Beyond Borders: How Offshoring Can Transform Your Agency with Tiffany English

Episode 98 November 24, 2023 00:40:28
Beyond Borders: How Offshoring Can Transform Your Agency with Tiffany English
The Agency Hour
Beyond Borders: How Offshoring Can Transform Your Agency with Tiffany English

Nov 24 2023 | 00:40:28


Hosted By

Troy Dean Johnny Flash

Show Notes

In the latest episode of the Agency Hour podcast, we're diving into a topic that's increasingly relevant for web design and digital agency owners: offshoring.

With the challenges of talent shortages, rising wages, and time constraints, offshoring has become a hot topic. But what's the real story behind this trend? Is it as beneficial and straightforward as some claim? Join us as we explore the ins and outs of offshoring with Tiffany English, a Business Growth Specialist from Accessoffshoring.




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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: You know, if you really love freelancing and you want to sit on that and, you know, be a one man band, then that works perfect. But if you want scale and you want freedom and you want the ability to grow a business, you need team. People is the only way that you can grow great things. [00:00:16] Speaker B: Welcome to the agency hour podcast, where our mission is to help every web design and digital agency owner succeed. Why? Because we know that behind every great small business success is usually an agency with the creative marketing and technical skills to help that small business achieve their goals. And we know that if small businesses are healthy, that it creates wealthier, healthier, and happier communities around the world. So we see the agencies as a channel through which we can help create abundance. And that's why we do what we do. This week, we're joined by Tiffany English, business growth specialist from access offshoring. In this episode, we dive into the challenges around sourcing staff. The difference between outsourcing and offshoring, navigating the non negotiables within the team without micromanaging people bridging the gap when it comes to communication with remote team members, and much, much more. If you're looking to expand your team and have extra capacity to deliver services but you don't know where to start, then you're in the right place. I'm Troy dean. Stay with us. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, please welcome to the agency hour, tiffany English from access outsourcing. Hey, Tiffany, how are you doing? [00:01:28] Speaker A: Good, Troy. How are you? [00:01:30] Speaker B: Very well. Thanks for joining us here on the agency hour. I see that you've got a nice little rode USB microphone there, plugged in. [00:01:37] Speaker A: I do. Can I just make a clarification? The business name is access offshoring. [00:01:41] Speaker B: Oh, sorry. I said access outsourcing, didn't I? [00:01:46] Speaker A: That's a good topic. [00:01:48] Speaker B: It's a great segue it's a good topic. There is a big difference between outsourcing and offshoring. There is for those that maybe for the uninitiated. Please explain the difference between outsourcing and offshoring. [00:02:00] Speaker A: I will. So offshoring is very much a dedicated model where essentially imagine you're getting another employee resource. They're just located in a different country, so it doesn't necessarily matter what country. We specialize in Philippines, but offshoring is very much, how can I get a team member to join my team? Outsourcing comes in a few different forms. Some people may be familiar with things like upwork or those sorts of websites where you're able to just use resources for project by project. Or alternatively, they come in organizations where there's teams of people that you can outsource certain projects to, and someone in that department will get it done for you. So pretty different. And there's pros and cons of both definitely 100%. [00:02:42] Speaker B: And so full transparency for anyone listening. They probably are familiar. That our sponsor here on the podcast. Our exclusive sponsor is a company called e two M solutions who are really an outsourcing solution. Based in India, they have 180 staff in an agency in India. They're a white label development and SEO agency. Right. So even though they work in your systems, they have project managers. They are an agency, so they're not your staff. Right. The staff work for manish at E two M, but they will get the job done for you. And I think, as you said, there are pros and cons of both models, which I do want to talk about. I think the outsourcing model for me has kind of always been a faster way to fill a gap. But I do like the idea of having most of the time, I like the idea of having our own team. Can you talk about where you see offshoring versus where you see building your own team members versus just outsourcing to an agency and having them take care of it? [00:03:48] Speaker A: A big portion of it is definitely tasks. What are the tasks that you need to have completed? And if it's things like web graphic designs, even some elements in the accounting space whereby it's very much project by project, outsourcing works really well. You've got flexibility. You don't necessarily need to have a level of consistency with those projects, but offshoring tends to be more effective, whereby it's a more, I guess, vast role in terms of what they'll be doing on a day to day. And you've certainly got the consistency. If you want to bring them under your banner and really build them into the team and provide the training and the resources for them to scale up with you, then offshoring certainly fits a