An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Outsource to the Philippines (Spoiler: I’ve Done It For 10+ Years)

An Entrepreneur's Guide to Outsource to the Philippines (Spoiler: I've Done It For 10+ Years) - Nathan Hirsch

An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Outsource to the Philippines (Spoiler: I’ve Done It For 10+ Years)

A young woman with a pot of coffee beside her smiling as she looks at her laptop screen.

This is not my first guide around how to outsource to the Philippines. But I want to give you some of my favorite tips to getting it right the first time.

In this post, I’ll take you through the process that I developed over my 10+ years of experience. I’ve been hiring virtual assistants from the Philippines for all my businesses, and it’s the best solution. 

Why the Philippines?

I opened an Amazon store shortly after my college made me stop selling used textbooks out of my dorm room in 2009. That was my first business, but Amazon became my first serious venture. 

I was determined to make it big on Amazon, and I needed help. So I started hiring college friends and other students. That did not work out too well. I couldn’t depend on them, and it almost crashed my business.

That’s when a friend of mine introduced me to the idea of hiring help virtually. I started trying out different freelancers on sites like Upwork, which was called Odesk at the time, and Fiverr. That was purely hit and miss.

My partner Connor Gillivan and I knew that there has to be a better way. We always documented our processes and decision-making, so we used that to analyze the problems we were having. 

Soon, we figured out that we could ask better questions to vet candidates properly. We also discovered that hiring VAs from the Philippines gave us better results across the board. 

Strengths of Filipino VAs

Filipino virtual assistants (VAs) have a number of core strengths that are tied to their cultural identity and experience. These innate strengths, if you will, make them highly valuable assets to businesses around the world. 

Below are some of the main ones that I found have brought the most value to our businesses over the years. 

Communication Skills

The Philippines is one of the few nations in Asia where you can find high levels of English proficiency. Most Filipinos know enough English to get by, and they have a more neutral accent that’s easy to understand. 

Because their education system focuses on language skills, Filipinos also tend to have strong written communication. This means that they can deliver clear and concise information.

Flexibility and Amiability

The Filipino culture emphasizes respect for others and a strong work ethic. This means that on average, the Filipino VA is someone who cares about serving at a high level. In a VA role, people from the Philippines prove themselves to be adaptable and eager to build strong working relationships with clients.

Filipinos are also well known for their cheerful and positive disposition. It’s often said locally that nothing can bring a Filipino down. This is a huge asset for any worker, but especially for virtual assistants. 

This generally good attitude despite circumstances helps Filipino VAs maintain a professional demeanor at all times. Even when challenging tasks and difficult clients come their way, they remain polite and respectful.

Tech Savvy

The Philippines has a very large young population. This means that most Filipinos you will find looking for work will be very familiar with the latest technologies. Combined with a high digital literacy rate, you can hire wel-educated teams without looking very far. Most Filipinos listed on freelance marketplaces are generally comfortable with technology. Any tools that they don’t know, they are mostly willing to learn, and can do so quickly.

Cost Effectiveness

With all of the advantages listed above, you would expect to pay a lot if you were hiring from your local area. Filipino VAs offer competitive rates compared to VAs in other countries because their cost of living is lower. 

Cost savings around hiring is a major advantage for businesses, especially startups. Not only can you hire more and better help for less, but you can offset your savings to support your best hires. This builds loyalty to ensure that they stay on with you long-term. 

Problem-Solving

Filipinos are very resourceful people. They can often come up with innovative solutions to problems on their own. Just give them the freedom to brainstorm and they can surprise you.

This creativity of Filipinos mostly comes from their history of hardship. This has helped them to build resilience to a level that can’t be bought. One main Filipinos trait is their ability to overcome challenges, which translates well on the job. They usually deal very well with unexpected situations and tight deadlines.

Identifying What to Outsource

A woman smiling and gesturing to someone on a laptop screen as they talk over plans to outsource to Philippines.

Before you outsource to Philippines agencies, marketplaces, or independent freelancers, you need to know what to outsource. 

I suggest the following areas where I know Filipino freelancers and virtual assistants can do very well, and why. It’s a good list, because of their strong skillset and cultural attributes make them suitable for lots of tasks.

Administrative and Support Services

  • Accuracy and efficiency in accomplishing even the most tedious and time-consuming data entry tasks.
  • Meticulous research and quality lead generation skills for niche target businesses and audiences.
  • On the ball with managing email inboxes, scheduling appointments, and keeping you organized.
  • Efficient at booking flights and making other travel arrangements.
  • A wide pool of number-savvy individuals with bookkeeping and accounting knowledge and experience.
  • Excellent at customer service in particular, with their excellent communication skills, pleasing demeanor, and willingness to go the extra mile. They are well-suited for email, phone, and social media customer interaction.

Creative and Technical

  • Adept at creating engaging social media content and managing the conversations around it.
  • Skilled at graphic design, creating presentations, infographics, social media posts, and marketing materials.
  • Above-average content writing and editing skills for marketing copy, blog posts, and website pages.
  • Rising talents in the world of web development and programming, even in the more technical areas.

The Outsourcing Process: How to Start

A woman working on a laptop at a table with a big whiteboard behind it.

Define Needs and Goals

The first step to outsource to the Philippines is to identify tasks to outsource. If you didn’t find what you need above, make your own list. 

Carefully analyze your current workload to separate the repetitive and time-consuming tasks from the ones outside your core competency. These are the first and second tiers of tasks you should consider outsourcing.

