I have been trying to outsource most of my daily / repetitive tasks lately and wanted your input on how you do this.
I have hired a filipino guy from easyoutsource.com and he’s been doing a pretty decent job so far.
He can code landing pages , do photoshop banners , upload to traffic sources and he’s decent at coding little php scripts.
Now I want to hire more people , but don’t know how to organize work and keep them always busy ( when I’m at work most of them are sleeping ).
How are you guys doing your outsourcing?
Always have a default job/fall back job like writing content on certain topics.
If they get done early or you forget to give them a project, they always have this default job to do.
Get Basecamp or Activecollab to manage their tasks.
Hire one of them to manage them if you can not, of course you need to pay them more to manage others.
Always give them more work then they can finish so they never have an excuse to not be doing anything.
For pinoys, observe bonus’s and the "13th month". Its their custom and culture to have such.
I use Google docs to manage my outsourcers.
For example, I create simple keyword blueprints (for SEO) and they go through each keyword and promote it using a set series of methods.
Takes them months to complete, which means mostly hands-off for me.
They send me updates with their invoices.
When I’m really strapped for time or don’t feel like managing a project, I’ll send ideas over to one of my outsourcers and tell them to lead the project and assign the other team members roles.
In the beginning (when you first hire someone) you just have to be really clear about what you want.
Let them know what to do if they get stuck (which they will).
I usually tell them to go with their gut – and then if it’s wrong, fix it later. 80% of the time they do exactly what I wanted OR they do it better.
I also like to have new team members either work directly with one of my long-term team members (to be trained), or I have them work 1 week on my hours so I can train them.
Does that help?
I’ve tried many different freelance sites and oDesk blow the rest away if you haven’t already tried them. It’s got a function that tracks by taking screenshots every 10 minutes of what their working on for you to monitor. Pretty neat. Found lots of quality people there.
Yeah, oDesk is good if you’re a micromanager 😉
It really depends on the task. Lets say you need a researcher, they are more productive on oDesk.
Though at the same time, it depends how you pay –
or per task completion.
Yep, haven’t done the per task yet on oDesk but probably will try that next
Sound like a guy I’d like to hire too How much do you pay him, if that’s not a secret?
Thanks everyone , going to create some "default" tasks for him when there is nothing to do.
Where do you hire your full time workers? I used easyoutsource so far but there are not too many workers to choose from there.
I pay him $350/ month , he works 5 days / week full time.
You can search people who have posted & respond…or post your own ad.
Here’s a sample ad I wrote that got a friend of mine 30 responses. You can use it as a blueprint if you like.
US Company Seeking Part-Time Virtual Assistant
20 hours / month guaranteed. Full training provided.
Must have good written English communication and organization skills.
About The Company:
Company, website, is a company that provides (fill in the blanks here, make it snappy). We are seeking a virtual assistant to handle our day-to-day web promotion needs.
Your Responsibilities Will Include (training provided):
-Press release submissions
-Monitor web analytics
-Reliable internet connection
-Excellent English communication skills
-Must be very organized
-Must be available to work nights (US Eastern time)
-Must love learning and applying new skills
How to Apply:
Respond to this message. Attach your resume or work experience. Explain in 2-4 sentences why you are the best candidate for this position. ***Use the word "bright" in the subject line. Applicants without this code word in their subject line will not be considered.
….and in the compensation section:
$ hourly or monthly, based on experience
Of course, you’ll change appropriate details – like your country, company info, and the responsibilities. You should also add appropriate requirements, but I recommend keeping the ones that are already there as well (other than the work hours, if that doesn’t matter to you).
Quick explanation on "use the word bright…"
You’ll get a LOT of crap canned responses along with the real ones. Those are people who will send their CV to any and every posting. And you’ll get serious people who just can’t follow directions. You don’t want to hire any of those people.
So if the resume / application does not say "bright" somewhere in the subject line…just ignore or delete it.
…and quick explanation about the "compensation" –
Don’t put a number. Ask them what their requirements are. You’ll end up paying less, guaranteed.
Hope that helps!
^ Awesome , that’s exactly what I was looking for!
This post just gave me a spark of inspiration.
If you have a software like SENukeX, you can just list all your
SEO sites in Google Docs, and tell your VA that whenever there
is down-time, pls work down the list and run SENukeX on those
When you find that the VA seems to be so busy all the time that
he has no down-time to do these runs, you know it’s time to get
an additional one.
Probably a good way to make sure to give yourself a peace of mind
knowing your $$ is not wasted when making the leap to get your
asjkgasfkejgASOegh DAMN that’s cheap! OMG why am I not doing this already?!
posted a data entry job on odesk a couple days ago.. got 176 responses and a handful of people with decent english willing to work for .75 cents an hour.
