Do you struggle with implementation and execution in your business?
…Do you struggle with hiring the right people to get the job done for you?
…Have you tried outsourcing and it hasn’t worked for you?
Today, that’s about to change for you!
My guest, John Jonas, has been helping entrepreneurs succeed in their businesses through the power of outsourcing. John is the man behind OnlineJobs.ph which is the largest Filipino virtual worker platform with over 500,000 Filipino resumes and over 100,000 employers from around the world using it.
John only works about seventeen hours in his business, and so he will share with us how he does it all by using outsourcing, and how you can also free you up from your business, so you can be more in your sweet spot, your zone of Genius, and working on the business… in other words.. Experiencing more freedom and growth!
Listen to the podcast here:
Outsourcing 101: What You Can Learn From Over 150,000 Jobs Filled with John Jonas [Podcast 239]
Have you ever been in a place where you were like, “I feel like I’m wearing nine hats in my business. I’m the chief cook. I’m the chief bottle washer. If I could just have a team that would keep up with, if I could just delegate a little bit more, my life would be much better. I’d be able to get out of the business more. I’d be able to be home for dinner with my family or my kids or go enjoy some of my kid’s events far more often?” Have you ever thought that way? This is all about helping free you up, helping you outsource, helping you delegate some of the things that can easily be outsourced, probably far easier than you’ve been led to believe.
Our expert is John Jonas. He’s helped thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners just like you by outsourcing and thinking about it differently. He created and runs OnlineJobs.ph. If you’ve been in the business world online for any length of time, chances are you’ve investigated or explored or maybe even used the site OnlineJobs.ph, the largest website for finding Filipino virtual workers with over 500,000 resumes. Over 100,000 business owners and employers from around the world are using his platform. He works about seventeen hours a week. He gets time to spend with about his five kids, his family, rather than working. Would that be something you’d like to do? We’re going to take a deep dive into Outsourcing 101. John, welcome. How are you?
I’m great. Thanks for having me.
I want to dive right into it. You’re a young guy. You’ve built this amazing platform. Why are you doing what you’re doing? How’d you stumble into building an online platform for virtual workers?
What you said is exactly what it was. I stumbled into it. A few years ago, I was working 40 or 50 hours a week on my business. I had an online business. Someone told me, “John, when you’re ready to start outsourcing some of this stuff, make sure you go to the Philippines with it.” I was like, “What?” I had tried hiring locally, I tried hiring in India, I tried hiring contract workers on Elance, which now it’s Upwork. He says, “In India, when you tell them something and they say yes, that means yes, I heard something come out of your mouth. It doesn’t mean yes, I understood what you said.” I was exactly like your reaction. “What?” That’s crazy.The number one failure is creating a product for something without understanding the marketing behind it. - John Jonas Click To Tweet
He gave me a reference where I can hire someone in it and it gave me a little bit of hope because outsourcing sucks. At least it had up to that point for me. It gave me a little bit of hope that I might find something different. I went back and forth for a couple of months. I didn’t know if I could afford to hire someone or if they can do good work or if, if I keep them busy full-time. I ended up taking the leap. I hired this full-time guy and it was the single most liberating experience in my life. All of a sudden, I had this guy whose full-time job was to do anything I asked him to do and I can teach him to do whatever I wanted. I can get entire processes off of my plate, which was everything I had dreamed of for outsourcing than I that I hadn’t found in other situations.
From there, I was part of a mastermind group and the guys in the mastermind group were asking every single time we got together, “How are you doing this? What’s going on?” It was working so well and that’s where I started talking about what I was doing. They had audiences and they were like, “Come teach my audience about this.” Online Jobs came to be because the demand was there. People wanted to know. Hiring people in the Philippines sucked at the time. This is 2008 and there wasn’t a good way to find people. You could go through a service and say, “I want to hire someone.” They were like, “Here’s the person.”
