I do business differently. I think that’s one of the reasons why people are baffled when they find out I’m actually successful.
I don’t work 60 hours a week. I only work 17 hours (sometimes less) and get more done than the average CEO.
I do a lot of things for free and and I don’t spend that much money to build my business. But somehow, I still make a lot of money for myself and other people.
Employers and workers come and go in the Onlinejobs.ph database but somehow, we’re still growing and getting stronger.
Nathan here asked me these questions, like how is it possible that I’m able to succeed by not following what most people recommend would be the right way to do things.
95% of businesses fail. Following what others say is what 95% of people do. I’ve always gone against the grain.
I have nothing against listening to other people’s advice or reading books or emulating other successful people. But I think you have to define success on your terms. In my case, I never trade time for money. I evaluate everything we do in business by “Who has to do that *thing*? Is it me? Or is it someone else?” If it’s me, we don’t pursue it. Sure, there’s more money to be made if I do more work. But if I hire someone else to do that job for me, I’m still making money and helping another person make their life better, isn’t that a better outcome.
It’s a lesson I’m now working to impart to my kids too. I want them to do things that bring value to their lives and to the lives of others. Spending time together is always more important than my work. Spending time building businesses together brings us closer and makes us money at the same time. I get to teach them the values like integrity, compassion, and respect in a practical setting.
Nathan Latka: Hello everybody, my guest today is John Jonas. He’s helped thousands of entrepreneurs succeed in their business by doing outsourcing differently. He created and runs onlinejobs.ph, the largest website for finding Filipino virtual workers with over 500,000 Filipino resumes and over a hundred thousand employers from around the world using it. He works about 17 hours per week choosing to spend his time with his family rather than working. John, are you ready to take it to the top?
John Jonas: I am ready, thanks
Nathan Latka: What’s your family look like? How many kids you have?
John Jonas: I got five.
Nathan Latka: Five kids, how will? Give me the oldest and the youngest age?
John Jonas: So my oldest boy is 15 and my youngest boy is 4 and the next three girls in the middle.
Nathan Latka: I mean are they working on the business yet or no?
John Jonas: You have no idea man; my 15 year old son runs two different businesses. One of them he has multiple products selling on Amazon the other one is selling motorcycles that he imports from China.
Nathan Latka: And how old is he again?
John Jonas: He’s 15, he started this when he was 11.
Nathan Latka: That’s amazing, so does your 15 year old make more or less money than you do?
John Jonas: He makes less but he makes, he makes more than most than most are all almost all kids who’s a senior.
Nathan Latka: 15 years old I love that, okay I want to circle back in a second just on that thread from a parenting perspective, what you’ve done in terms of raising him and your kids to encourage entrepreneurship but before we get there tell us more about your company online jobs. What’s it doing? How to make money?
John Jonas: So years ago I was teaching how to hire Filipino outsource because I had I hired some people and I found that tons of people wanted to know how to do it.
Nathan Latka: By the way John why Filipino? I mean I hear pitches like this all the time then it’s like anywhere in the world VA is but why Filipino specifically?
John Jonas: So there’s a specific set of cultural differences in the Philippines that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world, and it’s not like one of these things makes all the difference, it’s the combination of a bunch of things. So they’re honest; they’re loyal; they’re hardworking; they speak American English; they want to make you happy; they’re not entrepreneurial so they don’t want to steal your business or your ideas or whatever it is. So there’s a whole bunch of things that kind of combine to make this better than elsewhere. And the other side of it is if you hire them full time and give them like full time jobs they will go above and beyond, they were. Full-time work is really prized in the Philippines and it’s hard to find.
Nathan Latka: So what kind of, what is the.., if you had.., if I force you to pick one task that you would say your marketplace is the most efficient at hiring Filipino workers for, what would that task be?
John Jonas: That I don’t.., I don’t have that we have half a million Filipino resumes. There’s half a million so like you want to hire a general virtual assistant, great that’s easy. You want to hire a programmer that’s easy. You want to hire a designer, a social media person or a Content writer or an SEO person or whatever it is, right?
Nathan Latka: What kind of work do you feel like they do best?
John Jonas: So in terms of like comparing to other places of outsourcing in the world, they’re English and their cultural experience is really good for the US. They’re…, they’re really good programmers
Nathan Latka: Yep
John Jonas: They’re really good designers like the Word Press, there’s so…, there’s so many people who are really being good at Word Press.
