HUSBAND. FATHER. DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST.
ENTREPRENEUR. MEDIOCRE GOLFER.

I’m John Jonas. I live in Utah and I founded OnlineJobs.ph. My life is better because of my Filipino VAs.

I had a normal “job” for 8 months after college and my biggest goal at that time was to be able to quit that job. I managed to quit back in 2004 and worked from home for myself ever since then.

When I first hired someone from the Philippines in January of 2006, I knew I was onto something special. Since then I’ve learned that for most people, life is definitely better with Filipino workers on your team.

Yes, because of my Filipino workers I get to play a lot of golf, spend a lot of time with my wife and kids, and get out backpacking in the middle of the week. I work for about 17 hours a week because of the amazing work they do. However it’s not just better for us; it’s better for them too.

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P.S.
I DON’T DO SOCIAL MEDIA…
MY VA’S DO IT FOR ME.

} My Latest Post

Your OFS And Taxes

Let me preface this by saying I am not an accountant or a tax attorney. I’m simply sharing how we’ve been dealing with taxes and our OFS for years. This is how 5 different accountants have dealt with it for us.

Also, my OFS Jamie is not an accountant. What she shared about taxes is based on her experience paying taxes as an online Filipino worker.

YOU SHOULD NOT LISTEN TO WHAT I’M ABOUT TO SAY. Don’t take it as legal or financial advice!

I got an email from someone recently saying they have two concerns about hiring an OFS (Online Filipino Specialist). One is the taxes. They think hiring an OFS means they’d have to pay taxes because I call my OFS team my employees and offer them benefits.

Their second concern was whether the OFS is an employee or an independent contractor.

Even though I call my team in the Philippines my employees, they are independent contractors. I don’t pay their taxes. These are the only things I need to do tax-wise with my OFS:
1. I have them fill out a W-8 BEN and
2. declare them in my 1120S.

*2021, The IRS updated the W-8 BEN form.

I’ve explored this. I’ve talked to accountants. I’ve talked to attorneys.
I can’t figure any way you could consider an OFS an employee by normal “employee” standards. You can’t give them a w2. They don’t have a US tax ID number. You can’t even give them a 1099.

Having said that, DON’T LISTEN TO WHAT I SAY! Consult your attorney and accountant!

On the Philippine side of things, I asked Jamie about this because she’s been paying taxes as an online worker for years. When she registered as a taxpayer, I remember she asked for a day off because she spent hours in lines just to get her paperwork filed.

They (your OFS) are registered as independent contractors when paying their taxes.  They pay a local tax (~1% gross) yearly and national taxes quarterly (~8% over Php25,000). From what Jamie tells me, they can do most of the filing and payment online.

John

PS. don’t over complicate this.

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My Newsletters

How Brett Assigns Tasks To His OFS

I recently sent out a newsletter about hiring Filipino students. In that email, I discouraged hiring full-time Filipino students because they would need to prioritize their education. A college education is a big deal in the Philippines. If they don’t get that degree,...

Why Your OFS Sometimes Work Mindlessly (and How to Change it)

A while back I sent a newsletter about how my OFS had published a video that was horribly edited. The video started mid-sentence, had no context, and was just a bad edit.   Yet, someone else (who didn’t do the edit) still published it.  Why? A subscriber (thanks!...

My Solutions To When Your OFS Work Mindlessly

My newsletters from the past 2 weeks have taken a lot of work. They're all about why OFS sometimes work mindlessly (their thoughts) and how to prevent it (their ideas). Today is some of my personal experiences. A couple of solutions I’ve tried that have worked include...

Why Your OFS Sometimes Work Mindlessly (And How To Change It)

My previous 5 newsletters have described cultural reasons why OFS sometimes work mindlessly. Today is about solutions. When I asked my team why this problem exists, I didn't ask for solutions, I just sought to understand the problem. A bunch of my team members also...

Why Your OFS Sometimes Work Mindlessly – Family Culture

This is the 5th email of 5 about why OFS sometimes work mindlessly. Surprisingly, I had quite a few different people talk about family with regards to mindless work. Like, when they don’t feel like they’re part of a family, they don’t care about the work. This...

