Episode 96: Our Philippines Team – Hiring and Maintaining a Team of Rockstar VAsNovember in Ecom-Crew-Podcast
“I loved my job when I worked as a VA for Mike and he really made me feel like I was part of the company even though I was here in the Philippines. So I guess what I’m trying to say is to have a Mia and to have a team like what we have in Cebu, you need to be a Mike.” – Mia Pamisa, Philippines Team Manager, Terran
If you’ve been listening to our podcast for a while now you know that we run multiple brands simultaneously and it’s no secret that a vital part of our growth and keeping things together is our Philippines team. I’ve been mentioning them on the podcast and we get asked a lot how we put together such a great team. If you’re serious about developing a virtual team, this episode is for you.
During our trip to China, we went over to the Philippines to personally meet with our team there. This episode was recorded with me, my wife Michelle, our Director of Ecommerce Jacqueline, and the entire team in one room. It’s refreshing to be able talk to them in person and not just on Skype.
We went around the room and introduced every single member of the team and what they do for us. We also talked about a bunch of other things including:
- How we started our team
- How we found Mia, our first VA, the one who made everything else possible
- Challenges of a content writer not based in the US but with a US audience, and how to conquer those challenges
- Training VAs on high-level tasks like Amazon PPC
- Managing graphics and photography with remote designers
I always joke that anyone who wants to build a remote team absolutely needs a Mia. She was our first hire and everything single hire was made possible because of her. She is sort of the rock in our team and finding her was a crucial part of our strategy. You can’t have a Mia on Day 1 though. What you can do is get the best general VA you can find, build rapport and trust, and gradually train them. Invest a lot on training them — it will pay off many times over.
If you don’t have a VA helping you run your business, I highly suggest you get one now. VAs significantly reduce the amount of time you spend on trivial tasks and save you the mental and physical energy you need to focus on business growth strategies and decision-making.
Thanks for tuning in this Monday and expect a fresh new episode on Thursday. Please leave us an honest review on iTunes and send comments/questions/suggestions our way at [email protected] Happy selling!
Full Audio Transcript
Mike: This is Mike, and welcome to episode number 96 of the EcomCrew Podcast. We’re so close to episode number 100. We have a very special episode coming up for that. But in the meantime today, this is probably my favorite episode of the 96 we’ve done so far. It is an episode about my team in the Philippines. I just got back from the Philippines. And this episode was me in the room with everyone there, going around the circle talking about everyone that is on our team.
If you have an interest in building a Philippines team, this is the episode to listen to. And in fact if you go to EcomCrew.com/96, we even have a lead magnet there with 25 things you can have your VAs be doing in the Philippines right now, and seven things that you shouldn’t be having them do probably more importantly. Again that’s 25 things you should have your VAs doing in the Philippines, and seven things you shouldn’t. EcomCrew.com/96.
Now my whole team in the Philippines started with Mia. I always joke, everyone needs a Mia. She’s the first person that’s going to be interviewed on this podcast, but that’s how it all began. You have to have someone there that’s your rock. That’s the person that you can build the entire team around. And I talk about that in this interview, you’ll hear about that.
I also want to shout out to the entire Philippines team just one more time, thank them again for their perseverance coming through for us over the weekend. We were there Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. It’s something that I would never ask my employees to do unless it was an extreme situation. I really hate asking people to do something I wouldn’t want to do myself, it’s how I live. And it was just — it made me feel really bad asking them to come in over the weekend.
But we were already in Asia for a month, and trying to extend the trip any longer to make it work where we weren’t there over a weekend was simply impossible. We obviously gave them extra time off to make up for coming in over the weekend, but still they had to work something like nine days in a row, or whatever it was without a day off. And I certainly appreciate their help. It was amazing being in the room with them, and being able to point to the screen and say, I want to change this or do that, or do training with them right in the room, and go over higher level things than we can really do over Skype.
It was simply an amazing trip. I think you guys are going to love this interview. Definitely stay tuned to the very end. It’s like I said, it’s my favorite episode so far, 96 episodes into it because it’s real, right? It’s eight of us or nine of us or ten of us I guess in the room together, whatever it was. It was awesome. My wife Michelle was there and our director of e-commerce Jacqueline, and just an awesome experience.
