In 2009 the local retailer I worked for went out of business. Burnt out I wanted to do something else. By accident I found a niche drop shipping TV wall mounts on eBay, which soon became my full-time job.
After expanding into furniture, I was overwhelmed and needed to hire my first employee. This person needed to do everything and on a $3,000 a month salary. I soon learned such a person did not exist.
A friend recommended I look at a site called Odesk (now Upwork) which provides a marketplace for freelancers all over the world to offer their services. Before long I had 5-6 freelancers from multiple countries all working for my business and within budget.
This did the trick for about the first year, but there were always issues. Freelancers would disappear, log on late, have communication issues due to language/culture barriers, and caught a few milking the clock. In short I spent more time micromanaging freelancers than running and growing my business.
My best freelancers were always in the Philippines. They were easier to work with as English is a national language and the country is heavily influenced by USA culture. An opportunity came up to open an office directly across the street from a major university there. So with the help of a local we opened up shop with the plan of growing my e-com business using the newly hired staff.
The e-com business didn’t go as planned, but I was put in touch with someone who had similar issues to what I encountered and wanted help. Pleased with our work they referred us to someone else who again had a similar experience. Before long we realized we were serving a far differnt niche and made the full transition to Always Open Commerce.