lot of bills. So we tend to do offshoring roles. In your instance, in the marketing space, if we're looking for digital marketing specialists, or if we're looking for someone who can consistently do web work and they want the same person consistently, whereby they're providing feedback, and that feedback is going to come through in all future projects, then that offshoring model or a dedicated resource works really well. [00:04:53] Speaker B: And I've experienced both scenarios. We had a video editor working with us for a while based out of the Philippines, who took a while to kind of get trained up in the way that we wanted things done, but ended up he was an amazing resource and super talented. And the thing I like about that model, as you say, is that there is consistency. So you know who's working on your stuff every time you delegate. And also they work in your system, so you can kind of track who's doing what. But just before we dive into the details, how did you get into this? Like, what's your background and how did you end up here? [00:05:29] Speaker A: Yeah, my background is mainly business improvement, so I've spent most of my career in general manager, executive manager, roles, implementing systems, and hiring people. How do I build the most efficiency within the organization? Decrease waste and generally, I would do those two things and I would move on. So I did that repetitively and offshore staffing was just one of my strategies to make sure I was able to really elevate the local team and make sure they were working on those strategic, often customer facing roles. And that I had a lot of that groundwork that couldn't be automated, managed and taken care of. I started my own consulting firm doing optimizations, particularly in software, several years ago. Started building out my own offshore team and just hit roadblock after roadblock with the agencies and the offshoring models and the outsourcing models. And after a while, I went, okay, I'm done. I'm doing this myself. I think there's a better way. So that's how it started. [00:06:26] Speaker B: So there's a couple of things I want to unpack here. One, you started your own consulting thing, right? Was that scary? Going out on your own and giving up what a lot of people would think is security of employment? [00:06:39] Speaker A: Yeah. Troy to an extent, I guess I always thought that was going to be my path. And I remember actually having a conversation with my granddad, who is very safe and used to having a long term job. And I said, I'm ready. I'm going to quit and I'm going to go out on my own. And he was petrified. He said, TIFF, not yet, just do it on the side. And I said, no, I can't. I'm working 80 hours, weeks. I just don't have the capacity to do both. I said, what's the worst that's going to happen? I'm highly employable. I'll go back. And so I pulled the pin and within four weeks, we were scaling the team. I had my first full timer after four weeks. [00:07:17] Speaker B: And then the other thing that happens is you get frustrated with the way that everyone's doing it. So you decide that you're going to build your own. Why, that just sounds like a headache. [00:07:27] Speaker A: Tiffany yeah, well, it was retention for me. I knew offshoring or using offshore resources was going to be part of my strategy. And it had to be for me, be able to deliver the service I wanted to at the price point I wanted to. And so what was happening was I just wasn't retaining Philippine staff. I went through 13 in twelve months. Troy like, really bad, right? And I was like, what is going on? Is this me? I've led teams for over a decade. Surely not. But what I found out was that in some of the models, there's less transparency around what I'm paying and then what's getting paid on to the Philippines resource in my case. And I didn't have transparency over that. And so while I thought I was paying quite well, the margins from the agency was really downplaying what my offshore resources were getting. And so they were just chasing more money. And at the end of the day, it's a third World country, and they need money more than anybody, and that was an important security aspect for them. [00:08:22] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:08:23] Speaker A: So I just couldn't get what I needed out of all of the different models that I tried. [00:08:29] Speaker B: Right. [00:08:30] Speaker A: So I decided that was it. [00:08:32] Speaker B: Right, and so you've obviously spent some time in the Philippines. [00:08:36] Speaker A: I have, yeah. [00:08:38] Speaker B: Were you at that point? And I have as well. I kind of got to a point where I was like, I need to go and meet these people who are working with me. And was that when you decided, okay, I'm going to go and build this thing? Because now this is what you do, like access offshoring, I imagine you're not going into businesses anymore and doing the optimization stuff. This is like your full time focus. So I'm curious, had you spent time in the Philippines before you decided to go all in on this, or was that kind of the point? [00:09:06] Speaker A: Yeah, not at all. I hadn't actually spent any time in there before I decided I was going to attempt to do this properly. And I honestly was only doing it for selfish reasons. It was for my consulting firm, and I'd intended my growth trajectory was that I needed to scale between one to ten Philippine staff in the course of about 18 months. So I knew I needed to do it quick, so I did it for no other reason than to support the needs of the consulting firm at the time. And it wasn't until I started doing it really effectively that I started getting clients go, oh, can