April 29, 2019
Hiring Top Talents Overseas with Growth Experts
April 29, 2019
This is a repost of Dennis Brown’s podcast. I was honored to be interviewed by Dennis Brown on his Growth Experts show, which is a business podcast about growth. I really enjoyed our chat with Dennis and he allowed me to repost this here. Now I’m posting it to you, my audience because the tables have turned and it allows me to really open up as I explore outsourcing and the benefits of outsourcing and sometimes it’s quite apparent that I get quite enthusiastic about this. I really enjoyed my chat with Dennis and hope you enjoy this episode.
Derek Gallimore: Welcome to the Outsource Accelerator podcast. This is a short format podcast where we explore business and outsourcing mastery. My name is Derek Gallimore and I am really excited to bring you the leading podcast in outsourcing.
Derek Gallimore: Hi and welcome to another episode of the Outsource Accelerator podcast. This is something a little bit different today. This is a repost of Dennis Browns podcast. I was honored to be interviewed by Dennis Brown on his Growth Experts show, which is a business podcast about growth. I really enjoyed our chat with Dennis and he allowed me to repost this here. Now I’m posting it to you, my audience because you know, this is me being interviewed, the tables being turned and it allows me to really open up and, and I explore outsourcing and the benefits of outsourcing and sometimes it’s quite apparent that I get quite enthusiastic about this. So, anyway, I really enjoyed my chat with Dennis and it’s a great show. So hope you enjoy. If you’re on any of the show notes here, as always, go to outsourceaccelerator.com/227. Enjoy.
Dennis Brown: Hey, welcome back. Everybody and we have yet another amazing guest today. His name is Derek Gallimore. He’s a serial entrepreneur who’s experienced the fullest highs and the lowest of lows during his entrepreneurial rollercoaster. He’s built multimillion dollar property portfolios, has bootstrapped a $20 million business and has seen it all come crumbling down. Derek has been outsourcing in the Philippines since 2011 and believes that outsourcing is one of the most potent in transformative business tools available today. As a result, he founded Outsource Accelerator, which is like the Alibaba of outsourcing, which provides the gateway for businesses to connect with outsourcing suppliers. So this is a really new idea, interesting bringing in marketplace to this trend that’s going on. So welcome to the show, Derek.
Derek Gallimore: Thank you so much. Dennis is glad to be here.
Dennis Brown: Yeah, you’ve got a really interesting and diverse background and we’re going to talk a little bit about your story. We’re going to talk about how you’re growing this business. We’re going to talk a little bit about the power of outsourcing, but before we dive into all of that, could you do us a favor and kind of fill in the blanks, give us a one or two minutes on it, you know, quick backstory of how you got here, you know, to Outsource Accelerator.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me. So I suppose, you know, the, the short story is that I’ve been an entrepreneur through and through. I started personal training at 17 and really, you know, I had the bug for entrepreneurial-ism since then when I was 24 I was lucky enough to get into the tail end of the property boom in London, in the UK when I moved over there just after being a backpacker for a couple of years, I managed to get onto the property ladder. And then within about, I suppose seven years of wind behind me, I was able to, I built a property portfolio of about 25 properties within central London with a few million dollars or pounds. And then in 2008 when that whole market slowed down and in fact all the banks were collapsing around me, I was safe with my properties that I had to transition into another business because the property development kind of strategy of high leverage in developing refinance just wasn’t working anymore.
Derek Gallimore: So I found synergies within the service department sector, which was very new back then. But that basically evolved into what became the airbnb phenomenon. So in 2009 it was still pretty new. The product itself was very disruptive and so I started again because there’s synergies with my own property management of my own properties. I got into service departments and I started leasing entire buildings around London for the use of service departments. Now we were very professionalized and we had entire blocks and we got to, you know, just under 250 apartments within central London. And I bootstrap that business up to about a 20 million US dollar revenue there. It loops around in about 2011 about two years after we started, I realized very quickly we needed to have a 24 hour care for our customers. A because people were booking 24 seven from all over the world and B, because when guests within our accommodation, they need customer support, customer service at anytime of the day.
