From my personal experience, I have made great experiences with VA’s from the Philippines. The project: “Outsourcing Philippines” is your overview page and look behind the scenes to see how efficient it can be to get a VA from this country. And what to look out for.
Background: Outsourcing Philippines
Why are the Philippines special?
The Philippines are a developing country with much lower cost of living than states in the EU or US.
At the same time, they have
- The language skills equivalent of a native English speaker
- Extremely high work ethics
- And a very high level of education (almost everyone you can hire will at least have a Bachelor’s degree!)
How much personal experience do I have with outsourcing to the Philippines?
Aside from smaller, short time projects with 5-10 people from the Philippines, I have had a personal assistant, Kristine, for half a year.
And I have worked with a teacher from the Philippines, Yvonne, who helped me with coaching in Chemistry and Biochemistry over almost two years.
I can of course not talk for all people from the Philippines – but what I’ll tell you about working with them applies to most of them.
Advantages of outsourcing to the Philippines
They have awesome English skills
Every person from this country speaks fluent English. Even more important, their culture is just like in the US.
They watch the same shows, and there is almost no cultural or language barrier!
They are the friendliest people ever
First of all:
They will call you, their boss, two things: Sir/Madam, or Boss (rarely).
There isn’t much you can do against this (you can insist, but they won’t feel too comfortable with it). Let them do that.
I haven’t found warmer, friendlier people to work with anywhere. The whole experience of cooperating with them on a project is just gentle, friendly and sweet (with sugar on top).
When I had coaching with Yvonne, there rarely was a time when we both weren’t laughing in a coaching session. She has a great sense of humor – aside from teaching really well.
They won’t ever steal your ideas
If you work on an online business with a personal assistant, you might be careful about what ideas you share with him. The people from the Philippines are extremely honest and loyal. Also, they are not interested in becoming a business owner – they just want a stable job.
I know a few people that even trust them with their credit card info, without problem. (Don’t do that until there is enough trust between you!)
They are really affordable
While outsourcing data entry type jobs to India or Pakistan may be doable at a cheaper rate, for all tasks that need someone with excellent English skills, spoken and written, you won’t find much more affordable than the Philippines.
It always depends on the person, the project, your budget and negotiation skills – but as a rule of thumb:
Most providers on Odesk from the Philippines will be very comfortable working for 3$/hour.
Problem: Outsourcing Philippines – Two disadvantages to look out for
Frequent floods will cut off the communication a few times a year
The Philippines are geographically located in an area that has frequent storms. I have made the experience with both my long term assistants that a few times a year we had communication issues.
There is nothing to do against this. Actually, your Philippines assistant is likely to run to the next internet café – while his house is inundated – just to apologize that the work from today will not be completed in time!
What you can do: stay calm when this happens.
Communicate clearly to your assistant that you are not angry (why should you!?) and that they should take care of themselves. You can share your mobile number for urgent text messages in such catastrophe circumstances, just to keep up the communication.
Their feelings are easily hurt
Try not to:
- Overwhelm them with instructions
- Intimidate them when you’re upset about anything
- Let them work on projects that they are uncomfortable with
Virtual Assistants from the Philippines are very un-confrontational. If you ever raise your voice (in a video instruction for example), use an even a little unfriendly tone in your email, then they will feel insecure with the work they do for you.
What will happen?
They will never tell you.
They might just leave.
No communication, no discussion – they just disappear.
Strategy: Outsourcing Philippines – Where you will most benefit
If you need a personal assistant on a long term basis
A person from the Philippines will love to work for you on a long term basis. That’s like a deep, secret wish from them.
Having a long term contract with you will make them feel secure and actually raise their status amongst their friends. (It simply is cool for them!)
Let them work in areas that don’t need hard decision making
Because they don’t want to argue too much, I have found they are not best suited as a hiring manager.
One long term personal assistant from India, Mahesh, actually was the best negotiator I had until now. My Virtual Assistant from Pakistan is also very effective for constructive feedback that disagrees with me – something that I had trouble getting from contractors from the Philippines.
If you need help with decision making, then a virtual assistant from the Philippines is not your best choice.
However, if you have clear instructions for long term work ready – then they are a great choice!
Outsourcing your work as fixed price jobs or paying for hourly jobs on Odesk is highly dependent on the nature of your project.
There are advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing both types of work that you need to be aware of.
Advantages of outsourcing as an hourly job:
- Hourly paid jobs are well-regarded from your providers due to the secure payment system from oDesk.
- The hourly paid jobs are manageable for the employer since your provider logged hours by using the oDesk team room and you can review their work diaries on a regular basis.
- Many providers apply for hourly jobs online because they need a sustainable income they can count on. It takes time to hunt after numerous fixed price assignments – even if sometimes they can be more profitable.
