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My Experiment With The Multi-Author Blog Model, Leslie Samuel Takes Over Become A Blogger, My Bizarre Outsourcing Experience And Why I Left AWeber

By Yaro Starak
63 Comments

This is part 9 of my Business Timeline, you can read all of the previous chapters here.

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In the last chapter of my business timeline I explained what happened during the four years after I turned 30 in 2009.

I covered how I said no to becoming a speaker selling on stage, slowly closed down all my coaching programs and took you through the entire journey of CrankyAds, my software startup.

The CrankyAds experience was the most significant business project during the last three years. However, I did make some other major changes, which I know you will find very interesting. Here we go… (warning, long article ahead!)

Turning A Blog Into An Independent Entity

When I decided to devote myself fully to a software startup I knew I would have to change my strategy with my blogging business.

I had plans to close down all my coaching programs, which I did, but I was also planning what would happen to EJ, this blog, while my focus was on a startup.

I never had any intention of not writing to EJ. I love writing, that was not going to change. My blog was the best platform to launch CrankyAds too.

I was thinking how can I keep EJ growing without my full time attention? I was even thinking about one day selling this blog, and to do that, what would make it a more valuable asset to a new owner.

The conclusion was to change the focus from a personal brand identified blog, to a multi-author, magazine style blog.

I have experience running this kind of blog from when I was the owner of Small Business Branding, which had a team of writers.

The biggest blogs in the world are magazine blogs. Sites like the Huffington Post, Techcrunch, Mashable, The Verge and Social Media Examiner all have a team of paid or volunteer writers.

The benefits of the model is the increase in content and the ability to cover many more subjects. Usually blogs that follow this model are more news based, focused on current events, publishing ten, twenty, thirty to even fifty posts a day.

I wasn’t thinking about turning EJ into quite as large an entity as that, nor did I want to focus on news, but I did believe that I could slowly introduce new writers, writers with good content to share. This would increase content frequency and hopefully increase traffic.

EJ’s traffic had been fairly stagnant for a while. While it was frustrating to hit a traffic ceiling, the numbers were reasonably stable and most important, opt-ins to my newsletter continued to be around 50 to 100 a day, a rate I had maintained since the day I launched the Blog Profits Blueprint back in 2007.

The goal was to take a year to transition new authors content on to EJ, keep writing once a week myself, and slightly rebrand EJ to be less about “Yaro” and more about “Entrepreneurs Journey”.

The outcomes from this change I was expecting were an increase in traffic due to increased content, less dependency on me, and thus freeing my own time up to focus mostly on CrankyAds.

A Good Start

To take on new writers and transition EJ into a more independent entity, I would also need a system to manage all the content coming through.

From my days investing in websites, I knew if you want a good price for your website business, the more hands-off management is for the owner, the greater the final selling price. I wasn’t thinking of selling any time soon, but down the track selling with a content system in place would be advantageous.

I’d have to work out how to edit content and stick to a content schedule, not to mention communicate with the new authors, without me doing these jobs.

From my previous experiences running a multi-author blog, I knew that giving authors a deadline helps to encourage frequent contributions, but that’s no guarantee they will keep sending through regular articles. You also need to constantly chase people up for content, especially if they do it on a volunteer basis.

My plan was to ask for one article per week per author and call them “columnists”. I was expecting that to lead to an average of at least one article every two weeks, at worst one per month, per writer.

I also needed a manager to look after all the authors, a job I would have to remunerate as it would require a number of hours to do the work. This person would have to proofread, mark-up, add images, come up with titles for the articles (titles turned out to be the hardest part by far), work out a publishing schedule and chase up authors when their column submission was due.

I asked a friend, Steph, who I knew was a good proofreader from back in my BetterEdit days, if she was interested in the role. She said yes and we began working out procedures.

Things went well enough early on. I advertised on EJ and in my email newsletter for columnists and a number of people stuck their hands up. I also asked a few people I knew in person and most of them said they were keen.

EJ Columnists

I was cognisant of my site’s relationship with my current readers. I didn’t want my blog to turn into yet another “guest post” filled site, like many of the blogs in my niche were becoming.

I wanted to have “columns”, with authors who people identified with as consistent contributors with a certain style and expertise. These would be regulars, not once-off guest posts from people you have never heard of. My audience would come to know the authors and like them, just as they had done with my writing.

Although we had some hiccups with scheduling and editing content, and of course as expected it was sometimes difficult to get authors to stick to regular contributions, things moved forward.

I was hoping that eventually the system would run entirely without me – even the recruitment process of new authors – but this proved a difficult goal due to my desire to control quality (EJ is my baby after all!).

What Went Wrong

After several months EJ had gone from one article a week from me, to an average of three articles per week with two columnist contributions added.

The goal was to get to one post a day on weekdays, and even two per day if we could attract enough good writers.

Unfortunately we faced some major hurdles. As expected some authors contributed a few posts, and then slowed down contributions or completely disappeared. I knew this would happen, but if we found a few consistent people I was confident the good, regular columns would succeed.

It became clear over time which of the columnists were reliable and had a writing style that the EJ audience enjoyed. People like Neroli and Dr Mani resonated with my audience because they produced quality writing and had interesting insights to share.

Not every article was a hit, but we had a few posts from the new writers that became popular, earning comments and social media sharing.

The problem I was experiencing was working the system to keep the contributions flowing. Steph was doing her best to edit and publish content, as well as deal with new author applications. We spent quite a bit of time communicating and working out best-practice ways to do things. It certainly wasn’t “hands-off” for me.

Eventually Steph made a decision to begin her PhD studies, and as a result of her situation she could only take on a certain amount of paid work hours. We talked about it and decided it was probably best if she left the author management role.

I was confident I could find someone else to take over the job, but I wasn’t keen on going through the training process with a new person. Instead I decided in the interim to handle it myself and see if I could figure out some better systems first.

By this time it had been many months with the new writers contributing content. I kept an eye on stats and so far it appeared the increase in content was having zero effect on traffic.

Although I did my best to tell people I was still writing for EJ and for the most part I was still contributing as much as I always had, some people only read EJ for me. When they saw all the new writer’s content they left thinking I was gone.

A number of people told me they were upset with the direction EJ had taken. I was concerned, but I also had people tell me they were enjoying the new content.

As is my usual practice, I decided to avoid making too many decisions based on what is usually the vocal minority, and instead look to the quiet majority. In other words, I looked to the traffic stats and social media sharing to tell me how well things were working.

The End Of The Experiment

The conclusion I reached, especially in hindsight as I write this a year or so later after I returned as the only writer, was that the experiment had no impact on traffic. Even with more content coming through, and some of it being shared on social media, it did not bring in a significant amount of new audience.

After about 18 months I came to realise that I was spending just as much time editing other writer’s work as it took to write my own content. I enjoy writing a whole lot more than I do editing, and since it was clear a lot of people come for my writing, I decided to end the experiment.

