Alex Garcia – Economic Soldiers of the Philippine Future
Last updated August 30, 2019
Derek is joined again by Alex Garcia and they will talk more broadly about the outsourcing sector and they will deep dive a little bit into Alex’s experience. They will also briefly discuss OFWs and the online world.
- Alex was a licensed teacher before he decided to venture into the BPO industry.
- Alex started VA4REI without any external funding, which according to Derek is quite rare for startup companies especially the ones from the West. Right now, VA4REI has 50 to 60 VAs servicing 100 clients.
- VA4REI has been servicing Real Estate investor but now they’re expanding into SEO, graphic designing and web development
- According to Alex, the BPO industry will still grow in the future especially in the Philippines. He mentioned Filipinos being hard workers and the Filipinos’ grasp of the English language to cite a few reasons why companies should outsource to the Philippines.
- Derek and Alex briefly discussed the educational system in the Philippines and the challenges that Filipinos are facing.
- Alex mentioned the government support for outsourcing and the BPO sector is growing.
- Outsource Accelerator is trying to promote outsourcing to the world but most especially to the Philippines. According to Derek, people that work in the outsourcing industry are the “economic soldiers of the Philippine future” and they need to be celebrated more.
- Alex started his company VA4REI without any external funding which is an impressive feat.
- According to Derek, he thinks that outsourcing is so brilliant because it is offering people in the Philippines an equal opportunity to do professional roles, to earn professional salaries and work for companies in the West without having to leave their families.
- According to Derek, people that work in the outsourcing industry are the “economic soldiers of the Philippine future” and they need to be celebrated more.
Hi and welcome to another episode of the Outsource Accelerator Podcast. My name is Derek Gallimore and today I am joined by Alex Garcia of VA4REI. So we joined we were joined by Alex a few episodes ago and if you want his backstory and learn more about his operation then go and listen to number 137. This is episode number one hundred and forty. And today we talk more broadly about the outsourcing sector and we deep dive a little bit into Alex’s experience. And also you kind of you know interestingly it veered a bit towards the online world and the OFW which is the overseas foreign or Filipino workers. So a really interesting chat and I’m sure you’ll find this interesting as well if you want to get in touch with Alex or know anymore about what we talk about then go to our show notes and that is at outsourceaccelerator.com/140. Enjoy.
Derek: Hi and welcome back everybody. Today again I’m super excited to be joined by Alex Garcia of VA4REI that is virtual assistance for Real Estate Investors. Hi Alex. How are you doing?
Alex: Great. Thank you so much Derek.
Derek: And we spoke to Alex previously about his origin about his journey in outsourcing and also about VA4REI. I wanted to get Alex back for some insight into his future. The future as he sees the industry and kind of outsourcing generally for the Philippines. So Alex I suppose initially do you wanna just introduce yourself and tell the people how you got to be running or the founder of Virtual Assistance for Real Estate Investors
Alex: Yeah. So I discussed before I decided into BPO industry venture because I was frustrated with the system of education. I was once but I’m a licensed teacher and decided to hop into the BPO industry. So I tried telemarketing selling timeshare, CSR and chat support. And finally I bumped into this online world and I became a virtual assistant.
Derek: Cool. And you know you’ve founded this you know you’re only sort of 9, 10 years graduated, you’ve founded this company, you’ve built it without any external funding. And you know in the West it’s so common now if people want to build a business they don’t do anything until I’ve secured funding and get backers. But you’ve basically built this you know grassroots startup.
Derek: And now you have about. I’m just recounting a bit about sort of 50 60 VAs servicing how many clients. How many clients have you got?
Alex: !00 clients more or less..
Derek: Fantastic. Well then and now you’re expanding you’re expanding services. You have a very I think very strategic niche of Real Estate investors. You’ve been servicing them but now you’re expanding your services to kind of SEO and web and bookkeeping.
Alex: Right. Exactly.
Derek: Fantastic. So happy days and I really want to promote outsourcing and you know you’re one of those champions of outsourcing you’re employing 50 60 people and you’re supporting all their families. And this is why I think outsourcing is so brilliant because it is really offering people in the Philippines an opportunity to do professional roles to earn professional salaries and work in the West without having to leave their families.
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Derek: Super, super exciting. You’ve been in the BPO industry for ten years now. Where do you see this whole thing going? Do you see a slowdown? What are your hopes or the industry over the next few years?
Alex: I think it’s still it will still grow.There is huge impact for growth possibilities because by nature Filipinos are hard worker right? We can speak English well. We are dedicated. We are happy people, often to small things we laugh. We are fun. We are very close oriented with our family. We like it. It’s there huge potential if you’re going to hire call center or you’re going to outsource your business here in the Philippines.
Derek: Yeah I think the cultural alignment is huge, isn’t it? It can’t be.
Derek: Understated really because and as you say the Philippines they really are fantastic communicators they’re really good with sort of interpersonal stuff but they’re also good with kind of creativity stuff. So the… in terms of design and kind of frontend stuff in animation now. So it’s it’s incredible future. Well what do you see the skilled development in skills today compared to when you started? Because a lot of it was just kind of call centers on the phones. Have you seen a lot of kind of skill development within the industry?
Alex: Yes absolutely yes. Like what we’re doing now is that where we’re slowly expanding into SEO, graphic designing and web development.I think it’s just like most of, it will boil down to like the educational system here in the Philippines. Because we are not really trained to do some of these skilled tasks. So what we’re doing is not doing it on our own. So because of the Internet’s easy access and that’s the reason why we were able to start our own business or run know about SEO and web development. They’re still lead and they are training at the college level. Companies out there where you pay and they teach you. But it is still it’s still minimal compared to I think some of the other countries.
