Building Remote Teams For Success

I'm Madeleine!

I’m a small-town girl from Switzerland, rebel entrepreneur, warrior for freedom and visionary with big dreams. Passionate about: Live music, deep conversations, and desert landscapes.

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Hello there, visionaries!

I have quite a treat for you all today: I’ve invited two of my key team members, my operations manager Leona and my program director Mel, back on to chat some more about building a remote team by hiring in the Philippines!

You heard some from them last week, but this week, we’re going to focus more on the process of hiring in the Philippines, which is something that we love to do over here. It’s been a game-changer for my business. We’re also going to shed some light into some of the myths and misconceptions that I find a lot of US CEOs have when it comes to hiring in the Philippines.

Common Misconceptions About Hiring in the Philippines

Madeleine: So, what are some of the common misconceptions that US CEOs have about hiring in the Philippines?

Mel: One is whether the CEO will be able to find someone when hiring in the Philippines with a specialized skill set to fill in a role that is currently done by someone in the US.

Leona: I second that last one. There’s an idea that we can only do admin tasks, like setting up your calendars or setting up your meetings. At 7-Figure Freedom, we’ve hired bookkeepers, we’ve hired graphic designers, we’ve hired really good copywriters, and even more. We can do a lot of things. There are skilled people everywhere in the world.

Cost of Living

Madeleine: Something I find a bit cute and funny with our clients is that every now and again, they step into our business and they are very leery of hiring in the Philippines. They’re not sure they’re going to be able to find good people.

I think this really stems from CEOs here in the US feeling like they can’t even find good people in the US when they’re paying $15, $20, even up to $40. It can be really hard to find really good workers that are going to do the job the way you want it done, and to imagine that you’re going to be able to find somebody to fill those roles while hiring in the Philippines…it feels really risky.

But usually, they hang around us for a little bit and they see how my team is delivering on our services here, and then a few months later they come back to us and they’ve totally shifted their perspective. They see the deliverability and the commitment and the dedication and the professionalism that my team brings to the table, and seeing that firsthand will change people’s perspective.

The other thing that I think makes a lot of CEOs a little nervous is the hourly rate. I remember when I first started hiring in the Philippines 11 years ago, I was shocked.

I was sitting at lunch with a good friend, and he told me that he was paying his full-time business manager $800 a month to do the job.

Now, I had interacted with her, so I knew that she was freaking brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that I later hired her on to work with us. And when I heard how much he was paying her, my jaw just dropped.

At the time, I was hiring barbers and cocktail waitresses, and I was paying them up to $20 an hour to do their jobs. And if I’m being honest, it was really hard. There was a lot of drama and a lot of mistakes, which happens with people trying to figure out their life in their twenties who don’t have a lot of professional experience.

Because of this, shifting my whole workforce over there by hiring in the Philippines was a total game-changer for me because I was able to hire people who were in their thirties, who had college degrees, who had a lot of professional experience, and who showed up in a completely different manner working for my company.

So, Mel and Leona, what is considered a good hourly rate if, for example, you are working in a call center in the Philippines? That’s considered a pretty good job, right?

Leona: I’d say that would be around $5 to $8 per hour. That’s a pretty decent rate for us.

Madeleine: And that’s somebody who has a college degree, by the way. They speak really good English, they may have even had some other professional jobs before that. A call center isn’t an entry-level job.

Mel: And $3 an hour USD would actually be comfortable for us. That rate would be able to support the cost of living here and would also be aligned to the labor laws here in the Philippines. The $10-per-hour range would actually be for senior members, people with up to a decade of experience under their belt.

So, anything between those rates will, firstly, be able to support you and your family. And secondly, it will still allow you to take on mini-vacations and days off to relax.

Madeleine: The reason we are talking about the salary is because one of the common things that I hear from the CEOs that we are working with is, “Oh my God, how can I ever find somebody good at that rate?” And, beyond that, they feel bad paying someone such a low hourly rate.

The cost of living in the Philippines is something to really take into account here. The rate that we pay most of our VAs ranges between $8 and $20-$25. That’s the range for most of the roles that we hire for, so it starts at the high end of what somebody could get paid in the Philippines.

Graveyard Shift

Leona: One of the common questions that we get, especially around hiring in the Philippines, is whether there will be challenges in communicating with people from our country, especially for folks in a different industry than what we’ve worked with before.

Another one would be the time difference, because as you know, we’re on the other side of the world with a twelve to sixteen hour difference from business owners who are located anywhere in the US.

Madeleine: I think for Americans, the idea of working the graveyard shift is very foreign and feels kind of brutal, because we are not used to that. But what I hear so much from you guys is that you actually prefer a working night. So tell me a little bit about why that is.

Leona: Personally, I’m really a night owl. I can function better at night. My brain functions better, the place is quiet, my kids are sleeping…it’s a much easier environment to work in at night. If I had to choose between day or night, I’d choose nighttime any day.

Madeleine: How do you fit in time with your family and for sleep?

Leona: Well, most importantly, my kids are in school during the daytime, so that’s when I sleep. Then when I wake up in the afternoon, they come home from school, we have dinner, I help them with their assignments, and I tuck them into their beds. I get to spend more time with them compared to if I was working on day shift. I would need to go out every day from Monday to Friday, 8 to 5, plus traffic time and travel time. I wouldn’t get home until 7:30, which would leave me with two and a half hours at the end of the day…and that’s if traffic isn’t particularly bad. I could be out till 8 or 9 at night if it’s worse.

Madeleine: So working from home basically gives you back four to seven hours a day.

Leona: Yes. That’s correct.

Working for a US Company

Madeleine: So, why do you prefer working with a US based company?

Mel: It really allows me to learn more about how people think; not just learning about how to do work, whether it be setting up systems and foundations or digital marketing or e-commerce or whatever the industry, but being able to open my mind and explore how other people think and learn from it myself.

And in terms of working with you as an independent contractor and us learning directly from you, it really allows us to clearly understand how you would like to drive the business and how you would want us to represent you and the business while dealing with clients, talking to team members or vendors, etcetera.

Thank you, Leona and Mel!

Thank you, Leona and Mel, for answering all these questions. I think this was really eye-opening, and I hope everyone learned a lot from it! After hiring in the Philippines, I’m never going back to where I was. It has changed everything about the culture of my company and my team.

Are you wondering if you’re ready to take the next step in your business? Curious about whether you’re a good fit for our services? Take the free business assessment quiz to find out! And if you want to learn more, you can visit my website or schedule a call with me today. I can’t wait to hear from you!

If you want to make sure you never miss an episode of my podcast, come follow the 7 Figure Freedom Podcast on Spotify, subscribe on Google, or head over to Apple Podcasts. In the meantime, I’d love to connect with you over on Instagram or in the 7 Figure Freedom Club Facebook group so we can chat about what you got out of this episode!

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