Set your goals for outsourcing, clearly defining what you hope to achieve by outsourcing. Note how much you want to improve in the different areas, like cost reduction, improved efficiency, and specialized skills.

Evaluate Business Readiness

Before you start posting job openings and hiring people, make sure your business can support remote collaboration. You need to set up certain technological infrastructure first. This can include cloud-based tools and project management software.

Find and learn how to use all the tools that you will need to run your business with remote teams. Then you know what technical skills they need to do the job right.

Clearly document the processes that you need every virtual hire to follow while working within your business. Effective outsourcing depends a lot on these processes. This is because outsourced teams need to understand how you operate so they can know how to deliver the results you want.

Find the Right Hiring Partner

I don’t recommend just going to any random freelance marketplace out there. No matter how popular one or two might be, they aren’t necessarily going to be the best partners for your business.

Choosing an Outsourcing Model

Decide first what outsourcing model will serve you best. You can choose nearshoring, which gives you candidates in similar time zones. This usually means hiring from Central or South America and the Caribbean.

You can also choose offshoring vs outsourcing, which is a much wider pool. Of course, this means different time zones, but most freelancers are used to working odd hours, anyway. The main choice here is hiring agencies or individual, independent contractors.

Identify Potential Providers

Choose your potential hiring partners based on the outsourcing model that best suits your needs. Consider factors like pricing, reputation, communication preferences, experience in your industry, culture, work style, etc. Your partner can be an outsourcing company or a freelance platform. 

Draft a Clear Contract

Never start work until you have agreed on a clear scope of work. Clearly define all the tasks and deliverables you expect from each member of your outsourced team.

Establish clear communication channels and expectations for how you want interactions to play out. Explain to partners and candidates how you intend to track their progress and measure their performance. 

Make sure that everyone is on the same page about your payment terms, milestones, and termination clauses. This helps you to avoid complications later on.

Onboarding and Management

You want to hire pre-vetted freelancers, of course. Still, because every business is unique, you will still have to give them some level of onboarding and training. This is especially true if your business has more robust processes than the average company. 

I always strongly suggest investing time and energy into developing systems and processes. This means that I also suggest investing in training outsourced teams on these processes. This includes any terminology they need to know, and your company culture.

Alongside onboarding is setting up quality assurance procedures. This is so you can make sure that teams deliver according to your standards. All this sets virtual hires up for success within your business. 

When you outsource to the Philippines, regular communication is key. The distance is a major factor here. Make sure you always give clear feedback. One of my favorite tips is intentionally creating spaces to bring up challenges so you can discuss and resolve them promptly. I also suggest fostering a collaborative relationship where teams feel comfortable sharing openly so everyone can improve.

Managing Costs When You Outsource to Philippines 

A woman working on a laptop at a desk with a calculator and notepad on it.

From my experience, understanding the cost structure when outsourcing to the Philippines​​ is vital.

People

Make sure you know what your needs are and how much it’s going to cost you. Break down each task into clear deliverables so you can make accurate cost estimates. Consider local and in-house rates and the time it takes to accomplish tasks when negotiating rates with Filipino freelancers.

You can find baseline rate ranges on freelance platforms. This is just a general idea of what Filipino VAs typically charge for similar tasks. Make sure you are looking at the top-rated people, though. 

Tools

Factor in individual subscription costs for all the tools you will be using. This can include project management software, video conferencing tools, and accounting platforms.

Include the costs of all the onboarding and training you will take new hires though. Fator this in even if you’re not doing it yourself. 

Make sure you understand all the fees involved when hiring from freelance platforms. Watch out for potential hidden fees. Make sure you have a good buffer to manage additional fees for revisions or changes in project requirements, too.

Check out my principles of entrepreneurship, too, for more advanced tips on building successful teams.

Outsource to Philippines with Long-Term Success 

These are my favorite tips for long-term success when you outsource to Philippines agencies and freelancers. 

Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

You always want to look for the best of the best. This means crafting a detailed job description. Clearly outline the required skills and experience for the position. Describe the type of work involved. Highlight the opportunity for long-term collaboration and your emphasis on work-life balance.

Never low-ball applicants. You can’t attract top talent if you aren’t willing to offer competitive rates and attractive bonus structures. Remember, freelancers don’t get paid regular benefits, so you need to make it worth their while. 

Go to reputable platforms to find qualified VAs. Look into Filipino VA agencies that specialize in long-term projects, too.

Screening Candidates

Don’t rely completely on what a candidate gives you on paper. Use skills assessment tests to evaluate their proficiency. Focus on the areas that are most important to the role you’re hiring for.

Structure your interviews. Know what to focus on assessing and how to rate each area. For example, create clear questions around communication skills, cultural fit, and understanding your expectations for the role.

I suggest hiring the best candidates for a trial period. This is how you can assess a VA’s work ethic, skills, and fit within your workflow in real time. It’s a great way to see how they work before you commit long-term.

Final Thoughts

When you decide to outsource to Philippines, these tips are what you need to have under your belt. From my experience, you will learn a lot along the way. We also have several advanced resources at Outsource School to help you. But, you actually can get started with this right here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Nathan Hirsch

On a mission to make entrepreneurship simpler for millions.

Contact Details

Follow Me

Sign Up to my Newsletter

You have been successfully Subscribed! Ops! Something went wrong, please try again.

© 2024 Nathan Hirsch. All rights reserved.