I slowly re-branded EJ back to “Yaro”, and stopped chasing up columnists for new writing. Strangely enough I never told any of the writers I stopped accepting work, but once I stopped asking for it, eventually everyone stopped submitting new content.

I am grateful to all the columnists who contributed over this period. There were some great articles published and I know a good chunk of my readers did enjoy the content.

The downside of this experiment was I damaged relationships with some of my audience. They left, thinking I was gone, even if I wasn’t.

This became very apparent when I returned as the sole author. Even today people continue to tell me they are happy to see I am “back” even if I never left, and have been the only writer for over a year.

There is one benefit I can report from this experiment. Around half way through when Steph was still my editor, my mother had a stroke, which I have written about extensively already, including her death in March 2013.

Those early days in the hospital were very very hard, and there was a month in 2011 where I did absolutely nothing for EJ in terms of content production. During this time Steph, my assistant Angela, and the columnists kept EJ going without me.

This proves on one level, the experiment was a success. It demonstrates that if one day I don’t want to write anymore about business subjects and get out of the teaching about blogging industry, I can revisit the magazine model as a possible preparation for an exit strategy.

In principle the magazine blog format works. I know this from experience on two different blogs now.

What you have to be aware of is the work required to make it work, and how big a shift it is to your brand. You can’t retain a personal brand as strongly with multiple authors on your blog compared to when the blog is all about you. That should be obvious, but until you experience the shift you won’t really know the impact.

As you will read later in this article, I have shifted my focus back on to teaching and writing, hence I am very much emphasising the “Yaro” brand again here on EJ – in fact more so than I have ever done before.

Personal brand blogging is a great formula for an individual to use if you want to run an information marketing and teaching business. That’s one thing the last 8 years of blogging has taught me.

Leslie Samuel Takes Over Become A Blogger

Gideon Shalwick and I enjoyed huge success with our Become A Blogger video training program.

Become A Blogger Original Logo

Eventually as I wrote about in the previous timeline article, we closed the program down. This was primarily done because the videos needed updating.

Gideon and I were not keen on updating the videos ourselves as we both had moved on to other projects, yet we didn’t want to just shut down the Become A Blogger brand forever.

Leslie Samuel, who I talked to online many times and interviewed for my podcast, was a member of most of the coaching programs I had ever offered. He was an extreme action taker, managing to do a lot despite holding down a full time job as a university lecturer, and more recently having a baby too!

One of Leslie’s biggest successes is a biology blog, one that he updates mostly with video content. Leslie has the perfect combination of skill as a teacher and video producer, plus real experience starting and running a profitable blog. I thought he would be ideal to lead the next version of Become A Blogger.

I floated the idea with Gideon, who reacted positively. We had to work out a few of the details, but first we had to ask Leslie if he was interested.

We all got on a Skype call together and asked Leslie if he was keen to become the new leader of Become A Blogger. He was very excited about the idea and said yes.

Become A Blogger Re-Opens

Gideon and I talked about what we each wanted to do for Become A Blogger going forward and how much share of the profits and company ownership we were willing to give to Leslie.

We told Leslie that neither of us wanted to be heavily involved beyond strategic and tactical direction. We also agreed to promote the reopening campaign.

Leslie’s big job was to go back and re-do all the videos that needed updating. This was necessary to keep the course up to date, but it was also an important step for Leslie to “become” the teacher of the program.

Leslie was incredibly quick and managed to get the all videos done in a matter of months. He also rebranded his own blog presence to be Become A Blogger 2.0 and got everything ready for a launch.

Become A Blogger 2.0

Being a big fan of Webinars, Leslie settled on using a Webinar launch format, which we all contributed to. This one final teaching session for Gideon and me was kind of like a passing of the baton to Leslie. He became the face, and eventually the majority owner of Become A Blogger too.

Although the re-launch wasn’t as big as our original launches, Leslie had a nice small group of members and began teaching them. While teaching he also decided to put together a few related niche topic webinars, which he then sold as individual products.

Leslie is still the man in charge of Become A Blogger and continues to work on a direction to take the company that matches his style. Gideon and I are only minimally involved, mostly to offer our suggestions when Leslie asks for input.

My Struggles With Outsourcing

There were certainly some serious ups and downs during this period. I have to say one of the most frustrating aspects was trying to outsource work to the Philippines.

Most people are well aware of the benefits of outsourcing to the Philippines, in particular the lower cost (you can read my article on is outsourcing exploitation for a very heated discussion of outsourcing and fair pay).

Guys like Tim Ferris, Chris Ducker and John Jonas have helped to make this concept mainstream. It seems like every blogger, podcaster and internet marketer, not to mention businesses small and large, are leveraging the affordable talent available overseas, especially from the Philippines.

Over the years I’ve relied on the help of contractors. Ever since I hired my assistant Angela all those years ago to take over BetterEdit (and she still works with me today – Hi Ang!), I’ve happily brought on help.

Every single good experience I have had outsourcing has been to local talent. By local, I mean Australia. Although not the nearly as “cheap” as overseas, I’ve had much better results paying local rates to get work done.

With CrankyAds we attempted to find some overseas developers, but as I wrote about in the previous timeline chapter, it took more work to integrate contractors than the benefits we gained.

With Pete Williams launching Profit Hacks, and guys like James Schramko leveraging Filipino help to basically do almost everything, I decided in 2012 to finally – seriously – give it a go.

What really excited me was the possibility of re-purporsing and syndicating my content. What Pete Williams is doing is incredible and I want to do something similar, in the hope of reaching new audiences.

Listen to the video below where I interview Pete and you will know what I mean…

Do I Smell Bad Or Something?

When I decided to get serious about outsourcing I knew I needed clarity about what roles to fill.

I decided to focus primarily on a project manager position, someone who would coordinate a team of contractors and be good at hiring new people.

It makes sense to hire someone who can hire others, so I personally only need to find the one good person. That was the plan anyway.

I also decided that I could use a new tech person, a graphics person and a video person, although I wouldn’t search for all these roles at once.

Chris Ducker offered me his virtual staff finder solution to help find good people. Chris and his team had in some shape or form helped Gideon and Pat Flynn both find good staff, so I had high hopes and was grateful for the help.

I was also on John Jonas vetted workers list, which is an email list that he occasionally sends out notices of people who are available for hire who have already been vetted because they worked for other internet marketers.

Angela my assistant also looked around in a few places like online job boards, which she had done for me in previous years when I first started looking for overseas contractors.

I won’t go into too many details, but I can say that my attempt to outsource to the Philippines has mostly been an epic fail so far.

Chris Ducker’s helpers found some people who I interviewed. I then hired one of them as a project manager. A week after I hired her, she disappeared. Then she came back two weeks later claiming a tree fell on her grandmother’s house. I gave her another chance, but she was gone again a couple of weeks later.

