E19 – How to Recruit and Train Virtual Assistants with AJ Crawford
AJ Crawford joins Gary to discuss his process for recruiting and training talented virtual assistants from The Philippines. He talks about what you can expect to pay and some of the amazing talent you can find. We also discuss some of the cultural differences and regulations you should be aware of.
- AJ Crawford’s story (background) of how he got here (01:13)
- The biggest benefit of long-term hiring a Virtual Assistant (02:35)
- Cost advantage in the Philippines (04:27)
- Biggest lesson in hiring someone you want for a long-term (05:47)
- Cultural differences of the Philippines and the United States (07:19)
- How do you find somebody who’s looking for VA work? (11:33)
- What skills do we need to expect from them for this job? (15:31)
- What do they expect from you other than the regular paycheck (e.g. equipment, training,) (22:07)
- How do you do training with the VAs? (24:26)
- Online services for paying VAs (TransferWise) (29:09)
To get in touch with AJ Crawford:
00:00:42 Gary Ruplinger
Hello and welcome everybody to another episode of the Pipelineology Podcast. This is Gary Ruplinger and today I am pleased to be joined by AJ Crawford from Gerson & Associates, AJ, welcome to the show.
00:00:56 AJ Crawford
Thank you for having me.
00:00:58 Gary Ruplinger
I am glad you’re able to make some time on your data to come talk about virtual assistance, but before we get into that, could you tell us a little bit about your background and your story and kind of how you how you got here?
00:01:13 AJ Crawford
Yeah, so I have about eight years of sales experience, a deep background and debate, believe it or not, and then recently finished a marketing degree and have been working in the marketing field. I say debate because interestingly enough I use my debate background more than my marketing degree for my day-to-day job helping startups at a small agency. Persuasion you know doesn’t change a lot depending on the field. Psychology says the same, so yeah, so that’s my background and it’s part of working with startups. I got a lot of two VA recruiting because most startups you work with have very limited budgets and lots of tasks. So, outsourcing became kind of a natural extension of that and I’ve. developed a bit of a side business doing that as I realize that it’s really a powerful tool to build out your startup or build out your small business and you can get a lot, you know, a lot of really loyal, hardworking people from abroad for just much better, you know, much better costs than you can in the United States.
00:02:12 Gary Ruplinger
I think that probably kind of leads right into my first question that on virtual assistance, which is: What are some of the benefits? Why do you want one? I know you’ve covered some of the big ones, right there. Is that loyal people who, loyal, hardworking people who cost less than at least? If you’re in the United States or Europe a whole lot less cost.
00:02:35 AJ Crawford
So typically, people get into the VA business due to cost, but I’ve actually found in the long run that’s not even the biggest benefit. I would say the biggest benefit of long-term hiring a VA, especially if you’re planning on training and investing time and resources into them is retention and turnover. I actually put that. Even above costs ’cause as much as having a VA, that’s you know half or less the cost of the equivalent United States is good in the profession I’m in, it might take 1/2 even three years of investment in time and effort to teach someone a lot of the really advanced, really specific aspects of automation, marketing, and oftentimes with clients having someone who’s mastered their workflows takes so much of a resource investment in terms of training that the cost to hire and train someone from scratch is in some ways more expensive than just hiring a new person, and I find that hiring some in the United States it’s really hard to get someone you know at a lower level, especially in terms of pay, that you can keep long term. So, either you’re having to pay them exponentially more money or you’re just facing turnover in the United States, it’s a lot higher in general, people look for better and greater opportunities, so I think retention is probably the biggest advantage.
00:03:46 AJ Crawford
The second one obviously, and also the biggest one, is cost. In the Philippines a I can hire VA starting anywhere from $500 to $800 a month, and from there you know if I go up to $1100 or even $1500 a month, I can get a really, really skilled, highly experienced person. Uhm, that you just, you know, couldn’t compare the United States and then the final advantage I say is work ethic. They tend to be really hard working in the Philippines. A lot of them are really loyal so you get loyalty, you get hard work ethic. And if you know how to train and coach VAs and you’re familiar with the cultural differences, it’s really not that difficult to train and manage VAs abroad. If you have the right system in place.
