Fri, 4/1 1:46PM • 20:48
Will Bachman 00:01
Hello and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your host, and I’m here today with Brian Solon trop who runs elevate and delegate, which is a firm that will help you a source and hire a professional in the Philippines, to serve as an executive assistant or customer service or other role to support your firm. Brian, welcome to the show. Hey, thanks for having me. So, let’s first talk let’s let’s kind of focus in on executive assistants, we can talk talk about other roles as well. But a lot of independent consultants who listened to this show may realize that they should be thinking about hiring a executive assistant kind of virtual assistant. But it they just haven’t got around to it taught me about some of the tasks that you often see people outsourcing to executive assistants or virtual assistants.
Bryant Suellentrop 01:06
Oh, man, there’s so many. There’s a lot of aspects of business development that are really helpful, you know, that have outsourced to your virtual assistant. You know, everything from updating your CRM and keeping it up to date based on you know, your email inbox and all that kind of stuff. Keeping your calendar organized and making sure that scheduling is going well. Yeah, there really are so many different opportunities to delegate, you know, some of those less valuable tasks.
Will Bachman 01:40
Right, let’s, let’s think through it together some of the things. So one category would be, you know, bookkeeping and invoicing. So, you know, this might be a slightly higher level skilled individual from the Philippines, but you could have someone prepare invoices on your behalf for your clients. Right? And even, you know, and send them out.
Bryant Suellentrop 02:00
Oh, absolutely. We’ve hired many bookkeepers for folks. Absolutely. It’s a it’s a great use case.
Will Bachman 02:06
Yeah. So bookkeeping and invoicing would be one area. Another area might be, you could give the person your login for your LinkedIn and have the person send out LinkedIn connection requests on your behalf to either kind of potential clients or potential partners or whoever you’re trying to build your your network with. They could you know, search for people that are the fit your criteria, and then send those customized LinkedIn connection requests on your behalf.
Bryant Suellentrop 02:38
Yeah, absolutely. We do. I do that every day. One of the things one of my virtual assistants does is she connects with 50 people that are relevant to me in my my network. And I mean, I’ve added 1000 LinkedIn connections over the last year just by doing that, yeah, it’s been really useful.
Will Bachman 02:53
That’s pretty good. Now 50 is an interesting number. That’s, that’s what I’ve heard, kind of whispered, although there’s no published limit on that’s a kind of a number to stay within that or below that. Not to exceed that by too much. Because if you send out too many of those, you can get marked as a spammer. But if you stay within 50 per day, and you have if you have like a decent acceptance rate, then, you know, then LinkedIn is okay with you. What do you what do you include in your connection request?
Bryant Suellentrop 03:25
I generally don’t include much I generally just send the requests. But if they do, you know, accept, I want a list of those people. And honestly, a lot of the people I’m reaching out to our you know, I come come home from a, you know, a networking event or something like that. And there’s 50 business cards or whatever, you know, those people need to be you know, those people need to be read reached out to me, they already know who I am. Or if they’re connected with me, like on another social media platform, like Twitter’s something I use a lot, you know, if they already follow me there, they’re kind of expecting to hear from me. But what you know, I try not to be too, too pitchy on my first LinkedIn requests. If it’s somebody that doesn’t really know me, so much, I try to really, genuinely just say, Hello, and maybe not even talk about what I do necessarily.
Will Bachman 04:17
Interesting. Okay. So, business development, you could also, I mean, I suppose some people will use executive assistant or virtual assistant for doing some research or some of the more rote aspects of running their firm.
Bryant Suellentrop 04:33
Yeah, business development, kind of like you were saying before, and then, you know, just you can pull a list of 1000 people that are relevant to you, you know, I work with a lot of people in real estate, and they might say, you know, there’s 1000 brokers I’d like to talk to, but it’s kind of hard for me to sit here and customize 1000 emails. And so you know, your virtual assistant can kind of, you know, make those lists and help maybe write some writes in customized emails, maybe do a little research for you. I like to create like a little Excel spreadsheet and say, you know, these are five questions I’d like to know the answer to for every individual. And then when I go and write emails, you know, if it’s a cold email out to somebody that is a valuable connection, I know a few things about them that I think are going to be helpful, right? And Help me stand out.
