How-To: Setup your own job board using Jobskee

JobskeeSetting up your own job board these days is now a breeze. Thanks to Jobskee, a simple open source job board that let’s you setup your own job board easily.

But first, why would you need your own job board? Because it’s expensive to post to commercial job boards! One ad can cost you between P2,500 to P5,000 and would only last you maybe 30 days. With this investment, you can setup your own job board that you can use again and again and your only additional cost is hosting it every year (cheaper that one job ad.)

What is Jobskee?

Jobskee is an open source job board simple enough that everyone can use it.

It was inspired by some of the best job boards online: We Work Remotely, Authentic Jobs and jobberBase.

Minimum requirements:

  • PHP5.3 and above
  • MySQL 5.0 and above
  • mod_rewrite enabled

How to install Jobskee:

  1. Download Jobskee here: http://jobskee.com/download.php
  2. Export sql file to your MySQL database
  3. Update admin table with your desired username and password (sha1)
  4. Upload all the files to your web server
  5. Update config.php with your preferred settings
  6. Change file permission of /assets/images and /assets/attachments to 777
  7. Check that all .htaccess files were uploaded
  8. Visit your site!

PHP stacks used:

  • Slim Microframework
  • RedBeanPHP
  • Bootstrap 3 UI

Functionality:

  • Browse jobs by city, category
  • Post new jobs without registration
  • Manage job posting
  • Option to highlight a job
  • Receive job applications
  • Send and receive notifications
  • Create dynamic pages and content blocks

Features:

  • Default responsive template
  • Company logo upload
  • Social media sharing
  • HTML job posting
  • Email subscription
  • Ban IP address or email domain
  • Bulk job posting using CSV
  • Admin panel to manage jobs and applications

What are you waiting for? Setup your own job board now!

Download Jobskee

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How-To: Outsource Your Business Process to the Philippines

Why should I consider outsourcing?

Outsourcing your business processes can help:

  • free up your schedule
  • lower your operating cost
  • multiply your productivity

Instead of doing everything by yourself, you will have someone who works for you (full-time if need be), doing the stuff that you need to get done for less than your operating cost (if you are doing it yourself) with the same or more than the productivity you produce (because of the availability of highly-skilled workforce for significantly less than what you would pay for, if you hire locally.)

This reality is one of the main reason why any small business operator should look into leveraging this powerful platform of outsourcing that was previously unavailable to everyone.

Why the Philippines?

According to Business Processing Association of the Philippines, here are some of the compelling reasons why you should outsource to the Philippines:

  • Global leader in voice BPO
  • No. 2 destination for non-voice IT-BPO services
  • Low infrastructure and labor costs (up to 80% less than in developed countries)
  • Large pool of college graduates each year
  • Good English-speaking skills (over 70% of college graduates speak English)
  • Young and fresh talent pool (one of the youngest and fastest growing workforces in the world)
  • Large developed Central Business Districts and suitable for BPOs
  • Customer-centric, warm, and hospitable culture
  • Strong government and academe support

Should I go home-based or office-based when I outsource?

Spoiler: This is a very biased opinion and is my own opinion on this matter based on my personal experience.

Recently, there is a growing popularity of hiring virtual assistants that work out of their own homes for employers abroad. While one may think they are saving some by simply hiring virtual assistants that are home-based, business operators do not understand how this can be a major disadvantage to their business operations versus hiring a virtual staff that is located at an office facility.

Home-based virtual staff

If you hire a home-based staff, first you need to find that person. And it’s not that easy. People sometimes can talk about their skills, but unless you are able to prove that skill, you are at the mercy of their “sales pitch.” Imagine you are in a middle of a busy campaign and you find that the home-based staff you hired could not stand to the test? You will have to spend weeks if not months finding a replacement, and what will happen to your business while you wait and find your next virtual staff?

In Filipino culture, families are closely knit that you may find children that are already married and with children of their own, still living in their parent’s house. This means that there is a very little chance that a person working from home will have a quiet, conducive work space in a house that is already overcrowded.