00:04:27 Gary Ruplinger
I appreciate that. So, you kind of mentioned it and I know one of the big objections. I think people have is the pay. So, if you’re paying somebody $500 to $800 a month, should you, should you feel bad about that? Is that like a poverty wage? Or are you? Or is this actually a good job to have in the Philippines?
00:04:47 AJ Crawford
An engineer in the Philippines can expect to make often times $300 to $500 a month. And if you’re looking at management level positions in the Philippines, management level positions can be $700 – $800 a month. So, at $800 a month, you’re solid middle class, you know at $1100 or $1200 you’re you know upper middle class. So, if you’re paying, you know, especially if you’re looking at management level. If you’re paying over $1000, that’s really good money one thing I would caution against is don’t lowball based off of other offers in Philippines, so don’t try that like you might be able to hire someone for $300 or $400, but the extra mileage you get for those couple 100 bucks is more than worth the difference in it. Between $500 and $800. That’s a very good solid living wage in the Philippines. You know that would be equivalent to like you know, $20.00 an hour here.
00:05:35 Gary Ruplinger
Oh wow, OK, I know I know like I know the first time I hired 1-2 I had that kind of same feeling of is this. Is this even a fair amount to pay somebody? So, I appreciate your kind clearing that up.
00:05:47 AJ Crawford
I think the biggest lesson is a I think one of the things I’ve learned is, even if you start off slow, make sure you leave room for promotions, one of the things that I found really engenders loyalty, again, similar to what you’d find the United States is if you’re hiring someone that you want for the long term, plan on giving them maybe a little pay bumps every six months. So, start him off at 5 or $600 and then add 50 to $100 a month every six months to a year and not knowing that they’re consistently making more money really helps you, you know, double down on the loyalty. Especially because there’s a huge difference in value between a trained VA, especially trained by the United States and untrained ones. So, if you pull someone in at 5 to $600 who you train from scratch in a year or two? If you don’t aren’t careful, they could go to another American, you know, VA job and easily make $800 or more using the experience you gave them so. That’s why you want to make sure. You know you build different systems to keep them loyal. Think of it just like in the United States. How do you attract and retain talent?
I think the biggest mistake a lot of people make is they treat VAs differently than the US workforce. If you accept that you’re paying them a much better wage, you know than it would be in the United States. But then you also accept that they’re human, you know, and because of that you give them promotion opportunities. You treat them well, you commend them all, the things you’d expect to retain talent United States the difference in the Philippines is you’ll get in often times two to three times the mileage out of that praise.
And out of that, Training, but if you forget to do that, often times you’ll have similar issues with turnover that you would with any company, because at the end of the day people or people and you need to treat them appropriately.
00:07:19 Gary Ruplinger
OK, excellent. I know you kind of touched on this. So, what are some of the cultural differences? I guess for the purpose of this interview let’s just focus on the Philippines so that way we can kind of understand ’cause otherwise, I think you’ll get really confusing if we try to include India and Pakistan and Argentina and all those so. But from Philippines versus the United States, what are some of the big ones that you should be aware of?
00:07:45 AJ Crawford
Yeah, and briefly, I’ll say, uh, depending on your specialty. Different nations work.
I almost exclusively hire Philippines because they tend to have one of the best English-speaking populations.
00:07:55 AJ Crawford
So, if your concern is having someone who speaks English fluently, Philippines has really good universities for teaching English, so they have a very large, well-educated pipeline. There’s a lot of call centers there, so you’re often able to hire people from horizon or other call centers that are experienced with customer service and have a really good baseline of training. That said, in the Philippines the biggest cultural differences number one is they tend to be much more respectful of authority and also much more timid. So, you have to be really careful in how you, how you talk to them and how you approach them, especially punishment, because what would in the United States, be just a normal reprimand in the Philippines might be taken much more harshly, and the biggest problem that people often face, they don’t know how to manage you know, Filipino VA is, they can see ghosting or have them, you know, not communicate or try to hide things because they’re afraid of being punished.
