The rise of the virtual workforce
Last updated August 28, 2019
Business Growth podcast
In this podcast episode, I was interviewed by Business Growth podcast host, Rusty Shelton. I have shared in this interview about how I embodied remote, online and international work since 2008 – well before the phrases were even coined. I have been outsourcing in the Philippines since 2011 and believes that outsourcing is one of the most potent and transformative business tools available today.
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 a podcast. My name is Derek Gallimore and this is episode number 223 so today I am being interviewed by Rusty Shelton of the Business Growth podcast. Rusty is representing a listenership of small and medium sized businesses, so I’m given an opportunity here to really a tall cup and sing the praises of the potential of outsourcing for the small and medium size business market. It really is an incredible opportunity, as I’m sure you’re all aware of now, and I’m that loosen this podcast to just give some of the reasons for that, so I hope you enjoy. If you on any of the show notes, the transcription, any information about anything I talk about on this episode, then go to outsourceaccelerator.com/223
Rusty Shelton: Welcome to Upside the business growth podcast. This podcast is for entrepreneurs and leaders who want more upside from business and from line.
Rusty Shelton: Hello and welcome to upside the business growth podcast brought to you by Forbes books. I’m your host, author and entrepreneur, Rusty Shelton. And today I’ve got quite the entrepreneur, on on the show Derek Gallimore. Derek’s a serial entrepreneur who has experienced the fullest highs and lows of the entrepreneurial roller coaster. He’s built multi million dollar property portfolios, is bootstrapped at $20 million business and has seen it all come crumbling down. Derek has lived and worked in five countries and traveled through dozens more. He has embodied remote online and international work since 2008 well before the phrases where even coined there. It’s been outsourcing in the Philippines since 2011 and believes that outsourcing is one of the most potent and transformative business tools available today. As a result, he founded Outsource Accelerator, which is the Alibaba of outsourcing, provides the gateway for businesses to connect with outsourcing suppliers, his book inside Outsourcing: Rise of the virtual workforce and the end of employment traditions as we know it is available now.
Rusty Shelton: Derek, welcome to the show.
Derek Gallimore: Hi Rusty. Thank you so much for having me.
Rusty Shelton: Man. That is a, that is quite the journey. I want to really dig in to the new business and, and you know, all of the great value that you’re bringing to companies around the world. But I want to start off in and talk a little bit about your journey as an entrepreneur. I know you have had a of successful businesses in like, most of us in the entrepreneurial space. I’ve also had some, some challenges. Give me a sense of, of kind of your backstory and what led you to where you are today.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, that was an incredible introduction. I think you’re done. The explaining for me, but I have always been entrepreneurial minded and I was always looking for that thing that I could really climb into to give myself the opportunity in entrepreneurial-ism in, I have to sort of a couple of years backpacking, I moved to London, which is a very expensive place, but I was, I was lucky I suppose in catching the tail end of the property boom in London, meaning that I could basically just kind of work myself into buying one property. And then I threw a lot of hard work and savvy, but basically then bought, a string of properties over about the next five or six years to give myself a pretty significant property portfolio by about 28 and 29 years of age that was my first kind of endeavor.
Derek Gallimore: And I was feeling pretty good by then. Then the, the financial crisis hit, in, whatever it was, 2007, eight. And that slowed me down, but I was safe. And then I basically segwayed into a service department because that had good synergies with my property development and I then bootstrap that business up to a 20 million, 20 million US revenue business over the next eight or nine years. And we really entered that market pretty much at the same time as their airbnb when the whole thing was pretty nice and young but then things got tough because, margins on vent really, constricted because there was just such a huge flood of supply on the market. As people are probably aware now everyone has airbnb in their practice. So that meant that basically I had to unwind this business, I had to unwind all of my previous property investments. and you know, from doing incredibly well with my life, I had pretty much gone back to, to ground zero. So that was, you know, very much experienced the whole rollercoaster of entrepreneurial-ism in that, those cycles.
