Big Mistakes I Made When Outsourcing... (Philippines, Kenya, USA, Canada)

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I've always been the type that "does it all" but eventually I reached the point where I just didn't have the time to do it... so I started outsourcing.

3 years later, here's what I learned about outsourcing (and hopefully it will save you money)

#1 Be PICKY when you hire!

The one thing that I learned is that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of people that can do the job that you want. There is no shortage of people on this earth and worse thing you can do is hire the first person that applies.

If you think: "Oh well, he's good enough", then you're usually going to have a disastrous experience.

Now? I post jobs, review all the applicants... and if no one REALLY stands out, I RE-POST the job again. I have reposted the same job (with slightly different descriptions) 3 times before finding my ideal candidate.

#2 Always pay HOURLY.

This was my biggest mistake... I thought that it would be cheaper to pay by contract! After all... it SEEMS cheaper. Unfortunately, it never worked out that way.

Here's why: When you pay by contract... it is in the interest of the worker to do the job as FAST as possible, cutting all corners until it's 'acceptable'.

When you pay hourly, it's in the interest of the worker to do the best damn job he can if he wants to CONTINUE being paid hourly. Therefore, you get quality work and, if you can monitor it properly, you can get a lot of work done.

#3 Always monitor your employees (trick inside)

My second biggest mistake was to 'delegate and forget'. This must have cost me thousands of dollars because people I outsourced either A) didn't do what I wanted them to do or B) started working extremely slow.

How did I fix that? Well, for starters, everyone I work with must ABSOLUTELY use Hyperhour. It's a small client software that allows me to monitor when they work, how much time they work and I can even see what they are working on. (So when I get billed for 7 hours, I know exactly WHAT it was for)

Plus, with the screenshots, I can tell if someone is doing the work correctly or... if they are doing it the wrong way. (I had a link builder that was writing 1000+ word essays in Word in order to submit the article designed specifically for link building. I was wondering why it was taking 3 hours PER article!)

Moral of the story, TRACK your employees... I use Hyperhour because it's in beta (and free), use whatever you want.

#4 Get to know your employees, personally.

I made a huge blunder of never getting to know my first employees. If I would have... it would have saved me so much time and money! Do you know how long it takes to train someone?! It takes FOREVER!

What happens when you spend 4 months training someone... only to find out that they can't work for you anymore because they are traveling to another country?

Get to know them! Ask if they are a student, a mother, a father.... if they live by themselves or not. It matters. You'll discover so many things and usually, they'll work harder for you if they know who you are. (It's hard to give a **** when you don't know who the other person is).

In my experience, single mothers (or mothers with boyfriends/husbands) tend to be the best workers (if they are qualified). Why? Well... you know that the mother needs to KEEP her job in order to feed her child. She'll work her ass off in order to make you happy. The compromise is that sometimes she won't be available for random reasons relating to motherhood. It's worth it.

#5 Last but not least, treat your employees as team members.

Make everyone part of your team. Eliminate the "boss" vs "employee" mentality. You'll run into cultural differences when dealing with people in the Philippines, but always support your team and get them involved. My link builders LOVE to see stats because they get to see the fruits of their labor. They are no longer 'just building links', they are building traffic to a website. It becomes their website and they love it.

Hope you guys save a lot of money from my experience!
#big #canada #kenya #made #mistakes #outsourcing #philippines #usa
  • Profile picture of the author Derek S
    some great tips there let me add to the list with some of the stuff that helps my team of guys working for me and how I can sort through applications quickly based on who actually read my job listing.

    #1. Include a code to insure applicants actually read job posting.

    After posting a job I receive nearly 80 applications by the end of the day and find most people will just mass submit a cover letter without ever really reading your job description.

    So sort out the real applicants from the spammed ones, Near the bottom of each job description I include this text. "Please answer and include 4+7= into your applications subject line. Not doing so will guarantee your application is ignored and immediately deleted" Works like a charm and leaves me with only the people are are REALLY applying to the exact job I posted.

    #2. Always Limit their first day to only a couple of hours

    I have been hit once where an employee has worked nearly 19 hours in a row doing the worst job I have ever seen and not responding to my emails. Needless to say all the work she did was useless and I had to pay her for the 19 hours.

    I now limit my employees to 3 hours the first day and if they do a good job I extend their hours to 40 per week.

    #3. Always have reasonable set goals for employees

    This one is important and insures you get your moneys worth. I set both hourly and daily goals for all my employees. For example I ask them to write 2 articles an hour or a total of 16 articles each day (8 hours). This way they know exactly how much work I expect to have done and if they slack off one hour they can make up for it in the next.

    #4 Provide Incentives

    Some might be alright with their employees doing the bare minimum but I always want my guys and gals to strive for the absolute best work done possible... and they are rewarded for it. For example my link builders need to build at least 5 PR4+ links and hour and I will pay them an extra $0.50 for each PR6+ link they find and build. This gets me the same amount of links but A LOT more PR6 links than I would have if they only needed to find PR4 pages.



    Just to add a few more not mentioned!
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  • Hi Kaybee123. I mentioned: Standardization; Applicant Testing; Employee Training and Orientation; Subcontract; and Performance Monitoring in my post here...

    Daily task output standardization. How do you do this? Like I said in my post: List down the set of tasks you need done in 8 hours. Do those tasks yourself. Time yourself. Study your work output quality and volume. This'll be your daily quota. Advice: Write down your task instructions and guidelines after thoughtfully studying your task output. The main objectives of your task instructions, guidelines and tips should be to improve task output quality, volume and task completion speed...

    You'll need to, as you mentioned: Monitor them to verify if they are indeed doing their tasks during their shift, without task output standardization, though with it: You won't need to do this. You can save a substantial amount of time which you can use to focus on other more important areas to grow and expand your business...
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  • Profile picture of the author Eric Lancheres
    Hey Derek, that's some good things I should keep in mind.

