By Connor Gillivan, freeeup.com
Outsourcing to the Philippines is a smart move for any entrepreneur struggling to get tasks done while controlling spending. Outsourcing to the Philippines gives you fast and easy access to experienced talent that can skillfully handle almost anything you need to get off your plate – and it will cost you a fraction of what it would to hire in your local area.
Why Outsourcing to the Philippines is the Best Option
The Philippines is among the top outsourcing countries; second only to India, in fact. A lot of companies both big and small outsource their operations to this country, and here are the main reasons why:
1. Long Outsourcing History
The first call center in the Philippines began serving overseas clients in 1992. Nearly three decades later, the industry generates work for millions of Philippine residents. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is a lucrative business in the Philippines. BPO contracts are coveted and the industry is supported by the government. BPO skills are also taught at the university level for those seeking a career in outsourcing.
The industry is mature, and many who gain experience in call centers later strike out on their own, building freelance businesses. This means millions more serving clients outside of the BPO industry proper.
2. 24-Hour Business Operations
If you are thinking that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do what needs to get done, then outsourcing to the Philippines is your solution. Despite many Filipinos’ long experience working graveyard shifts, many people still consider the time zone difference to be a setback. You can use it to your advantage, however.
Outsourcing to the Philippines allows you to hire people who work during the day in their time zone, which means that they can cover nights – or whatever other times the business is left unmanned – in your part of the world. While you sleep or take a much-needed vacation, your business can continue to turn a profit as tasks are completed remotely, round the clock.
3. Cost Efficiency
Because of the lower cost of living in the Philippines, freelancers sourced there have much lower rates than what you could find locally. For the same level of skill and experience, you could fill two roles or even three. This means that even a bootstrapped business can manage outsourcing to the Philippines.
With many highly skilled freelancers available at low costs, you gain the bonus advantage of freeing up your time to focus on higher-level tasks. Your business will run smoothly with roles filled so you can look into growth opportunities instead of just trying to keep up with everything.
4. Language Proficiency and Cultural Adaptiveness
English is one of the two official languages of the Philippine government and education. Most Filipinos speak at least a little English, and most who have earned college degrees speak it quite well. You can even find Filipinos who boast English as their first language, depending on how they were raised and where they lived and went to school. It’s all in the country’s colonial history.
From 1898 to 1946, the Philippines was occupied by the United States. During this 50-year period, the impact in terms of language and culture was highly significant.
The Philippines had already been colonized by Spain for about 300 years – and was even briefly occupied by Great Britain – making the introduction of yet another people easy to grow accustomed to. The Filipino are highly adaptive, able to adjust quickly and happily to different business cultures and client preferences.
The US also introduced a new educational system which was, of course, implemented in English with English language textbooks and classroom teaching. 540 qualified teachers were sent to the Philippines and Philippine scholars, in turn, went to America to further their studies. Until the present time, most school textbooks used in the Philippines from pre-school to graduate studies are in English. The Filipino is a natural bilingual.
5. Hard Working Skilled Talent
The quality of work that Filipino freelancers offer is on par with that from freelancers based in highly industrialized nations like the US. About half a million university graduates enter the workforce every year. Moreover, the gentle nature of the Filipino makes them well-suited for service-type roles. Culturally, Filipinos are accommodating and aim to please.
If that isn’t enough to get you interested in outsourcing to the Philippines, consider also that the average age in the Philippines is 23 years. This means a huge pool of technologically-adept youth just waiting to give your business a competitive advantage.
How Outsourcing to the Philippines Works
Finding freelance virtual assistants these days is easy. You just go online, sign up on a freelance website or two, post the work you need to be done, and wait for applicants to show interest.
The trick is finding the right freelance marketplace, coming up with the right project description, and knowing who the right person to hire is.
The Right Marketplace
Every freelance platform has its own distinct hiring process. Most are hands-free, simply allowing clients and freelancers to create accounts and leaving them to find each other. Others focus on pooling only highly experienced freelancers or freelancers from a specific niche. The right marketplace is the one that offers what you need. Consider the following, for instance, which FreeeUp offers:
- Pre-vetting for the highest-level of skills, attitude, communication, and English fluency
- Safe and easy billing arrangements
- Up-front fees for hiring, no hidden charges
- Free top-level support
- Free client and freelancer accounts with no billing minimum
- Referral program for freelancers and clients to expand talent pools and increase profitability
The Right Description
It’s not enough to just say you want a VA, or even to say you’re looking for a customer service person. You need to think deeply about the role that you want to fill and what types of skills that entails. The more detailed you are, the better your chances of attracting suitable candidates.
The Right Hire
Similarly, you need to think carefully about the type of person you want to fill that role. More than just their skills, think about the less tangible aspects like professionalism, attitude, communication, diligence, attention to detail, punctuality, and the like. It’s a lot easier to find someone with the hard skills you need, but the right person for you is the one who has all these other characteristics that you value.
The key to outsourcing to the Philippines is to delegate to the right person through the right marketplace with the right project description. Once you have these in place, you will be able to free up your time and your business to enjoy increased profitability and growth.
What Tasks You Can Outsource
As mentioned above, you can outsource almost anything, regardless of the size of your operations. Here are some commonly outsourced tasks to get you started:
Administrative — Keeping records, preparing reports, email correspondence, calls, data entry, managing calendars and contacts.
Social Media — Setting up social media pages, creating a calendar for posts, managing comments and reviews, inbox management, getting more followers.
Customer Service — Responding to customer issues and concerns through different channels, managing your account in groups and forums.
Outbound Marketing – Setting up partnerships, lead generation.
Web Design, Development and Management – creating your platform storefront or your own online store, fixing bugs, developing new features, creating landing pages to direct traffic, content creation.
Graphic Design – creating various materials for marketing to customers and leads on different channels.
SEO and Online Marketing – optimizing your online presence to reach, attract and guide shoppers through your sales funnel.
Accounting and Bookkeeping – keep your finances in order, track metrics.
Project Management – keep hires performing at peak efficiency, managing needs as the business grows
Store Management — uploading products, updating SKUs and prices, managing inventory and orders, monitoring shipments and deliveries, managing returns and refunds
Digital Marketing — Setting up campaigns, providing creative content for all digital platforms, SEO
Most commonly, companies try to hire more than one virtual assistant to sustain different areas of their business. This depends on the size of your company and your needs as the CEO. Here are some of the important aspects of your business that you can use some help on:
Outsourcing to the Philippines is a winning strategy. You can find highly-skilled, top-performing, technically-adept go-getters with experience, pleasing personalities, and a will to serve for a fraction of what it would take for you to hire in your own area. They can take over a wide range of tasks from the mundane to the highly technical to free you up to focus on working on your business instead of in it.
Connor Gillivan is the CMO and co-owner of FreeeUp.com, a rapidly growing freelance marketplace making hiring online simpler. He has sold over $30 million online, has hired hundreds of freelancers to build his companies, is a published author, and is the owner of ConnorGillivan.com. He currently lives in Denver, CO. freeeup.com