The first person I hired was like, “This guy sucks.” “That’s who we found for you. Sorry.” There was no job board where you can post a job and have 100 people apply to you or you can look at people’s resume. That didn’t exist. I was like, “I want to recruit better. I want to recruit for myself.” I decided there’s got to be a better way. We started this job board, OnlineJobs.ph, hoping that maybe we’d get a couple of hundred Filipino resumes or maybe a couple thousand. I had no idea that it would completely blow up and half a million Filipino resumes and hundreds of thousands of employers using it. That’s the backstory.
As I’ve observed it, because I used it years ago in 2008, 2009, I had our team using it. At the time in our company, we had about 175 employees. We had some different things that we navigated there. It’s fascinating because it’s like Craigslist for finding workers in as one perception. I want to get into strategy on outsourcing here in a little bit. The business journey is so fascinating to me, John. You’ve had this amazing success. You’ve built this amazing platform. Let’s go back a little bit to the struggle in the business so we can put context to other business owners out there. What’s been your biggest failure or biggest mistake as you built this amazing platform to help people connect employers and workers in the Philippines?
I have a hard time talking about a failure or struggle with this business because OnlineJobs feels like no matter what I do, it grows. That’s a dream. There are other things outside. The number one failure that I’ve had has been when I created a product for something without understanding the marketing behind that product ahead of time or without even without creating the marketing ahead of time, which I’ve done a couple times. We created a product and outsourcing product geared at realtors once and it’s really awesome, but I didn’t understand the marketing of it to them and it completely failed. That’s probably where I struggle and probably where I see most people struggle. I’m going to build the product and you don’t go figure out the sales process first because the sales process is what’s hard. Building the product is easy. That’s probably been my biggest struggle over time.
Speaking of struggle, let’s talk about the struggle of outsourcing. For most people that first time or two, they do it, it’s like burning your hand on a stove, “This sucks. I don’t want to do any more outsourcing. Why would you do that?” What do you see are some of the biggest myths, misunderstanding or mistakes that most people make when they’re looking to go outsource or find and bring talent into their company?
The number one mistake that people make is hiring a contract worker on a project basis or on an hourly basis. They cause a situation that people don’t realize that they cause. Most people are like, “I don’t want the commitment. I want low commitment.” With low commitment, you get low results. What I found for me was I hired this person full-time. The very first time I did this, I hired this person full-time and I had no idea what was happening or what was going to happen. When I had this, they were full-time, they were salaried, and they were going to make the same amount regardless. What I realized pretty quickly was if they’re not busy, that’s on me. I’m paying for nothing. If you hire an hourly person, I’m going to pay you hourly, I’m going to pay you $4 an hour, whatever it is. If they’re not busy, you don’t care.
For me, when I did this the first time, it was, “You’re full-time. If you’re not busy, I’m wasting money.” I found myself stepping away from the business automatically just because I knew I had to keep this guy busy. I found myself stepping away and working on the business like I need to find stuff that the business that makes the business grow for him to do. That was the very first time I had ever worked on my business instead of working in the business. Before that, I had been the one doing everything and every additional thing was like, “There’s no time to do this.” Now there was time to do additional things because I knew that I wasn’t the one who was going to do the work. It was him going to do the work. I just had to create a process or a way, a means for him to do the work.
It sounds like creating the process is one of the first steps if not the first step in getting an outsourced worker.