If you put up a generic VA/assistant and requirements, you’ll get an insane amount of bids. Let them pile in. When I have people doing basic VA-level work, I cap it at like $1 and I’ll still get 70+ bids. You have to filter and make sure their rating is good, and you may get some bad apples, but my entire staff right now I got like this. I pay them on avg .75-.90 an hour which works out to a joke of like $100-195/month. My best telemarketers when I used them ranged from $2-3/hr.
Just make sure you have some tangible amount of tracking to keep people accountable. If you don’t like sorting through that bullshit yourself, hire a PM to keep an eye on that stuff + review screenshots/webcam images etc so their timecard is accurate.
Good stuff. I think I’ll try vworker out for coding / other stuff I don’t really know how to do myself. That’s the only reason I’d want to see screenshots. With SEO, I know how long it takes to do stuff.
When you give to your VA’s your software logins , advertising accounts,facebook accounts and other valuable stuff aren’t you afraid that they can steal from you? For example if i have senuke,xrumer,scrapebox + some hosting accounts i am just afraid to give them out to some strangers and end up losing them…How do you deal with that?
https://www.onlinejobs.ph/ is another source.
@liane, your ads don’t get ghosted?
or do you use a PH IP to post your ads?
Originally Posted by eliquid
Always have a default job/fall back job like writing content on certain topics.
If they get done early or you forget to give them a project, they always have this default job to do.
I like that idea of giving them Default Tasks.
I usually give them weekly objectives for them to complete, and have them give me a daily update of 3 criteria:
1.What did they get accomplish?
2.What did they get stuck on?
3.Is there anything I can help them with?
Pinoys are great problem solvers, so I usually let them take care of a problem unless I need to step in and solve it.
I am still learning how to use this but RescueTime.com is an automated system tracking and time management site. It’s Free for the Basic version. A really great tool to possibly add to your arsenal.
Just checked out vworker and it looks pretty cool. Do you find you get as many qualified bids on vworker as you do on odesk?
On a similar note and not trying to hijack but just curious.. what tools do you guys use for collaboration outside google docs / dropbox.. I’ve used huddle a while back but it was too expensive and not very intuitive and used basecamp but found it way too simple / almost impossible to track and use on a daily basis
I’m also interested to hear what you guys are using for project management and collaboration for your team? I’ve been using Basecamp as well and didn’t like it, I was currently checking insight.ly, any comments on on this?
A few months ago I hired 2 managers and have them manage my offshore teams and any projects I have. All get posted on vworker.com (used odesk for awhile but got hit with fraud they would not refund so cancelled account) Best advice is hire one or two managers and allow them to handle the rest or you will go nuts micromanaging it all.
I’ve turned down ideas of mine multiple times, due to not having enough time to do them (like i’m sure almost everyone here has), but i’ve always considered hiring VA’s to help with the workload, but the micro managing of it all seems like it will ultimately fail.
For anyone who dislikes managing, does having VA’s stress you out?
I like managing, and they still stress me out sometimes. I think Kevin has it right – get someone else to manage them. When you do it yourself, you still end up spending more time than you’d like getting them going / keeping them going.
I’ve heard good things about odesk.com, I think the trick is to find ex-pats and retirees living abroad or who are well educated and communicate well.
Kevin had a bad experience with them but I don’t think you should all write them off until you try for yourself, could be a just a couple of bad apples.
Here’s another place to find Filipino VA’s (excellent content writers, webmasters, etc.): www.easyoutsource.com
I’ve outsourced projects and coding type tasks and can even imagine a system for outsourcing SEO, but how can you outsource "managing" campaigns. There is a certain level of understand of metrics and optimization that I don’t feel comfortable leaving to someone who’s english is their second language.
I’ve even tried training locally but again some people are untrainable, and the ones that are are usually affiliates themselves.
Anyone have a solution?
Get an affiliate who has managing skills to partner up with you instead of "hiring him" but again, it’s still hard to have a complete trust with the said person. I personally manage my team myself simply because my team only has 7 programmers / designers so it’s still easy to manage and structure. To this point, I make sure I only hire smart and reliable people (this can be very complicated) and from there, I give my precise guidelines, make sure the communication between me and them is sharp and usually, I do pretty well I might think of giving a management position to one of my lead coder that I know I can trust, I know he’s sharp and I know he understand how I work. When this will come, I think my team will be pretty damn efficient.
Again I have no issues with outsourcing coding, design, etc. I just can’t outsource the actual campaign "management." In your team of 7 do you have anyone who maintains your campaigns.
I like the idea of partnering up, but have heard so many stories of partnerships going sour. Plus even 1 extra person won’t really help the cause I’d say I need 5 full time people just launching campaigns and optimizing the ones that already work so I could concentrate on things like finding new advertisers negotiating with traffic sources, etc.
Anyway I’ll figure it out just wanted to see how others have dealt with this sensitive part of the business.