John Jonas had a video editor whom I hired. Immediately after I hired him, he disappeared. A few weeks later I learn he is in hospital (fair enough), but will be out soon. He comes back, I assign him work, and two weeks later he hasn’t submitted a single thing to me and no one seems to know why. I tell John I want my money back.

I thought I may have found a good video editor because he showed talent. Unfortunately, possibly due to his slow computer, it took him three weeks of full time labour to produce a single hour long video. Even at $800 a month (the payment we agreed on), that’s a lot to pay for one video – I could get it done locally cheaper.

I ended up saying to this video editor that he just wasn’t quick enough, but I’d love to keep him around for graphics work since he was good at it. He told me his contracting rates, and we agreed to keep working together. I assigned him one tiny job to make some banners and never heard from him again.

Sigh.

By this stage I was beginning to think I smelt bad or something.

I asked various people who know outsourcing and most told me I was just having an unusually bad run.

I decided to vent my frustrations on Twitter complaining about how hard it was to find reliable people from the Philippines.

My Twitter Rant

As a result of my ranting, a fellow by the name of Flo from the Philippines messages me saying he wants to defend his country’s honour… ok, not quite. He at least wanted to prove that there are reliable people in the Philippines.

We had a chat on Skype and I agreed to give him a go. We’ve been working together for a number of months now, with Flo acting as my project manager.

So far I can report back that Flo hasn’t run away, which based on my previous experiences, is a good start. Time will tell if we end up having a long term relationship, but so far we are moving forward.

My conclusion from this experience is I still much prefer hiring locally. I’ve considered whether it was my own unrealistic expectations, or lack of clarity on job roles, or poor communication that resulted in this terrible run of overseas hiring.

I honestly don’t feel like what I was asking people to do was that unreasonable. Heck if you don’t even show up after you have been hired, that is not my fault.

Since most of the people I sourced were from vetting services, I have to say I am disappointed in the outcomes.

I’ve been told that the Filipino way with virtual work is to sometimes just stop if they can’t do a job, without saying anything to you. If you give them tasks that are beyond their skills they will vanish. I find that very difficult to deal with. I’d much rather be told that you can’t do something and quit than experience all these disappearing acts.

While I am jealous of people like James Schramko and Gideon who both have some great workers and I hope that I may still yet find myself some quality overseas contractors, perhaps with help from Flo, for the time being I will stick to local talent, even if it costs me more.

Why I Left AWeber After Eight Years

Another major change I made in 2012 was to move my email list from AWeber over to Office Auto Pilot (now known as Ontraport).

AWeber

Having used AWeber, and in large been happy with their service for more than eight years, switching providers is a pretty big decision. My email list is responsible for most of my income, so I don’t make changes like this without having a good reason.

During 2012 it became clear that CrankyAds was not going to be my future main business. EJ had returned to being just my blog and I was thinking about what I wanted to do next.

The pressure to make money was also starting to be felt, since I had closed down all of my coaching programs and basically stopped doing any new affiliate promotions. I also reduced the number of ads on EJ, dropping my income to levels not seen since my very first year or two of blogging back in 2005 and 2006.

Of course I could have continued to make $10,000+ a month from advertising and promoting affiliate offers, but I decided I want my business to be more about my own quality teaching products and less about sending people away from my site to buy other people’s products.

Although CrankyAds didn’t go exactly as planned, it taught me something important – I am much better as a lifestyle entrepreneur and content creator.

I like the variety and time freedom that comes with being a blogger and information marketer. In particular I like being the person who creates the product, since I can implement my ideas rather than rely on other people.

You might say that the time spent on CrankyAds was the break I needed to reignite a fire to get back into teaching.

I began 2012 thinking about how I would build a new teaching business. I want to do it right this time and action all the things I should have done the first time I taught people how to create blogs and membership sites with my coaching courses back in 2007 to 2009.

I won’t go into detail exactly on my plans for the future right now as I am still in the process of executing, and it would make this article much longer. It’s already too long as it is.

What I can say is that I decided I am going to have a proper teaching business behind my blog, and in order to do that I needed a more robust solution for managing customers, email lists and product delivery.

Email Lists Vs Contact Management

AWeber is a list management service. It is fantastic for running a newsletter. You can do some pretty cool segmenting, but it’s all based on different lists.

I wholeheartedly endorse AWeber as your first proper email newsletter system when you start online. It has served me well since back in the BetterEdit days.

With my plans for the coming years, I will have multiple products and variable promotions that depend a lot on tracking what a person does when they start learning from me.

To realise my goals I need a solution that is more about managing the individual person’s record in my system, and how that can be used to track their interests to deliver various offers. It needs to be more powerful than AWeber.

Infusionsoft has been the clear choice for most people in my situation looking for a step up from AWeber. Having the power to tag people in your database is one of the key differences a service like Infusionsoft brings.

The problem with Infusionsoft, at least what I have heard, is how difficult it is to get used to. Most people I know who use it have a dedicated employee just to manage it, and that is not something I want to do.

That being said, Leslie made the switch and comfortably manages Infusionsoft himself, although he is extra talented when it comes to quickly learning how to use new tools.

Gideon uses FusionHQ, which looks pretty good too based on what he has done with it, although I am not sure it has quite as robust a contact management system as Infusionsoft does.

In mid 2012 I came across some videos from James Schramko, talking about how he had recently moved away from AWeber too. He had gone to Infusionsoft, hated it, then went back to AWeber. Andre Chaperon had told me a similar story, switching to Infusionsoft then reverting back to AWeber.

What caught my intention from James, was that he had moved again, this time to a service called Office Auto Pilot/Ontraport.

I stumbled across Office Auto Pilot previously, but ignored it. The website seemed a little bit oldschool in design, and at the time I wasn’t thinking about switching from AWeber.

Suddenly I hear from James that he is loving Office Auto Pilot. Then I notice Marie Forleo is using them too. Eben Pagan had switched over (and even invested in the company), and more recently, David Siteman Garland had made the switch as well. I think I noticed Frank Kern has become an Office Auto Pilot user as well.

A lot of my plans for the future involve creating a similar business model to what Eben Pagan uses with his teaching businesses, so I was strongly compelled to use the same platform he does.

When James said he found Office Auto Pilot that much easier to use and had basically moved everything from AWeber across himself in two weeks, I was sold.

I ordered through James’s affiliate link as a thank you, started my trial and have never looked back.

Why Office Auto Pilot?

There are way too many cool features to talk about with Office Auto Pilot. I will save the full explanation for a future blog post.

Office Auto Pilot

I can tell you that the move of my 50,000 person database into Office Auto Pilot was relatively easy. I’m now using the system to handle everything.

