How I do my outsourcing...

by kos818
24 replies
Please read my reply to my OP #21 before getting a wrong point of view first. Thanks, Sven

So, there has been a lot of toubabou about outsourcing the last months. Therefore I´d like to share some of my experiences and failures with the warrior forum. I´ve written that post for the war room, but it seems that it didn´t make it there, so I just publish it on the main forum...

First off all, be aware that we are talking about outsourcing. When you need one or two logos designed, just have a look for companies like logonerds (not affiliated with them, as well as all other providers I´d mention in my first thread) in the WSO section. You are not looking for freelance work, but for something like an virtual assistant, who will help you reducing your work load or getting to the next level or somebody that will create you a software or website with ongoing maintainance.

I avoided buying all courses about outsourcing, as most of them where to expensive (why should I pay John Reese 2.500US$ only for learning how to find some stuff for 200US$ a month?), but attended the so called Outsourceretread by John Johnas on the Philippines, as my 13th chinese visa was about to expire and the Philippines are next to China, where I´m living since years. It was the first seminar I ever attended (related to IM and outsourcing), so maybe my expectations where to high, so I dropped out after day two, to spend my last day on beautiful Boracay Island with my girlfriend... I was sitting one day next to a dude from Australia, that seemed to be pretty nice, until he tried selling me his rubbish and make me vanish ;-)

Also I avoided buying a membership to his so called replacemyself.com program, as it is, IMHO, pretty expensive. Here is why: I checked the contents from the sales page and decided, that I could create my own training with PLR products that I am actually selling to my customers (I bought a bunch of high quality PLR, which are only collecting dust on my harddrive because my internet connection in China is way to slow for uploading it to Amazon S3 [I only upload the training sections I know my stuff needs right now]). I´ll use them to train my stuff and prepare my own private knowledgebase, based on the experiences and questions my stuff has had. As I said I haven´t bought the access to replacemyself (97US$ / month or 697US$ one time payment [which I would recommend, as the contents would be dripfeeded over 12 months otherwise and you would end up getting billed for years to come!]), so I couldn´t evaluate the contents. But as I said I have a bunch of high value PLR products from fellow warriors and from other sources, that fulfill my and my employee(s) needs. If you´d like to sign up for replacemyself just drop me a line and I´ll send you an aff-link via PM (just kidding).

So who do I hire? I used Odesk with some success, but would recommend you reading the following threads BEFORE posting any job offers:

- http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...-forum/116209- have-you-used-odesk.html (liked the comment from TPFLegionaire about paying some additional money and, especially when you plan to hire sbdy. from the Philippines, paying an extra month per year, splitted up per quarter)

- http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...odesk-not.html (Andy Fletcher made a good point when mentioning a code word. I actually use two code words and you won´t believe how many providers will use only the first on, while there is another one, which I really expect, mentioned in the last paragraph ;-). Also ramone_johnny has had some strong points, after leaving a pissed comment about the fact, that the question was asked to many times. Everybody has a bad day, haha. I like the service he mentioned in the thread English Test, Online Language Grammar Test and are using it for my own hiring process now. It costs a little bit, but hey, you aren´t looking for somebody, that would make you look like a fool when communicating with your customers, aren´t you? I don´t agree with is point no. 5, that you should ask for free work. This is up to you, but IMHO nobody should work for free and it is only peanuts for me for figuring out if sbdy. is nuts or not).

- http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ack-forum.html After calming down fellow warrior ramone posted another nugget, that includes his working agreement. I´m using a slidely modified version of that and also agree not to start anything before I have it back on my computer. It is a petty that he posted it in the main forums. This is something worth posting it in the war room!

Pay peanuts and you´ll get monkeys? Depends.
Like you can see with the Bic Mac index (what are the real costs of a Big Mac in a country, compared to salary and other costs of living) there are countries where the cost of living are lower than in other countries (I´m living in China since 4 years and are paying arround 1.2US$ per sm² rent per month, whereas I paid more then 150US$ per sm² while living in London a couple of years ago). What does that mean for you? Have a look first and then desire who to hire. If somebody seems to have a really good reputation, there is nothing wrong with paying him a realy good salary! But, the other way arround, nobody will blame you for asking for a lower rate per hour. As Mike Filsaime said in his Butterfly Manuscript, you might have a look for the cents and the dollars will come from alone (or not, but there is a STRONG relation between your costs and your profits [why I love doing IM ;-)]).
I also prefer paying on a per hour basis, as project prices only lead to some problems, if the VA or outsourcer figures out, that he priced to low. You get what you are paying for ;-)

What do I avoid?
As mentioned in one of my job descriptions, which is also available in my thread, I don´t like dealing with outsourcing companies, but individuals. Why? Have had some bad experience. I hired freelancers for specific small tasks and all I got was the same "Sir, I don´t understand the problem Sir" answer all the time, when asking about the progress of my projects, which where scheduled for one week and already took 2 months. Afterwards I ended up finishing it on my own and dealing with complaints like that I tried to scam them while only trying to get my money back from sites like freelancer.com.

So how do I manage my projects?
As I´m not using replacemyself, I don´t have access to the project management solution that is included. I´m also not quite sure if it would fit for my needs. Im using nearly everything from Simple small business software, collaboration, CRM: 37signals for managing my projects. Why? Their tools are plain simple and fit totally for my needs. I used some overwhelming project tools in the past, paid and free, but what for do I need Gantt charts, when I only need somebody to check the newest postings on WF and send me a short summary of what is going on there?! So I´m using Project management, collaboration, and task software: Basecamp for my project management, Highrise: Small Business CRM, Web-Based Contact Manager for my CRM, Intranet, Group Calendar, Small Business Organizer: Backpack for organizing files and Intranet, Group Calendar, Small Business Organizer: Backpack for ongoing communication related to actual projects (for me everything is considered a project that takes more than one hour or more then one step until it is completed ;-)). Again, this is not some hidden advertising and you can also use free tools, like IRC chats and so on, but I don´t mind spending some money for having less stress! 37Signals are also offering free plans for most of their projects, which have some limitations I don´t like. If so, they mention it below the huge payment plan signs. Just have a look there...

