Like any good CEO and entrepreneur, Robert Nickell saw a problem with companies which focused on a number of areas to run their day to day tasks. They spread themselves thin and prevented themselves from focusing on the things they do best.
Nickell set out to fix the issue and designed a company to offer an ingenious solution to companies around the world. The Rocket Station founder built a company from the ground up that allows businesses to focus on what they do best while outsourcing all other aspects of the day to day work.
The idea seemed simple but until Rocket Station’s formation, a large number of businesses simply focused on doing every aspect of business, rather than those few things they excelled at. Since its launch, Rocket Station has been disrupting the traditional way in which businesses have been run for decades. Now, the virtual staffing company aims to continue its rapid growth helping businesses develop further.
Robert, can you tell us about Rocket Station and what it offers clients?
A world-class team is the most important part of any business. Your potential is capped by the quality of people executing your processes. Vision and passion will only get you so far. Managing people and building culture is the most daunting task facing operators. Rocket Station allows you to focus on core competencies and outsource the rest. What is your company really good at executing? The rest should be outsourced. From customer support, inside sales to general admin work, Rocket Station tackles the day to day operations, so you focus on your exploding bottom line.
As the CEO, what was the inspiration for founding the company?
I started investing in real estate right out of college and had some success. I did what any underqualified and overconfident person does, quit my job and set out to build my dream company. What I thought was business building was really just a complex trap of never ending fires and endless work weeks. Long hours led to missed commitments and disappointments both personally and professionally. The guilt I felt every night before bed was enough to search for a better way. Virtual staffing from a world-class service provider was the answer for me. Service providers have teams that are already trained, highly skilled, qualified and no labor agreement. I started with inside sales and quickly moved all accounting and bookkeeping to a virtual team. Today, any task that can be done on a phone or computer, our teams can perform.
Companies can find themselves growing quickly with new clients and a large workforce dedicated to providing excellent service and products. Yet, growth can also limit what a company can do. Grow too quickly and hire too many employees, and things could go pear-shaped fast. Rocket Station allows businesses to outsource everyday work and prevent them from feeling the pressure of growth. According to Nickell, daily tasks are outsourced to Rocket Station’s dedicated teams allowing for otherwise impossible possibilities and profitability.
How can businesses improve with using virtual staffing (assistants) to help their clients?
Rocket Station is fortunate to work with amazing companies in eight different countries. An example is a mid-market service provider in Minneapolis, Minnesota with 400 employees, thousands of clients across the nation, and growing very quickly. Growth can cause many issues. Increased marketing budget increases the number of phone, email, and chat inquiries for customer support. Sales teams endure increased pressure to organize, track and manage leads. Bookkeeping can’t keep up with the increased queue. Nearly every department feels the pressure of growth. Rocket Station relieves all the workforce management pressure. Daily tasks are outsourced to our dedicated teams allowing for otherwise impossible possibilities and profitability.
How can virtual staffing assistants alter the way businesses work in modern times?
The largest and most successful companies in the world have been outsourcing since email and cloud storage have been around. Modern times have completely changed the way businesses operate. You are no longer required to have a terrible experience with someone who barely speaks your language and definitely can’t spell your name. Technology advancements allow small to midsize operators to provide a better service than previously thought possible. The most successful companies today are outsourcing the majority of their staff. Dedicated outsourcing improves efficiency, productivity and can add millions to your bottom line. The fear of English proficiency or competency is no longer an issue. You can hire a college educated and highly skilled workforce for any position for a fraction of the cost of hiring in the U.S.
Rocket Station’s virtual staffing enables a company to eliminate mid-skill jobs, freeing up capital that can be put elsewhere. Millions of dollars can be saved in virtual staffing making a business far more profitable and owner, CEOs, and board members happier.
What is the future of virtual staffing?
It is getting harder and harder for businesses to justify hiring mid-skill labor internally in the United States. Virtual staffing is the future for all industries. Rocket Station performed a comprehensive study of hundreds of client partners and the results were fascinating. The majority of tasks performed by Rocket Station team members, for $10 an hour, replaced $40,000 to $70,000 jobs. When asked about the multiple millions of dollars saved in labor cost one CEO replied, “The bump to the P&L is nice. The board of directors are obviously your biggest fan. I mostly enjoy the emotional capital I get back from not having to manage the teams. Rocket Station allows our high level team members to provide more value to the company than ever before. I enjoy walking into the office much more today than I did before Rocket Station changed our business.”
Robert, what is a day in your life like?
Most days are spent really doing one of two things. First, I spend a lot of time visiting client partners in an effort to understand how we can continue to add value to their businesses. Second, you will find me at conferences speaking about outsourcing best practices and also learning as much as I possibly can. A big part of my job is staying ahead of the curve. I get to spend several weeks in Asia each year working with the greatest team of leaders in the world at Rocket Station headquarters. When I’m not traveling, you’ll find me playing with the most fun nephews in the world.
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“We achieve more when we chase the dream instead of the competition.”