you get me one of those resources? I'm communicating to them and didn't even realize that they were in the Philippines or they're just so much part of your team. So, yeah, it just kind of worked organically. And it wasn't until I had a decent sized team over there that I went there for the first were they. [00:09:54] Speaker B: All based in the same place or are they remote? [00:09:57] Speaker A: They were. Troy. We had well, we still do have office space in Pasig, which is one of the areas of Metro Manila there. And after COVID, everyone's gone remote. And we've kept that model, and we use that implement that model for all of our clients now as well. [00:10:11] Speaker B: So I want to get into some of the details because I've made every mistake known to man in terms of hiring people in every part of the world. [00:10:19] Speaker A: I think I could beat you. [00:10:20] Speaker B: Well, listen, I've made mistakes hiring people who work in the same office as me. So, I mean, I'm not talking about Max in the green room. He's an exception. He's one of the success stories, really. But I've hired people who've worked in the same office with me, and 18 months later going, how the hell did I end up with this person on the team? It was totally my fault. They're a mishire. And this is where you can see the person, you have lunch with them, you talk to them every day. Hiring someone in the Philippines or India or Vietnam or Thailand or wherever. Or South America or even Europe. It's a scary proposition because there is that level of opaqueness because you don't know where they are, you don't know how many jobs they're working. You don't know whether they're really work, doing the work, or they're farming it off to a cousin or an agency or whatever. What are some of the things that you think where does someone's head need to be at? And what are some of the things that they need to be thinking before they make this decision? And what are the sort of the first three or four hurdles that they're going to come up against that we can help them navigate? Because I see the benefit of this, but it's a minefield if you haven't done it before or even if you have done it. We have clients now who have remote staff and teams and they're like, it's a shit show and they want to burn the whole thing to the ground and start again. So what are those sort of first three or four hurdles that people are going to have to overcome? [00:11:43] Speaker A: I think A, you've got to be willing to do it. And I think post COVID and everyone working remotely, that's all kind of abolished the idea that they can't have remote teams. So I think even that now is no longer a hurdle. Troy I think we've moved past that, but I think the idea of getting out of the space of I can still be effective with a team that's not necessarily sitting next to me. And really considering the communication style between you and them is probably one of the biggest factors. And of course, you have to have a business that's set up for cloud, right, which I'd expect most people to do in this day and age. But I think one of the things that you really just pointed to a moment ago was around that recruitment piece. And it doesn't matter where you're hiring. The recruitment is something that I think gets really undersold and it is the absolute most critical piece of the puzzle. And there are a second element when you're going to a different country, right. That recruitment piece becomes, hold on. I now need to consider cultural differences that I may not have had to consider if I was recruiting locally. So one of the things where we, in my opinion, really stand out is that recruitment piece and where we differ is that it's like, hold on, let me understand, for example, if we were recruiting for you, Troy troy, who are you? What does your team look like? What is your communication style? How do you work effectively? And I'm not expecting clients to change the way they operate. In fact, I'm actually trying to find someone to suit that style. And I think that's probably where people get a little bit misled. It's not like we're just pulling on a resource in the Philippines and anyone's going to be able to fill your role and meet your cultural needs. It doesn't work like that. So you have to go through a proper recruitment process. And I think a lot of people get misled into, oh, if you need a resource in the Philippines, they're few and far between, and we'll find them quite easily in the next couple of days. But don't underestimate that power of recruiting very specifically to not only your skill set needs, but also the business and. [00:13:36] Speaker B: The cultural of the I was talking to a client. The other said, you know, he's got a bunch of staff in the Philippines. He's got a bunch of staff in Pakistan. He said the Philippines will turn up with their cameras on, willing to engage. He said the guys in Pakistan just refuse to turn their cameras on. [00:13:51] Speaker A: Right? [00:13:52] Speaker B: And he said, they always say they're embarrassed about where they live and blood. He said, there's always an excuse. And he said, I get it. But he said, I've just given up trying to get them to be part of the team. Right? And I understand there are cultural differences, and I understand there's a lot of pride involved. And as I said, having traveled to Southeast Asia and met our team, and we took our whole team to Thailand for a team retreat, which was a game changer, how do you navigate those conversations? And how do you draw a line in the sand sometimes and say, look, these are non negotiables, and I'm just not like, this is part of working here. You have to meet this criteria. How do