Short hint, there is also a realy nice book available, that is about getting projects done fast: REWORK: The new business book from 37signals. (free if you are reading it online)!

Training your outsourcers and VAs
So how do I train my staff? As mentioned several times before, I am using PLR video products and some tutorials and ebooks I´ve bought before. I´ve stored everything in my S3 account. I´m finishing this task in a couple of weeks, when I´m back in Germany and will connect everything with a "membership site", which I am running through Nanacast.com. The cool thing with that? I can track who has watched my videos (I´m also using the easyvideoplayer from a fellow warrior, which has build in tracking) and my stuff isn´t able to share the videos. They don´t know that I can track IPs with Nanacast and get an immediate notification when some of my videos are streamed elsewhere and, if I have to discontinue working with them, I am able to lock them out forever. As I said I´m also sharing some WSOs and other stuff I bought over the years, so blame me for violating any restrictions, but IMHO it is ok to share it with MY fellow colleagues. I´m not saying that I´m spreading it out over the internet ;-)

Where do I hire? There is onlinejobs.ph, which I haven´t used yet, as I don´t like the 49US$ per month price tag, only for looking for some qualified stuff (thought about getting some pre-screened workers, but I still like doing this on my own, but it is sometimes a PITA). I hired some workers from Odesk.com, where I used a very long job description, that helped me sorting out all the fluff upfront (just post a short description and you mailbox will explode within an hour after sending), easyoutsource.com, which is FREE and where I found some golden nuggets for programming (they have members for nearly everything and you could still train them), craigslist.ph for sure or, what I never shared before, might have a look for couchsurfing.org ;-) The last site is an incredible and totally untapped ressource, that I figured out on my own, while planing our trip to the Philippines, haha. You get a good idea about a future employee while reading his self-desciption and comments of other guests on his couch...
For sure you could also use Google, for getting some decent forums related to your subject. Just use a querry like .ph forum php programming - Google Search and have a look. Hint: If you, like me, don´t speak the local language, just use Google Chrome and it will offer you to make an on the fly translation ;-) Contact members that seem to have the right skill set and discuss anything further via PM. Haven´t hired somebody in that way yet, but it should work!

Must it be the Philippines? No. I have had freelance work done in Eastern Europe (Rumania to be more specific) and only missed my first employee by 2 days, as he just accepted another job offer, while I was thinking about hiring him or not. In India there are, IMHO and no offense, to many outsource firms, that gave me a bad experience before. I also heard that Indians are much more after getting things done on there own and disappeard about a good amount of free training, only to show up with their own website afterwards. THIS IS NOTHING I EXPERIENCED ON MY OWN! I know that their is a good bunch of fellow warriors from India and that they have a population of 1.2 Billion and growing. There are bad dudes just everythwere, so again, no offense here. Just give it a try. Individuals from India are expected to be hard working, so give them a chance.

Why haven´t I hired sbdy from China? Good question, so let me answer it in a short paragraph. My girlfriend (fionse) is Chinese and my mandarin better than my english, so it would be no problem for me to hire a bunch of Chinese for 1-2 hundred dollars a month. BUT: We have had a pub for nearly two years and my experiences where at the worst. I actually fired more then 25 waitresses (could be even more), after telling them more then 3 times what to do. My girlfriend, which is really independent (she is also self-employed and is running a small but growing chain of fashion stores), blaimed me for expecting machines, as I was only looking for sbdy. that is a) friendly and b) would be able to do a good job, without micromanaging him.

Good topic: Micromanaging. As I joined John Johnas workshop on the Philippines, he said he is not monitoring his stuffs working hours at all. It is cheap labor, so is there no need to have a look what they are doing all the day? I thing there is. I´m not paying somebody for browsing facebook all the day without having him explicit told him to do so. With some of my workers I´m using Odesk, but I dislike their 1984 features. I´d rather have them installed tools like rescuetime.com, where I´m using the paid version, to monitor the over all performance. If somebody falls behind, I may ask him to go to Odesk, to give him the feeling that Big Sven is watching him. But I won´t do so at all. If I have some concerns, I would tell him and let him go if it continues. My time is valuable.

Communication: As mentioned in my job description, I expect a report on a daily basis. Fail once and I´ll remind you for sending it in, fail twice and you are out. Also I ask them for getting back to me every time when they are struggling with a given task. It would only waste time, if there skillset and motivation don´t fit within a given task. I´d rather spend a couple of minutes for looking at what project they have a better fit.

Am I outsourcing everything? Nearly ;-) But I also use some sophisticated automation tools, for tasks that are so low level, that a computer could do them for me. Why? Computers are cheap, and I´ll set up 3 small "core locations" in Germany with dotzens of computers and are will use Win-Automation and my "own" IM-automation software, but don´t feel comfortable posting a link here (actualy I just purchased the domain name and have to set up the site, but this isn´t the WSO section of the forum). You might have a look at the thread about WinAutomation here in the warroom, which is pure gold and the WSO thread for uBot (50US$ discount if you buy it there), which is another great tool. To be hounest, I would rate both tools over my own automation software, but they cost more ;-) Also computers don´t take days off and couldn´t get ill!

Does my stuff have holidays? Yes. And I pay them. My team has 2 work weeks paid holidays per year, which is, compared to Germany, where you can expect between 20 and 30 working days holidays per year (plus puclic holidays!) nothing and I ask them to take a day off from time to time. I don´t like the idea of overworked stuff, that isn´t actually able to concentrate on their tasks.

Anything else? Get the4hoursworkweek by Tim Ferres. The bible for an online marketing life style and don´t forget why you are doing it. It is not about getting rid of your day job, but about having more time for doing some more meaningful tasks.

