Outsourcing virtual assistants is one of the first steps to building out your team. There also comes a point in any successful affiliates’ journey where they contemplate, “Am I a super affiliate now? Have I reached that level yet?”. Whether you hate or love the term, it’s core meaning is strived by all.
Ido Oz walks you through one of his most valuable case studies that outline the tipping point of just this. Affiliates with the skillset and tools, struggling to break through to the next level will understand common obstacles and find new ways of thinking in order to accelerate their business through outsourcing virtual assistants.
Forget burning time on creating campaigns over and over, landing pages, piles of ad copy, not to mention accounting and tracking those pending payments. It’s time to put the old affiliate in you to sleep and awaken the 7-figure super affiliate within.
Speech by Ido Oz | Founder & CEO Idoz Software Solutions
Ido Oz Speech Transcript
Can anyone tell me, who’s this guy in the picture?
Alfonso Red, living the affiliate dream
Not me. This is a super affiliate. His name is Alfonso Red.
Now, Alfonso, he was living the affiliate life dream. He drives a BMW, gets the hottest girl, goes 5 times a day to the gym. And all that, while still managing to make money.
Now what Alfonso is not telling you guys is that when he’s partying, there’s a team behind him that works. When he’s at the gym, there’s a team behind him that works. When he’s in the office, there is a team that works.
I don’t know Alfonso personally, but I know that either him or he’s from a developing country or a country where the salaries are very low. Either him or someone on his behalf relocated to a country like Thailand, where people cost less to hire.
Or either he was smart enough to outsource.
Now, I managed to ask 32 close affiliates of mine. Let’s say medium-big size. Most of them making more than 30k a month.
I asked them, “How many of you outsource on a full-time basis?”
Out of 32, 30 guys outsourcing virtual assistants on a full-time basis.
And what I’m trying to say is here, your chances, as solo affiliate like I was, like a lot of people was and are, to make it to the next level, to be a super affiliate, your chances are slim alone.
You need to understand that.
The next 15 minutes, I gotta try to explain to you how to make this step to the next level. How to build your team.
But before that, I’ll tell you about myself.
About Ido Oz
So my name is Ido Oz, I’m 32. I live in Israel. I probably started to make money 20 years ago online, but my true outsource love story began when I was 23.
I finished my military service. I finished one year of traveling the world and exploring. And at that time SEO was my passion.
Now, I don’t know how many of you did SEO 10 years ago, but it was just a huge link competition. Like the more links you get, the more associations you get, the more blog posts, whatever. You get a higher ranking and that’s what I did.
I was BA student at the time. I woke up early, I did links. I went to sleep at 3 AM, I did links. And so on and so on.
After 1 year, I thought I was smart enough, I start buying links from suppliers, third size suppliers but that was just a huge, hidden miss, right.
Like it was never what I wanted. It was never exactly as I want it but it was okay. It was decent.
Outsourcing using Virtual Assistants
After 2 years, I was smart enough to outsource. And I got my first VA that was around 8 years ago. And he helped me.
He helped me make all these blogs. He helped me made all these paths, all these links, all the associations I needed.
The 2nd VA I got was a developer. The developer took from me all the development job that I did. I’m not a developer but I had to.
And then we had a 3rd guy. And we were like a small four-person team and we did that for 2 years. And we did well, we did pretty well.
Things got automated, and that’s what happened when you have a team. Things got automated and I was able to take it to my next passion, which was at the time was PPC.
I did really well with PPC. Slowly I got people coming to me and asking me, “Oh can you run a campaign for us? Can you do that for us?” and so I did. Without noticing I have a small agency in Israel, which became medium. We served medium, high customers from all kinds like all niches and vertical you can only imagine.
But I got bored out of it, and I want more.
E-commerce to PPC and More
My next big milestone was e-commerce. So at that time also, that was like 4 or 5 years ago, it wasn’t like it is today. E-commerce is, you had to deal with customer support. You have to deal with drop shipping for filming houses.
Some people still doing it. But a lot of people, do they use Amazon for example.
And so we did. I shifted everybody from SEO and we slowly started to build a team. We ended up, within one year with 12 people team.
I was doing finance. I was doing strategy. Another Israeli guy was sitting with me, he was doing the marketing, the PPC.
And then we have another 10 guys in outsourced, sitting in Pakistan, in India and they were doing customer support.
Dealing with the drop shippers, dealing with the suppliers, dealing with data entry, saving us all this time and we were rocking. We’re doing amazing.
We did that for a year. We did it for another year. And then I got bored.
I started Idoz Software Solutions.
When I was told to give you a case study, I figure most of you here are not software houses.
