Main topics discussed in the podcast (26:17min):
- About Rob O’Byrne
- Outsourcing: time consuming, but rewarding in time
- Choosing your outsourced team
- Outsourcing: not supporting the Australian economy?
- Hear more on outsourcing: join this event
Listen to the entire podcast interview now: click the Play button above the video teaser (26:17min).
Here’s the article:
1. About Rob O’Byrne
Rob O’Byrne owns 6 businesses in Australia, but he is best known for being the founder and CEO of Logistics Bureau Group. You may think it’s the sort of job that keeps the man busy full-time.
Not at all. Rob still manages to have 2-3 holidays every year. He claims it’s thanks to outsourcing.
So I invited him today to talk about the pitfalls, challenges, and benefits of outsourcing.
From the podcast…
Q: What started your journey on outsourcing?
A: To be honest, I didn’t even know anything about outsourcing until 3 or 4 years ago. I didn’t even know it existed for small businesses. […] I’d been running my own small businesses now for almost 20 years and I reached this point of total burnout.
I had a couple of businesses at the time, I was working 100 hours a week, really stressed; I’d gone through a divorce… things were sort of falling apart for me.
And then I suddenly lashed on to the fact that I can’t afford full-time staff, I can’t do it all myself, it’s just getting on top of me… And here was an opening to actually find really good quality professional people at a very low cost!
2. Outsourcing: time consuming, but rewarding in time
For me, outsourcing has always been a first-hand option. People in my industry had been using outsourcing for a long time before I joined the gang.
So, for me, outsourcing was a natural step to take.
I use outsourcing platforms such as oDesk, Elance, or vWorker, and to be honest it’s very often a hit-and-miss kind of job.
Take Rob’s example: from a point of total burnout, he is now working with a full time team in the Philippines, and they all work in an office there.
3. Choosing your outsourced team
Here are a few tips I handpicked from the podcast to share with you on how to choose a high quality outsourced team:
- Set up announcements on outsourcing platforms with the intention that it is going to be a long-term relationship
- Maintain clear specifications on the project you want delivered, providing supporting information at every step of the project.
- Before hiring someone it is better to check for the feedback / references they have from previous people they worked with. Ask for portfolios and test them: is their style congruent with yours?
- When you think you may have found “the one” to introduce into your team, at first give them trial tasks, testing not only their professional skills, but also their values, ethics, and attitude towards work.
You can see how outsourcing is time consuming upfront, but by keeping high standards you can find trustworthy people to be regular members of your team. (here’s more on outsourcing)
It’s better to hire someone full-time, not project based or part time. The simple reason behind this strategy is that, when you’re working with someone on a project-based job, you can get shovelled at the end of the list in favor of other clients (who may be paying better than you, or who may handle over more interesting projects).
What does ‘hiring on full-time basis’ refer to?
- You get to set the working hours upfront
- Your team members have regular availability hours
- Organise weekly meetings with your outsourced team
- The team members send you regular reports of their work
Important: If you end up hiring people on a full-time basis, treat them like you would expect to treat an employee in Australia: pay them holidays, give them sick days, give them bonuses for performances.
Working with an outsourced team – useful tips:
From the very beginning keep in mind that you’re going to meet a different culture than yours. My team are all from Eastern Europe – Romania (how about that for a change of cultural landscape?). So if you find a team at the other end of the globe, encourage your team members to introduce their culture and traditions, and let them know of your own customs.
This tip is especially for those who are working with a Philippino-based team: encourage them to ask questions… constantly. It’s super important, and in the podcast Rob and I agree you’ll have to do a bit of leg work in this area, so people can become confident enough to simply ask questions.
In the early stages of your collaboration with your new team members you should also do the following with your outsourced team:
- Chat a couple of days on Skype just to check up on things, see if they can handle the job
- Maintain constant communication, but not only verbal communication. Send over screen captures of the things you want done, documents, audio instructions, etc.
- Systemise all business processes (I am using Google Docs to do that): having a solid business system that is constantly updated is like a growing bank of information that is adding value to your business at a very low cost. (here’s more on business systemisation)
4. Outsourcing: not supporting the Australian economy?
Outsourcing allows you to grow your business faster and leverage everything you do. Its benefits are astounding.
However, I had several people come to me and say that by hiring offshore I am not supporting the Australian economy. In the podcast I wanted to find out if Rob encountered this problem as well.
I run a business that I could not run without the help of outsourcing. Small businesses cannot afford to pay 1, 2, 5, 10 employees on a full time basis in Australia, therefore outsourcing gives them an opportunity to grow and by growing pay taxes to the Australian state.
By running a business in Australia I am still paying taxes and spending money in my own country.
5. Hear more on outsourcing: join this event
Find out more about how to hire the perfect outsourced team for you by joining Rob’s upcoming event: http://www.outsourcingexplained.com/fiona
If you plan on using outsourcing in your online business, keep in mind the following:
You’re not hiring a person, you’re actually supporting an extended family in most cases. It makes a world of difference to their lives…