Internet connectivity on residential areas is also another major disadvantage. If your business is based majority on the internet, you may find that the person you hired working from home, while they may have the skills, will have more problems with the internet connection’s reliability more often than not. Not to mention, almost all residential internet connections are capped at a certain upload/download bandwidth that unless your staff is paying for the more expensive plans, he or she will get maybe an 1/8th of the bandwidth that was subscribed to. From a first hand experience, even making a decent Skype call is a challenge.

Office-based virtual staff

Now compare this to a virtual staff located at an office or BPO facility. While you might be paying a bit more premium by hiring a virtual staff this way, the advantages is enough to compensate for this premium.

BPO facilities will have the infrastructure and internet connectivity that can handle large amount of data exchanged at any point in your business very consistently. Backups and redundancies are setup to ensure that there will be a very minimal downtime to disrupt your business.

Hiring virtual staff located at a BPO facility will give you more options as to choosing and screening your staff. These BPOs have a large pool of talents, from the different campaigns they run, that you can choose from (readily available to you for your selection.) And if the staff you hired is not working out for you, they can be immediately replaced by the facility (or as agreed in your contract.) Either way, you have much more flexibility as to retaining or replacing your staff, with minimal business disruption.

A virtual staff located at an office facility will conduct their work more professionally. They would have to prepare to go to work, come to work on time, submit a time and status  report and have a work desk with the right infrastructure where they can perform their duties appropriately with little distractions. This is also another very good reason why you should hire a virtual staff located on a business facility.

Where to begin?

You’ve read all the above and now you are thinking of considering outsourcing. But you don’t know where to start. You’ve heard about outsourcing and how business giants are cashing in on this platform and you say to yourself, “I am a small business owner, I don’t know if outsourcing is for me.”

The one answer would be: outsourcing is for you. Whether you own a small business with just you working on it or you have a handful of staff located with you locally, there is always an opportunity to outsource part if not all of your business processes offshore.

Here is a short guide how you can start:

  1. Identify the business processes you would like to outsource
  2. Describe in detail how you want this business process to operate
  3. Enumerate specific tools or software you need in order to execute these processes
  4. Determine how many virtual staff you think you need to perform this business process
  5. Estimate how long (duration) you think performing this business process should take
  6. Select a date when you want to get started on this
  7. Put down a realistic (monthly) budget that you are willing to invest in order to get this going
  8. Send this information to a reputable BPO facility and ask for a quote regarding your requirements.

Normally, BPOs offer seat-leasing that does not include the staff. In those cases, they will offer the facility and infrastructure but you will still be responsible for recruiting and hiring your own virtual staff. So look for BPOs that offer all-inclusive rates where you just get billed on a monthly basis for everything related to your campaign or project instead of having to manage HR related concerns for your virtual staff.

Are you ready to outsource? If you would like help regarding outsourcing right now, send your requirements to:

http://outsourcemanila.info/inquire.html

And the folks at Outsource Manila will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Review: Cosmo Hotel Mongkok Hong Kong

First off the price was a main factor choosing this hotel. Second was the location. We checked the reviews on here before booking and looked at their website. We knew it was going to be small, but as we just wanted a safe clean place to sleep that was okay. We came in via Macau by Ferry. We took the shuttle bus from the parking garage where the Ferry drops off. We were told the Shuttle would be there at 4:40pm by a security guard. Well we waited until 5:30 before it showed up. Not a huge deal but it was extremely hot in the parking garage and we have a 2 year old who was very irritable.

Once we arrived check in was smooth and fast, though we had to carry all of our bags to the elevator and find the room on our own. We booked a standard room for 4 nights and were given room 2307 on the 23rd floor. The room is small, that being said they have really used every space to the fullest. They also use mirrors, lighting and the huge windows to make it feel bigger. The room was well appointed with a refrigerator, safe, good sized closet, airpot, several drawers, a desk and a nice sized flat screen TV. A downside to me was the TV’s lack of an accessible HDMI port. There was no way to plug in our laptop to enjoy a movie at night.