That’s an interesting thing. I read The E-Myth by Michael Gerber years ago where he talks all about how important it is to systematize and create processes and standard operating procedures and all that stuff. I’m terrible at it. I don’t do well with it. What I found over the years as I’ve tried to do it is the internet changes. I create this marketing process and we do it for a couple of years and it changes. The whole thing changes. All the documentation I created is worthless. What I didn’t realize when I hired this first guy in the Philippines was Filipinos are super loyal. The first person I hired sucked. The second person I hired, they gave me another reference. He’s still with me now. It’s been fourteen years. As long as you treat people well in the Philippines, they’ll stick with you as long as you’re willing to give them a job. What that meant for me was I don’t have to create exact processes. I just have to teach someone. Because they’re not going to quit, because they’re not going to leave and jump ship at the first job offer they get that’s higher because they don’t.Nobody else is better at recruiting someone for your business than you are. - John Jonas Click To Tweet
When I hire someone else, I want to teach them in this thing, I can give them an introductory training and then say, “Go talk to him. He knows how to do this and he’ll help you learn how to do this.” I’ve done that dozens of times. As a small business owner, it just takes such a burden off of you because creating a process sucks. Nobody likes to do that. There are some people that like to do it probably, but I’m not one of them. The cultural thing that I stumbled into with the Philippines changed my ability to outsource where it wasn’t this super huge burden ahead of time, where I have to create this training and this process. I can do that as I hire them. I can create these videos and teach them and whatever. I can work through it with them as they got it wrong. The next time we want to do with someone else, I can do a little bit of training and then we could have the first person to help that person.
Speaking of the first person helping, if you’re reading this, would you like to be able to cut through a lot of the constraint, a lot of the distress that comes up with hiring an outsourced person? Maybe you’ve heard you should hire a middleman firm because they’ll create processes and train them and hire them and screen them for you, but you might be paying a premium. Maybe you’ve tried both routes and it hasn’t worked for you. What do you do? What if you could actually get it right the first time, every time? We’re going to take a deeper dive in what John has discovered in over seventeen years of doing this, helping build hundreds of thousands of workers being able to help thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of business owners just like you on how to outsource properly, efficiently, effectively, and more. John, I imagine if someone’s reading right now, they’re going, “I get the idea of outsourcing, but should I do this myself or should I hire one of those firms that does it all for me, but I know I’m going to pay a little bit premium, but their sales offer is that they know I’m getting a better person who’s pre-screened?” Speak to that a little bit.
We’re pretty good at recruiting. My personal success rate is 80%. If I recruit someone to work for me, I’m 80% good. We’re pretty good at it. When we recruit for someone else, we’re 50%. It works out 50%, half the time. I’ve been doing this for years and I’ve seen this thousands of times. Nobody else is better at recruiting someone for your business than you are. You have to work with this person, the person recruiting doesn’t have to work with them. They don’t care about the personality. You told them skills and all they care about are skills. A working relationship is more than just skills. It doesn’t matter that it’s virtual. It doesn’t matter that they’re building a website that you don’t know how to do. You still have to work together. When you recruit someone, you will do things that are according to your personality, which will recruit you the person that’s going to work with your personality.
For me, I do specific things in my recruiting process that work well with my personality. That’s why my recruiting is so good for me. The other side of it is, so when I first got started with this, I was using a service and I was paying them $750 a month. They were paying the worker $250 a month. I didn’t know that. That’s what it is. That’s the reality. You go see someone and they’re charging $10 an hour. They’re paying that person $3 an hour. It’s a pretty substantial markup. The reality is, if you’re finding someone in the Philippines, they’re probably recruiting off of OnlineJobs.ph. We just see enough of it. You can find someone to do the recruiting for you. In the end, you’re going to spend more time doing it. Maybe you get lucky. I don’t know. “We’ll do the recruiting for you.” I hate that. I hate that we do recruiting for people because you’re just better at it yourself.
You brought up something about your early mistake or failure was not creating the marketing ahead of time. From my experience and also hiring thousands of people over the years that a big mistake I’ve made is when I go hire fast and I’m just trying to fill a gap, almost like a Band-Aid. I didn’t do the marketing ahead of time for the candidate or for the hire. Speak to that idea of what are some critical things to get in place up front before you go after the candidate. What should someone be thinking about overall or should they just go out and shoot spaghetti on a wall and see what sticks?
The first thing that I always tell people, which is different than what most people say is the first person you’re going to hire is to do something that you know how to do. You’re going to hire someone to do something that you’re currently doing because most people are like, “I can’t do that. I want to hire someone else. Someone else needs to do the recruiting for me. I don’t have time.” That’s the reason right there. Because you don’t have time is the reason you need to hire someone, you need to hire them yourself so that you can get something off of your plate and get some time back.