you do that? [00:14:29] Speaker A: Respectfully, I think it's expectations before you're even bringing them onto the team. And so it requires you to actually think about what your expectations are before you bring them onto the team. Like people wouldn't have thought about, oh, it's going to be a big deal that I'm going to expect cameras on, because in Australia that's not as big of a deal, but having that expectation from the forefront. So you mentioned before, how do you avoid people getting a second job and not doing this? These are all red flags, but when you're going through that process, it's about, hey, my expectation is that you're available from eight to five. We're paying you to do that. When we have team meetings, your cameras are on. My expectation is that you're on a daily huddle every morning, and if you're not early, you're late, and that you have to finish an end of day report. Right. They're the expectations that we're going to line from Get go. And we work with a lot of clients to set some of those expectations before we kick off, because it's hard, like your mate says, once you're down that rabbit hole, it's hard to make how do you make them? [00:15:27] Speaker B: It is. [00:15:27] Speaker A: And they've now become a resource, a valuable resource. [00:15:30] Speaker B: That's right. The situation he's in at the moment is to replace some of those team members who are delivering services for clients. Right. That's time consuming and costly. I just want to recap something you just said. I think we might put this in the show notes. It's a really interesting takeaway here is we expect you to be available from eight till five. We're paying you to do so. We expect you to turn up to team meetings with your camera on and we expect you to fill in an end of day report at the end of every day. There you go, ladies and gentlemen. There's the checklist. We'll stick it in the show notes. Like, that's a good place to get started, because I know plenty of agencies who have remote staff who don't get an end of day report from their team. I think part of what I hear from people is they don't want to. And part of my approach has been, look, we hire grown ups to behave like adults and get the job done. We don't want to micromanage them, we don't want to babysit them. We want to treat them as grown ups. We expect them to behave like grown ups. The end of day report is that micromanaging? How do you get a business owner's head around the fact that these are just basic accountability expectations, that things that should be expected and we're not micromanaging them, and that we're actually if we don't get this feedback from our team on a daily basis, we can't help them, we can't train them, we can't help them develop and improve. And so one of the great things I hear about leadership is to be unclear, is to be answering my own question, Tiffany, but what's the thinking around that is, like, how do we get an agency owner thinking that you need to have these basic accountabilities in place and it's not micromanaging people? [00:17:15] Speaker A: And look, I am very much the leader where I focus on output 100%. I'm not a Time Watcher. I've never asked anyone to submit a Timesheet, although I have lots of clients who do, and that's totally acceptable and reasonable. But what I do have is very clear processes about how we succeed. And so for us, it all comes down to metrics and what we've been able to kick off the list, but also looking at ways that I need to. My role in this company is to make sure that everyone has the right resources and that I'm removing any roadblocks they might have. And so for me, the end of day report, yes, it certainly helps me see what they've achieved. But I spend more time in the end of day report looking at what they're waiting on me from or what roadblocks they might have in the organization or resources that they're missing. And so from that perspective. An end of day report isn't a matter of me micromanaging. It's actually, hey, have you been able to kick off what we said we were going to do as a team today to get us closer to that five year strategy, or are you waiting on things and that's really shunting your ability to be able to achieve? Because everyone wants this sense of achievement and everyone wants this sense of working towards the greater good. And until you provide that and give them the steps to see how they're contributing to that, they don't know. They don't have any understanding or expectations. So I think actually businesses just need to focus more on how do we achieve those outcomes and what am I putting in place for us to be able to track that at team level and at management level for myself too? [00:18:45] Speaker B: Yeah, something you said interesting there. And I've certainly had this with I've had this with Australian staff who have kind of said to me point blank, we don't know how to win this game, so we feel like we're doing a good job. And then at the last minute, you pull a curtain back on the scoreboard and tell us that we're losing and there's no chance of winning and there's only 5 seconds on the clock. It's just not fair. And I think regardless of where you live in the world, people want to know that they matter. Right? For me, that's the biggest driver of employee engagement is people want to know that they matter and that they're making a meaningful contribution. And I think a lot of agency owners and small business owners that hire remote staff, I think the trap is that they just think that they're a virtual resource that's there to punch on, punch off, and that they don't lean in and care about developing that human being on a professional pathway and