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Outsource Factor's Chris Umiastowski, right, and Val Neekman (in screen) (Vanessa Reeve/Courtesy of Chris Umiastowski)
Outsource Factor's Chris Umiastowski, right, and Val Neekman (in screen) (Vanessa Reeve/Courtesy of Chris Umiastowski)

Mark Evans

Startup takes aim at outsourcing Add to ...

When Chris Umiastowski was planning his “escape” from a position as a telecommunications analyst for TD Securities Inc., one of the key things he took away from reading Tim Ferris’s Four Hour Work Week was the need for small business owners to outsource business operations.

Mr. Umiastowski became even more convinced about the value of outsourcing during a free one-hour Webinar he watched about outsourcing work to the Philippines. What resonated was how small businesses could hire a virtual staff who were technically contractors but could be brought on to act like full-time employees.

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It struck Mr. Umiastowski as a win-win proposition: Businesses could reap the economic benefits of outsourcing, while the people being hired gained steady work. So, when he started an affiliate marketing business last year, Mr. Umiastowski hired a staff of full-time contractors from the Philippines.

And then he took it further. The ability to work with talented people around the world prompted Mr. Umiastowski to team up with Val Neekman, who he met while working Nortel Networks Corp. in the late-1990s, to start a new business.

Toronto-based Outsource Factor provides a way for online entrepreneurs to take advantage of outsourcing by hiring offshore talent to drive their businesses. Most workers come from India, the Philippines and Pakistan.

Mr. Umiastowski said the idea for Outsource Factor emerged after they started to think about doing something together, and landed upon offering a smarter way to embrace outsourcing.

“The problem we solve is teaching people, who are small business owners and mostly have online businesses, how to hire people who work for you offshore – how to manage them, pay them, train them,” Mr. Umiastowski said during a recent interview. “It is jobs such as administrative assistants, consulting, affiliate marketing, building your own online service, content creation, video editing and podcast transcription.”

Rather than create a site that charged employers to post jobs and look at resumés, Mr. Umiastowski said they believed a bigger business could be established by making Outsource Factor free for employers and employees and creating a website that was a vibrant and valuable resource.

Outsource Force currently makes money from affiliate marketing relationships, where the company takes a commission from other products and services displayed on its site. It also plans to have a paid section and paid a-la-carte training modules in the future.

To differentiate itself from similar services, Mr. Umiastowski said Outsource Factor will provide employers and people looking for work with a lot of training so they can effectively embrace outsourcing. This includes publishing manuals and blog posts that provide value-added information.

He said Outsource Factor should appeal to entrepreneurs who are looking to hire people because they want to grow but can’t afford to spread themselves too thin.

“This way, they can hire someone who takes a little bit of work they don’t need to deal with,” he said. “If they are working in your business, this lets you work on your business.”

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mark Evans is the principal with ME Consulting, a communications and marketing strategic consultancy that works with startups and fast-growing companies to create compelling and effective messaging to drive their sales and marketing activities. Mark has worked with four startups – Blanketware, b5Media, PlanetEye and Sysomos. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshmarketing and meshwest conferences.

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