AS 86: How to Outsource Better – John Jonas uses 17 Virtual Assistants to Grow His Kingdom – CEO of OnlineJobs.ph
02 May 2017
Today we’re going learn how to outsource our businesses so we can take it to the next level. I’ve got John Jonas on the show, He’s the CEO of OnlineJobs.ph, the largest website for finding Filipino virtual workers, with over 250,000 Filipino resumes and over 100,000 employers from around the world using it. He works about 17 hours per week, choosing to spend his time with his family rather than working.
What you’ll learn:
- How to outsource tedious, repetitive tasks
- How John Jonas build his foundational framework to grow his businesses
- Strategies and plans he executes on
- How much it costs to outsource
- The country he uses to outsource work
- Why to outsource to the Philippines
- What John worries about
- What led him to outsourcing
- How he has grown his company and only works 17 hours a week
And much more!
DAVID ALADDIN: Great to have you on the show, John!
JOHN JONAS: Yeah, thanks for having me!
DAVID ALADDIN: So, can you take us to the beginning before your online successes, where did your journey begin?
JOHN JONAS: I graduated from college in 2004 and I had a job out of school for ten months. And I am a terrible employee. My only goal at that time was to quit my job, that was all I wanted! Because my wife, we had our little boy, he was about a year old, and my wife would call me while I was at work and just…she would say: oh, you just missed what he did, and this was so cute! And I hated it! I hated being away! And then I…working the job for me it doesn’t work super well. Like when there’s not an incentive to do good work, if I don’t make more money for doing good work, then I just don’t do good work. So…
DAVID ALADDIN: What job were you doing, if you don’t mind me asking?
JOHN JONAS: So, I graduated from college in computer science. I was doing programming.
DAVID ALADDIN: Very cool!
JOHN JONAS: It was fine. It was fine, whatever!
DAVID ALADDIN: So, that, you know, like… I went into engineering and I don’t do that anymore. And so, you know, those types of degrees take a lot of work and effort. Did you have any regrets going into college for all that and then just quitting?
JOHN JONAS: No, I don’t, because it set me up really well. I don’t do any programming now. When I quit my job, I still did programming for myself. It just wasn’t…it wasn’t until I realized…it wasn’t until I learned I can hire someone else to do it for me for very, very reasonable cost, that I realized that programming doesn’t make money. Marketing and sales make money. And if you do programming, you can’t do marketing and sales. It just…programming is just too consuming to allow you to do other stuff.
DAVID ALADDIN: It’s interesting that you said it because, you know, programming takes intense amount of time, and it’s not even…it doesn’t even lead up to the sale actually. And it seems like you figured that out right away, and you went straight to the sales. So, what sales did you go into?
JOHN JONAS: So, I’ve been running online businesses since I quit my job. And the stuff that I was doing twelve years ago, it doesn’t work today.
DAVID ALADDIN: What was that?
JOHN JONAS: It was kind of giving out schemes that actually worked. And I didn’t get rich with it, but at least I saw. I started making money with it pretty quickly. It was building websites and getting them into Google, and getting them to the top of Google, and…
DAVID ALADDIN: That was a big thing.
JOHN JONAS: Yeah, it was.
DAVID ALADDIN: Create a lot of neat sites and ranks for those keywords, those long-tale keywords.
JOHN JONAS: Totally! Or even like major, major keywords. I was ranking like number 1 or number 3 for like wrinkle cream or car insurance, or work from home, or home based business, or… I mean, there was so much stuff.
DAVID ALADDIN: How many websites did you have up at a given point at time, at the peak?
JOHN JONAS: A hundred thousand…
DAVID ALADDIN: Holy cow! That’s… I’ve never heard of that large number! I heard of four hundred, or thousand, and I was like you know, that’s intense.
JOHN JONAS: Yeah, I mean, we built software to build software to build websites. So, I mean… And you know, none of that, none of what we were doing works today. And I knew when I did it: this is a short-term thing. And there was other… Some of the….a lot of those keywords that I mentioned, were not part of that hundred thousand sites that we were built. Whatever! But the really good thing about that time period was I learned number 1) there was money to be made online, it could be done. Because at the time people were saying: oh, nobody’s making money online, everybody just going bankrupt. And I learned: no, it can be done. And I learned…I learned some legal stuff about how to make money. And then I learned: you have to learn more!