Will Bachman 05:21
Yeah. Okay, so let’s just jump to some of the actual recruiting piece. So first thing that a lot of people might be interested to hear is, if they hire someone full time in the Philippines, what’s the typical monthly, you know, monthly salary for that person? You know, just I know, it ranges, but but what’s the sort of range from two typically, that you have the types of folks that you’re seeing people hire?
Bryant Suellentrop 05:50
Yeah, I would say 612 $100 a month for full time work is pretty typical. I like to go more towards the higher end of that range, because we get higher quality candidates, right. And it depends on where they are, you know, cost of living changes and things like that. But yeah, kind of in that range of, you know, 800 to $1,200 is a pretty healthy range if you’re going to the Philippines.
Will Bachman 06:16
Okay, so at the high end, $1,200 a month divided by roughly 120 hours, that’d be around $10 an hour. What’s the sort of typical background, educational background work background of someone in the Philippines who’s earning $10 an hour, what would you be able to expect?
Bryant Suellentrop 06:36
I’m sorry, if it’s, if it’s $100, if it’s $600 a month, or $800 a month, or even 1200 bucks a month, that should still be, you know, it’s whatever, seven bucks an hour, 10 bucks an hour, you’re gonna get a pretty competent person, I would say, the wages, you know, the wages that you pay them, you’re probably going to multiply those by three or four. And that’s probably a comparable Western wage. So like, if, for example, you’re paying somebody out there, um, you know, 1000 bucks a month, $12,000 a year, I would expect that person in the US to be about a, you know, $55,000 a year person. Right? So pretty quality. I mean, you’re probably getting somebody pretty talented at that point. And then, you know, you can go up from there. Right, there’s plenty more, you know, more talent.
Will Bachman 07:31
Okay. So, I mean, so that’s a useful benchmark of for a Forex, you know, wage arbitrage, which is just, obviously pretty favorable. And so, and so for someone, you know, at that level, who’s like, $10 an hour in the Philippines, what’s their typical educational background, they have a college degree, they have five years of work experience, like they have been working as a manager or, you know, in a Philippine company, or they have, you know, 10 years of executive assistant experience for us based person like, what’s the sort of typical background at that at that pay level?
Bryant Suellentrop 08:10
Sure, what we typically see is everyone we recruit is college educated, or shirt and shortly finishing college, you know, if they’re, if they’re kind of more like a newer hire. But a lot of what we, what we recruit for is 10 years experience working for an American firm already. So lots of companies have been getting help from the Philippines for 30 plus years. You know, JPMorgan varizen companies, you know, they’ve been, you know, we can get people that have been working for a company like that for 10 years. And they integrate really well into a US based business. They’re used to it.
Will Bachman 08:49
Yeah. What about work hours? So Will people be working? daylight hours in the Philippines or doo doo? Are people willing and open to work on a US schedule?
Bryant Suellentrop 09:01
Yeah, they’re more than happy to work on us schedule, that just needs to be communicated in the, you know, in the job posting and things like that.
Will Bachman 09:08
Okay. Let’s talk about the service that your firm offers. So I think you have like a nice fixed fee kind of recruiting Fee Scheme. Tell us a little bit about your fees, and what’s the service that you offer?
Bryant Suellentrop 09:25
So the service we offer is basically to take you a tizzy from not knowing much about virtual assistants to having one integrated in your business and some coaching after the fact. So, you know, we start we do kind of a discovery call to figure out what your pain points are, what your real needs are. And then we will schedule an additional call, where we would go through the job description, I would work with you to figure out what things were. We’re really looking for as far as the you know, the meat and potatoes of what they will actually be doing. And then we kick that in out into our recruiting process. And we have a ton of ways that we find applicants, we usually, you know, kind of bring that down from about 16 8060 to 80, applicants for a roll down to 20 to 30. And then down to a final three, where we would do a final interview with you guys. So we would bring in whoever the the client is, at that point, we would bring them back in and help us interview, do that last final interview for those three candidates, and then choose one that they really love. And then after that, we’re helping, you know, with the onboarding, explaining some questions, there’s always questions. And then we schedule for meetings, usually, either weekly or monthly, where we would go through and, and really just assist because there’s, there’s always ways to improve your processes with your VA. And so we’re there for that. And so the whole package is just 2500 bucks, one time fee.