You get the see what it’s like in person through speakers I guess, what it’s like to have a team over there in the Philippines, and all the things that they’re doing. And by the time you get done listening to this episode, you’ll understand why we’ve been able to grow so quickly as a company because we have these guys there helping us every step along the way. So without further ado, I hope you guys love this episode, and we’ll see you on the other side.
Mia: I want to thank Mike for taking the chance of creating a team here in Cebu, or first taking a chance with me, hiring me as VA. And Mike has really — has been a really great boss. He values his employees, and doesn’t treat us as just a number or just someone that he needs to pay. So I think this is — this really set the tone. This is what I try to let everyone in the team here in Cebu feel. I loved my job when I worked as a VA for him, and he really made me feel like I was part of the company even though I was here in the Philippines. So I guess what I’m trying to say is to have a Mia, and to have a team like what we have here in Cebu, you need to be a Mike.
Mike: This is Mike, and welcome to this edition of the EcomCrew Podcast, and hello from Cebu, Philippines. I am in our office here with our whole crew, everybody say hello.
Mike: It’s been a great four days recording this on a Monday morning at 8am. We’re still trying to get used to the time change, it’s 5am back in our office on Sunday morning I guess, or no 5pm. I keep on getting it wrong, 5pm on Sunday night, and it’s 8am Monday morning here, so it’s kind of crazy. But like I said, I’m here with the whole team. And one of the things I get asked more than anything else is how did you build your team in the Philippines? What are you guys doing there? How did you do it?
So we’re going to be talking a little bit about that today, and kind of stay tuned for all that. So besides that, it’s been a great trip so far. I have been a bit away from home for almost three weeks so far. I have spent a couple days in Hong Kong, then off to Guangzhou, and finally over here to the Philippines. Later on today we’re going to be hopping on an airplane and heading back to Guangzhou, doing phase three of the Canton Fair. I am traveling with my amazing wife Michelle, who is here, say hello Michelle.
Mike: And our new director of e-commerce Jacqueline, say hi Jacqueline.
Mike: And again we’re all here in the office in the Philippines. So I want to spend the rest of the episode today talking about that, just talking about how we built our team here, who’s involved here, exactly how we kind of put this together. And it all kind of started with one person, who’s sitting to my right. She’s trying to cower on the table, and get away because she’s a little bit shy, even though she does an amazing team here, job with the team here. But her name is Mia. She is our office manager here in the Philippines.
She runs the whole show. Everybody else that’s in the room, she has hired and found and done a great job for us getting the team together, keeping things organized, being our eyes and ears on the ground, 8,000 miles away from home, keeping things organized and disseminating information. We’re going to be having a fun conversation today about how we’re going to do that moving forward, whether it’s going to be a Basecamp or Trello. We have a fun topic to talk about today about that.
But yeah, it all started with Mia a couple of years ago. We really wanted to start building our team in the Philippines. We made two hires, one her name is Heidi. Unfortunately she’s not here because she is in Mexico City. So it’s kind of hard to build a Filipino team around someone in Mexico City. It’s worked out great for us because we have somebody who is pretty much on our time zone, but it doesn’t work for cohesiveness. We’re not going to find a whole team of Filipinos obviously in Mexico.
But it has worked out great like I said. I mean her husband I think is the assistant Ambassador or something like that from the Philippines to Mexico. So she’s there, and that has worked out well for us. The other person we hired was Mia, and she was I guess basically a general VA you would say for us to start with. And then one day I called her up. I was like, look Mia, we really want to expand our team there, and we need to find an office, and we need to start finding employees.
So when we came here six months ago, we found an office. We went all around the Philippines, and we found what I think is the best office that’s here at least in this area. It’s very bright, it’s very airy, it reminds me more of a western type office. Jacqueline and I were joking that this office is significantly nicer than our own office back in Escondido, because we’re more in a mixed use warehouse type space. But yeah Mia was number one, and we’re just going to kind of go around the room and introduce everybody that’s here, and talk about what they do. So Mia you’re up first.
Mia: Okay so yeah, hi, I’m Mia. So yeah I was the first VA here in Cebu. So I worked at home, and that was pretty much why I applied for the job, because I wanted to work at home. But then when Mike said that we had to work in the office, at first I was like, okay that’s not why I got this job. But I got really excited when he told me about his plans of expanding, growing the team here in Cebu, and really felt honored also that he trusted me with that responsibility.