Derek Gallimore: So when I was looking around, it’s now clearly I think unaffordable and it’s not really viable in the West to have any 24/7 customer support operations unless you’re a big conglomerate. So a friend of mine advised that I look to the Philippines and I did. So in 2011 I got my first customer service agent in the Philippines through an outsourcing supplier. And from there it really grew over about the next three or four years, I got to a peak of about 70 staff here in the Philippines and I then had a small operation in London and primarily most of the operations was being done in the Philippines. So I’ve been outsourcing since 2011 and then in 2014 I based myself mainly in Manila in the Philippines because it was so much going on here in 2016 I closed that company and I started to Outsource Accelerator because of the need for more information about outsourcing. And I really just want to spread the word about the opportunities of outsourcing for businesses out there in the west.
Derek Gallimore: Okay, great. So you’ve had quite the journey, right? And I mean you’ve went from real estate into outsourcing and now you’ve got what’s almost more of like an online business, a, you know, like you said, like a hub or a marketplace that you’re putting together. So how, so let me ask you this. Have you taken any, in any capital, have you raised any funding in this current venture Outsource Accelerator?
Derek Gallimore: No. So this is self funded and you know, we’re bootstrapping this, I have a tendency to bootstrap things. Now, I’m not saying that is the perfect approach and it actually, I’m continually questioning myself on my approach with that when I’m hearing these incredible capital raises that some of these Silicon Valley startups are getting. And I sometimes wonder if I’m proceeding with these ideas with one arm tied behind my back. But at the moment it is all self funded but we’re really going for to build a pretty big platform here. Luckily I have relatively low overheads because all of this is outsourced to the Philippines. So it kind of makes sense that I can do this far more affordably than people sitting in Silicon Valley.
Dennis Brown: So Outsource Accelerator is fairly recent. You started that when in 2016 or 17
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, I mean I iterated with a few ideas but thankfully in, you know, it was like mid 2017 that we really kicked off with this and you know, we’ve really been having only traffic for about the last kind of six to nine months.
Dennis Brown: Okay, great. And so how’s growth span up to this point? I mean if you could put it in whatever terms you want to, whether it be traffic or users or customers or however you want to put it. Could you tell us a little bit about your growth trajectory up to this point?
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, so we, you know, we try and with paid traffic, what we’re doing with this platform is, you know, we’re trying to do the best in class of everything. So long term we are going through content and SEO because I think that’s the only way you can be at the top and sat at the top. But we also put a lot of effort into conversion funnels, I’m sorry, upsells and getting people’s emails. We have a lot of conversion infrastructure and then of course we have paid traffic, which is the sort of short term boy. We only have about 30 to 50,000 visits a month now. But effect, we were very quickly because of all the previous content production we’ve done moving up to the hundred thousand a month. And then I think we’re really going to hit a critical mass when we get to about a million visits per month.
Dennis Brown: So let’s peel that onion back a little bit. Right now you’re using, you’re leveraging content and SEO in the hopes that you can, you can rank and generate traffic from that. Google the monster Google, right? So can you share with us a little bit about your strategy there, how that’s working for you, how you’ve positioned that. Could you peel that back a little bit more? Because obviously, you know, content marketing is a big part of what business owners are talking about today, but some people believe that SEO is dead and, and other people believe that it’s, you know, thriving. You obviously are putting, you know, putting a lot of emphasis on it. Could you talk to us a little bit about that?
Derek Gallimore: Yes, and it has eventually become quite an expert in SEO over the last sort of 12 months since we’ve really ramped this up. So we now have about 3012 we’ve got about three and a half thousand pages on the website, about 3000 articles there. And we’re producing about a hundred articles, old extra pages per month. We also have a podcast with about 200 episodes. You know, my theory on that is when I was in London with one of the biggest outsourcing service providers, sorry, service department of providers in London with one of the sort of uprising brands. I had the theory that if you’re the biggest hotel in London for example, then Google would have no option but to rank you as number one. Otherwise Google wouldn’t be doing its job. So in some ways you’ve got to kind of go along with Google’s requirements to kind of kid the system.
