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Entrepreneurs outsorucing

How to train outsourced staff

training outsourced staff

I hope you’ve enjoyed my series about tips for outsourcing work.  Today’s topic is about how to train outsourced staff.

Most entrepreneurs read through the 4 Hour Work Week or find out about employing a cheap Virtual Assistant (VA) and immediate get excited to hire overseas.  Slow your roll buddy!  You’re making moves without thinking it through.  Make a plan first and then execute or else you will just be wasting your time and money.

Most people do not realize that the success of outsourced staff is based on the leadership and processes you put in place to prepare them for their job.  In this post I would like to outline my experience with tips on training outsourced staff.

Orientation vs. Training

I like to break down my onboarding process into two different sessions, orientation and then training.

Orientation is designed to describe the company’s history, background and culture. I believe that this is a necessary process because it sets the tone and expectation for the new hire moving forward.  They need to know the company’s why. They also get a feel for how to communicate internally and how to ask for days off or deal with disciplinary actions.  If you have a company handbook, this would be the perfect time to go over some of the key points.

Training is a whole separate session dedicated to the actual job duties for that new staff member.  I recommend that you create a list of job duties and responsibilities before hiring.  Just like a regular 9-5 gig, the success of an employee is based on the structure you provide them.  During this part of the conversation spend time going through the nitty-gritty about the processes that the staff member will be responsible for.  Discuss who they will be reporting to and an expectation for accountability.

Tips & Shortcuts

In my experience, the whole onboarding process is a huge time vampire.  If you’re constantly hiring staff, the process of orientation and training eats up several hours out of your week.  You know that time is money. Spending unnecessary time giving a speech every week about how the company was built is a big waste of time.

If you have learned a thing or two about being successful, then you know the next word in this blog post is automation!

Try creating a series of videos for the onboarding process. They should be broken down into small digestible snippets of 3-5 minutes.  Just do a simple screen capture of a power point presentation with you talking in the background to make it easy. On the first day, after their employment contract is signed, send that new hire these series of videos to review.  You can even make a simple multiple choice test to make sure they learned what you said.  It will probably take a week to set up but the initial investment will save you a boatload of time in the long run.

I should also give an honorable mention to WalkMe.  If you’re trying to train a new employee to use software, then this is more efficient than watching a video.  Walkme is an application that creates popup messages on software with a training note or video.  It simplifies and automates the process of having to explain how the software works.

Wrap Up

I hope you found this post informative.  If you’ve been following along, then you know that the process of bringing on outsourced staff has a lot of considerations.  Please send me your feedback!  If there is something I missed or a cool tip you can share, I’d love to hear it!  Check back next week where I wrap up my discussion with monitoring your staff!

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Entrepreneurs outsorucing

Outsourcing Tips: Fixed Rate vs. Hourly vs. Salary Contracts

fixed rate hourly salary outsource contract

In previous posts I’ve outlined some tips on the best counties to outsource work. Today I want to cover the best ways to pay for that work and how to choose the right outsourced contracts.

For years now, I have easily drop six figures annually on payroll because 95% of my staff are employed overseas.  Through a lot of trial and error, I have used my experiences to learn how to make this into an art form.  From fixed rate to hourly to salary, based on your project I have outlined the criteria for the best choice when hiring. So without further adieu, let’s get into it!

Fixed Rate

Fix rate jobs are great for short term work. By short term I mean a few days to a few weeks worth of work.  These are especially great for programing jobs.

A really awesome feature for a fixed contract are bugs or revisions.  You typically do not need to pay for them.  Another really great attribute is the negotiation of payment.  Typically you can layout the terms of the contract before starting so you can plan and budget ahead for payroll disbursements.