Nathan Latka: Well so give me an.., it so for example let’s say I’m listening to a show right now we have a lot of private equity M&A; CEOs of sass companies when we think about how do we get some quick software development done. I mean I typically go to top towel because that’s what they brand themselves on it’s only the top 3% of developers help me understand a use case where I might go your direction and Filipino developers through your platform versus a top towel which specializes in just one thing.
John Jonas: So I have a CEO of UNIQ, who just went from like 30million to 300 million last year coming over to meet with me right when we were done. And he was hire interested in hiring Java developers so the case where you would…, where you would do that is you don’t want to pay $150,000 a year for a developer. So like in the Philippines you’re gonna pay for that same developer $1500 bucks a month for full-time work. They’re super talented I mean like the very first guy I ever hired like 12 years ago, his blog was a page rank six because he had written some Word Press plugins that millions of people were using. And so I hired him thinking, you know I’m a programmer, thinking I don’t know if he can do as good of work as I can I mean he’s gonna be as good he was better and like the guy I would put him up against anybody in the world at what he does, he’s amazingly good. So you’re not that everybody in the Philippines is like that but you can definitely find really…, really good talent for super affordable.
Nathan Latka: So…,so it’s a big class to bench as what you’re saying. I mean I work with CEOs all the time and we and I asked about their employee based things there are people that have are really spinning up amazing dev teams in Argentina, in Cracow Poland right over there a Moscow that you’re seeing the key seeing teams pop up but you’re saying what you’re saying is from a culture perspective, from a character makeup perspective in terms of you know they’re not gonna steal your ideas, they don’t you know they’re not aggressive entrepreneurs like maybe other places and from a cost perspective they do great work.
John Jonas: Yeah.., yeah, oh and it’s kind of a combination of those things that makes it really.., really good.
Nathan Latka: Okay so tell me about the company, what you did you launched?
John Jonas: So we launched in 2009, I was just finding that there was no good way to find people in the Philippines, it sucked at the time and so we created this marketplace thinking oh we’d really like to have a better way to find people for ourselves. And the response in the Philippines has been outrageous like people just flock to us because there are actual jobs and they love it. So we, all we do are just provided a marketplace like we’re like monster.com but for the Philippines.
Nathan Latka: How did you solve the chicken and egg problem, right? How did you eat your first person to pay you as an employer looking to hire Filipinos? And how did you convince your first 10 Filipino resumes to come to you?
John Jonas: So.., so for me I was teaching and I had so many people asking me to teach their mailing lists of their customers how to hire in the Philippines so I had.., I had access to the employers already and good bringing the Filipinos wasn’t.., wasn’t very difficult. I never did anything to bring the Philippines, I talked to my team that were working for me and said “hey what can we do to market this” and he said “well I can do this.., I can do this.., I can do this.” And they went and did everything I’ve never done a single thing to market in the Philippines.
Nathan Latka: So what happened? Is they submitted their resumes maybe your team of five or whatever they told their friends boom.., boom.., boom and word-of-mouth kind of took care of that side the marketplace?
John Jonas: Yeah they started posting classified ads; they posted on Friendster which is a social network at the time.
Nathan Latka: So what do you measure in terms of the health of your business? Is it number of completed jobs as a transaction volume, as a number of employers using you per month? Like what’s the thing you track?
John Jonas: So everybody stuff that I track how many people who sign up for a free account and post a free job? How many of them convert to a paid account is one of the things I measure. I measure how many people hire a worker. I measure how many.., how many people are using our time tracking software (time proof). I measure.., I measure revenue…
Nathan Latka: What you call it? It’s called time proof?
John Jonas: Time proof, yeah it’s our it’s our time tracking thing. I measure traffic versus overall conversion.
Nathan Latka: Okay!
John Jonas: So and in in that data that I’m talking about there’s a lot of stuff I don’t measure like there’s a lot of stuff that I ignore that people always say “oh you got to do this.”
Nathan Latka: What do you ignore?
John Jonas: I ignore like specific traffic sources, I don’t care where traffic is coming from it’s.., it’s too hard to know, it’s too hard to track. I ignore….