That’s the very first thing you should look at when you go to hire is, “One of the things I’m doing, which of these things can I get off of my plate that I can get someone else to do? I’m going to have to teach this person how to do what I’m doing. I’m working 45 hours a week. This is going to cost me five hours for a month. I’m going to work 50 hours a week for a month, and then I’m going to work 40 hours a week for the rest of my life because I get this person, they’re going to give me five hours back after I’ve invested in them. I’m going to find that thing that I feel like I could teach someone else to do and I’m going to hire them and I’m going to hire them for some skills that look like that.”
The reality is if you’re not hiring a technical person like a programmer, a designer, a webmaster, maybe like a Facebook ads person, like an ad buyer, hire them for their English because everything else can be taught. You can teach SEO, you can teach article marketing or whatever, blogging or social media marketing. Whatever it is, you can teach or they can learn. You can’t teach English. Hire them for their English skills and then teach them to do the process that you want. You want some lead generation? Great. Teach them how to generate leads in your business according to what you would do if you were the one doing it. Now you just gained some number of hours back in your life. If you think of it as I can, “I’m going to gain hours back,” that means you can now afford to put some time in up front, which is the number one reason why people don’t want to do this because, “I don’t have time.” That’s why people want to go through a service to hire someone for me because, “I don’t have time.” I hope that makes sense.
What are one to three steps someone could take to successfully get started outsourcing?
The first thing to do is go to OnlineJobs.ph and look at resumes. If you go there, you’ll find links to all different kinds of skills or you can just search. Search for some skills and then just look at the resumes and see what you find. See what skills people have and how much they’re asking to make each month. That’s what it is. It’s them asking, “I want to make $450 a month. I want to make $600 a month. I’m a graphic designer. I have six years of experience. I want to make $650 a month.” You can either start contacting those people or you can post a job. The first step is at least get an idea of what exists. Post the job. With your job, you don’t have to be super detailed. You don’t have to list every task they’re going to do. Just talk about you have a position open and here are the general responsibilities. Don’t list every skill you could ever want because that’s going to turn people off.Skip the Skype interviews. You’ll find that the most qualified don't need to be talking on the phone. - John Jonas Click To Tweet
Once you’ve posted your job, you’re going to get a whole bunch of applications, then you’re going to start replying to people. Those are the first two. Look at what exists, post the job. The third thing is start recruiting and we can talk through the recruiting process that I go through. I don’t know if we have time for that. You can start recruiting by communicating with these people and start asking them questions. Just ask them questions about their experience. Ask them questions about their lives, give them a task, whatever you’re going to do to recruit people. You’re going to get a gut feeling of like, “I think this person’s better than this. This person is a better fit than this person for me.” Once you feel like you’ve found a good person, you’re like, “When can you start?” “I can start now.” “Can you do this for me now?” “Yes.” “Great.”
Do you start them off full-time? Do you start them off on a test rate? From your experience, what’s the best method? I’d love for our readers to hear your recruiting process and then in addition, what do you recommend as far as bringing somebody on board? Do you just go ahead and pay him that monthly fee upfront or do you just do it as a test for the first X amount of time? How do you go about it?
There is no best. I hire them upfront and say, “Here’s your salary. I’m going to pay you every month.” A lot of people will hire two or three people and say, “Here’s this test. I’m going to pay you.” Always pay for a test, “I’m going to pay you for this test. I’m also having other people do this test and I’m going to hire whoever does it the best.” It’s a good, valid way of doing it. I don’t like to let people go, so I don’t like to do that because then I’ve hired three people. I have to let two of them go and that sucks. I did that once and I ended up hiring all three of them. That sucked. There isn’t a best. It’s what you’re comfortable with. My recruiting process is number one, I do not do a Skype interview. A Skype interview in the Philippines creates a disaster where if you have ten people and you try and schedule with all ten of them, only four of them are willing to schedule an interview with you. Of those four who schedule, one or two of them will show up. They call it shy where they don’t want to disappoint you.