It runs my shopping cart, my affiliate program, delivers all my emails, protects all my member content, handles drip release of subscription content, and plugs into WordPress using a plugin. It has some very cool tracking features that I plan to take full advantage of over the coming years.

Office Auto Pilot is $300 a month, so you don’t start with this system when you are a newbie.

New bloggers and online marketers should begin with AWeber first, then as your income and business grows, consider swapping over to something like Office Auto Pilot for the extra features and all-in-one solution.

What Is Next For Yaro?

That concludes my catch-up series to bring my business timeline up to date for this year, 2013, thus far.

I encourage you to go back and read the previous chapters in the series as you can learn a lot from another person’s entrepreneur journey.

Yaro Starak Complete Business Timeline

I also encourage you to write your own history series to explain to your audience what you have done in your chosen field. It’s like having a super-about page.

My plans for the rest of this year are to roll out a series of training resources to help people who want to use a blog to build an audience and then sell your own teaching products. If that is you, then we will get along very well.

I started this year by doing some private coaching. It made for a very busy February, but the experience was invaluable to help learn more about what you want from me, and where you are struggling.

My focus now is all about my internal training resources and building a proper, sustainable business around it. My blog design is being restructured as I write this to reflect my new direction. I have sketched out my plans for a completely new email newsletter series that will also align with my focus.

Of course rather than write about what is coming up, I’d rather show you and given you the opportunity to participate.

As always I will do my best to explain the “meta” behind my decisions here on this blog, but there is no better way to learn than to experience what another person does.

Stay tuned, and make sure you sign up for my newsletter if you have not done so already. It’s all about to get interesting.

Yaro

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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63 Comments

  • I had a full time transcriptionist for a while in the Phillippines (most of a year) and she was okay but not great. The work I was sending her dried up and it started taking her about twice to three times as long as it should have to get it back from her, so I let her go, telling her if she sent me back what I’d already given her I’d pay her for the final month (despite having not gotten any work from her back the previous month and already paid for it.) I never heard from her again.

    I did hear from a guy a month or two ago (about a year after the fact) claiming that he was the one doing the actual transcriptions and trying to get me to hire him. Since I wasn’t overly impressed with the transcriptions or the turn-around, I told him that I had no interest.

    Now, I use a contracter that’s cheaper than having somebody on full time was, and produces a much better product.

    • I’m glad to hear your story Blaine, even if I feel your pain. All my buddies who have good contractors working with them don’t understand how I had so many problems. I keep telling them that other people have struggled with this outsourcing process and that there is an element of luck involved to find good people. Some people seem to have to go through a few not so good contractors before they find the right people.

  • Another fabulous post!
    Ah, memories. I remember taking your Blog Mastermind course, and you were looking for someone in our local area to help out… I can’t quite remember the position. I applied, but didn’t get the job, dammit!

    Thanks for the talk about infusionsoft/office auto pilot. I look forward to more reviews on the product. I don’t need it yet, but I love to plan out the future/look at new toys.

    I’m excited to see where EJ goes next!

    • Thanks Carlie, it’s good to see someone from all those years ago is still here with me. It’s actually been amazing to hear from so many Blog Mastermind and Membership Site Mastermind members who have gone on to do cool things. I guess sometimes it takes a few years before the fruits of a course you create to blossom.

      Yaro

  • Hey Yaro,

    A very informative post indeed. As a newbie, I have hired a VA in the Phillipines and so far it’s been good, but I must admit I’m learning IM again as things have changed since the last time I dabbled in it. This time I’m in it to build a business from ground up. I’ve read a few of your articles and get a lot out of them.

    Keep up the great work.

    • Thanks Ben. I think a basic VA who handles emails, setting up services, etc is something you can outsource easily enough overseas.

      It’s when the roles become more specialised that things become more difficult. Video editing is a good example. I’m struggling to find anyone with genuine talent and the technical set up to be efficient as well.

      Good luck with your return to IM.

      Yaro

      • Yeah, That’s true. It really would be harder to find good quality outsourced workers that are specialized. Recruitment becomes a challenge as we don’t really have a gauge of previous performance/ experience, and in most if not all cases, it becomes a trial and error thing which a business can’t really take a risk on. Thanks for your encouragement. :)

      • Hey Yaro,

        I’ve linked to your post as I was writing about outsourcing and thought that anyone reading my post would benefit from your experience with outsourcing as well. If you’d like me to remove the link, please do let me know.

        Thanks.

        Regards,
        Ben.

  • Man Yaro, these are some major moves and some big decisions. I don’t know if I could have made these significant changes on such a large scale, especially with the Become A Blogger with Leslie (of which I am a member) and the whole Aweber ordeal. I mean I’ve made some huge differences myself to launch a membership site this, buy optimize press, add video courses, and some publish some eBooks (on Amazon Kindle and several other platforms) to my hobby blog as I found my niche and started getting serious preparing to transform it into a business site. But I don’t consider these little baby steps as the leaps it looks like you took. Hey Hi-Five and more power to you.
    Ricardo

    • Hey Ricardo, don’t forget I did these things over four years, it wasn’t like I just made the changes recently. All of it was a natural progression based on the results I was getting and what I wanted to do next.

      Good luck with your projects, it sounds like you have some traction already.

      Yaro

      • Thanks! I was inspired by your Membership Site Masterplan eBook you put out.

        Four years to make those changes gradually and slowly would help rather than an out of the blue decision. Good deal on that. It wouldn’t be to good is this was an instant thing.

        Stay the journey!
        Ricardo

        • Glad you liked my ebook Ricardo. Did you launch a membership site?

          • I’m aiming for August 5th as the launch date. I’m testing right now with a few of my friends with s2Member plugin and also with the membership options from Optimize Press. So after I see what works better and what’s easier to navigate then I will load up some of the content just to have the introductory resources up in video, mp3, and written text. I’m doing it the way you suggested by not having all the content done, just releasing content based of their needs.

  • Bek

    I haven’t used office auto pilot (way too much for my needs at the moment) before but have used Send Pepper which is their pared down autoresponder service. It starts at (I think) $15. /month but I just loved playing with it. It seems to have more ‘personality’ than its competitors!

    • That’s a good point Bek, I should check it out and see how it compares to AWeber. Maybe I should suggest people start with sendpepper so the upgrade to office auto pilot isn’t as big a transition.

  • Hey Yaro

    some interesting stuff there, I am tossing up ditching aMember for Infusionsoft but the $250+/month cost seems steep compared to the alternatives. I figured it had want to make me coffee and give shoulder massages for that amount… aMember is OK but not great sign-up pages, and they cannot be design overhauled, otherwise future upgrades will not work….will take a look at Office Autopilot.

    I actually did 70+ HD vids with a full time team of 3 over 3 months, all offshore. Vids included green screen background, so we imposed alt background, and a kinetic typography video as well. I must admit I lucked in, my VA already has the video production skills as did his 2 mates – always the personal contacts that work, not the anonymous freelancing sites. Would be happy to share tips.