And here, last and least, my sample job description: I blanked some points out, as they would lead you only on my hidden trails, but feel free to use it whenever you need it (and drop me a line if you find some major grammar mistakes, as said my Mandarin is becoming better than my English. Damn it!)

I need one individual virtual assistent for the following task:
Your task...

First off all, please type in my keyword, that is yes18709 in you application. This is only to ensure that you are human. If your application doesn´t include the keyword, I´ll feel free to press the reject button. Otherwise I would waste your time and mine.

Second: I need somebody with decent english, so you IF I consider you for an interview, I´ll send you an invitation for an grammar test. I´m paying for that service, so take it serious. If you accept and pass the test (I have a percentage rate that doesn´t mean that you have to be a native speaker, but that you are able to write some good english), I´ll send you a small task. Which is

Third: Writing some small articles for different topics. Topics and length of the articles might vary. I´ll use some tools like copyscape and will reject everybody that sends me an plagiat. Don´t mind, you´ll get paid, but don´t take this as an invitation for sending me some BS.

Forth: We agree a small interview via phone. The task, which will be mentioned soon, doesn´t include cutomer service via phone yet, but maybe in future and I also want to ensure, that we are able to communicate with each other. My prefered medium is skype.

Fift: If I decide to hire you, I´ll give you a task for 2 weeks. If you make it through that 2 weeks, than welcome to my company. I´m looking for some long term relationship, which is the reason why I spend so much time on hiring. But as the saying goes, I hire slow and fire fast. If you do a good job, I don´t mind giving you some bonuses. But that totally depends on your performance.

What am I looking for?
As told above, I´m looking for somebody who is able to speak some proper English. Your first tasks will be the following:

1) Go to a specified forum, create new logins and make a note in an google spreadsheet. Afterwards send PMs to forum members of a specified target group and invite them to join a survey. Don´t ask about more details, as I´m only willed to share them within my team. If the survey is completed, the member gets a reward. I´ll give you all blueprints for doing so.
2) I´m reading quite a lot of internet marketing related forums and other stuff like ebooks or blog posts. I need you to go through the specified sources and, if you think it is interesting, need you to summarize the main points. If there are some other products mentioned, I need the cheapest reliable source for it available in a specified region.
3) Later on I need you to do customer care, which is mainly via email for my paid products.
4) I receive a bunch of emails every day, that have to be opened and include a link, that has to be clicked. This isn´t the most compeling task, but it has to be done.

AND: I´m looking for an individual and not an outsourcing company. I have had loads of bad experiences with the last. Don´t mind if you don´t have that much feedback here and give it a shot. Everybody starts out and it isn´t that easy to get a job when you just started. If I figure out that you are only looking for a quick buck and are opening accounts every few days, I´ll press the reject button immediately.

Depending on your strenghts, interests and weaknesses, this my vary or I´ll give you another task in the future.

What do I expect:
1) I´ll send you a working agreement. Before that isn´t filled out and send back to me, we won´t start anything. This agreement contains all specified tasks, your payment, when you´ll get paid (and in which way) and which timelines I expect per project. This working agreement is subject to change, as your tasks could change in the future.
2) Hounest commnication. I´m relying on you, so I expect a daily report what you have achived. Also I´d like to know if you have had some problems in fulfilling your work, so that I have the chance to give you more input or give you a new task, that is more suitable for your skillset. If you are missing that reporting more than once, the cooperation will have an end.

What you can expect:
1) As mentioned upon, you can expect a bonus, when you are continuisly doing a great job. Also I prefer hiring friends and family members of good colleagues.
2) Payment in time. You´ll be paid for everything you are doing for me, according to the hour rate we have agreed. Payments will be after the specified project is finished. I don´t mind paying you on a weekly basis, but will reject all inquiries about an upfront payment.
3) Training. I don´t mind spending money on your training. I have loads of internet marketing related training materials, as it is one of the markets I cover and will give you everything you need to do a good job. If you think it is not sufficient, just feel free to tell me and we figure out together what we can do do fulfill your needs.

And here is the real keyword, only to ensure that you have read everything and not only scanned the first paragraph for figuring it out: kos818eo(us,
Please use that one and not the first one mentioned for applying.

The hourly rate I offer is 1-1.11US$. If you have a reason for asking for more, tell me so.


So if you are still sitting on the fence when it comes to outsourcing, give it a shot. You might struggle in the beginning and don´t see any results in the first weeks and months, but it is definately worth doing, as it safes you time and money! Concentrate on what you like to do!

Cheers and thanks for taking your time, I´m out for today, as I promissed my fellow chinese hairdresser to watch the worldcup game (England Vs. Germany) tonight (all the best for England <-- for the British wariors, sorry for the 2:2. This wasn´t our teams fault, have posted the thread yesterday, but as said it seems that it wasn´t aproved ;-))
Sven aka kos818 (for the WF ;-))

Ps: If you have anything else you know about outsourcing and would like to share it with the forum, just reply to that thread. If you´d like to discuss something private, just shot me a PM. My VA will inform me about it and I´ll reply in time, haha.
Pps: I´m just finishing a much larger guide about outsourcing pitfalls and keep you informed (some of the paragraphs above might find their way into the guide, but it will get a proof read before I start selling it ;-)). If you want a review copy, just drop me a line. Some hounest testemonial would be great, but it isn´t mandatory ;-) Should be ready by next week! And no, this isn´t the reason for this thread. I have had it sitting on my harddrive for a while, but already forgot about it! So here it is...
#outsource #outsourcing #philippines #virtual assistant
  • Profile picture of the author bertuseng
    So which is your favourite place to find these $1/hour phillipines to work for you? Do they have special skills like article writing as well?
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  • Profile picture of the author TheDebtEliminator
    Hello Kos,

    I appreciate your sharing with us.

    Will send you a PM with questions.