Nathan Latka: Well now John someone listens I’ll say, what do you mean its shorter track you said Google Analytics and you look at your referral sources?
John Jonas: Yeah but there’s so many of them that I mean.., I mean we have traffic from everywhere, right? and we have so much word-of-mouth traffic that I just ignore it and people are gonna like this one but..
Nathan Latka: No.., no tell us what else do you ignore?
John Jonas: I.., I ignore Google Analytics. I don’t have Google Analytics on my site. I don’t like Google Analytics. I don’t like the way it gives data. I don’t trust its data. I don’t trust Google. Yes! That’s part of it and I find myself I tend to do things differently than most people.
Nathan Latka: Tell me..; tell me some of the other things you ignore? Anything else?
John Jonas: Email marketing.
Nathan Latka: Okay!
John Jonas: Email marketing like it’s.., it’s a disaster, right? Like it’s good and it’s profitable we do a little bit of it but everybody’s always saying “oh you gotta build a list” and I’m like you know what, this is dumb. People hate email and so we don’t do it. For a long.., long time I ignored social media marketing because I don’t want to be on Facebook. I don’t want anything to do with Facebook.
Nathan Latka: Yeah, so you’re creating mean this thing, you don’t mind maybe growth being slower but it being more curated and really from word-of-mouth on both sides of the marketplace and it seems to be working well for you?
John Jonas: Yeah I’m not, I’m.., we have window raise money.
Nathan Latka: I’m not gonna say John I’m guessing your boot based off your character and how you talk about life, you are definitely a bootstrap, kind of guy which I like.
John Jonas: Yeah! I like the guy.., I like the way that Jason Freed and David in my hands and that base can do stuff.
Nathan Latka: Yeah!
John Jonas: And I find when I read their stuff it’s like oh this is exactly how we do things.
Nathan Latka: Yep! So let me ask you some other more specific questions over the past twelve months how many Filipinos have you paid say at least a hundred bucks?
John Jonas: I don’t know.
Nathan Latka: I want to get a sense of like how reliant on you are they? Like how many Filipino lives are you really changing because you’re giving them significant income?
John Jonas: In the last twelve months, so.., so here’s the thing we don’t pay them, their employers pay them.
Nathan Latka: Well what goes, I know but how much of it what’s going through your system right your marketplace?
John Jonas: So 40,000 Filipinos have gotten jobs in the last 12 months.
Nathan Latka: That’s amazing and you defined gotten job it’s that’s not like a free account that’s actual paid by an employer.
John Jonas: They’ve been.., they’ve been hired by someone here, and yeah we have yeah.
Nathan Latka: Okay! Good let me give you a use case, I hire someone through your system a team of five, so it’s at forty thousand and five Filipinos got jobs they do so well, I say you know what I don’t want to pay John his cut of the marketplace let me forgot to just work directly with these guys so I take them out of your marketplace to do that. One, do you care about that? And two, if so how do you try to prevent that?
John Jonas: Boom, that’s exactly what we are. We don’t.., we don’t take a cut. There is no part of our marketplace.
Nathan Latka: How do you make money?
John Jonas: That’s why, I can’t tell you how many we’ve had because all we do is connect you with people, we don’t take a cut of their salary. You pay a small amount to be able to contact them in the beginning.
Nathan Latka: Oh! I see.
John Jonas: So, you contact them, you’re done with us.
Nathan Latka: So you’re a peer but you’re not a marketplace. You are a marketplace in terms of what you do but in terms of business model you are a subscription model employers, pay your monthly fee to access the talent.
John Jonas: To access, well while you’re recruiting. Just while you’re recruiting, once you’re done recruiting you cancel.
Nathan Latka: Okay! What’s the answer?
John Jonas: Just want to go back right and stop you for a second because your assumption upfront is dangerous. You just hired by a team of five, start with one. I’ve seen this too many times where people are like “oh I’m gonna hire this team.”
Nathan Latka: John, just be clear I’m just giving an example to understand how your marketplace works but no great lessons start with one. Let me.., let me understand more of this so from an employer perspective I think in the bio a hundred thousand employers have used your platform. Correct? Since you launched.
John Jonas: Well no, it’s.., it’s close to the two hundred thousand.
