Meet Cheryl Mack. She’s the National Head of Community at Stone & Chalk, an Impact Network in Australia supporting startups in emerging tech sectors. Cheryl has lived and worked in startup ecosystems in different parts of the world, and it has always been her personal mission to help small businesses succeed. Throughout this journey, she has seen the value of building extended relationships with outsourcing partners. Here, she talks about her experience as an outsourcer (in her previous role at tech company Freelancer.com) and shares valuable advice on how to successfully distinguish and find an outsourcing partner you can trust.
“My extended team could (and arguably should have) left and find more stable opportunities, but they didn’t. They stuck with me, and we ended up creating truly amazing things.”
What made you a big fan of outsourcing in the Philippines?
Honestly, it wasn’t a conscious choice between different countries. Freelancer.com, the company I worked for prior to my current role at Stone & Chalk, already had an extended team in the Philippines, so it was an automatic response for me when I decided to build my own. As it turns out, it was a smart decision for Freelancer.com and an excellent experience for me.
Over the years I worked with them, their sense of loyalty never ceased to amaze me. Back when I was trying to build a new subsidiary company with very little resources under complicated circumstances, my extended team could (and arguably should have) left and find more stable opportunities, but they didn’t. They stuck with me, and we ended up creating truly amazing things. This is one of the reasons why outsourcing in the Philippines has been and will always be close to my heart.
Generally, when people say “I love hiring in the Philippines,” most people say “Yes! Because their English is really good, right?” While that reason stands true, my experience is proof that it’s more than just that. The people I’ve worked with are hardworking, morally-oriented, and, most critically, highly loyal. They were some of the best people I’ve ever worked with in my entire career.
Why do you think more Australian companies are not outsourcing?
The fear of outsourcing definitely tops the list. Most companies would try it out without prior knowledge, put all their trust in an outsourcing company, and experience all these horror stories of operations getting out of hand or getting scammed.
But these testaments only show that outsourcers need to be accountable for their decisions too. Those who succeed go out of their way to seek guidance, understand how outsourcing really works (and why it does not work for some), and discover their options.
What should an Australian company look for in an outsourcing partner?
I think there are three main things to consider when looking for an outsourcing partner: deep knowledge and exposure to your local landscape, a genuine interest to improve your business, and the eagerness to guide you on your outsourcing journey. A reliable outsourcing partner will take you out of the fear zone by answering your whys and hows early on.
Expertise and values go hand in hand when you aspire change in your organization. These should also make up your decision-making compass when finding an outsourcing partner. Go for those who know what they’re doing, those whom you share values with, and those who will celebrate your success and help you win over your biggest challenges.