    Best Regards ... Ron
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    • Profile picture of the author kos818
      Hi Bertus, hi Ron,

      @Bertus: I prefer using oDesk.com for finding some skilled workers. They start at $1.11. But sometimes you might get what you are paying for. Skillset depends! Their English is, compared to the 2nd largest country on earth (that one with at least 1.2 Billion inhabitants) pretty good. When it comes to article writing, I prefer hiring a fellow warrior. I´d rather pay more, then ending up with some rubbish copy ;-) But it really depends. You could hire such a cheap fellow and train him! There is a great book (for free) available in the warroom and also pretty much video PLR available on the internet! That could make a low cost writer ;-)
      Btw: OnlineJobs.ph opened their doors for foreigners again! They have had a kind of "your IP isn´t from the Phillipines, so you are not allowed to do anything here" approach, but just changed it without telling anybody.

      The only reason why I use oDesk is, that I can screen through some feedback of other employers. Use the work agreement above or expect a mail quota within 10 minutes, as you will be bombarded with emails from potential stuff, that isn´t able to read that couple of lines.

      @Ron: Just replied!

      @Both: Thanks again and sorry, my notifications don´t work (should read I have set them up to my 2nd mail account, which I open 3 times a week ;-)) but I actually found your replies!

      Best
      Sven
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      • Profile picture of the author kos818
        Hi Ben,

        sorry, seems your reply came in while I was chatting with a friend and wrote the other one ;-)

        To be hounest, I haven´t used the English test yet!! I found it mentioned here on WF and thought it might look good in any further work agreements! You could contact Andy Fletcher which is the original source of that golden nuggets!

        Skimmed through your minisite offer last week, seems great to me! Might order one in a short time.

        @All: Thanks for filling this thread with some life! I was concerned that it won´t see some replies for years ;-)

        Best
        Sven

        Ps: Just forgot the 2nd keyword part (haven´t sleeped since days as it was to warm). I think about creating (or getting created, depends on how long it takes) a small tool, that just opens my account on all freelance plattforms, checks for the correct keyword and deletes all other replies, as they are only a waste of time ;-) It might end up here as a freebie or a WSO...
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        • Profile picture of the author Ben Bergmann
          Originally Posted by kos818 View Post

          Hi Ben,

          sorry, seems your reply came in while I was chatting with a friend and wrote the other one ;-)

          To be hounest, I haven´t used the English test yet!! I found it mentioned here on WF and thought it might look good in any further work agreements! You could contact Andy Fletcher which is the original source of that golden nuggets!
          Hi Sven,

          No problem I was just interested to see if you have any data on it, but I'll contact Andy to see if he can share some with us

          Skimmed through your minisite offer last week, seems great to me! Might order one in a short time.
          Thanks! Just shoot me a pm or an email if you want to talk about what exactly you need

          Ps: Just forgot the 2nd keyword part (haven´t sleeped since days as it was to warm). I think about creating (or getting created, depends on how long it takes) a small tool, that just opens my account on all freelance plattforms, checks for the correct keyword and deletes all other replies, as they are only a waste of time ;-) It might end up here as a freebie or a WSO...
          That would be a great tool for everyone who uses these platforms!

          Best regards
          Ben
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          • Profile picture of the author kos818
            Hi Ben,

            great! Should send you some inquiry pretty soon. I´m in product creation mood, haha. Just ordered some rewrites for ebooks and I prefer having not only unique contents, but also unique designs!

            Yes, that would be great to know! I guess the success rate will be average. The "my English is perfect, but in the end it sucks" guys and gals won´t fill it out or will decrease the success rate, but you might be sure, that they are able to understand everything! Have inquired minisites last week in indonesia and ended up asking the same question 4 times. I should know it better, but IMHO I already invested to much time for just not replying anymore ;-) Sometimes beeing efficient is the hardest task of all!

            In the end it all comes down to time management. What you can automize, shouldn´t be done by a human. It doesn´t matter if I pay somebody only a couple of cents for sorting out the spam replies, as it will make him at least as sick as me ;-) His performance will go down and I´ll end up firing him. Not the best approach...

            Best
            Sven
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            • Profile picture of the author wcmylife
              Hi Mate,

              Thanks for the information. It's a pain to find quality workers for your content and social media stuff. I've managed to stick with a VA who does loads of content and social media stuff for me. She does most of the work herself and sometimes uses a backup team which she has when my content requirements go way high.

              You can drop her an email and check if she can take on more work. I hope it helps. Her name is Carolyn and her ID is theargot@gmail.com
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  • Profile picture of the author Ben Bergmann
    Very interesting read, thanks a lot. I especially like the part about the second, real keyword. Should filter out a lot of timewasters.

    Can you share any numbers on how many people actually pass the grammar test? I think that's one of the main worries most people have when outsourcing, the often poor knowledge of english and the problems that come with it.

    Thanks,
    Ben
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  • Profile picture of the author tyroneshum
    I also use the 2-week screening policy for me (during the first week would be full of trainings, interviews, etc.) to see if this VA is a potential or not when it comes to work ethics and also accountability with tasks. Not to forget too how I can see if he/she's really willing to work for me on a long term basis.

    When you outsource, you need to be both strict, good boss and a reliable payer as well because with all the staff that I've worked with, almost all of them will eventually vanish if you don't pay on time which is always practical when we're talking about working relationships and it's definitely a responsibility. Though to also assure that I'm paying right, I would require to have them sending their Daily Accountability Reports and RescueTime reports on a daily basis and have it uploaded onto the Project Management System that we use. That way, I know if they're really getting productive with what they're doing and at the same time, they can also be aware if they're fooling around. That's only their requirement aside from finishing the tasks on time and being honest if there are problems faced.

    I know from experience that most Filipinos have these good attitude as workers (e.g. hardworking, loyal, honest) and could always get back to you when they're not sure of what to do. That's what I love about them and that made me stick on their service for a long time now. Well, this may depend upon other experiences but for me, they're the best.
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    • Profile picture of the author kos818
      Hi wcmylife, hi Tyrone,

      first, thanks for your replies!

