How Entrepreneurs Create Jobs Around the World by Outsourcing
Welcome to the eCommerce Paradise podcast.
We're here today to talk about providing jobs through outsourcing your business.
We have been in location and opened up shares for more than five years now. It's been an amazing journey.
In that journey, we've done a lot of work to build our business, but we've also gotten a lot of help from outsourced virtual assistants.
Recently, at the beginning of October, we have hired a company by the name of Conversational. This company takes your phone calls from customers and provides you with a new phone number. You can either forward your current number or take on the number they give you. They do basic customer service - answer phones, take orders, answer questions about shipping information, returns, and pricing. If you need something more technical, they're not going to be able to do that. They can only answer general questions, and they're not going to go into very deep specifics and learn your product like how you learn your product.
What do they do if someone has a technical question?
If someone asks a technical question, Conversational will send you a message. They will forward you the question so you can follow up with them and provide a more detailed description of what your customer is looking for.
Conversational has come in handy immensely to us. We are currently living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and our customers live in the United States. While it's the middle of the night here, our customers are just starting their day.
It really helps to have a person answer the phones, take the calls, or message us so that later at night before we go to bed, we can follow up with them. It is has been really helpful to us by taking a little bit off our plate. If we get a lead from our Web site, then we definitely call them and hopefully get that sale right away. It works. I always ask Julie to call because they'd rather talk to a woman.
Most of our target market is older guys, and she does a great job and very much closes every sale that she tries to do.
Being in Thailand is cool because our workday doesn't start until nine o'clock at night, maybe later, like ten o'clock, 11:00 o'clock, because you think I'm on the West Coast, the United States. It's 14 hours behind us. We sometimes work at three o'clock. We're calling people and closing sales that are up to one, two thousand three thousand dollars sometimes.
Just last night, I called the customer who wanted to order from another company, and he liked our story that we had on our website. He decided to call us and then waited for me the whole day to follow up with him, which was pretty amazing. He ordered, and I spent probably 30 minutes on the phone with him, just talking with him after ordering.
Why did it take 30 minutes?
As we answer calls, we are giving them customer service - satisfaction and personal connection. The reason you want to get a phone service and not just outsource or use email to talk with your customers is that some customers like that personal interaction with a company. They want to know that you're real. They want to know that you're not going to take their money and run. They want to know that if something were to happen in the order and they need parts, you'll answer the phone and follow up with them.
Having a customer service agent answering the phone provides that comfort. Comfort is invaluable to your business and is going to help your business grow. It's going to take it off your plate so that you can get down to doing the real part of business, which is growing your business.
A lot of the time, I find that people just want to see that they can call a phone number. What we did was put the phone number at the top of our website and the bottom. We put it on every single product page on our website and Shopify.
Shopify makes it easier to do that. You just have to go to the theme settings, into the actual coding templates. It's usually there in the customizations, or you can do it in a coding template. But either way, you can have it added to every single page. You don't have to add it to one page at a time. I suggest that any eCommerce business that is serious about growing to add their phone number to every single page.
You might not have the budget to afford a phone answering service like Conversational, even though conversational starts pretty low. They have a 30-day free trial and only costs $129 a month. The starter package is $129 a month. When you're first starting out, that seems like a lot because you don't have any income coming in. But once you start making a few hundred bucks a month and get to that thousand dollar level of profit, we suggest making that decision. As an entrepreneur, your day could change. Moment by moment, you could be going out to do something, and you'd get a customer call out. You're busy. You could be at the grocery store or have a meeting with somebody where you can't talk. There are so many different reasons why you can't answer phone calls sometimes, and you must have someone answering those phone calls.
If someone's there to answer and be professional to provide the customers basic guidance, that will take the worry of losing customers due to missed calls out of your mind. That's what Conversational does. Conversational is there to take those phone calls in the evening. We'll get the emails in our inbox for about five different people to call back because they want to order and have more questions.
If you're working online as a digital nomad, you are doing that because of the fact that you don't want to work nine to five. You don't want to be tied to a certain location and want to control your time. As an entrepreneur, there are times that you need to focus on the job to reach your sales goal. Conversational provides you the freedom to go out and do what you want to do when you want to. Having a phone number on the website provides an extra level of trust.