Rusty Shelton: Well, absolutely. And I know, you know, along the way, my expectation is that, you know, a lot of the lessons that, that you learned there may have, have driven you to the success that you’re seeing today with Outsource Accelerators. So talk to me a little bit about that journey from London property magnate to now, you know, in the Philippines and running an incredibly successful company, as, as I saw it called the Alibaba of outsourcing. Talk to us a little bit about that jump.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, I’ve always had a worldly, somewhat worldly view and to me, if you’re going to create a business, you know, don’t look at your local market, don’t look in market, but look at an international market because there’s 7 billion people out there that could potentially all be your consumers. when I was setting up the service department company, I quickly realized that to get customer service 24/7 is you need, when you work in the kind of hotel industry, I needed to go to the Philippines. Well, I needed to outsource. I needed to somehow find the resources so that I could man the phones 24/7, and, and serve our customers. Someone suggested to me that I tried the Philippines that was in 2000.
Derek Gallimore: Basically I started one staff member dedicated to customer support. But then very quickly, I grew the office in the Philippines to about 60 people and eventually that office was in effect, running the companies, sorry, kind of tip the pyramid upside down and had a lot of highly skilled, highly qualified people in, in the Philippines you know, doing a lot of us that have primary functions of the service department company that was situated in London. So in about 2014, I moved to, or spent most of my time then in Manila in the Philippines because that’s where the heart of the operations of the company was, and I suppose out of that I saw the incredible opportunity and outsourcing, you know, to put it succinctly, you can basically save 70% on staffing costs whilst also, you know, adding rocket fuel to your company’s growth and innovation. I saw a huge open market where basically there was no market place serving the, the small to medium size business market. And there was basically no, there was no information out there. If people wanted to learn about outsourcing a half dozen browse outsourcing suppliers, there was just nothing out there. So I created outsource accelerator in response to that, which basically is making the process easier for small and medium sized businesses to learn about an integrate without sourcing.
Rusty Shelton: One of the things I’m curious about Derek it in those early days when, when you were first looking at hiring a team in the Philippines and you know, considering outsourcing, I guess I look at a lot of entrepreneurs and in you know, kind of the general view on it might be a bit of skepticism in terms of outsourcing or will it really work for my company. Did you have a similar mindset where you, where you kind of skeptical going in right of the gate or, or was it something that, you know, you had a gut feeling was going to be successful?
Derek Gallimore: No I was absolutely skeptical and you know, I have a huge amount of empathy for people starting it now because you know, your coming to a developing country, I mean you’re not even coming, you’re virtually visiting a developing country. You may be, have a Skype call with BPO suppliers, and you’re entrusting them, you’re signing a contract and you really, there’s not a lot of comfort and insurer and assurance in that whole process. But the irony is that for 2025 years now, all of the world blue chip companies, all of the big business has been outsourcing to the Philippines for the last 20, 25 years. And, generally the industry is the Swiss banking of outsourcing. There are incredible skillsets here, incredible executive talent but this is the thing, it’s kind of off the radar of most small and medium size business owners. So it is scary. You know, and if people hear about the Philippines, they probably hear all the, you know, the kind of dodgy stuff on the news but this, this country is incredibly sophisticated and the opportunities in outsourcing for small businesses, medium sized businesses now are just, you know, untold opportunity.
Rusty Shelton: Why do you find the Philippines in particular to be such a ripe market for it?
Derek Gallimore: Sure. Yeah, that’s an easy question. The, there’s basically two main players in our sourcing, the, it’s India and it’s the Philippines because of, the way that organizations have had relationships with these companies basically. It, it was 25 years ago that the big corporations started outsourcing with these two countries. Now, so as a result, really it’s these two countries that have the executive experience and have the incredible skill, pull and depth of skill. Well I would say hands down that the Philippines is far better than India because it has incredible cultural alignment specifically with the US, but basically all of the west and it has basically first, mother tongue comprehension of English language as well as a very neutral. Excellent. So in my mind, it beats India absolutely hands down for maybe 90% of the roles that most small and medium size businesses would be interested in.
EXPLORE OUTSOURCING: GET 3 FREE QUOTES
Rusty Shelton: Very interesting in, you know, kind of in, in looking at outsourcing as a whole. So as you mentioned, you know, large companies had been doing this for decades and you know, a lot of the ground that they’ve laid. It sounds like his teed up a lot of talent in particular in the Philippines for small and medium size businesses. I’m just curious, big picture, I want to get into some of the practical applications here around, you know, what should small and medium sized business owners do to get started here. But I want to own a start bigger picture around outsourcing as a whole. How do you think it’s changing business? And as you look out over the next decade or so, what are some of your expectations in terms of the growth of outsourcing?