      @Tyrone: I totally agree that you have to be the boss and a partner in one person. As said I owned a pub here in China for two years, where I was supposed to be only the boss. Nothing I could handle. I can be a bad ass, but only if necessary and I can also clean the floor on my own ;-) A typical Chinese boss wouldn´t do the last. He would just sit arround and delegate his stuff (ok, it also depends in which part of the country you are, China is huge ). But the Asian mentality could lead to some cultural problems, which I have in my own relationship and social life day in and out. Yesterday one of our friends, a former pimp ;-), was totally pissed of about my girlfriends new store. She just moved and in his oppinion the rent was to high. He got so mad that I felt sad about her landlord... Asians don´t smile all the time, trust me on that. I have experienced way more things in the 3.5 years I´m living in China then I could ever share without anybody without getting in trouble ;-9

      You mentioned payments. What is your approach? Make them send you an invoice and pay them afterwards or pay them on a specified date? I prefer payments per date, as it reduces my responsibilities. I also totally agree with a bit of micromanagement, but wouldn´t control them to hard. As said, if I'm not confident on somebodies performance, I would ask him for screensharing. I wouldn't monitor him at all, but only thinking about that somebody might see what you are doing on your computer is scaring. Have had that experience years ago while studying ebusiness in Germany. Our professor have had a software called forgot-eye and could see everything we did while he tried teaching us something about the evolving new economy (wish I would have listend better or have made more research, then you could call me GURU Sven ;-) and name me your buddy in our JV mailings, haha).

      Btw: Just have had a really nice conversation with a fellow warrior in INDIA. We spoke about time zone differences and he said he is located in New Dheli. As said, give 'em a try. There are bad apples everywhere, but that does mean close to nothing. He might reverse all my bad experiences with outsourcing to India and become my number one ebook rewriter, haha. But first of all I might give him ONE task and have a look for the result. This is what I do with everything that is outsourced.

      Don't forget to check out Tyrons stuff! Expensive, but it seems it is quality content (I haven't bought it, so only a "seems") ;-)

      Best
      Sven
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  • Profile picture of the author PeterMichael
    A great post - thank you Sven!

    It inspired me for some deeper thoughts.

    You know, there are two types of "managing people". The first is leading, the second one is managing. What's the basic difference? When you lead, people are working knowing the goals, are on the same boat. When you manage, like with the Phillipine workers as Sven told us about, they are on their own boats, and you have to get daily reports from them to know, that they're not cheating. And you have to write precise blueprints for them, so that even a monkey could do the task.

    What are your thoughts on that, people?

    I have experience with both outsourcing and hiring people. And I think there is no way to build intellectual capital with the first one, and it is quite easy with the second. These are just my experiences though.
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  • Profile picture of the author Preben Frenning
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    • Profile picture of the author kos818
      Hi Peter, hi Preben,

      as said via PM to Peter, great to see that there are more and more Europeans here on WF (I was born and raised up in Germany) ;-) .

      @Peter: Great thoughts! As mentioned in my initial posting
      I´d rather have them installed tools like rescuetime.com, where I´m using the paid version, to monitor the over all performance. If somebody falls behind, I may ask him to go to Odesk, to give him the feeling that Big Sven is watching him. But I won´t do so at all. If I have some concerns, I would tell him and let him go if it continues.
      I totally agree with you! But from "good to great" (there is a book with that title, lying around in my parents back in Germany, as I didn´t have any space available when leaving last year from my summer trip) you take time. I think it was that piece of gold, where the author mentioned that you have two ways of achieving your goal:
      1) Rent a bus, tell everybody where you are heading for and go.
      2) Get the best people together, sit in the bus and make the decision together. You might also ending up somewhere else, as through your journey your original target didn´t make sense anymore.

      I´d rather prefer the 2nd approach, so I totally agree with you, but as Preben said and as I´d like to explain with my note above, you first have to build up a relationship! Without one you will be the boss and end up micromanaging. Congrats, you just changed from doing the work, looking for others all the time doing the work for you ;-) Not what we are about, isn´t it?

      @Preben: I remember when we´ve been to the Philippines, that I told the hotels stuff (the owner was 3 or 4 years younger then me and so was his stuff), that is not necessary to call me sir ;-) The answer? Yes sir. No problem sir. After a couple of days I began liking it, haha.

      Web developement was also how I got started. I felt in charge. Both companies agreed finishing it within a week and I went traveling ;-) For sure in a region without any internet access. After a week I came back, only for checking my email and receiving no respones from both. Ended up making the sites on my own after a couple of months. I was pissed, my client was pissed and I learned the lesson of my life: Be more specific ;-)

      Best
      Sven
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      • Profile picture of the author kos818
        Another nugget to share before I go to bed (it is 9AM here in China):

        When doing freelancing ALWAYS use the "hide this posting from search engines" feature. Most of them offer it for some bucks. Why? Let´s assume that you are doing contract work and just outsourced it. I did it a couple of times and failed (ok, had one job done for $30 and charged 500€ net to my customer), but it would leave kind of a bad impression when your customer "opens" his site while typing in his URL into Google (you don´t guess how often I heard and actually saw that) and a post on Freelancer.com shows up ;-) The 2nd thing I always did was using a URL shortener. Talk about security. A said, your posting might show up in SERPs and you might lose your contract...

        That said, always make sure with whom you are dealing! It is common practice to outsource outsourced work! You might think that you get your work done dirt cheap, but your outsourcer has another source, that he uses for HIS outsourcing... I guess you get the point. You discuss everything with him, he confirms it and then talks to his outsourcer. So be aware... There is nearly no way to avoid that. Sorry guys and gals ;-) You might ask him some specific questions, if you have enough involvement and figure out from the answers if he knows what he is talking about. You could also, while discussing the project, ask for a pretty fast small task, that has to be done within minutes (talk about programming). If he fails, move on...