Nathan Latka: Okay! Two hundred thousand, I’ve used the platform since launch. They recruit you don’t mind if after they pay you kind of you’re their.., their fee while they were pretty and you don’t mind if their relationship moves through your platform or around your puffs from anything like that you just won’t be a valuable platform if they use you great.
John Jonas: That’s the whole point, no that because we don’t get any cuts of salaries.
Nathan Latka: Do you make money on the time proof tracking software?
John Jonas: No.
Nathan Latka: Interesting, so that’s just a free tool you give to make the value your marketplace better.
John Jonas: It’s all free.
Nathan Latka: Got it, an ideally that attracts more employers because they know you have a really accurate time tracking.
John Jonas: Yeah!
Nathan Latka: Okay got it, what on average of these employers paying like a buy one if my audience someone my audience wants to sign up and they want to do one hire over the next you know four weeks through your system what do they pay?
John Jonas: So I would say the average Filipino right now is asking for about $500 a month.
Nathan Latka: Sorry.., sorry I meant to use your marketplace to access your talent.
John Jonas: It’s $69 for a month.
Nathan Latka: 69 bucks for one month and they can pay for one month or five months however long you need to recruit?
John Jonas: Yeah, it’s.., it however long it takes you to recruit but you know so you’re gonna pay $69 you can recruit whatever you can recruit in that month, you can hire three people whatever.
Nathan Latka: Yep
John Jonas: And then cancel and you’re done, that’s it.
Nathan Latka: Do you see using that in a campaign basis or do they actually, this would surprise me by the way but I, you’re full of surprises do they stick many.., many months? I mean do these people pay that over and over?
John Jonas: So a lot of people do a lot of it would just cancel once, the thing that we know is I know if you hire one person one time you’re gonna come back at some point in the future whether it’s five years from now or five months from now, you’re going to come back.
Nathan Latka: Yep, yep. Okay that’s great. How I’m gonna shift now to more of your personal. I know we understand more about the business so.., so.., so again average field just as summarize average Filipino is looking for call it 500 bucks a month on average. An employer comes to you, some of my audience wants to use and access your town pool they pay sixty nine bucks a month. They can cancel at any time or just do it for one month in over the past twelve months over 40,000 Filipinos have gotten jobs through your platform from how many employers?
John Jonas: Probably, twenty-five thousand.
Nathan Latka: Okay, twenty-five thousand fair enough. Good, now how have you managed to, how have you managed to structure by the way, I mean if you have twenty five thousand employers and they all paid at least seventy bucks I mean that’s 1.7 million in revenue right there is that accurate?
John Jonas: Yeah, there.., well there were more people in that all not everybody who pays hire someone you know but…
Nathan Latka: But they still have to pay that fee right? 70 bucks?
John Jonas: Yeah, yeah they pay the fee yeah.
Nathan Latka: Okay, so I’m gonna gently in the range right?
John Jonas: Maybe it wasn’t that, I mean that that revenue was way lower than our actual revenue.
Nathan Latka: okay, so either.., so either your 25thousand number of employers of the past 12 months is wrong or your price points hired. Do you actually have more employers?
John Jonas: Or some of those maybe those 25 thousand employers stuck for multiple months.
Nathan Latka: Oh I see what you’re saying. I’m sorry, you’re right at a minimum you’ve got 1.7 but a lot of these have stuck for many.., many months.
John Jonas: Yeah.., yeah right.
Nathan Latka: Okay, I want to shift back to your personal life you said he only worked 17 hours a week. Have you resisted the temptation? Right, to keep working 40 50 60 70 hour weeks.
John Jonas: So one of the things that I’ve always done is, I will never trade time for money so there are all kinds of opportunities to say like “hey we’ll do something for you” and we won’t do it, I will never do that. And so any, there’s.., there’s no contract work in my business that’s one thing. The second thing is for me I discovered years ago and I have a good story behind this but I won’t tell it. That there’s always work to be done, it’s just a matter of who’s doing the work is it me or is it someone else.
Nathan Latka: Is it a quick story?
John Jonas: It can be, no.., no let’s.., let’s give it. So there’s always work to be done right? And so I just found out like any work that I’m that.., that we have in the business I’m gonna get someone else to do it
Nathan Latka: So what do you spend your 17 hours on typically?
John Jonas: The only thing I do is respond to the works that’s being done or give instruction for creating new work. I don’t ever touch anything, I don’t touch the systems, I don’t touch the.., what I mean crazy work.