Why Your OFS Sometimes Work Mindlessly – Laziness

This is the 4th email in a series of 5 about why OFS sometimes work mindlessly. Laziness. Sometimes, people just get lazy. Sometimes, this just happens. Some say the rising generation is lazy. Sometimes the work lends itself to laziness. Sometimes it happens as an OFS...

Why Your OFS Sometimes Work Mindlessly – Quantity Over Quality

This is the 3rd email in a series of 5 about why OFS sometimes work mindlessly. This one is often your (the employer) fault. Often, quantity is more visible than quality. An OFS knows that you’re going to see how many support tickets they responded to but you’re...

Why Your OFS Sometimes Work Mindlessly – Power-Distance Index

This is the 2nd email in a series of 5 about why OFS sometimes do mindless work. If you’ve never heard about Hofstede’s Power distance Index, it’s worth looking up.  You’ll understand the mindlessness a lot better. The Philippines has a very high power-distance index....

Why Your OFS Sometimes Work Mindlessly – Fear

This is the first email in a series of 5 about why OFS sometimes do mindless work. In the Philippines, fear often has the opposite effect as what you might expect.  If you fear failure you’re likely to make more effort, do more, try harder.  In the Philippines, it’s...

Why Your OFS Sometimes Work Mindlessly

Here's what "Clean up your play mess" looks like to an 8 year old boy: He wasn't careless or mindless about it...he told me "I did clean up...I'm still playing with those!" At least he thought it through. A while back I sent a newsletter about how my OFS had published...

How To Find More Online Filipino Specialists With Technical Skills

I just got this email from Brian Wallace. He runs a small-IT company based in Miami. He’s interested in hiring an OFS for his business but is having trouble finding them. “Any tips or approaches on finding more specialized experts in technical areas? In my case it’s...

Follow-Up On My QA OFS Experiment

Getting poor work back from my team has been one of the pitfalls of turning tasks 100% over to my OFS. At times it has been really frustrating. When something gets left undone and it seems so obvious to me, I get frustrated. And I wasn't sure how to fix this...until...

I’ve Been Hiring VAs Since 2014 And One VA Away Fixed My Process

Ruben Kanya runs a successful podcast and agency doing $20,000+/month. He's super accomplished, and it shows in his work. His clients notice the quality and amount of work. They often ask how he manages to produce all that content and run an agency simultaneously....

Setting SMART Expectations With Your OFS

I talked about this in a previous newsletter on how SMART goals help make changes happen. My daughters and I recently finished planning their race season (basically all of 2022) which includes some big SMART goals as well as some big objectives. (she blinked...but she...

The Most Talented Person I Have Ever Worked With

I have a lot of talented people around me.  Not just in the Philippines, but at home and at church and with family. I keep telling my wife and kids that I'm consistently surprised at the talent of the people around me.  There's a lot of talent I don't have...but...

Most Filipinos Has Multiple Phone Numbers

I think most people who have raised teenagers will agree that it's hard. There's almost always something that you don't see eye to eye about and the teenage years is when they're willing to push back. Right now we're having this about an iPhone. My 14yr old wants an...

Do You Experience High Turnover Among Your OFS?

I got this question through my Facebook page: “Do you experience high turnover among Filipino Remote workers? We have gone through at least 30 of them in the last 3 years despite providing 13th-month bonus, health insurance, and higher wage than if they were to work...

You Can’t Be Too Nice

I realized recently that I'm sarcastic with my kids. Too often I joke with them by being hard on them or making fun of them. It's not good. I had to take a step back and change my approach. Just be nice. I'm working on it...I fear it's a long road. One of the things...

EDSA Revolution Anniversary Is A Special Non-Working Holiday

Another Philippines holiday?  Already? If I look at my calendar it feels like we (in the USA) have about one holiday per month. It feels like the Philippines has about 1 per week! They don't. But sometimes it feels that way. Tomorrow, Feb 25 is one of those days. The...