helping them develop of. And because we are remote, it's easy for me to sit down when Max is in the studio here and have lunch and say, hey, mate, what are your long term career? That I know his personal situation, I know his family situation. I know it's important to him because we chat all the time. But someone who's working the Philippines, I might only see on Zoom for half an hour a week. What are some of the things that we can do structurally to sort of lean into them and make sure that we are providing a space for them to grow and develop? Because the better they are personally and professionally, the more productive they're going to be and the more successful they're going to be for the company. Right. So there's an economic benefit as a business owner, but what are some of the things that we can do to really lean into that? [00:20:25] Speaker A: I do four things, so the first thing I do is daily huddles, and they don't take up much of my time but the point is, what was your win yesterday, what was your focus today, and what do you need help with? So that is point number one, because it really helps me to check in. And if you're an in tune leader, you should be able to effectively see if someone's mood's off. So if anything happens in that huddle that doesn't quite seem right, I very effectively can pick up the phone and understand. The second thing I do is every Friday we catch up just after lunch and we actually share the wins from the team. How did we go? What metrics did we hit? How do we do it effectively, it's a bit more of a banter conversation. It's not as structured. It's a nice way to end the week and also walk into the weekend. And then the second two things I do are around making sure that we're having ongoing checkpoints. So we do a monthly check in with every single one of our team. So it's the responsibility of the management team to do it with their direct reports. And we have a structure whereby they fill out before. What's your personal achievement for the last month? What was your professional achievement? What do you need more help with? Where would you like more career growth? And every month, we actually have a different set of questions around, is your manager doing a good job? Or who inspires you most in the team? And it encourages you to remove yourself from the day to day and actually just sit and have almost a water cooler chat, which, you're right, we don't get to say, hey, how's things going? And then that leads me into the fourth thing, which is performance improvement and career development plans. Everyone wants growth. It's just a human element. It doesn't matter where they're based. And we have to get out of this. What you spoke about before, they're not just there churning through work. They're a human. They want growth, they want contribution. And so how can I have those career development plans with them to progress them to the next point? [00:22:11] Speaker B: I love it. [00:22:12] Speaker A: That's what I do. [00:22:13] Speaker B: I love it. I love it. I love all of it. We do a daily huddle. We used to do a thing. I'm curious if you have a recommendation of a tool or software to manage those questions, because so, full transparency. We used to use a platform called 15. Five. [00:22:27] Speaker A: Yeah. Right, okay. [00:22:28] Speaker B: Which is kind of where I learned this structure where you ask there's a bank of questions that rotate randomly. You send five questions to each team member once every couple of weeks or once a month, and then you spend 15 minutes going over their answers and just having, like, that water caller chat. Do you have your own platform that you use to manage this, or do you have any recommendations on how you can automate some of this stuff? [00:22:49] Speaker A: We use Zoho as a full platform. So that kind of covers our entire business and we use the survey function aligned with Zoho people. So for us, we've just been able to build everything into that one platform and that you can buy elements of that platform, like even using a survey tool to achieve that is very easy. [00:23:07] Speaker B: Yeah, got it. Love it. [00:23:09] Speaker A: But don't overcomplicate it too. If you have to do it on a word doc, do it on a word doc. [00:23:14] Speaker B: That's right. [00:23:15] Speaker A: Don't overcomplicate it. For the sake of missing out on that human element and that human connection. [00:23:20] Speaker B: Piece, some of the questions that we ask is how are you feeling on a scale of one to five in terms of your role? I always look for like I know now that I'll never get a five. I always get fours from the team. If I get a three, that's a bit of a red flag, hey, we need to have anything below a three and it's like drop everything and run to that person and find out what's going on because that's a real call for help. What are you most excited about? What are you most challenged by? What's getting in your way? What are your career goals? And something like personal, what are you doing on the weekends? Or what are you most excited about in your personal life? And I think giving them the option to answer those questions in advance just kind of takes the pressure off. Right. And it allows them to be really authentic and kind of creates a bit more of a safe environment for them to have a think about and knowing that they're going to have a check in a 15 minutes check in to go through that. And I always frame it like the one on one is not my meeting. If I'm having a one on one with Max, it's Max's meeting. I'm here at your disposal. This is your most I want to help you in any way I can, but this is your agenda. Even with local staff, I found the conversation