And why you should choose a BPO too.
excerpt from “The VA Element” by BizDev Jeff
Adam The Entrepreneur
Adam stared at the Skype chat he’s had going on for the past three months. A chat that has now gone cold. Silent. A simple message to the freelancer he’d hired he’d sent three days earlier, laying asleep with no reply or even a “seen” status.
It simply said “Hey, are you there?”
This had happened once before, but there had been a tropical typhoon and the freelancer had lost power. A day later he was back and working. Even apologized. Adam let it slide. The freelancer had no control at all over the weather.
Adam minimized the Skype chat box and checked the shared documents he’d set up in Google drive with his freelancer. All of the intellectual property was gone. Missing. And the freelancer was nowhere to be found.
His stomach sank. He felt helpless.
Adam was going to have to spend all weekend to get things caught up now. Re-doing everything. Luckily he had some files backed up- but almost everything he’d paid for was simply gone. With nowhere to turn.,
The freelancer was great in the beginning. Attentive, respectful and on time. But after a few weeks, maybe the first month, their work became slower, slop[ier, and erratic. More time was being spent on simpler tasks.
He couldn’t understand what happened. He’d always paid on time. Every Friday like clockwork. Had even paid early a few times on the request of his freelancer. To help out.
Now he was screwed. Nowhere to turn. He had no choice but to cut his losses and move on. He made the decision there and then to never hire a freelancer directly again. From now on, he was going to use a BPO. They had management, a point of contact. Most of all a BPO has security that this kind of situation won’t occur. Sure, it costs a little more, but the benefits are worth it….
This was a nightmare.
There Are So Many Great Freelancers
The above story may seem a tad bit exaggerated? Perhaps, and of course I’ll admit it’s not always the norm to this extreme. But it has happened and will happen again to people who hire freelancers directly rather than going through an agency or BPO.
Now that isn’t to say there are a plethora of amazing freelancers. I should know, we employ them with TeleworkPH. In fact, some of the best, most highly-skilled freelancers come to work for BPO companies like ours.
So you may ask, if a freelancer is so highly skilled and disciplined, why would they want to work for a BPO or agency rather than work for themselves?
An excellent and valid question.
The Best VA’s Work In BPO Companies
Why would a highly skilled heart surgeon choose to work at a hospital rather than do surgery in their garage? The answer to that is obvious and simple right? So simple, it doesn’t need to be explained any further.
The best VA’s choose to work at an agency or BPO for many reasons. But before I answer that it should be pointed out that we don’t hire just any freelancer. In fact, our vetting process is highly extensive. It includes not only English tests, but also IT tests (if they are going to work from home) as well as personality profiles and aptitude tests.
It’s not easy for a freelancer to get hired by a BPO to be a part of the Virtual Assistant team. We only accept the best of the best VA’s, and of course, you have the final decision on which Virtual Assistant you bring on.
So now, back to the question why a highly skilled Virtual Assistant freelancer would want to work for an agency rather than being hired directly. Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons.
Sometimes, Clients Don’t’ Pay Even The Best VA’s
Just as it’s a gamble hiring a freelancer or VA direct, it’s a gamble for the best VA’s to take on clients. Yes, it does happen, some clients don’t want to pay. Or they are slow to pay. And when you’re a freelancer working and living hand to mouth, the difference of a few days delay in getting paid can be devastating. That is a huge struggle for freelancers.
We offer our Virtual Assistants a highly competitive salary. More than that, we offer a consistent salary. Even when the client is slow to pay, the freelancer doesn’t feel it. They get their salary on a regular basis. They are relieved of having to chase down a client for payment. We take care of that for them. They only have to focus on delivering high-quality service.
Benefits, Paid Vacation, Holiday Pay, Medical Insurance
Our Virtual Assistants receive all of the above. Including SSS and pag-ibid. But there’s more. There are also sick days earned, which are not billed to the client. We take care of it for the Virtual Assistant, so they can focus on getting better.
Taking it even a step further, we also give allowances for internet, electricity, and meals for work from home Virtual Assistants. For in-office VA’s we give a travel and meal allowance every month to cover those costs.
Computers break down. Sometimes they just stop working. For a freelancer this could be a game ender. Buying a new computer is costly and a huge expense. Even getting one repaired can be too much to bear.
For the serious freelancer, the ones that have made being a Virtual Assistant in whatever specialty they excel in their career, they know how damaging this can be. We help with these situations when they get hired by a BPO like TeleworkPH Since our number one goal is keeping the clients happy and always producing
Ongoing Projects For The Best VA’s
There are a growing number of freelancers taking to the internet, especially now since the COVID-19 pandemic. Competition is fierce. Many high quality freelancers and Virtual Assistants find themselves having to hustle to find work. Or even worse, being undercut by less qualified freelancers who inflate their profiles and saturate the platforms.
When a freelancer takes a VA position with a BPO, they are, in most cases, in it for the long haul. Even if one client decides to end the contract, the BPO company will then place the VA with another client. This benefits the BPO, the client and the freelancer. In the event that we cannot immediately place them with another account or client, then the freelancer will say in the current rotation to be a candidate for the next available client whose needs match their skill set.
For The Client, Management Is The Main Benefit
Just like in the story above, one of the biggest pain points for those who hire freelancers direct is management. A freelancer may have an impressive resume of skills, but are they disciplined enough to see things through? Many are, and then again many are not.
One of the biggest benefits from finding your VA element through TeleworkPH is management. We stay on top of the Virtual Assistants making sure they are where they need to be at the time they need to be there. We consult with you, the client, on metrics and take care of any coaching or reprimand that may need to be done. This frees you up from uncomfortable situations or the fear that if you reprimand your VA, they may not show up the next day.
Two Misconceptions About BPO VA’s
Just today I was on Facebook in one of the business groups that I belong to and the topic of Freelancers, specifically Filipino freelancers, arose. Also, the pricing was mentioned throughout the course of the discussion. The Facebook debate was on. I didn’t interject myself, but rather just read. I find many times these debates end up going nowhere which was the case here.
The fact is, and I won’t tell anyone any different, that you will pay more for a Virtual Assistant through a BPO rather than hiring direct from an online freelancer platform. However, taking a look in the previous section at all the benefits you’ll receive, then it really is a no-brainer. You’ll get what you pay for.
It happens a lot to me in prospect discovery calls when they are under the impression that they are going to get a Virtual Assistant from a BPO company, like TeleworkPH, for the same price as a freelancer. Once they discover everything they get, then it all makes sense.
You’re Not Stuck
Another misconception to your benefit is that once you hire a VA through a BPO company, that’s who your stuck with even if they don’t perform. Nothing could be further from the truth. If your VA is underperforming, then we’ll replace them (of course, give us time to coach and perhaps rectify the situation first). The contract you’ll have is with us, TeleworkPH, not the specific freelancer.
If a VA is removed, instead of you spending even more time scouring through the freelancer platforms looking for a replacement, we handle all of that for you.