    I'm not sure we are hiring the same type of people, but that's OK. I should really re-affirm my goals more frequently. I tend to share my vision with everyone rather than setting goals for individual team members.

    One thing that I tried... but found to be a two edge sword... is incentives. When you have a virtual assistant, setting incentives once will always leave them 'wanting more' and I find that they won't really push themselves unless there are ALWAYS incentives.

    That's why, I make it a rule to only expect quality work... all the time. I give unexpected bonuses at Christmas and sometimes when they do something excellent. Otherwise, I find that they do mediocre work when they aren't getting a bonus.

    Different approaches for different people!
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    • Profile picture of the author Derek S
      Originally Posted by kaybee123 View Post

      One thing that I tried... but found to be a two edge sword... is incentives. When you have a virtual assistant, setting incentives once will always leave them 'wanting more' and I find that they won't really push themselves unless there are ALWAYS incentives.

      That's why, I make it a rule to only expect quality work... all the time. I give unexpected bonuses at Christmas and sometimes when they do something excellent. Otherwise, I find that they do mediocre work when they aren't getting a bonus.

      Different approaches for different people!
      Yeah this is when NLP comes in, some people need a carrot while others need the stick so to speak. Getting to know your employees helps you diside what would best motivate your team. Some people you will definitely find the best incentive for them is the fact they get to keep their job LOL However people like that have never lasted long in my company.
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  • Profile picture of the author royaltyw
    Thanks for sharing your experience Kaybee123. I can sure draw some wisdom from that.
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  • Profile picture of the author aceSEOcontent
    Thanks for sharing all of these great tips. I was surprised by the hourly tip, but that does make sense. These concerns are one of the reasons I've been trying to figure out if buying a premade outsourced business on Flippa is a good choice. Want to have a good team of providers!
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    • Profile picture of the author James Sides
      Seems I'm not the only one to have faced the nightmares of hiring overseas. It takes a bit to get the hang of for sure.

      One odd thing, I found paying hourly worked very poorly for me. Seemed like it always took 2x as long to do something as what it should have.

      If you do want to pay per project just make sure you make it clear no funds will be exchanged until the project meets your quality expectations (be fair here). If someone forgets to dot an i don't refuse to pay em for goodness sake but if the work is sub par you have a right to demand it be fixed.

      Again, thanks for some great tips!

      James
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      • Profile picture of the author entry
        Nice thread

        outsourcing mistakes can be made by everyone.



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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Williams
    Wow, thanks for sharing! Will try the Hyperhour, did not even know there`s something like that!
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  • Profile picture of the author waterburn
    Thanks for the tips. Never heard of Hyperhour, but that seems like a very useful tool indeed.
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  • Profile picture of the author DocReed
    Hi Kaybee123,

    Thanks for the tips. I have a couple of workers in the Philippines (two younger women) who I believe are honest, but I haven't been able to verify the amount of hours that they are actually working (I've been paying monthly "salary"). I have tried VisualOutsource as a monitoring software, but we all had difficulty with it.

    I'll try the Hyper Hour software.

    Thanks,
    Doc Reed
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    • Profile picture of the author sergit
      Great tips, thank you. I have a couple questions:
      - what is a good place to find a reliable experienced employee/virtual assistant?
      - why not just go to a place like elance and hire a company/person for a specific project?
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      • Profile picture of the author jasono
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        • Profile picture of the author Eric Lancheres
          @sergit

          If you're looking for a cheap AND experienced virtual assistant, then you'll have more difficulty. My advice is to train one yourself, it will take longer but they'll do things exactly the way you like them.

          jobstreet.ph (and there are a few .ph sites, look up philippines job in Google)
          guru
          freelancer
          odesk

          @sergit
          When you hire people off freelancer sites, they will usually be working for 2-3 different people at the same time so you don't get a dedicated worker. If they don't perform for you... that's ok, they know they can just get another job within minutes.

          When you hire someone from jobstreet or another site like that, they are completely dedicated to you so they'll work 40-50 hours a week for you... and only you.

          @Marx
          Sometimes managing outsourced work takes as much time as actually doing the work itself! But seriously, I try to make everyone autonomous and I give long term goals that they must work towards. Then I monitor everything using Hyperhour to make sure they are on track.

          I encourage them to ask me questions, and when they are done, they must ask me for what to do next. "There's always something to do" is my motto. I try to use Skype & MSN for chatting, but sometimes I write out emails (time consuming).

          @Doc
          Yeah Hyperhour is pretty amazing even though they are still in beta. It's cool because they are adding new features every week, like last week they added the option to customize my company logo on the client software. So now all my employees have MY logo when they log in... love it.
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    • Profile picture of the author SeoVancouverWa
      Who cares about how long it took them as long as the job was done right and it was done within a time frame that made you happy.

      That so called "TIP" on paying hourly is brutally bad advice.

      Pay them per month as a salary or per project. That is the best way by FAR.

      The key with filipinos is courtesy and respect. You can get on their case, but do it respectfully. Do not talk down to them, which I see happen a lot. Just because they are from a country that is poor does not mean they are second class citizens.

      In fact most filipinos are smarter, do better work, and can work circles around most Americans I know. But you must show respect, pay them a wage that makes a real difference to them, and then let them know that you expect quality. If you do that you can find incredibly loyal and hard workers that do a great job.

      Just like with every other worker in the world BONUSES go a far ways. Pay a bit of a bonus for a job well done. Pay a bit of bonus for a job well done and in a time frame faster than you agreed. Make sure they give you quality though, and most of the time they will.

      By the way, if you ever want to take a great vacation...go to the Philippines and see one of the most beautiful countries in the world with some of the nicest and loyal people on the planet.



