Have you ever had an idea that you were dying to try out… but never got to it because you didn’t have the time?
What would it be like if you could send someone a short note and have them implement your ideas IMMEDIATELY?
You can put yourself in that position by hiring a full-time virtual assistant.
You can find English-speaking college grads for $200 to $350 a month in the Philippines who will do an amazing job for you. In fact, they will pay for themselves within the first week if you give them the right structures and tasks. That is the point of this page… I will show you exactly what to do and how to do it.
I’m going to show you the organizational structure I have adopted for my info-product and software business.
I’ll show you what type of people I look for – which characteristics and skills to look for that are ideal for an online business
I will show you how to hire these people – with a safety net so you are not stuck with the wrong people.
And most importantly, I will show you exactly what you need to do to squeeze maximum profit out of the skills they already have.
How to locate and access the right people for your business…
I use onlinejobs.ph and bestjobs.ph to find people.
You won’t have to look very hard to find people who have the exact skills we need in this kind of business. Writers, programmers, link builders, SEOs, etc.are a dime a dozen on these job boards.
What you can expect…
Keep two things in mind as you read the following section…
1. It is FUN and MAGICAL to have people implementing your ideas.This is NOT a source of stress!
2. You are in the BUSINESS of MAKING MONEY. So there is no sentiment if your people don’t pull their weight.
Focus on ROI
Here’s the most important lesson I have learned about hiring a Filipino crew…
Don’t bother getting link builders or writers.
Stick to virtual assistants and programmers.
Programmers in particular willproduce income.
All other tasks – research, info gathering, article writing, blog posting, link building, etc. can be handled by a virtual assistant.
Your first person should be a V.A. who can write. They are versatile and will deliver more value and TIME in your business.
A Virtual Assistant will can take care of link building tasks, and they can write articles for distribution (ezinearticles.com) and short blog posts..
You should have some routine tasks that this person can do during downtime. You could give them a long term project to work on, such as maintaining a blog or building a large content website with several feeder sites.
A good VA earns between $200 and $400 a month, depending on their experience. The key skills to look for are writing ability and work ethic. Youcan train them to do everything else.
I take care of all sales copy in my business. Including presell letters and emails.
Because along with networking and joint ventures, copywriting will produce the biggest “profit swing” in your business. It could take a novice 3 hours to produce garbage copy that will convert 1 in 200, or it could take 20 minutes of SKILLED writing to produce copy that will convert 1 in 20.
This is not a $10 an hour task.
I would never outsource copywriting work.It is a specialized skill.
Everything else – syndicated content, blog posts, etc. can and SHOULD be handled by other people.
I get my VA’s to turn my ideas into written pieces that can be published.
The process is very easy. I put together a quick mind map in Mindjet and load it into basecamp. It takes me between 10 and 30 minutes to outline a series of articles on a single mind map.
My VA then downloads the mind map and fleshes it out in MS WORD. She does research on the net and then puts together a rough draft which I canedit. It takes 3 or 4 hours to go from concept (mind map) to a completedpiece (article / post) that is ready for publishing.
An alternative to Mindjet is to draw the mind-map on a piece of paper and scan it (or take a digital photo)… or draw it on a whiteboard and take a digital photograph, which you can then load into basecamp.
Your VA’s probably will probably be a bit raw, so you will need to teach them to write for the web.
Stuff on the web needs to be easier to read since the target readers will be sitting at a computer. The easiest way to do that is to write in a conversational tone. Write like you speak. (You can also record yourself speaking and get your VA to transcribe it.)
You will get really good stuff from them if you can get them to use easy words, short paragraphs, and active sentences.
I believe that anyone can write effectively if they keep those rules in mind.
Programmers will give you the most bang for your buck. In fact, if I was starting from scratch I would get a programmer BEFORE a writer or a VA.
You can easily handle the stuff your VA would do. The same probably can’t be said of a programmer… unless you are a programmer by trade.
A programmer who knows what he is doing will more than pay for himself almost immediately.
They earn between $300 and $800 a month (sometimes higher) dependingon experience.
If you know what you want and you can describe it, then anyone with a little bit of experience will be able to do it for you. And if you don’t get exactly what you are looking for, you can have them do “spot repairs” to get it perfect.
I used Jing to capture the screen and then simply added a message withsome arrows.
You get better people the more you pay… a $300 a month programmer will be able to do most things, but they will need a lot of guidance.
On the other hand, an experienced programmer asking for $500 to $800 willbe able to take your rough concepts and ideas and turn it into workingsoftware in a few days… and make you money with almost no supervision. A really good programmer could easily make you well in excess of $10,000 a month if you set up the right work structures and projects.
If you hire a programmer who is asking for $500 a month or more, then youwill most likely be getting a real top notch developer with tons of experience and who can do ANYTHING with minimal supervision.
You should not think of this as a business expense. This is an investment because these people will pay for themselves. In fact, each new person who comes on board could mean a pay raise for you.
How to hire someone
Just keep it simple when you find someone.