        Done for today ;-)
        Best
        Sven

        Ps: Just started another thread, that could be found in my sig. It is about getting started in IM with only $100. Would be great if some of you would help making it a valuable ressource ;-)
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      • Profile picture of the author PeterMichael
        Originally Posted by kos818 View Post

        After a week I came back, only for checking my email and receiving no respones from both. Ended up making the sites on my own after a couple of months. I was pissed, my client was pissed and I learned the lesson of my life: Be more specific ;-)
        Oh yes ;-) That's why most of people working in marketing (not entrepreneur type of marketing, corporate one) for some years begin to get a specific mindset... Very "specific oriented".

        We are all in a business, that is so extremely hard to specify, especially when it comes to websites and advertisement!

        That's also why I would prefer to build on relationship, having people that know you, and being able to talk to them, answer questions etc., because not all can be said through email & project documentation...

        @Preben: That was a freakin good video! LOL:-) Thanks:-)
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        • Profile picture of the author kos818
          Hi Preben, hi Peter,

          thanks for your kind words. Appreciate it. As said, I adjust. Trial, errror, adjust. The version above is the version I'm using right now (should read beginning of next wee, when I end up in Germany with a much better internet connection), to avoid the floods of automated postings, that weren't able to read my job description.

          I also used a smaller version before, that have had one codeword when I started searching for freelancers, but as that is common practice, most unethical freelancers are scanning for it and then send you "a quote" including it. So you still catch them!

          @Peter: Finding good freelancers for a reasonable price takes time. If you can get hold of one, pay him what he is worth (should read more than he could expect in HIS country) and run with him. Made the mistake to think to long about hiring a damn good programmer from Rumania last week, only for figuring out that he was hired the day before by another guy. Glad them...

          When it comes to wages, I would also choose the adjustement road. I worked for the European market leader a couple of years ago in Munich and London, while studying ebusiness. It was an internship and I got paid some ****ty 600€ a month. In Munich I paid 330€ for my 16m² room and 40€ each month for public transport only. Not to talk about food or fuel when I have had to go home (my best friend have had an accident before and I went there once a week to visit him in hospital, what costed me 100€ return). So I already lost money. When working in London, I still got paid that small "sallary", but paid 800€ a month for a tiny 6m² room and 40€ for the Tube each WEEK. Before I left I was talking to the CFO of the company, who regret giving me more money. The only thing he said was, that he also studied before, did internships abroad and ended up paying most of the money out of his wallet. But he learned something and it was worth it. My answer was, that this will be the only answer I would have accepted and, if he would have said that the company doesn't have enough money (they charged 800€ per intern per day for customers) I would have resigned within 10 minutes. And in the end he was true.

          I mentioned it in my initial posting, that I don't mind paying more, if somebody has a higher level of education (should read skillset or ability to learn - I don't mind about some collegue education, but how somebody made his living while studying). Liam said in his WSO posting, that he is paying about 120US$ a month for PT work, what would be 240US$ for FT work. That is damn cheap and less then I charge for the smalles website I create in my company. So there is plenty of room for outsourced worker to grow up, but I wouldn't pay them to much from the beginning. I have figured that out with my pubs stuff. We paid the lowest wages arround, but if somebody did a good job increased it pretty fast. The worked even better afterwards. Also we invited them pretty often for dinner, before their shift started, which was a great way to talk about some small problems that might occure when it comes to work. If you are paying a Philippino about 2-300US$ a month, that makes him $2.500 - $3.600 a year. Add the 13th month and he makes between 3-4k each year. That's not to bad over there. The hotel where Meiling and I staid in Boracay paid its manager around $120US a month. And he worked 7 days a week... So working from home for $200+ is pretty attractive for them.

          John Johnas from ReplaceMyself is talking about stuff he hired for 100US$ a month. That is what I would say to cheap. They shouldn't be forced to life with their parents, only because you are not willed to pay them enough money to life and work on their own..,

          I keep you updated ;-) But first of all I have to figure out how to book a ticket with Emirates, that requires me to show up with my credit card, that is lying in my sisters house in Germany, as I left the country about a year ago, without even considering getting a (pyhsical) new one...

          Best
          Sven
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          • Profile picture of the author Jandy
            Everything starts out as theory, you've got to have the thought and orchestrate it in your head before it gets to production

            I've been outsourcing for almost 2 months to the Philippines. This is my first experience. And Jon Jonas was my introduction to the real experience.

            I'm going to have to say that I did join ReplaceMyself, and it was a very positive experience for me. The $97 was WELL WORTH IT! I only used it for one month, as I had my own training and I really didn't care for the MyProjects collaboration thing; however, that's only because it didn't suit my needs.

            Jon's training for "us" who are in search of a staff, I thought was very informative. The $97/mo also includes the subscription for a couple of sites that have subscription fees, so that makes it a better deal.

            Jon Jonas has left me with the impression that he's a man of integrity and at $97/mo what he provides isn't exploiting the IMer's pocket. And on the subject of exploitation, paying someone $50/wk for 40+ hours, is based purely on the market from which the workers reside. It's simple economics, when I've offered my staff a 10% profit sharing bonus on their personal productivity, as incentive, the reaction was that they didn't feel worthy and that it was too much $???!!!

            Jonas teaches, don't try to get a project manager in the beginning, and the implication was that while experience is that the Filipinos are very loyal hard working people, they require management and leadership for months before they take initiative.

            This is basically true, in my whole 2 months of experience. And those who are using the "relationship" word...SPOT ON! Hiring a virtual staff from the Philippines isn't easy, unless you've got your system in place and the cash for the training and trial period for several people at once so you can blast it out of the way and move forward without having to go back and keep starting over again.

            The starting over again has been the most frustrating part for me. I'll take the blame for that, as I expose too much of the plan at the beginning and people have a tenancy to stare at the huge mural on the wall, being overwhelmed instantly, and can't comprehend that they aren't expected to build Rome in one day!

