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Outsource Staffing with Rob Nickell

George Grombacher December 16, 2021

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Outsource Staffing with Rob Nickell

LifeBlood: We talked about outsource staffing, the most common questions people ask about it, how to systematize and automate your business, how to effectively onboard and train talent, and how the process works with Robert Nickell, entrepreneur and CEO of Rocket Station.  

Listen to learn how to get out of your own way by figuring out where you’re creating bottlenecks in your business!!

For the Difference Making Tip, scan ahead to 19:05!

You can learn more about Rob at and LinkedIn.

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You can learn more about us at, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook or you’d like to be a guest on the show, contact George at

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


Rob Nickell

Episode Transcript

Come on.

Welcome to life blood. This is George G and the time is right welcome. Today’s guest is strong and powerful Rob nickel. Rob, are you ready to do this? I am ready George thanks a lot for having me. excited to have you on Rob is an entrepreneur and CEO of rocket station they are a company specializing in outsourcing and virtual staffing for small to medium sized businesses. Rob tell us a little about your personal life some more about your work and why you do what you do.

Rob Nickell 0:40
My personal life is mostly my awesome nephews and niece and seem to be nice on the way so I my favorite things to do are play trucks and build Lego set and do all the things that they like to do even if that’s just hours in the swing it’s kind of our routine and favorite thing to do if I’m not with them I’m traveling or playing golf but but mostly what I do right out what I’ve done is just kind of work because that is my my passion and and like my you know, energy and everything kind of goes to their work or family. Nice. I appreciate that. So walk me through your entrepreneurial journey to to rocket station How did this come to be?

I think I have a relatively similar story to most people I was a W two employee out of college working for a normal corporate type job at a desk and for me it just wasn’t going to get me where I thought I wanted to go and for me that was really about freedom I mentioned my my family and wanting to spend time with them and my friends and do things with you know, be a good son, be a good uncle, be a good friend. Those types of age come with being able to be focused, be able to show up, be able to participate, people’s lives be present, and that that was kind of the goal. And the mission was to get my my time back. And I jumped into real estate full time three years out of college is almost little out of more than two years out of college, almost three years, jumped in real estate full time, thought it was going to be easy. And I got my teeth kicked in for a while George to be honest with you. And I was working significantly more hours than I was in my w two job. And that wasn’t the point. I wasn’t trying to make Facebook posts that 4am that being in the gym, because that’s the only time I had time to work out for myself, right. Like I did think that was cool, the hustle entrepreneur thing it’s like hustle for a season. But as long as there’s an outcome to that was for me that goal. And so I was lucky to be honest with you joy to have some great mentors in my life that really helped me see things like you have to be able to, one understand that I was the the problem for most of the issues when it came to hiring people in my business and trying to leverage other people’s time, I didn’t have enough systems, I didn’t have enough process, I didn’t have enough structure for people to actually be successful. And I learned that through having been part of great business groups and having great mentors. So I was really the guy for a long time. George that said hiring people is hard. You can’t find good people. It’s impossible to manage people, all those types of things. And so instead of making excuses, I went and tried to figure out how to kind of solve that problem. And I realized I was doing it backwards. So I’ll kind of wrap up the story with I the formula I kind of figured out for hiring people was I needed systems and processes. First, I need to everything well defined, people want to know what success looks like because they want to do a really good job for you. They people want to perform, they want to be happy at work and they want to do a great job is what I truly believe in. So if you give them enough structure, and enough clarity about what their role is, and how to perform those tasks, and what’s expected of them, then people will generally do an amazing job for you. And so building systems and processes, then hiring people and ultimately bringing them on and onboarding for success is kind of the process that I created within my real estate business started helping other entrepreneurs do that. And today rocket station is the company that I’m CEO and founder of and we have about 1200 employees helping companies all across the United States and nine different countries grow and scale and become more efficient and it all came from me just needing that that myself is the solution. So that’s the two long story of my journey about where where I started how we got to where we are today.

george grombacher 4:42
I think that that’s just the right just the right length of a story and and an excellent, excellent explanation of it. So I certainly appreciate all that and I’m sure that everything you just said is resonating with with with with a lot of the people who are listening and they would like to know more about this form. We love that you’ve developed, you said 1200 people. So are they tell me, tell me about how it actually works.