They’re worried about if they get on a phone call with you, they’re going to disappoint you because you’re going to hear their accent, you’re going to hear the chickens clucking in the background. They’re super embarrassed about their chickens for some reason. I skip the Skype interview because what you’ll find is three of those six who didn’t even schedule the interview with you were super qualified. They don’t need to be talking on the phone and you just lost those people in this process. I don’t do a Skype interview. What I do in my recruiting process is I send lots of lots of emails and I ask lots of questions. For example, I’ll ask one or two or four questions per email and then I get to see a couple things. One, I get to see how quickly they respond because if they respond in six hours every single time, sweet. If they respond in three days, then what are the chances that after I hire them, it’s going to take them three days to respond? That sucks.
I also get to see their attention to detail. If I asked four questions and they only answered three of them, then after I hire them, I give them four tasks, they’re only going to do three of them. I also get to see their English and their personality. It’s reasonable to have your friend help you fake your OnlineJobs profile. It’s not reasonable to help your friend respond to ten emails over six days. You get to see how they handle English slang, how fluent they are and the oddities of their language or their personality. That always to me, gives me a gut feeling of this is the right one. There have been a couple times where I hired someone because of either wage or skills instead of what I thought with my gut and I was always wrong. That’s my recruiting process. I’d go through lots of emails with people and I always find that I ended up getting a gut feeling after communicating a bunch of times with a bunch of questions.
What are one to three action steps you hope that our readers take?
For me, this is how you live the four-hour work week. I’ve been there, I’ve worked an hour a week for months and it’s not enough for me. You mentioned I work about seventeen hours a week. I’d been there for ten years at about seventeen hours a week because I have a bunch of people. I have 24 full-time people in the Philippines that work for me. This doesn’t work for everybody. Some people expect perfection every single time and that’s not what you’re going to get here. This is a thing where you’re hiring a human, they’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to have to work with them through stuff. The action step is to see if this works for you. To do that, you have to take a risk. You’ve got to take a leap and hire someone. The potential downside is it costs you a couple of hundred bucks. The potential upside is you learn how to buy time. This is the only way I know of to buy time. With that time, you can do whatever you want, but in order to do that, you’ve got to take a leap. That leap is often painful. For a lot of people, it’s just an amazing relief to get someone working with you, but you have to put some work into it. The action step is to go try it and hire someone and see what happens for you.
What is something I should have asked you, John, that we didn’t get a chance to cover up to this point?
It’s specifically why the Philippines is an interesting thing where there’s a cultural set of things that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Number one, they’re honest. My guys have my credit cards, my bank account information, my home address and my personal email account. I already mentioned they’re loyal, almost to a fault where when you hire them, they’ll never quit as long as you treat them well. They have computers and internet access, which means you don’t have to go through a service and get the markups. They speak American English. That’s a big deal. They’re not entrepreneurial, they don’t want to steal your business. They don’t want to steal your domain. They don’t want to steal your idea. They just want a job. It’s a third world country. It’s pretty third world. You combine all these things together, what you get is someone who grew up in a super pleasing culture. That’s why they work in the hospitality industry so often because they want to make people happy. You give them a full-time job working at home on their own hours, making a reasonable wage for a foreign employer, which is interesting in the Philippines.
They look up to foreigners as opposed to other places where they make fun of you as a stupid foreigner. You get this situation where they care about their job and they care about you succeeding because you’re their job. I’ve seen it hundreds of times where they will just go above and beyond what you’ve asked them to do to make sure you’re happy. It doesn’t always happen. You have to gain their trust first. What should we have talked about is probably why the Philippines? Why not Vietnam? Why not Mexico or why not Brazil? This is always something I get from people, “Will you do this in Ghana for me?” I would but it’s just not going to be the same experience as going specifically to the Philippines. You just have a different experience in doing it.Filipinos care about you succeeding because you are their job. - John Jonas Click To Tweet
We’ve just scratched the surface obviously. We could spend hours on this topic Outsourcing 101. If people want to go deeper with you, John, learn more about how you can help them, where can they go, how can they get in touch with you?
