319 – Philippines Outsourcing Tour #2 : Highlights & Learnings from Timbo and Friends.

319 – Philippines Outsourcing Tour #2 : Highlights & Learnings from Timbo and Friends.

This episode was recorded on the second Small Business Big Marketing Outsourcing Tour to the Philippines. Now before we get started I know that outsourcing means different things to different people and I’ve covered my thoughts on Australian businesses outsourcing to the Philippines on the blog. This episode is all about looking at the glass half full.

I share my thoughts as I taxi down the runway in Manilla, ready to take off back to Melbourne and I also captured some of my guests thoughts, opinions and ‘aha’ moments in the minibus after the tour as well. Here are some of those insights.

1. Adam Longhurst from Leather Italia

Why did you join the tour?

Adam has felt the full force and effect of fluctuations in the Aussie dollar. He attended the tour with his eyes wide open to see what opportunities there were for outsourcing any of the labour components of his business.

Aha Moment?

Outsourcing bookkeeping and accounting. When Adam sat back and really thought about it, he realised he was spending a disproportionate amount of time on the books. Now it’s certainly important to be across the numbers but is that really what he went into business to do?


Adam loves his accountant, he’s highly skilled and one of his trusted advisors BUT he’s constantly on his back about bookkeeping. Tony doesn’t want to do the books, he doesn’t like doing the books, however another full time employee in Australia is cost prohibitive.

Some people buy components offshore, we’re trying to buy some labour offshore. If we grow, then more money and jobs will come off the back of that directly into the Australian economy too.


2. Russ Porteous of Firewize

Why did you join the tour?

I wanted to see, in person how business is done in the new economy.

Aha Moment?

We went to a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) that was as professional an outfit as ever I’ve seen anywhere.


This tour is on the back of 15 years of research, I’ve come to crystallise in my mind how we can move from an adhoc outsourcing basis to a more streamlined, wholistic and professional strategy.


3. Marcus Nicholls & Ariel Endean of Akuna Pet Resorts

Why did you join the tour?

We had been considering outsourcing for 2 years. We were already outsourcing some small tasks but we were afraid of going further.

Aha Moment?

I wasn’t expecting to see just how dynamic the team here in the Philippines are. They truly look and function with the same intelligence, creativity and drive as a crack team in Australia.


Just start. You’re going to in the next 5-10 years anyway as this is the direction the world is going.


4. Will Porteous (Russ’s son)

Will is the son of Russ and work’s for Firewize and is also studying engineering at uni. Will’s take away was that it was a real ‘eye opener’. He said that ‘when you think about outsourcing you automatically think ‘sweatshop’ but it absolutely was not. It’s just like Australia, so professional and well organised.’

I asked Will what he was going to say to his mates about the tour. He said:

“I’d say to my mates that are in uni that they need to be way ahead of the curve. Just pumping work out is not going to get you a job.”


5. Amanda Stevens & Brendan Buchanan 

Past guest of the show happened to be in the Philippines at Cornerstone Business Solutions inducting a new team member. here are a few quotes from the show:

“We came here with pretty high expectations”
“The output is just extraordinary. We’re talking world class output.”

Aha Moment

The other surprise has been their ability to follow a process but also demonstrate incredible initiative around it. People underestimate how well they will understand the rationale behind a project.

So how about that? I’d love to know your thoughts on the show and about outsourcing in general. Success stories? War stories? As you can probably tell I’m pretty keen on outsourcing as not only a marketing strategy but a business strategy.

It’s time to start taking positive steps to a more productive and enjoyable business life.
*** As an aside, it may be interesting to some listeners to understand how these tour came about; so, here’s a short time line:

Episode 157 – I interviewed David Warne from the Sydney Tall Ships business

We became friends, but then he disappeared, only to pop up about two years ago. He’d moved to The Philippines with his family, along with the whole back office of the Sydney Tall Ships business as well.

That resulted in a 90% reduction in running costs, and a 21% increase in turnover.

That called for another interview – which appeared in Episode 254.

During that interview he had some great tips on how to effectively outsource to The Philippines.

Then, in 2015, I then took a group of listeners over to The Philippines on a business outsourcing tour. Here’s my personal insights from that Philippines outsourcing tour.

And that brings us to to this interview. Enjoy!




00:42 Welcome & overview
02:57 Starting at the end – my thoughts on the tour as I head to the airport
06:01 Learnings from the tour – Adam Longhurst of Leather Italia
11:48 Learnings from the tour – Russ Porteous of Firewize
16:13 Learnings from the tour – Marcus Nicholls & Ariel of Akuna Pet Resort
22:41 Insights in to WebCentral & Cornerstone Business Solutions
25:12 Learnings from the tour – Will Porteous
30:27 Learnings from the tour – Amanda & Brendan Stevens
35:11 Wrap up / summary
35:55 My top 3 attention grabbers from the Freedom through Outsourcing Tour
37:23 Wrap-up and insights in to next week’s guests





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Episode 268 – Insights into last year’s outsourcing tour to the Philippines