Step 1: Browse onlinejobs.ph and bestjobs.ph and look for people whohave the skills you need. Filter out resumes that are older than 1 week.
Step 2: Send an email to several candidates. Tell them that you needsomeone and that you found them on onlineljobs.ph. Then tell them to email you back if they want more info.
Step 3: When they respond, thank them for responding then tell themabout the pay (round number in Pesos) and the work they will be doing. Ask for samples if you’re looking for a writer or a programmer.
Step 4: Look at samples of their work (writers and programmers).
Step 5: Select the best person and send them an offer. Hire them on1 month probation.
Step 6: Tell them what they what they are supposed to do to getpaid… for example, “I need you to login to basecamp every morningand every afternoon.”
Step 7: Give them a task list – tell them to ask you questions if they do not understand. You must absolutely INSIST that they ask you at least one question because these guys will be too proud to admit that they don’t know how to do something. I think it is important to create an environment where you can communicate openly.
Step 8: Pay them weekly for the first month. Use Xoom if you are inthe States or MoneyGram if you are outside of the States. Avoid PayPal.
How to get the best out of the people you hire
There are a few things you will need to do to get value out of your people…
Use Checklists and Templates
Continuous improvement is important. Continuous improvement implies that you have something to improve. You need to get something up that you canwork on… and then you need to setup a structure that allows you to work onit consistently.
One essential thing you MUST do is develop checklists for on-going tasks.Depending on your strategy, these could be things like posting to a blog, writing and distributing articles, tweaking PPC campaigns, improving landing pages and sales letters, customer service, admin and accounting, etc…
The idea is that the person responsible for a certain task checks off each item on the list as they complete those tasks. These checklists should be assigned to a position in your organization, and should be the #1 priority for the person who occupies that position.
The checklists have to be completed each day before they get to any other tasks.
That is how you will get consistency into your business.
I know that this sounds hectic and overwhelming the first time you read this. These checklists do not need to be overly involved or complicated. It could be as simple as this…
KEEPING TRACK OF PERFORMANCE
The web makes this easy because there are numbers everywhere.
I use Google Analytics, Clickbank, Google Website Optimizer, Split TestAccelerator, Aweber, 1Shoppingcart, and e-junkie.
My VA collates this data into a report and we then go over the numbers together the first Monday of every month. This lets us know what’s working,what we need to work on, what we need to stop doing, etc.
This is quite a valuable insight. For example, we now know definitively thatour ezinearticles get between 15% and 18% CTR via the resource box. So we can use those numbers to plan projects.
One-off projects need milestones and deadlines. Basecamp is brilliant for this because you can set milestones and tasks associated with those milestones… the people responsible for the tasks will have to check off items as they complete it.
I use a profit sharing system and I suggest that you look into doing something similar.
Profit sharing is a simple concept. I send a cut of my clickbank checks to the person who worked on the project. Usually 5% to 20%, depending on the project. This adds up and is a great incentive.
Let’s say you are paying someone $250 a month, and they have completed7 projects for you. Those projects bring in an average profit of $300 a month. A 5% cut will give them a recurring bonus 50% on top of their pay check.
And 15 projects like that will give them a bonus that is larger than their pay check…
It’s an insignificant amount of money to you, but it will give you a stronger, more loyal and more motivated work force.
I’m always happy to pay these bonuses because it means that I got money for nothing. I literally just told someone what I wanted, gave them some milestones and a deadline, and then got paid for it.
The virtual office and timekeeping
Just use Basecamp. Don’t bother looking for an alternative because nothingcomes close to Basecamp. It just works. Their bottom of the range offer isgood enough for most people who are reading this. (Not the free versionbecause you can’t upload files.)
I use two tools… Skype and Basecamp. My rule is that they have to meet me on Skype at set times (example 8:00 am my time) for a five minute chat about the work.
I also make them post a message in basecamp every day, Monday through Friday.
This is something you need to enforce to ensure that they are working andthat they are doing exactly what you need.
Set a high standard immediately, work structure, standardized deliverables, standardized processes, and continuous improvement.
You should insist that anyone who does anything for you give you the best quality they can produce. Do not allow the quality to slip… not even once.Make they do a task over and over until they get it right.
That will piss a few of your guys off, but it is for everyone’s benefit if you enforce quality standards.
One way to achieve consistent results is to have standardized work processes for tasks that are repeated often. This is another idea from EMyth Revisited.
In our business, that means using templates to write articles.
It means have standard processes for conceptualizing, planning, researching, and writing content.
It means having a standard process for developing software.
It means having a standard process for promoting individual pages, andentire websites… example
Google keyword tool to find keyword niches
Market samurai to pin point keyword phrases to target
Create page with content that targets phrase which links to the offer
Setup initial AdWords Campaign to test interest
Start article campaign for successful keywords
Tweak AdWords campaign
Setup more pages
It also means that the method of submitting work is the same every time.
Standardized deliverables ensure that you get the same quality every time.