      Originally Posted by DocReed View Post

      Hi Kaybee123,

      Thanks for the tips. I have a couple of workers in the Philippines (two younger women) who I believe are honest, but I haven't been able to verify the amount of hours that they are actually working (I've been paying monthly "salary"). I have tried VisualOutsource as a monitoring software, but we all had difficulty with it.

      I'll try the Hyper Hour software.

      Thanks,
      Doc Reed
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  • Profile picture of the author ThomPhelps
    Originally Posted by kaybee123 View Post



    #3 Always monitor your employees (trick inside)

    My second biggest mistake was to 'delegate and forget'. This must have cost me thousands of dollars because people I outsourced either A) didn't do what I wanted them to do or B) started working extremely slow.

    How did I fix that? Well, for starters, everyone I work with must ABSOLUTELY use Hyperhour. It's a small client software that allows me to monitor when they work, how much time they work and I can even see what they are working on. (So when I get billed for 7 hours, I know exactly WHAT it was for)

    Plus, with the screenshots, I can tell if someone is doing the work correctly or... if they are doing it the wrong way. (I had a link builder that was writing 1000+ word essays in Word in order to submit the article designed specifically for link building. I was wondering why it was taking 3 hours PER article!)

    Moral of the story, TRACK your employees... I use Hyperhour because it's in beta (and free), use whatever you want.

    I am trying to regsiter for Hyperhour. It has some sort of issue on the registration page. It goes to a blank screen. Does anyone know if this is still available?
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  • Profile picture of the author Christian Little
    Tip #1: Provide Training

    I was in a session with TMN on thursday night that focused a lot on hiring workers from the philipines. One really important tip I got out of the discussion was to provide very simple training for any people you outsource to (i.e a 5-10 page document that oulines how to do what you've hired them for in a step-by-step process, essentially making the job idiot proof if they follow the guide).

    I have had horrible luck with outsourcing previously, I've probably blown about $4,000 so far on it and I think this is where I failed. Until thursday night, my view of outsourced workers was extremely tainted due to my past history (over the past 8 months or so I've hired and fired about a dozen VAs and had pretty much written the concept off).

    Previously what I was doing was going to sites like odesk and posting a job for a backlink builder and I would just say that I want somebody to build links to site abc.com. I would give candidates the requirement of knowing how to build quality backlinks so I didn't have to train them. Big Mistake.

    The people I picked didn't actually know anything about backlinks. My first report from them contained links from linkfarms...yeah that's just great. Now I had to worry about being penalized by Google instead of gaining rankings. Suffice to say, I stopped them.

    I had similiar experience with other VAs that I hired to do specific jobs - I made the assumption they knew how to do what they claimed to do.

    After the TMN session I realized that's where I failed in this. Ron Howard (the speaker) had a lot of information on putting together a basic training program for outsourced workers and provided a ton of valuable information.

    So rather than assuming the people I've hired know what they are doing, I'm going to be providing training to them when I start outsourcing again.

    A really good example that came up during the session was McDonalds. Anybody can cook a piece of beef on a grill. But with 15-20 mins of training, they can be taught how to do it properly so it's not still raw in the middle. The same basic process applies to outsourced workers - you have to give them a very specific set of instructions and make sure they follow it.

    Tip 2: Don't Put Them On Important Sites Until They Have Proven Their Worth

    One other thing I would suggest is when you are looking to outsource jobs, put your new workers on a test site that you don't really care about. That way you can gauge their work before letting them lose on your money maker sites. If I had let the backlink builder start working on my hosting company's site, I'm sure I would have gotten slapped by Google (thankfully I just gave them an autoblog to work on initially and I didn't care if it was delisted).
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    • Profile picture of the author cynthea
      Originally Posted by Christian Little View Post

      Tip #1: Provide Training

      I was in a session with TMN on thursday night that focused a lot on hiring workers from the philipines. One really important tip I got out of the discussion was to provide very simple training for any people you outsource to (i.e a 5-10 page document that oulines how to do what you've hired them for in a step-by-step process, essentially making the job idiot proof if they follow the guide).

      I have had horrible luck with outsourcing previously, I've probably blown about $4,000 so far on it and I think this is where I failed. Until thursday night, my view of outsourced workers was extremely tainted due to my past history (over the past 8 months or so I've hired and fired about a dozen VAs and had pretty much written the concept off).

      Previously what I was doing was going to sites like odesk and posting a job for a backlink builder and I would just say that I want somebody to build links to site abc.com. I would give candidates the requirement of knowing how to build quality backlinks so I didn't have to train them. Big Mistake.

      The people I picked didn't actually know anything about backlinks. My first report from them contained links from linkfarms...yeah that's just great. Now I had to worry about being penalized by Google instead of gaining rankings. Suffice to say, I stopped them.

      I had similiar experience with other VAs that I hired to do specific jobs - I made the assumption they knew how to do what they claimed to do.

      After the TMN session I realized that's where I failed in this. Ron Howard (the speaker) had a lot of information on putting together a basic training program for outsourced workers and provided a ton of valuable information.

      So rather than assuming the people I've hired know what they are doing, I'm going to be providing training to them when I start outsourcing again.

      A really good example that came up during the session was McDonalds. Anybody can cook a piece of beef on a grill. But with 15-20 mins of training, they can be taught how to do it properly so it's not still raw in the middle. The same basic process applies to outsourced workers - you have to give them a very specific set of instructions and make sure they follow it.

      Tip 2: Don't Put Them On Important Sites Until They Have Proven Their Worth

      One other thing I would suggest is when you are looking to outsource jobs, put your new workers on a test site that you don't really care about. That way you can gauge their work before letting them lose on your money maker sites. If I had let the backlink builder start working on my hosting company's site, I'm sure I would have gotten slapped by Google (thankfully I just gave them an autoblog to work on initially and I didn't care if it was delisted).
      Incredibly valuable info on this thread and from all posters who are sharing their experience. I'm currently outsourcing tasks and find that what's working best for me is to post a proposal and in the proposal state that I will hire 3 of the best candidates to do a sample of the task I'm looking for. I pay $6 -$7 for the test work, because that's what I can afford to lose.

