If my business model were a hamburger what do you think the secret sauce would be? If you really want to know, I’ll tell you. Its the big O (sorry for the shameless tag line steal Overstock.com). O is for outsourcing and outsourcing is the single biggest reason my business has been profitable from day one. To truly understand outsourcing, the pros and cons and the massive benefits of having freelancers handle much of your business matters lets look at a case study, my case study actually.
I started Oracle Launch LLC over 6 months ago. I think in June? Before then I had been making my living solely via powerselling on eBay but the constant back and forth to the post office and dealing with countless customers had me an old woman of 23. So I decided internet business was the way to go, I had just read The Four Hour Work Week during a three week excursion to Italy and fell in love with both traveling and the idea of passive income. More or less I didn’t want to work so hard, but also I wanted to do something I’d always been passionate about which is entrepreneurship.
To begin with I wrote an eBook on selling on eBay (what I knew at the time best) and hired a person off of www.elance.com to create its sales page. Don’t laugh, I’ve been meaning to get around to changing it for months now. That cost me around $100 which at the time I thought was quite reasonable.
Next I hired an assistant to help me with SEO and general building of the website www.powersellerprincess.com where I hosted a blog on eBay powerselling etc. But after a while I wanted to expand from just selling eBooks on how to sell on eBay. It was time to pursue my business dreams. But this meant more websites, more SEO and more work. I didn’t have the skills to put up even a basic WordPress site by myself, I couldn’t code my way out of a paper bag, and I didn’t have deep pockets to hire a friend’s website design firm whose base price for a site was $10,000! Then I joined Internet Business Mastery which was one of the single best uses of $97 a month I’ve EVER made. I stayed in it for 5 months and learned all i could hope to know about internet business and more. One of the most valuable tidbits of entrepreneur advice that Sterling & Jay gave was ‘Get an outsourced employee now!’.
They even took me step by step through the pros & cons of outsourcing as well as showing me the many benefits. Finally I decided to make the leap and hired a gal from www.VA4U.com to do general web tweaks and SEO for my first site as well as hiring a website designer full time from the Philippines to build my second site (www.escapingthe9to5.com of course!). Then the outsourcing fever really bit me, I signed up to pay $47 a month for the resources at www.onlinejobsph.com which is mainly a job board for Filipino people. I chose to outsource mainly to the Philippines because I had known many people who had done so before and had great luck.
All in all I have 4 full time Filipino V.A.s (virtual assistants) working from me for salaries that a start up company can afford. Think of it this way, I have an incredibly well qualified, incredibly motivated project manager who works for me and manages the other workers and he costs me what a fresh out of beauty school secretary would cost me here. I couldn’t have done it without outsourcing, it saved me money, saved me time and most of all allowed me to access incredibly talented people for incredibly start up friendly costs.
If you are struggling to get up a business and its internet based I’d strongly suggest outsourcing, if you have a brick and mortar company where you pay $8-10 bucks an hour for telemarketing employees or assistants take that money and get two great VAs in the Philippines instead. They are hard working, incredibly responsible and the great part is because of the exchange rate even though its a deal to you its a good living overseas. Just like the pound is worth much more than the dollar, US bucks can buy many Filipino pesos comparatively.
Next up I’ll be doing a blog post on the Pros & Cons of Outsourcing so you can decide for yourself if its right for your business model. If you want to read more on outsourcing check out Chris Ducker’s blog here. Chris is a great entrepreneur who I got to chat with on the phone the other day from his fabulous tropical location in the Philippines! He gets to not only live and work there but he hires hundreds of outsourced workers and has made a very profitable business out of it.
Please feel free to ask questions or harpoon me on the ethics of outsourcing below in the comments section, trust me this ain’t my first pony show so I have an answer for each of you!