How Do Filipinos Learn English?

Did you know that the Philippines actually has two official languages: Filipino and English? I didn't really realize this until I went there in 2009 (my first...and only time there). I was so surprised that I took pictures while in Manila: Filipinos start learning...

How I Hired A Project Manager For OnlineJobs.Ph

Over the past 2 years it has become more and more apparent to me that I need help. For a long time I ran OnlineJobs.ph. I managed the developers. I thought through features. I thought through solutions. I pushed projects forward. I reminded people of their pending...

Should You Hire Filipino Working Students?

My son came home from college this past weekend. He's having the time of his life. He skied 4 times the past week. I had to ask him "Are you going to class???" He says he has all A's in his classes...we'll see. Should you hire an OFS who’s still going to school? It...

Letting Your OFS Handle Payments With Virtual Cards

I love getting useful tips from other employers. I just got one from Vin Carrano when he responded to my email about using LastPass with my OFS. It turns out he was using LastPass too. This led to an email exchange about a problem some of you wrote to me about: giving...

Already Given Up On Your New Years Resolutions?

My wife came home from the gym the other day: "I got there at 9:15 and there were a bunch of parking spots. Just 3 weeks ago I couldn't even park on the street because so many people were there! Oh, how quickly people give up on their New Years resolutions." New Years...

Filipino Love And Courtship Traditions

I've said before that I'm not a holiday/celebration kind of guy. Halloween is my least favorite day of the year. Valentines day is up there with it. I know not everyone feels this way...but for me... Yuck! But this email is more about relationships than it is about...

What You Need To Know When Hiring A Filipino Graphic Designer

The first time I hired a designer I was actually hiring a programmer.  This was 2007 and I didn't really know what I was doing.  I just knew that I had found a really good programmer, and he also said he was a designer! I thought I had just struck gold! ("Nino", the...

Is Taal Volcano About To Erupt?

In a previous email, I mentioned that the Philippines is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, that’s why they have a lot of active volcanoes there. One of those active volcanoes, Taal, has been showing increased activity in the past week and a half. They’ve had 31...

I Can’t Find Talented People In The Philippines!!!

On Facebook, I (and by "I" I mean my OFS) get occasional comments from business owners who say they’ve tried outsourcing who insist that there aren’t any talented workers in the Philippines. “I’ve been outsourcing for years. Workers in the Philippines are crap!...

Bayanihan Culture

My OFS Julia writes: ----------------------- In the Philippines, there’s this custom called “Bayanihan” (pronounced as buy-uh-nee-hun), where people come together to lend a helping hand. It’s more than just people helping each other out. It’s about working together as...

The Great Resignation

In 2004 I figured something out I hoped the rest of the world would never figure out. I had quit my job (the only job I ever had, I worked there for 8 months right out of college) and was working from home.  I worked my butt off. My wife was also at home with our...

How Do I Protect My Data With My OFS?

It seems like there’s news about another hack or data breach every other week. Big companies have their security breached, and information from millions of users or employees is leaked online. I used to worry about it with my team.  But then I realized that worry was...

What Does OFS Mean?

OFS = Online Filipino Specialist. I invented it because I don't like the term VA. People think a VA is a secretary. Someone who can only do mundane tasks. Someone who doesn't really have skills. Someone who can do data entry. Someone who can only follow step by step...

How Can I Do A Background Check On My VA?

Well...I was going to talk about background checks, but then I read what my OFS wrote for this email: "No background check beats doing the work yourself." I laughed. Out loud. My OFS gets it! We’re so used to background checks here in the US it’s impossible to think...

Hiring A Writer? Ask Them These Questions

People ask me regularly who writes this email. 2 people: - Julia, my OFS: - and Me (my wife gets me a formal picture every year when we take family photos): The next question is What did you look for when hiring her? Simple. English skills. That's it. Although, when I...

Happy Chinese New Year!

I'm not a big holiday person. Halloween...my least favorite day of the year. Valentines day?  Thursday. St Patricks day?  Huh? I'm just not a big celebration kind of guy. I just can't get into it. For me, the only reason I even know Chinese New Year is happening is...