Will Bachman 10:56
Okay. And what would you say? Are your tips for somebody who’s thinking about hiring a professional from the Philippines? In terms of, you know, sometimes it probably hasn’t gone? Well? Sometimes it goes really well. What would you say are some of the things to avoid doing or the some of the things that really can make the relationship successful?
Bryant Suellentrop 11:22
Yeah, so I would say a few tips. First one is do some vetting like cognitive tests, personality tests, English proficiency tests, those are really helpful. So you really can get a good grip of, you know, their, like grasp of the English language, the next tip I would have is, make sure that they have a setup for their kind of more critical infrastructure that they can always do the job. So you know, the Philippines is on the Ring of Fire, right? It’s there’s typhoons, there’s Earth, you know, volcanoes once a year, usually there’s one of the volcanoes is having some issues. So you want to make sure that your virtual assistant is located in an area that’s not too prone to natural disasters. But, you know, in the case that they do have a power outage, you’re going to want to make sure that they have like a backup generator, as well as a backup internet connection, or at least a plan to go somewhere where they would have a backup internet connection. So those are things that people don’t think about, and maybe, you know, you might go six months down the line and, and, you know, they could lose power and not be back for a few weeks, if you do it the wrong way. Right. And that can be really hectic.
Will Bachman 12:36
You mentioned the last thing, check, I’m sorry, go ahead.
Bryant Suellentrop 12:39
I was just gonna say the last thing I would say is that every applicant is going to say that they’re an amazing fit for the job. Even if they think they would hate that job, they will say that they’re an amazing fit, and that they want the job. Because it’s a good opportunity for them. Right. So if you do the, you know, if you did this process on your own, you want to make sure you say no to a ton of the applicants because, you know, it’s what’s important is a long term good fit for you. And a lot of times, if you just say yes to the first person, we don’t see that.
Will Bachman 13:13
Okay. You mentioned doing English proficiency test? Is that just your thinking just a phone call? Or is there an actual kind of online test or some kind of thing? You could go send someone to, to do it to do that test? Like you pay five bucks? Yeah. And
Bryant Suellentrop 13:31
there’s an online one. And there’s, there’s a bunch of different online ones, stuff like that.
Will Bachman 13:36
So what do you recommend, and
Bryant Suellentrop 13:38
there’s not one in particular, we’ve rotated between a few. So I’ll try and get one to you that you could put in the show notes that, you know, that we prefer. But the other, you know, the other thing that we do a lot of is video calls and phone calls and email conversations. And those are good ways to pick things up. You also want them to do a voice recording. So if they’re submitting their application, make sure they do a voice recording, if you expect to talk to them on the phone for, you know, have that voice recording be longer than 30 seconds, you want it to be maybe four or five minutes to really get a good grip on their English language.
Will Bachman 14:13
You’re saying doing that as a screening tool. So you could listen to a voice recording before you decide to allocate 20 or 30 minutes to a zoom?
Bryant Suellentrop 14:22
Will Bachman 14:26
And you mentioned make sure that they’re not in a part of the Philippines that subject to volcanoes or tornadoes. As a naive person not familiar with the geography there, I’m not sure if I would be qualified to to look up their address and figure out if they’re in the red zone or not. But is there is there a tool that you’d recommend for that? Or how would you how would you know, rule of
Bryant Suellentrop 14:53
thumb is the more rural they are, the less better the less you know, the less the effectiveness of their infrastructure. So If they’re in Manila, if they’re in a major city, the, you know, you might have to pay a little bit more because cost of living, but you know, their infrastructure is going to be better. And in the case that there is a storm or something like that, they will get it back first. Right. So,
Will Bachman 15:15
yeah. What have you seen in terms of how people actually kind of mechanically send the funds? You know, how do you actually pay people? You pay people via, like wise.com, or PayPal? Or Venmo? Or, or what’s sort of the most preferred method?