There was also a ipod/iphone dock-alarm clock with remote a nice touch in a budget hotel. The bathroom was a decent size for one person. The rain maker style shower head in the shower was amazing with great pressure and had ample hot water. They also supply all the toiletries you’d expect.
The view from our room was great, we weren’t facing the bay but still had a great view of buildings and mountains. Housekeeping service was great too, we came back every night to a clean fresh room and nothing turned up missing.

view from room 2307 daytime

view from room 2307 daytime

Hotel staff is very courteous and helpful from the front desk staff to the concierge. We did have a medical emergency while staying there with our 2 year old daughter, we called the front desk to get us a cab and let us know what hospital to go to. We ended up having to go to three different hospitals until we found one that would treat her. We had bought tickets to Ocean Park from the hotel and they kindly and promptly reimbursed us for the tickets.

All in all Cosmo is a great hotel and I will recommend it to family and friends. It’s very clean and the location is excellent. There are some excellent restaurants right down the street. We had the BEST thin crust pizza and HUGE ribs at Smart Pizza. Across from there is Kebab & Curry Corner also has amazing kebabs. Theres a Sushi/Sashimi place on the same street thats more of a take out joint though they do have a couple table and chairs, their rolls were great and the Sashimi was so fresh! Also check out Dumpling Kitchen. There are pharmacies and 7/11′s you can see 2 7-11s from the entrance of the hotel and a Watson’s drug and there is a grocery store right across the street.

view from room 2307 night time

view from room 2307 night time

We never got the chance to check out the hotel restaurant so I can’t comment on that. If you book this hotel do it from their website, they guarantee the lowest rate and you get free wifi (which is pretty fast, I was seeing 1-2mbps on youtube and other streaming media).

The hotels manager emailed us before our stay with the weather report and emailed us after to make sure we enjoyed our stay. It’s the little things like those that put this hotel at the top of the price point.

Room Tip: stay on higher floor, ask for a view.

88 Tai Kok Tsui Road,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
www.cosmomongkok.com.hk
Tel:+ 852 3987 2288  Fax: +852 3987 2299

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Review: The Exchange Regency Residence Hotel in Ortigas

A few weeks ago, our family decided to check-in at a hotel in Ortigas to save on commute because of several appointments in that area. After looking around for affordable hotels to stay at, we settled on The Exchange Regency Hotel in Meralco Ave. cor Exchange Road (fronting Benpres Bldg.)

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I made a quick phone call to book the hotel and was answered by the front desk right away. I was told that weekday room rate was P3,300 for the Deluxe Room (with plated breakfast) and Friday and Weekend Promo Rate is P2,800 (no breakfast included.) I asked to confirm my booking and the earliest time we can check in. Typically, you check in at a hotel around 1PM or 2PM but we were told that we can check in as early as 12PM if we wanted to.

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When we got to the hotel, the first thing I noticed was, the hotel lobby was not air conditioned. On the reception area where our check-in was being facilitated, there were electric fans on the side which to me is a bit of an eye-sore in contrast with the hotel lobby’s ambiance. Anyway, you will be asked for a security deposit of P1,000 upon check-in (so be sure to prepare if you are paying cash) and gave them my credit card so they can make the imprint. The good news though was, at the end of the check-in we were told that we have been upgraded to a 2BR Suite Room instead of the Deluxe Room that we initially booked. We were totally excited as we hardly ever get upgraded to any of our hotel trips.

2BR Suite Room

2BR Suite Room

The suite room feels more like a posh 2BR condo to me than a hotel. If you have stayed in  many other hotels, you can totally tell the difference. But all-in-all the suite was big and clean and the air-con was already going when we got in. The unit was well appointed and had a small selection of snacks and beverages at typical hotel prices.