      Then in the proposal I state that I will hire the best of those 3. Sometimes I'll take 2 of the top 3 candidates and divvy up the work between those 2.

      My original mistake when I started outsourcing was not to buy test work samples.

      I'm getting pickier about who I choose. It's my fault if I don't hire a truly qualified person!!

      I'm also spending more time on the front-end creating templates and instructions. You have to be specific with your instructions (write as if you were writing instructions for an 8th grader to follow). The more specific you list your procedural steps, the more apt you are to get the quality you are looking for.

      @Christian Little - what is TMN?
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      • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
        Originally Posted by cynthea View Post

        @Christian Little - what is TMN?
        I also agree there is some world class information given in this thread about outsourcing. Kudos to the above posters.

        Cynthea, TMN is TalkMarketingNow.com

        It's a fellow Warriors' marketing chat network, and a very valuable resource for marketing info and connecting with other Warriors.

        ~Bill

        PS. You can click on the link in my sig where it says Videos for the Web if you are curious about TMN
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        • Profile picture of the author iva
          Great tips here. Like Cynthea's idea for the test work. It should definitely help to separate good candidates from the rest. I was able to find some great gigs on Fiverr, for simple tasks, as well. The key is to be as specific as possible with your request, to let them know exactly what you are looking for.
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  • Profile picture of the author whoserman
    I'd add that you need to be as clear as possible in what you're looking for. I explain exactly what the project should look like and the end results I want. Just letting them know 'why' something is being done often gets them on the right course and it means I get far less questions in my email.

    The first person I hired was a disaster because I assumed they'd understand what to do (probably because I'd been working on it for so long that the answers seemed obvious to me). The more clear you are the better.

    I've never heard of HyperHour, but it looks like a great investment.
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  • Profile picture of the author ayma
    I know exactly where you are coming from. I once outsourced a website because our designer was off ill. Asked to create a PSD so that we could convert to HTML. This guy made me a site using JOOMLA and thought he was smart!

    Waste of a week for me.

    But then we all learn from our mistakes, don't we!
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  • Profile picture of the author Christian Little
    As said - TMN = http://www.TalkMarketingNow.com.

    Internet marketing radio show. I've been listening to it on and off for the past week, alot of the topics covered didn't really apply to me or I wasn't interested in, but the Ron Howard session on Thursday night was really well done and focused entirely on this topic.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brad Pollina
    WOW! What an awesome thread! I'm brand new to outsourcing (thinking of it. Never done it before) and it never occurred to me that they might not know what a backlink is or how to do it! I like the idea of sample work as well. Thanks for the advice everyone!
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    • Profile picture of the author renangll
      I can't give you the site info here since I am new to the WF, but since we are on the subject, one of my sites offers a great video course on how to hire employees from the Philippines if anyone is interested.

      You can find the link by looking up my profile on skype: RENANGLL

      Cheers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
    Excellent post Kaybee and others.

    These observations are also true when you have in-house employees, although it is a little easier to observe them and communicate on the moment.

    At least with outsourced employees you don't need to play "baby sitter" to keep them happy, and you never find yourself in the middle of their arguments.

    :-Don
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  • Profile picture of the author celente
    My secret is do not let your team down..and tell them exactly what they have to do.

    I also over pay them and give them bonuses when they do good. That makes them work harder. This works like a treat too. You should try it.
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  • Profile picture of the author sjukun
    I think odesk has free Hyperhour-like software. Does anyone use it?
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  • Profile picture of the author Christian Little
    odesk has what's called a Work Diary, which works like a timesheet. You or people you hire can enter how much time they spent doing various tasks. It's a decent system, not great but it does the job.
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  • Profile picture of the author FreelanceScribe
    [QUOTE=kaybee123;3724793]I've always been the type that "does it all" but eventually I reached the point where I just didn't have the time to do it... so I started outsourcing.

    3 years later, here's what I learned about outsourcing (and hopefully it will save you money)

    My second biggest mistake was to 'delegate and forget'. This must have cost me thousands of dollars because people I outsourced either A) didn't do what I wanted them to do or B) started working extremely slow.

    How did I fix that? Well, for starters, everyone I work with must ABSOLUTELY use Hyperhour. It's a small client software that allows me to monitor when they work, how much time they work and I can even see what they are working on. (So when I get billed for 7 hours, I know exactly WHAT it was for)

    Plus, with the screenshots, I can tell if someone is doing the work correctly or... if they are doing it the wrong way. (I had a link builder that was writing 1000+ word essays in Word in order to submit the article designed specifically for link building. I was wondering why it was taking 3 hours PER article!)

    Moral of the story, TRACK your employees... I use Hyperhour because it's in beta (and free), use whatever you want.


    I am utterly horrified. I have done freelance/contract writing for 15+ years and I would have thought the process you are advocating went out with the abolition of slavery last century. Are you honestly suggesting that you would want to access my computer and monitor exactly what I am doing? What was the century in which you were you born?

    The whole process smells of arrogant distrust and superiority. If you are outsourcing, then why setting yourself up as a the lord and master instead of doing the work yourself? If you can't assess performance based results, then why insult people with your 18th century attitude? I wonder if your software allows you to monitor what people are doing when they visit the toilet as well?

    Performance by result was a managerial concept introduced in the 1970s, initially accompanied by job descriptions and written, agreed objectives. Employees were given the basic respect of achieving their objectives within a specified time frame. Managers who were so insecure that they felt the need to check progress on an hourly or daily basis were normally classified as incompetent and were removed from their position because they simply created conflict and distrust with their employees.

    I was paid a substantial hourly rate working for multi-nationals and I wouldn't work for you if you paid me twice this amount, simply because of the disrespect and superiority complex you display. What on earth is wrong with me quoting a client a fixed price and a fixed delivery date for an agreed project?