Before starting a contract with a contractor I highly recommend that you have all of the details for the project in place.  You also need to be as specific and as granular as possible.  I can’t tell you how many times I gotten into it with a contractor because I was not clear with the scope of work.  The only real draw back happens when a SOW is not specific.  If you need to go back and forth with a contractor and the project ends up extending itself for weeks;  90% of the time that contractor will “go missing”.  Chances are, the work done is outside of the original SOW negotiated and they will likely get pissed. Then they will take on other work to keep their cash flow rolling in.  That means putting your contract on the back burner.  Learn from my lesson and be as specific in the beginning as possible.

Hourly

In my opinion, hourly rates are grate for maintenance contracts or simple day-to-day tasks. If you think you’re going to encounter a series of tasks and don’t have the time or energy to negotiate each task, then this also the right option for you.

That contractor knows that in order to get paid, they need to be working so they will be available to grind out the work you provide them quickly.  Typically these types of contracts have the person working on their hours (not yours) unless that is negotiated in the beginning.

Here’s a quick tip.  Set a cap on those hours weekly.  If a contractor works under the cap, then it’s good for you because you’re under budget for that week.  If they go over the cap, then you do not necessarily need to pay for it.

There are really two main drawbacks of hourly contracts that you should be aware of.  First being bugs and revisions.  Unless otherwise stated prior to starting a contract, then these types of issues will likely be billed hourly.  If their quality of work sucks, then expect a ton of revisions.  A ton of revisions equate to an increase in billable hours.  The second drawback is time card fraud. You really need to be monitoring the logged hours closely.  7/10 times the contractor is logging hours incorrectly or is clocking in and leaving their computer running to rack up their hourly.  It has happened to me a bunch of times. You really need to pay attention to this. If it happens, then fire that contractor immediately.

Salary

Salary contracts are great if you know you’ll need someone on staff full time.  These contractors are typically online when you need them to be.  You set an 8 hour schedule and you can expect them to be there for it.  Another great feature of  salary contract comes with large projects and due dates. If a huge project due date is looming around the corner, you can expect your staff to work unpaid OT to get the job done.

Here are the drawbacks.  Prior to even considering a salary contractor make sure you have your company handbook and guidelines in place.  The contractor will expect to have PTO, holidays and benefits.  You need to outline all of these terms clearly prior to even starting a contract.  Logistically, it will be a headache to set up, but if shit hit’s the fan, you can fall back on this handbook.  The second draw back is urgency. Without a deadline, most contractors will lollygag and take their time to complete projects.  To mitigate that, you really need to set the habit of making deadlines for each task.

Wrap up

I hope this helps shed light on the best ways to hire overseas contractors. If there is something I didn’t consider, then let me know in the comments.  Let’s discuss!  Otherwise, drop a message below and let me know what you think.

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Entrepreneurs outsorucing

Best country for hiring a virtual assistant

best country to hire virtual assistants

I truly believe that virtual assistants (VAs) have become one of the main keys to the success of any entrepreneur or small business. In this weeks series for best place to outsource jobs, I’d like to tell you about some of my experiences with VAs and where to hire them.

I first started using virtual assistants about 4 years ago.  Now they’ve become the backbone of my day-to-day operations.  From taking care of my clients, to delegating tasks, to managing the team they have become an amazing asset to the company.  You also don’t have to worry about many of the office expenses that are associated with hiring staff when you have a VA.  As long as they have a solid internet connection, you’re in the clear. VAs are also independent contractors so you don’t need to worry about ubiquitous salaries and taxes.  If you haven’t gotten it by now, they’re an extremely useful utility for any business.

Strategy for hiring a VA

I know how enticing it sounds to say that you have a virtual assistant like it’s promoted in the 4 Hour Work Week, but before you jump the gun and just hire anyone, it’s best to lay out a solid foundation with a job description and workflow. You’re only as strong as your team so come correct! Make a list of items that you would like them to do. From there, outline a schedule of when you would like to review their tasks regularly.  I’ve found my success in developing a plan before even getting started with the interview process.

