Outsourcing to the Philippines is part-7 of an interview from Stefan from Germany, who lives the Four Hour Work Week lifestyle in Thailand.
Click here to read part 6– Qualities A Professional Administrative Assistant Must Have
- If you are outsourcing to the Philippines, you will find them very hard working, active and charming.
- Thes best quality most of the virtual assistants from the Philippines have is their English language skills.
- On the flipside, they are very sensitive and require special treatment and attention when working with them.
Start of the Interview:
Please go ahead. I will separate this interview in subsections into ‘Outsourcing to the Philippines’ so that it will readable for anyone.
Okay because ‘outsourcing to the Philippines’ is a little bit outside of this context.
I had this one assistant from the Philippines. It was a girl. Her job was, because I wanted to rebuild the idea from Tim Ferriss that he outsourced his dating life… and I wanted to rebuild that.
I wanted to make it a business. I wanted to see if it’s possible to hire somebody to create dates and then faking that this outsourcer is a person somewhere.
Going on a website meeting people, arranging dates and the client just has to go to the café and go on the date with the other person that the outsourcer arranged.
I had this and she was very active. She was charming. I had the feeling that she was charming and she had very good English skills.
I had the feeling that it was from male client to find girls. So I thought it was the right kind of way to go with a female to flirt with other girls because she has the understanding of how women think.
That’s was my first idea. And we worked but very soon she was like two weeks into the work; she’s got it. I reviewed her work again and again.
In the beginning I was giving her time to find a solution. The problem was I couldn’t teach her how to arrange these dates.
I didn’t have the time and I didn’t want to take her by the hand. I want that she finds a way because I didn’t know myself how to make the best possible way.
So I wanted her to try out a little bit. And I told her again and again, it isn’t about success. We don’t have rates. We just have to find this out. To figure out if there is a way to figure it out.
Okay, this is all trial. I paid her hourly and I told her, a lot of times, this is a long term commitment. Okay, this is a long term job. Please do your best because I’m confident in you.
After a couple of weeks I reviewed her work and I gave her daily or 2 days for the things that she should have done until then.
And she didn’t achieve that. For example, writing 50 messages in one day even if it’s just 5 different types of messages 10 times sent each. You know what I mean?
I constructed the workload so that it will be definitely possible for her to do on this day, on these two days. And she didn’t fulfill that.
Instead of 50 messages, she did 5 messages or 20 messages or 15. So I told her I reviewed your work and you didn’t do as much as I wanted from you. It’s not a problem. If you have to work more hours on that job, please do that. No problem. I pay you more. This is all no problem but please achieve that amount that I want from you.
The problem continued that I don’t know, maybe it’s the same problem because she didn’t reach the goals at all. And I told her, I saw that you didn’t achieve that goal today, please achieve it tomorrow.
But she didn’t achieve it tomorrow and it continued and continued and continued. And I tried to fix that, to find why she isn’t doing the things that I tell her because they were simple things.
At some point, she just quit. She just couldn’t do it anymore. And wasn’t able to communicate with me why she couldn’t do it.
So this work relationship broke apart.
Yes. If I can give you my take on what happened, you did a few things good and a few things not so good but without knowing enough about outsourcing to the Phillipines.
What you did good is that you encouraged her. And what you did very good for someone from the Philippines is that you emphasized the long term relationship.
If you’re outsourcing to the Philippines, they as virtual assistants in general are looking for, ideally, a fixed term job with one employer which they can do on a long term basis. That would make them happy.
They are not asking to be partners in your business. They do not want get risks or even be part of your gains – you money gains.
If you tell them I will pay you half of what I earn, they will not be so interested. But if you tell them I will pay you this amount of money for this amount of time and there’s a possibility of a raise; they will be interested.
So that’s perhaps the first thing what you did very good while outsourcing to the Philippines. What was not so good was, in general, that you ask from her something which you couldn’t do yourself.
So, please set up this online dating thing without you knowing exactly how to formulate these emails. There were many things she could have been unsure of.
- From which cultural area can these people be from?
- How long do the message have to be?
- are they chats? Are they emails?
- Have their pictures?
- Have their fake personal information?
- Which characters does she impersonate or whatever?
So all these uncertainty will help make her insecure about her work. She could have proposed something and you might have been happy with it.
But because she thought there are so many possibilities, the probability that I do the right things is low; so my employer will be angry even if he doesn’t say he’s angry. He will be angry. So, I’m feeling insecure. So I don’t say anything.
Yeah I understand why she could have thought so but the only thing that I wanted from her is that she does like the thing – the specific amount of emails.
Even if she would copy-paste it like 50 times the same thing. At least, she would’ve reached that…
Yes the number goals. And that is the only thing that I criticized about her.
Okay. But perhaps, she had her work ethics that would not allow her to make one email and copy-pasted 15 times and say, I’m done.
She wouldn’t have accepted that for herself. And so perhaps, she wrote 4 emails and then she ran out of ideas, didn’t know where to get new ones; didn’t know how to make you happy.
Just stayed there in front of a computer trying to find it out. Time went by. Perhaps, she started do to something else where she felt more comfortable doing it. And then your work got stuck.
Yes, I definitely see it the same way.
We tried to figure that out in the beginning with possible ways to approach that work. And from there on, I let her because I needed information. I needed a statistic and I didn’t have that statistic.
Like let’s say from thousand emails that she wrote, 1% was the success; which 1%? And if we just make it all emails like this 1%, is it then 100%? I needed data. I couldn’t give her data because I didn’t have any data.
I could do it myself and then it would work but I couldn’t give her a way that always works. We didn’t find a way that always works. I only knew a way that works because I do it and I’m creative about the approach of how I’m doing it with online dating, for example.
That was very hard. I knew that I couldn’t outsource my knowledge. I couldn’t outsource people to behave like I would behave.
So, I needed more data and I needed her to create that data to maybe then spread it to other outsourcers. And yeah, it didn’t work out like I wished.
Perhaps, we’ll slowly come back to the subject. Let me share a few last ideas and then propose that we discuss this topic on another time.
I’m very interested in your project because I like the idea of personal real life outsourcing very much. I’m also interested in starting several projects of my own life where I outsourced my own life.
This one, fortunately, I don’t need to outsource but I’m very interested in the results. And if you would start any web project, I would be interested and motivated to plug it from my website.
So my last ideas towards this project, if you would have a new assistant who wouldn’t be – I’m confused about what you wanted to do.
Let’s say you want to start to work yourself, you start going on an internet forum where people date online. Then you would take out a few threats and use voice recordings to tell your assistant how you would have reacted.
So take a chat from whatever platform you would be using and then react in several different ways illustrating your knowledge as you do so.
In one time be like the honest guy, one time be the cool and sassy guy; one time be totally macho. Different ways.
I’m sure you know what I mean.
And as you do so, you can either have your reactions be transcribed as a basis or it is training material for your assistant so that he/she knows what scopes of reactions are allowed.
You can also make negative examples. Say, you have a chat from a female person who contacts you and says, “Your profile is very cute, I would like to know you.”
And then you say, literally say, in a voice recording, “See, I just got this message. This would be the wrong way to react, ’Haha! You’re hot! lol’ or something like that.”
And you really exaggerate. You can even make it funny especially when outsourcing to the Philippines. But it will teach your assistant where the line is to be drawn.
And it will also teach your assistant that you can make fun, that you can be a fun employer. And this will make everything a little bit less formal.
So with this, I propose that you come back from outsourcing to the Philippines to the main topic from your job description.
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