For campaign management, I think the best way to do it is to hire marketing interns and act as an agency. Treat every offer as a new client (much easier when you really work direct with them), you don’t have to talk about aff marketing and every should be fine. Two friends are finishing their master in marketing right now and they’re almost begging me to hire them so they could build some campaigns for me and I gotta say, I’ll probably do it as they are very creative and I don’t think there will be trust issue as they don’t even think to run their own stuff. I think it’s just about finding the right person, we must find the limit between entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation so they can work by themselves and make sure they don’t run with your stuff.
Just came across this bit of software, not used it but looks interesting:
Sounds great, I registered with vworker right away!
I know the thread is quite old but since it got bumped anyway:
The "big brother" tools that are mentioned here are quite terrible. Not only are they mean/rude/disrespectfull and raise serious questions about fundamental privacy rights. But also reduce productivity!
Go check every big study about working enviroment, the more you get controlled the more preassure you have the less creative less productiv less motivated you get. MAYBE it is a good ida for rly stupid task like clicking a button every 2 minutes but not for anything else.
Besides: For every task that is so stupid that everyone can do it you can just automate it saving money in the long run.
Would rather have some ppl that i can trust and that are reliable and do a good job but slacking like 10% of the working time then stupid zombies that just sit there do there job don’t think about anything at atll …
OK, here we go, my 10 most valuable secrets about outsourcing even the big companies don´t know (FREE!, though this post will self-destruct after 3 days)
1. @thekaine: you´re right, tools like Rescuetime etc. : they look cool initially, but you´d better have somebody you can trust and don´t have to control all the time –> advice: do not use those tools, you don´t want to go there, pointless.
2. About micro-managing outsourcers etc.: true. I´m a great organizer, but chances are high it still costs a considerable amount of your time. Tip: define your tasks very well and detailed, be very explicit. Have multiple tasks lined up.
3. Always have them email you daily with a similar 3 questions as mentioned earlier (what you do, any problems, can I help), that helps in case you don´t communicate for a few days, they are not allowed to skip this daily email.
4. Once you have somebody you reasonably like and trust, ask them to find somebody else and tell them you will give them a bonus for a really good one.
5. Always have them on skype and tell them they need to be 100% on skype during their pre-defined working hours. Whenever I start working (Europe) they already spent most of their working day, so they need to be available when I get on skype.
6. I pay them every 2 weeks, if they don´t have paypal, tell them to get Paypal and an "EON card" from their bank (which can connect with paypal), so they can withdraw their funds. Pay on time! For the US people among us Xoom is used a lot. Not useful for europeans: use paypal, works great. (how? within paypal something like: send money –> personal –> other (that prevents you from paying high fees): don´t mention anything business in the payment details. Let them have you send an invoice every 2 weeks, that is their responsibility.
7. Organizing the documents, task descriptions etc. : use gmail, google docs and a spreadsheet and some organizing tool , a simple one which is free is called Clockingit, simple but cool. Have a main TRACKER spreadsheet in which you keep track of your tasks, number your tasks, then have the tasks description within e.g. Clockingit. (e.g. WP-223: create a landing page based on the attached example … , etc.). In your main tracker spreadsheet have the projects defined you work on.
8. Access to passwords you do with LASTPASS, in which you can share access without them seeing the password. When you fire somebody you just revoke the sharing and they´re cut off. Works great.
9. Behave like a boss (be an example: if you promise to do or have something (like pay…), do it on time etc.), they expect it (at least with filipinos). If they have an uncle die and their dog sick their first week, it´s likely they´re B.S.´ing. Rule then: fire quick. hire slow.
10. When you think somebody is a fit, let them do a (unpaid) trial task which is a reflection of some future task. If they´re not prepared to do that: next! If you need to hire a WordPress genius and you have 3 candidates: create some pressure, have them start at the same time (without them knowing about anybody else of course) and do the same task and compare the endresult and the time in which they finish (great fun: you can watch in your hosting account etc. also how fast it is going).
OK, that´s it, the 10 most valuable secrets even your grandma doesn´t know.
Now go out and help the world economy 🙂
@yesman: that’s actually pretty well said. However, I wouldnt be myself without putting my 2 cents’ worth I completely agree with you that they shouldnt be controlled that way. In my case they usually receive similar tasks which are to be done every day and I know exactly how long it takes for each one to finish them. I dont have to control them cause they send reports every day and if there’s no report with the task done – no pay for that day
And about bullshitting, well it happened to me several times… I felt terrible hearing that someone’s grandpa died (strangely they always make their grandparents die if they are to lie about something) The key to success IMHO is to build relationships. Ask them how they feel about the job from time to time or how was their day. Once you make friends with them they will never want to lie to you or leave you. They will also try to be as productive as possible.
As you said, again, it’s best to pick someone that will be a manager and keep an eye on everything. Pay him more and expect more. You should also be in really good relations with that guy. In my case, my manager is almost like a virtual friend
As for the management systems, I’m in the middle of a research on that (which I let my manager to do BTW) and I’m thinking of using basecamp. Good idea?
^ i use basecamp w/contractors it’s simple efficient and works like a charm