And so I started pushing until I figured out other things online, figured out other ways of marketing, I figured out paper click, and I figured out how to do some other kinds of advertising like Forums and Craigslist. And I just started realizing like you can drive traffic all these different ways to a website. And I realized I learned you can sell something online, you just have to learn how to sell, or how to provide value to people. And it works out, so… And when you combine those things, you know, how to sell, how to provide value and how to drive traffic, you know, it works. It works to making money.
DAVID ALADDIN: No, I am kind of laughing, because you went through the entire online entrepreneur experience going through the 2000s. Like, you know, you created tons of websites! I actually had a bunch of micro niche websites as well, you know, trying to rank for keywords. And then you went into Forums and Craigslist, any way you could figure out how to drive online revenue. And the biggest lesson that I think I’ve learned you’ve learned is that the short-term versus the long-term rewards, you know. You can notice it when you start creating these authority websites versus, you know, these niche websites.
JOHN JONAS: Yeah, that was a big deal for me because I really liked to create passive recurring revenue that I don’t have to be there for it and in the beginning, when I created these website and it made me $1500 the very first month, when I was first starting. I made $1500! And I was like: oh, my Gosh, this is going to make me money forever! And it didn’t. And I realized, you know, like some of that stuff isn’t great. And so I started learning other stuff. But what I learned at some point was creating these little websites, you still have to work again. Where if you create something that’s really valuable to people, you don’t have to do that work again hopefully.
DAVID ALADDIN: I agree!
JOHN JONAS: So, yeah, the long-term is such a big deal versus the short-term.
DAVID ALADDIN: When the Google update, I think it was the Panda update or there might have been other updates that just nuked all the websites. Did you…were you diversified before that? So you are? He’s nodding by the way for those listening.
JOHN JONAS: Yes, I was diversified. I had… I mean, that Panda Update took a business that was making me $45,000 a month and took like ten minutes a month into like 400 the next month. But I had a lot of other stuff going, so I was fine.
DAVID ALADDIN: So, what started working for you?
JOHN JONAS: What do you mean?
DAVID ALADDIN: When you started to pivot. There’s a pivot at some point from Google Ads. Well, I guess the $45.000 was working really well for you, but when did you start deciding this is not going to last forever, let’s start building something else?
JOHN JONAS: That is part of me. That’s how I am. I always want to build something else. I always wanted multiple things going, so that in case something dies I have something to fall back on. And so that business that was making me a lot of money at that point I hadn’t touched it in probably two years. I had guys in field running it for me. And so I had been working on other stuff. The other stuff that has been really, really good for me was teaching the outsourcing stuff, because that’s what I was using. I was using people in the Philippines to build all these business. They built all of it. And people… I was in a mastermind group and there we had a weekly call, and people just knew. They knew what was going on with me, because we talked about it. Everybody, all of us, talked about it. And so people were just asking every single week: “how are you hiring all these people in the Philippines, how are you doing it?” So, I started teaching that and that was another diversification. And then that has just grown and continued to grow because everybody wanted to know. So…
DAVID ALADDIN: Let’s go right into that.
JOHN JONAS: Okay.
DAVID ALADDIN: Where do we start? Like, let’s say we have an e-commerce business. What do most of us tend to outsource?
JOHN JONAS: So, let me tell you a story. I have a fourteen year old son. Three years ago he was eleven and he came to me saying: dad, I think we can make money doing this. He gets obsessive with things. So, he wanted to buy a motorcycle. So, he’s looking on a local classify like Craigslist, and looking to himself a motorcycle. And at some point he realizes: wait a minute, I think I can buy motorcycles and sell them here. So, he comes to me and I was like: dude, that is not easy, like that’s so much work for me, you are eleven, right? So, he wanted and wanted to start a business, so finally I have him an Amazon training course because my only option was either to discourage him from entrepreneur or help him set up a business. So, I have him an Amazon training course and he just ate it up. Every day after school he’s watching these videos. And he goes through the whole thing, and like goes through…does everything they say.
So, he comes to me with a big spreadsheet, and I taught him how to use Google Docs, and he comes to me with a spreadsheet of like: here are these products that I found and this is the one I think we should do. And I said: no, that’s a terrible idea. This one doesn’t work. This one doesn’t work. This one doesn’t work. That one is okay. That one is pretty good. This one doesn’t work. And I went through it and told him. So, he agreed on picking a product and we went and sourced it in China, and I helped negotiate with them, and I funded it, and he gets those products and starts selling them on Amazon. And he writes a description, and I modify it for him, because he was 11, you know? And that product is still selling stuff on Amazon today.