Derek: Yeah. And you know you started your while you said you trained as a teacher. And you left that industry for the outsourcing industry because of better opportunities. And I agree with you that the education system really isn’t up to par. But I also feel that there’s big opportunities for people now to self educate themselves. And especially you working in the tech environment you get you have access to the same sort of educational resources as someone does sitting in Silicon Valley because it’s all the forums of the chat groups in the.
Derek: I just see that as a huge opportunity because you know kids need to get to a certain level and a certain foundation but once they have that foundation the online world just opens up unlimited possibilities for them.
Alex: Correct. Because before when I started the company I don’t know anything about business. I don’t know anything about business system. But since Google is freely there and YouTube is there and also plus I can download some of the books freely. So that’s why it’s not it’s a matter of mindset and dedication of a person if they really wanted to be successful in this industry. But also at the same time, hopefully in the future the government can really incorporate this into the educational system because this is a huge industry and we haven’t really gotten to the full potential of it and it’s still early.
Derek: Yes absolutely. I try and encourage people in the Philippines to look out into the world and really see a bigger opportunity than ever for someone in the Philippines to earn the same or better income than someone in Wall Street or in Silicon Valley because it’s based now on what you know and what you do as opposed to where you were born and what university you went to.
Derek: And so you’re from Davao which is a secondary or tertiary city in the Philippines. How many people live there, by the way? Do you know the population?
Alex: I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
Derek: I suppose is fairly big a few million. But how do you see you know you mentioned the mindset earlier. I think if only you have that mindset that you can learn and that you know where to go and learn. But how do you see the average high school graduate in Davao where you’re from? Are they aware of this opportunity out there? . Is it is it sort of obvious or are most actually still not quite aware of how this crazy Internet thing works.And the big opportunities in outsourcing.
Alex: I think they’re slowly seeing the opportunities online. And the reason why it’s still on the early stage and to be. In fairness with the government it is also doing especially the Department of the ICT forgot the exact meaning of that. So they’re trying to hire all these people from our industry and try to reach out not only in the city but also in the rural areas. Hey you can already work from home. If you have good computer and good internet and they’ll just waste it for some other stuff online like wasting your time on Facebook without earning money. There are so many options already.
Derek: And the government it is relatively progressive isn’t it? Because it is funding a kind of training programs to get people into call centers and get people in to the BPO sector, isn’t it?
Derek: It really is a huge opportunity. And you know the thing I like about outsourcing is it can afford to hire the best brains in the country because you can outsource whatever like developers and really high value things and they don’t have to leave the country. So the brains aren’t leaving. And you know you can even develop a middle class where you can develop more and more skilled people. So it’s good.
Alex: That’s really our goal is that this is why they call it OFW, online Filipino workers right? Overseas Filipino Workers.
Derek: Yeah that’s really cool. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Alex: And so instead of them going abroad and try to look for a job there it can already be done like.
Derek: So to put that in context like the OFW is overseas foreign work which is a huge huge number of Filipinos that go overseas as migrant workers and they send their income back to their families and province.
Derek: And that contributes I think above 10 percent to the GDP and bravery really is a sort of economic savior. But now there is a progression towards people in outsourcing. Which is now outstripping the OFW income and it’s keeping people at home. And I actually haven’t heard that term for OFW for Online Filipino Worker that’s super cool.
Alex: That’s the new meaning of it.
Derek: Yeah. So and so Outsource Accelerator, we’re not not trying to blow our own trumpet that we are trying to promote outsourcing to the world but also to the Philippines. And we are trying to say that like people that work in outsourcing that the kind of economic soldiers of the Philippine future. And they need to be celebrated more and it needs to be more of a community and people need to let the other people know that this big opportunity is out there. So that’s one of the messages that we’re trying to. To develop as well.
Alex: Exactly. And I really like. Because if we know the advantages of OFW and broken families my mom was working before abroad so I know the feeling. So this is why I started the company because I told myself that hey I don’t want to experience what I experienced before to be separated with your parents. It’s not easy. Yeah. You have the money but it’s not all about the money.
Derek: Yeah. Absolutely. How many years was your mother away for?
Alex: About 30 years.
Derek: Wow that’s a good chunk.
Alex: So you grow up basically without your mom.
Derek: That’s amazing. How often would she. How often was she able to return home?
Alex: Once a year that’s going to be one month every year.
Derek: Right. And that is such you know to detract from you know that effect on you. But it is such a common story of the Philippines.
Alex: It is, yeah, it’s a common story.
Derek: And one that now hopefully outsourcing can change because we can keep the skills at home in the Philippines and working for the Philippines.
Alex: Correct. Right. That’s why my wife is here. Just working from home. Also my kids that is working in the business.
Derek: Ah yeah? Your kid working in the business?
Alex: No, no, no. I mean the kids are just here beside me playing around if I’m working. But of course I get my work station. But it’s just the feeling of you can just see them anytime you want. That’s a plus.
Derek: There they are there. That is fantastic. Thank you so much Alex. Of course. So your company is VA4REI which is virtual assistance for real estate investors which is obviously the niche explained in the title. People want to get in touch with you how can they do that?
Alex: Also. Yeah you can search for us on Facebook and YouTube we are all also there. So we are everywhere.
Derek: Perfect. And we’ll put all of those links in the show notes. If you want to get in touch with Alex it’s super super easy. So thanks so much for joining us.
Alex: Thanks so much Derek
Okay. That was Alex Garcia for VA4REI. If you want to get in touch with Alex or know any more about what we spoke about then go to our show notes at outsourceaccelerator.com/140 and of course if you want to ask anything then please do just email us at [email protected]. See you next time.