How To Make The Time Difference Work For You?

I understand why many business owners prefer to have their OFS work in their timezone. It's just more convenient. You don't have to worry about things like scheduling meetings and whatnot. There's also the added benefit of monitoring your OFS work hours. The first...

A Terrible Video Published By My OFS

Last week after an amazing day of skiing, my 8yr old had a rough last run down the mountain: He wasn't even going very fast.  He just got tangled up and fell flat on his face with his legs spread as wide as they could be.  He couldn't get himself up.  I had to scoot...

How To Handle Passwords With Your OFS.

I HATE when I solve a problem and the problem keeps coming up over and over again. Like passwords with my kids. "Dad, what's my password?" ARE YOU SERIOUS!!! We've saved this password to LastPass. I've told you to get LastPass on your phone. Why? Just why!?!? This is...

Barangays – The Filipino Neighborhood

When Filipinos talk about their neighborhood, they often refer to the barangay, the Philippines' smallest political and administrative unit. Barangay comes from the Malay word balangay, a boat used by the Austronesian people when they migrated to the Philippines. ...

The First Mistakes I Made Outsourcing

I love to ski. My wife...not so much. Part of it for her is just fear. What if I'm cold? What if I get hurt? What if it's not fun? At some point she has made mistakes (we all do) and each of those things have happened to her. On occasion, it has stopped her from going...

Now’s The Best Time To Hire (While You Have Time)

We’re finally at that point where things are somewhat going back to normal. Yes, Omicron is raging, but we’re close to getting back to the lives we had before we ever heard of Covid. Kids are in school. Travel is opening up (depending on the day...) We've all realized...

Why Natural Disasters Happen Regularly In The Philippines

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Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

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I Don’t Have Time To Hire An OFS

When I was just starting my business, I didn’t have time to hire someone to help me. I just bought a house. I had a brand new baby. I had a fledgling business. I needed the business to grow because I didn’t want to go back to working for someone else. I also knew that...

Do the hard work today…stop putting it off

This picture is from last August from the first bike race of the season.(this is relevant...I promise)Addie won the Varsity Girls race.  No surprise. She's won every high school race she's been in except for State Championships. She works her butt off.(At the finish...

Can You Recommend Someone For Me?

"I'd just feel more comfortable hiring someone you or your team recommends" Yes...yes you would... But...I can’t recommend someone for you. Nothing personal. I don’t give recommendations to anybody. If you ask other business owners, they’re not giving referrals...

Do Brownouts Happen Often In The Philippines?

It depends on where your OFS lives. To be more specific, it depends on who runs the power distribution center. Here’s some context. Back in the 1990’s, the Philippines experienced a power crisis. To address it, their government started privatizing the power industry...

Hire In The Philippines Without Making Mistakes

The first time I hired someone in the Philippines it was "easy". I told the agency who I wanted and they came back a few days later with my VA. He lasted a couple days before he said "Sorry Sir, I don't know anything and can't do this job." He quit. The agency...

Letting go of a difficult task – Give it another shot.

A couple months back as I rode with Lila the wind was howling from the north. It was a cross wind (which is better than a head wind) that makes riding no handed really hard. As soon as you take your hands off the bars the wind grabs the front tire and turns it...

Does Your OFS Handle Billing?

When I was in high school, I made a new group of friends. The first time we hung out we were going out to dinner. This is right after school and I didn’t have any money. So, they decide they were going out to dinner and I told them, “I can’t go with you guys, I’m...

I love reading your emails! Thank you for creating OnlineJobs.Ph I have a great experience with the training and the VAs.
Amanda Vang

Real Estate Expert

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate these emails you send out John. Since I have been reading them, I have developed such great relationships with 2 my VA’s and soon to hire a third. So grateful that you created this!
Melody Johnson

I can’t tell you how helpful updates like these and your blog posts are for working with my OFS – THANK YOU!
Harrison Thornhill

thornhillresidential.com

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