In 2019, I was living in Washington D.C. as a data scientist and process improvement specialist, transversing the city for 2 hours every day on the metro to work. The job was okay. Life was fine, but I wasn’t excited about it. Full-time work just wasn’t in the cards for me, and I knew that I wanted to become a full-time entrepreneur.
After doing some extensive soul-searching with the help of a great life coach, I decided to quit my full-time job, pack up, and relocate to Asia. I didn’t know if it was going to work. Hell, I didn’t even know if I was going to come back in 3 months. Even though I had booked a one-way ticket to Bangkok, I knew that things might not go my way. There was a lot of risk, reward, and adventure to come. It was my decision, and I was taking my consulting business across the pond for good.
Little did I know that this one-way ticket would be the catalyst for a professional adventure that would lead to the founding of Global Hola, starting other businesses, and becoming a full-time digital nomad by slowly easing into outsourcing my work.
My journey as a consultant began during turmoil and the COVID-19 global pandemic. At the start, it seemed like the world was going to hell, but I soon learned that it was actually a blessing. Starting an online consulting career in early 2020 was like being a graphics card manufacturer when computer gaming took off. Businesses were clamoring to automate and digitize their operations, and I found my niche in this digital landscape by offering services on Upwork such as advanced Google Sheets development, disability-focused research projects, and general website creation. I focused my efforts on Upwork because it was the most known and solid platform for freelancers, and I got very very lucky.
I landed some good returning clients. I raised my rates, and before I knew it, I had logged almost 2,000 consulting hours, earning the title of an Expert-vetted talent on Upwork. But as demand for my services grew, so did the pressure and workload. I started to feel this way in 2022 when I was doing an entrepreneur’s boot camp with Antler to try to create a venture-backed startup. Each day began to feel like I was treading water, barely managing to keep my head above the waves of project deadlines, entrepreneur boot camp duties, client demands, and new project inquiries. The idea of doing a bad job on my current projects due to a lack of bandwidth gnawed at me, and I wasn’t going to let my consulting projects get behind schedule. I was at capacity. Overworked. Stressed, and something had to give.
It was during this Antler boot camp period that the concept of outsourcing, not just finding talents for my clients, but for myself, came to me like a cartoon character sees the lightbulb turn on. I began to entertain the thought: “What if I didn’t have to do everything myself? What if there were talented people who could take on some of the tasks that are bogging me down? Could I focus on the stuff that mattered while outsourcing the stuff that I was sure I could do quick quality control on?” Yes. Yes. And Definitely yes.
The funny part was that I fully knew about outsourcing and what it can do for entrepreneurs. In fact, I had built a small outsourcing firm with Vohn Precioso, my business partner from the Philippines, and we had been focusing on placing tech talents with US-based businesses. Although we actually had hired and managed business intelligence talents for clients in the USA, the thought of outsourcing my own consulting projects just never really hit me. Then boom! Once I hired my first developer for website and general tech projects, I was blown away by how much better I felt. The stress became palpably less, and I really felt like I was moving up from just being a solo entrepreneur to being an owner/manager. I welcomed the change, even though it was a bit scary.
With the right team members backing me up, the tedious tasks of building spreadsheets and creating websites that once consumed a lot of my project’s time were efficiently managed by professionals whom I could trust. I wasn’t at the point to be working on my business instead of for my business quite yet, but I was able to save hours of time by delegating the data projects and websites that I didn’t have time to build to my talents. I had finally welcomed outsourcing to the Nick fold, and man, do I wish I had done it sooner. I now see myself for what I once was: a walking talking, outsourcing contradiction. You’d think that someone running an outsourcing company would have seen the light for themselves much sooner than their clients, but I guess I’m a bit slow in that regard.
It’s this slow and painful solo entrepreneur-to-delegator-walking-talking-outsourcing-contradiction experience that gave birth to Global Hola. After Process Zip (our first outsourcing company) fell under, we didn’t know if we could make it again, but together with Vohn, we saw a renewed opportunity to learn from our failure and capitalize on a growing market.
We still want to bridge the gap between solo entrepreneurs like myself and a world filled with amazing talent, and we now understand the hesitations that many, including myself, have about outsourcing. The fear of losing control. Concerns over quality. The uncertainty of how to start. Having walked through those questions on my own path, I now know that these fears, while valid, can be managed and overcome. We help solo entrepreneurs along this path.
For fellow consultants and solo entrepreneurs feeling the weight of endless tasks and responsibilities, my message is clear: You don’t have to go it alone like I did for so long. There are a lot of skilled professionals out there, ready to complement your expertise and help take those mind-numbing tasks off your plate. The key to outsourcing is knowing when to delegate, clear communication, and maintaining a focus on quality. Never outsource something that might impact the deliverables you create for your clients, and always make sure your talent’s work will fully complement, not replace/corrupt, your work.
To be a good consultant, it’s not just about working hard; it’s about working smart. Cliche, I know, but sometimes the smartest move you can make is to recognize when you need help. Realize this faster than I did, and make yourself a better entrepreneur by outsourcing some of your tasks.