            I've had a few people accept only to be scared away before they begin. I've chased one down with an apology, and a promise to start today....we'll see.

            Let that be a lesson for others in the process of hiring a VA or 3, or 10 :p Ease them in, sell them on a full time job that suits their skill set and provide an easy to follow video tutorial system.

            I only had ReplaceMyself for a month, and I could really use it for the onlinejobs.ph and the other subscription resume service NOW. And to just go over a few of his tutorials to get it done right.

            However, you can find resumes (submit wanted ads) free:
            or you can solicit the universities for students/new grads/their friends & families.... Top Colleges and Universities in Philippines | University Web Rankings

            One of my favorite tools Convert Philippine Pesos (PHP) and United States Dollars (USD): Currency Exchange Rate Conversion Calculator

            The tool will help when you want to figure what the Philippines Department of Labor gives as the minimum wage and convert it to US dollars Official Website of National Wages and Productivity Commission

            For simple & quick stuff I use: Fiverr ? The place for people to share things they?re willing to do for $5for $5 you can't really go wrong.

            I am looking for a simple an inexpensive way to manage projects, organize logins & passwords by site & person who created them, a place to store software for my outsourcers to use...and all that fun organizational stuff. I know that Sven gave some links, and I am definitely going to go check his stuff out.

            Thank you so much for the great discussion and the useful info!

            You are Joy!
            Joyfully,
            Janet
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            I'm having fun with VideoForward.com Check out the goofy youtube vids I didn't make! WooHoo! SWEET!

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  • Profile picture of the author tyroneshum
    @Sven Thanks for adding in your points. Actually, when it comes to paying them, I use Mass Pay over PayPal and have them send an invoice a weekly before the actual paydays (since they consider having it bi-monthly) which is when I pay them on a monthly basis. This process is a lot easier for me and yes, I still do have a specific date to have the payment automatically withdrawn from my account as well so it's bit time saving. I'll also do a video tutorial on how I go about doing that in the next couple of days in my blog: www.tyroneshum.com

    Also, good thing you're always on "test" paid tasks to get to the VA's work first before finally welcoming him to the team. I can see you really are going to be good with outsourcing. And, thanks for the compliment on my course! I wish you could check it out soon too though.

    Cheers!

    EDIT: I also had my VA to transcribe a once-off video I got from YouTube yesterday to see how fast she could go about that short test task and in my surprise, she got back to me within minutes! Actually, she's been my personal VA and doing the overall admin management for couple of months now and it's great to see her consistency.
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    • Profile picture of the author Adam Nolan
      Liam Martin (on this forum) and The Perfect Process (google it) is by far the best outsourcing course available.

      How good...

      You tell me...

      Almost my entire company is run with people trained in his system.

      AIRiUS Media provides lead generation & brand recognition for organizations looking to expand their marketing to the web
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        Sounds to me like you are hiring/training/employing staff - not outsourcing to independent workers.

        The hourly rate I offer is 1-1.11US$. If you have a reason for asking for more, tell me so.
        There are a few places in the world where people would perhaps jump through the hoops you require for $1 and hour - but only a few.

        If it works for you, that's great. However, I'd advise new people here not to expect to be hiring outsourcers at $1 and hour if they want decent work.

        kay
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        Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world will change forever for that one dog.

        I'm going to work on being less condescending
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        • Profile picture of the author lisaann
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          Sounds to me like you are hiring/training/employing staff - not outsourcing to independent workers.



          There are a few places in the world where people would perhaps jump through the hoops you require for $1 and hour - but only a few.

          If it works for you, that's great. However, I'd advise new people here not to expect to be hiring outsourcers at $1 and hour if they want decent work.

          kay
          That's what I was thinking.

          I pay a whole lot more than that, but I have some great people working for me, and they might do more complex tasks then what the original poster hires for, but $1 an hour ... wow, you can still make a very good profit even if you pay much higher than that.

          I think it's important to point that out to people who might be thinking they have to pay so little in order to make a profit. I still do, even with higher, more typical US wages.

          Lisa
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          • Profile picture of the author kos818
            Hi Together,

            first of all thanks for your replies!
            @Tyroon, I might give it a try sooner or later. There is always something new you could learn. Youtube or video subscription sounds like a great way for a quick English test. Thanks for sharing.
            @Maverick_: May give it a try soon! Just have my 3 monthly visa issues to be fixed. I´m living here on a tourist visa, as we aren't married yet and I'm not in the mood to invest 120K (that was no typo) Euros only for opening some business here to get a residence permit.
            @Kay / Lisa: It's true, I'm mixing up virtual employees and outsourcing all the time. IMHO it is the same. When I have a small task (everything that is more then one task at once is a project in my definition), I might go out and find a freelancer. Otherwise I consider outsourcing it or hire somebody. The most important aspect for me is getting my things done. I'm not quite sure if I've written it here or somewhere else, but my skillset isn't the best when it comes to grafics. Also I'm not able to perform routine tasks. This are both things I'm happy to pay others to do them.
            The 1US$ is cheap indeed, but give it a try on oDesk with the mentioned 1.11US$. My girlfriend has stuff, that works nearly fulltime, that works for less then 70US$ a month (and we are not talking about 160hours, but more likely 200+ hours a month)! It all depends on the location. I also don't mind paying way more then the amount mentioned above. That's for sure. Pay peanuts and you get monkeys. I also charged (and charging, as I will shut down my operations in August when I'm back home) at least 70US$ an hour for client work in Germany (more likely 90US$ / hour). It all depends where you have your business located. What we are talking about is geo arbitrage. The typical wages in other countries are, as the costs of living, not as high as in Western Countries...

            Have to get some food, just got up (5PM, as I watched the Worldcup with a friend and then have had some work left [I haven't replaced myself at all. Not yet ;-)]).

