- Duncan: My name is Christopher Duncan, your host. I interview top experts and guests who have achieved total freedom and share with you the strategies that I have used to not just create one, but help over 200 people start a six figure freedom business, where they can travel, enjoy their life and make the money they truly deserve. Enjoy the show!
Freedom FastTrackers, I’m here with John Jonas, and he created onlinejobs.ph, and I was just saying online before we started how much this man has changed my life and he didn’t even know it. In fact, all of my staff that I currently have, have been employed through this site. We have 48 staff and John, I was telling you this before, that these are some of my favorite people on the planet. We’ve even had them on this podcast, because we wanted people to understand what it’s like to have virtual assistants.
So, at first, I just want to say, listeners, this is kind of cool for me, because I didn’t know who created the website. It was never really shared anywhere, and when I had been told you were going to be on with us, on this show, I was so excited and then we just kept on missing … this is like a fifth attempt, trying to get on, and this is [inaudible 00:01:18]. Welcome to the show brother.
John Jonas: Hey, thanks for having me, it’s good.
- Duncan: And, you’re in Utah right now, right?
John Jonas: I am in Utah! I love it here.
- Duncan: Tell us your story and go into detail, fill us in because, I want to know how you got started and how you ended up creating what it is that you did. I’m just – this is a personal question. I just really want to know what —
John Jonas: Totally. So stuff … so it turned into like, time freedom. This started back when I was like, five years old, I remember … that’s when I remember thinking I wanted to be a lawyer, which is totally ironic because that’s the opposite of time freedom. But my dad always had a job and we were always poor, and my uncle was rich and he was a lawyer and I wanted to be a lawyer. So, I went into college for … I went pre-law and it wasn’t till I was part way through school that I was like, “I can’t do this! I hate this!”
- Duncan: Right.
John Jonas: And so I got a job out of school for … I had a job for 10 months and my only goal during that time was to quit my job because I just don’t like it. I don’t like working for someone else. I’m a terrible employee and it sucked. But it took me 10 months before I made something online work and I had a little bit of income and it was enough that I was like, “I gotta go for this. I’ve gotta try it and see.” And so I quit my job within 10 months.
It was a leap. We didn’t have any debt, which is a really big deal for getting to the point where you want to be free … is keeping out of debt. We had very little expenses. I was married. I had two kids. And then I just started doing this online stuff and stuff was working and I realized what I was doing at the time wasn’t going to keep working, and so I evolved. I started learning more stuff. This was in 2004 when I did that, so that’s 13 years, yeah.
- Duncan: Wow. And so that’s where you got started and then when did you come up with the idea of what you’re doing now? How did that kind of show up? I mean, I’m assuming that you were a client of yourself first? Or how did —
John Jonas: I’m still a client of myself, man! I was talking to the owner of backcountry.com one day and he … backcountry.com is the largest online retailer of outdoor gear. They’re huge. And the owner told me, “When you’re ready to start outsourcing some of the stuff that you’re doing, make sure you go the Philippines with it.” And I was like, “Huh. That’s weird.” And he said, “Yeah because, in India, when you turn up with something and they say yes that means ‘yes, I heard something come out of your mouth’. It does not mean ‘yes, I understood what you said’.
And that was a really big change for me because I had tried hiring people in India before. I had tried what Tim Ferriss says in ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ and it didn’t work for me and I didn’t like it. And I had tried hiring local people and it didn’t work for me. And I had tried hiring contract workers off of … it was E-Lance at the time [inaudible 00:04:36] and it didn’t work for me. There was one huge difference in between what he gave me, which he told me to go hire someone on full time and he gave me a reference where I could hire someone and the huge difference was hire someone full time, not a temporary contract worker. [crosstalk 00:04:56] like the definition of a contract worker or a freelancer is 100 percent turnover in your business.
And that’s hard and it didn’t work for me because I wanted to automate systems so I could step out and I wanted to be able to walk away from the processes and I couldn’t do that with the way Tim Ferriss talked about it. I couldn’t do it with E-Lance [inaudible 00:05:18]. I couldn’t do it with local workers because the first thing they did when I taught them it, they’d quit and went and did it on their own. So, the Philippines was a really, really magical thing for me.
- Duncan: Yes.
John Jonas: In what it allowed me to do.
- Duncan: And I think that’s huge because we had the exact same problem and that’s why I was attracted to your site. I’ve used it extensively and told many people to go there because it is a struggle. You know, you do want freedom and so typically an entrepreneur solves the first problem, which is how do I make money? And they solve that problem and then the next problem is like, well how do I actually get my life back? Right?