around what are your career goals? I found that can be really tricky sometimes because a lot of people just don't know, how do you do that? Particularly with remote staff that may just be so grateful they've got a job, they haven't even thought about their career goals. Right. How do you really encourage someone to think that if their thinking is really short term, I kind of break it. [00:25:01] Speaker A: Down and my question tends to be, what extra skills do you think you could have that would help you personally or professionally right now? And is there a way I can help you get those? Someone in my EA the other day asked if she could learn more on the accounts front because she thought it would help if she had a better understanding of where we were sitting financially. I said yep. Absolutely. And it was easy for. Me to set up meetings with her and the bookkeeper. So here, do some one to ones. One of my recruiters the other day wanted to do more about personality testing so that she had a more in depth understanding of that, because that's something that we do as part of all our interview processes. Absolutely. I can line that up. So I guess it's more so going. What is something that's interesting you right now, or is there a skill that you think you're missing or you want to expand on, or is there something else in the business that you actually would just like to have some exposure to? Often we pigeonhole, but it's not a bad thing for them to be exposed to other things. [00:25:56] Speaker B: Yes, we do pigeonhole, and we think that just because this person is a developer that they don't have a right brain. And the reality is, if you just create some space for them to talk about this stuff, you'll find that not all the time, but you'll find that there's hidden talent amongst your team that you didn't even know was there. And one of the things I learned years ago is, take something that you don't want to do anymore as a business owner and auction it off to your team and see who puts their hand up, and you'll discover, oh, wow, I had no idea that this person was interested in that. [00:26:28] Speaker A: That's a great idea. [00:26:28] Speaker B: Or had the my favorite book on leadership is a book called Good Authority by Jonathan Raymond. It's a fantastic book. And one of the things he talks about yeah, highly recommend it. One of the things he talks about is I actually discovered him on a podcast. I was listening to a podcast, and I heard he was the guest on a podcast, and so I went down his rabit hole. One of the things he talks about is we separate personal development and work, and yet we spend 40 hours a week. Most of our waking life we spend at work, but we're not allowed to do self development and personal development at work. Right. It doesn't make any sense. So he actually has structures and frameworks for encouraging team to your team to proactively, providing space and structure for them to actually do their self development and do their personal development within the work environment. And again, he says, because we know that engaged staff who feel like they're developing and becoming better and growing as an individual are more productive. And so it's not that we don't try and ramp up productivity to get staff engaged. We ramp up engagement to make them more productive. And that just requires us to rethink what engagement looks like, because engagement to a team member working from home in the Philippines running some digital marketing campaigns is very different to what I might think engagement looks like. And so I just think it's important to intentionally have those conversations and sometimes they do take a long time because staff in the Philippines might not feel confident or comfortable telling you what they want. You have to be really overt in making it a safe environment for them to tell you, this is what's important to me. This is what I want to do. This is how I want to develop. And I'm curious because I'm curious from a communication point of view, we're all shouting at each other in slack. What are some of the things that we can do to really bridge that communication between us and remote staff and make it safe for them to really talk to us openly? [00:28:39] Speaker A: Yeah, I love that, and I think it's something that people need to focus on. And I'll start the segue by just reiterating something I talk about a lot. People often have this assumption that particularly the Philippines very much enjoy structure and like the process and therefore don't do a lot of thinking for themselves. And what I like to remind people is that actually they're just so conditioned to be like that, because the hierarchy in the Philippines, when you're working for a large organization, is whatever the person at the top is directing. If they say you're doing ABCD, anything outside of that is disciplined. So you have to create that safe environment, and it takes time. [00:29:18] Speaker B: It does. [00:29:19] Speaker A: I've got people in my team who have been with me for a couple of years now, and it took me being quiet and sitting back and giving them space to say, what do you think? I value your opinion. What do you think? But also having a lot of questions that are what questions? It's a really small change in the vocab. But instead of me saying, do you have any roadblocks? Things like, what are your roadblocks? I know there's going to be some, and it's safe for there to be some. But if you change the way you ask the question, you've already created the safe space of understanding. So it just comes down to time and consistency and making sure that you're giving, I suppose, that person the ability to