Rob Nickell 5:10
Yeah, so I have a company that’s based in the Philippines that employs and staffs. And we give full benefits. This is a full blown w two type organization where we have a W two staff here in Dallas. And that, that companies in Dallas is what actually creates a service contract with our clients across the US. So it’s a business a business relationship among us based companies. And then my two companies have a service agreement in the Philippines. So that allows us to take care of our team members, get full insurance, give benefits provide everything that any employee needs to be successful. Our employees work for our clients out on as a service agreement, so that there’s no HR liability, there’s no liability whatsoever pass through to our clients, it’s just the same thing as w two, but but you don’t have to actually go through that process. We handle it and, and facilitate the entire process.

george grombacher 6:09
Okay, great. So when when you explain this to people, what, what are the typical responses?

Rob Nickell 6:19
Yeah, so most people understand the general concepts of outsourcing now, and most people kind of understand virtual assistants or have heard of it. Most people are confused about what it can do for them specifically in their businesses. Because, you know, like, now I’m talking about it. So generally, you know about these things like this formula, and they said, Well, how does that actually apply to them. And so the concept applies to anybody whether, you know, we have clients that are solo entrepreneurs, and we have fortune 500 companies, and everybody in between our largest accounts have over 100 team members with us. And then many people just have a single team member with. So how does it apply, we apply that process, that formula that I just talked about, we force everyone to go through the same process. And I’ll just briefly explain that process, the first thing we do is what’s just called a discovery call. And this is kind of the formula whether you’re going to use us or hire on your own, that this applies to internal team members or virtual team, it’s, to me, it’s a universal concept. If you want to be successful, have success in hiring team members, then then this is kind of the process for you to go through. And I’ll briefly run through here. So the first step is just we have just what we call discovery and alignment. We want to first map out exactly what’s happening today in your organization, what is what are you actually doing? And from there, we could start building, we now have a little bit of transparency about what we’re trying to accomplish? What would success look like? Where are we today where some opportunities, some gaps. But before we even start bridging gaps, the first thing that we do ga is our team documents, every single thing that’s happening. And so whether you hire somebody else like us to do a system and process map documentation, or you do it yourself, we believe that’s the first step that is the foundation for success. When the phone when there’s a phone call, somebody has to answer it, you know how to answer it, because you’ve answered that call a million times, but somebody new to the organization has no idea what you want them to say. So we need a script for that there are a couple different scripts. And so we need to have those document and we need to know what to do with those calls based on what’s expected. Right? So a dentist is different than a SaaS company that’s different than right. So the first thing that we do is we actually document create scripts and processes for everything that happens in the organization. Now we’ve got total clarity about what’s expected from every single role. From there, we can build the job description. And again, this is, you know, this is the process we think you should go through if you’re going to hire somebody that’s sitting right next in the office. But if you document everything that happens first, now we can build a job description based on tasks that really make sense. Administrative task is a very different role than somebody that’s going to be on the phone for customer support or inside sales. So you don’t want to create a job description that you’re looking for this unicorn that’s going to be great on the phones and be your bookkeeper and be a perfect admin and executive that just doesn’t make sense. You’re never going to get the right person. So we document systems and processes now we’ve got a job description where we can create a ton of clarity about what expectations are. Now we can look at different personality profile tools, we use culture index to find the right person for that fit. Now we can go recruit and go get the right person. So we believe people kind of flip that process. They start by going and trying to hire people, they throw them into the fire. There’s not a lot of clarity and structure and then everyone’s upset the employees aren’t seeing success. The employers are upset by the results. And so we think if you start and you go through that process, which for most people, it’s pretty painful to slow down and think about what’s actually happening and create scraps and actually go through, you know, you sent me the format for what you’re expecting from me on this interview, and you kind of sent that structure. I knew what you were expecting of me coming into this and, and hopefully, I can give you what you’re looking for is that because I want to do a good job, I think it’s the exact same thing for your team members, if you do what you did with me, which is give me systems and processes to follow. Now I know what you’re expected of me and how to perform, and I can go do that. So that’s the exact process that we force everybody to go through. And it’s the number one question people have is, is how can I apply apply this process to us? So? I know that was a long answer, but it’s perfect. Again, it answers the question that I think

george grombacher 10:57
that it’s, you know, whether people end up working with you or not, it’s probably an immensely valuable exercise to go through. And to slow down a little bit and say, Okay, yeah, what, what, what, what processes do actually have? And where are the gaps? Where are the absolute holes? And what do I What can I do to become a little bit more efficient? So that makes a lot of sense. Why why the Philippines?