Derek Gallimore: But if you are actually the system, you know, if you are the biggest in your market then really Google has the no kind of option other than to rank you otherwise it actually wouldn’t be doing its job properly. So bearing that in mind, I am in an area where there really isn’t a lot of competition now quickly sort of built a moat around us where we’re just providing very high then you content and insight into outsourcing. Unfortunately there’s no one, there’s no one out there doing it. There’s no one providing an easy stepping stone for businesses in the West to look into outsourcing. So we are that independent results for outsourcing. It does take time though, and we will only really control the market. You know, whenever people type in outsourcing or outsourcing Philippines, we appear at number one and we appear as an independent source of information. So we want to become the sort of in Africa, the TripAdvisor of outsourcing so that when anyone that inquires val sourcing, then people will naturally go to us because we are independent and have a lot more broader information. And so yeah, partly where optimizing Google, you know, we’re beholden to Google, but actually also it’s just about providing incredible content that really does serve the client base.
Dennis Brown: Gotcha. Okay. So, so you’re, you’re like the aggregator of all these outsource providers and now you’ve almost created like your own category, right? Because there’s really not a lot of people out there doing that, right? There’s a lot of outsourcers, but there’s nobody out there that’s really doing, you know, taking the Alibaba or the TripAdvisor approach to that. Is that correct?
Derek Gallimore: Absolutely.
Dennis Brown: Okay. Makes sense. Makes sense. Now, yeah. I’m just trying to talk this through because it’s a little bit more complex than some business models, so, okay, great. So your number one strategy right for generating traffic in clients is through SEO. Are you doing anything else that’s worked really well for you? Even in the content space? Are you focused on video or is it mainly written word? Could you kind of talk to that a little bit?
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, we do. We’ve sort of felt around and done a little bit of everything. We’re kind of doubling down on the content. We do have a reasonable amount of video content. A lot of it is within kind of paid courses. We do have video to help leverage pages because Google ranks and better if you have video on site, predominantly it is one text. We do also do the podcast and you know, you hear that Google is going to start ranking the podcast up now, which is a great thing for all the podcasts is out there because there really is a heavy signals that this is really high quality content being produced. We do also do paid traffic. We have toyed around with Facebook and fact we pay toyed around with sort of outbrain and really we have settled there on just adwords being the primary driver there. And that is actually very powerful because I think with, with a subject matter like outsourcing, if people are typing that in, then you have the very clear search intent, which is important.
Derek Gallimore: Retargeting and Facebook has been a little bit sort of vague. I think Facebook now, you know, people talk about it. So the four x five x the cost to what it was kind of a year ago or 24 months ago, Facebook is always changing its algorithm. And also I found with us that the Facebook audience isn’t receptive to a business message. You know, when people, even if it’s the CEO of a big company and when they’re at home looking at Facebook, they just want to see their friends, cats and dogs, you know, they’re not really after the business messages. So we’ve toyed around with things quite a lot and I think a lot of it is about iterating and finding what works for you and in your business.
Dennis Brown: Okay, great. Well you’re a guy who’s been doing outsourcing since 2011 so you, I mean, you’ve got seven years of, or you’ve got more than that actually, right? Well it actually about seven years since you’ve been
Derek Gallimore: 2011, I started outsourcing.
Dennis Brown: So that’s like a lifetime in outsourcing because the trend is relatively new. So could you share maybe a few tips or strategies as it relates to hiring outsourced talent? Because again, you know, I have personal experience with it. I probably been outsourcing for, you know, six or seven years now myself on a small scale, you know, on a project by project basis. And what I found is that the distance, right? Particularly when your geography is in the way as well as language barrier, as well as a variety of different issues come in and trying to hire the best talent. You know? So I think that’s something I’ve personally struggled with and I would imagine that’s something that a lot of entrepreneurs are struggling with. Could you speak to that a little bit about, you know, how to maybe improve on that or to maybe learn from some of the mistakes you’ve made. Could you talk to that a little bit?
