Ten years ago, I found myself in the depths of a major business crisis.
The times were changing, and the market had us against the ropes. Cash flow was tight, our staff was struggling and overwhelmed, and tasks were piled up with no end in sight. As a leader, I felt responsible for finding solutions to our business and operational problems. It seemed like nothing was working, as if we were stuck in a neverending cycle of stress and frustration. I tried everything I could think of, but it was like trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose. I was at my wits’ end and didn’t know where to turn.
Then I stumbled upon the world of offshore virtual staffing. The idea of outsourcing work to a remote team was new to me, but I was willing to try anything to get my business back on track. Little did I know this discovery would be a game changer and would imbue me with the greatest sense of purpose in my entrepreneurial and personal life.
I made a life-changing decision that would impact not only my business, but also the life of a young woman named Jaycel and many more virtual staff like her in the years to come. She was 23 years old when she became my first virtual assistant in the Philippines. From the moment I started working with her, I was impressed with her eagerness to learn and grow. She was always willing to raise the bar and expand her knowledge.
As I continued to work closely with Jaycel, I became more inspired by her ability to adapt and improve, and I was impressed by the Filipino culture. This inspiration mapped the path toward the launch of Outsource Access, a company dedicated to helping business owners redefine how they scale by providing access to highly skilled, cost-effective virtual staff from the Philippines. That 23-year-old woman has grown from being my first virtual assistant into leading Outsource Access as its chief operating officer and helping the company evolve into what we are now as we target 1,000 employees this year.
My personal experience with outsourcing helped me realize that it extends beyond just call centers. It has evolved into a versatile tool that businesses can utilize to access a pool of talented and motivated professionals who can help take their companies to new heights. In the Philippines, I’ve found an abundance of college-educated individuals eager to contribute their skills and expertise to support and help businesses and keep them ahead of the curve.
In many cases, discussions about outsourcing focus on how it benefits companies aiming to reduce costs or improve efficiency, often overlooking a critical aspect of the process – the people being hired. When we talk about outsourcing, we are not just talking about helping businesses; we must also consider the people who help make it happen – people who live real lives with families that are impacted by this seemingly small decision.
It’s important for any entrepreneur looking to outsource to acknowledge the fact that it’s never only about the numbers, charts, or statistics. It’s also about the people who provide you with invaluable services and support. Most of the time, they are from developing countries and are paid low wages; worse – some may even be subjected to atrocious working conditions.
Whether you’re looking for a virtual staff on your own or working with an outsourcing firm, we must all take a more active role in addressing social inequities and promoting a fair and more inclusive global economy. Ensuring employees have access to fair compensation and nurturing careers, safeguarding their rights, and providing opportunities for personal and professional growth are only some of the ways to trek this path.
When done responsibly, outsourcing can have a positive impact on everyone involved. Not only does it provide decent, well-paying jobs and economic growth opportunities, but also it helps improve the living standards of outsourced employees. Most of all, it may have the potential for knowledge transfer and skill development, leading to employees’ longterm growth and success. This is why our company is purpose-driven and dedicated to providing a supportive environment for both clients and staff. Our goal is to empower everyone involved to reach their full potential and help create a sustainable, mutually beneficial partnership.
Before I end, I want to share another experience that changed me. Two months after I hired Jaycel, I received a picture of some shoes she had purchased for low-income children in a local village using her income from Outsource Access. This small act of kindness moved me and sparked a fire in me to do more. Our company’s success has given us the opportunity to give back in a big way. We’ve continued to support thousands of families and the environment through several projects based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our impact goes beyond helping clients, creating job opportunities, and making a positive difference in the world. We hope that what we do also inspires others to make an even bigger wave of impact and strive for a better future.
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Brad Stevens is the founder and CEO of Outsource Access, an outsourcing and virtual services firm in the U.S. and the Philippines; and member and sponsor of the Real Leaders Impact Collaborative. He has helped thousands of businesses scale through outsourcing and speaks globally on the impact of leveraging offshore virtual staff, automation, and delegation. Learn more about how outsourcing can benefit your company at OutsourceAcccess.com.