So, for the past years my son has this business running on Amazon. But he’s 11,12,13,14, like he’s brain dead. So, instead of him doing the work, because he just ignores crap, I have a guy in the Philippines who’s doing the work for him. So, like, requesting feedback from people… I don’t even know how any of these stuff works on Amazon, because I don’t deal with them, but he requests feedback. Any time get a question from a customer, he answers it, or whatever they do. Any time our inventory gets low, he let me know, so I can go and get more inventory. Any time there’s a problem with our listing or with, you know…with Amazon, there’s always problems, whatever, he deals with it and takes care of it. He contacts Amazon and chats with them, and does whatever he needs to do. So, and then I gave him the same course and he comes to me with ideas of like: hey, we can sell this along with this, you know. So, that’s… There’s a little bit of my e-commerce experience with outsourcing.
DAVID ALADDIN: It is crazy that… Is he still 11 or how many years ago was this?
JOHN JONAS: He’s 14, so this was three years ago. He’s 14.
DAVID ALADDIN: Feel like he’s ahead of the game.
JOHN JONAS: And he is selling dirt bikes today, and he makes good money doing it.
DAVID ALADDIN: The margin has to be pretty good. I mean, those are bigger sized objects. Not everyone wants to do that, but then…
JOHN JONAS: The margin of what he’s selling isn’t great, but it is fine, it is good. I mean, the kid is 14 and doesn’t have to do anything to make money, it’s ridiculous.
DAVID ALADDIN: So, what other kids at school say?
JOHN JONAS: They actually don’t know. They actually don’t know that he makes good money. One of them… I heard kids one time saying to each other: you know, Austin is not rich, his dad is, but he doesn’t have any money! Well, they don’t know, you know, they don’t know much he makes.
DAVID ALADDIN: He just sold 500 bikes two weeks ago-not a big deal, he’s not rich!
JOHN JONAS: Yeah, right… So, anyway…
DAVID ALADDIN: That crazy! Okay, so, let’s say like…so, let’s say if I have a website, like an authority website and you know, I want to grow the organic traffic on it. How would I go about getting someone to create articles on the website? Is there an easy process to through and teach them how to do that?
JOHN JONAS: So, can I make a distinction before I answer that.
DAVID ALADDIN: Go ahead!
JOHN JONAS: That was back years and years ago. That was one of the very first things that I wanted to do, was…I wanted to have someone else create articles, and either for my website, or for other websites, and post them in LinkBack. And what I found was I went to oDesk, which is now UpWork, and I had someone to create these articles. And they created the articles and sent them back to me. And the minute I got the e-mail from them was the minute I realized: this doesn’t work for me. I don’t even care what these articles are, this doesn’t work for me. Hiring a freelance worker does not let me run my business, it makes me…it forces to work in my business.
So, what happened? I get these 50 articles back from this person and now I have to go check them and make sure that they are not plagiarized, and I have to go modify them to have links in them, I have to go publish them to websites or publish them to my website. And it all felt down back on me. And I was so frustrated because that contract worker, I can’t teach them to like do this over and over, and over again over time, which is really what’s needed if you are going to be publishing articles, right? Because on UpWork their goal is to finish their job, get feedback and get another job, because that’s how the system works, that’s the incentive there.
So, and it took me a while to figure out how to hire someone in the Philippines full-time where they work for me, and this is their full-time job, is just working for me. And I went through that entire process again, but this time I had them write the article. They work for me, so they don’t have incentive to plagiaries it, because I’m going to pay them regardless, so we’ve never…I’ve never had a plagiarizing problem. And then I thought them how to publish the article wherever it is, whether it is on my site, or another sites, and I taught them how to create the links in the article and I taught them how to do the headlines that work really well, and I taught them how to do the photo boxes.
So, it was just a matter of getting the right employment situation setup where that process I have never done it once…I haven’t done it like once in nine years. But it gets done every single day. Because I hired someone full-time and they work for me, and that’s their job, is just to do that, just to write content and publish it.
DAVID ALADDIN: It’s awesome!
JOHN JONAS: And if you found out content, you would not know that I hadn’t written it because it’s so well done!
DAVID ALADDIN: What’s the person that you use? I want their number?
JOHN JONAS: That’s not reasonable!
DAVID ALADDIN: I know…
JOHN JONAS: So, here’s what I found was I can have a full-time person in the Philippines for $400 a month.
DAVID ALADDIN: Pretty good!