speak up. And it does take time, troy 100% takes time. [00:30:05] Speaker B: It's a great distinction. I learned this as a coach early on, is I used to always ask, does that make sense? Do you have any questions? And a mentor said to me, Just ask, what questions do you have? Because the moment you ask that, you let them know that you know they have questions. And it's okay to have questions. You just want to know what the questions are. They are, do you have any questions? No, I'm all good. People just bow out of that. They opt out of that conversation straight away, what questions do you have? Oh, well, now it's okay to have questions. That's a great distinction. I love it. I want to talk a little bit about expectations. The first VA, and also by the way, I'm just going to go on record here and say I hate the word VA. Yeah, I do. Nothing virtual. There is nothing virtual about these people, ladies and gentlemen. They are remote workers. [00:30:52] Speaker A: They are real. They are real. They are not a computer. [00:30:55] Speaker B: Correct. They are real people. The first remote worker I hired in the Philippines, I expected a unicorn. I expected this person to be able to do everything. My video editing, my email calendar, my social media, my copy, my design. It was like and I had someone, a mentor said to me, can you hire someone like that in Australia? Said, no, can't hire one person to do that. So why do you think one person in the Philippines can do it, you idiot? So in terms of expectations, and I know we're probably going over familiar ground here or stuff that we've already covered, but what, what should our expectations be when we hire someone in that 1st 30 days? What should we expect from that team member? And I mean, I'm all about playing the long game, but a lot of people don't have time to play the long game. They need help now. So how can we just help them manage their expectations through that sort of first 30 day onboarding phase? [00:31:57] Speaker A: Well, I think it actually comes back to recruitment first and really lining out what your expectations are of the person in the first place. Right, so what you just talked about, I had someone come to me the other day and said, oh, I need someone who can do my accounts and also do all my graphics. Very unlikely that's going to happen. [00:32:11] Speaker B: Very unlikely. [00:32:12] Speaker A: Very unlikely. And so the conversation was, okay, let's just break this up a bit. What do you have more of what is more critical to you? And do we potentially need to look at different alternatives for that second piece? So firstly is really being clear on what that person's roles and responsibilities are going to be and having a clear job description. What are the tasks that person is going to be doing? And then once they're onboarded and you've effectively been able to do that, you may not get the amount of output that you're expecting in the first 30 days, but it 100% comes down to the effort that you've put in. It is a no brainer. And I say this to people, you have to just be uncomfortable and annoyed in the first couple of months because unless you put in that effort and that time, you're going to continue to be doing those tasks yourself for the rest of your business life. So spend time with them to say, this is how this task should be done, and then provide real time feedback. I use video screen recording software all the time a, to show them how I want something done, but also to provide feedback and also reiterate the importance of, hey, you've done great. At these first few things. There's a few things we need to improve in the middle here. But, hey, overall, you've done a great job really filling in. That what I call a shit sandwich, troy making sure you provide the feedback in a way that reiterates that they're doing a good job and that it's. Okay. So I think it's all about what time have you allocated to sit with them to go through tasks, because even if you've hired someone locally, they're not going to understand your business, your software, your processes, your brain in the first couple of weeks. So take the time to sit with them and remember that they are remote and they're not overhearing. That is probably one of the biggest things. [00:33:59] Speaker B: Totally. [00:34:00] Speaker A: Right. So I even recommend to some of my clients, hey, just have set up Zoom or Teams or Google meet and have it. Even if you're not talking to them, have it so they can hear you pick up the phone, so they can understand what's happening in the office or at your desk. Because them just having that access to understand and provide context makes a big difference. [00:34:24] Speaker B: Totally. And I also think one of the biggest problem with communication is thinking that it's taken place. Right. And I will have conversations in my head with team members all the time, and then for some reason, I think that they're privy to that conversation that I've had in my head. And just by having Zoom open, it's like having your office door open, and instead of just having a conversation in your head with the team member, you can just have the conversation with the team member who's hanging out on Zoom. Right. And even people in the office, I think I've had a conversation with them, but I haven't. I've just had the conversation in my head and then I'm like, how do you not didn't we have this? Oh, no, that's right. I've thinking of the conversation in my head, but I haven't had it with you yet. So when all other forms of communication fail, try using words from your mouth. [00:35:17] Speaker A: And do you know what? It's just one of our core values is actually intention. It's