So, one of the biggest things you need to do when hiring a Filipina VA is really build a sense of trust, especially concerning errors. You know you want to learn too. Not obviously say errors are OK and fine but learn to be really accepting and accommodating and understanding of human errors. So, one of the first things I always recommend is train your view. Uhm, to report errors to you and make sure they know that telling you about something is always way, way, way better regardless of the mistake, they made them not telling them so, you have to be really careful about how you reinforce punishment and make sure that you’re trying to really do positive reinforcement over negative, because negative reinforcement can really turn the VA off in the Philippines much more so in the United States, so that’s probably the biggest one.
Another culture aspect, and this is a legal requirement in the Philippines. They have what’s called the 13th month. Uhm, so if you hire VA for a full year, it’s law in the Philippines that on the last month of the year you actually give them an extra bonus month salary. So, if you’re paying them $500 a month and you have them for a full year, you should expect to pay him $1000 in December. That’s actually law in the Philippines. Once you’ve had someone for at least a year, if you only have for six months, it doesn’t necessarily apply that culturally in the Philippines is a big deal, so it’s important that you set aside that money just so you have that, that said, they tend to be really loyal.
That’s one thing I really like about it. Filipino culture really respects authority. You know, it’s very, I don’t want to say necessarily. There’s a large matriarch line as well, so it’s not necessarily just patriarchal, but it’s very respectful of management and leaders so you tend to get vehicles that are much more loyal than I found, and in other places they you know, really careful not to try to steal stuff they you know aren’t going to usually steal company secrets or things like that, especially if you know, build a sense of trust with them early on, but yeah, going back to the problems, I’d say like 9 out of 10, the biggest issues that people I hire before have is going down to the communication and making sure that they’re using more praise than negative reinforcement. They’re being really careful about negative reinforcement, so that doesn’t make the VA feel like they need to hide their errors or mistakes because that’s a big problem we have. You know, if they’re not properly trained as they’re afraid of punishment or afraid, they’ll get fired immediately. If you find out that they made a small mistake. That’s very common in the Philippines to they tend to have very authoritarian jobs oftentimes, so their culture is one of very harsh punishment. So, one of the things you want to try and do early on is reinforce this idea that you’ll be very accommodating if they’re honest with you.
00:11:24 Gary Ruplinger
That’s good to know. I guess where do you find these people or how? How do you find somebody who’s looking for VA work?
00:11:33 AJ Crawford
Great question, so there’s a lot of different job boards you can post on. I can’t necessarily reveal all the exact ones I like to use ’cause some of that is my job secrets, but if you Google Online Filipino job boards, there’s a couple of really, really good ones that you’ll find immediately. They most of the job boards tend to be pretty effective if you post you. Can get a lot of good candidates. The art is not necessarily the job board. The art and getting lots of applicants is and how you word your ad and what you’re looking for. Or in terms of what you’re looking for. If you’re willing to train someone from scratch or you are looking for lower-level tasks, the workforce is enormous. I when I’m posting for an opening position, you know, even at five $800 an hour, ’cause oftentimes again, going back to that modesty, they will undervalue their skills and they’re more likely to apply for a lower. I’ve actually found the higher paying jobs.
We get a lot less applicants even if the skill set isn’t high because they’re afraid they aren’t qualified. They’ll just not even skip out on it. So, between 508-hundred-dollar job applicants for base level skills, I’ll get sometimes 6 to 800 applicants on a job, so I’ve never had 6 to 800 a front yes and even you know, even on a bad day, you can expect so many applicants you know anywhere from 50 to 150 that you don’t have an issue with people coming in. And you have the luxury of being able to filter and really narrow it down, so it’s pretty easy to find lower-level hires as you move up the ladder and skills.
So, if you want to hire someone new, for example, a copywriter or a master of a project management. It is much harder you typically are going to pay in the order of, you know, 1500 all the way up to 2 to 3000 parts of the reason for that is if they’re really skilled, they’ll be on upward charging 20 to $30.00 an hour and U.S. dollars because supply and demand. Once they know their skill value, so a lot of the top fees in the Philippines, you know if they can get 20 or $30 and up work an hour, why would they accept you know $1000 job so becomes a lot trickier to hire people like that I actually typically recommend, especially if you’re in it for the long haul.