Rob Nickell 11:23
So there’s a lot of reasons why the Philippines so the English is a national language there. So oftentimes people you know, one of the biggest questions people have is how do your team never speak great English? And that’s a two part answer. Yes, they speak fantastic English, English is national language of their education system is fantastic. But even more so than than English proficiency. It’s about communication. It’s about culture, it’s about fitting in to your organization in the day to day. So for us, we’re screening for five 6000 applications a month, and we’re hiring less than 2% of those people. And a big reason for that is we’re looking for the right fit for these roles that that we’re hiring. And most people you know, it doesn’t matter if you’re in Alabama, or Texas or California or anywhere in between. It needs to feel like your team members are sitting right there in your organization, whether they’re virtual, whether remote in the house, it needs to feel like a cohesive environment, to your entire sphere, whether that’s clients, whether that’s contractors, anybody that’s interacting with your organization, they don’t need to know that you’re outsourcing, they don’t need to know that your team members are in the Philippines and through the Philippines, the economy is outsource is an outsourcing in this industry. So it is set up wonderfully to have this amazing fit and integration. Most of our you know we’re in nine different countries, rocket station has Kemi servicing clients all across the world. Prime air lead that’s in the United States, they’ve their team members to be integrated in a way where it feels like they’re sitting right here in the United States. So that is our absolute goal is for anybody that doesn’t matter the role, it doesn’t matter whether it’s inside sales or bookkeeping, or what state we’re working in, we want to make sure that that team member integrates in a way that our clients are absolutely stoked. And then from a performance standpoint, we’re looking for a one to one basis comparison. So when you compare the output of what we can get for our Philippines workforce, we want it to be equivalent to what about a 40 to $70,000 employee could produce in the United States. So we want the one to one, we don’t want there to be a compromise. When you’re hiring through our teams, we don’t want there to be a reduction in the value or the quality of the output of what you’re getting, we want the expectation to be the same. And so through the Philippines, plus the enormous infrastructure that we have in place to screen recruit and train and profiling go through this process that just described, we’re able to integrate team members in a way where we’re our clients. You know, it’s a it’s there’s no lower expectation in any way from what they’re getting from the workforce. And we’re really able to do that through the Philippines.

george grombacher 14:17
Nice. So let’s just use me as an example. I said, this sounds awesome. What What is an actual engagement look, like I said, I’m interested in hiring somebody and you say,

Rob Nickell 14:29
I say the first step is you work with our business development team. We want to make sure if you work with us, it’s a great fit. We don’t care if you hire our teens or not, we do care if you have success in your business. Our our clients are all small to midsize companies in the United States. And we believe that’s the lifeblood and the foundation to the American economy and the American dream and we could not be more excited about supporting our clients every single day. But it doesn’t mean we’re a great fit forever. Every one and I talked about, you know, everybody is, most people want want to know, you know, is this a good fit for me. And that’s right, where we start is at the beginning that discovery and alignment phase that is, you know, Greg Brooks, our business development team, and he’s got an amazing group of system and process developers underneath him, the first thing that they did want to do, and that I would love to invite anyone to do is spend 30 to 45 Minutes with Us just having a discovery and alignment call to go through some basic questions and talk about your business specifically, and kind of build a roadmap to kind of see what success would look like, if you were interested in in further engagement. From there, if it seemed to kind of make sense, we would build a roadmap and a plan with you where you would be the driver of the bus, you’re the decision maker, it’s your business, it’s about you. But we want to do all the heavy lifting. So we’ll work with you to actually document your systems and processes first, that’s the first step. From there, we’ll create a job description with you what what role or roles based on data would have the biggest impact in your business. So we want to look at how many calls are coming in. If you were interested in customer support, we want to look at how many emails are coming in, if it’s a customer support rep that’s online, whether that’s text or email, or live chat, we can fulfill any of that. But we want to we want to come from a data standpoint and say, based on what’s happening in your organization, and the roles you’re looking for. And this this map to success we just created, you need one person to fill this role, or you need three people to fill this role based on the activity that’s coming in. And so once we have that data to show us what we’re really looking for based on an employee engagement, now we’re going to go give you three, four or five candidates to interview just like you’re interviewing me here through a video live interview situation where you interview three, four or five candidates for every single role that you want to hire. And you’re going to hire someone that you are totally excited about joining your team. And we’re just going to facilitate that entire process. And there’s one more step I haven’t quite talked about yet, but it’s equally as important with every single thing we’ve done, which is that onboarding glide path we want to make sure that day by day especially for the first few weeks, everyone is totally clear about what’s expected of them how we perform the job, how we communicate in the day to day just complete expectation set and align so that both the client you are super stoked and excited and have no anxiety about what’s going on every single day. And the team member feels the exact same way so we’re not only investing in you we’re investing in the team member as well we facilitate the process and then that’s a lifetime engagement as long as you’re receiving value from us so we don’t ever leave you we stay with you forever to help in that process. But that that is the flow of working with us we start with making sure it’s a great fit and then we never leave you as long as it’s a win I