    Thanks heaven I have decided to work on my own product instead of being exposed to this type of B.S.
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    • Profile picture of the author OneManSEO
      [quote=aesweb;3889369]
      Originally Posted by kaybee123 View Post

      I've always been the type that "does it all" but eventually I reached the point where I just didn't have the time to do it... so I started outsourcing.

      3 years later, here's what I learned about outsourcing (and hopefully it will save you money)

      My second biggest mistake was to 'delegate and forget'. This must have cost me thousands of dollars because people I outsourced either A) didn't do what I wanted them to do or B) started working extremely slow.

      How did I fix that? Well, for starters, everyone I work with must ABSOLUTELY use Hyperhour. It's a small client software that allows me to monitor when they work, how much time they work and I can even see what they are working on. (So when I get billed for 7 hours, I know exactly WHAT it was for)

      Plus, with the screenshots, I can tell if someone is doing the work correctly or... if they are doing it the wrong way. (I had a link builder that was writing 1000+ word essays in Word in order to submit the article designed specifically for link building. I was wondering why it was taking 3 hours PER article!)

      Moral of the story, TRACK your employees... I use Hyperhour because it's in beta (and free), use whatever you want.


      I am utterly horrified. I have done freelance/contract writing for 15+ years and I would have thought the process you are advocating went out with the abolition of slavery last century. Are you honestly suggesting that you would want to access my computer and monitor exactly what I am doing? What was the century in which you were you born?

      The whole process smells of arrogant distrust and superiority. If you are outsourcing, then why setting yourself up as a the lord and master instead of doing the work yourself? If you can't assess performance based results, then why insult people with your 18th century attitude? I wonder if your software allows you to monitor what people are doing when they visit the toilet as well?

      Performance by result was a managerial concept introduced in the 1970s, initially accompanied by job descriptions and written, agreed objectives. Employees were given the basic respect of achieving their objectives within a specified time frame. Managers who were so insecure that they felt the need to check progress on an hourly or daily basis were normally classified as incompetent and were removed from their position because they simply created conflict and distrust with their employees.

      I was paid a substantial hourly rate working for multi-nationals and I wouldn't work for you if you paid me twice this amount, simply because of the disrespect and superiority complex you display. What on earth is wrong with me quoting a client a fixed price and a fixed delivery date for an agreed project?

      Thanks heaven I have decided to work on my own product instead of being exposed to this type of B.S.
      Well, if deadlines were met and projects bid on were done the right way - this wouldn't be necessary. If you don't like it - find a different job. I'm going to start doing it myself...tired of wasting money on people who don't do the job right and I have to go in and fix everything. I might as well done the job myself.

      Don't get all holier than thou - the fault isn't ours, the fault is people trying to make a quick buck and bidding on jobs they have no experience or knowledge of. I don't go around sending resumes for a Molecular Biologist..why? Cause I don't know anything about it.

      I wouldn't hire you based on this comment either. Where I come from, if you don't produce results and make your employer money, you get fired. Sorry that offends you.
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  • Profile picture of the author GeorgeP82
    When looking I always set a slightly ambiguous task at first to see if they had any initiative. The last thing I wanted to be doing was micro-managing and spending longing doing that than if I'd done the task myself.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eric Lancheres
    There is a fun contrast between the real entrepreneurs and freelancers.

    On the one hand, freelancers from western countries scream at the top of their lungs: "Don't track my work!"

    While on the other hand,

    Entrepreneurs are saying: "Sweet, with this tool, I can improve my team's performance, reduced headaches and pay everyone properly".

    BUT

    Here's the thing... All my employees have all the privacy in the world. Why?

    Let me explain:

    1st: They agree to use Hyperhour so that we can collaborate together. They know that when I can see their updates, I will tell them if anything is wrong. (For example, when someone is doing work wrong, I can HELP them do it the right way)

    2nd: My employees always want to re-assure me that they are working. Previously, I always asked for daily reports, but now that they are using this... I only ask for weekly reports. They prefer to be able to show me work... instead of writing a huge email telling me everything they did during the day.

    3rd: *Every* single time a screenshot is taken, they have the option to delete it. In other words, they CHOOSE to send me every single screenshot. Every single piece of information that is relayed from their computer is THEIR CHOICE.

    4th: Everyone on my team can ask me to disable the screenshots and simply track time... but no one has chosen that option. Why? Well, first, they have nothing to hide and they want to make me happy. We have a great relationship and I honestly don't care if they spend a little time chatting, on facebook, etc. As long as the majority of the work is done.

    5th: They have to turn it "on" in order for it to work... Once again, they choose to turn it on... they choose to submit any screenshot, they choose to write memos, they have all the control in the world.

    In the end, it's my way of bringing back the closeness that you would get in a normal office. If I had a local business and I had employees working beside me, I could walk over to their station, look at their screen and comment on what they are doing.

    "Oh I like this design that you're making",
    "Hey, try using this program, it will make things easier for you"

    Ultimately, it's all about HELPING my team perform better and getting the work done in less time... while giving them all the privacy in the world.
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  • Profile picture of the author Frankie B Frank
    like the sound of hyperhour - not for some sort of power-hungry slave-driving reasons, but for the sensible ones listed above!

    Have just registered with http://www.visualoutsource.com but am yet to test it...will maybe give both a go!

    Also looking at http://www.hivedesk.com & http://www.5pmweb.com

    Does anyone know how much hyperhour costs? I know it says free during beta but cannot find any "normal" pricing (http://www.hyperhour.com/plans.php)


    thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Frankie B Frank
    frustrated with visualoutsource already - sounds great but visually clunky and it seems you are unable to test adding an employee without giving card & bank details (even though price for one employee is zero)
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    • Profile picture of the author Bennette
      Big time savers for me:

      1.Pay by salary only
      2.Give deadlines
      3. Have assigned work hours and off days
      4. Use templates/ videos /screen shots/tutorials for training
      5. Let them refer other workers
      6. Get to know them
      7. Refer to them as team members
      8. Do conference calls with all your workers
      9. Give them an unannounced bonus for their birthday, wedding gift for family member, holidays etc. The bonus doesn't have to be a lot either.