Even when you're doing something like kite surfing, for example, you can still close sales. Conversational will handle the phone calls for you, and they will send you an email that you can check when you have the time. If the customer really wants to order from you and values what you put on your website, they are going to wait for you. They can wait a day for you to follow up with them. That is true because that's what happens with our customers.
A lot of our customers are older, and they want that level of trust, and they're waiting. They're willing to wait a day for you to follow up with them.
I definitely suggest you check it out.
The next thing I want to talk about that we've been outsourcing is live chat support. It is very important for eCommerce. It's a great way to help customers to get basic answers to their basic questions.
A lot of times, people are looking at a product. They really want to buy it, but there's one question they have about shipping. There's a question they have about delivery or assembly or warranty or returns, or just this information is on your website, but they don't want to take the time to go and look it up. They would just rather passively the question, and they don't want to call it. That is the role of live chat support - to chat with the client who has a question but doesn't want to call.
However, you can't always be there to do the live chat support. If you could pay every month for plugins like Lucky Orange, that's great. But if you can't and don't have somebody manning the laptop, might as well not have it. For our business, we use outsourced live chat support. They do a great job answering simple questions, which is exactly what our business and customers need. They offer 24/7 live chat support. It really helps to increase our sales and increase our clients' trust.
In the beginning, I didn't really know how it worked. I just put it up on the website and just threw it up there. I would check it from time to time, making sure it would work because I thought they wouldn't. I didn't know how it worked. I thought maybe they would go in and read our website, or maybe the person that was chatting with our customer would pull up our website and have the questions ready and answer them. But they don't do that.
You have to give them canned responses that you want them to say. These are common questions that customers ask are in our product pages. You have to enter the facts into their website, and then they have them pulled up and ready. Most of the questions you get on your website are going to be repeat questions. If you give them to the chat agents, they'll be able to respond with the canned answers and get the questions answered.
I hope you guys have success doing that.
Live chat is a perfect thing to do. The name is 123chatagents.cm.
Those are just a couple of places we're providing jobs. As entrepreneurs, we provide jobs as entrepreneurs all over the place. I'll go over a few more of those.
The first one I could think of is Fiverr. Julianna brought this up earlier. We get a lot of stuff from Fiverr. It could be anything from a logo to content to a voice-over. There are tons of different things on fiber, and most of them start from five bucks, which is one of my favorite things.
As an entrepreneur, we don't have a ton of money to blow. We don't have huge ad spending budgets as big corporations do. We're looking for the best value for our buck. Fiverr has been really good for us, and I had a lot of good work done.
There was one time that we got a guy. We provided him a script, and he did a good slideshow, video overlay for only seventy dollars. He did an 'about us' video for our eCommerce site.
Having an 'about us' video on your page would help build the trust of your customers. I think it really helped increase our conversion rate because we've gotten feedback from customers that they like what we're doing.
Outsourcing job means you're providing jobs to people that may or may not live in America. I mean, it's crazy because our VA is located in the Philippines, and he's from a small town. We only have to pay him about three bucks an hour. He happily accepts it. And with that, you can feed his whole family. He does other things as well. He's also an entrepreneur. He does YouTube videos like slide shows, product review videos, and stuff like that to make money on the side. But we give him a lot of work. I'm always focused on having it like a new job for him. I am unlike Henry Ford. I know what needs to happen, but I'm not the type of person that wants to go out and do everything myself. I know that I can hire different specialists in those fields and then have them go and do the work, and it's going to be way better.
I didn't make the 'about us' video. I hired somebody to do that, and I write a lot of the content. I hire writers to write the content.
It's not just the fact that I would get better, but more the fact that would actually get done in the first place. That's why we do this, and our VA has been so helpful that's why I provide him work all the time. We used to pay him hourly, and we found that he's a very hard worker. The hourly rate was fairly high for the amount of work getting done. After a while, I just felt that it would be better for both of us because he's kind of an entrepreneur to pay him on an incentive basis. Now we pay him on an incentive basis. That means we pay him for how much work he does. If we give him a job to post products to our eBay account for says, I'll pay him like 20 cents for a product. The work doesn't take that long. He's got a good Internet connection, and he can get like 300 products listed, that's around 50 bucks or something like that. I feel great because I probably save some money instead of hiring someone per hour to do that.