So yeah, so since then from one, we’ve grown into seven. So that’s all of the members of the team right now, seven, and still growing. So we’re still looking for more amazing individuals that we can add to our team, so yeah.
Mike: Cool, excellent. And then let’s talk about just – we’ll go in order of who we hired first, I forget the order now. So let’s see, Lourd was the first one.
Mike: So Lourd and Tiana both at the same time I think, right? So when we came to visit the Philippines last time, we did a bunch of interviewing. I think we had five in person interviews that trip, and we ended up hiring two of those five. So we’ll start with Tiana I guess then, because I think she was technically the first. So Tiana, introduce yourself, and tell everybody about what you do for us.
Tiana: Hi, I am Tiana. I do the content for Tactical.com, and yeah I was the first one that they hired. I actually wasn’t very confident that I could do the job, because it involves a really tough learning curve I guess. But over time, I found that the job was really great. And I guess the best part was having my own team. It’s a really great team that we have put together. It’s really fun, and I actually enjoy going to work.
Mike: Hey, that’s a good thing. Cool, as you said you write all the content for tactical.com, which has been awesome. We have a particular format that we follow, because people ask all the time how can people write about things that they might not know a whole lot about. So one of things that we try to do because we need to — it’s a challenge when you have a content site because you need to be prolific. You can’t just write one article a month, and have a successful content site.
So one of the things that we do is we follow one of Digital Marketer’s action plans, basically to write things like listicles and content roundups and things like that. So you can take maybe like 30 seconds to talk a little about how you put that type of stuff together?
Tiana: How to put it together. Well, first off it involves a lot of research, because, well, I’m not really the best — well anyway. We have an awful lot of research, so I guess a lot of watching YouTube channels, just to get in the zone, and then a lot of collating materials together basically, and then putting that bunch of creativity in so that you would really get the message across. So yeah research and a whole lot of creativity, put them together basically.
Mike: Cool, so if you guys are interested in what Kristiana has been working on there, check out Tactical.com. We were just talking about this week while we’ve been here and kind of going over our plans and our SEO strategy, and talking about how we’re already getting traction, getting some traffic to the site. It’s been really exciting, and we have a lot of good things in store for Tactical.com.
So our next hire would have been Lourd, and she’s probably the quietest of the bunch. So it’s going to be hard to get her, we’re going to get her right up to the microphone. If you guys could see through the microphone, through your speakers over to the Philippines, we were talking about, she weighs about 35 kilograms, about 80 pounds. So it’s pretty funny, but she is a sweetheart and does a whole bunch of amazing things for us. We have talked about all kinds of things today, or this trip so far with her.
And our biggest concern is making her head explode, because we talked about probably more with her than anybody else, because she’s going to be helping us with Amazon PPC coming up here shortly, which is going to be just awesome. Some reporting, she’s going to be helping with logistics, and she’s also a general VA. We’re desperately trying to hire more people to help her out to do more customer service type stuff and social media. But if you could take a moment Lourd and introduce yourself, and tell everybody a little bit more about what you do.
Lourd: Hello, my name is Lourd, and I am assigned for customer service, social media, and inventory reports. So for social media I reply to comments and chats and other related stuff like concerns from customers, well except for EcomCrew.
Mike: Excellent, awesome. So like I said, Lourd has been awesome here. It’s just amazing the things that she’s been able to accomplish for us, really excited to see what she can be doing for us more moving forward. Like I said the big thing that we went over since being here is Amazon PPC. I’m excited to have someone managing that more full time. It’s been embarrassing looking at the job that I was doing with it, because it just it’s a very time consuming process to get it done right.
So we sat down for many, many hours and went over exactly how we want to approach Amazon PPC. We can probably do an entire episode about that in the future. But the basic strategy is to use exact match campaigns, and then doing broad campaigns that we then negative match out all those keywords and then doing automatic campaigns and negative matching out the exacts as well. Also doing product display ads and doing headlines search ads. And when you start doing that over hundreds of products, it gets complicated quickly.
And we’re spending over $1,000 a day on Amazon PPC. So this is definitely not something that we want to take lightly. And Amazon PPC can amount to a large portion of your business, and also really drive the Amazon fly wheel effect. So we’re excited to be really tackling that project now moving forward. So who would be the third hire?