      I can't tell you how many times my worker has called me with their family and friends on the line via Skype to say thank you for blank.

      When dealing with the Philippines they are status quo and many siblings are responsible for providing for their families. If you make them feel like they matter it's not about the money, it's about being able to show their family that are important at what they do for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Boricua
    In my experience, single mothers (or mothers with boyfriends/husbands) tend to be the best workers (if they are qualified). Why? Well... you know that the mother needs to KEEP her job in order to feed her child. She'll work her ass off in order to make you happy. The compromise is that sometimes she won't be available for random reasons relating to motherhood. It's worth it.
    The above is definitely a great one Kay! I'm quite happy with one of my recent selections also. If there's a mother involved and you've hired someone to take care of the administration ends of your business, there's just a high probability the mother that you've hired organizes her time very well and will do the best she can to get the job done.

    If you're good in sales and you're not really good at administration or just don't want to administer the business yourself (or if you hate dealing with the administration that can be delegated with ease!), get a mom! Chances of getting a great balance with a teammate is very high!

    Also for outsourcing sites like scriptlance, freelancer, and the likes you'll do very well if you just check the results and feedback from other people's work. If that's not available and paying below averages is of need, having the person respond also works nicely to gain rapport. If she responds correctly based on the answers you want to read, wala! A risk on a bid might be just low enough to get a 'star' long term for your own projects.
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  • Profile picture of the author SashaDaygame
    Good tips! The trust issue is tricky... i wouldn't let someone do that either, but at the end of the day you're paying them and you need to know they're working over there!! hmmmmmm .... definitely a moral dilemma!

    Thanks for the posts though, going to keep that all in mind in my quest for global domination
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  • Profile picture of the author myseoclub
    Hi guys

    I will also add that I made mistakes by hiring per hour since I went fixed contract the amount of work is much higher and the quality is so much better.

    especially if you're hiring for angela and pauls packets.
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    • Profile picture of the author milo9rai
      Banned
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      • Profile picture of the author speedylikesKJ
        Hi i am a freelancer my self and when i need help i also do outsource projects too . my experience is as i also do outsource work for others as well as do outsourcing , my experience says
        • your interview should be tough .
        • Always ask for proof of work
        • Ask for previous experience
        • Don`t just go for rating of worker if you do try to extract feed back by his previous employers
        • Get to know worker personally
        • main thing you should prefer is interview, and qualified and fresh worker always does good job ,here are my reasons
        1. He has to build his rating
        2. he has to collect good feedback
        3. its his first project so he will try his best
        4. His service will be much more cheaper then workers with high rating
        Its not always that a worker with high ratings is suitable for job worker with high ratings will be always slow ,because he must be doing other projects also ,which will effect your work.
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  • Profile picture of the author brunom
    A LOT of great advice around here, really worth reading.

    It's true, if you've outsourced anything you probably noticed how it's not un-usual they do a really poor job.

    You regularly see "outsource", but you need to know how to do it properly.
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    • Profile picture of the author apoorv.parijat
      Pretty good, solid advice. I'll add my 2c.

      #1 - Training assessment

      I always hire a couple more than I'm looking for and train everyone. Then, I do a training assessment to see how they have followed through, what they have learned, etc. The period of 3-4 days of training also allows me to check other traits e.g. how dedicated they are, how inquisitive they are. Overall, this costs me more, but I've been able to pick better candidates and not just those who look good on paper.

      #2 - Tougher hiring process [and a bit different]

      Most people send you a pre-formatted cover letter and resume. Some even forward the same to scores of HRs. What I do is instead create a form on my website and redirect everyone there instead of giving them my e-mail. On the form, I ask them questions that require them to write questions to answers they have not already thought of.

      This weeds out many people who won't take the time to fill up the form. It'll also give you more insights into the applicant without going through more steps.

      #3 - Use some kind of Application Tracking System, if your hiring needs are that much.

      Our hiring is always on-going. We normally add 5-6 people to our team every month or so to keep up with the growing business. To be able to track all applications and ensure that we don't lose a good applicant in the pile of applications we get, we use TheResumator.

      May not be required if you're hiring one or two VAs but if you've more complicated hiring needs, you want to have something like this. In the past, I've lost a lot of good talent and have been unable to create a pool of those who are really good. This way, even if I don't hire them today, a month down the road I can.

      #4 - Explain them their daily tasks

      We used to manage our projects through Excel and Dropbox (:p) then outgrew it. Then, we used to manage our projects through Basecamp. Outgrew that, too. We now use a custom project management solution tailor-made for our business.

      We still explain what exactly we want in a task. This way, there is no repetitive work (due to the nature of our work, a keyword may repeat itself 100 times) and everything is well explained and documented. This also helps the employees and all of them are very happy because they get what they want: instructions on how to do the work. We get better work this way.

      We explain important things as well as things that a few that are trivial. We also employ a naming convention that is consistent across all projects. This helps us track who has done a particular project, and the project the file relates to, etc etc by just looking at the file name.

      #5 - Give them regular feedback

      I've seen many people hire VAs, give them tasks and forget. This works, yeah, but it'll be better if you give them appropriate feedback. People like to get appreciation, especially if they do good, high quality work.

      You may also consider having team meetings over Skype (if your team is totally remote) every week. This way, they have the 'feeling' of being in a team and are able to get in touch with each other. Do this and you'll see they will, in future, be able to collaborate with each other much better.