What is your Business Model?
And I think there’s no better case study than the next one I’m gonna give you guys. And the next one is actually about a guy who’s sitting here in the crowd. He was an affiliate.
He contacted me around 1 year ago for a consultant. From obvious reason, I’m not gonna mention his name, David.
And David came to me and he said, “Ido like help me scale, I’m doing very well. I’m busting my ass. I don’t mind busting my ass, but I’m doing very well but I want to take it to the next level.”
So I did, I set up with him. I set up with him.
And the first thing I asked him, I asked him “David what is your business model?”
And David looked at me like, probably most of you when I look at them, and when I asking them and he was confused.
It looked like someone who got all these offers shut down. It’s like, what is your business model?
You need to understand, you want to scale? You need to understand that you’re a business now. So what is your business model, what is your business structure?
So I sat down with David, who was an affiliate like most of you guys and we start structuring his business. So David didn’t know but we have a development department where they doing all the setting up technology stuff like they’re sending up the landers the safe side, whatever you guys do.
We have a department for creative where they create ads, videos, angles. We had a department for copywriting. We had a department for data entry.
So we structure his business that took around two days to really finalise it.
Being the CEO
The next thing I asked David to realise, as a business, you need to understand, your time matters.
You are now a CEO of a company and your time matters. I know it’s only you, I know it’s only you right now, but your time matters.
So what I asked David to do, I asked him to list down all the tasks you do every day. Go with this with a pen and a paper and write down all the tasks you’re doing.
And come back to me after 7 days.
And like most affiliates, it came back to me after 2 days. And it was like, had a list of ten tasks. “This is what I’m doing. I’m setting up my tracker. I’m setting up my ad. I’m launching my campaign.”
And I was like “no, no stop”
Setting up your lander, “Who’s buying the domain? Who’s setting up the hosting? Who’s updating the data you have there?
He said, “Oh you mean all that?”
I said “Yes, I mean all that everything. I want everything.”
So he came back to me after 7 days, this time, with a list. 120 something topics of what he do.
Breaking Down Tasks by Department
We sat down and I told him, “I want you to break down the tasks according to the departments”
And so we did. We put the lander set up. We put it under development for bizdev, we used to put, following up with advertisements and so on and so on.
Each one of you has a different business. You guys have e-commerce. You guys have whatever you have.
So e-commerce, customer support, drop shipping, you sort it.
After we did that, I asked David the next thing.
I told him, “Circle down all the non-brainer tasks”
Identify All the No-Brainer Task
Now, what is the non-brainer task?
It means all the tasks, you don’t have any judgment in them. You don’t think too much, like whether I should do this or that. There’s no judgment in them. Like once you have the data, you use it.
For example, if you said, if your developer needs to set up a lander, if you tell him what to do, there’s no judgment right?
And so we did.
From 120 something tasks, 101 were no-brainers. 85% of the tasks were no-brainers. 85% of what are you guys doing as tasks are no-brainer tasks. And you guys, wasting your time on that.
When I told David this, his eyes were opened up and it was so easy to take it from this stage.
So we start sitting together and we start building up the hiring. We did that, it was around, actually was exactly 8 months ago. And these are the data.
David was a one-man show. He was doing good guys. I told you, he was doing 40k profit a month. He wasn’t a small fish.
ROI, $140.00. HR cost, $0.00.
David starts hiring after our talk.
Building your Team
Within 3 months, he had already a data entry guy. He had a developer. And he had what I like to call, the right hand, a launcher, whatever you guys do, is this someone you tell him what to do and he does it for you.
Save you a lot of time.
ROI drops to 109 and it will drop. When you guys going to outsource, it will drop no matter what. But eventually will go up.
HR cost, $950.00. 3 people, $950.00, where do you pay that? Right.
Profit, twice. Eight months after that’s correct, for December first.
They are now 12 people team. And if we look at the HR cost, they have one local guy who helped, mostly with financials and sensitive stuff.
And then the rest, the 11 rest are outsourced. Now, look at this, 2,200 for one local guy. 2690 for an outsourcing eleven people.
Now we all live in the same industry and it’s super volatile right. What’s working now not gonna work in 2 months, and so on.
And we need to have low cost in order to manage to go through these times. And that’s what it is, profit more than 3 times, more in 8 months.
How Do We Build a Team?
So how do we do it, how do we build a team?
This graph, I made it, which probably go through the whole process of hiring and scaling, right. So I’m gonna go through every aspect of it.
Seek & Hire
So how do we hire, how do we start with the first one?
I personally think that the first VAs you’re getting are the most important ones. Why? We’re gonna get to it in scaling, but later on you’re going to build a team around them.