“What good is having a belly if there’s no fire in it? Wake up, drink your passion, light a match and get to work!”
Robert Nickell isn’t the only man with a vision at Rocket Station. Vice President of Operations Marc Nickell isn’t just one of the heads of the company helping to build it into a formidable operation, but he is family. Marc has been a part of the team since the beginning when Rocket Station opened its doors. Along with Robert, Marc has helped change the face of business with Rocket Station’s virtual staffing.
Marc, prior to joining Rocket Station as the company’s VP of Operations, you worked for the United States Air Force Academy where you served as the Associate Athletic Director of Development. How did that experience prepare you for your current role?
I was very fortunate to be able to work and develop relationships with some of the best minds in every industry in my previous jobs. The amount of information I was able to absorb from them has been invaluable to the success in my current position. I can’t tell you the number of leadership lessons I learned through the relationships I built with executives all over the country that I implement today.
How is virtual staffing changing the way people do business on a daily basis?
The business world has been gradually moving towards a more virtual workforce for years. Those that are still resisting the virtual workforce movement will eventually struggle to find and retain top talent in their respective industries. Virtual staffing, and specifically outsourcing, is drastically changing the way small and mid-sized businesses are operating. Companies like Rocket Station give access to a resource that once was only available to bigger companies with massive budgets. We are the resource that allows businesses to document their processes, hire a hassle-free virtual workforce at a fraction of the cost, and then scale their business in ways that were not previously possible.
As Nickell notes, Rocket Station has made it easier and more affordable than ever for small and mid-sized companies to outsource work. Outsourcing is no longer a tool just for major corporations. It is a tool that every business can now take advantage of.
Can you tell us about Rocket Station’s podcasts and what listeners can gain from listening to the episodes available on the company’s website?
We are asked almost daily to speak at events, on podcasts, radio shows, webinars, etc., so the links on rocketstation.com are a few of the many platforms you can find Rob talking about the work of our amazing teams. A consistent theme listeners will hear is of the importance of taking everything out of peoples’ heads and actually codifying their processes through mind maps, documents, videos, etc. We are firm believers in strategy preceding execution. We work with our clients to build out these very detailed mind maps and process documents as the foundation to our relationships, prior to clients ever interviewing for the jobs they need to fill.
As an entrepreneur, what is it like to work with your brother and build up a unique brand?
This is something that I think is pretty special. We are truly a disruptor in the business world so it’s pretty cool to be on the cutting edge with my brother. Our personalities are extremely different and our strengths as professionals are also very different. Due to this and our mutual respect, we complement each other in the office in a way that I think is pretty rare. We have a vision for the company and my goal every day is to drive the business one step closer to realizing that vision, while trying to free up his time to put his unique skill set on full display.
What can clients and potential customers expect from Rocket Station in the future?
Regardless of how big we become as a company, our goal is and always will be to provide a world class experience. Whether you are looking for a single full-time teammate or incorporating hundreds of virtual team-members into your business, your experience will be very similar in the sense that it is personalized to you. What people can expect from us moving forward is more of the same. We believe we are the best at what we do and the experience we provide our clients is a big part of that equation.
What is a day in your life like?
A typical day for me varies but there are a few things that are consistent. We start every morning with a couple quick team huddles via video call to discuss the previous day, priorities moving forward, and any challenges that need to be addressed. Those typically only last 15 to 20 minutes but give everyone confidence to attack their day at full speed. We talk to our clients about putting everyone in their best and highest use positions and we practice that at Rocket Station as well. Due to this, I have a team that supports everything I do in managing the day-to-day of the business so that I can spend my time strategically planning, making decisions and consistently evaluating everything going on.
Marc, what is something most people don’t know about you?
What really drives me is to make an impact and to make a difference in the world. What is fun for me, in addition to working with my brother and dad, is the impact we make every single day on the lives of our clients, teammates, and communities. We have clients who have taken their first family vacation in years because we helped them get organized and efficient, and they now have the freedom and confidence to leave the office for an extended period of time. It’s also incredibly fulfilling to see the thousands of people this company has impacted internationally. Most of our internal teammates are not only supporting their immediate families, but also support their extended families, and have the opportunity to do so because they work for Rocket Station. Our Rocket Station Cares outreach program is also consistently working in communities simply to give back and care for people who need it. It’s incredibly rewarding and extremely impactful work that tugs at the heart strings in more ways than you can imagine.
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
The world is essentially getting smaller by the day due to exponential advancement in technology. A smaller world requires people to be more open-minded in order to live harmoniously. If I could change just one thing, it would be for people to be more accepting of others and their cultures.
Rocket Station is changing the face of business for small and mid-sized companies. Now, the tools that were once reserved for large corporations can be accessed by more companies allowing them to compete and make profits like never before.
The Nickell family saw a problem and created a solution. As Rocket Station continues to disrupt the way business works, more companies will be able to compete. The playing field has been leveled and Rocket Station is the reason for it.
For more information on Rocket Station and Robert and Marc Nickell, visit www.rocketstation.com
Journalist and author. Contributor