Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
When and How to Get Started
The First Position to Hire
The Interview Process
Shum’s All-Important Management System
The Future of Outsourcing
Use a Virtual Staff-Finding Service
I’ve been using a service that actually goes out there and does the search for me. It filters through the first layer. So I don’t really spend much time searching for people myself anymore.
When I first started, I spent weeks on end trying to find the right person, to negotiate the best price, the best working conditions, and all that kind of stuff. But in the end, they didn’t even stay.
So nowadays I work with a very close provider in the Philippines and Chris Ducker from Virtual Staff Finder. He helps me source out all the virtual assistants and people I need for my business.
How it Works
They go through the whole process and you pay a one-time fee. They come back to you with three candidates, you meet them and find out if they’ve got the right skills for you, and then – bang –you’re up and away.
That saves you a lot of time.
If you don’t want to spend that money up front, then you can definitely try out all the other outsourcing sites out there, like Elance, oDesk, and BestJobs.ph.
I would not be so confident about going to Elance and oDesk because most of those people are contractors or looking for just one-time jobs. Usually, my goal is to find a full-time virtual assistant or full-time virtual worker who can focus completely on my business and concentrate on all the things I need. Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
When to Hire
A lot of people say, “Oh, I can’t really afford someone right now because we’re just starting out.”
I say, “Look, if you really want to fast-track your success right now, hire a virtual assistant to overtake all of your administration, so that way you can start managing money much faster.”
Particularly in blogging, it’s a long journey. It’s a lot of hard work to be able to produce all of that content and you can’t do that all by yourself. You need help. So, the faster you can get content produced, the faster you can get your blog marketed, the faster you’ll achieve success. You definitely need an extra helping hand. But that is only if you’re just starting out.
For the people who are already currently have a successful business running behind them, if you haven’t outsourced a lot of the administration side of things, then that’s the first thing that you need to get done. Get somebody to help – whether it’s by managing your email, customer support, backend posting of you blog posts, or handling any of the financial side of things. Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
HOW TO FULLY AUTOMATE YOUR BUSINESS
Get a Personal Assistant
The first position to outsource is the virtual assistant.
Virtual assistants can do quite a number of things – anything from handling emails to posting articles on your blog. With blogging, there’s a lot of behind the scenes that you don’t personally need to do and that’s the reason why I recommend hiring a virtual assistant.
Responding to emails can be very, very time consuming. Facebook, Twitter, social networks – all those things really take a lot of time. You could get someone to update all of that for you as well and manage all of those comments. There’s a lot of the behind the scenes things that you don’t need to do yourself.
People struggle with it, because they want to answer those emails themselves. I understand, but you’ve got to think like a big business owner and think, “If I’m going to manage a business, then I should find a team that can actually take over that side of things, train them up to be able to answer very similar questions and hopefully minimize it with an FAQ page.” That allows you to free your time up to focus on things that will generate income for your site.
I know that a lot of pro bloggers who have full-time virtual assistants. If there’s anything that they need to respond to personally, they’ll personally hop on and take care of it. But having a virtual assistant allows them to focus on producing more content. Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
Get a Programmer
If you want to grow in blogging, then you could consider hiring a full-time programmer to manage the technical side of things. I think that’s probably one of the biggest things that people struggle with, doing all of the graphical work, making sure that the blog’s up to date, and creating a really neat, cool blog that will stand out. You shouldn’t be doing that yourself. It takes a lot of time out of you.
Get a Writer
From there, if you’re blog is going to another level, then you can hire full-time writers to be able to write articles for the blog and post them for you. Turn it into a magazinestyle blog, if that’s the direction that you want to head.
I’ve tried using a contract virtual assistant who charged me by the hour. But that hasn’t been very effective for me, because they end up having other jobs that they’ve got to do. When they get distracted with other jobs (they might have five or six others), they’ll probably put your work down at the bottom of the pile. That’s not a position that you want to be in.
Not Ready to Hire Full-Time?
Find another blogger out there who also wants to hire a virtual assistant to share the load with you. You can both hire them on a part-time basis, half and half. If you’re both doing very much the same stuff, then it makes sense.
Don’t be a Manager
If you’re going to build a business, the most important thing is you want dedicated people to run your business for you. There’s no point in you having all these outsourcers doing all your work, if you still have to be the one managing the whole process.