            Best
            Sven

            Ps: Seems I messed up the signature link to my new thread (the art of the start. A "l" was missing ;-)). Will be fixed in a second...
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  • Profile picture of the author kos818
    Dear fellow Warrior,

    this might be the most hounest post I'll ever write in my life. I have to apologize for my initial posting. But why? After reading it again, I figured out, that it gave you a picture that isn't the truth. It seems like I am running a succesful business (I do, more or less), with stuff members on the Phillipines, doing everything for me. But that isn't the truth.

    So what is it all about? Some brain fart that I have had? No. I started writing this post after I came back from the outsource retreat on the Phillipines. I was totally motivated about getting my things done and remove myself as the bottleneck of all my sole entrepreneur operations and overdosed it. I've written it in a form, that sounds like I am the real deal, that knows everything about outsourcing (I doubt that there is one single individual that does btw.). I have had a great share of bad experiences, which all happend.

    Examples?
    Writing 2 lines of description, only for getting a hundred responses from freelancers, that are applying for the job. Mainly that kind of "Sir, we are perfect for that job" replies. But which job? I haven't told them anything about it, as I didn't do my homework. So I started searching for a better solution, when it comes to freelancing and outsourcing and optimized my system. So everything that is mentioned above and in my coming guide is the truth. I also will hire somebody on the Phillipines in a short time, but have to solve my visa issues first (I tried it on oDesk, only to receive the mentioned flood of "potential candidats", that weren't able to read my shorter description I had in place before - it left me back in a kind of sad mood, as everybody is talking about how easy it is to find some highly qualified stuff - I still doubt that). After that is done, I'll dive into getting a VA ASAP. I thought about it way to long and have had exactly that in mind: Getting you motivated enough for doing the first step. The sooner, the better... I was struggeling with studying (studied 3 years ebusiness, but was maybe one year in the University and 3 years Chinese and international economics, where I spend altogether maybe 2 years joining classes), working and traveling way too long. I have maybe the worst time management you can find and are still working my ass off, for getting my bills paid. I became kind of a prostitute, doing everything to get the next shot. That sucks and so did my initial posting. But as you might have thought I'm burning for the idea of getting somebody in charge for all that necessary, but time consuming routine jobs mentioned above and in my guide. I thought long enough about a system that works perfectly in theorie and will be adjustable while implementing it, to work perfectly for myself. I will do it EXACTLY as mentioned above, will get my membership software in place and will upload all the video PLR I purchased in the last months for training MY stuff. It will be great. What also holded me back from beeing the successful entrepreneur, living the 4hour workweek for way to long, is that I'm located in China. Internet connection sucks (remember a modem and you have the connection speed I have half of the day), everybody is totally excited seeing a foreigner that speaks Mandarin better then themselves and can use chopsticks, without leaving a mess on the table. Talk about social suicide - I've been through it. But as said no apologize for the mess I created with my posting ;-) I like the way it turned out and also the comments it got, so it might not be the worst information about outsourcing and freelancing available.

    I could have continued answering your questions (and I will if you are still interested after reading this), while letting you get some picture of me that is not true at all (not yet). We have a saying in German, that you better have a bad reputation, then no reputation. I don't mind if you got the oppinion that I am the worst scammer on WF and should be banned for life, but I prefer beeing hounest and commit any don't have a problem to commit my mistakes and (hopefully) learn from them. As Paul Watzlawik used to say, you only know what you said when you get the answer. We all life in the same world, but everybody in his own and I wasn't writing about my daily reality, but about my dream about my future as an infopreneur. This also wasn't the pre-launch thread for my guide, which will sell so dirt cheap that I couldn't even by my flight ticket back home from it and I might continue doing my J.O.B. as a so called "sole entrepreneur" for another 1-2 months, until really taking the plunge.

    As said, sorry.
    Best
    Sven

    Ps: As Maverick_ said above, Liam Martin seems to be the real deal. You'll find it in the WSO section and I'll buy it after coming back from Hong Kong or when I arrived in Germany next week.
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    • Profile picture of the author PeterMichael
      Originally Posted by kos818 View Post

      Writing 2 lines of description, only for getting a hundred responses from freelancers, that are applying for the job. Mainly that kind of "Sir, we are perfect for that job" replies. But which job?
      It still feels to me, that maybe you get what you pay for, when it comes to people.

      For example, we had no luck finding excellent, creative freelance graphic designers, when it comes to my ad agency in Poland.

      Had little better luck with other proffesions, but nothing outstanding. Only copywriters may be quite cheap and talented.

      I would never ever outsource salespeople, maybe only to a super-quality company, which probably wouldn't be cheap.

      To sum it up: you just have to employ good people that know your language, and pay them what they're worth, which may not be so much BTW, but not 1$ per hour.

      And just don't try building your business on all of these 1$-per-hour people, unless you do a normal recruitment and hire them as workers, not some virtual kind of "relationship".

      Probably the people that want to get a job are another breed of people, other than the freelance ones. It is a more responsible and stable type. So it is easier to got them really engaged and build a business on them.

      Haven't invented that, that's the way business generally work for hundreds of years.
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  • Profile picture of the author Preben Frenning
    Wow...
    To be honest, I only extract what I believe will be of use to me when I read these "helpful" posts on the WF. - And I learned a lot from your post anyways. Regardless if you do it yourself or not, it will be of use to me. Especially the "code word" tip

    I don't care if you're implementing everything you're saying, or if you are "successful", as long as it makes sense to me.

    Personally, I wouldn't consider myself an IM success yet. I've focused on learning it. (Probably too much...) But the thing is, I know A LOT know, and can quickly determine if something will work or not, and who I can trust based on their experience etc. (I never trust people who sell traffic courses that can give you "millions of hits" each month )

    Also, in your case... You have obviously tried and failed a lot. That's how you learn! (A failure isn't a failure if you've learned something)
    The more you fail, the more you try, the further you get to reaching your goal. So keep on failing, and you're on your way to success (It's better to try and fail, than to do nothing)

    So I wish you the best of luck, and I will still use this thread as a reference next time I'm going to outsource/hire VA's.

    - Preben
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