JOHN JONAS: Full-time! And at the time it was actually like $250. So, today it’s a little bit more. It’s more expensive than it was ten years ago. And you can find people with flawless English who are perfectly capable of writing whatever you want them to write. And from there, it’s just a matter of you teaching them. You teaching them your style of writing, or you teaching them your style of publishing, or your style of social media posts. So, for me today, I have 21 people who work for me in the Philippines. They all work full-time. I have a person who just handles social media, that’s all she does. I hate Facebook!
DAVID ALADDIN: I do too!
JOHN JONAS: I hate it!
DAVID ALADDIN: I hate it too!
JOHN JONAS: It’s the biggest time-suck ever and we have 130,000 likes on our Facebook page and they are all legitimate. She’s never done anything like buying likes or anything done like that.
DAVID ALADDIN: That’s awesome!
JOHN JONAS: And I’ve never made a single post there, so… I have a girl who just writes content for her. And they are both really good at that. I have customer service people. I have admin people. I have graphic designers. I have HTML TSS people. I have programmers. I have a HR person. I have…what else? I have another couple of writers. So, I have all these people that they make between $400 and $1100 a month for full-time work in the Philippines and it lets me live a lifestyle that’s different than most people’s.
DAVID ALADDIN: That’s incredible! Are they all situated in the same office? Or they diverted all over the Philippines?
JOHN JONAS: All over the country, yeah, they are all over the country.
DAVID ALADDIN: I am guessing you have like a virtual assistant manager of all these different tasks?
JOHN JONAS: So, for me, what I try and do is I try getting people doing things that they can do over and over again. So, like the customer service people-we just train them and they do the customer service. I don’t ever see anything. I have a business partner who handles that staff. So, there’s two of us. The social media and blogging people report to me, but like I never spend more than five minutes of the day with them because they are just, you know, there are intelligent, they are smart people, they don’t…I am not doing anything for it, for social media or blogging, they just do it themselves. The programmers report to me and my business partner, and so, we’ll work with them on things, but really that working is just thinking and that’s what I do today. And that what I would hope that your listeners can get to, just thinking. Where we have a feature we want to build, I think through it. I think through everything about it, like all the little details if it-I think through it. And then I tell someone else to implement it and get it done how I want it done. And there are multiple people usually involved in that, but… So, they report to me. The webmaster dude reports to me, which is fine. HR person reports to me, but like there’s just not much to do there, you know. So, I only work a couple hours a day. I don’t know if you are looking at my sweet sunburn, but I have racoon eyes, because I skied yesterday and didn’t work, because I…
DAVID ALADDIN: I keep getting the feeling that you are in the Philippines, but you are actually not there currently, right?
JOHN JONAS: I’ve only been there once and that was six years ago, and I took my family there on vacation for five weeks. I am in Utah
DAVID ALADDIN: Alright! This is cool! I love where this is going! I am thinking how to assign each person…I am thinking of building my own virtual army, like you have done. What does the HR person do specifically, or like how does that person fit in?
JOHN JONAS: So, she doesn’t actually do standard HR. She does recruiting for us. And she’ll recruit for our business, which is very, very little, but really she recruits for customers, because we have customers that want it. I don’t like that… I don’t even want to talk about that, because that’s not part of my business.
DAVID ALADDIN: Okay, I was wandering like do I need a HR person?
JOHN JONAS: No! You do not need a HR person, here! Okay, so let me go back and if people want it, let me talk for a minute about how to best implement this. So, I’ve done a lot of podcast and I am going to use you as an example as in podcasting, and I will give them an e-commerce example. So, if you are going to do this, if you are going to hire someone, number 1) you are going to hire in the Philippines, and only the Philippines, because there are some very specific cultural things that make all the difference in the World, from the Philippines versus anywhere else in the World. So, you are going to hire one person and you are going to teach this person how to do something you know how to do.
So, you are going to hire them to do something you are currently doing. So, most people when they teach and they are like: oh, make a list of things that you can get someone else to do and things that you know how to do. And I think that’s wrong. I think the very first thing to do is find something you are doing that you are good at, then you can teach someone else to do. So, maybe that’s editing audio for podcasting, maybe it’s editing “ums” and “uus” out of an audio, or maybe it’s cutting off the end and the beginning, and adding bumpers onto it, right? So, you know how to do it, you have your own style, but you are going to hire an audio editor in the Philippines, probably part-time, I don’t know how often you do it, but maybe full-time, and then you are going to teach them how to do it in your style.
