Outsourcing – Let the self doubt begin (someone tell me I am making the right decision?)

Self confidence concept. Hands cutting the letter t of written word I can’t by sciccors. Office desk. Pink background top view.

Once any big decision in business (or life) is actually made, it is almost like we want the little “business fairy” to tap us on the shoulder and say “everything is going to be ok”. Instead what we get is a million little devils reminding us of all the shit that can go wrong.

Since investigating offshoring, I have had 99% negativity and about 1% positivity.

Now I know outsourcing is not for everyone, but what gets me is that people are all too willing to give an opinion before realising, or even asking, why I am making this decision.

Stacey it will go pear shaped, Stacey you won’t get anyone that knows what they are doing, Stacey you are barking mad, Stacey you are better off to hire in Australia, Stacey that is a stupid decision, Stacey don’t do it, Stacey you are wrong.

“If you hear those comments every single day, well you start to believe them. You start to question yourself, your beliefs and your vision.”

I had two lovely business friends come to my house one day in December and sit with me and, as petrified as I was of telling them my decision, I needed to hear their thoughts. I trusted them. I told them why I was making this decision. So my current staff could upskill, so I wasn’t working 12 hour days, so my business service could improve, so that my business could grow in a sustainable way. I breathed out a sigh of relief once I had these reasons off my chest. Not that they needed me to quantify my decision, but they wanted to make sure there was some logic behind my decision making.

Instead of judging me, they responded with “so what does your gut say about it”. And you know what, my gut is perfectly OK with it. Sure, I have to actually find someone, interview them, hire them, train them and be happy with them. But I would still have to do those things if I hired in Australia.

These business friends know me pretty well, and they were over the moon that I was thinking about this decision from a long term business strategic point of view, and not just hiring with my heart, but using my head as well. We all know that business owners work stupidly long hours. And 2018 was plagued with sickness for me (and some pretty serious sickness at that). I simply can’t go through that again. I need to put myself and my health first. And outsourcing with a full time admin ninja fits into that overall plan.

What a relief. Someone who supported my decision and understood why I was doing this. 

“It is not that easy though to put the negativity aside. Each time I spoke with someone new, the little negative devil would come out in full force. “

Normally, I am all for everyone having their own opinion and I will respect that. But for people to outright tell me I am wrong (without letting further discussion happen) really started to get on my nerves. In fact, it just started pissing me off. So instead of trying to have a healthy discussion, I just stopped telling people my choice. I just told them “I would work something out”.

When did we stop supporting each other? When did we try to bring others down simply because we don’t understand their choices?

I continued on my merry way and spoke with a few outsourcing agencies as I realised I was out of my depth and needed assistance with how to proceed. I narrowed it down to two agencies who worked with admin staff in the Philippines – both sounded amazing. One just felt the better fit for my requirements. Staff work from a dedicated office, they only work 5 days a week (when a lot of roles in the Philippines are 6 days a week), they are setup with a computer and second screen, the office is secure, there is a support person both here in Australia and overseas we have access to, the staff are provided with training, plus if we like, we can go and visit them during the year.

So we have started the ball rolling.

Christmas is never a great time to hire, with public holidays, people in wind down mode and most people having a 4 week notice period to resign. And the Philippines is no different. So we won’t be hiring anyone in January – time just won’t allow it. Yes I am totally frustrated with this but the timing is what it is. I also don’t want to rush the decision just for the sake of making a decision.

“We need to find the right person, with the right skill set, and more importantly, someone who can slot into our existing team and manage our organised chaos.”

But bring on 2019. It will mean some behind the scenes changes in our business, but they are for the best. In fact, I have a to do list a mile long for the new person and it involves increasing our customer communication, increasing our customer service and ensuring that queries are dealt with in a much more time effective manner.

How am I feeling about my decision to outsource? I am still nervous, I am still anxious, I am still worried we won’t find the right person. 

But I have faith in the system the outsourcing agency has in place and I am also hopeful, excited and somewhat calm that my working hours will reduce in 2019 back to somewhat “normal” hours. And that bloody make me happy beyond belief.

(Note: this is part 2 of a 6 part blog series written over 6 months. Before deciding to outsource overseas, to finding and hiring our new office manager, to working with someone offshore and managing the process).

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