Derek Gallimore: Absolutely. You know, and, and I find this is why we set up Outsource Accelerator because it’s, it’s surprising how you a journey it is and sort of, it’s sort of very different in many subtle ways to doing business normally. So I suppose one of the, one of the initial delineators is that outsourcing is different really to be kind of upwork freelancers scene that most people associated with it. And I think now more and more there are people disappointed with the results they’re getting on up work because work is just like this kind of unfiltered sort of marketplace where everyone’s kind of hanging out and we’ll do an odd job then. Not necessarily, you know, brilliant nick qualified and there’s a lot of people, their gaming kind of review systems. So that is the kind of wild west of freelancing I would for a federate outsourcing is kind of the polar opposite of out of this kind of sector in the outsourcing started about 25 years ago and it was only accessible to the blue chip multinational conglomerates of the world.
Derek Gallimore: You know, this would be general electric would come over to the Philippine and build facilities and they would have 10,000 remote workers working in a facility doing highly, highly process tasks. Now what’s happened in the last sort of five to 10 years is because of the cheapening of online infrastructure, and I have things in the clouds now, it meant that you no longer had to have sort of a minimum of 10,000 staff to come over to the Philippines. You can do it with one staff member and that really opened it up of course to the SMEs in the West where they might have five or 10 employees and then they’re able to get one employee in an outsource facility in the Philippines. And of course the outsource service suppliers have responded to that as well by having far more kind of flexible products, far cheaper products than what used to be the case.
Derek Gallimore: You know, when you had to bring over your own service and set up the whole infrastructure. So like many things in business, everyone’s got far more affordable, far more flexible. But I want to kind of differentiate between the, the sort of five hours a week of someone on a project basis on our work versus, you know, let’s try and build a team. It could be one person, it could even be half of full time equivalent that kind of build the team here, build an environment and start to build an operational sort of environment around them, which then becomes your company by proxy. And that’s a slight differentiation. But if you, you know, take that view that you go with a slightly more professionalized option from the start, there’s really no reason why now you wouldn’t even hire in your hometown. You know, and this is the, is the sort of potential to hire from a pool of kind of 3 billion people in the world now that are online. And I think too, you know, it’s more of a meritocracy now. The best people get the jobs that based on a sort of cost effectiveness, whereas up until now, it’s who’s hanging out in my hometown, who’s got qualifications, who can do the job, and they’ve got it. So, you know, things are quickly, quickly evolving. Okay. I just want to add to that.
Dennis Brown: and that’s great and I appreciate that. Could you hone in a little bit more on, so for example, give us some best practices on how to hire top talent on an outsource basis. I think that would be extremely valuable for the audience, right? You’ve hired a lot of these people, you’ve probably made your fair share of mistakes. You’re now, you know, building this Outsource Accelerator. I think that type of information would be valuable to your audience, obviously, because they’re going to struggle with it. So if you could help me with that and my audience, that would be great.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, absolutely. Outsourcing in many ways is identical to business and employment in whatever country people are sitting in. Equally, it is sort of incredibly different by sort of multiple subtleties that kind of upper occurred like day in, day out. So I would generally suggest just proceed as you would in your country, you know, whether it’s the US, UK, whatever, you have to put invest time up front to invest someone good. I would suggest going with an outsourcing service supplier because of that you get the facilities that they provide, you get incredible infrastructure. But also you get HR oversight, you get recruitment assistance and oversight. And also they are there then to make sure that these guys turn up on a Monday. There’s this sort of discipline that people need in the West as well. There’s a boss, there’s kind of desks and I think all of this environmental stuff really helps if people have sense of, we’re not marketing around here, you know, don’t work at home in your pajamas, serving three other clients kind of thing.