So, you are going to give it to them, they are going to send it back to you the first time, and it’s not going to be what you want. You are going to be like: oh, man, is this even going to work? Which…this is what I’ve been through, I’ve been this a lot of times! And then you are going to say: hey, so, I like what you did here, but I want this like this, and like this, and like this. And let’s work through this specific stylistic peace, right? And you are going to teach them to do it how you want it done. It’s going to take you couple of weeks. A couple of weeks of teaching and training, which if you would have done the work yourself, it would have been a lot faster. But that’s not the point, the point is after three weeks of doing this, you’ll never do it again!
DAVID ALADDIN: So true!
JOHN JONAS: And they’ll do it for you every single time forever. So, in an e-commerce situation, and I am not in this, so I don’t know the in-s and out-s, but within an Amazon business for example. I am guessing it requires to do this really well and really big, you’ve got to have multiple products. And you probably are constantly finding new products and sourcing new products. So, you teach someone in the Philippines how to find new products.
They are not going to make their final decision on yes, this is the product to do, but they are going to do all the research for you. And you are going to teach them, here’s what I look for when I do a research. You are going to make a video of yourself doing research, talking to that person, saying: hey, here’s Amazon, here’s what I am looking, I am looking for this numbers sales, I am looking for this, and this and this, I am for this, whatever that research is; when you find the product that you think is good, I want you to come over here in Google Docs and put it in this spreadsheet for me.
So, you are making a video, talking to them, so that they can see exactly what you want. And then, when you have some products, you are going to come to me and say: hey, here’s the list of products, I think these will work well, but I want you to make the decision, and that’s a really big deal! Is people often, when they are outsourcing like this, they want to like completely walk away from crap. You can’t do that! You still have to be the CEO. You are still the end doll. You are still the decision-maker. So, when that Pilipino comes to you with a spreadsheet of twenty of fifty different products, you have to make the decision. They can give you all the metrics they want, but you have to be the decision-maker.
DAVID ALADDIN: What do you do in terms of… You’ve got these 17 virtual assistants, not all of them report directly to you, but how do you organize them all? Like, what tools are you using?
JOHN JONAS: So, okay, that’s a really good question! I require communication from each of my people every single day. And so, we use BaseCam as a project managing system. But for a lot of year, I just used e-mail, you know? Like, there’s just not…there’s not that much going on to require project managers. And especially if you are just starting, you know? Maybe just use e-mail. What you don’t do is talk to them on the phone. I am serious! In the Philippines they don’t want to talk to you on the phone. They’re scared. There’re scared of you. Not that they are scared of you, but they call it shy, they are shy, and they are scared that you will understand them and so they’ll be embarrassed by their English. They know they will understand you, because they watch American TV, or American movies. But they are worried that you won’t understand them. I’ve had very varied conversations with them. I had a programmer once who I talked on the phone with because…and I thought I hadn’t talk to him, because this was…what we were working on was so urgent, and I could barely understand a word he said. Dude’s the best programmer I have ever met! He’s amazing! But I could not understand his spoken English. His written English is fine, no issues, right?
JOHN JONAS: Now, other people, I’ve talked to them on the phone, they were super hesitant to talk to me, and their English was flawless. So, if you can avoid it, don’t talk to them on the phone. Use e-mail or Skype, chatting, or Instant Messenger, or Slack, or something else, written communication, you will just do a lot better with them. So, for me, we use BaseCam, e-mail or Slack.
DAVID ALADDIN: Of all the task that you’ve outsourced, what do you think was the most impactful for your business?
JOHN JONAS: The most impactful was definitely getting rid of programming for me. Like, hiring the first programmer, which I waffled back and forth for months on, a way back, 11 years ago, and I had this reference from someone. This guy told me…because I’d only done oDesk, or hired local business people. And this guy who is very well…I respect a lot, he said: hey, John, when you are ready to outsource some of this stuff, make sure you go to the Philippines with it. And I was like: what? That weird! He said: yeah, because in India when you tell them something and they say yes, that means: yes, I heard something to come out of your mouth. It doesn’t mean: yes, I understood what you’re said. And, you know, when I heard that I was like: well, that’s different, you know. But it kind of gave me a little bit of hope, because I had hired people in India before and just had not a good experience, which is I think why most people consider outsourcing problematic. Because in the US we just consider: oh, yeah, go to India. And it’s hard. It’s hard because the cultural difference’s so great! And…I lost my thought!
DAVID ALADDIN: Can you combine mixtures of like automation? Like let’s say like a social media automation with your virtual assistants? Or do you just have them posting?