In OnlineJobs.ph, if you want to learn more, you click the Education tab. The first thing to do is there’s a 30-minute video there where I detail everything I can in 30 minutes about this. There are dozens of things that I’ve written about it. You can find me on YouTube where I filmed a course that you could watch. If you want to contact me, I’m available through email, but you have to use the Contact Us link in OnlineJobs.ph. If you send it there, ask for John because obviously it doesn’t come to me first, but everybody knows if you say, “This is for John,” they’re going to send it to me and I will be the second person to get it. I will personally respond to you.
I encourage you, if you want to go deeper with what John’s been sharing, you want to outsource, you want to free yourself up, you want to buy time back. You want to create more freedom so you can be home for dinner so you can get out of your business instead of being so consumed in it. Go check out OnlineJobs.ph. Click the Education section, connect with John. See how him and his resources, his tool, this platform could help you, your business so you can have a bigger impact, a bigger reach, and bigger contribution. John, you’ve got five kids and what’s amazing is you’ve built this lifestyle business, seventeen hours a week. Something that you shared about lessons or accidental with kids. What are some values you hope to instill in your kids, doing what you do to make a difference to create value in the world, to create jobs in the world that help companies?
One of the things I do is I work less so that I can spend time with my kids because I feel like raising kids is all about time. They don’t give a crap what you say until they know that you love them and that you’re willing to spend the time with them.
The worst thing to outsource is being a parent, isn’t it?
It’s the worst. I want to hire a nanny. It’s the worst idea. The values I hope to instill in my kids or kindness, number one, I hope they’re kind to people, then I hope that they’re teachable. They’re humble, patient and I really hope that they work hard. That that’s a hard one for me. We have to find other ways to teach them to work hard. My son was at my in-law’s house one time and his grandpa was getting dressed, like in a suit and tie. He was like, “Papa, where are you going?” “I’m going to work.” He said, “Why don’t you just go in there and work?” He had no clue that dads leave the house and go. When my kids get home from school, I’m there every single day. I come out and I stop working and I’m with them. I’m there when they get up in the morning because I’m there when they leave for school. I get all my work done while they’re at school and so they don’t see the hard thinking work that I put in. I have to teach them hard work in other ways.
How do you do that?
We mountain bike. My kids are racing mountain bikes on a national level. I get to teach them a couple things. One, you’ve got to work your butt off. Number two, we get to teach them failure. It’s awesome. We just had a national race and my daughter took second and my son took 21st. He’s so stinking fast, but 21st isn’t what he wants. It’s such a good way to teach him not everything always works out the way you want it to.
Thanks for giving us a glimpse in your personal life. If you want to go deeper with John, his resources, go to OnlineJobs.ph. Hit the Education system. Contact John, make sure to ask for John. It will be much easier for you to get through. John, it’s been awesome to have you with us here. I appreciate it.
Thanks for having me. It’s been great.
There you have it. I want to encourage you, take action with what John has been sharing with you. Number one, go do some homework. Go to OnlineJobs.ph. Do some research, check out the different postings, the different listings. Post a job, test it out for yourself, see how it can work for you, and then create your own type of recruiting process. Don’t make the mistake of just winging it. Create a recruiting process. Follow John’s lead. Send multiple questions, multiple times, three, four questions, four, five, six, ten different times. Is that a little bit of a manual labor? What would it be worth to free yourself an extra two hours, five hours, ten hours a week, fifteen hours a week, twenty hours a week to maybe replicate yourself in a complete area that you’re maybe having to wear that hat right now that you could free up and do it in a simple, effective way? If you want to go deeper, go check out OnlineJobs.ph. Apply what John’s been sharing with you. If you’d never want to miss one, go to GrowthToFreedom/subscribe. Thanks for being with us. Seize the day.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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About John Jonas
John has helped thousands of entrepreneurs succeed in their business by doing outsourcing differently. He created and runs OnlineJobs.ph, the largest website for finding Filipino virtual workers, with over 500,000 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.