Best in class

I’ve tested the waters in hiring VA’s from around the world.  There are really only 2 locations that I highly recommend when adding a VA to your team.  If you’re not trying to deal with a language barrier, then I recommend hiring locally (as in the United States).  You typically won’t find a solid VA on websites like Upwork.  You will need to work with a VA staffing company.  I’ve found that Worldwide 101 has had the most crop of talent. I’ve found that Sandra, their CEO, really vets their talent rigorously to make sure you’re paying for top quality. During the initial on-boarding process you tell them what you need and they match you with a VA with that experience.

These VA’s are typically of the highest caliber and pricing is based on monthly hourly usage. Since writing this you can look to spend about $350 for a minimal part time VA and around $1500 for someone more readily accessible.

Best bang of the buck

The next best place for hiring a virtual assistant, in my opinion, is the Philippines.  The VA’s there have strong work ethic and have really impressed me with their skill sets.  The biggest drawbacks are the timezone, accents in their speaking, internet and power.  It’s become a nuisance as of late because many of my PI staff frequently have power outages based on their location in the Philippines.

Based on necessity, you can typically hire someone that is willing to work in your timezone.  You just have to add that request in your initial application.  I also recommend creating a really solid list of job duties and a strong structure for workflow.  I’ve noticed that PI VA’s thrive when you give them a guide to follow.

If you’re looking to hire someone full time, then this is the best place to look.  I’ve found a lot of really great talent on onlinejobs.ph.  Now, here’s the best part.  You can typically hire a full time 40 hour a week VA between $300-$500 bucks a month!  That’s a pretty sweet bang for your buck!

Wrap up

Virtual assistants, as with any other position you hire for, really need you to be a strong mentor and leader for them to succeed. You can’t expect them to know everything off the bat.  There is a massive learning curve and you need to give them time to understand the nuances of your needs so they can get the job done.

If you really liked this post or have any questions about hiring a VA, please reach out to me or drop a comment below.  Next week we’re discussing paying people overseas, flat rate vs. hourly.  See ya then!

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Entrepreneurs outsorucing web design

Best countries for outsourcing website design

Last week I started a thread on hiring the best web developers overseas.  This week I’d like to pivot to hiring the best web designers overseas.

Many countries have some really great and very terrible (that pose as great) web designers. My goal with this post is to try to find you the best web designers at the cheapest rate.

I want to preface this post by saying that (at the end of the day) beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.  What I think looks great may not be in another person’s best taste.  Also, I typically base my decisions on Material Designs. These are Google’s basic guidelines for UI creation.

Preparing for the hire

When looking to post for a new hire, always start with a solid job description and an expectation of when you would like them to be available to work for you.  Once you put out an online application on a website like Upwork, you will immediately be bombarded with a ton of applications.  In order to make a decision of who to hire, try creating some criteria to reference the applicants designs against.

Prior to ever getting started, I recommend to begin with some basic research on how a solid website design should look like.  Take a moment to hop on Google images or Pinterest and do a search for modern website design, best website design or material website design. Create a folder on your desktop or a pin board to collect all of the designs you really like. Then, as the applications for new designers come in, cross reference your desired looks with the applicants and it will be much easier/faster for you to make a decision.

Where are the best designers?

Each country has their fill of good, great and garbage designers.  In my experience I’ve found that some of the best designers are from Western Europe.  In my opinion, they’ve really become the gold standard for great design inspiration around the world.  Some of the best UI and UX design have originated from places like Armenia, Germany or the Netherlands.  If you’re looking for a designer that’s cut from a different cloth then I recommend starting your search here.  However, be prepared to spend a hefty dollar!  A typical rate is about $25+/h and a simple website design of a few pages can run a minimum of about 30 hours.  Once you include the time for revisions, you can start to ball park how expensive hiring from here will be.

Best designers with the cheapest rate

I found a sweet spot when it comes to hiring some really great designers and a very reasonable rate.  That sweet spot is in the Philippines.  It will take some time to find the right candidate but when you do, you can expect that designer to be around for the long term.  You can look to spend upwords of $300 – $500 total on a full-on website design.

