google alerts on keywords that matter in your business so you get an idea of what people have written about it.

The you can have a VA pick out the interesting bits and write a summary about them. Link to that person’s original content, you’re summarizing it and giving an opinion about it. You’re also giving them credit for the content that they’ve written. It’s not plagiarism because you have your opinion about it. This is content curation.

 

Here’s the podcast:

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Managing Sites

 

For Freelancers

  • oDesk
  • Elance
  • Fiverr - You don’t have to spend a lot of time on the interview process. Hire someone with good recommendation form other people.

TIP # 6: Don’t waist your time interviewing someone for a really simple job.

For Full-timers

  • Onlinejobs.ph — Chris purchased this $800 package that taught him about outsourcing. About a year’s access to onlinejobs came with it.
  • OutSource Factor — a free service. You can get access to resumes of people that want to work for you full-time. We just help you connect.
  • Bestjobs.ph  – it’s like a Philippine Craigslist for online jobs.

Think about where you can use a freelancer and think about where you can use a virtual assistant on full-time basis.

 

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