Starting A Consulting Business: Interview With Craig Addison of Addison Consultancy

For more than four years, Craig Addison was a digital nomad who traveled across the world.

At some point, he lived in Cebu, Philippines where he eventually developed a love for the people and the culture.

Now based in his UK home, Craig has since founded Addison Consultancy where he helps companies in the US, Australia, Canada, and the EU to find highly competent Filipino virtual assistants who will perfectly match their business needs.

We sat down with Craig and asked him about his startup company. Read on to learn more about this dynamic young CEO’s amazing story:

What was the career path that led you to your current position?

There’s not a long-term career path. It’s more a combination of all of my career experiences that eventually made this the perfect fit for me. I have a background in professional recruitment for investment banking and professional services. I have a background in building startups and consulting for startups. And I built a very large e-commerce store with a team of 30 Filipinos running it and just myself. It was an amazing business!

So all of these combined, I then put together and said, “Okay: recruitment, Filipinos, startups and consulting. Let me consolidate all of that knowledge and create something that uses my strongest skills and passion.”

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe in being a leader leading by example: doing myself what I would expect other people to do.

What are the core values of your brand and how do they reflect your own?

Honesty and integrity. Because I am happiest when I feel that people are being honest around me. So I try to give the same respect back and encourage that as a way of working within the company.

What new trends are emerging in your industry and how are you adapting to them?

It’s not exactly “new” but there is a growing trend for LinkedIn and lead generation outreach. It’s been building over the past few years but it has become more challenging. LinkedIn has changed their limits and it’s now harder. It’s not so much of a trend but we’re now in a period of change where everybody is looking for a new thing that works - which will become the new trend.

So right now we’re in a period where the trend is ending and we’re moving on to something new which is quite interesting and exciting.

How has the Covid crisis affected your business and how have you adapted?

On the positive side, we have become a more preferential choice to our clients. Because we are able to provide very skilled, personable, and awesome teams of staff from the Philippines when our clients are unable to afford Western staffing costs during the pandemic.

We’ve adapted by offering more training, support, and resources to support clients who have never worked with Filipinos before.

What challenges does your business face going forward?

We are continuing to grow at a slow rate because we want to maintain the quality. The challenge going forward is how we increase that growth without compromising quality.

What are the most common challenges you face in your role and how do you overcome them?

The biggest challenges I face are clients who don’t understand the importance of learning culture and a virtual way of working with Filipinos.

The reason why that’s a challenge is that when we bring on and set new clients up, we provide a lot of training, guidance, and infrastructure for them to teach them about the Philippines, to teach them about culture, to teach them about what will be different and what to expect.

A lot of clients tend to skip that bit or pay less attention to it. Or they might feel it's less important. They’re used to working and hiring and managing and therefore that is of lower importance. And what we find is that about a week to a month or two months later, there’s a lot of friction points and it is solely based upon the fact that clients have not done this important part of onboarding. If they do it, we have zero friction. If they don’t do it, then there’s confusion and blame. So we have to go and re-educate clients later.

What are your main priorities and objectives?

Main priority is to achieve natural company growth but to never drop the level and standard of service that we proudly give.

How do you motivate your team?

By listening. Making sure people are heard and understood and supported. If you do that, then everyone is working together. It’s a group motivation!

How focused are you on new technology?

I live it. I love Slack and Asana. BambooHR is a beautiful piece of software! I wanna say they’re my three favorites.

I love to teach software to people and implement it into clients’ businesses. Then to see just how much positive change it creates. I love watching that change when people take on the advice, bring in the software, and then step back and say, “Wow, actually I get it. This has changed our business.”

So therefore, I put a lot of energy into software to make sure that all of the advice and support I give is the best I possibly can and is very deeply researched.

Can you identify one moment when your career path was clearly illuminated?

This is a very difficult question for me because I don’t have a traditional career path, by any means. I’ve been a dancer on TV. I’ve worked as a festival DJ for a time. I was managing recruitment for Credit Suisse and CitiGroup, one of the largest investment banks in the world. I built my first startup when I was 14, 15 years old when I was building a DJ events company.

So there is no particular light that has “illuminated” any part of the way. The light is me following my passion and my heart. Let’s just say I lead with my intuition and follow what feels right.

Did you have a mentor who changed your life? How so?

There are two notable people. On the professional side, I had a mentor when I was building my e-commerce business. She was the one who basically told me to hire virtual assistants but I’d never done it before. My business was building, I was struggling because there wasn’t enough profit to afford Western staffing. If I did, I wouldn’t have any salary at all. It was a lose-lose situation.

And she told me I must hire virtual assistants and I said, “I have no budget” but she insisted, “It doesn’t matter. Hire them! You don’t need a budget. You’re stuck. Until you make a change, nothing will happen. You must hire. You must have staff. You are at your limit. There’s nothing else you can do. You are at a dead end.”

So reluctantly, I hired VAs and I have never looked back. And that’s the company that grew into 30 VAs under my command. So it worked. It was the best advice! So yeah, she’s the most notable person. Her name is Linda.

Aside from that, it would be my life coach on the other side. He personally helped me to build my professional outlook.

Name a business leader you admire and why.

I’m gonna go with Marc Rodan of Krew Community, one of our clients. There was a very cool quote recently shared by Elon Musk who said:

"I rather hate being a boss. I'm an engineer. To be honest, I don't want to be the boss of anything. I'd much prefer to spend my time on design and engineering. That's what I intrinsically like doing."

I sent this to Marc because that’s the energy that he guides his business with. And I have so much respect for him for following his heart in business and then influencing others by motivating them from his love of what he does. So yeah, he would be my person for that reason.

What major changes would you like to see in your sector?

More respect for Filipinos. For Filipinos to be seen less as low-cost staffing in terms of number count or a head count. I would like Philippine staffing to be seen more as members of a team, as how we do it ourselves. I would like to see more companies supporting FIlipinos to be an integral part of their long-term staff team and not temporary, flexible workers who take the brunt of the work.

How do you define success?

By a person achieving their goals - their personal or professional goals that they have set for themselves. I think success is a personal accomplishment. It’s not something that should be defined so much by others.

To learn more about Craig Addison and Addison Consultancy, you can check out LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. You can also visit ADDC’s official website.

Author:

@Mark Rosario

Date:

07-20-2021

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