JOHN JONAS: Both!
DAVID ALADDIN: Yeah?
JOHN JONAS: Both! I love that! Yeah, so actually, I was just working on that before we talked. One of my virtual assistants who does social media just asked for…she asked to use DrumUp for her content creation. I was like: that’s fine, totally, yeah.
DAVID ALADDIN: Haha! Do it!
JOHN JONAS: And we use (inaudible) and I don’t know, I don’t even know what else. I don’t know what she’s using. But we use software automation with our people automation, yeah.
DAVID ALADDIN: Sometimes I find that software it kind of makes your social media pages like hand to become inhuman, not inhumane but just too dry. Maybe it’s the content the things that’s dry. Could be.
JOHN JONAS: I don’t know, man, I don’t deal with that.
DAVID ALADDIN: You have 150.000 likes, so you guys are doing something correct over there.
JOHN JONAS: I don’t even know what she does. I don’t know. But so, here’s the thing: I don’t like Facebook and so I don’t want to do…I don’t want anything to do with Facebook. So, years ago this girl, she’s coming to me saying: hey, we should be marketing on Facebook! I was like: no! Hey, we should be marketing on Facebook? No! I don’t want to be on Facebook! I don’t know how to do it! I don’t understand it! I don’t like it! So, she comes to me with a plan saying: hey, I want to market on Facebook, here’s what we are going to do, here’s the things… I was like: ah! You send me a whole bunch of different posts that you are going to make, because here’s one of the things that I’ve learned: when you are outsourcing and you’re dealing with a foreign person interacting with a US person in a marketing setting, like a sale setting, it’s not great. And that’s the one limitation that I have with this, is that they can write…we’ve listed…we’ve done couple different Amazon products. I’ve had them write the content for the description, but it always comes back to me to edit it and make it really great, right?
So, for social media, I was very, very hesitant to have her posting social media stuff which was the plan. And I didn’t want to do it, so I just keep saying no. Finally she was like: here’s what I am going to post, here’s post 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and I was like: okay, I am going to modify these slightly, and I am going to send them back, like here’s what I modified and why I modified it. And then, over time, after a little bit of doing that, she got really good at it. And so, I’ve never done it again. And so, that’s kind of…the point of that was there’s a lot more than you think you can get done when you hire correctly.
So, I hired this girl because her English was fantastic. And usually really, really amazing English, like perfect English, indicates someone’s intelligent in the Philippines. And she ends up doing this…you know, coming to me with this idea and we end up, you know, building this huge social medial following.
DAVID ALADDIN: One of the things… I actually have a few virtual assistants. One of the things I guess I have difficulty and I think you pointed it out, was that you find very repetitive tasks where’s I think one of the issues with mine I have like a generic virtual assistant that kind of continues to request new tasks, then actually takes up some time. So, I think one of the golden nuggets that you actually presented was assigning a VA per tasks. Like, you are writing content, are they creating the titles for you, or do you have to create list of titles that you want so that they understand the CEO side of it?
JOHN JONAS: No, they come to me with the ideas now, now, so, this is really important with the Philippines, I don’t know where your VA is. With the Philippines in the beginning you have to teach and train them, you have to provide the titles. They are too scared to disappoint you to be willing to do it on their own. Over time though, they will start doing that on their own. So, like my team, if they are doing blogging, they come to me all the time with: here’s a topic I think we can write a blogpost about, and I am like: ah, I don’t like it, no, or: yeah, that’s great, go ahead, do it! Right? But if you are not willing to spend the time in the beginning creating the training, giving them feedback, what will happen is they’ll disappear. And so, someone disappearing, you know, it’s because they are stuck on something, they are embarrassed, they are shy, they are scared, they are scared about letting you down. If they disappear in the Philippines, it’s not because they don’t want the job. So, that’s the biggest problem people have.
DAVID ALADDIN: So, basically I’ve got to create the framework from the start. Just take a day and create solid, foundational frameworks for each virtual assistant and then give them all freedom. And if they leave, I can always replace them.
JOHN JONAS: No, that’s the wrong attitude towards it…
DAVID ALADDIN: Okay…
JOHN JONAS: Filipinos don’t leave. That’s one of the really great things about the Filipinos, they don’t leave. As long as you treat them well, they are loyal to a fault.
DAVID ALADDIN: I am actually half-Filipino by the way.
JOHN JONAS: Are you?
DAVID ALADDIN: Yeah!