Higher, lower scale level, but with really smart skills, so I like hiring Engineers with no experience in marketing because you know or met. I actually heard a doctor for one client, he literally was a medical doctor in the Philippines that was making more as a VA that he was a doctor. But because of his doctoral background, he was amazingly talented, very smart, very sharp, higher, so, I hired someone who has a demonstrated skill set in a different field. That shows they can learn and then teach them from scratch, because one you can hire them at a lower cost 2 it’s a lot easier to find than three. They’re loyal because you’re training them and you’re investing. And then right, they tend to really respect. They love being trained and a lot of them really value US training. So, a lot of times the offer of training and support is almost or more valuable than pay, so you can get you know if I offer $500.00 an hour and all the training they want, I might get a lot better applicants than $800 an hour. Throwing them in, you know, throwing him into the field and expecting them to figure it out. That makes sense, but yeah, it’s pretty easy to find Filipino VAs if you go to the standard job boards. The main thing is just, be really intentional with what you’re looking for and in your post. The more you really emphasize support, human connection, you know opportunities for advancement, the more you feel warm and inviting, just like you might do with a US post. And the more and the less it. Feels like I’m just giving you money and expecting the job to be done, the more applicants you’ll receive.
00:14:59 Gary Ruplinger
OK, I guess it kind of leads into the next question then is in terms of, what skills can you, I guess reasonably, expect people to have coming from some of these job boards? I know you’ve kind of alluded to the fact that you could literally find doctors and engineers, but is there? Other than, say, English proficiency in English. What types of skills would they kind of essentially come with to be ready to before you need to start training?
00:15:31 AJ Crawford
Yeah, UM, I’ve had a really interesting journey here because I’ve learned that there’s some skills I don’t even bother looking for because one they’re easy to train, and two. There’s a lot of people that lie about them or don’t really know what they say they know. Uhm, technical skills with specific apps. I have emphasized a lot. So, like, you know, does someone know how to use HubSpot? Does someone know how to use advanced marketing email tools? Have they done a lot of LinkedIn automation or something like that? I’ve learned to not emphasize that as much because that’s pretty easy to train. Uhm, skills that you always want to look for, and that our comment is, you know, familiar with Microsoft Office, do they know how to use Google Sweet, Microsoft Office? Do they have good typing skills? So base level skills and then the second group of skills that’s by far the most important way more important than technical knowledge is the human skills. How good are they communicating? You know, and even though this was not technically really to skills, do they have a good Internet connection? Are they reliable? Are they showing up on time? So, what’s their time management skills? I definitely test them in the interviews. Do they show up on time, right? You know, sometimes I’ll send a message saying please message me 15 minutes in advance. They don’t realize that’s part of the test. Are they punctual? So, punctuality. Things like that.
I really look for beyond that, if you’re looking for specific skills, it tends to be easy to find someone who has Trello experience, you know some project management. They often are all trained in Google Apps and Google Analytics. Be calm and much harder to find skills. Copywriting especially, I don’t even usually look for copywriters in the Philippines because copywriting is one of those things where you can’t really get cheap cooperating, that’s good, and depending on the value of the campaign, it’s better to pay a lot more money in this case, as you know, like, I, you know, we pay you and work with you a lot because. I can’t hire someone to do amazing copywriting and expect it to be better by paying less. You know you kind of get what you pay for, so I wouldn’t recommend the general hiring copywriters from the Philippines. Maybe you can get someone if you’re paying top dollar and you get someone, but it’s a lot harder to do.
Beyond that, again, depending on your stuff. If you need someone to do, you know setting appointments, general VA stuff I think, you know, a general assistant who’s helping coordinates appointments and scheduling. That’s really easy to find. General skill sets are pretty easy to find. Salesforce is not too difficult to find. Uhm, but like I said, when you’re looking, I made a mistake one time. A perfect story is I hired someone from Google. I actually hired a VA who had previously worked at Google and from a skill set standpoint she was off the charts. She had every technical skill you can imagine. I fired her two weeks later because she didn’t show up on time and she wasn’t reliable. So, one of the early lessons I learned in my, you know, VA outsourcing career is you know, a lot of times, soft skills and people skills and just general, you know, reliability skills.