Nathan Latka: What about creating new work? The employer creating project files for people they hired?
John Jonas: No, I’m.., I’m creating stuff for my people to build online jobs.
Nathan Latka: You’re writing process Docs essentially right, and then sending it off to people to execute.
John Jonas: Yeah, our project manager system we.., we have tasks that we’re working on, here’s me thinking through and designing this new thing that we could do to work.
Nathan Latka: Workflow, whatever yeah.., yeah interesting.
John Jonas: And I think through it and I design it and I give it to someone else and someone else I decided in my head.
Nathan Latka: Yep!
John Jonas: Same house creates it on.., on the way up someone else does the programming for it someone else implements it.
Nathan Latka: And what’s your team size today?
John Jonas: We have 21 people full-time in the Philippines.
Nathan Latka: Okay got it. All in the Philippines you’re the only one in that?
John Jonas: No, I have a business partner in Idaho.
Nathan Latka: Okay.
John Jonas: And I have two people in the US who do things for us.
Nathan Latka: Okay. So you, plus your partner, plus two more so for full-time in the US
John Jonas: Yeah.
Nathan Latka: Okay very cool, the rest are all in the Philippines. It’s amazing! Good, John let’s talk here with the famous five number. One, what’s the last business book you read?
John Jonas: Oh crap, it’s don’t, well…
Nathan Latka: Don’t make one up if you don’t remember.
John Jonas: I don’t remember,
Nathan Latka: Okay.
John Jonas: Well, I stopped reading him a while ago I got enough to do and I find that sometimes business books just like make me feel guilty coz there’s more to do.
Nathan Latka: Yeah.., yeah. Number two, is there a CEO there in Utah you’re following or studying?
John Jonas: No.
Nathan Latka: Besides your little ones, who are the CEOs of their own company?
John Jonas: No, all right nobody.
Nathan Latka: Number three, besides your own what’s your favourite online tool for building a business?
John Jonas: Basecamp, I absolutely love it.
Nathan Latka: Number four, how many hours you get sleep every night?
John Jonas: At 8:00 period every night.
Nathan Latka: Good and you said you’ve got five kids in what situation? Married? Single?
John Jonas: I’m married.
Nathan Latka: And how old are you John?
John Jonas: I am, I just turned forty two days ago.
Nathan Latka: Oh congratulations, very good. Last.., last question, what you wish with your 20 year old self knew?
John Jonas: I wish I knew to be nicer.
Nathan Latka: Guys John strikes me as a pretty nice guy, maybe I’m tough and he’s tough so the toughness made us both fluffy today but he seems like a pretty nice guy. He’s having a lot of success Lunches Company back in 2009. Online jobs seems like an unbelievable way to attract great, talent that is a cultural fit that speaks English and your language especially if you’re listening right now in America looking to outsource things like development design stuff like that. He’s helped over 40,000 Filipinos get jobs with the past 12 months, his business model; he’s got about 25,000 employers that have paid him at least seventy bucks one time over the past 12 months so minimum 1.7 million there in revenue. He eats his own dog food. His team size is about 21 people in the Philippines only four in the US as he looks to scale this doesn’t use Google Analytics just focuses on word of mouth only work 17 hours a week building business and a healthy.., healthy way. John thank you for taking us to the top.
John Jonas: Hey thanks for having me.
Hope you guys liked my interview with Nathan. We’re both opinionated people and passionate about the work that we do. I guess he was a little thrown off by how differently I did things. But I hope the podcast helped you guys see that there’s more than one way to do your business. You don’t always have to follow prescribed models. You don’t have to imitate your mentor or people you admire. Do what makes sense to you and your business. Whether it means having an unusual business model or outsourcing your entire business, the important thing is it brings value to you.
You can start saving time and money today by signing up for an Onlinejobs.ph employer account. Find the virtual assistant that you need from our database of over 500,000 online worker profiles.
About John Jonas
John helps business owners learn to outsourcing to the Philippines and replace themselves with virtual assistants.
He founded and owns OnlineJobs.ph.
He currently employs 14 amazing Filipino workers full-time and loves every one of them. He lives in Utah, has a wonderful wife, 4 amazing kids, and golfs 4-5 times/week.