Rabia Nasir Mahmood Interviews Randall Agee (Part 1)
Rabia: Hello As-Salaam-Alaikum, my name is Rabia, and today I will talk about a success story of Randall Agee who is working with the people of Pakistan. You will be amazed at how he’s been able to work with Pakistanis and build a successful company called Allshore Virtual Staffing.
Rabia: Hello how are you?
Randall: I’m great how are you doing?
Rabia: Thank you so much for joining me in this live video.
Randall: Your welcome and nice to see you!
Rabia: So Randall, you are working with Pakistani people for a long time. So firstly, I just want to know about you. Who is Randall?
Randall: I am 40 years old, and I was born in Oklahoma, USA, and I have lived here most of my life. I lived in Texas briefly for about five years. I went to school at the University of Oklahoma but ended up graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in Dallas, TX. I was hoping to be a pilot in the United States Air Force, but a medical condition kept me from realizing that dream. So I had to fall back on my career of web programming, and that was early 2000. So that’s kind of been my life, being involved in computers and web technology since 2003. In 2008, I ended up talking with some Pakistanis because I needed some programming help, and I know you are going to ask more questions about that later so I will save that story, but that is me. I have a family, I have children, and we have dogs and cats. We live in a home here in Norman, and we are just kind of making our way through life like everybody else.
Rabia: Ok, so. A person wanted to be a pilot and ended up in entrepreneurship working with software. Very interesting.
Randall: Yes, I wanted to be a pilot from a young age, airplanes fascinated me. I have my private license so I can legally fly, but my degree is in Management Information Systems which was my fallback plan in case something happened with the Air Force route. Thank goodness I did have that degree to fall back on.
Rabia: When we are walking through the path of life, sometimes we have to change our discipline as well. It’s ok. It’s a part of life. God knows which path we are better suite for and that is why God changes our plans. God knew you would work with Pakistani people and that’s why he changed your path!
Randall: That’s true! That’s true! Yeah, if I would have been a pilot, I would have been flying big heavy cargo planes, and I would have never needed to reach out to Pakistan. I would have never met thousands and thousands of awesome people! So I am pleased with the path God chose for me!
Rabia: So I saw your profile picture, and you are wearing a Pakistani cricket jersey and holding a bat. What is the story there?
Randall: I visited Islamabad in 2012, (read my daily Pakistan visit journal here) and I was able to meet all of the people that I had worked with for several years. That jersey was one of the gifts that they gave me. I brought it home and displayed in my office for many years. I also wanted a cricket bat very badly, because you can’t easily buy a cricket bat here in Oklahoma. However, I didn’t want a cricket bat that they bought brand new and sent it to me, I wanted something a little more meaningful.
I asked everyone in my offices to buy a cricket bat and go play a real game with it. Then at the end of the game, I want everyone to sign the bat and send it to me. So that is why you see all of those signatures on that bat. Those are all signatures of the people that played in that match that night. There are about 50 signatures on it. I keep that bat proudly displayed in my office, and it’s one of the coolest things that I have from all of the stuff that I have done with Pakistanis over the years.
Rabia: That’s really nice. I want to tell my followers, that he started GoPakistan.com that is dealing with helping people in Pakistan gain entrepreneurial skills and international skills. What is your life story before starting GoPakistan.com?
Randall: Well, I told you everything up to around 2008. I started GoPakistan.com on May 1, 2018. I’ll tell you about the decade in between 2008 and 2018 that has been quite an amazing journey for me. I started a software company called Allshore Virtual Staffing here in the USA in 2008, and I partnered with Raheel Afzal from Islamabad, and he started DatumSquare IT Services at the same time. We started these two companies to serve each other.
Allshore would be the stateside company that would find clients, and Raheel would find and hire highly qualified software developers that were willing to work U.S. business hours. These tasks have been tough over the years, but we have been able to find amazing people in Pakistan willing to do it.
So over the last ten years, Raheel and I have been focused on growing those businesses. We went from one developer to having over 100 developers hired out to clients all over the United States. So now we have three different offices, Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. Each one of those offices has support staff such as recruiters, HR managers, network engineers and office assistants. We have over 125 total employees across all three Pakistani office locations and the U.S. office.
Over the last ten years, I have sent over $12,000,000 USD to Pakistan to pay salaries, to pay rent, to pay all the vendors that we use. I feel very proud of the fact that we have been able to give back to the Pakistani economy and to support so many families and employees through an idea I had back in 2008.
Rabia: Really inspiring story! So when you were starting this business did you have a fear of whether you would be successful or not?
Randall: Absolutely, I have lost many sleepless nights over the years, and it’s not just whenever you start a business are you nervous, but throughout the journey you get nervous. Because a lot can happen throughout a business’s lifetime that causes a lot of stress.
See Related Article: First Steps In Starting A Software Development Business (Part 1)
You know one of the things that used to keep me up at night was the question of, “What if I lose my largest client?” What would happen? How could I afford all of the salaries and rent that I am responsible for? However, worrying is a useless emotion, so you worry and worry and worry, and you wake up the next day, and nothing happens that worried you. So you spent all of this useless energy and time worrying about all the negative things that might happen and most of the time none of those things occur.
So that’s one of the things that I have learned over the years is not to stress as much worrying about the worst outcomes. Instead focus more on solving those problems or making sure that those bad things don’t happen. If I would have spent a lot more time on positive emotions and thinking positively on what could have happened if I did this or did that, then the business could have been much bigger than it is today, to be honest with you.
Rabia: Lovely, it means we have to focus on what can we do in a good way so we can grow our business, instead of worry about the negatives. Okay my next question is, what is your experience working with the Pakistani people and what do you want them to learn.
Randall: The experience has been amazing to be honest with you. I’ve worked with all different nationalities. I have worked with Americans, Filipinos, Indians Russians and every time I think that I need to expand and diversify my software development teams out of Pakistan, I always come back to Pakistan. I come back because there is a particular chemistry that I have with Pakistanis that I enjoy and highly value.
The accountability I have found in Pakistan is second to none. People there want to work so hard for you, they just need a little bit of guidance to polish their skills so they can communicate better internationally and to be able to represent themselves professionally. Once you invest the time and energy into a Pakistani person, then you have a fantastic resource for many years. This is what I have found that if I invest a little time and care into a Pakistani, then what I get back is unbelievable. I get loyalty, friendship, professionalism, hard work ethic and pretty much everything you could ask for.
I would leave your audience with this. Pakistanis must focus on their professionalism. So many Pakistani freelancers come to me and want me to look at their profiles on Upwork or Fiverr and ask me “Why aren’t I getting any business?” I can take one look at their profile and tell them exactly why. There are tons of grammar mistakes on these profiles. Things like not capitalizing an “I” in a sentence.
Really focus on your professionalism and really learn the English language if you are promoting yourself internationally.
See Related Article: 15 Common Email Mistakes Pakistanis Companies Make That Puzzle Westerners
Stay tuned for Part II of this interview! I say some pretty trailblazing things about letting go of your fears of other nationalities and societies!