John Jonas: Yeah, totally. Totally.
- Duncan: I mean, people sometimes say to me, “Oh, but that’s a good problem to have!” I would argue that it’s just another problem, right? So, that’s what you solved. So, go on and share —
John Jonas: But it’s totally solvable! Right?
- Duncan: Yes. Yes, it is.
John Jonas: Totally solvable.
- Duncan: So, let’s go into that. How do we solve that problem? How do we get started on hiring and who should we hire and what’s important to start?
John Jonas: Okay, so here’s what I did the very first time. I got this reference from this dude who told me where to hire someone and I went back and forth for a couple of months saying, “I don’t know if I can afford to hire someone.” It was 750 dollars a month to hire someone because, at the time, it was hard to find people. It was just a crappy process. You had to go through a service. They marked them up three times. So, I was paying them 750 dollars a month, they were paying them 250, but that was all there was. I went back and forth and I debated, “Could they do as good of work as I could do?” Whatever.
I ended up hiring someone and it was an amazing, liberating experience because I had been the one doing all of the work in my business. And all of a sudden, I had this other dude who’s full time job was to do whatever I asked him to do. I could teach him anything I wanted him to do. I just had to create the teaching/training, which I could do, and then he could take full processes away from me because his only job was to do whatever it was I told him to do. 40 hours a week.
And so that meant, after a couple of months, there were two of me because he was doing what I had previously been doing and now I was able to do other stuff and he was doing it how I wanted it done. The other thing that I didn’t realize this would cause for me was, because it was his job to work for me full time, it was my job to keep him busy full time, which meant I had to come up with stuff for him to do.
All of the times where I would learn something new about marketing or websites or whatever it is, when you’re doing it on your own you have to skip those things because there’s not time in the day to do it, and now there was time in the day to do it. I just wasn’t the one who was gonna do it. That really made a shift for me in what was possible and what I could pay attention to and what I could learn because I knew I can learn this and then teach it to someone else and I’m not going to be the one doing the work.
The very first guy that I hired knew nothing, which was really … he later told me, “Man, when you hired me I was so scared because I didn’t know anything and I didn’t know what it was going to be like and then you started teaching me.” It changed his life, but he knew nothing and his English sucked. I just … what I did with him was I just accommodated to what he know, so I would teach him. I taught him how to build a WordPress site. I taught him how to change the theme. I taught him how to make the site look like I wanted it to look. He’s not a designer, but WordPress has themes and it’s pretty easy. I taught him how to do SEO and how to accommodate the SEO to his English level at the time, which today his English is flawless. He’s learned so well. He still works for me. I hired him in 2006, so it’s been 11 years.
- Duncan: Wow.
John Jonas: I started teaching him all this stuff and the more I taught him, the more free I was because I was able to go and do other stuff. I also realized pretty quickly, not only do I have enough work to keep this guy busy full time, but I want someone else and so I hired a programmer soon after that. Because I graduated from college in computer science, I was doing programming and I was a reasonably good programmer. I didn’t know if someone else could do as good of a job as me and, in the end, what happened was I realized programming doesn’t make money. Programming … it just builds a product and you can build a really cool product, but if you don’t sell it, it doesn’t matter. And so, I haven’t written code in six or seven years now. Not at all. Even though I like it and I want to, I realized this is not effective. It’s not an effective way to run a business. Now I have lots of programmers that work for me.
That’s kind of my … where I got started and I think a lot of people would do really well to start their first person by hiring someone who speaks really good English and teach them whatever it is you want them to do. I say that because the Philippines has some cultural issues that are different then anywhere else in the world. In India, you have communication problems with people. You’ll never have that in the Philippines. You don’t have communication … they always understand what you say, you understand what they say, that’s not the issue.
The issue with the Philippines is trust. Whenever you and I say trust or any employer says, “I don’t know if I can trust them,” which is the exact opposite of the actual problem. You can trust them in the Philippines for the most part. And not everybody there is trustworthy, obviously, but the real issues with the Philippines is they don’t trust you. Until they trust you, they will not become a rockstar employee for you. That took me a long time to learn, but as soon as they trust you that you’re not gonna yell at them, that you’re not gonna berate them, that you’re not gonna fire them when they do something wrong, that you’re gonna reinforce the good things that they do, and give them feedback and training. As soon as they trust you, they’ll go above and beyond what you ask them to do to do really amazing things because they really, really want to keep their job. Their life depends on it. Their life depends on the job that you gave them.