    Look forward to seeing Cranky Ads go into overdrive

    Cheers
    Craig

    • Hey Craig,

      Oh man, sounds like I should get in touch for your video contacts – care to share?

      Office Auto Pilot (and infusionsoft) do a lot more than what amember does, but it’s not really a fair comparison as amember is really just about protecting membership content, not a CRM type service, which OAP and Infusion are, at least light versions of one anyway.

      Yaro

      • Sendpepper might be a good choice for you Craig, then you can upgrade to office auto pilot later as your needs increase.

        Yaro

  • Angela

    Something also worth a mention is that Office Auto Pilot has some of the funniest and entertaining how-to videos ever made!! You can actually enjoy learning how to set up email lists!!

    That assistant of yours Angela sounds amazing, you should hang on to her…. ;)

    • Haha, true Ang, aren’t you glad I forced you to watch them :-)

      I have to say I don’t normally have the patience for learning via video, but in this case I had to since I want to know how to use OAP myself. Having humorous videos did make the process a bit more fun.

      Next time I speak to Angela I will pass on your compliments :-)

  • Very interesting reading, Yaro. I’m a graphic designer, specialising in book design, but finding it difficult to compete with the cheap labour available from sites such as elance and fiverr, as well as places like the Phillipines. I have seriously been considering outsourcing ebook conversion, but am afraid of experiencing the problems you’ve faced. I’ve found that some people who outsource are satisfied with a much lower standard than I would be.

    • Hi Carmel, if I was in your situation I would not try and compete with overseas contractors, instead I would position myself as a premium service provider.

      I still use Becki and her team at http://www.wordsintoprofits.com for the high level transcriptions like inside http://www.ejinsider.com/interviews even though she charges significantly more. You just can’t beat the quality that a native speaker provides.

      I’d find a market that needs a higher quality of work and go after it, assuming you can deliver of course!

      This is actually one of the principles I will teach inside the http://www.2hourworkday.com course, since I used it with my proofreading business and want to teach why it works well.

      Yaro

  • Very interesting to hear your experience with Filipino VA’s. I also tried hiring a content writer through VSF. After 6 applications and 4 interviews I decided that it’s not gonna work for my business. I gave two of them paid assignments to put them to the test. Pretty much always had the impression that they didn’t even fully understand the task. Eventually I decided to hire an intern locally, which was the best decision ever! Very happy so far.

    • That sounds a lot like my experience Robert, or they were very keen, but the attention to detail was lacking – they were just pumping out low quality work as quickly as they could.

      Finding that mix of attention to detail, reasonable turnaround speed, good communication and reliability is a challenge…that being said, these variables are difficult to find anywhere, not just the Philippines, but like you I have had more luck locally.

      Yaro

  • Suzi

    Great Post – thanks Yaro. Fascinating to follow your journey.

  • Thank you for your honesty Yaro.

    This whole series has been grounding and heartening to know that you’ve encountered set backs and hiccups and even shared your personal journey.

    Other information providers come off like every decision they’ve made has been inspired and lead to 6 figures. It’s refreshing to see be offered a real perspective ‘sans’ golden halo of business perfection.

    Thank you.

    • Thanks Lezley. As I wrote about in my newsletter, it is hard to go over so many stories of things not going exactly according to plan.

      Even before I was considered “successful” online, these things happened, I just didn’t have a platform to talk about them so openly. I know that life is like that, no one has a 100% success rate.

      I find that when things don’t work out that is a great way to learn about what direction you should be taking instead. I tend to have more fun when things are moving in a direction I like, and there is only so long I will keep doing something that isn’t fun in the hope that it will become fun soon before I change things up.

      Yaro

  • Jashan

    Outsourcing is always a complex phenomenon. I was born in India and later moved to Canada for pursuing higher studies. Being from India, I understand that it is not easy to find individual reliable workers. I started my own blog and outsourced work regarding designing of template. My experience was not that good but it was not bad either. I think it is better to outsource work to companies rather than single individuals.

    According to story told by @Blain Moore, I assume it was the same girl who was trying to contact with different name or through someone else. So yes, there are lots of scammers out there and we all need to take steps wisely. It will save our time and money.
    It is pretty a matter of chance that you will find a good consistent worker overseas.

    • You bring up an interesting point Jashan. I have only had limited experience interacting with outsourcing companies rather than individuals. I like the premise, you have one contact point to a team of workers, but of course you pay extra for this.

      I have some friends like Barnaby Anderson who has reported back good results working with indian outsourcing companies on development work, so it’s an option worth considering.

      Yaro

  • Hey Yaro, the beauty of internet marketing in whatever shape or form is that it is constantly evolving and what suits today may not tomorrow, and that technology has replaced what was previously flavour of the month as in which CRM or email solution provider to use as you have found with Aweber, Infusionsoft, OAP or FusionHQ.
    I asked for work to be done in the Philippines and when they failed to deliver on simple website building, I had to find out why, so went over there.
    What I realised was that the people there say yes to anything because it will mean money, and more often than not fail to deliver. I went over there about 4 years ago with Jon Jonas, but it didn’t seem right then, but I knew there was something for the future.
    As a result, I opened up my own office with my own staff who are ‘inhouse’ not working from their bedroom with unreliable internet and off a laptop.
    They don’t go home with clients work on their laptop as I have seen in other offices,and they work from the office while supervised, so they are not your usual ‘sourced’ VA’s.
    So what you have experienced is not uncommon, and is the reason as to why I set up my office, whch was only going to be for my own use. But when I realised that others were also suffering the same fates, I decided to open it up to assist other people as well. Mnd you, it was only going to be for professionals such as doctors, lawyers, mortgage brokers and financial planners. And the reason is because many ‘internet marketers’ are not willing to pay for services.
    So my team is Western trained and equipped, but nfortunately, still subject to the the Philippines laws which see them having holidays nearly every other week. And trying to set up a company over there is ridiculously hard, let alone getting services connected. And the bribery and corruption that goes with it.
    So I feel for you, but assure you that it is not as easy as some-one suggesting to just go to that country because it it is cheap. It is more cost effective than in most other Western countries, but be prepared for failure and heartache and disappointment. Yet the people themselves are lovely, but need to be really well managed, cos they do not think for themselves.

    • Hi Nobby, thank you for sharing some of your experiences. You must have been really committed to go over there and set up an office, but I can see how much of an advantage that is.

      Chris Ducker has obviously had tremendous success doing that (and married a Filippino), and I remember hearing John Reese went over and set up a video games company too.

      I’m still leaning towards hiring locals, maybe trying to work with some interns as well as a good way to vet people before offering them ongoing work.

      Yaro

    • Sarie

      Hello Yaro – it’s good to see you back and hello Nobby.