Derek Gallimore: But equally it is about presenting yourself the best. So a lot of people, you know, you need to present yourself as a good employer with a good career ladder with interesting work because then you’re going to get people interested. You know, and it’s a long way of why you now from it being a sweatshop, people desperate for jobs, you know there are a lot of people needing jobs and are willing to work for less money than when you are sitting. But a lot of that is where it is because of the cost of living differential. People still want stimulation, they still want a career ladders. From that point on, the actual fundamentals of managing someone remotely, there are differences in managing a remote team, you know? And so you as an employer have to learn techniques, you have to be more process oriented and you have to be sort of more explicit about how things are done.
Derek Gallimore: Then you have to sort of be aware of the cultural differences of the person or people that you’re working with. You know, sort of communication norms can be slightly different. Also here in the Philippines, they like processes to be a lot more clear. They liked them to be standardized and you know, it’s, it can be a bit of a weakness if you just assume people to use their initiative to kind of figure it out as they go along or do those kind of free thinking things. That is a bit act title of the whole Silicon Valley people sitting in the, in the garage, you know, creating stuff. So yeah, I suppose, you know, in summary it’s kind of do a proper process from the start and really as if you are a professional organization and set good structures so that, you know, it’s unlikely that you will fail and then there are a lot of cultural nuances and there’s no real getting away from that other than really experience getting used to that.
Derek Gallimore: But also, you know, you can seek advice from Outsource Accelerator and get information about the cultural differences. But it is interesting. It’s really can’t understate, you know, we deal with clients like there could be worth, you know, sort of $100 million. I’ve got a couple of Ferrari’s, they’ve got very successful businesses, gotten dozens or hundreds of staff, and then they come over here and it’s almost like beginning again. You’ve got to sort of go through the school again, all of recruitment management and managing a remote team because it’s all crazy different, but they’re just subtle differences all along the way. And you know, again, there are people that can help you with that. And again, I think it’s better to go without sourcing suppliers because you’ve got that extra layer of infrastructure and professionalism there.
Dennis Brown: Yeah, I agree with you. On the outsource providers, I’ve hired individual Va’s and outsource talent. I’ve hired outsource organizations firms that specialize in that. What I love about the, the outsource groups, the organizations is the redundancy, right? In the event that somebody turns over, you know, your processes and job is going to continue on fairly, fairly consistent without a whole lot of issues. So we’re going to continue on, but we’re going to do some quick rapid fire here on the next two questions. Then we’re gonna wrap it up. So what’s your favorite growth tool or software for building Outsource Accelerators today?
Derek Gallimore: I would say I probably leaned on click a little bit more than I than I intended to at the beginning, but it, it’s a really good easy page builder and also of course I suppose WordPress, but I suppose think goes without saying.
Dennis Brown: Okay, great. And what’s one book you’ve read recently that you would recommend to my audience?
Derek Gallimore: Probably the Rational Optimist, which is a sort of economics book, but just goes into everything crazy and everything about life and also Home a day as well, which is a about the evolution of man and civilized nation.
Dennis Brown: Okay, great. Well listen, let everybody know how they can connect with you, learn more about Outsource Accelerator and then we’ll wrap it up for today.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for your time, Dennis. I just encourage everyone to really look into outsourcing this site Outsource Accelerator basically provides all the information you need. We also can, you can do three free quotes using our quote module. You can also shop for cheap productized outsourcing services to get you started in our superstore. So it’s all then just have a look around and have a browse and if you want to get in touch with me, you can email me at email@example.com which is D E R E K. I’m sure that might be in the show notes.
Dennis Brown: Yeah, I’ll put all those links in the show notes and listen. I really appreciate it, Derek, and I’m sure we’ll be chatting again soon.
Derek Gallimore: Thanks so much.
Derek Gallimore: Okay, that was me being interviewed by Dennis Brown on his growth experts podcast. If you want any of the show notes, go to outsourceaccelerator.com/227 and of course if you want to ask me anything, ask us anything. Just drop some email to firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next time.