Bryant Suellentrop 15:37
Yeah, we like why is calm, it’s the fastest that has the least amount of fees. I mean, every payment platform has its own little quirks, but wise.com is what we recommend to all of our clients.
Will Bachman 15:48
Okay. And listeners, we have a previous episode where I talked about using wise.com. I’ll include a link to that in the show notes. Okay. So, beyond executive assistants, what are some of the other roles that you see people, you know, that you’ve helped people hire?
Bryant Suellentrop 16:09
Sure, customer service representatives, some people need to do cold calling for different, you know, different reasons. bookkeeping, kind of, like we discussed before, that’s a really good one. I’ve even seen people, you know, hire like a light Operations Manager. That’s been that’s been possible. You know, when I think of consultants and people that, you know, are more like solopreneurs, or have very small teams, you know, there are a million things that you’d probably like to do more of social media, right? That’s a big one. So actually helping, you know, think of some content ideas, right? You could shoot a video, but like, your VA could also send you, hey, here’s 20 ideas of something you could do videos on, right? And then you’re sharing it to LinkedIn. And, you know, we all want to do more social media, we all want to do more content, but it’s, it’s a treadmill, it’s a lot of work. So VI can be super helpful with social media.
Will Bachman 17:10
Now, have you seen people hire someone who is really into on the social media theme who’s really capable at, let’s say, making micro content out of something that you did, let’s say this episode itself, if I wanted to make some audio grams, or short little video snippets, or something, or some just some, quote, images, to post, you know, are there people who have a lot of skill set around that?
Bryant Suellentrop 17:36
Oh, yeah, all day? That is a that’s a great use case, for sure.
Will Bachman 17:40
Okay. What about any, any other roles that you’ve seen people hire,
Bryant Suellentrop 17:48
we have someone that does copywriting for us. So they actually write blog posts, she works full time. And, you know, it’s kind of like in that social media sphere, but they’re a little more long form. That’s really good. Um, we have, we’ve had, uh, you know, if you do a lot of recruiting, or if you have to, like, get in contact with a lot of vendors for any reason, you know, say you’re, you’re putting together maybe you’re, you know, you got to put together an event, and you need to reach out via email to, you know, 20 different vendors for five different categories. That’s incredibly time consuming. So just kind of vendor outreach is a great one. You know, so I’m trying to think of maybe some, some other helpful ones, but the opportunities really are pretty let’s, how do
Will Bachman 18:33
people typically think about just confidentiality and protecting their IP? You know, if you if you live in the US, you sort of hire someone in the US you feel pretty comfortable about kind of the US legal system. But if someone’s in the Philippines, it’s, I can’t imagine going and try to like go after someone in the Philippines. So talk to me about that a little bit.
Bryant Suellentrop 18:58
Yeah, so there’s a few things there. One is in the Philippines, they’re pretty strict about you know, property theft is a pretty big deal there in the Philippines, and especially digital property, property theft, like IP property theft is pretty, you know, it’s a big deal there. Right. One of the main reasons we like to go to the Philippines is because it is just culturally a lot more trustworthy than some other countries, right, some other places where people traditionally have done more outsourcing, right. So the, you know, the integrity of the folks that work on our team is incredibly high, and the hires we’ve made, you know, we really don’t see issues with that. Obviously, any kind of, you know, every once in a while you can, you know, have somebody that is a bad actor, but I would say many, most of the time, you’re making all the same precautions that you want in the US. You know, with a US base hire, you just want to make sure that you’re mitigating all risks. and things like that you mitigate as much risk as you can.
Will Bachman 20:03
Okay, fantastic. So tell us about where we can find more about your firm online. But what URL would you point us to?
Bryant Suellentrop 20:14
Yeah, elevate and delegate.com. That is a great place to reach us. That’s our website. It just has a contact form there. The other great place to find me is on on Twitter. And so that’s Brian, Solon trop on Twitter. I’ve spent too much time on there, so feel free to send me a message.
Will Bachman 20:35
Fantastic. We will include those links and your Twitter in the show notes. Brian, thank you so much for joining today.
Bryant Suellentrop 20:45
Yeah, thank you so much for having me.