The hotel feels a bit like they decided to put a hotel into a residential building, small things like the beds not quite fitting in the room right. Also the flooring and fixtures are more what you would expect in a freshly turned over condo unit not a hotel. I don’t think they will stand up to the wear and tear a hotel room is going to be subject to. This didn’t affect our stay however as everything is brand new.

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Sheets and pillows we high quality, and the bed was very comfortable. The views were really good from our unit on the 17th floor. There is construction going on next door but they had us facing away from it, and we were never aware of it inside the unit.

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The amenities are really good too. The gym is large and stocked with high end name brand equipment. The pool is nice however is does boarder the construction so its good for a fun dip with the kids but not a relaxing lounge by the pool. There is a billiards table as well in the game room.

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Breakfast our first morning was a buffet next to the pool area, it was a beautiful morning and the food was above average for a hotel in this range. The second morning was a set breakfast at one of the restaurants on the ground floor which I will be reviewing as well.

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You will have to keep in mind our stay was during their soft opening. I thought the staff were amazing, already well trained and proficient at their jobs from the front desk manager who had us checked in (early I must add) to the room cleaners we met in the hall and elevator who were very friendly and easy to talk to. The porter who helped us with our bags, stroller, car seat for our baby etc  didn’t even wait 1 minute for a tip. Had to leave it for him at the front desk. I think they put a lot of work into the staff and it shows.

Pros & Cons:

Pros: Price is very reasonable, rooms feel more like home and less like a hotel, great location, great views, it’s new, the staff, amenities, the entertainment set up was great HD TV with SKY HD cable and SKY broadband internet! Every unit has its own modem, as well as a DVD player.

Cons: This review is a hard one, we got a great room but if you got one facing the construction it might be a different story. The driveway is steep even Toyota vans that cab drivers have scrape, I think if you had a lower sports or luxury vehicle you could do some serious damage to your exhaust system or ground effects. That’s really all I have for cons.

Final Thoughts:

I would stay here again without hesitation, they are new but starting right. I hope they continue to provide the level of service we received.  I think the next year will be challenging with the construction next door, but as you are now an informed consumer you know to ask for a higher level room facing away from it. If you have any business in Ortigas and need a place I recommend this one, they also have some deep discounts for long term stays.

The Exchange Regency Residence Hotel
Exchange Drive corner Meralco Avenue
Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Philippines 1605
T: +632-312-9999 F: +632-312-9998
E: reservations@theexchangeregency.com
www.theexchangeregency.com

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Review: Guitar Salon in Quezon City

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Moving to a new place has kinds of challenges, some of which aren’t realized to months after the move. I have been playing guitar for almost 25 years and having moved to Manila I realized I no longer had a guitar guy to fix, set-up and customize my guitars.

I have needed a set up on my Jackson Soloist for years now, as well as work on my acoustic. I stumbled across Guitar Salon on Facebook. I read a lot of the posts from previous customers and looked at the pictures. I looked in chat and seen they were online in Facebook chat. I chatted Gredie for about 30 minutes and he answered all my questions, from price estimates to what my options were. I needed quite a bit of work as it had been 6 years since my guitars have had a proper tune-up.

I brought in my Jackson and an acoustic I bought from Alegra in Cebu. I had the nuts on both replaced to Tusq, and the tuners and frets replaced on the acoustic. They also did some rewiring on the active electronics in the Jackson.
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From the time I dropped off my guitars until the time they were done was 2 weeks. That was the time estimated by them when I dropped them off. I was given updates during the time they were working on them and was able to request additional work (replacing the tuners on the acoustic). The labor price were more than fare and so was the parts cost.

Having a place I know I can count on with my guitars is huge. I have played a lot more since I got them back and they both play like a dream now! I have already recommend them to my musician friends. The downside is the waiting period, but it also means they are doing something right.

R&G Building 305 Roosevelt Ave corner M.H. Del Pilar St.
1105 Quezon City, Philippines
Hours 9am – 6pm
Mobile: 0917-589-9361
Landline: 441-6700

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