      There are quite a few other things I could write but this is something I could come off my mind. Basically, to ensure you get the best results, hire the best (make sure your hiring process weeds out everyone else), give them the best environment and give them the right inputs. Since they are working with you, they should be able to grow with you as well. If they are doing the same boring job over and over, over time, the productivity might decline. Hmm, so think that's about it.

      I strongly agree with the OPs #5. Very, very true and if you're able to implement the team feeling in your team, you'd most likely see drastic improvements in the productivity, collaboration and subsequently, results.

      EDIT: Also, I don't know but I've never tracked my employees. I let them do their own job without actually spying on them. The team leaders define the goals, weekly or monthly, and as long as the team completes it and everyone contributes their part, all is good. I've never had a problem with any tracking either. They all work towards the growth of the company and many of them do more than what they are expected to.

      I of course do the normal drill i.e. get them to sign and return a copy of service agreement, NDA, employment agreement, etc.

      For keeping your team motivated most of the time and to understand what really works when it comes to motivation, I'd recommend reading 'Drive' by Daniel H. Pink.

      Or, watch the video below... :-)

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  • Profile picture of the author Lyanna
    There's a lot of good advice and some great points in this thread but
    #1 Be PICKY when you hire!
    - that's the one that really stands out. If you get that one wrong then the rest won't even work.
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  • Profile picture of the author nthmarketing
    I agree partially with this.

    Except #2 AND #3

    #2 - I NEVER pay hourly. I only hire salary and full time. For me during my hiring process they initially start in a probationary status (hourly) then once they fit into our process then they go into a salaried position. This allows me to see how fast they get tasks done, since I know how long these should take. I have 6 full time salaried contractors. I take care of them and they in turn work very hard for me I feel over and above what is expected at my end.

    #3 - I don't monitor my employees other than a project management system that everyone is a part of. Again like above I KNOW how long tasks should take and they know that I know. I trust that they will get things done as quickly as they can. I am getting these contractors so much cheaper than I can hire someone that I am very flexible to them they work on their schedule whatever hours they want. I think monitoring stresses them out and stresses me out I have tried it. It sometimes makes you feel like your fighting a conspiracy I personally prefer to trust.

    Other than that I agree with you. Maybe I'm a bit outside the box but I have had great luck with salary and not monitoring. I think the biggest tip I can say like you said is Tasks I use my PM system to be as detailed as I can.

    Aloha,
    Fred
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  • Profile picture of the author rockyonfire
    Thanks for the great list. Great thread.
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  • Profile picture of the author Justin Newcastle
    Thanks for sharing your insight... Helpful thread
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  • Profile picture of the author Barry Huddleston
    Fortunately I was able to find a gentleman that does a good job right of the bat. It's hard to communicate sometimes but I get out from what I want. He does clean work and I'm happy.
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  • Profile picture of the author JingQuimPo
    My team is a bit lucky. My family lives in Nevada but friends of mine decided to stay here in Asia and start an IM business. For our small IM business, we hire people for more than a month and not per hour. Constant training to your employees is very important, the salary is not, as long as the job is 5-6 months and not a 1 month gig. Of course, you need to interview them well to pick really good ones.

    Jing Quimpo
    "Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one."
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    • Profile picture of the author RayFinckle
      awesome info and tips, thnx everyone
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    • Profile picture of the author magnates
      Awesome tips . I have been stung several times before i had to pay for very crappy work even from the most experience , most social proof workers . It was frustrating and i lost money . Thanks for the tips .

      Just checked out hyperhour. Looks good ...
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    • Profile picture of the author interactivex
      Always pay hourly - don't agree with this. I think for long term projects yes, but for specific projects where you have very specific specifications better to do it on a contract basis, for deliverables.

      Hyperhour ... will check it out. I'm also building tracking software Time Doctor, so let me know what you think in comparison.

      A couple more tips:

      a. If you want to hire 1 person, try 5-10 people - already said, but just being a bit more specific. Depends on how difficult the job is, but if you want someone really good you might have to try 100 people. Sure it takes a lot of time, but sometimes it's necessary to find someone great

      b. Once you find someone great, hold onto that person, and pay them well.
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  • Profile picture of the author bluechillisa
    My best way of tracking my results is to make my employees partners of my business, rather let them earn commission rather than a set wage. this means they could make more than before.
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  • Profile picture of the author kevinfahey
    Great thread, here are tools which help me manage and train VA's. You can read the full post on my blog post here : Outsourcing Tips

    1. Teamviewer Free Screensharing / Remote Access Software ( Easiest way to train anyone )
    2. Timedoctor – Task & Time Management Software ( Have your VA’s use this )
    3. Jing (TechSmith)– Easily take screenshots and place arrow on texts on images and share ( Saves lots of time )
    4. Time & Patience – Spend time training your VA on every task.
    Cheers,
    Kevin
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  • Profile picture of the author ghostrecon
    Excellent ideas. I would also suggest make sure to get all outsourced workers to sign an NDA. Although, it won't do a whole lot if they live overseas, it still might give you a peace of mind, and make them frightful about stealing your projects.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nail Yener
    Nice tips Kaybee123.

    I believe outsourcing is like an art. I am not an outsourcing pro but I learned that if you don't know what you are doing, outsourcing could take more time and effort than doing the job yourself.

    Here are my own rules for outsourcing:

    - You can always find a cheaper rate for the same job, always keep looking for improving your profit margin.

    - Never give a big job to a person that you haven't worked with before.

    - Always test the quality of the work of the person you are outsourcing the job. before hiring.

    - Make every detail as clear as possible so that there will be no misunderstandings.

    - Never deliver a report to the client before actually you check it fully.
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  • Profile picture of the author SeoVancouverWa
    I totally disagree on paying hourly. In fact I think that is HORRIBLE advice. Especially when dealing with the Philippines. Every hear of "Filipino" time? Well if you have, you know paying on an hourly wage is a sure way to go broke or cost you much more money.