Disadvantages an hourly wage jobs:
It is sometimes difficult to estimate the hourly wages for jobs done online if you are only habituated to “normal” offline work.
In my personal experience, proposing wages between 1 and 4$/hour will result in finding an appropriate provider for your project.
It also depends on the skillset needed and your budget. Of course, you need to have the right tactics for your hiring process, too.
Advantages of a fixed price projects:
- In fixed-price jobs you don’t really have to overview your provider regularly and you don’t need to really check on what they are doing.
They can surf internet of chat on Facebook as long as they want to, until and unless they deliver the required work by the deadline and after receiving the work you can review their work and then you can release the payment.
- In general, fixed time jobs will cost you less money as an employer: If you ask “I want this result for $50” the provider may be spending much more time than you paid him hourly for the same job.
Disadvantages of outsourcing as a fixed price project:
If the work is not satisfactory you will need to discuss how this will work out beforehand. So some providers agree to work for free until your satisfaction, otherwise they can say that I will not work on this anymore and you can give me bad feedback and just pay me what we decided and I am finished with your project.
It is a weakness of Odesk’s system that it does not guarantee payments on fixed price jobs.
In my personal opinion I see that I was less successful in hiring people on fixed time jobs than if you post hourly jobs.
Providers like hourly paid jobs much more. They are guaranteed to be paid.
Hourly made money is there in their pockets. However, if you make a big project over $100 and you cancel it for whatever reason – then the provider ends up with nothing! So that is why providers don’t prefer it.
Note that there are also exceptions. From time to time, you’ll find providers specialized on fixed-price jobs that are not all small and easy to do.
You’ll have to use your own judgment to find out if the provider is the right person for you.
You’ll have two power tools at your fingertips:
- The interview during the hiring process.
- The feedback information and portfolios from past jobs.
Escape the boredom of 9-5 and working for “The Man”. Be your own boss now and start building your own future online!
But it takes so long to build a business…
It sure does. I am not saying that you’ll be rich and successful overnight. If you don’t want to take
to learn the specific skills to build an online business, then go with outsourcing.
Especially for tasks needed only from time to time and which involve the internet and are to be done in English, outsourcing would be the No.1 response for you.
Never work on boring tasks ever again
I don’t know how often you had to do something and thought:
“OK, someone else can do it in minutes, while I will have to read for hours to understand it. And I only need this done once.”
This also works for tasks that need to be done regularly – if you don’t want to do them, you don’t have to.
- too boring,
- too mind numbing,
- too time consuming.
You have more interesting decisions to take.
Are you the owner of a small company, a very small company? Then you are at the right place here at ideal-helper.com.
How can you do outsourcing in a better way?
If you are small entrepreneur your time is best used to make key decisions which will bring or lose much money.
If you, as a boss, sit down and do excel tables for two days…
- stop what you are doing
- do stuff that matters and outsource stuff that is tedious but necessary
- impress others with your work
- rise up the latter of the corporate world…
Be your own boss now and keep the money you make
Managing an online business is not impossible. But if you are doing it alone, it will get pretty gruesome over time. Having a virtual assistant working with you on the same online business will greatly increase the working speed of both parties.
If you choose to be your own boss now, you have the path of becoming a successful entrepreneur directly laid out before you. Success meaning that you will be making money online.
Leverage your efforts and business plans together with the focus and willingness to work from your outsourced virtual assistants, and you should be good to go.
Outsource your work to virtual assistants. Believe me, it works like crazy.
There are seven main advantages of outsourcing work to freelancers that I personally have experienced.
1. Get results faster
The simple truth is that two people work faster than one. Hiring a virtual assistant to cooperate with you on the same project will get you your results much faster.
2. You get highly qualified work force for relatively cheap
Getting this sort of help from an assistant would not work otherwise, financially and available for anyone. If you tried to outsource your work to local workers at your place, this would not be possible on a grand scale.
3. It frees up time so that you can do other more inspiring stuff
One of the main advantages of outsourcing your work is that you don’t need to do potentially boring and repetitive tasks and are free to do other stuff in that freed up time.
The one commodity one can never have enough of is: free time. Outsourcing gives you more time.
By outsourcing, you automatically learn leadership skills. You master team work with your virtual assistant and you learn to effectively give instructions to your co-worker.
All these skills are typical for highly successful people.
You want success, don’t you?
5. You are helping out people
Assuming that you are outsourcing ethically and that you are giving people overseas additional work opportunities that would else not exist, you are actually doing a good thing. You are helping people out and creating a win-win situation for both sides in this way.
6. You can leverage your own efforts
Think about what you can get done, alone, if you work really really focused. Then take the one thing you have learned that works and teach it to someone else, for example your virtual assistants.
Then, use their time and their skills to reproduce your efforts. This will effectively multiply you.
Reusing your success and replicating it with others is one of the greatest advantages of outsourcing.