Is there Internet fast? Are they showing up on time? Do they have a ton of family? Commitments you know, a lot of the stuff revolving around. Can they be reliable? Are they coachable? Do they listen to you? Can you tell them something? And how do they react to criticism, right? Those skills are far more important in the long run than any technical skill because most vegans have hired. I could have them trained anywhere from 2 weeks to a month in technical know how and typically like if like the doctor example. If I hire a guy he used to be, you know who is going to be a surgeon. I can teach him. How to use hub spots in a week or two and it’s not an issue. It’s like it’s not very difficult. On the other hand, if I hire someone from Google who doesn’t show up on time, all the technical skills in the world won’t make her a more reliable asset. So, I typically recommend it, unless it’s really specific and you really need someone with experience. It’s better to hire someone with good people skills and soft skills and reliability and like a good background in a related field and then train them than it is to go looking just for that person who knows how to use HubSpot?
00:19:23 Gary Ruplinger
And this is just kind of a quick aside, but as far as the Internet goes, it is broadband, pretty prevalent though or are there certain areas you need to hire in to make sure that they’re going to have high speed, reliable Internet to communicate with?
00:19:38 AJ Crawford
Great question this, I’ve learned the hard way. Islands matter, connections matter. I have. So First off Manila is always good. Manila tends to be one of the most reliable. You’re still intermittently going to have issues because one downside of the Philippines is they have hurricanes they have, or typhoons. I guess they call in the Philippines, so they have typhoons have natural disasters. One of my VA actually had a volcano explode pretty close to her property, so she had two feet of ash cover her house and just to give you an idea of the work ethic, though she worked straight through the volcano because she was just outside of the danger zone and while she had two feet of ash, she still gets hit all of her goals for the week, didn’t miss a beat with any of her projects and she had like 20 people in her house. They were sheltering there, ’cause she was certainly outstanding while she’s doing all the work, and this wasn’t on our end like I told her, take three days off, she wants like no I want to keep working so I don’t fall behind and you know, so they tend to, you tend to get really good hires if you do your research and due diligence. But ah, I would say Manila is the best place to focus. UM, outer islands, do your research. I actually have a VA in the Philippines who’s my right hand who knows the islands 10 times better than I do, and I’ve trained her in recruiting so she pre-sources all my candidates. Double check the Internet connections with, but a lot of times it’s hit miss like one island. Depending on which city on the island some connections are better so I could spend, you know, 20 minutes going into specifics, but in general the closer you are to Manila, the better, the farther from the main island, the more offshoot they are, the more unreliable it is.
But ask them who their ISP provider is. Ask them what their net speed and I have them send me a screenshot. Of their computer specs, so have them actually pull up the computer specs and send it to me, because that’s a good way to prove. Do they actually have a reliable computer? Is a computer 10 years old and barely functioning? That’s an easy filter you should use, because if they don’t have the hardware, you know you could be looking at a huge upfront cost to get them the technical equip. They need and that’s hard to overcome. You know if their computer is not there, spending $800 when you’re paying them $100 a month to send them the computer isn’t really practical. So having the right setup is a really important qualifier you should look for regardless of what type of position.
00:21:48 Gary Ruplinger
So, in terms of like expectations, then from as from their perspective, are they kind of is the, for them is it pretty much where they’re going to bring their own computer and hardware, but what I guess where they expecting to get from you other than I guess a regular paycheck.
00:22:07 AJ Crawford
Yeah, in general most VAs have been hired. Don’t expect to get hardware or setup from you like, I typically reserve that for like my VA. I got her a new computer, but as only after she’d worked for me for six months and I, you know, I knew that I was keeping her for the long haul, so I don’t like to buy upfront equipment for them because who knows, if you know, usually the first month is still the trial period. You don’t want to, you know, invest in sending them something as you know work, plus getting anything to the Philippines hardware can be difficult. You know shipping getting it through, you know customs. I’ve had stuff stolen at custom teams is really difficult, so unless you’re really solid on someone, I don’t recommend getting them hardware. They don’t tend to expect that typically the biggest thing that they expect, and the biggest thing you should be prepared to do is provide good training, best practices for training is recording sessions the best way to teach them quickly is whatever task you want them to learn. Record your screen. With them doing it, have them ask questions, then send them recordings so they can watch it more. Times, that’s probably the most important thing is making sure you give them the time and resources to do their job.