JOHN JONAS: They are loyal to a fault! So, like as long as you treat them well and they don’t feel like that you are embarrassing them or that you are disappointed in them, they’ll never leave. They’ll just keep working for you, which is, the Filipinos, is amazing, it’s an amazing culture! So, if your idea is: if they leave, I can replace them, you are not going to have tons of success with this. The idea is: I’ve recruited them well, I know you’re talented, if you are leaving, it is my fault, not your fault.
So, if they leave, if they quit…if they tell you they are quitting, there may be a different story, but if they just disappear, that’s your fault 98% of the time. And I’ve seen this hundreds of times where it’s the employer’s fault, not the worker’s fault. Your instructions weren’t as clear as you think they were. You didn’t provide feedback. You didn’t support them. So, just be prepared to support them and give them feedback, and be there. It’s not a matter of I have to spend a full day and then I am done. It’s: I am going to them a task and they are going to e-mail me back, and then I am going to e-mail them back, and they are going to have a question, and I am going to solve it for them. And as you do that more and more, you just gain more and more time.
DAVID ALADDIN: I am actually getting a lot of ideas for virtual assistants right now.
JOHN JONAS: Good! That’s awesome! I love it!
DAVID ALADDIN: At least ten or twenty of them!
JOHN JONAS: Good! Great!
DAVID ALADDIN: Okay, so…
JOHN JONAS: My…
DAVID ALADDIN: Go ahead!
JOHN JONAS: My advice: hire one! Start with one!
DAVID ALADDIN: No, yeah, you know, I have like four or five. Managing them is not too bad. I use Skype, you know. I tag…I mean, I have their name and a tag with what they do. And they ping me whenever they have any issues or request new tasks. The problem I think I have is just giving them a more repetitive task rather than just a generic task one by one. Queuing them up for more tasks. I think I need a figure out a good way to do that too.
JOHN JONAS: Are these hourly people?
DAVID ALADDIN: Yeah, yeah…
JOHN JONAS: Try getting them off of hourly and paying them full-time, a set, fixed, monthly salary.
DAVID ALADDIN: And then so if you don’t fill their tasks, you are pretty much still paying them, correct?
JOHN JONAS: Yeah, it will change your brain. If you get them off of hourly. This is, for me, this how you live a better lifestyle. Hourly is fine as long as you just want to keep working your but off. But when you want to change your lifestyle to working less and getting them working more, pay them a fixed salary, because what will happen is your brain is going to start saying: oh, I need to keep them busy, what problems can I solve with them? What can I do? What am I doing that I can have them… Hey, wait a minute, I am doing this thing every day, they could do this thing for me! And you start getting tasks off of your plate if they are fixed salary.
DAVID ALADDIN:I like that tip! It’s a very good tip! I am going to experiment with it and see what happens. It’s only $400, right?
JOHN JONAS: Right! Yeah! And it is like $3 an hour. If they are not busy full-time, it is okay, you know. But it will at least force your brain to work in a different way, more like a CEO and less like a grunt worker.
DAVID ALADDIN: So, what keeps you up at night? What kinds of issues do you have?
JOHN JONAS: Nothing! I sleep amazingly well at night!
DAVID ALADDIN: It’s impossible!
JOHN JONAS: I am serious! Yeah, I am serious! I sleep eight hours every night and I sleep super well!
DAVID ALADDIN: You mentioned that you just do the thinking in your business. Do you do any other tasks that you actually like to do or you’ve completely killed all tasks?
JOHN JONAS: I really like to ride my bike with my wife and I like to ski with my wife. And I like to run and swim with my wife. And I like to play hockey with my son. I mean, I have to work, because otherwise you get bored. I’ve been at the four-hour work week and it is not enough for me, I get bored. But I work all seventeen hours a week and all I do is just look at what my team is doing and give them feedback. I never touch websites anymore. I don’t touch content. I don’t touch social media. I don’t touch anything.
DAVID ALADDIN: Looking back, do you think about your IT job and if you ‘d stuck with it, where would be at right now?
JOHN JONAS: Nope, I never do that!
DAVID ALADDIN: Do you have any like old employees that like reach out to you and what…do you say anything to them?
JOHN JONAS: People from the Philippines, yes, although…
DAVID ALADDIN: No, you IT job?
JOHN JONAS: Oh! I got people that worked with me that reach out sometimes, yeah. I have a college roommate that reached out to me a couple of months ago and be like: hey, I need help. And I am always willing to help! I will help!
DAVID ALADDIN: Do you have like any local employees at your place? Or is it a completely, fully… Aside your business partner.
