Outsourcing Update

This is the 100th post on this blog! Just thought I’d put that in here before we get going =). 

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted my progress on my resolution to replace myself. Since then, a few things have happened. The guy I offered the job to accepted, and started. The first assignment I gave him was to follow the directions in four backlink packages I gave him. These are all laid out with screen shots and the whole bit, pretty straightforward. 

So there were a total of 120 links to get. He started on a Wednesday, but hadn’t done a lot by the following few days. I stressed a few times to him that my absolute most important requirement was that he email me regularly, once per day, to update me on his progress. That wasn’t really happening. On top of that, it seemed difficult to communicate with him. For instance, if I asked a question in an email, close to the top, but then went on with other topics in the email, that question would never get answered. 

So by the weekend, I was still trying to figure out where this guy was at, skills wise, to see what training was going to be necessary. So I emailed him a very direct list of things, asking him to just put a yes or a no beside each item. I got that back, and I was surprised to see he’d done nearly everything on my list. Apparently he had a lot of relevant experience. However, over the next few days I just didn’t get any emails. 

This persisted until the end of the following week, at which point I decided enough was enough. I wasn’t in the mood to stick this out until the bitter end. I hadn’t had any evidence from him that he’d actually done the things that I had asked, and about double the amount of time had passed that I expected it would take an extremely slow person to do the job. I figured there just wasn’t much effort going into this relationship. 

So I sent him a “dear John” letter, offerring to pay for his work thus far if he could prove it was done, but explaining to him that because of the amount of time it had taken him thus far, and primarily because of his lack of communication that I wasn’t going to be able to offer him continued employment. 

So during this time I got an email from a girl from the initial batch. She’d been on holidays and hadn’t been able to reply at the time. She was wondering if the job was still open. So I looked at her resume and decided, sure why not? She didn’t have nearly the same level of experience this guy did, but her English seemed good enough, and at this point I was looking more for a trainable, happy to work, person than I was to have someone who’d done everything before. 

Anyways, long and the short of it is that I’ve never heard back from guy #1, and it’s been several days since I sent that email. Conversely, I’ve been back and forth multiple times with the girl. We negotiated work terms (which included part time hours) which worked for both of us, and she’s agreed to start next week. 

Throughout the process I’ve actually been somewhat impressed by her level of communication. I’m the kind of person that picks up on small things in communication, knowing what is required by proper English and what is “extra” for good communication. She seems to be beyond the basic, and communicates, at least via email, as well as anyone I’ve dealt with in Canada or the US. In fact, much better than many. I like the fact that when I mention something that requires an answer in an email, I know I will get that answer, and not have to email about it again. To me, that is a very valuable trait. 

So I still don’t know how things are going to work out, but it is amazing how much you can learn just by emailing someone, if you’re tuned in to the signs. So far I’m remaining optimistic about this. I think she’s going to work out just great. I was warned that I might not find the perfect person on the first try, and I didn’t really hold high expectations for doing so. I’d be very happy to get that person on the second try. 

I’ll keep you posted. =)

(if you haven’t read it yet, you should check out my previous post on this topic)

6 Responses to Outsourcing Update
  1. Ben Waugh
    January 27, 2009 | 8:00 pm


    I like your site and wanted to know if you would be interested in exchanging blogroll links.

    Thanks in advance

  2. inthistogether
    February 7, 2009 | 3:25 pm

    Hope the girl works out 4 ya – a Canadian I hope,

    Reggie from Regina
    306 546 0662

  3. medschoolbuddy
    April 12, 2009 | 6:38 pm

    Hey Jon
    I’m working on a new start-up company and decided that I am going to build this thing with as much ‘scale-ability’ as possible. With that in mind, I have been doing my research and experimenting (just like you) with outsourcing.

    The goal is to be able to have as many aspects of the company ‘outsoure-able’ as possible.

    I just loved your detailed accounts of what happened, both in your original post on Jan. 9, and this posting! I did a very similar thing on oDesk.com, eLance.com, rentacoder.com, and currently testing a new one, wordpressfreelance.com.

    In my first attempt, I pre-screened about 15 bids from each site. I interviewed 3-5 of them from each website (email style questioning of course). And hired one lucky person from each site immediately… for my evaluation process.

    I gave them all several small tasks to begin with. I was really only testing responsiveness, ability to meet deadlines, productivity, compatibility, English abilities, etc. And in the process, I was able to have them complete some very tedious and time consuming projects I had on my plate for a very long time.

    Examples of assignments were that I had a coder from India create myspace.com accounts for several Brick & Mortar Companies. At the same time I had an assistant from the Philippines create several articles and reviews for our companies and post them up to the myspace accounts. I also had another VA from the Philippines work purely as an administrative assistant, doing the daily tasks of checking email, replying to Facebook fans, etc.

    Of course they did not all work out. Only one VA stuck. I had to fire the friendliest VA from the Philippines because she was making too many mistakes and clearly was not skilled enough for the job. I let her go nicely and explained why. I told her if and when she gains a lot more experience, I would welcome her back on the team. She was understanding and actually told me she knew this was coming.

    The one VA that I stuck with, whom I currently work with, is great. In fact, we actually get along as if we’ve been friends for sometime. He is fast, responsive, and skilled. Not bad for a first attempt, wouldn’t you say?

    Anyways, if you’re interested in any information about the different websites, VA’s, where I had most of my success, etc. give me a shout. I’d be more than happy to share.

    I would also love to hear your updates since January.



  4. Jonathan
    April 13, 2009 | 9:45 am

    Hey Ray, thanks for sharing your hiring strategy. I keep on saying I’m going to post an update on this topic, but I haven’t yet. Perhaps today will be the day! (or at least this week 😉

  5. medschoolbuddy
    April 14, 2009 | 6:18 am

    Great Jon,

    I will be looking forward to it.

    P.S. I just promoted my part-time VA to full time and we’re both very excited about it. I’ll let you know how the experience goes.

  6. teevee
    April 30, 2009 | 2:56 pm

    Just posted a comment to your original post.

    I am also part owner of another online company. As a team we actually hired 3 individuals from the Phillipines before I hired mine so I had a little experience.

    Those 3 ranged in experience from total energetic Newbie to “SEO master”

    One needs a ton of training and the other needs little direction and is actually teaching us some of his strategies.

    They all have their individual training needs, but for the most part we are happy with the work we are receiving and their attitudes. All 3 are fluent in English which allows us to understand each other greatly.

    We made sure to stick to Jonas suggestion on that!

    teevee\\\´s last blog post..Just finished putting together my design…

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