Episode 255 – Killer tips on outsourcing with David Warne

Episode 196 – How to save up to 90% on labour costs using outsourcing with Mini Mover’s Mike

Episode 311 with Mark Nicholls on extreme customer service

Episode 181 – How to market to women with Amanda Stevens

Buy Timbo’s new marketing book The Boomerang Effect




  1. Diversity of skills – Outsourcing to The Philippines isn’t limited to getting a VA to help with your back office admin. I saw specialists in bookkeeping, accounting, CAD drawings, graphic design, social media management, inbound and outbound calling and heaps more.
  2. Teams – If you’re going to outsource and plan to put on multiple staff around the one discipline (eg. marketing or finance or admin), then it makes sense to have them all in one place, like Brendan and Amanda have done. And I don’t mean the same country, or city. I mean in the one building. We visited multiple businesses that make this possible.
  3. Don’t make this bigger than it needs to be – what we’re really talking about here is simply employing people. Yes, they may thousands of miles away; but they’re smart, motivated, highly educated, they speak great English and are only a Skype video call away.






What was your biggest marketing learning or ah-ha moment from this episode?

Leave your comment below.

My guest and I respond to each and every comment.


7 thoughts on “319 – Philippines Outsourcing Tour #2 : Highlights & Learnings from Timbo and Friends.”

  1. Thanks for the opportunity to join you and 6 other small business owners on the 2nd Small Business Big Marketing tour to the Philippines. While in the Philippines I learned so much about the country, it’s people, their dreams and culture. It’s good to know with modern technology and a similar time zone that almost anything is possible. Since returning to Australia I have started to carefully review our existing systems to ensure we are ready to capitalise on building an offshore team. Once again Tim, thanks for taking a few on the chin to help make my dreams a reality.

  2. My pleasure, Russ. I’m looking on with excitement as you take that beautiful business of yours to the next level.

  3. Russ, as someone who has used Cornerstone, I’d strongly suggest looking for an alternative. My experience has been nothing short of terrible. We will continue to use global talent to help run our business, but the team at Cornerstone is not, in my experience, sufficiently interested in delivery post the sale. There are much better solutions for building an overseas team and tapping into the global resource talent pool.

  4. Mark, I’m sorry to hear that. I’d like to hear the specifics of what you’re talking about. Please contact me via tim(at)timreid(dot)com(dot)au and we’ll set a time to talk.

  5. Hi Tim,
    Let’s, for a moment, put aside the fact I’ve experienced Cornerstone as a very average service/product. I’m disappointed that this, and other similar podcasts, are presented as something other than an infomercial. I hope I’m wrong, but I suspect you’re financially rewarded when people engage with Cornerstone (in a manner beyond a typical media buy). If my worst fears are true, you’ve let me down and I’d suggest have an ethical, if not legal, obligation to disclose any conflict.

  6. Mark, I’d prefer not to put aside your average experience. If you had one and are willing to raise it, then please share it. Why? Because in a previous episode I indicated that I am considering taking equity in CBS, so I am interested.

    Why? Because David and Alison have created an offering that is needed by Aussie business owners, many of whom are struggling under the weight of high running costs and lack of time.

    Why wouldn’t I support something that makes their life easier? It’s what this show is all about.

    Advertorials, you say? Call them what you want. What I do know is that each episode in which I’ve covered outsourcing to The Philippines there is solid marketing information imparted by my guests, and insights from me, that if you apply will make your business life easier.

    Right now I’ve not been paid one dollar by CBS – that may change, and I hope it does.

    I hope you don’t next accuse me of trying to flog Laser Group electrical services. Or the idea of dropping by The Cherry Bar for a big night out.

  7. Hi Tim,
    Since you’ve asked, I’d love to outline my experience with Cornerstone. It’s one that has made me to want to help other Australian business avoid them (at least until the rage subsides). To be clear, I’m not suggesting business owners avoid the idea of leveraging overseas talent. Instead, I want to tell anyone who asks (or doesn’t) to steer well clear of Cornerstone.

    My experience was as follows:
    They add no value at the recruitment stage – you can find and interview any number of similar skilled candidates on upwork. The recruitment process was expensive and didn’t provide us with examples of the candidates skills or previous work – the type of stuff that is really useful when hiring and can be easily obtained on other platforms.

    They provided no post sale support. Once the “deal” was done it was on to the next sucker (aka. naive Australian business owner). There was no support on how we should work with an overseas team member. There was not appropriate IT provided (how can you have an overseas team member without a webcam?). There was not appropriate software tools provided. We received no calls or emails to check the progress of things.

    We experienced no value from the ongoing management fees. I can think of, or point to, no examples of how the ongoing (and expensive) management fees resulted in any benefit. If there is no benefit to us (the fee payer), I’d like to think that the fee’s are helping build a productive work environment, unfortunately, the experience expressed by the individual who worked for us would suggest the opposite. I’d argue there are platforms that better distribute value to the Australian company and the new team member.

    Hope that helps. And I hope that in light of an equity investment you clearly advise your listeners of the conflict at play.

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