For the past several years, I have been replacing myself in my business by outsourcing my work to the Philippines. I have also been teaching these principles to other business owners, showing them how they can live the reality of a 17-hour workweek by having Filipinos do their work for them.
In my frequent communication with my Filipino virtual assistants and in my own personal visits to the Philippines, I have learned a few things about these wonderful people that reinforce why I have had such great success working with them. Here are a few observations about Filipinos.
1. Filipinos are humble
If you’ve read any of my blog posts, listened to or watched any of my webinars, or know anything at all about the Replace Yourself system I teach, you know that I emphasize training. It’s absolutely essential. Getting your Filipino VA off on the right foot begins with proper training.
As you search for a VA in the Philippines, you’ll no doubt come across people who have experience and skill in the areas you’re looking for. But they don’t know your business. You have to teach them what to do and how to do. And the great thing is, Filipinos are excited, eager and willing to learn.
They’re humble people, meaning they are ready to be trained and taught.
A humble person acknowledges that he or she doesn’t know everything. A humble person is hungry to learn and relies on a subject matter expert to teach them. I have found that Filipinos are easy to work with because they are will listen and follow what you tell them. This means the training you give is much more likely go smoothly and be faster and more thorough.
2. Filipinos have close family ties
For Filipinos, family is everything—nothing is more important.
In fact, Filipinos value family relationships so much that even after a Filipino couple is married, it’s not uncommon for the newlyweds to live with set of parents. Many Filipinos live with or near extended family members and relatives. Truly, the family is at the center of life.
Because being with family is a Filipino’s top priority, working for a United States business owner as a virtual assistant is a dream come true. This allows the Filipino to earn a good, steady living working from home.
No travel and no long days away from loved ones—it’s the perfect situation.
I have found that this commitment to family fuels a Filipino’s work ethic. If they work for you, they’ll always do their best because they know hard work for you equals continued employment and a good life for their beloved family.
3. Filipinos have a positive outlook
Imagine for a moment that you lived in a place where you experienced 20 hurricanes a year. Pretty frightening thought, right? How could you possible handle such devastation? How could you protect yourself from the massive storms or rebuild homes, communities and cities time after time?
This is exactly what Filipinos do, because each year 20 typhoons (the equivalent of a hurricane in the Pacific Northwest) hit the islands.
These typhoons, sometimes called tropical cyclones, are categorized 1–5, with 5 being the strongest. In fact, category 5 typhoons can bring winds in excess of 220 miles per hour. Just two years ago, a powerful typhoon known as Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines and claimed the lives of 6,300 people and injured nearly 29,000. In some cases, 90 percent of the cities were destroyed. The typhoon resulted in more than $2 billion (U.S. dollars) in damages.
Other comparatively devastating typhoons have hit the country in recent years. And yet, the Filipino people move forward with resolve, resilience and an optimistic attitude. They pick up the pieces of what is often a shattered life, and they get to work. I have seen it myself.
In some cases, a Filipino VA has contacted me, apologizing for being unable to work because a typhoon has wiped out their town or city. Sometimes, the Filipino has managed to salvage virtually nothing except their laptop. They are concerned about saving their work and being about to return to their duties as soon as possible. These dedicated people don’t wallow in self-pity or despair; they take the necessary time to get back on their feet, and then they’re ready to resume their duties. It’s an incredible example of commitment and good attitude.
I’ve learned many valuable lessons in observing how Filipinos respond to these disasters. If any group of people has reason to complain and be pessimists, it’s the Filipinos. But they are anything but negative—and it’s reflective in their work.
4. Filipinos have a “Yes Attitude”
People often ask me, “Why don’t you outsource to India? Why the Philippines?” That’s a fair question, but there’s a clear answer.
True, many large corporations outsource their work to India, but this isn’t the most effective approach for you as a business owner. Why? One of the biggest reasons is that with workers in India, the simple word “yes” doesn’t always mean what you want it to mean.
When I first began considering the idea of outsourcing my business needs, I spoke with John Bresee, co-founder of Backcountry.com, the online specialty retailer. He advised me to outsource to the Philippines instead of to India. When I asked why, he said in India, if you were to give an assignment or some type of instruction, and the worker responded with a “yes,” the person is probably saying, “Yes, I heard something come out of your mouth.” He added that this doesn’t mean the person is saying, “I understood what you said.” Communication is a significant barrier.
It’s different in the Philippines. In my experience, when a Filipino tells you “yes,” he or she is saying that they do understand. Not only that, but to a Filipino “yes” means “I understand, and I will do it.” For Filipinos, the word “no” is hardly in the business vocabulary. They have a hard time saying it, even when what you have asked it out of their comfort zone.
This “can-do, will-do” attitude will give you a huge advantage in your business. It gives you the opportunity to assign more challenging projects. Because Filipinos are willing to tackle just about anything, you’ll find yourself accomplishing more in your business by outsourcing to the Philippines than you imagined.
Filipinos will do what you ask of them, and they’ll do even more. They’ll go above and beyond the standard call of duty. You can count on that.
5. Filipinos have a need to please
Because Filipinos have positive outlooks and a “yes attitude,” they’re happy people. What’s more, they want those around them to be happy as well. It’s in their nature. I have learned that this mindset carries over into their work.
Filipinos who work for you will value the relationship. They are grateful for the chance to be employed and want to remain employed for the long haul, so they will put forth their fullest efforts to please you. As they strive to satisfy your expectations of them and their work, you will be happy, and they will be happy as well.
When people are happy, that positive energy is infectious. You can’t help but be happy as well. This is one of the most enjoyable aspects of hiring Filipino VAs.
Some of these concepts may be foreign to Americans, especially when applied to the business world. We often get caught up in the hectic pace of our daily assignments and the need to meet deadlines and improve the bottom line.
The lessons I have learned from Filipinos have helped me realize what is truly important. I have become more grateful for what I have and how fortunate I am to have a wonderful family and thriving businesses.
Anytime you have cross-cultural collaboration in business, there are bound to be challenges, misunderstanding and miscommunications. The beauty of outsourcing to the Philippines is that I have found both I and my Filipino VAs have benefitted tremendously. I have learned to embrace the cultural barriers and take the best of what the other party has to offer. This helps teach me a fresh new approach and shows me how to conduct my business with even greater efficiency.
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.
If you liked this you’ll probably also like reading
– How Can You Be Certain Your Virtual Assistant Is Working?
– How to Make Your Job Posts Attract Great Filipino Workers