    You should pay per project and you can still have ALL of the quality control you want. The key is how to talk to people that live in the Philippines and other countries.

    1. Pay per project
    2. Do not pay until the project is done to your standards. Is that really that hard to figure out?
    3. Pay slightly above the going rate.
    4. Treat them with courtesy and respect.

    If you do those things you will NEVER have a hard time finding really good people to outsource your work to.

    The Philippines is loaded with really talented hard working people. I am an American that lives there part time and know the culture well. But if you pay by the hour a project that should be done in three hours is SURE to take five or six. There is NO need to pay by the hour!!!!!

    And come on people! Pay them! Yes, you do not have to pay them nearly as much as you would here, but do not disrespect them by dickering over a couple of bucks here and there.

    A couple of dollars is no big deal to you...but in the Philippines it is a big deal to them.

    If you find a good filipino that has the talent to do the work you need done and you treat them well....you willl NEVER find a better employee. EVER.

    Originally Posted by kaybee123 View Post

    I've always been the type that "does it all" but eventually I reached the point where I just didn't have the time to do it... so I started outsourcing.

    3 years later, here's what I learned about outsourcing (and hopefully it will save you money)

    #1 Be PICKY when you hire!

    The one thing that I learned is that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of people that can do the job that you want. There is no shortage of people on this earth and worse thing you can do is hire the first person that applies.

    If you think: "Oh well, he's good enough", then you're usually going to have a disastrous experience.

    Now? I post jobs, review all the applicants... and if no one REALLY stands out, I RE-POST the job again. I have reposted the same job (with slightly different descriptions) 3 times before finding my ideal candidate.

    #2 Always pay HOURLY.

    This was my biggest mistake... I thought that it would be cheaper to pay by contract! After all... it SEEMS cheaper. Unfortunately, it never worked out that way.

    Here's why: When you pay by contract... it is in the interest of the worker to do the job as FAST as possible, cutting all corners until it's 'acceptable'.

    When you pay hourly, it's in the interest of the worker to do the best damn job he can if he wants to CONTINUE being paid hourly. Therefore, you get quality work and, if you can monitor it properly, you can get a lot of work done.

    #3 Always monitor your employees (trick inside)

    My second biggest mistake was to 'delegate and forget'. This must have cost me thousands of dollars because people I outsourced either A) didn't do what I wanted them to do or B) started working extremely slow.

    How did I fix that? Well, for starters, everyone I work with must ABSOLUTELY use Hyperhour. It's a small client software that allows me to monitor when they work, how much time they work and I can even see what they are working on. (So when I get billed for 7 hours, I know exactly WHAT it was for)

    Plus, with the screenshots, I can tell if someone is doing the work correctly or... if they are doing it the wrong way. (I had a link builder that was writing 1000+ word essays in Word in order to submit the article designed specifically for link building. I was wondering why it was taking 3 hours PER article!)

    Moral of the story, TRACK your employees... I use Hyperhour because it's in beta (and free), use whatever you want.

    #4 Get to know your employees, personally.

    I made a huge blunder of never getting to know my first employees. If I would have... it would have saved me so much time and money! Do you know how long it takes to train someone?! It takes FOREVER!

    What happens when you spend 4 months training someone... only to find out that they can't work for you anymore because they are traveling to another country?

    Get to know them! Ask if they are a student, a mother, a father.... if they live by themselves or not. It matters. You'll discover so many things and usually, they'll work harder for you if they know who you are. (It's hard to give a **** when you don't know who the other person is).

    In my experience, single mothers (or mothers with boyfriends/husbands) tend to be the best workers (if they are qualified). Why? Well... you know that the mother needs to KEEP her job in order to feed her child. She'll work her ass off in order to make you happy. The compromise is that sometimes she won't be available for random reasons relating to motherhood. It's worth it.

    #5 Last but not least, treat your employees as team members.

    Make everyone part of your team. Eliminate the "boss" vs "employee" mentality. You'll run into cultural differences when dealing with people in the Philippines, but always support your team and get them involved. My link builders LOVE to see stats because they get to see the fruits of their labor. They are no longer 'just building links', they are building traffic to a website. It becomes their website and they love it.

    Hope you guys save a lot of money from my experience!
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  • Thanks fort his post Kaybee. I personally had some very negative experiences with outsourcing to the Philippines. I am sure there are lots of good quality Filipino VAs out there, but unfortunately I got ripped of pretty badly.

    Your points are very welcome. I will certainly be much more careful next time I outsource!
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    • Profile picture of the author SeoVancouverWa
      How can you get ripped off outsourcing to the Philippines? You do not pay until the work is completed to your satisfaction!!!

      I find that many times people head to Craigslist and start posting ads for Manila or Cebu. Jesus, that is not wise.

      Go to Craiglist, post an ad about EXACTLY what you want done.

      You will get a lot of responses.

      Hire someone to do the project you want done but only hire them to do a small project. Tell them they will get paid once it is done to YOUR satisfaction, but be reasonable.

      There is NO WAY to get ripped off or lose money if you do it this way! How can you. You are not paying anything until you are satisfied. But to hire someone based on an hourly age is just foolish.

      Start out with small projects. Get them on Yahoo IM or Skype...and even get their phone numbers and call them. Most filipinos speak English good enough that it is easy to communicate with them.

      Just use some common sense.

      Originally Posted by marktheonlinesurfer View Post

      Thanks fort his post Kaybee. I personally had some very negative experiences with outsourcing to the Philippines. I am sure there are lots of good quality Filipino VAs out there, but unfortunately I got ripped of pretty badly.

      Your points are very welcome. I will certainly be much more careful next time I outsource!
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  • Profile picture of the author dagaul101
    Nice tips, always having that personal connection is great for the working relationship with who you outsource the work to
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  • Profile picture of the author philraymond
    Rescue Time is another time tracker that has worked well for me.
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