I can take the same idea and duplicate it in different jobs as well. If we haven't post Pinterest pictures, I'll pay maybe five cents for a picture because that's a really easy thing. Then Instagram and Facebook and all these different platforms. I always give him these jobs. And so, you know, he's got a good way to support himself, usually paying around 50 bucks a week or more.
You're taking that work that we're taking that work off us that is very mundane to business. That's the in the business work. You're doing something else and you're hiring somebody as a business owner.
Do you know what you're not good at? You know, we could sit there and learn everything about every little tiny thing like my new thing about the business. But it would take us years and years and years to perfect it. But if we find a professional who knows what they're doing, who has already had those years of training and knows what they're doing, that will save us so much time and effort trying to figure that out when we could actually be growing our business.
Working is like a Henry Ford because you see the vision and find those people to do the work to keep grow and continue to grow your business.
I use a few rigs over and over again because they're really good, and they haven't changed since I started using them. Another place I like to go to get work done is Upwork. I don't go there very often. But when I do, it's a special project. I don't pay people hourly on Upwork like I used to because it tends to waste a lot of money. In fact back in May or June, we're trying to start up a website, the home niche, like the HomeGoods niche. You guys might not realize this, but suppliers of HomeGoods usually have thousands of products in their catalogs. It's not like listing like 50 products to your website. It's listing thousands and thousands. We didn't know. So we didn't know how to list all this stuff. I'm not going to begin importing. We felt like we should because we couldn't get a clear, like bestseller's list. Going to websites like Wayfair and Home Click, you can kind of get an idea of what's the best selling, but you can't really.
You can ask vendors and but you don't know how much that person who's getting those orders is paying for ads.
And they have a lot more money than you do. Those companies, a lot of the HomeGoods nations are run by these big corporations. So in the HomeGoods niche, there's like 50 different editors.
Upwork is great because you're going to find people that are willing to work on a project basis. But the problem is you don't want to pay somebody for a project on an hourly basis because what you can happen to you is what happened to us, where we hire somebody to bulk import thousands of products, and it takes them hours and hours and hours to figure it out. You end up paying for their time to figure it out. You're not just paying the time to do the import. They're not already super experts about you're paying for their training, which is super unnecessary when it comes to outsourcing. You should never do that. The only time you should ever pay for training is for yourself. Find a specialist, pay them on a per-project basis.
Usually, if you're going to bulk import a few hundred products, that will cost you. I would say like 20 to 30 bucks. You can get a gig on Fiverr that doesn't import 50 Shopify products for five dollars. Those are simple. And then it goes up from there. Fifteen, thirty-five dollars, that kind of thing. But for thousands of products, it might cost you a couple hundred. For us, we paid 400 dollars for 150 products or something out of 400 products. It was ridiculous. It was a big mistake, but that's OK because we learned from our mistakes. We don't do that anymore. Go to upper defined writers.
Start low in work somewhere in the middle. You ought to barter them down, buying work in projects as the same thing as buying anything else in the real world. You can barter people down if you if they want to charge you 50 bucks for a project. You can start at 20, and then they'll say forty-five. We'll meet in the middle. It's usually how things go. Go back and forth, and don't be afraid to barter people down.
What's another way that we are providing jobs out there for people?
When you sell a product online, someone is going to buy that product, whether it's from you or for somebody else. If they buy that product from a big company, that big company has lots of options with what to do with that. Depending on who the company is and the person that owns it. They have a lot more overhead. They're providing jobs, too, but you're not getting a sale. Now, if you as a self-employed entrepreneur like us, we get that sale. We make those one hundred dollars. What do we do with 100 dollars? Well, spend it and have it.
That's the thing. Spending money is a general idea.
Who are you giving this money to, and what is an exchange for?
You're giving service. You're giving money to businesses. We are providing either services or goods, and they can provide jobs. When you look at each individual entrepreneur like the person at the fruit stand on the street, they charge 150 for four, six, eight bags of fruit. That was money that we made a while back. That was in our bank that we withdrew from it from an ATM machine and charged six dollars. We pay the ATM and bank that money, and they take that money and do something with it. We go out and spend it at restaurants. We spend it at the fruit stand and stuff like that. What do they do with that money? They take it and they spend on their lives. Money goes around in circles and into cash.