JOHN JONAS: I have a business partner who is in Idaho and I have content writer who is in Idaho, who is…she’s just an amazing sales/marketing person. That’s it! And actually I had a US company doing my paper click and I was really happy with them, and so I hired someone in the Philippines to manage all of our ad words and Facebook, and AdRoll, and Bing, and whatever paid marketing that we are doing, and it’s awesome.
DAVID ALADDIN: Wow!
JOHN JONAS: It is super expensive.
DAVID ALADDIN: Is it?
JOHN JONAS: $12 an hour is like by far the most expensive person in the Philippines I’ve ever paid.
DAVID ALADDIN: So, I guess one of my concerns is handing over the credit cards and stuff like that. I mean, your ads spends can be thousands of dollars, right?
JOHN JONAS: Yeah, I actually spent like $50,000 last month.
DAVID ALADDIN: Yeah, and so, you know, what…do you have any like… Is it dangerous?
JOHN JONAS: Yes, I do. I did. I did when I’ve started. So, one of the really awesome things about the Philippines is they are honest. And not everybody is honest obviously, but once you have recruited well, you will find that person will try really hard to be honest with you. And so, they are honest to the point where my guys in the Philippines have access to my PayPal account, they have access to my credit cards, they have my personal e-mail account.
DAVID ALADDIN:…which makes me nervous!
JOHN JONAS: Totally! That should make you nervous, that’s good! But you should try something and see what happens with your Filipino virtual assistant, and see. Like, they have route access to all of our servers. I have helped…I want to say I’ve helped 20,000 employers around the World hire 50,000 Filipino workers. Once did I hear of a Filipino stealing something from an employer and that employer had them do a bunch of work and they didn’t pay them, so they were just trying to get paid? It’s not the Filipinos culture to steal from you.
DAVID ALADDIN: I guess that helps of letting go of that fear, you know.
JOHN JONAS: Plus, credit cards? If they would have to steal something from your credit card, what do you do? You call your credit card company and say: hey, this is an unauthorized purchase.
DAVID ALADDIN: Yeah, but PayPal would be a little bit harder to…
JOHN JONAS: Yeah, totally! Yeah, I didn’t give them PayPal immediately.
DAVID ALADDIN: Okay, final thoughts! What can we take out from all of this? There’s a lot that you’ve mentioned. We can horn on one spot, what would leave our audience with?
JOHN JONAS: The biggest thing is to try it, is…like what I describe is my experience. It is also, you know, thousands of employer’s experiences. But it doesn’t work for some people. I recently had a dude who came to me and said: hey, I want to hire someone. And we don’t do any hiring for people. I own the marketplace for finding these workers, www.onlinejobs.ph is the place. There’s a hundreds of thousands of Filipinos resumes and as you go on is just like www.careerbuilder.com or www.monster.com . You post your job, they’ll apply to your job and you contact them directly. We are not involved in that process. But I had this employer comes to me and say: hey, I want to hire a virtual assistant, I am ready for this!
So, he got a really good virtual assistant. I know the person he hired, which is super rare, and I know they are talented. They lasted one day with him, because… And he e-mailed me back: oh, this isn’t going to work, I said this and it didn’t get done right, and I am done, this doesn’t work! I was like: dude, you didn’t even attempt! Like, you didn’t event…You had 0 patience at all! You are right! This is not going to work for you! This is not a magic bullet, quick fix, I suck at managing people kind of thing!
This is… You are going to have patience and work with these people over time and they are going to work for you for years as they help your business succeed, and you are going to help them succeed in life. But to find out that’s you or not…because that’s me, to find out if that’s you or not, you got to hire someone! You have to try it and see does that work for me.
DAVID ALADDIN: How can people contact you?
JOHN JONAS: Yeah, as I said before, I am not a fan of social media. But if you contact on social media and you ask for me, it will get to me, but I am not going to be the first person to see it. Also, I am super available through e-mail. So, if you are using any other contact us links on www.onlinejob.ph and you ask for me, it will get to me. I won’t be the first person to see it, but it will get to me. So, if you need help, or you want to advice, 100%, ask me, through e-mail, and I will be totally willing to help.
DAVID ALADDIN: A virtual assistant will let you know.
JOHN JONAS: That’s right! They will send it to me.
DAVID ALADDIN: Yeah, they will read it first and make sure it’s a good lead. Alright, thanks for coming on the show! We appreciate your time! David Aladdin, John Jonas: out!
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