I’d also say don’t expect the VA to do anything that you don’t know how to do, or you’re setting yourself up for failure, because if you tell the VA I want you to do, you know 100 contacts an hour, you set them up with something that you think is realistic, but you haven’t done it yourself, and then they’re going slow. But it but you know, having not known how to do it, they could be working really efficiently. But because you don’t know the task, you gave them unrealistic expectations. You’re asking yourself to have high turnover because they’re going to get frustrated, they won’t hit their goals. They’re going to get disillusioned then quit meanwhile you think they’re being lazy because you have done the task. So, I am highly stressed. Do not hire a VA for any tasks that you can’t walk through, or you don’t have clear benchmarks for because you can’t expect to manage someone you know. If you don’t have any idea what the benchmarks are for their job.
00:23:55 Gary Ruplinger
That’s excellent, so I guess I’d like to get kind of continue down this training path here. In terms of how, how long it really takes or takes to get a good flow going with them. Do you run into, like time zone issues with doing the training? Do you do them? Do you do records? Do you, kind of do prerecorded stuff like loom videos or Camtasia to do training? Or do you do on live like live like this?
00:24:26 AJ Crawford
I actually do zoom for all my training. One thing I recommend is a good tool because if you’re doing a lot of transferring it’s you’re gonna run into bandwidth issues with uploading and saving it. And Google the only stores so much is I actually use YouTube, so I recommend having a private YouTube channel where you upload all your videos. I use zoom to record it, save it to my computer, upload it to YouTube, takes a little bit, so there’s you know couple hour delay. But the cool thing is that I can set it to private on YouTube, so it’s not publicly available and I have practically unlimited storage space without having to pay a bunch of money, so I found YouTube is really good for storing videos. If you’re on a budget. Obviously if you have security concerns where you know ’cause no matter what, Google retains some rights to use your stuff on YouTube. I haven’t had any personal issues with it, but if you’re really you know doing something like in healthcare or something really secure, you might want to have an independent drive. I wouldn’t use Google Drive if you’re really looking at security, I’d use something a little bit more secure in terms of a storage drive to store the videos. But yeah, I typically will record with zoom, upload it to a space like YouTube or you know drop box and then give the VA access to it from there. OK.
By the way, I’m not no, typically when you’re hiring an expert firm, you know, like one of the biggest reasons people will hire me for VA is the secret sauce is really in the selecting and then the training and I would emphasize the training more in the selection. Just like if you have a good sales process, you’re not as dependent on the good sales Rep. If you have really good training. Process, you will have great success with the VA if you don’t I have a client who’s been working with the age for years and he hires an average of five to 10 depending on the position? For every VA he keeps, he has really high early turnover and he thinks that it’s really hard to manage Villiers and all that when I actually sat down with them all, they came down to a system. Once we had a good system in place and a good training set up, I think in the last three years he’s hired 10 VAs and fired one. So, you know 90% reduction in turnover just because he changed how he trained his VAs.
So, I would say that the more energy you put into having a good system for training VAs, the better it’ll be, regardless of who you hire. And that’s really where you want to spend your time and resources is really having a good training system. That’s going to benefit you, because then even if you know, you get a bad VA or you have to fire someone, it’s a lot easier to slot a new person in when you already have the training done. You know my training is very quick and efficient now and I can have you up and running in two weeks to a month with minimal effort on my part because I have tons of videos in a huge library saved that can just plug them into. Also, you know when you build a team of V as your views can train your VAs so it’s kind of amazing how efficient my training process is when I have a VA who’s already trained. The VA’s and have a library of videos. So, once you build that training system for your company, it’s a permanent resource that will continue yielding dividends down the road even if you have turnover, have to hire someone new.
00:27:24 Gary Ruplinger
So, I guess that probably in the next you know part here. So, if somebody is kind of looking to skip a lot of these steps where they don’t have the, they know they need one. They don’t have the bandwidth or time to train them themselves. You offer this as a service, correct?