      I am a Filipino VA (although I’d like to be called a virtual professional not just a virtual assistant) and have had the luck of finding work through John Jonas’ http://www.onlinejobs.ph – based on employers posting for vacancies at their site (did not go for their premium because you need to pay) and Chris Ducker’s VSF. I also have had experiences with employers not paying or worst who’s been “too rude” for comfort. However, I also have had employers who were so generous and considerate, mostly from the industry Nobby is working with. I don’t want to get rude here, but wanted this platform to be my way of informing business owners out there that you get what you pay for. Of course, as in every rule there might be an exception and yes, working with staff remotely is a matter of mindset as well, but generally, you really get what you pay for. Jonas’ promotion of cheap labor in the Philippines maybe true ($1/hour? geesh. I wonder where he gets his VA in the Philippines), but getting somebody who’s an expert and an A-performer would take some “investment” so to speak. And another point of consideration is the location within the Philippines where your VAs are. In Australia, Sydney’s cost of living is perhaps not the same as living in other parts of Australia. Just as much as living in New York or Hawaii is not as much as living in other states. You guys have minimum wages that differs in every state, right? Chris stays in Cebu and living costs in Cebu vis a vis Manila, is very different. I don’t know with John. I am privy to VSF process of hiring and getting VAs to connect with their clients and I should know. But admittedly, of the 2, Chris’ VSF, do not promote cheap labor – but instead 1:1 – pay high, get quality VAs, pay low, get this kind of VA.

      Relationship is important – so these VA agencies should likewise consider both – their relationship to their clients and their relationships to their VAs. But more often than not, clients for them go first than their VAs. Too bad. :-( Can’t that be equal?

      Since A-performer VAs are more often, expensive, and these agencies’ objective is to help out business owners who can pay just so much, getting top of the line VAs are not any more a priority. It’s more of one VA deciding on whether she’s willing to get this much or not despite the tasks going to be assigned and/or expertise that entails performing that particular tasks. And since “surviving” is the name of the game for most VAs in the Philippines…..they say yes. And since having an agency business has its own overhead costs . . . . . . . you’d know the answer.

      Getting your virtual professionals from agencies has it’s own pros and cons. And sometimes, referrals from your existing virtual professionals is better. But of course, there is always a difference between referring and recommending.

      I admire Nobby for specifying a particular “niche” because he knew that this is were his VAs are not low-balled and at the same time getting the profit he needs to survive. He knows that majority of “internet marketers” do not pay well. With the exception of a few who would, of course. Like Yaro paying $800 for a video editor with no output – LOL.

      So for us VAs finding an employer who’s willing to pay the price, enough for us to just stay and hang on with one employer full time (considering lifestyle and living conditions) is like finding a needle out of a haystock. Just as much as business owners who’d like to find an A- performing VA with a “peanuts” salary/fee.

      I feel for you Yaro & for the experiences you have had. And I strongly agree with what Nobby said that majority of Filipinos, take the jobs – say yes to practically everything – for the money and not at all the quality. And yes – Filipinos have that quality of not speaking up – with the exception of a few. With us, speaking your mind out is tantamount to being rude. Which is what I hate with majority of the VAs I get to work with as well. Nothing wrong with that, right?

      I also agree with your advice to one of your readers that maintaining that premium cost for a premium quality.

      So to conclude this long post – don’t lose your hope with outsourcing, Yaro. There are A-performers out there, specially if salary is not a question for you. Look at Nobby, he knew there is a future in this so he took the leap. And over-all, even if you hire locally, it still has it’s pros and cons vis a vis outsourcing. You know that. :-)

      Good luck in your outsourcing and I hope you’d still consider it despite the setbacks you experienced.

  • I’m another person who took Become a Blogger some years ago. I still read your posts with interest, Yaro. BTW, do you still have that Yaro lookalike doll you got for your birthday?

    • Hey Carole, yes I sure do, mini-yaro is largely intact, although a piece of his hair broke off. However we don’t look quite the same now that I have short hair and he is still rocking a pretty solid chunk of plastic hair :-)

      Yaro

  • Thanks for sharing this Yaro, with the generosity and deepness that characterize you.

    It’s great to see you are back ! :)

    (No just kidding ! ;) )

    I’m thinking about trying the magazine model too, so I read carefully your article, but I didn’t see an answer to these 2 questions :

    - Did you pay or not the columnists ? If not what was the incentive for them, publicity, recognition and backlinks, as well as the pleasure to contribute to a blog they love ?

    - You mention that going from one article a week to 3 a week didn’t increase the traffic. Well it doesn’t make sense, unless Google is limiting the amount of traffic is sending to a whole website based on certain parameters ? But I never read about this on SEO blogs, so do you think it’s possible ?

    Or, you mentioned in your previous business timeline article that for the first time the traffic of EJ decreased. Do you think that perhaps having 3 articles per week helped the traffic to not decrease ? Perhaps it would have decrease earlier if you would have continued to publish one article a week ?

    This traffic issue is very interesting…

    • Olivier! Good to hear form you!

      You have the same sense of humour as Alexis, it must be something in the French water over there :-)

      To answer your questions…

      1. No I did not pay the columnists, only Steph the editor. Like I did with Small Business Branding, I allowed columnists to use a signature box to promote their own work, and also occasionally mention/link to their own sites in articles. They also had an author homepage with all their articles listed and a bio in the sidebar, including links back to their site.

      With Small Business Branding I actually went one step further and had the site redesigned to allow the authors to upload a banner or optin box code that would appear in the sidebar of any of their articles only.

      So to answer your question, exposure and links were the primary motivations for authors to contribute. If they didn’t see the value in being published on EJ then obviously I wouldn’t want them to write for me.

      2. That’s a logical theory. If I spent time analysing the traffic stats and looking really deep, I might have seen a correlation of overall traffic staying the same, but the traffic actually going down if it wasn’t for the extra content.

      However I don’t think that is it. EJ’s traffic is largely dependent on SE traffic and it mostly comes from older articles, not the newer posts. Newer posts tend to get a burst of direct readership when they are published but then “disappear”. The consistent traffic is long tail to the archives from Google.

      SEO has gone down because the entire spread of SEO results has decreased across the long tail. That spread mostly impacted the older articles that don’t rank as well as they once did. This is inline with changes I am hearing about from SEO people – that even if your content is good, because it is old, it won’t be ranked as well.

      Unfortunately what used to be an advantage – having an “aged” site, is almost a disadvantage right now by the sounds of things. I am thinking of going back and updating my old posts, including republishing them with a more current date to test the theory.

      It sure is annoying though that Google can sway so much power like this.

      Yaro

      • Thanks for your answer.

        Newer posts tend to get a burst of direct readership when they are published but then “disappear”.