Mike: Jon, he’s another quiet guy over there hiding in the corner. Jon is one of our amazing graphic designers. I mean it’s been just absolutely amazing being here in the office, and being able to point to the screen and say, we want to do this a little bit differently, we’ll do that a little bit differently. But what we’re kind of working on right now in the office here with them is all of our holiday planning. And we’ve done some episodes about this, but it’s a lot of work. We have Black Friday and Cyber Monday obviously, which is kind of the default stuff everybody thinks about. But we also have this 12 Days of Christmas promotion that we’re going to be doing, which requires graphics for every single day, December 1st through 12th.
We have 12 free drawing download package we’re doing. We have ten drawings we’re going to be sending people in the mail. So it’s a free plus shipping offer. We also have added in a Hanukkah promotion this year, eight drawings for that. So the amount of drawings and imagery that needs to be done for that is pretty overwhelming. And on top of that we’ve also been talking about graphics for WildBaby and IceWraps while we’ve been here.
And probably most importantly, all of our Amazon product photography strategy. We’re really excited to be just really upping our game there. We’re going to be adding in call outs and just doing more professional imagery in our Amazon images. And also adding inserts to all of our stuff and trying to just have one cohesive message and color scheme, and look and feel for each brand, trying to put our grown up pants on if you will, and kind of move the needle there.
So definitely excited to introduce Jon and have him tell you just a little more about what he does before he cowers over in the corner. He’s kind of the office–I don’t know jokester maybe a little bit. But I think he’s the one that everyone loves more than anybody, he’s just always smiling. It’s funny, he signs all of his emails love lots, which is kind of a little thing in the office that we love to talk about. And until you meet him, you don’t fully understand that he just loves everybody and loves life, and he’s just an awesome guy. So Jon, don’t be shy, step on up to the mic and say hello.
Jon: Hi guys. I’m Jon, I’m the graphic designer. So basically I am responsible for all the graphic stuff of all the brands, from marketing collaterals, banners to photography to video editing, stuff like that. I basically do magic.
Mike: Yeah, visual magic. Awesome, thank you Jon. So like I said he’s just been absolutely awesome, and we’re excited to see what we get over the next six months from the kind of our graphics department here. We will be introducing a second graphics person we’ve hired here shortly, but we’ll get to that in just a minute. So who would have been the fourth one today?
Mike: Abby in the corner over there. She’s not as shy, so this won’t be as hard. But Abby runs EcomCrew for us now, and in fact she’ll probably be the one that’s going to do this podcast. We’re going to be switching from a team that we’ve had been making the podcast, Abby taking care of that. Abby is a full time VA for just EcomCrew. We’re trying to keep a line in the sand there since Dave and I do EcomCrew, we want to keep that separated since that is just kind of separate anyway.
But there’s a lot to do for EcomCrew besides just produce the podcast. We’re going to be sending out weekly emails now, or possibly bi-weekly emails. We’re going to try to up our game on the podcast, and record more than four episodes per month, or we’re going to try to get to two per week, but we’ll see how that goes. But Abby takes care of all the show notes for that, posts all of our content. We’re going to be talking about podcast outreach.
And there’s a list that’s actually I don’t have it in front of me, but there was something like 32 items I think it was that we we’re going over for things to go over for EcomCrew. But we were working on it last night, we got through two of them. It was — we had some technical issues with one of the items. So we’re trying to get our exit intent pop up working so you guys can all give us your email addresses so we can market to you like good email marketers.
But yeah Abby has been awesome. She’s also put together really all of our course material. We obviously, Dave and I–if you guys are going through our course. Here’s a plug for our course, EcomCrew.com/course. But if you guys have gone through that, Abby did all the written content there. In fact when she submitted her first sample that I was convinced that she went out and sub contracted it with someone else. It was so good. I was like man, this is just amazing. It really is, it’s great stuff.
And then also we didn’t talk about Jon and Aya. He will talk and introduce here in a minute. But they also have done video content for us. They are the ones that spliced all the video content together, and they’ve been instrumental in getting the course up and running. It’s just been absolutely awesome. I promised them champagne, but instead we did karaoke night last night to make up for it, which was a lot of fun. But yeah Abby, if you could introduce yourself a little bit, and tell people a little bit more about what you do.