george grombacher 18:04
love it. And do we then do I then choose I say hey, I wanted to do 10 hours a week I want to do 40 hours a week how does that work?

Rob Nickell 18:12
Yes So with us it’s part time or full time we’ve really found that the only way to have true success is the project based stuff it doesn’t really work if we can have a part time or full time person then we can drive a great result for the client and we can also get a great quality of life with our team member because we guarantee all of our team members full time employment with full time benefits and health care and and all those types of things that everybody wants. It’s a win win whenever we can we can do a part time or full time. And quite frankly just to be totally candid there’s an effort less than part time work to be done it’s just about having clarity and structure to be able to go get that so that’s why we start with the structure and then for us it’s part time or full time which is 20 or 40 hours a week.

george grombacher 18:59
Got it. Love it. Rob the people are really few difference making tip What do you have them?

Rob Nickell 19:05
For I you know, people ask for advice all the time. And I’m not really good at giving advice. I’ll just talk about one thing that I figured out for myself as an entrepreneur and going from struggling in the day to day to figure out my business to ultimately what I feel like is have freedom in the day to day I’m not operationally responsible for anything in the company anymore I can I just went on vacation for two weeks to tillu Mexico and there wasn’t one phone call on those two weeks where I had to answer and do something. And for me the the biggest thing that the transition my business was kind of getting out of my own way. I was responsible for everything. At the beginning. It didn’t matter if your social media management or answering the phone or following up with accounts or getting contract sign. Every single thing in the day to day was my responsibility and I wouldn’t let a single thing go which just limited me for so long about what I was able to accomplish the day I kind of got out of my own way got some help follow the advice that the doors would give me a log you know for a long time by removing myself and allowing other people to help me where I really wasn’t that great anyways and allowed me to kind of focus on the most important things which usually was revenue generating activities I needed to kind of be in sales and let other people do the admin work once I got out of my own way George the company took off and as a result we were able to serve so many more people and both from our team member side and the client side as well so for me the best tip that I have is find where you are the bottleneck and and remove yourself and it will do wonderful things for your company.

george grombacher 20:54
Well I think that is great stuff that definitely gets to come on come on. Rob thank you so much for coming on where can people learn more about you and how can they start this process

Rob Nickell 21:04
so our websites rocket station calm I think we have some pretty good information there a couple of the sharks from Shark Tank, our strategic advisors with us and they talk about us a little bit on there so if anybody’s interested in generally there’s some great information there. If anybody is honest and sincere about this process again I don’t care if you hire our teams or not but if you would like some great information and get your questions answered specifically about your business then then spend a little bit of time with our business development team Greg Brooks his email is Brooks br oh okay s at rocket station comm tell him that you heard me on your podcast and he for free will spend 3045 minutes with you talking about any and everything outsourcing virtual teams, what are the best roles what you can and can’t outsource what you should and shouldn’t do any tools that you’d like to use he can answer all of those questions and set you up for success so email Brooks at rocket station COMM And and the team will have a one on one with you and answer any questions that you have and if it’s a great fit, we’d love to work with you if not happy to give you whatever information we can

george grombacher 22:16
have it well if you enjoyed this as much as I did show rob your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to rocket station COMM And check out other great resources. Contact Greg Brooks at Brooks at rocket station comm and figure out if what you’re doing can be outsourced or part of it or all of it. Totally outsource yourself potentially. I like it. Thanks Ken are

Rob Nickell 22:43
they thanks George. Really appreciate the time. This is a lot of fun.

george grombacher 22:46
And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

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