By the way, this is the time to take notes if you guys want.
What you want to look at is time zone. So if you’re based in Europe, you don’t want to get someone in South America. If you ask me the Philippines, it’s too far as well. You can get to East Europe, you can get to India.
Places that are easier in terms of time zone.
Now today they made it super easy. If you want to hire, you just go to a platform like Freelancer, you just go to a platform like Upwork.
You can filter by payments, you can filter by skills, you can fill it by questions, and you can give filtering questions.
You can customise and so on.
Weed Out Bad Applicants
A good tip that I like to give is, when you post your job, add at the end, “when you reply to this job, write, post number 7, 7, 5, 5” and it’s just a number.
And why do we do that? Because once you’re going to get 50, 60, 80 people that apply for your job, you’re going to narrow down all the people who didn’t do it because they didn’t even read your messages. They’re just replying to everybody like yes, sir, we’re doing this and so on.
How do you narrow this the next ones? You’re going to get a lot of replies from companies that outsource, right. Companies are a lot so, you don’t want to work with them.
Getting the Right Freelancers
You want to work with freelancers. Like pure individuals.
And when you get to this list of let’s say 10 people, start chatting with them. Ask them and when you ask them questions, except for asking them from their skills, also ask them how they think in communication, right.
I like to ask them “Okay, where you from? How many people are in your country? How many people in your city? What do you like to do?”
They don’t know how to answer how many people are living in their city, they cannot Google it. Then we have a problem.
If communication is bad then we have a problem. So you narrow it down to like 3 candidates.
And then this is what I failed as a young entrepreneur outsourcing virtual assistants, I used to always chat. I was avoiding these video chats, I didn’t like it.
Like I’m here, you’re there.
But no, do voice conversation, do face conversation. And this is for them to realise it’s a business and not another foreigner sending them money.
So do that, hire the one.
Training the Right Individuals
Now once you’re hiring training starts.
For training, again, my mistake was bad, avoid chats, avoid screenshots. It works but it takes time.
You want to do a screen share with a voice you, want to tell them what to do. What we do in our company and I strongly recommend it, make a video of what you’re doing together, with notes.
So at the end, they get a guideline with video but also notes because there are always adjustments.
So they will have video with notes, they can always refer to something.
Also, for training, I recommend 30 days grace. 30 days grace means if in 30 days they don’t prove themselves, don’t waste your time guys. Move on to the next one. Just don’t waste your time, your time is important.
Monitoring your Team
We move to monitoring. Now, for monitoring, there are two tools that I would like to recommend. It’s called Time Doctor for time monitoring. There are some other great tools, this is what we work with. It’s pretty much a work clock.
They go to work, they press start, they finish work, they press end. And then you see how many hours they worked. You can always go very aggressive with it like, if you see that the mouse movement is not moving too much, then that the clock just stops, you can get screenshots. It’s good, we use it to monitor.
Another tool for task monitoring, is Asana you can also have Trello. You can also have other tools but Asana is a good tool that we use just to follow progress on these tasks
Scaling your Team
And now the interesting part is scaling.
For scaling a lot of mistakes, a lot of affiliates do that outsource, they just get a lot of people. So they get one in the Philippines and another one in a different city and that one and there and another one there, and so on.
What you want to do out of all the VAs you have, whatever point is take the best and tell them “Listen, this is my business plan, this is I want to do. I believe in you. I trust in you. I want to set up a company around you. I want to set up a source around you.”
And trust me guys, he will get you the best guys you can only imagine. He will look at his friends, local job pass, he will get you these people.
And once you get those, it will put his name on them. He will vouch for them and you can be sure that slowly, you scale like this.
So what we gonna have, we’re gonna have you in the centre and then you have other centres where you have this guy. The first VA you had is gonna be the manager. He’s gonna be the CEO of this company, of this branch, and slowly you’re gonna build.
And this is how you’re gonna also control it.
Watch for Red Flags
Now that was the nice part. And there are also things we need to watch out for, right. What we like to call red flags.
Now, show up hands here, how many people outsourcing virtual assistants on a full-time basis?
I thought it’s gonna be more. Leave your hands up, please. So if you heard the following excuses in the last 90 days take your hands down.
“I’m sorry sir there was an earthquake, I couldn’t come to work.”
“I’m sorry sir, there was a typhoon I couldn’t come to work.”
“I’m sorry sir, there was my cousin was in the hospital I couldn’t come to work.”
We hear those excuses a lot but you need to understand, it makes sense. These are developing countries. These things happen.
But what we do want to make sure we don’t allow is when it’s too many excuses. This is one of my employees right.