If you just have a job, you're paid by your employer, who gets paid by their customers. That profit goes to paying you part of it. The rest of it goes to that company. But if you're in a self-employed entrepreneur, you're getting money directly from the products and services you sell. You're cutting out the employer. Your customers are your employer. Every little piece of the profit, you get to decide what to do with that.
If you're want to grow your business, you have to be smart about it.
You can't spend too much of it upfront on stuff. You've got to be frugal when you spend money on food, and you got to be frugal when you go out. Unless you either get good days, then go and celebrate.
The idea is, is if you want to stay, if you want to keep growing as a business, you have to reinvest your funds into your business and provide jobs in a smart way for people to get them to help you build your business consistently. That's another brings up a good point as to why we were why we moved to Thailand.
Move somewhere cheaper if you live in LA or New York. Most of your money is just going to go to living expenses. Look at your bills, and your rent. Going out like you go out in LA for a meal for Thai food. How much will that cost? Twenty-five to thirty dollars. Somebody to pay 40 bucks, right? Six bucks a person for a good meal and you're talking appetizers and chicken and you're talking drinks and dessert sometimes. I think the most resentence probably eighteen dollars, and that was that taste from heaven here.
Thailand is not like Los Angeles. Everybody in LA mostly speaks English. Everything is well, infrastructure. The Internet is very reliable at Starbucks and super fast. Everywhere you go. Things are different out here. It's a little bit more of like a second world country out here. The infrastructure is still building up. They have a lot of good things, but things are cheap because of that. If you go to Google and type in the cost of living Thailand, the first thing that comes up, click that link, that organic link and go into it and look at Chiang Mai versus Los Angeles. It'll say it's literally a quarter of what it cost to live in LA. You can make the same two or three thousand dollars a month and barely get by in LA. Out here, you're put in a couple of thousand dollars away in savings every month. That's the money you can use to reinvest in your company and grow like crazy and travel. When you're in LA, you'll not be able to.
We weren't able to invest that much back in our company because we had this bottom line every month. We have three thousand five thousand dollars of living expenses in LA, and our credit card starts to rack up.
Being in a country where it is cheap to eat, cheap to live, cheap transportation, and cheap clothing allows you to be more. We're still frugal people, and I think that's a really important part of life, to have a positive outlook on life. But have that awareness and not just buying the most expensive thing we find.
Now that we have so much money, we'll talk about what we eat for a second because it makes a big difference in how much we spend. The first big difference is we don't smoke cigarettes. If you guys sold cigarettes, you'll realize that every pack cost between five to ten dollars, and you could smoke upwards of a pack a day if you're heavily addicted to cigarettes. That can cost you a lot of money. The other thing it costs you is your health. You can get sick easily because you're smoking cigarettes.
If you want to save money or live frugally, you probably should think about quitting. You know that it's going to make you a more profitable person for your business.
If you are feeding your body alcohol, cigarettes, and eating many highly processed foods like chips, you're going to lose money.
We actually had a night where we were sick all night long - throwing up and stuff like that because of the Thai food. You just have to get used to when you first come out here, the bacteria. Here's way different than it is in the States. The restaurants are required to have the same sort of strict things out here. I don't think so. We got sick, but we haven't been sick. And we've been eating mostly fresh fruit.
We eat one meal like curry every day, and fresh fruit, which heals us very quickly and we have not been sick. I stayed up last night until around 4:00 in the morning, and I didn't feel tired. We also drink a lot of water and that's an important part.
If you're going to be living here in Thailand, drink a lot of water, and provide your body with raw fruits and vegetables. That's going to give you the energy that you need to fuel you.
You're something about a cup of coffee, though, that feels so good in the morning. It just gets me going.
Yeah, but it's another addiction.
Anyways, you guys may want to think about outsourcing. Think about what you're spending your money on on a daily basis. You're going to go buy fruit. Don't buy it at the big grocery stores. Buy from the local vendors. You're supporting a person directly that you're not supporting a major corporation. Those major corporations, for instance, might go out and spend money on meat processing places if you're a vegan. You buy fruit from the grocery. They're also some that money also goes to support other ventures of that corporation is involved in.
If you come to Thailand, buy from the local vendors, it's easy and cheap. We had so much fun that day. We went over to a local vegetarian restaurant that we saw on TripAdvisor. Later we found out it was actually on temple grounds. We stopped at a fruit vendor because we were starving. This lady had a ton of fruit out there. I think it was like 60, bought her huge watermelon, like my own personal watermelon. It was dark. I know it was going to be red and juicy.