Filipinos seem to have the right eye for design and also stay up-to-date on the latest design trends.  Filipino’s aren’t as innovative as their Western European counterparts so you will need to provide a ton of guidance. Be prepared to go through several initial revisions just for them to understand what you’re going for. Once you’ve established the creative direction your are looking for, my Filipino brethren know how to imitate to make it look great!

I hope this blog post helps you out if you’re in the hunt for a web designer.  What do you think?  Do you have a better resource or location for picking up some high quality talent? Please leave a comment below or message me your thoughts! Also, check back next week when I go into a deep dive for hiring a VA.

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Entrepreneurs outsorucing Uncategorized

Best countries for outsourcing website programing

best countries for outsourcing web development

If you’re looking to hire overseas talent but not sure where to go or how to start, then the series of posts over the next few weeks are for you! This week, we’re talking about hiring overseas for website development.

If you’re a business owner, you’re always looking for some of the best talent.  Unfortunately, some of the best talent near you comes with a very high price tag.  There are some big benefits for sourcing work overseas like a smaller salary, you do not have to deal with many of the quirky operating expenses that come with hiring someone in-house and you are still able to get the job done quickly and cleanly with someone virtual.

Which countries have the best talent?

Thankfully I built Square 1 Group on exploring, vetting and hiring talent from around the world for nearly a decade. I’ve hired virtual talent from the US, Europe and Asia. Please let my trial and error, wasted dollars and frustrating processes help you learn about the industry so it will be easier for you to hire the right talent.

From my experience, I’ve noticed a few patterns in terms of which country has the best rate for the type of work you’re looking for.  So, without further adieu, let’s get started…

Hiring from India

I think the common misconception is India is the go-to country for hiring web developers.  Unfortunately, that’s completely incorrect.  India is more like the entry drug country.

A really popular outsourcing site is Upwork. When posting a job you will notice that 80% of the applicants are from India. Their large population of applicants really flood your feed into thinking that they are number one resource when it comes to software/web development.  It’s quite misleading and more of a numbers game than anything. Just because there are a bunch of applicants from India doesn’t mean they are great. Honestly, I’ve spent thousands of dollars using Indian freelancers and staffing companies. From that I’ve learned a few things:

India has some great programing talent but they don’t write the cleanest code or use the best logic when developing. They write spaghetti code.  I’ve come to this conclusion based on the many hours I’ve had to deal with either rewriting code or paying more to fix logic because it was not thought through thoroughly the first time.

If you’re looking to hire from India, then let it be more for production work or simple tasks.  You should only be looking to spend around $10/h for a hiring staff like this and nothing more.  Anything higher and you will typically be getting ripped off.

Where should I go for the best programing talent?

In my experience, 2 parts of the globe have seemed to produce some of the best programing talent.  They are Western Europe and Malaysia.

Now, if you’re looking to hire some really great talent on a budget, then I highly recommend programmers from Malaysia.  Your typical starting price is $15/h and you’re likely to hire someone with some really amazing value. In my experience, Malaysian talent really think through the process much more thoroughly and also have really great expertise in many of the different programing languages. They seem to hold themselves to a hire standard and it shows in their work.

If you’re looking to go full force with hiring top of the line talent overseas, then my recommendation pushes you to Western Europe.  Developers there have put together some of the best and beautiful UI/UX designs in the market today. They are extremely talented and overachieve in their deliverables.  I’ve used talent from there for some pretty large projects but, be forewarned, you’re going to be spending a pretty penny. Typical rates start at $25/h for someone with quality.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, my experiences doesn’t dictate the countries and market as a whole.  I’m just providing some of my experiences to hopefully help you navigate through yours. Let me know what you think and please share some of your experiences hiring overseas staff.

Next week we’ll take a deeper dive into the hiring process but this time we’ll chat about designers…