7. You get things done
Since virtual assistants are very organized, this will greatly help you to get your organization checked. Especially if you are a creative and chaotic type, then you will greatly profit from having one hard working and very logical virtual assistant at your side. Then your dreams do not stay dreams, thoughts and projects – but turn into real results.
Use the opportunity
Do you have an entrepreneurial mind?
Then take this opportunity.
This last tip is not really an advantage of outsourcing. It rather is a possibility that would not be there for you else way.
Have you ever thought about renting out your virtual assistant?
That is what other outsourcing companies do.
You can do that too.
If you want, you can start your own outsourcing company this way. Just teach them one skill at a time that other people are desperately looking for.
Then, rent out your virtual assistant to those customers by negotiating a higher price than you are actually paying him. And then keep the difference.
This last strategy is for experienced entrepreneurs who would like to create their own online virtual assistance business.
However, the seven advantages of outsourcing I have listed above apply to anyone who wants to gain free time and get more organized.
My History of Outsourcing
What is outsourcing to me, personally?
- A fun hobby
- A useful and effective method to leverage my time
- A way to accelerate my business and projects
It has been more than 3 years that I actively work with virtual assistants and outsource online jobs.
Read about the History of Outsourcing in a nutshell and my background with outsourcing.
Definition of outsourcing
Depending on if you are a private employer, a provider (or employee) or a big corporation, there are different ways to define outsourcing.
My answer to the question “What is outsourcing?” in a nutshell:
- Outsourcing is relaying a specific task to someone else via internet, one who is able to do the work faster and more efficient than you.
- Your valuable time is freed by outsourcing time-intensive and/or repetitive tasks, allowing you to use it more effectively: to make more money or to enjoy freedom from stress.
- The most expensive commodity you can have is time. Outsourcing is a way to “buy free time”.
Two things made outsourcing possible:
- High speed internet, connecting the world’s communication
- Globalization, which makes it possible to livein the US, but hire someone from India or other countries at local wages.
It is not about taking your job away!
Note that I am not talking about offshoring, i.e. taking jobs away from anyone here on
ideal-helper.com. I honestly believe that most normal, non-entrepreneur individuals could greatly profit from a personal assistant at their side.
If your boss in the US decides to introduce call center offshore outsourcing to his firm, this is another completely
Want to try out the waters without risks?
There is one big platform that allows you to “play around” with
outsourcing small and often fun tasks to other people is fiverr.com.
It is one of the first sites that allows you to let others
work for you on specific tasks – for the small price of five dollars (hence the
What is outsourcing 101 for beginners? Most probably Fiverr.
You may be a simple employee right now. But you can be your own boss now,
if you want to.
What is outsourcing from the perspective of a freelancer?
You can use your day to day skills as a provider or employer. What may seem very simple to you may be invaluable to someone else.
- Perhaps you are an expert of making videos and you do that for fun or as a hobby.Oryou have mastered how to render, analyze and optimize photos and can do
this “in your sleep”.
- The possibilities are only limited by your skills
Do you think you can outsource your skills?
Your motto as a successful freelancer should be:
“I am doing this service for you. If I don’t successfully do your work, you will get your money back. I will only get paid for good work.”
Everyone can participate in the outsourcing world!
Do you go hiking every weekend and you know everything of “your forest”? Do you think your knowledge would be useful for someone else?
I am sure it could be. And if you don’t find anyone who needs this knowledge directly around you, you can start and create your own website business about your everyday knowledge.
This is exactly what I did here on ideal-helper.com.
You can also voice out your opinion and experiences to a writer, a website owner or a blogger and get paid for your insights.
You wouldn’t believe what simple stuff you can do for an employer.
Go ahead and laugh when you see what was my first assignment when I started outsourcing to oDesk. To my defense, I am not really a web savvy at that time.
Think about it. There are people out there doing Data Entry jobs full time. You can bet that they are Excel, Word and office wizards.
You don’t want to invest the same
time into mastering a data entry skill if you can cheaply hire someone who has
already done so – and is burning to start working for you.
If you need some hard numbers…
There are some interesting outsourcing statistics out there. What is even more interesting to me personally is that there are more down-to-earth facts.
I interviewed some freelancers all around the world and discussed personal questions with them. This gave me interesting insights into their answer to the question “What is outsourcing?” that sometimes you will see that there are really differences apart from what you would expect. It was interesting to get a look “behind the curtains” of every different countries.
Especially, the comparison of the costs of living from different countries is always an eye-opener.
Suvidh is a CEO from the outsourcing service TasksEveryDay. He shares his insights about what outsourcing means for him and his service in an insightful interview video.
What is outsourcing – in action?
In my mini-blog below, I’ll showcase real-life outsourcing experiences.
Feel free to join the discussion or share your own experiences with virtual assistants below. From time to time, when I make a general observation or notable experience with my outsourcing, I’ll also put the article below.