Supporting local people is really important.
The next thing I can think of that we're outsourcing jobs for, is third-party apps and services. If you are going to start, new eCommerce or Shopify, it will cost money every month. By using the Shopify platform, you're providing people that work at Shopify a job, and Shopify hires people that are 24/7 life support. Often, these people work remotely. They hire people remotely, so by paying that twenty-nine dollars a month for Shopify, you support their work base.
There's a ton of other third-party apps you can pay for that will help boost your store and boost your conversions. You're giving money to these big Internet companies that employ a huge base of people worldwide to work. You're providing jobs there.
There are other things to add on apps, and there are developers all over the world that work from home just like us, that create apps and create plugins for WordPress, and they sell them on these stores. When you buy a theme or plugin, you're really almost directly contributing to the livelihood of a developer somewhere who works as a coder programmer. You might not see them or a picture of them and know them directly. It might be a team of developers that also employs other developers of developers, in India and other places, to help them create these plugins or help them with their support.
Money goes round and round.
As an entrepreneur, you provide many jobs, and you would be just as an employee. However, I did want to point out that you could be an employee and provide a job by hiring your virtual assistant. If you guys haven't read The Four-Hour Workweek, read that book. If you're an employee, you can live the four-hour workweek. You just have to make the same changes to your lifestyle and your bosses and managers' expectations, as any entrepreneur would do for their own business. Four-Hour Workweek explains how to define your goals and dreams, eliminate the BS from your life, outsource and automate your entire life, and how to go out there and really live your dreams. He calls it the Liberation Liberate section.
On that note, I think we'll wrap up this podcast. It was really fun talking to you guys and sharing all these ideas and thoughts.
Our goal is to make this podcast as fun and enjoyable as possible for everybody. With tons of in-depth tips and resources for growing your eCommerce business or starting one from scratch, you have to start again. We're location independent entrepreneurs. We're digital nomads. We live kind of from place to place, and we want to travel as much as possible. We sold all our stuff back in LA, and we left.
Check out our YouTube channel.
If you want to get started with dropshipping, go check out freedropshipcourse.com. That's a great primer for getting started and understanding what drops happiness and how you can use it to grow an eCommerce store the right way and a profitable way. We have many other tips for outsourcing and resources for blogging and affiliate marketing and drop ship it on our website.
Go to the ecommerceparadise.com/outsourcing.
It might be a little scary to think about getting out of the 9:00 to 5:00 work hours, having a boss, and having that security of working under somebody and knowing that you're going to have a paycheck week to week or month to month. But, you know, taking that risk and doing something that if you don't do it, you might regret it 10 years down the road or five years down the road and wonder why you didn't start earlier. It might be scary to be an entrepreneur and live in the United States if you're in that stage and taking a leave and moving to a country like Chiang Mai. I mean, Thailand's living cost is cheap, but it's one of the most exciting things that we've ever done. I'm super happy, and I'm loving every minute of it and learning a lot being in this community of digital nomads out there trying to make it online, some people that are really highly successful and some people that are just getting started. It's cool to see both ends of the spectrum.
You don't have to have a huge business background or crazy background like sales to succeed online. You really just have to want to learn how to do it. There are so many resources online you can go and learn how to do Internet marketing. Udemy.com is one of the things that comes up to mind right now. Udemy is an online platform for learning. Juliana has a Udemy course, if you look it up, how to go vegan. I'm creating a Udemy course as well for Internet marketing. Go on there and sign up for some of their free courses.
See you later.
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eCommerce Paradise was created by Trevor Fenner of Seattle, Washington in 2015 to help you, the entrepreneur, to start and scale your own eCommerce business selling high-ticket products online with the drop shipping fulfillment method so you can make more profit per sale, have a sustainable and evergreen online business, get started with very little upfront investment, and live a location independent lifestyle. Trevor owns multiple 7-figure High-Ticket Drop Shipping eCommerce stores and is a digital nomad, traveling the world while working remotely with the help of his team of over 10 virtual assistants from around the world. Trevor is currently located in Bali, Indonesia. Trevor is also a passionate skateboarder, surfer, scuba diver, photographer, environmentalist, outdoorsman, fitness and tattoo enthusiast.
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