I might be late. I’ll be picking up Jay from the hospital and it’s raining outside.
Again, same employee. I’m asking them where they are.
“Oh Jay just messaged me there is no electricity in our place due to a thunderstorm, I’m currently out”
You need to if you see a pattern watch out.
Too demanding. Well, why “too” here because in the Philippines, for example, they used to get paid twice a month.
So when they asked me in the beginning twice a month, I was like “Oh you’re greedy”
But no, that’s this is what they used to.
So too demanding means this. We normally pay in our company on the 10th right and this is 30 August, like 10 days before, “Hey guys, I want to follow up on my payment request.”
After a few days, “Hey guys, this is the 3rd day now, haven’t heard from you,”
“Hey guys, I’m really not feeling okay with it, you mentioned and so on and so on,”
Who’s the boss here? Who’s demanding?
You don’t wanna, at that point, it’s already an ex-employee.
Too time-consuming. They don’t reply on time, you don’t want that.
Stay in Control
Okay what I’m trying to say here if you have outsourced, they’re giving you a lot of headaches, don’t struggle. Move on.
Now, one of the biggest concerns affiliates are raising is, and probably a lot of you asking that right now, “How do I stay in control? How do I make sure I don’t lose my business? How do I keep everything with me? “
What I like to mention here is a phrase that’s called divide and rule. And this is from Wikipedia not sure about the source:
Divide and rule, in politics and sociology is gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy.
Before you think in another Israeli and his war crap, what I want you to think is you are the one implementing this strategy, right.
You’re the one implementing the strategy. If you spread it well enough, then you will stay in control.
Before that, not to mention, I forgot to mention that let’s say you’re running media, you think an outsourced in the Philippines can afford to run the 1k spend the day media, they don’t have the money for it.
What about the strategy thing in the industry wherein like I said before, which is so volatile, things are changing all the time.
So let’s say it, he knows what you guys are doing. Let’s say he knows that. In 3 months it will be clueless without you, without the brain, without the vision, none of this will happen.
Divide and Rule
So I’m going back to what I said here Divide and rule. How we did it in my company, right.
In Israel, we’re controlling finance, we’re controlling strategy and we’re controlling customer support because we’re working with a small base of clients.
In Pakistan, which is one of our biggest offices, we use labour, we use data entry, we use manual automation for things that we need.
In Albania, another big office of ours, we use high-tech. High-tech device developers, where it cost us probably tenth of the price of what we pay in Israel.
In India, we get medium tech. Website developing of stuff that does not need to of high skills.
So we stay in control having all these offices. But the control is with us and this is if you are afraid and you don’t want to lose control.
The Beauty of Outsourcing Virtual Assistants
I want to get you back to when I was 23 when I was doing SEO.
If you remember I told you I got my first VA. And the first VA his name was Adil. Adil at the time was a struggle for me. He didn’t have the set of skills but one thing I notice, he was eager to learn. He was smart, he was ambitious and he was there for me.
Eight years after guys, Adil is sitting here in the crowd. He’s the CEO of our Pakistan company. He is helping me with business development. He’s managing 30 people there.
And he’s the good friend of mine.
I’m not sure how many of you know but Israel and Pakistan are in a bad relationship. I cannot visit my own office. I cannot even go to Pakistan to see my office, to see my employees.
So my message here is that outsource is beautiful and it’s good if you want to scale your business and if you want to take you to the next level and if you want to be super affiliate.
But what I’m trying to say is if you put a lot of passion into it, if you put a lot of faith into it, you can really make the impossible possible.
Thank you, guys.
- Nice, thanks very much, Ido. Very cool. So I just have two questions for you.
- Tell me.
- Two questions. I loved your Warcraft analogy that was very interesting. But the two questions are, what is the highest value position that you could outsource for? If someone was only going to outsource one position, what is value like in terms of your time, in order to do it and in terms of the value that they might provide?
- Depends what you do, but if it was one, I would just take a personal assistant. Someone who have the set of skills for what you’re doing. So if you’re a media buyer, someone with some skills of media, and he’s your right hand. And whenever you don’t have the time to do it, I will just let him do it. Something more general.
- I like it. Okay and alternatively, within, your organisation for instance, what are some positions you would never outsource, that you always want to keep internally?
- Right so, like I mentioned, I would never outsource finance, like at least not outside of the country. If you’re working with small like, data of customers I wouldn’t outsource that, you want to keep your customers to yourself. And strategy, strategy is everything. Obviously we consult but we need to be the ones in power and the strategy, the headquarters is where it is.
- Very cool, all right let’s give Ido a round of applause. Thank you very much for teaching us about outsourcing virtual assistants.