In 2009 the local independent 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 month salary. I soon learned such a person did not exist.
A friend recommended I look at Odesk (now Upwork) which provides a marketplace for freelancers all over the world to offer their services. Before long I had 5 freelancers from multiple countries all working for my business and within budget.
This did the trick for about the first year, but there were 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 were always in the Philippines. They were easier to work with as English is national language, the country is heavily influenced by USA culture, & I got along with them very well. When an opportunity came across my desk to up to open an office just outside of Manila I jumped at it. With the help of my then office manager 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, which quickly led to another referral. Before long we realized we were serving a far different niche and made the full transition to Always Open Commerce.