At the end of the day, you want to have these teams managing all these things for you, so that way you can be free to focus on other things that you want to do. Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
FINDING SERVICE PROVIDERS
What to Look For
The first aspect is whether or not they have the motivation and the drive. It’s really all about their personality and character. I want a motivated self-learner and a happy learner. They can have all the qualifications in the world, but if they don’t have that character, motivation, and drive, they’re not going to be able to succeed in your business. Take the example of my video editor. As soon as he got on the phone, he greeted me as sir. When I started speaking to him, I just felt that there was a really good character about him. He was motivated. He was driven.
The first thing I look at is whether or not they’ve had work experience. I don’t usually hire people who are fresh out of university, because they haven’t had work experience inside an office. The second thing I want to see is their full body of work. If I can see their work and I can see that it matches what I need them to do, then I pretty much offer them a job from there. If you combine the right skillset and qualifications with good character, you’ve pretty much got yourself a winner. Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
The Hiring Process
It’s a pretty strong, lengthy process. It takes me about 40 minutes.
Get to Know Them
First, get them onto a video call. I talk to them face to face, to get to know who they are.
I ask a lot of questions. I find out what their family’s all about, what they like to do in their spare time, and what they like to do for work.
After that, I want to speak to them about their working hours and set the expectations. This is very, very important. Set the expectations to say, “Look, these are your working hours. This is your sick leave. These are the holiday breaks that you have. These are the things that I expect from you to get completed. If not, then these are the consequences.” Once I’ve done that, I go through and discuss their salary, how they get paid, and all those kind of things.
Finally, I welcome them into the business. I send them a “getting started” guide, along with some more training information via email and then we just get started from there.
Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
They manage themselves.
We have a good system in place. We use Basecamp HQ to manage all of the projects. So, whenever there’s a new client that comes in, it gets straight away into the Basecamp HQ as a project.
That project is basically managed down into a step-by-step process. The managerial assistant takes over that process and she knows exactly what to do. Wherever it needs to go, she’ll farm it out to the rest of the team and from there they’ll be able to run the processes.
Communicating with the Team
I try to minimize my emails. If I need to communicate with them specifically about any task, I use a tool called Jing Project, which is free screen capture software. I describe most of the task inside there and once it’s described, I farm it out straight to them and they can manage that whole process for me.
In the past, I have come across a few struggles with this issue.
I used to try to manage them by setting up time sheets. I tried to monitor every hour that they were working. That was not really managing. That was basically just looking over their shoulder every minute of the day.
I eliminated that because I had a coach who trained me from a different perspective, with a different mindset. A lot of people don’t realize that when you do want to hire somebody to manage your business, the whole goal is to give them responsibility. You’re not the one to be responsible for them. They have to take ownership of their role. Once they take ownership of that role, then they can do it in the way that they’re comfortable with and help you grow your business.
How to Ensure Quality Work
The one way to set that up is by setting the expectations and having rewards and consequences. As long as these boundaries are set, they know where they have to hit. If a job doesn’t get completed, then they have consequences – either to their salary or they may potentially get fired.
But if they do succeed and they do really well and they finish things earlier, meet the demand of the client, then I give them a reward. It could be a monetary value reward, more time off, or anything else that will give them incentive.
That’s really about letting go. It incentivizes them to manage the whole thing and be responsible for it. That way, it frees you up to worry about what’s going on here. So, that’s how I’ve successfully managed my team – or let them manage themselves, to be honest.
That’s the thing about us entrepreneurs: we love being hands on. We want everything to be perfect.
But in reality, if it’s 90% perfect, I usually let it go. If I spend my time trying to fix up that 10%, it will never get out there. At the end of the day, all I want to do is make sure that the client is happy and if it’s 90% there, then they’re not going to notice that ten percent. They’re fine.
I have an eye for detail, but at the same time, I realize that I can’t manage everything myself because if I do, then I won’t be getting any work completed. Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
How Tyrone Developed his Systems
It’s taken me a lot of time. It’s not something that I just developed overnight. I wish it was.
But that’s the reason why I created my course, which is the Mass Outsource Mastermind. It’s got the whole system. But I’ll run through it with you, what I do and how I set the system up.
I’ve mentioned one of the other tools that we use, which is Basecamp HQ. Another part of the system that we use is called Google Apps and it has a combination of email, calendars, and docs in there.
We use the calendar system inside Google Apps to be able to schedule things. All the team has access to this calendar. If they plug a deadline into their calendar, we can all see that. One of the great things about having a Google Apps calendar is that it can be synchronized with iPhone devices and iPad devices.
It’s the same thing with my email system. We have internal emailing system here through Google Mail. The only emails that I receive for my work address are through my team. If there’s any outside emails that I receive, it usually goes through the support system before it gets to me. Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
Dropbox is used heavily for storing all of our documents, training materials, and any graphical or video work. It’s all stored in there and that basically gets shared amongst our whole team. Anyone who is on that particular Dropbox email account can access everything that’s there.