Does that make sense?
- Duncan: Oh brother, it makes so much sense and our staff are some of our most favorite people. We go visit them in the Philippines … because they’re all over there. We’ve gone and visited them every quarter we were visiting them. So, I would fly into Manila, go down to [inaudible 00:12:04], Cebu, and then back up to Manila and we took em out on staff parties. I think the biggest thing for us, John, has been when you treat them like they’re family and that they are staff … and we always say, “We’re here to grow you and you can make mistakes.” And you do that, it makes the biggest difference.
John Jonas: It’s so huge! That is so big. And that right there is a huge deal as people start doing this. If you treat them as family, basically. When something goes wrong, don’t say, “Oh you’re fired! Oh, you didn’t show up to work for two days — you’re fired!” Which so many people have that tendency.
- Duncan: I think it’s a difference between leadership styles and its transformation in leadership, but I want to come back to that. Before that I want to ask a question, which I think’s really important. You said that programming doesn’t make a lot of money and here’s what I want to talk about on that is I actually think the more people know how to do themselves, the less money they’ll make. In fact, the most important skill as you have explained, actually being able to teach others to do what you do and I’d love for you to elaborate on just where you’re lifestyle is at now because you’ve had the ability to do that. Just cuz I really want people to understand that it’s that possible.
John Jonas: This morning I got up and made my kids’ lunches for school and I got them all off to school and I studied my scriptures and said my prayers this morning, so that was all up until nine o’clock. At nine o’clock, my wife left to go swimming … to go to a swim class that we both usually go to, but we have sick kid so I stayed home, gave one of my daughters a reading lesson, watched television with them, and then I worked for about an hour. When my wife came home from swim, we went out skiing. We go up into the mountains, cross-country skiing for a couple of hours. It’s two o’clock as record this and I got back at like 1:15 and ate lunch and I’m recording this and we’ll be done, I don’t know, three o’clock? My kids will be home at three and 3:45 and I’m basically done for the day.
So, what did I do in that one hour that I worked? And usually it’s like two to three hours a day that I work. And it wasn’t always like this, but this is where you can get to as you learn to hire people correctly. I get emails from people … all of my people have to send me an email every single day or they have to send me an update on our project management system. That’s what I want everyday from them. I look at what they did. Very often it requires nothing from me because they’re doing their tasks and they’re good at it. But some stuff requires me to give feedback. So, what did I do today? I tweaked a test on the homepage of onlinejobs.ph that we’re working on and then I realized, as I looked at some of the data, our ‘How it Works’ page sucks and it’s gotta change. So, I went through our ‘How it Works’ page and gave instructions to someone saying, “Modify this, change that, modify this, add this, add that.” And then I went skiing with my wife.
John Jonas: So, that’s what I do. I have designers. I have webmasters. I have programmers. I have content writers. I have customer service people. I have social media people. I have an HR person. I have an artist who works for me. I give them stuff to do in the business. I see … I think, is basically what it comes down to. I think. And when I think through something, I come up with what I want, I give it to them and say, “Hey, go do this.” It almost never gets done exactly right the first time. I almost always have to say, “K, no let’s do this and this and this to it.” But that’s all I do. I don’t ever touch the website. I don’t log in to WordPress. I don’t modify things. I think and I tell them what to do or how to do it.
- Duncan: You’re such a badass and I love the shift … I always say to the people is when you make the shift from doer to delegator to decision maker, that’s where it comes to and being that decision maker is where you just get to be at the top. You say, “Here’s the decision. This is where we’re gonna be going …” and it’s beautiful. And it’s good to talk to another one that’s —
John Jonas: And that. That, man … it’s so cool to talk someone else who’s so similar. That right there, the decision maker, I think is what sets successful entrepreneurs apart from failed entrepreneurs. Where —
- Duncan: It does. It does.
John Jonas: Most people aren’t willing to make the decision and to think through a process and say, “No, this is what we’re going to do and here’s why.” Most people just say, “Oh, he said to do this and I’m doing it and … It didn’t work.”
- Duncan: Yeah. Yeah and a lot of times it won’t work, but you have to be the one that made the decision and own it and change it. I always tell people, John, that their business is a series of micro-tests and you’re just testing what works, what doesn’t until you get it right.