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, absolutely. So technology is the catalyst here and as everyone knows, everything is changing. I believe that, you know, and remote workers also now becoming more popular. People want to work from remote destinations. I believe that in 20 years from now, every small and medium sized business will be outsourcing because the technology interface will be so good that it won’t matter necessarily where you’re sitting so that’s an enabler. But when you have that enablement, it makes you realize that, you know, if you’re from, I dunno, a town in Midwest US, you probably don’t have that many candidates to pick from if you’re looking to the restrictions of that geographical area. Whereas once you are able to use the, the world market, you suddenly realize that there’s 7 billion people that you can, that you can have as candidates and this, all of which about maybe one or 2 billion of those are very, boot candidates, at this stage. And that is set to explode. So I see in the next, you know, 10, 20 years that there’s basically a convergence of, employment, remote working and outsourcing and it’s really all just going to be called a employment.
Rusty Shelton: Interesting. Gosh, it’s, it’s, it’s just almost overwhelming to think about the talent pool, that’s going to be available there for small and medium size businesses. And I know, you know, part of that growth curve was, you know, the vision for you to start Outsource Accelerators.
Rusty Shelton: Have you maximize the upside to your business. Visit advantagefamily.com/4/upsideauthority to take a free authority assessment and find out how you can grow your authority and find your upside. Talk to us a little bit about the business and more practically as you look at kind of the bridge that it, that it appears you’re creating between small and medium size businesses and great talent. How do you go about that?
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, so we look really it’s every marketplace now, sorry, every industry now has a marketplace, whether you’re looking for insurance or credit or if you want to buy a flight or like Alibaba. If you are looking for a Chinese manufacturer, you know, it was maybe 20, 30 years ago. For example, if you were trying to book a hotel in a Rome, you’ve never been to Rome, Italy, you’re trying to book a hotel and of course you need to go to some sort of aggregator platform like TripAdvisor or booking.com so that you get a comparative sense of information from a trusted third party that can provide the information about the hotels. So that you can make, you can educate yourself and then make a decision about which one you’re going to go with. Now it’s incredible that the outsourcing industry is a huge industry.
Derek Gallimore: It’s about a $200 billion industry worldwide and there is no aggregator platform for this. So we have built a platform which basically, you know, our primary mission is to get as much information out there to the small and medium sized business owners. It’s independent information we list, over 600 outsourcing suppliers now from the Philippines. We have about 3000 articles on our website explaining how people can get into outsourcing and really it is just about connecting, the, the suppliers, the outsourcing suppliers in the Philippines with the businesses and the West.
Rusty Shelton: It’s, it’s remarkable that that kind of a connection point doesn’t, it doesn’t exist right now.
Derek Gallimore: It’s incredible.
Rusty Shelton: What are a couple of those stakes that you see companies that try to go this alone? What are a couple of the common mistakes that you see them make when they, when they get started on the outsourcing front?
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, look, I mean it’s actually a lot easier and a lot safer than people think that one of our key messages and one of the major hurdles that we face, where a business obviously is that we just need to give people the comfort and confidence of giving this a go because it’s actually not that difficult. And it’s slightly different to hiring someone in your, you know, in your local vicinity. There are set of nuances, there are certain things that you need to learn when you’re starting to manage a remote team when you’re looking for outsourcing service providers. But again, that is all stuff that you can easily pick up. So our main message is, you know, this is the most transformational tool in business today. The big boys have been doing it for 20, 30 years and now, there is an opportunity for, for small and medium size businesses to get into this and it is the best kept secret and outsourcing.
Derek Gallimore: So I suppose tip number one is, you know, at least spend a little bit of time exploring outsourcing to see whether this is right for you. Then in terms of things to avoid, you know, there are certain nuances best you have to select a good BPO partner. It’s probably good to have a little bit of strategy with that and then don’t underestimate the nuances and the sort of finer details in the differences of running a remote team and a team in the Philippines versus your own a home market. So all of that is, is easy though and it’s easily overcome and we have a huge amount of information on our website that can help you with that and also, you know, we offer three free quotes if people want to get connected to outsourcing service suppliers and then of course on top we can also assist you with that process.
Rusty Shelton: And Derek, what is that website for our listeners?
Derek Gallimore: Sure. It’s outsourceaccelerator.com. I don’t think I’ll spell it. It’s too long.