Abby: Hi, I am Abby and I am the general VA for EcomCrew. And when I first started, just like Tiana, there was a bit of a learning curve, because ecommerce in Philippines is different with e-commerce in the US. But it’s really awesome to be trained from social media to email marketing. You learn a lot and you get paid for it. It’s really awesome, and just like Tiana as well. Normally before I came here, going to work was like really hard. It’s really hard to get up in the morning or early in the morning for my shift before but, for now even if it’s — even if there’s a lot of traffic, it’s still, I’m excited to get to work. It’s extremely fun and I learn a lot.
Mike: Awesome, thank you Abby. Again you’ve been awesome great addition to the team. So who would have been next, I think Love Joy is next. So move the microphone this way just a little bit. So Love Joy has been also another content writer. We are working on another super secret project in the background. I guess we can talk about it now. We haven’t talked about it on the podcast, but you guys know that content is a cohesive part of our strategy to get people from reading content through organic search to trying to convert them over into our brands, into our e-commerce brands.
And Love Joy is working on a site that we’re going to be launching called Littlehuman.com. That’s probably going to go out, or go live sometime in late November, early December. And so she’s gone through about twenty articles so far. We’re still working on messaging, just kind of our strategy there. But we’re getting really close and I’m definitely really excited about that. Her job is very similar to Kristiana’s, just on a different project. So Love Joy, if you want to take it away and introduce yourself.
Love Joy: Hi, I’m Love Joy. I’m better read than heard. I write content for Wild Baby — for Little Human, and we hope to have content that’s really of good quality that moms all over US would love to read and learn from. So already excited about that, and I’m very happy to join the team here in Cebu.
Mike: Awesome. She doesn’t want to talk too much. She’s like I said, she’s been practicing that on her head for the last 15 minutes since she found out that she was going on the podcast like I told you. All right, so you can take a deep breath now. Awesome, thank you Love Joy. Again it’s been awesome meeting you in person, just like everybody else, and going over some of the things we have in store for Little Human.
Everybody stay tuned for that. Again probably we will launch in late November, early December and we’ll obviously talk about that on the podcast as well when that time comes. So I think the last one here is Aya, our latest addition to the team, Aya. I love his last name; it’s like juggle nut or something like that. I’m not even pronouncing it but it’s just, I never thought I’d say it, it looks cool. But Aya, we hired him just to help Jon out because obviously when you have four brands and plus EcomCrew plus a couple of content sites, there’s a lot of graphics to be done.
And the thing that’s really important about e-commerce is photography is your window into the world to your customers. You’re not in a mall. If you remember going to a mall, going shopping, it’s been a long time it seems like as everything gets ordered online now. But you can’t look and touch and feel it. The best you can do is look at pictures. And unfortunately for us as e-commerce owners, on top of that people don’t read. We basically are proving this.
My favorite example of this lately is we have this new 96 set of gel pens. And very clearly it says that it comes with 72 glitter pens, 12 neon pens and 12 metallic pens. And a person left us a two star review saying that it came with too many glitter pens, they’re returning it. I don’t know how they can’t read this stuff. So it’s absolutely amazing. But the photography is really the most important part to convey the quality of our products, and our messaging.
And I feel like we’ve kind of also proven that we can win at this game a lot easier than anybody else with high quality photography. And again that’s something that we’re really going to be stepping our game up with here. We’ve done a good job with it up to this point, but we’ve really been overloaded because Michelle was really the only one doing it.
And when you’re talking about doing it over a course of 100 items, it just isn’t physically possible. So you end up with less images than you want, or not having all the infographic stuff on there that you want, and not all the enhanced brand content because again it’s just physically impossible to get all that done. So we’re trying to increase our manpower to get through all that stuff, and I’m really excited about what we have in store there, and we’ll definitely be sharing some of that in the podcast.
It’ll be a good way to get you guys to give us your email. We’ll probably have like a lead magnet. Give us your e-mail address, and we’ll send you three amazing Amazon graphics templates or something. Some of the things we’ve been talking about apply to training in e-commerce information just as much as it does that you can use for your customers when doing free plus shipping offers. So Aya take it away, and tell us just a little bit about yourself.
Aya: Hello I am Aya and I am, well, two of the two graphic designers. Basically just like what Jon said, we do all the visuals, online graphics to my marketing collaterals, banners, editing. And also I’m so grateful that I was hired here, especially the team here makes me feel like I’m family, and yes I think that’s it.
