Ep. 172 – John Jonas: “After a month of working with Philippine Virtual Assistant I realized that there are two of me… I replaced myself in my business…!”
John Jonas has 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 1,000,000 Filipino resumes and over 300,000 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.
Most passionate about
The thing I’m always working on is helping people to outsource their businesses. I love it; I see so many people succeed with it. I see so much good in it, from both sides, the employer and the virtual assistant.
John’s career and story
I’m a terrible employee. Out of college in 2003, I had a job for eight months, and my only goal was to quit my job. Because I hated it, and it took me eight months to make a little money online, and then I had an opportunity, and I took it, and I’ve been making money online ever since.
In 2004 when I was making money, I didn’t get rich, but I saw how things are working. And I was good with websites; we were ranked on Google, and we were having ads on our websites and were getting money when people clicked the links and so on.
I realized that there is a business online. Still, the business models of AdWords wouldn’t work for long, so I started learning other things regarding online - like copywriting, marketing, SEO, and the like.
I started my online business, and very quickly, I got overwhelmed, I was overworked; there were so many things to do. I thought it’s going to be easy and obviously I was wrong.
I tried different outsourcing solutions; I Tried to hire people locally and to hire someone from India, then I tried Elance, which today is UpWork - and all that didn’t work for me.
Then I had a conversation with someone very successful in Internet business, and he said to me, ‘when you ready to hire outsourcing, make sure to go to the Philippines’. And he gave me a reference so I can hire someone full time, and I didn’t do it, but it gave me some hope.
But after a while, I realized I couldn’t keep working 60 hours a week without getting enough done. And I hired someone through the agency he gave me, and it was the single most liberating experience of my life!
This employee was doing whatever I taught him to do, and after like a month, I realized that there is like two of me… I replaced myself in my business.
That guy is still working for me today. Since 2005…! What I didn’t know about the Philippines is that they are loyal almost to a fault.
That changed my life, and since then, I’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people do that, and it changed their lives as well.
In 2008 I directly recruited a programmer to build a simple Job Board for direct interaction between companies to job seekers. In the first month, we passed a couple of hundreds of profiles, last month we passed a million profiles.
The VA sets the terms, and we don’t take a cut of their salary, so they get all the money you pay them. We get paid $70 by employers for access to the database.
John’s best advice for entrepreneurs
I have two pieces of advice. The first one is to make sales! That’s where entrepreneurs fail. Many of them think that ‘if I build this, or if I have just one more feature - than it’s all going to work. No. It’s not. You need to make sales.
The second piece of advice is to make sure you add value; meaningful value to your customers.
Biggest failure with customers
My biggest failure is entering a market where I don’t understand the marketing plan. If I don’t understand what they are looking for and what the offer should be, then I usually fail.
Six or seven years ago, I paid a realtor for creating training for other realtors for giving to their VAs. And I didn’t understand how to get this offer in front of other realtors.
Biggest success due to the right customer approach
My best success is my platform, onlinejobs.ph, but within onlinejobs.ph, the best success happens as an employer hires a VA in the Philippines and that employer sees a change in their business.
Most recommended technological tool
I want to recommend something that really changed my business, and it's something everybody can do; on the 'Thank you page' for people that just bought something from me, there is a message that says: "Hi, congratulation on buying, my name is John, I own this, and I'm wondering what almost prevented you from buying? Was there something you almost hung up on?"
Below that, there is a message box, and that's email directly to me. And that message, this question has changed our business so much! I started to feature out every sticking point that my customers had.
And also, I responded to every one of them, so I had an interaction with my new customers.
John's key success factor
I think learning copywriting was that one thing, learning sales' copywriting. I don't write sales' copy, but understanding how copy works, how telling people a good story, and making a good offer to people can affect the sale. That's probably one of the biggest things that influence my success.
Since we believe that the best way for entrepreneurs to get fast, big, and sustainable success is by leading your (new) market category, and the entire entrepreneurial journey reminds me of mountaineering, I want to ask you: Is there a mountain you dream of climbing or a mountain you have already climbed?
I love this question because I have a love affair with mountains. My office is at home, and in front of me there is a big window which I stare out at De Long Peak, I climb mountains probably at least twice a week, up to a peak of some source, I mountain bike and love it, and I ski in the backcountry. I’ve seen a quote says: “We don’t climb mountains because they are there; we climb mountains because others won’t.” To me, this is what climbing mountains is, and I think it relates to entrepreneurship as well. For me, there is nothing more exhilarating than standing on top of a peak in the winter, looking down the other side, and knowing that I did it on my own. And it’s the same with entrepreneurship - I do what I do because others won’t.”
I’ve climbed this difficult mountain of building a business because other people won’t. And I get the reward of it too.
Want to learn how to choose the best Name and Logo? Not sure which customers to focus on right now and where they are? Want to build your website, or trying to figure out how and what content to share on social media?