John Jonas: Yes! This is one of those tests. Hiring the people in the Philippines, that was my test. I hired them to see, does this work? And yes, it works for me and it works for you. It doesn’t for everybody, but what you said, people … different personalities have different management styles and some people just can’t handle it. They can’t handle that they have to treat someone nice. (laughing) Seriously, I hired this dude the other day … no, I know this dude who hired someone the other day and I know the guy he hired is really good because I know who he has worked for in the past and I know what they say. And this dude said, “I gave him a test and didn’t work.” I was like, “Well, you gave him one hour test and that’s it? I told you this dude is talented.” “Ah, I can’t do it. I can’t do it.” All right, it’s not for you. But man, this’ll change your life.
- Duncan: Oh yeah. I think when it comes to delegating and actually working on it, there’s a few different schools of thought. And so my question is, you have to hire someone, as you said, and then teach them. But out of everywhere in your business, how do you choose where to start?
John Jonas: Ah, it’s not a fair question for me because I’m 11 years in.
- Duncan: Let me ask it in a better way then. Some people say, “You should start with the things that you already know.” So they say, “Teach what you know.” And then others will say, “You should hire stuff that you don’t know and get them to do that.” What’s your opinion?
John Jonas: My opinion is … so this depends on your end goal. Is your end goal to make more money and keep working as much as you work? Or is your end goal to free up your time and make more money?
For me, it’s to free up my time and make more money. So, I hire people to do, in the beginning, things that I already know how to do because I know what we’re doing is effective and I know that my way to do it is effective. So, if I’m gonna hire someone, I’m gonna teach em how to do it my way. Because you never know, when you hire someone, who knows if they really know how to do what they say. Even in the US, you see it all the time. Like, you suck at your job, but I talk a really good game, right? I prefer to free up my time by getting someone to do what I already know how to do and then move on to something else.
- Duncan: That’s awesome and the reason why I like that is because, even if that person leaves, you’ve created a training system. You own the system, so you can train the next person then.
John Jonas: Yes! And in the Philippines, if you treat this person well and you train them well, they’ll never quit working for you or, I mean I can tell you that in 11 years I’ve probably hired 28 people and I have 21 working for me today.
- Duncan: Wow.
John Jonas: And some of that’s my personality, but if you treat them well they don’t want to leave. You may have to let em go if things don’t work out, but they don’t want to leave.
- Duncan: It’s true and I have experienced that. Anyone listening, I would highly recommend getting out and meeting your staff and creating that because it makes all the difference when you see them in person and you get to give them a hug and say, “Thank you.” That’s super critical. [crosstalk 00:21:26]
John Jonas: [crosstalk 00:21:27] in your proximity to the Philippines?
- Duncan: So I’m in Austin, Texas right now. (laughs)
John Jonas: You are? Oh really? Oh dude!
- Duncan: I mean I feel the proximity! (laughs)
John Jonas: I went in 2010 … I’ve only done it once, which is surprising to a lot of people. I’ve only been there once. I hired my first person in 2006. I went in 2010 and met the eight people that I had working for me at the time, but I took my family and we spent five weeks on a beach in the Philippines with my wife and three kids. It took us 36 hours door to door from our house to where we were staying and that’s hard. It’s painful. But unbelievably worth it.
- Duncan: Yes. Totally worth it. Totally rewarding and yeah very, very cool. I’ve got two questions I ask everybody that comes on this show and what they do is they help to … the person that’s going to start out or get moving understand where you are and how you would do it after all your experience. So here’s the first question. It’s super easy to answer. The first question is if you lost everything today, all your money, all your relationships, all your contacts, you had nothing – how would you go about starting a business?
John Jonas: Dang, dude. What I would probably do is I would find someone who is really good at something … I’ll tell you what I recently did and I would do it again. I would someone who is an expert at something. I have a good friend who is an expert at Ironman. He did 50 Ironman in 50 days, one in each state in the US last year.
- Duncan: Wow.
John Jonas: Yeah, crazy, crazy, crazy. And I took him and his knowledge and created a training program for people wanting to do Ironman.
- Duncan: Got it.
John Jonas: And I have someone else do the copywriting for it and I have someone else build the website and I have someone else do the design work and I took his knowledge and his content and stuck it in and created a membership site with it. And I hired someone else to run the Facebook advertising, Google AdWords advertising. He’s doing his promotions with the people that he knows and I’ve hired people to do the promotions and so we built this whole business just based around this expert because he had the knowledge.
- Duncan: I love it.
John Jonas: So, if I had to start again, that’s what I would do. I would do that over and over again.