It makes it so easy for us because all we have to do is drag-and-drop the files in there and whoever needs access to those files just grabs them. That’s why we have everything centralized.
The last system I’m going to mention is an automated password system called LastPass. That is where we store all of our login information inside, encrypted. So that saves me time to send passwords over to people and find out where everything is. It’s all centralized inside this linked system that my team gets to use.
Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
There are three main training videos that are broken down into shorter videos, which go through step-by-step processes of what they need to do.
Most of the videos our on our YouTube account, because it’s free to store. It’s on a private account that only employees can access. I don’t post these videos freely anywhere, but we’ve got them inside the Mass Outsource Mastermind course.
Getting Started Guide
It’s got three main videos. The first video is a daily accountability video. It shows them exactly what I require them to report back. (They send me a daily accountability report on what they’ve done for the day. I don’t usually check it every day. I mainly just do it so they can hold themselves accountable.) . Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
The second explains how they get paid, which is very crucial.
Basically, there’s a step-by-step procedure for them to be sent an invoice at the beginning of each month. We pay all of the staff invoices at one time all at the beginning of the month, instead of separating them and paying them once every second wave or whatever. It’s all done and prorated after the first of the month. That makes the accounting easier for us.
The final video is an overview of the business. It just goes in and shows them exactly what our business does, how it runs, how to use the project management system, and pretty much everything else.
For their particular roles and for their specific tasks, there are other training materials which we store in Dropbox and send them out to them. In the case of a programmer, he needs to know exactly where to access the server, how to access the cPanel, all that kind of stuff. It’s all in videos there. Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
PAYING YOUR STAFF
I personally pay something around two grand a month for all of my employees and I’ve currently got four full-time employees on my team. But if you’re going to be hiring a team, like specifically, you’re going to an outsource company, it will vary in terms of rates.
If you want to build a team like I have, then you could probably split it down to about $300 or $400 dollars a month depending on what kind of services you need.
The Going Rate for a Virtual Assistant
That’s changed a lot over the years, since I started. It had been roughly $300 a month. Now I think you’d be reasonably paying about $450 a month for a full-time virtual assistant working 40 hours a week. For part time, you’d be looking at $250-$300 a month. For contracts, I would probably say at least a minimum of $5 an hour nowadays.
So you still can find reasonably good priced outsourcers over in the Philippines and other places.
Don’t be a Bargain Hunter
I’m not going to emphasize that you go out and get the cheapest out there, because it’s not about hiring the cheapest person. It’s about hiring the person with the right character, the right skillset, and the right qualifications. I’ve gone through that route where I hire the cheapest person and unfortunately they don’t have the right skills or the qualifications and I just wasted my time paying them that couple hundred dollars a month.
So, before you even look at their price, look at their qualifications, their character, and their skillset, and make sure that they do match what you want to hire. If they do, then you can obviously negotiate. Anything’s negotiable with the Filipinos. Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
Personally, I use people from the Philippines.
For one, they’re English-speaking. Two, they’re honest and very high integrity. And three, they’ve got most of the technology that most of us use in the Western countries, so it wouldn’t be a problem to work with them.
I’ve tried other countries and there’s always been either a language barrier or some kind of cultural barrier for me, so I’ve just stuck with the country I’m familiar with, which is the Philippines.
Filipinos are the friendliest and most loyal people you could ever work with. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, then that’s the place to go, I reckon. Strategic Outsourcing – Outsource Technical
I’m currently using PayPal to pay my team. I think for each individual transaction, it takes anywhere from four to five dollars at this time. And that’s reasonable in comparison to say Xoom or any of the other ones.
PayPal is great for international customers or international employees. If you’re in the States, then Xoom would also be another option, because Xoom’s restricted to only the United States customers.
My staff are independent contractors. That’s the reason I get them to send me an invoice at the beginning of every month, because it’s considered as a contracting role there.
I’m not a lawyer, but essentially in terms of accounting I get them to send me an invoice and they act as independent contractors there.
They pay their own taxes and they manage all their own business expenses and accounting fees.
So, pretty much, everything from that side of things is handled. From my side of things, I treat their payment as a company expense. I don’t really pay them an employee wage or anything like that, because if I did I would have to pay income taxes. I also don’t have to pay their retirement package and all that kind of stuff. So we don’t have any of that here.
But I would highly recommend that if you’re going to do this, speak to an accountant and find out what the best way to do it is for your business because everybody’s circumstance is different.