After more than 6 years of working with Filipino employees, I learned a couple things this week about the 13th month bonus custom in the Philippines.

  1. It’s LEGALLY REQUIRED! – I thought this was the case…but wasn’t completely sure.
  2. It’s supposed to be paid BEFORE Dec. 24
  3. Paying it earlier in the month is better.
  4. Paying it close to the 24th (or even after) is disrespectful and likely to anger employees (I’ve done this before!)
  5. It has specific formulas for calculating what is required!
  6. It’s NOT a Christmas bonus. A bonus is given ON TOP of the 13th month.

This page gives more detail

To my GUYS:

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You recruit what looks to be a very talented employee in the Philippines.
They do great work for 3 weeks.
Then they disappear. BAM. GONE!

This is one of the biggest problems employers have when hiring Filipino workers.

This video explains what happens.

File Donwload: MP3 Audio, ~1.36 MB

Give more/better/proper training and 95% of the time you’ll avoid this problem.

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This was one of my favorite case studies.
In this case study you’ll learn:

  • How to tell if a programmer is good
  • How to avoid bad workers
  • How to train your workers
  • What skills to look for when hiring
  • How to free yourself from work (David’s income has tripled while working less!)

Summary of Success Story with David Solomon

  • 1:00 – David’s Business: Internet Marketing for clients
  • 1:40 – David’s hiring process
    1. 2:00 – Used ReplaceMyself.com to learn what they’ll learn
    2. 2:11 – Used OnlineJobs.ph to find and contact people
    3. 2:30 – Emailed people. Was too specific. Scared people off.
    4. 3:03 – Hired someone who quit to help her Aunt <--- Chances are pretty good she gave this as an excuse because she didn't think she could do the job.
    5. 4:20 – Chose the person who followed instructions
  • 6:10 – Filipinos are often very sensitive to the embarassment problem
  • 7:15 – Give detailed instructions!
  • 9:00 – Be careful of who you’re hiring.
  • 11:00 – They set up everything for wordpress (cpanel, uploading, template, plugins, content, settings, …)
  • 11:20 – Making money on vacation through outsourcing
  • 12:15 – Skills he looks for
    1. english
    2. wordpress
    3. PHP
  • 13:00 – How to tell if a programmer is good
  • 14:00 – How to keep someone productive
  • 14:58 – Some people need more training from you than others
  • 14:50 – Find what works for you! Try ReplaceMyself first. If it doesn’t work for you, try something else!
  • 17:20 – Thinking through a project from beginning to end before starting
  • 18:30 – Realizing that you can free yourself to do more important things
  • 20:00 – Getting better work done than what you asked for
  • 22:15 – Be prepared to have a lot of free time!
  • 23:25 – Being the CEO of the business
  • 24:15 – How I deal with giving raises
  • 25:30 – Watch the exchange rate

If you have an Outsourcing Success Story, Please share it!. I want to hear about your success (and I’ll probably give you some free advice if you do).


Talk about “The Cloud” is everywhere.

The question I get is: “How do I use ‘the cloud’ for my business?”
More specifically: “How do I use Amazon’s EC2 and S3 for my business?”
About 18 months ago we switched the hosting for my blog to use Amazon EC2 Cloud Computing and Amazon S3 Cloud storage.

It wasn’t simple.

(since…we’ve moved everything over to Amazon’s web services)

Why I moved to “the cloud”

My goals with moving my blog to “the cloud” were to:

  • understand how to use the cloud effectively
  • document how to use amazons cloud
  • see how much it would cost (about $80/month to host my blog, which gets between 1000-2000 visits per day, and runs LOTS of bandwidth with all the videos)
  • and make everything accessible to people who maybe don’t have a tech staff

My experience setting it up

I had one of my GUYS set up everything and document every step of the way.
He did an amazing job of it.
We’ve been running my wordpress blog on amazon’s EC2 cloud for about 18 months and have learned A LOT!
We’ve been through crashes, downtime, expensive time, and now cheap time.
We’ve figured out things to do and things not to do.

Documentation for how to use Amazon’s cloud computing

Here is the third version of the documentation my GUY created:
Amazon EC2/S3 Cloud Computing How To Document
We’ll create more versions as I get feedback from people.