being intentional with what you're doing and making sure you're putting thought into how that person's going to be onboarded and the training they're going to receive. And then also think about how people best learn. I know for a fact that if I write a three page email to one of my Philippine staff, they're going to misinterpret. They're not going to completely understand what I'm trying to achieve. But if I do a three minute video that shows them exactly what I want and explains it, I'm going to get way better results. [00:35:48] Speaker B: Yeah. And I can hear the audience listening now saying, well, if I have to do that, it's just quicker if I do it myself. [00:35:56] Speaker A: Yeah. For the next month, it depends on your business objectives, right? If you want to continue to if you really love freelancing and you want to sit on that and be a one man band, then that works perfect. But if you want scale and you want freedom and you want the ability to grow a business, you need team people is the only way that you can grow great things. [00:36:20] Speaker B: Yeah, 100% love it. How do you work? How do people get started? If an agent and I know we have some Mavericks Club members who mavericks Club is our mastermind for high performing agencies. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last ten years and don't know, and some of our agency client, this is how we met, actually, where we introduced through Bethan, who's in Mavericks Club. If an agency owner is listening to this and they're like, right, this is time for me to do this, how do they get started? How do you work? What's your model? [00:36:50] Speaker A: So pick up the phone, call me, I answer all the sales calls, and it's really important that I understand you. That TRO blatantly. There are some people that I say, you're not ready yet. Totally. You're not quite there, whether it's because you don't have the workload or whether your business just isn't quite set up for it. But otherwise it will be a matter of us going, right, let's break down exactly what you require someone to do, and I can give you some local experience as to whether I think it's the right fit. And then if that's the right case, I sit down with them and our head of talent, and we really just rock it out right. And go, Right, let's talk through your culture, let's understand who you are as a person, and then take a look at skill set and we go to market. Like, the process is designed to be relatively easy. We're essentially a recruitment firm, but looking for people in the Philippines. But secondary to that, we obviously take care of all the payroll, it hardware, Philippines benefits, and labor law, so they don't have to worry about any of that. But essentially, we're a recruiter. So our job is to find you the perfect fit and get you involved in those final stages of interview to make sure that it is actually a hell yes for you. And I always say to my clients, if it's not a hell yes, move on, but provide feedback as to why so that my recruiters are better and more fine tuned. So the process is simple. It's just a matter of going, yeah, I'm ready. And obviously, there's some cost savings to having Philippine staff as well, which you can talk through when you understand the role. But it really does help elevate your local teams. It really does provide opportunities for people in the Philippines that really wouldn't get them otherwise. And going through the right models, you're able to find the right fit for both you the business and the person in the Philippines. [00:38:28] Speaker B: And so the agency owner pays you and you pay the Philippines staff, right? [00:38:34] Speaker A: Yep. They get an Australian invoice. [00:38:35] Speaker B: Got it. And you provide the infrastructure and the benefits and everything you were talking about. What are the typical roles that you recruit for specifically for marketing and digital agencies? [00:38:49] Speaker A: Yeah, so we'll do some full time graphic design roles. One of your other clients, we've just put on a website developer. So someone who's really focused on the back end digital marketing specialists. We do a fair bit in that space to have someone to support that. And then we do people that are kind of more encompassing and hold. For example, my marketing contact, she does all of our email marketing, our Facebook posts, our websites, et cetera. So anyone in that kind of marketing space, it just comes down to what have you got in place to provide the resources and the structure for them. [00:39:22] Speaker B: Great. Love it. Love it. Thank you so much for hanging out with us on the Agency Hour. This has been super helpful. How can people get in touch with you? What's the fastest way for people to get in touch? [00:39:33] Speaker A: Jump on our website WW dot dot au or feel free to reach out to me directly. Tiffany [email protected] au. I'm always up for a chat too, so I'm happy to pass on my number and anyone can call at any time. [00:39:50] Speaker B: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us on the agency. This has been super helpful and I look forward to keeping in touch. [00:39:56] Speaker A: Thank you so much, Troy. Really appreciate your time today. Go to chat. [00:40:01] Speaker B: Thanks for listening to the Agency Hour podcast. And a massive thanks to Tiffany for joining us. I really enjoyed hearing her insights and I could swap hiring horror stories with her all day long. Alright, folks, please don't forget to subscribe and please share this with anyone who you think may need to hear it. I'm Troy Dean. And remember, almonds are members of the Peach family.

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