Mike: Cool, thank you Aya, really appreciated. And also as I mentioned on the trip with us we’ll get Michelle to say hello just real quick. She’s like, no, no, don’t put me in a slot. But I mean obviously we’re all here working together. Michelle has been really helpful, and her background obviously is graphic design and product development. So she’s been really helping out Aya and Jon on the graphic stuff. So maybe just say hi real quick and tell everybody about what you are doing here.
Michelle: Everybody this is Michelle. Really am happy to be here in Cebu and we’re so blessed to have you, and it’s definitely like a family feel over here. So thank you so much for helping us out.
Mike: Big claps. And finally we have Jacqueline who is sitting to my left. We’ve talked about this on the podcast a lot. So this will be your first time actually hearing her voice in the podcast besides the hello she said earlier. But Jacqueline has been instrumental in helping us get organized. It’s embarrassing I think at some points when you sit there and have to tell somebody the way that you’re doing things now, knowing where you want to get to, but just like you start wondering how you even had a business at all sometimes when you look at this kind of it’s just being disorganized.
And every day that you walk in the door, the fire hose is on you, and you get to a point where you become the biggest roadblock in your business. And Jacqueline has certainly been the one to help us get through that. And it’s been fun sitting here watching her run meetings, and get the team organized and work with the team here. So I simply couldn’t be happier. And with that Jacqueline, say hello for a minute, and tell everybody what you’ve been doing here so far.
Jacqueline: Yeah, hi guys. I’m excited to be on the podcast, unlike some people. I don’t mind speaking. This isn’t my first time managing an international team or working with international team, but it is my first time working with such a great team, and something that is really instrumental to the business that we’re running. That we have so many different things that are happening here, and each person has such a crucial role in helping all of I guess everything just run appropriately, and achieve what we want.
But it’s been really fun talking to each of the people that are here on the team, and getting ideas and just really collaborating and having a good time. So that’s been really fun, and also just coming to the Philippines and seeing the amazing culture and amazing food and all of you guys who act definitely like friends. So it’s been really fun, and I’m looking forward to working with all of you more, and just getting everything going.
Mike: Awesome. Well, thank you Jacqueline. So there’s a few things, I took some notes here that I want to kind of mention before we sign off the podcast, we have a couple more minutes. But first things first, I think if you’re looking to build a team here, the first thing you need is a Mia. I always say everybody needs a Mia in their life — but she has been awesome again managing the team here.
And when you’re thousands of miles away, this is a very crucial part of your of your business strategy and structure. You can’t have a Mia from day one, so you need to go out and find just I think the best general VA that you can and develop a rapport and trust with them. And that’s kind of what we did. Mia was with us for about a year I guess before we turned her into the manager and opened the office here.
So some of it is, it takes some time to kind of get some traction just like anything else in business to make sure that you have the right person to be able to do that. We’ve talked about this before as well, but we found her through onlinejobs.ph like most of the people here in this office. It is a great tool for finding Filipino workers. It’s been great for us.
The other thing that we’ve done here that’s unique to a lot of other people is we have everybody in one office which is very purposeful. I think that after running many businesses and having a team that’s just all over the world, even though obviously it’s a globalized world, having people in pockets in just a couple of locations is definitely helpful. As you can tell from listening to everybody here, they get along really well, they enjoy coming to work and working with each other.
And that’s I think a lot to do with the fact that we have an office where everybody comes and can be together, versus working from home and just typing through Skype. So I think that’s really important. And the other thing that’s important is making sure that you hire people to do specific tasks. I mention this before when I talk. I mean these are not superheroes over here in the Philippines; they’re human just like all of us. And if you were in the US looking to hire somebody, you wouldn’t hire one person that’s going to do a general VA stuff and graphic stuff and programming and podcast editing and like yadi yadi yada. It just it doesn’t exist.
I think that the only way that it exists is if you’re an entrepreneur, because then you learn how to figure out a way to do everything, but you don’t do it all well. So I mean if you hire someone that’s really good at writing, you’re going to get a good content. If you hire someone that’s really good at graphics, you should get a good graphics person. Don’t try to hire somebody that can do everything, because it’s really not possible.