00:27:43 AJ Crawford
Yep, that’s one of my specialties. I would like to say that I’m about 50% less than the industry standard ’cause again I have a very efficient process and it’s a way where I make good money, the client saves a lot of money over existing. Uhm, one of the problems you’ll face when you’re looking at hiring a firm in general is most firms don’t actually offer to recruit a VA. They offer to just be your VA resource. You pay them, you know a certain amount and they manage the VA. If you’re trying to hit the ground. Running and you don’t have a lot of money. Sometimes that’s a better option just because having them manage the VA you know can save you. Some time, but in the long run you’ll pay way more money ’cause you’re paying 50 to 150% more than whatever it costs to manage the VA, just to have the firm there. So even if you save money in the short term in terms of resources and training, you know in the long run you pay way more. So, I’ll offer a one-time fee to hire on board, train a VA, and then one month later you’re good to go and you can keep training them from there and then. I’ll help you know, help the client set up their own training systems so I do, you know, as deep as you want the rabbit hole to go in terms of training. I will say the one thing I won’t do is if you have super technical stuff, I that I don’t know. I can’t obviously train the VA, but I can show you how to build your own training modules to teach them via whatever skills you want them to learn. So that’s the service I offer as well, and I’ll do everything from hiring and sourcing to training so that all you have to do is do your weekly meetings with them and you’re good to go and pay them of course.
00:29:09 Gary Ruplinger
I actually, just real quick, are there any tricks to paying them? Because it is something like you direct deposit money to them. Do you use special services? Anything like that?
00:29:20 AJ Crawford
Yes, UM hold on, one second, what is the service, I think they just changed the name. I’ll get back to you now, but yes, I actually recommend there’s a couple of services online that are better than others for paying in the Philippines. That’s one tricky issue because you have to factor in currency conversions. So, if you pay them in the United States, you know they have to convert it to Filipinos dollars when you do it. There’re a couple of different services online. What I don’t recommend is PayPal because even though PayPal was easy to set up, they charge enormous fees on the back end that oftentimes are invisible to you. So, you pay way too much money to PayPal to get it to your VA.
00:30:03 Gary Ruplinger
Well, cool in the meantime, while you’re looking that up and somebody does want to get in touch with you about having you do the recruiting and training, how should they do so? Do you have emails, or do they stalk you on LinkedIn? Send you a carrier pigeon to sunny San Diego or just fly down and hang out till they find you.
00:30:24 AJ Crawford
Yes, so I so the easiest way to get a hold of me is just via email firstname.lastname@example.org and feel free to put that in the message you know with the with the podcast, but email@example.com is my email. Fastest and easiest way to either get to me is if you send me an email, I’ll get back to you within a day or so typically, yeah, and Gerson and Associates, that’s the company I work for outside of just doing VA contracts. You can look them up at rgersonandassociates.com and they do all kinds of startup stuff. We do everything you can imagine for startups, and we’ve the company I work with is. You know, successfully helped about $70 billion or the companies exist, you know, they’re behind companies like TurboTax. One of them was a marketing director for TurboTax, another was the, you know top marketer for Xerox back in the day FedEx couldn’t go, so they have some pretty big brand names in addition to you know countless smaller clients that they’ve helped outgrow. So, we do all kinds of services there, and I always do VA contracts independently as well.
00:31:32 Gary Ruplinger
Well, sounds great. Well AJ thanks so much for taking the time to share with us today.
00:31:37 AJ Crawford
Oh, real quick, the name of that app. By the way I recommend TransferWise so when you’re looking to pay a VA, I did all the research for you to save you time. TransferWise has the lowest fees of any of the apps that I’ve used in the Philippines, and I’ve had the best success. With TransferWise, that’s transferwise.com
00:32:01 Gary Ruplinger
Alright, perfect, I’ll make sure we put that in the show notes as well, in case anybody looking to use that service, we’ll get your contact information there in case anybody wants to reach out to you need some help with this stuff. Thanks so much for coming to the show today. I really appreciate you sharing all this with us.
00:32:16 AJ Crawford
Yeah, no problem. Thanks for having me Gary and take care.