        But why ? Perhaps it’s because you don’t get as much backlinks as before, so Google assume that the new content is worth less than the old ? Perhaps you should do some guest articles again, or organize a carnival, or be interviewed in some blogs or medias to get some fresh quality backlinks.

        • I definitely want to test that theory Olivier. I haven’t done a whole lot to reach new audiences, besides doing interviews. I say yes to most of them.

          I’ve been holding back on new marketing because I want to get my product funnel ready to go and converting. There’s no point spending time on more traffic if I don’t have a system once the audience finds me.

          Next year I will be in new marketing mode, then we will see what happens.

          Yaro

          • What you can easily do is organize an article carnival. Use your list, and invite your big friends in the IM/blogging community to participate, and you can easily get 100-200+ new quality backlinks in a few weeks from the same number of blogs.

            You will quickly see if it make any difference in your traffic…

          • Not a bad idea Olivier, I haven’t done carnivals for years. Do you do them for the French community?

          • As a matter of fact I do, and from my experience it is pretty useful to reestablish authority in the eyes of Google if your traffic is declining. Email me if you want more information.

  • Finding good people is an impossible task, somehow.

  • Loving the personal history. I am a big fan of studying peoples paths to success and learning directly from them, so I really appreciate what you’re doing here. The Office Auto Pilot is a perfect example. I am nowhere near as far along in my internet career as you are, and I do currently use Aweber as my primary email and autoresponder service, but have already found myself wondering what the best direction will be when my business is ready to outgrow it, and you have just shed some early light on that for me. Thanks a bunch Yaro. I’ll be paying close attention. :)

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the timelines series Christopher. I have to admit that a part of me always feels like I am way too self-centered when I write these pieces.

      I mean the advice is to always focus on your reader and how you can help them. As you are pointing out, telling my story can help you too, but there is always that feeling of am I talking about myself too much when I write them.

      Of course I LOVE talking about myself, so the reality is I enjoy these timeline articles a lot too :-)

      Yaro

  • Hi Yaro,

    I am also one of your Blog Mastermind and Membership Site Mastermind grads, and I’ve followed your adventures every since. I find your perspective to be both inspiring and informative.

    Since I like writing, I opened an account at Elance and have applied several times for positions, but never quite managed to land one. It’s hard to find good employees, and it’s hard to find good employers. I’ve been asked to return to Elance, but I’m not sure why since no one was interested in what I have to bring to the table previously. I’m an American, and I will work cheap, but not so cheap that I need to spend my time on my own business and blogs.

    One thing I learned from my Elance experience is I will hire locally through friends and acquaintances, and not virtually. I think there is a certain mindset one must have to both hire and work through a virtual employment site, and I don’t have it.

    Thanks for catching us up,
    Sherri

    • Hi Sherri, great to see a BM and MSM grad still hanging around here. I hope you enjoyed both programs. I’m actually planning to reopen them later in the year, refreshing them to bring them up to date.

      Like I wrote to Carmel above, if you are capable of providing a quality service, I would build a business around a premium positioning, rather than trying to compete with the overseas suppliers. How can you ever compete when the cost of living there is $1000 USD a month, where for you it is $4,000.

      Come up with a premium service and present it to a group willing to pay a premium price for quality, and you have a much better formula.

      Yaro

  • Yaro,
    Thanks for the update all in one post. I read with earnest.
    Yeah, I’ve had some hiccups with outsourcing from the Philippines. I currently have a guy that reappears when he feels like and another that says he will work, but never shows up. The first guy has done a lot of work; so I’m faced with tossing it and starting over or keep trying to find him and get him to finish the job.

    I hired a guy in Sri Lanka to write me a plugin and he got pissed along the way and then wrote an update for the plugin that deleted the plugin when I ran the update. Good thing I had a backup. So its a bit challenging. But I press on.

    I’m still on Aweber, although their customer service sucks; they never listen to my needs or at least try to care. Maybe they will one day.
    Yup; I’ve taken a few of your course, so thank you.

    • Oh, I still recommend and use Aweber as it works and its one of the better ones out there and its not as expensive. I just wished some of the stuff was better and they would be more open to making changes to the interface.

    • Hi Kerwin – that Sri Lankan story sounds pretty nuts! you must have really annoyed him that he went to the trouble of actually updating the plugin to delete itself.

      I hope you can find some better working relationships in the future. You are certainly building up some interesting stories though!

      Yaro

      • Kerwin

        Hiya Yaro,
        thanks for replying and its very good to hear from you btw.

        He got mad as I gave him an algorithm to use and instead he used google’s which I told him it not to use. So then the program broke as a result since google changes all the time. I asked him to please use the original algorithm I gave him and create an update like other plugins and voila.

        I’ve had some luck with outsourcing and I continue to do so as it save me so much time and money.

  • Kathryn

    Hi, Yaro! Wow, I’ve missed some of your journey but glad to hear you’re back blogging. I always recommend you to folks to show how it’s done

    Oddly enough in our traveling (right now in Cayman Islands), we ran into John Jonas, who I did not know from Adam. We were both staying in the same villas in (no surprise) the Philippines (Boracay). Our kids bonded & brought us together, and he taught me alot of useful stuff for our informational businesses. I adore Filipinos, and I am prejudiced having lived there for a 1/2 year. I asked him if he knew you, because you & I were already connected, and he did not (at that time — 2010). I told him about you, though, & how great you are.

    BTW, the person who gave you a tip on Filipinos was right. They will avoid confrontation or losing face at all cost, and so it’s preferable to not answer or just disappear than to have to disappoint, admit that they are not up to it or incur the wrath of others. It takes a lot of doing to understand how they operate, and I’m sure some of them hated we blunt Americans, whose style is the opposite & probably often embarrassing for them.

    Have you heard of odesk? The people on there will bid on projects and have GRADES, so you can see how well they are rated before hiring. They’re not just Filipino but from all over — even Oz & the US. And I’ve had great luck in getting people to do things like VA, transcribe & polish web pages. The process of vetting people is super easy. Most will post work samples, have reviews from previous contracts and a grade compiled of all of the feedback they’ve gotten + be rated as proficient in certain skills as they pass online tests run by odesk. It’s at odesk.com, and it’s just great!

    Continued success to you, Yaro, because you deserve every bit of it and a lot more! ♥ Kathryn Alice

    • Hi Kathryn,

      Yes ODesk has been repeatedly reinforced to me as the best task orientated outsourcing tool.

      I have yet to properly use it directly myself. It’s next on the list if the current outsourcing options I am using do not turn out well.

      How amazing that you just bumped into John Jonas like that. It sure makes the world seem like a small place.

      Thanks for promoting the “Yaro” name out there too, I appreciate it!

      Yaro

  • I’m one of those people who stopped reading EJ when it seemed to become a “guest post blog”.

    One of the big problems was that the articles that were emailed out didn’t make it clear who the author was. I would be reading something, thinking it was Yaro, and then there’d be some weird reference or something out of character – I’d skim down the article trying to work out what was going on, and then realise it was a guest poster.