You’ll notice 2 things about the doc:

  1. The dates on the title page are older. We’ve updated the document, we just haven’t updated the title page.
  2. It’s written by a Filipino. He’s a programmer, not an english major! (you’ll laugh at some of the language

Who this is for (and who it’s NOT for)

This document is for you if:

  • you’re technically inclined
  • you want to use “the cloud” but don’t want to spend all the time figuring stuff out
  • you’re interested in using reliable dedicated servers at a reasonable price

This document isn’t for you if:

  • you struggle with FTP
  • the word “server” scares you
  • you’re not making money with your current website

Why I’m doing this

I want feedback!
I know the document is rough.
I want a few people to follow it and implement what it goes through in their business. Take notes and let me know what’s missing, what you don’t understand, and how you figured it out.
I’m interested in making this document a more thorough guide so more people can take advantage of this resource for their business.
If using this interests you, read through it. See if it’s way over your head. See if it makes sense. See if anything jumps out at you immediately as being lacking.
I hope to make this a guide which more people can use.

It’s free!

If you use it, use the contact form to let me know what’s wrong or what you like about it.
Also, feel free to leave comments of things you find which you believe will help people.


In this case study Tim lays out his hiring process really well.

It’s not the same way I do it, but it works for him.

Everyone is different. Figure out what works for you and stick with it.

File Download: MP3 Audio, ~13.13Kb — File Download: 105.22 KB iPhone/iPod

Summary of Success Story with Tim

  • 0:52 – his business is web design, social media marketing, local search optimization, and reputation management
  • 1:20 – 3 Filipinos working in their business
  • 1:58 – Tim’s interview process
    1. 2:28 – contact via skype
    2. 3:14 – tests their english
    3. 3:38 – good internet connection
    4. 4:05 – expects proper and consistent reporting
    5. 4:25 – willingness to be on skype during working hours Everyone is different. Find what works for you!
    6. 6:15 – willingness to learn and share ideas
  • 7:15 – Part-time vs Full-time
  • 8:54 – how Tim trains his Filipino VA’s
  • 9:30 – using GoToMeeting, Jing, and recorded videos with Camtasia
  • 10:40 – skills Tim looks for (english, wordpress, linkbuilding, video editing, directory submission, graphic design)
  • 12:55 – Tim likes to have some things done in the USA, not in the Philippines
  • 14:00 – Different personalities do things differently. Figure out what works for you.
  • 15:15 – Figure out what you really want to get done before you hire.
  • 15:45 – Daily communication! So important
  • 18:10 – Have realistic expectations

If you have an Outsourcing Success Story, Please share it!. I want to hear about your success (and I’ll probably give you some free advice if you do).

Filed under philippines outsourcing by  #


Scott is a good manager.
This case study was a pleasure to do for me because time and time again I saw how he’s doing things right.
It’s no wonder he’s succeeding.

There’s a lot to be learned from this (even the parts where he’s not doing it right…and he KNOWS he’s not doing it right!).

File Download: MP3 Audio, ~17.7Kb MB — File Download: iPhone/iPod Version

Summary of Success Story with Scott Smith: Managing Filipinos The Right Way

  • 0:45 – Scotts team
  • 1:15 – Scott does local business marketing for churches
  • 2:05 – what scotts team does for him (wordpress, plugins, graphics, video design, research, looking for JV partners, …)
  • 3:30 – finding people for specific skills, not necessarily for wordpress
  • 5:05 – tools become an excuse to procrastinate
  • 5:35 – understand wordpress yourself – get someone else to implement it for you
  • 6:33 – help someone get good at things, on your team, so the future gets better
  • 8:20 – learn it yourself, then hire someone else to implement it for you
  • 10:06 – hiring a full-time graphic designer
  • 12:10 – Scott created a full side business just based on the skills of his team!
  • 14:30 – don’t hire someone to do everything! Hire someone to do 1 thing.
  • 17:45 – Scott has a programmer in the UK. He could find the same skill set from someone in the Philippines!
  • 20:35 – Hiring “by-the-hour”. A conversation for and against.
  • 24:45 – Potential consequences of hiring on a per-project basis.
  • 26:05 – Doing affiliate marketing in your teams downtime
  • 29:30 – Getting local clients
  • 30:40 – Advice from Scott: be detailed in your instructions <-- this is a big deal. It's the biggest feedback I've gotten from my team is that they like detailed instructions.
  • 32:10 – “A lot of time it’s the boss’ problem”
  • 33:05 – Put the onus on yourself – assume it was your fault first, that you weren’t clear enough <-- THIS IS HUGE!!!
  • 33:40 – show your gratitude (verbally), then give bonuses
  • 35:30 – foster their feeling of community
  • 36:35 – Scotts testimonial for me about his success with the Philippines

If you have an Outsourcing Success Story, Please share it!. I want to hear about your success (and I’ll probably give you some free advice if you do).


A full 8:44 introduction to outsourcing to the Philippines.

How To Replace Yourself In Your Business
By Hiring Virtual Assistants In The Philippines

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Years ago I realized that the only way to live the “internet business”
lifestyle was by getting other people to do your work for you.

In this video I explain how to do it.

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