Rusty Shelton: Yeah, I think, I think they can get that. We, you know, one of the things I’ve always been curious about us around the growth of outsourcing, we talked a lot about the impact for, for business owners. What about the impact there locally in Manila? I’m just curious as the, as outsourcing has grown, what kind of impact does it have for, for, for local workers, they’re the local community. Have you seen a transformation there as well?
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, absolutely incredible. And you know, we shouldn’t dance around this. Like outsourcing isn’t a motive subject. We have actually written a white paper on the economic win win of outsourcing. So it is a win for every everyone involved, including the communities, in the home towns, including the businesses for everyone in the Philippines. You know, it has been a developing country. Outsourcing now contributes about 10% to the country’s GDP. It is the single biggest contributor to the country’s GDP. Outsourcing employs about 1.2 million people here, which is all white collar jobs in good environments with, you know, good conditions and a good career that the Philippines is an incredible hotbed of opportunity though it produces about 500,000 university graduates per year. All of them have very high English competency. And they’re all just, you know, eager to get earning and especially eager to join the, the sort of outsourcing wave.
Rusty Shelton: Well, I know, you know, in kind of alongside the growth of the new business, you also have released a book Inside Outsourcing Rise of the Virtual Workforce and the End of Employment Traditions as we know it. What are a couple of those employment traditions you see going away over the next decade?
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, so look, I mean, this conversation goes hand in hand with a lot of the other conversations in terms of AI, in terms of automation. Employment is dramatically going to change over the next 20 to 30 years. They will be somewhat of a rebalancing in terms of the world, wealth and the distribution of employment. But that brings with it incredible opportunity. And there are a lot of, books that can illustrate the fact that as communities become more networked, they become only stronger for that fact. You know sort of 2000 years ago when people were very isolated in their sort of 20% tribes, there was no intercommunication with tribes outside. And you fast forward about 2000 years when everyone is working within cities, cities generally have higher productivity, higher performance, higher innovation than small towns do. And towns have higher innovation then s then small villages do.
Derek Gallimore: So what we’re seeing as the world connects more and more and more and we built more connections between different people on this planet, then it’s only really a positive everyone on this planet so there’s huge shifts and you know, I don’t want to go to way out there or, or down that rabbit hole. But one of the key messages is that is that employment is changing. There’s huge opportunities for business owners to harness now the, the sort of abundant and affordable outsourced resources in the developing world. And you know, it’s, it’s a tool that the, the big boys have been utilizing now for about the last 25 years. And it’s time that the smaller medium sized businesses can also jump on board.
Rusty Shelton: Well, and I think that that book is a great primer for people who were thinking about it, to do that. And you know, Derek always like to close our interviews with a question about your business journey. So I’m curious as you kind of look back across a pretty remarkable business journey, what’s been the greatest upside for you?
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, I mean, I, you know, as I mentioned, I’ve been through an incredible roller coaster you know, I think when you look back, everything is fantastic. I’ve enjoyed the ups and the downs. If you zoom in too much, then businesses incredibly tough and there’s an incredible grind to it. But I really do believe in life and through experiences, the best things in life really do come as a result of sacrifice and hard work. So, I just enjoy the journey and you know, if it was easy then it wouldn’t be a challenge and I would have already moved on. So, I just really enjoy the journey.
Rusty Shelton: Love it, love it. And Derek, once again for our audience, if they want to get more information on your book or on your Business or access that, that white paper and some of the resources you have remind me where they can go.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, absolutely. So the website is outsourceaccelerator.com, if they want the book there is just in the top right hand menu there is the Insight Outsourcing Blueprint and also I recommend that people can download the toolkit that is on the homepage outsourceaccelerator.com and that will get them started with a lot of our key white papers and articles. And of course they can reach out to me, email me direct, which is at [email protected] and my name is spelled DEREK.
Rusty Shelton: Excellent. Well thank you so much Derek. Derek joining us from halfway around the world in the Philippines where it’s 10:00 PM at night. Thank you so much for staying up and given us such great content.
Derek Gallimore: Absolute pleasure. Thank you Rusty.
Derek Gallimore: Okay. That was me being interviewed by Rusty Shelton on the business growth podcast. So if you want to get any more information about this or, see the show notes, go to outsourceaccelerator.com/223. And of course, as always, if you want to ask us anything, then just drops an email to [email protected] See you next time.