    It was a frustrating and off-putting experience, and I didn’t think the guest articles were as interesting as Yaro’s. I guess I’d been following Yaro’s story for a long time, and I was interested in where his story was going. I can read things like those guest-post articles in a million other places online, they were nothing special, by people I didn’t know. I was following EJ specifically for Yaro.

    Glad to see you’re back!

    • Thanks Darren. I think your feedback demonstrates an important point to anyone who has a blog with a long term defined voice and backstory who makes a change that disrupts this.

      I hope I can reconnect with readers like you who may have left. Thankfully my newsletter can bring a lot of people back.

      Yaro

  • Hi Sarie,
    And thank you for your endorsement of my “leap of faith!”

    I have to agree with everything you have mentioned, and I think most people who have worked with Filipinos would say they are lovely people.

    You also mentioned “not speaking out” as being tantamount to rudeness, and I understand that.

    It is unfortunate that few Filipinos have really ever become entrepreneurial, but I think much of that stems from historical domination by other nations.

    My office is in Davao, and of the 6th July, I am hosting a Jobs Expo.

    My intention went from simply building a personal team, to one which could become commercially viable to support a large number of the local population.

    At the moment, my current office will accommodate 50 – 60 people, but it is my intention to grow this to about 300 in a particular building I have already seen there.

    There is more than enough work available in the world for all to share, but I want to establish a centre of excellence based on education and training which goes beyond that taught in the local universities and schools. I have seen kids leaving these institutions with qualifications that do nothing to serve them in the real world, with most spending 4 years before getting decent employment.

    And even then, they are taken advantage of by their own people who exploit them for low wages, and poor conditions. Not everyone, but when desperation sets in, any money is better than none!

    Many Westerners quite correctly think they can also get $2 per hour VAs based on the misinformation spread by others who profit from providing VA services and then leave both sides to their own devices. It is little wonder employers become frustrated, and why so called VAs disappear.

    Many work from their bedrooms with limited internet or educational access, and therefore fail to perform tasks expected of them.

    This is why multiple VAs are suggested by those who “sell” the service! And might I add – PROFIT VERY HANDSOMELY! And that irks me!

    And then ‘employers’ become disillusioned with Filipinos in general which is sad and wrong.

    Most are really good. Some are just shonky and will take advantage of the naivety of greedy Westerners.

    I must admit, that I remain constantly frustrated by the inability for most Filipinos to think for themselves, but have come to accept this is not in their nature. Not in their education or upbringing.

    As such, I try to find ways in which to manage this conundrum, and do so in a variety of ways. One of the simplest is to have a manager to manage them in their own way and language.

    Correctly as Sarie says, the cost of living is different in most areas of the Philippines so Manila is the most expensive, with Cebu being less and Davao less again.

    However, in general, that also relates to local experience, although I must say the ICT sector in Davao is quite dynamic and active.

    I haven’t meant to carry on for this long, but essentially I am pleased that Sarie has contributed to this post to bring a local perspective.

    And if you are in Davao Sarie, please come to see me.

    In general I would say to anyone that if you find the right person, then you will quite pleased.

    It is like a marriage – they don’t always work out, and it requires building a trusted relationship first.

    • Sarie

      I added my website although its not yet done. I did that on my own although I am not techie.

      Hello again Nobby. I appreciate your comments and I just give credit where credit is due. I noticed at your website that you cater to Aussies – thus the financial planner niche. Good. Majority of the clients I have had the chance to work with are from Australia and I must say, aside from a very few employers (mostly first timers dealing with remote workers) I would say, Aussies are good payers than American counterparts. LOL.

      I totally agree that Filipinos are not entrepreneurial. You knew how to establish, register a business here and you’ve experienced the red tape and corruption, right? So, you need to have a lot of moolah just by starting and most Filipinos don’t have that.

      Too bad I am not in Davao. I am from Manila. We also have a conference here in Manila this July and I’d like to invite you to attend. You’d have more moolah for the plane fare than I do. LOL.

      I still believe that given the right project manager who knows how to handle these virtual workers – regardless of location (i.e. whether confined in a place and/or strictly working at home) VA agencies with your “authentic” objective of really helping would go a long way.

      And yes, its like marriage. You really have to work hard to achieve that ultimate goal you have. That’s why it’s called an institution, right?

      I hope we could connect outside of this venue. I could refer to you virtual workers – Davao based whom you could make good use of for your clientele as well.

      I think Yaro you could try out and get in touch with Nobby for your outsourcing requirements. At oDesk and Elance, you’d experience the same, I am telling you.

  • Your business timeline series have been excellent reading. Its nice to read a real case study that details the challenges and successes you have had. You have a great ability to communicate. I too was more interested in your posts than the guest columnists.

    Its also interesting when you comment on the startup scene in Brisbane. Mainstream media in Australia stays away from creative subjects and startups are what people do overseas. Here “real” people get jobs.

    I have been immersed in Ojective C and Cacoa and one day hopefully get some apps in Apple App store.

    By the way have you seen Lisa Messenger’s new magazine, “The renegade Collective”. A very nice magazine for us non-conforming types.

  • I found your insights and experiences with outsourcing quite interesting. I don’t have a lot of experience with outsourcing, but I always thought it’s the best and easiest way to cut down on workload and to make more time available for other business tasks…

    As it seems like, it’s not really that straightforward and finding the right people isn’t that easy neither as it always sounds.

  • Nicola

    The stories they tell though! Dengue fever is a favourite as are bereavements and we took on a full time VA to train as a social media manager at $800 a month (excellent english, good sense of western humour) who after a month said she needed one week every fortnight off to go home to the Chocolate Mountains to visit aged mother and guess what? No internet! However we have built a whole team for RoarLocal.com on Elance including my amazing VA in Portugal ($800 but flexible hours which is what she wanted) and my graphic designer who lives 7 miles from me and who is awesome and very very competitive. Make sure to add a specific question like “what is your favourite …………….. And why?” Start your application with the answer which weeds out spam replies.

  • Hi Yaro,
    I am surprised that you’ve been using Aweber for so long. While its a great product, its not a CRM which is most people want once they understand the power of list building.

  • [...] experience. I must admit, not everyone who has tried outsourcing has had a good experience. I read this post by renowned blogger Yaro Starak, about his experience with outsourcing, which didn’t work out [...]

  • Dieter

    I too was part of that “vocal minority”. I’ve gradually returned here through twitter and on my own account, to see that Yaro’s story continues to be his. The pleasure I take in reading Yaro again has been overshadowed however by the news of his mother’s death. I’ve read the full account. Yaro, this is a story that should be read by many more people than just entrepreneurs. It is very moving but also very thoughtful. I think you may underestimate just how great a writer you are.

    Take care.

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