Nadine: Hello this is Nadine from Affordable Staff and I’m just about to interview Laura from POD Financial just to ask a little bit about her business and how she outsources and why she outsources with us.
Why Did You Decide To Outsource?
Laura: Okay, I’m gonna stand up.
Laura: That’s why. That’s not bread, by the way. Because I wanted to build a business that supports me and I can’t do everything myself and particularly with a baby. It is impossible to work full-time and have a child at the same time. So if I wanted to have a viable business, I needed to get support.
Nadine: And that support kind of brings on a capacity.
Nadine: Okay. You were talking a little bit earlier about that even if you wanted to put on more staff here, you’re lacking in space.
Laura: Yes. So my office, I work from home and it’s a great office, I love it. But it’s very limited in its capacity to house a team. So I didn’t want the overhead of actually needing to go and rent or buy an office. I was looking at a remote solution to provide the support that I needed.
Because there’s such good technology that’s out there at the moment, there’s no downside to actually being able to do that. The other thing is that remoting means that I needed to focus really heavily on my systems. And it actually set me to do that because it’s very easy to band-aid solutions when someone’s sitting right next to you. But if they’re not sitting next to you, then you get a really good insight of it’s a great order in your business to go, “Where are the holes and how do I fix it?”
What Has Outsourcing Done In Terms Of Your Hourly Rate?
Laura: My hourly rate has probably gone up, I’d say. From my journey when I started with outsourcing, so when I was doing everything myself, everything. Doing everything myself meant running the business, writing all of the loans, doing all of the admin, fixing the printer, just everything. I don’t know. Maybe my hourly rate might have been $4.50 an hour. Pretty poor.
Because I’ve got that team in place now, the tasks that I focus on doing are much more strategic tasks. They’re tasks around building the business. And about growing the opportunities that we can then capitalize on. And that’s what I focused my attention to particularly now that the team is so good at running the files without my daily involvement.
Importance of Trust in Outsourcing
Laura: If you don’t have trust, what have you got? You have to trust. If there is no trust, then you’ve got no foundation to build upon.
Nadine: So if you don’t trust, you also won’t feel comfortable to even let go of those tasks or microtasks.
Laura: Yeah. So you need to trust. It’s vitally important. Trust is something that is built over time. Trust doesn’t happen instantly. Not for me anyway. And trust for me is developed over time when someone does the things that they say that they will do, and delivers on the promises that they made.
Nadine: That’s really real whether it’s trusting somebody here working for you locally or a team member who’s working from overseas.
Why Did You Choose Us?
Laura: Because we’ve developed that relationship with trust. And I test that and I do that with everything. I ask, you know, “Can I trust this?” I have trusted relationships with banks, and with all sorts of providers. And that’s built over time. Trust can be easily eradicated as well because if somebody does something that is contrary to what.. What am I trying to say there?
Nadine: Contrary to what they say they’re going to do. So it’s having the integrity to deserve the trust.
Laura: Yeah, that kind of thing. But I also test it. So I went to the Philippines and I went and had a look at the space that the team was working from. And I saw that there was no paper, and there was no printer in the office. A lot of the disciplines and the structures that are around the business were there to support that trust. Those are the kind of structures that facilitate the trust to continue.
Nadine: Yeah and in the finance industry, especially, having that intellectual property and security and privacy element covered is more important than ever.
Laura: It’s really important how my clients’ data is protected. It’s vital.
Is Outsourcing Taking Jobs Away From Australians?
Nadine: Why is that?
Laura: No, it’s not. If anything, it’s done the opposite. So what’s happened for me is because I’ve now got a team that supports me in the Philippines, and I have two staff members in the Philippines. What that enabled me to do was it gave me the headspace to think about, “Okay, how do I grow the business and bring on someone here?” I always knew that I needed someone here. It’s just that I didn’t want them doing tasks there were not client-facing.
What’s happened is because I’ve now got the team that supported me, that gave me back the time, that gave me back capacity, I could then think about what I needed in terms of the support that I wanted here.
And I now have a full-time staff member here in Australia as well and she is unreal. And she had the support of my admin team in the Philippines from day one and she loves it.
So the next step might be to bring on another person here and I will continue to grow the team here just as much as I will continue to grow my team in the Philippines as well. Because ultimately, that’s how I’m gonna build a really sustainable business.
Nadine: You’ve got the support base that you actually need and it’s not costing you a lot of money to get that. How could you not grow your business? It’s just going to happen.
Laura: Yeah. And I never would’ve had the capacity to bring on my staff member here, had I not initially outsourced the admin.
Limitations In Outsourcing
Nadine: Okay. What limitations have you found, if any, in the outsourcing kind of arena with us?
Laura: I don’t know whether they’re limitations or whether they’re opportunities. I think you can see it as a limitation, you can see it as an opportunity. The prerequisites that I think need to be in place to outsource is you do need to embrace IT and technology. Because that’s your method of communication and it’s also the method through which you collaborate. So embracing IT is really important.
Also embracing communication platforms that are delivered remotely. That’s also important. So I don’t see them as limitations. I see them as opportunities to grow a really sustainable business.
What Difference Has Outsourcing Made To Your Business?
Laura: Well, revenue has definitely increased. It’s been huge. But not just that. It’s not been revenue at the expense of my time. So what that means is that the revenue has increased but my work-life balance is better now than it was before I had any support at all.
The commitment that I’ve put into my team has delivered the results that I needed and given me a much more stable business. Much more stable. Because they work forty hours each a week whether I’m there or not and they deliver on the client outcomes without my daily involvement.
So it’s a much more sustainable business. It’s a much more stable business and the revenue’s gone up.
Running A Business During A Holiday Or Break
Nadine: So, just a side question to that, do you feel like you could take like say, a holiday or a break, and have your business run without you?
Laura: Well I just had to do that in the last two weeks cause my son got his tonsils out. And I know with 100% certainty that it is impossible to run a business and take care of a nearly four-year-old at the same time. Impossible. And because he had his tonsils out, he couldn’t go to daycare, cause he needed to be quarantined.
So for two weeks, he could not go to daycare and he needed me 100% of the time. And that was just so epic. But in that period of time that I was away, we had several follow ups come through. And I wasn’t even there.
Laura: You know, so that’s my team ready at a level without my daily involvement and without my constant oversight or micromanaging. They have done that.
What Would You Say To Someone Looking To Outsource?
Laura: Do it. Do it, but also commit to doing it properly. Commit to getting the support that you actually need. And that’s not just from committing to a VA with particular hours. Commit to getting yourself the support from a really great outsourcing provider. Commit to getting the technology that you need in place. Get that technology in place. Commit to designing your business in a way that you wanna see it. Don’t leave it just up to chance. Actually commit to doing those things so that you give yourself the best chance to succeed in it. Because it will work if you commit to it.