The other thing is training. You’ve heard everybody here say that they were a little bit overwhelmed when they came here, but we put a lot of emphasis on training. Again it’s very purposeful; it’s not something that happens by accident. We invest in Digital Marketer’s training. I think it’s a really good way to disseminate a message throughout the company. So everybody goes through that training and they also get certificates, which is cool. And they can use that to further their career and they get trained in nine modules on things that help them understand our business.
And then on top of that we have an internal knowledge base, and obviously Mia helping then instill all the things that we want to do here. And so that’s really important. And the other thing that I’ll mention is just again, we try to create a great environment. This is something that I think we’ve accomplished also with our US team. But you spend a third of your life working, you have to do it, everybody needs money to survive and put food on the table, but you can also have a good time when you come to work as well. So that’s something that we believe in very much.
I definitely enjoy what I do. It’s been some long days here. We’ve been working over the weekends, which I want to thank the team for coming in over the weekend since this was the only time we could come in here, and also been here ten or eleven or twelve hours a day, because we only have four days here. So even with those long hours, it’s still fun, right? I mean it’s still fun being with the team. Everybody has a great attitude, a smile on their face.
We keep them fed well. I think that keeps them happy. They keep me fed well and have some local — what is the stuff called again?
Mike: Maja, they brought — paid for me. It’s like a coconut corn pudding thing. I don’t know exactly what it is, but it’s delicious. I was thinking about it as I was coming in this morning, like I got to have some of that before I leave again. It’s really delicious. So that is our team here in the Philippines guys. We hope to continue to expand here.
We have two job openings that we’re trying to fill. We need another general VA and a social media expert, just somebody that — the social media stuff is really kind of going out of hand here for us. We have six or seven social profiles that we’re maintaining now, and with the advent of something like ManyChat, it just becomes a customer service — I don’t want to say nightmare, because it’s not a nightmare. But it certainly raises the level of individual tasks or touch points, because people are responding to messaging, and they typically expect to get heard back from quicker than an email.
So it’s something that we’re going to be definitely working on a lot over the next couple of months. But yeah, we hope to continue to build the team here. I think by this time next year we can conceivably be 50 to 100% bigger than we are now. And just as we continue to grow, they’ll be growing with us. So thank you everybody for being on the podcast today. It wasn’t that bad, was it guys? No, no. Mia is like it’s all over. Mia you don’t want to say any last words? She’s like it’s over, she thought she was back.
Mia: Yeah I thought it was over.
Mike: Well, I’m kidding. I’m not — I’ll let you off the hook, it’s okay. But again I want to thank everybody here. It’s been a great trip. Unfortunately we are leaving today, but we’ll be back obviously as soon as we can. Thank you guys for your hospitality and for everything you do for us. And until the next episode guys, happy selling, and we’ll talk to you then.
And that’s a wrap. I hope you guys enjoyed that interview as much as I did recording it. I just had a great time in the Philippines as you can probably tell after listening to that, just a great group of people. I love my team over there. I love all my employees, but just man it’s just it’s so much fun to be able to work with them in person. That’s one of the big drawbacks of having a remote team is that I don’t get to see them in person all the time.
So being over there was just absolutely amazing. Again being able to point to the screen and give them a hug, and go to the lunch and go have fun at karaoke, all these different things are just things that you can’t replace without being there in person. So I’m definitely committed to going out there at least once per year if not someone else from my team having a frequency out there maybe twice per year. We’ll see how that goes.
And it’s important to keep the communication lines open. We’ve been working hard on that as well with having Basecamp and also weekly meetings now. It’s something we instituted as a result of this trip. And I hope that the communication gets better, and we just build a stronger and stronger team. So that is the end of this episode. Episode number 96 is in the books. Go to EcomCrew.com/96 to get to the show notes, and also leave us a comment. If you have any questions about anything that we talked about in this episode, or if you don’t, leave a comment in general. We’ll be happy to answer those. We read every single one of them. So EcomCrew.com/96.
And just a reminder we’re now doing the EcomCrew Podcast twice per week. So Mondays and Thursdays, a new episode goes out every Monday and Thursday. We’re committed to that schedule through the end of the year, and then we’re going to re-evaluate whether in 2018 we’re going to do one episode a week or two episodes a week. But through the end of the year, we’re going to do two. So EcomCrew.com/96. Until next week everybody happy selling.
Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.