- Duncan: It’s the exact answer I gave and, it’s interesting, you’re the first person to give me the same answer. Because I got asked it in Singapore and I said, “Here’s what I would do if I had no money. I’d find the person with the idea, find the person with the marketing, find the salesperson, find the customer support, find the tech person, I’d give them all 10 percent and I’d take 50 and just write the contract and make it work.
John Jonas: And even better than that … to find the person with their knowledge and give them their 10 percent or 20 percent or whatever it is and the hire people in the Philippines to do the rest of it and don’t give anymore.
- Duncan: (laughs)
John Jonas: [crosstalk 00:24:43] built the website and the designer are in the Philippines and the Facebook advertiser is in the Philippines and there’s me and the other dude.
- Duncan: (laughs) I love it, except there was one part of the question that said you had no money. (laughing) [crosstalk 00:24:59]
John Jonas: All right, all right. I got it.
- Duncan: So, John assumed that he could go down to the bank and get a quick credit card because he can hire pretty cheap and made it happen.
John Jonas: That’s right. That’s right, dude.
- Duncan: I love it!
John Jonas: You can borrow 1000 dollars because hiring people in the Philippines is so much cheaper than anywhere else.
- Duncan: There you go, so if that part [inaudible 00:25:18] there’s the steps. I love it, brother.
And here’s the second part to the question. It goes like this: If you go back to the start of your journey, maybe it was 2003 or 2002, right when you were about to start out and you got to fly back in time right now with all the experience that you have now and you could go back and you’ve got a minute to give advice to that version of you, what advice would you give to yourself starting out?
John Jonas: Oh dang. I would … I don’t know, dude! Learn to sell information. Learn to sell information.
- Duncan: That’s perfect.
John Jonas: It’s so good.
- Duncan: Brother, I feel like we literally are the same person sometimes. (laughing) We’ve only been talking for 33 minutes .. it’s 3:33 where I am right now, isn’t that interesting? And I’ve just liked everything you’re saying. I’m so connected to you, man. It’s really interesting.
This was a fast episode, but I felt like we covered a lot and here’s my big message from just this episode. I’m gonna ask … we’re gonna get more from John, but it’s clear to go to onlinejobs.ph. I use it. He uses it. He built it and I recommend it, but here’s what I love is we’re talking to someone who’s got the freedom. Did you hear his day? Do you know it’s a Tuesday and that was his day? He went skiing and doing those things. This is the most important thing is right now is the youngest any of us are gonna be and the opportunity we have, not only to build freedom for ourselves, but also to free someone on the other side of the world and give them a great job, is tremendous.
John, I’d like to just leave it with you. How would you like to end today? What message would you like to leave with the audience?
John Jonas: So, what you said about business is a bunch of micro-tests, that’s what I want is to say you have to go give this a try to see if it’s gonna work for you. I know that a lot of people out there think, “Oh, I can’t afford to hire someone. Oh, I don’t have enough stuff to keep em busy full time.” Go try it. I cannot tell you how many times people have said, “Oh my gosh, I had no idea how much I have to do until I hired someone in the Philippines to start doing it for me.” Give it a shot and see if it works the way that we both have said it works and that thousands of other people have said it works. Because if it does, if ti works, it changes everything.
- Duncan: It really does.
John Jonas: [crosstalk 00:27:51] payroll for 21 people is like 11 or 12 or 13 thousand dollars a month.
- Duncan: And you’re paying them well?
John Jonas: And we’re paying them well.
- Duncan: You’re paying them really well. That’s awesome, brother. This is incredible to connect. I look forward to connecting as well a little bit of this session, but listeners, I hope this was enough to push you over the edge to go and get an assistant. Either use the site, you should use [inaudible 00:28:16]. It’s badass. It just works. The Filipinos are the best people and to all my staff that are editing this right now, we love you!
John Jonas: We do! We love you!
- Duncan: We love you! And this is the guy that put you connected with us and now you’ve got an amazing job because … they will be editing this and then they’ll be making snippets, then putting it on my website and they’ll all be listening to it and I know they’re all going to be laughing their heads off right now as I’m saying this. (laughing)
John Jonas: Dude, I love it.
- Duncan: Listeners, live with total freedom. Free your mind, free your time, and free your whole life, so you can do more of what matters most. This was a super important episode. John, I appreciate your time. I know how it’s very valuable, so thank you for spending some time with us today. And listeners, if you wanted to connect with John check out christophermduncan/podcasts. You have all the show notes there and how to connect on his Facebook, and any other way you can stalk him across the Internet that he’s gonna allow us, will all be there. And I’ll catch you at our next episode.