Guest: Alex Garcia
Presenter: Henry Acosta
Guest Bio: Canecio Nick Mesias aka Alex Garcia is the CEO of Virtual Assistants 4 Real Estate Investors (VA4REI) and Virtual Assistants 4 Real Estate Agents (VA4REA) and the founder of VA Davao, a famous local group of Virtual Assistants and one of the founding officers of Davao Virtual Assistants Association (DVAA), one of the largest local group of remote workers. After spending nearly a decade working remotely and marketing for his startup company, Alex knows what truly drives conversions, and it’s not mastering the marketing flavor of the week. It’s how well you connect with the heart-beating people you’re trying to help and communicate your understanding back to them. Alex holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in English from the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP).
Segment overview: In this episode, CEO of Virtual Assistants 4 Real Estate Investors Alex Garcia joins us to share insights about their company. VA4REI‘s goal is to help Real Estate Investors increase productivity by eliminating their daily grunt works in the most efficient way possible. Alex takes a vision and makes it reality through strategy development. He intuitively sees the threads of opportunity that wind through a company, brings them together into a coherent whole, helps others extend their thinking, and drives material business advantage. He has connections to different Real Estate gurus in the US, like Duncan Weirman, Tim Cook, and Rony Velasquez. In addition to his extensive home-based and marketing experience, Alex is a trained sales, customer and technical support consultant in some of the known BPO industry in the Philippines. For the past two years, the company has grown from 1 to more than 25 clients across the United States. From 1 employee they grew to more than 15 employees and the company’s trajectory is going higher and higher each month.
Address: Unit 2G, 2nd Floor, RC Kids Apartelle, #73 East DBPO Village, Ma-a, Davao City
Contact: (INT’L) +1 321-200-0155
Transcript – VA4REI
Henry Acosta: This is the Outsourcing and Offshoring Philippines podcast with Henry Acosta. I’m Henry and our guest today is Alex Garcia or others call him by Nick Mesias of VA4REI or Virtual Assistant for Real Estate Investors. Alex founded his company back in 2012 and all his employees are home-based, so that’s a little different from the usual outsourcing services or outsourcing centers that we have. Since they are little different, they also offer a different kind of service since they want to build long term relationships instead of just giving out jobs or servicing clients’ needs. They have grown steadily throughout the years and it shows. With all that said, welcome to the show Nick. Glad to have you here.
Alex Garcia: Hi Henry. Thank you for having me in your show.
Henry Acosta: We appreciate you for coming on. You told me a while ago that you don’t really take a lot of interviews?
Alex Garcia: Right. I’m a shy-type guy (laughs).
Henry Acosta: Well to kick things off, I just wanted to ask, what inspired you into making your company VA4REI?
Alex Garcia: The first thing is that I really have this ambition of having my own business someday but I just don’t know where to start and I don’t know what my strengths are and what niche. Basically, I found out that I’m really good talking with people and then that this also, I’m really intrigued with the rise of the outsourcing industry in the Philippines and this is the reason I joined. I worked in a call center and I’m really having fun talking with people, from being a telemarketer and to being a customer support rep and I also experienced chat with a porn site (laughs). I mean a chat support, that’s what I’m saying (laughs).
Henry Acosta: Well that’s very colorful history that you have there.
Alex Garcia: Right. Then I realized that, I can and then I decided to just do it on my own. But, the virtual assistant industry or the freelancing industry is very new when I started, so that’s why I worked under an agency locally here in Davao City. Then it’s just that the set-up is totally different from the call center industry because I’ll just work in a computer but still in an office environment. I decided like, ‘Hey, this is already possible.’ So that we can work from home as long as you have internet and a good computer. That’s the reason why I slowly resigned and started my own company.
Henry Acosta: Where did the name come from? Or what’s the inspiration?
Alex Garcia: I’ve got an SEO background. I mean not really totally but I know a little bit SEO. The first time I said, ‘I need to hit Google first.’ I want to feed the name to Google first. Basically, our target is assisting real estate investors in the UUS so just making sure is going to be VA4REI. REI is the common term in the U.S. which stands for Real Estate Investors. VA4REI, Virtual Assistants for Real Estate Investors. And it worked because we are on the first page of Google, once you search for virtual assistant for investors. So, that’s it. I know that people will be having a hard time pronouncing our company name, but it’s working for Google and we’re getting leads every day.
Henry Acosta: That’s great news for you guys, that sounds great. Since you guys, I don’t want to say unusual, but unique in a way with the outsourcing industry, what kind of services do you guys offer from an employee’s standpoint and also a client’s standpoint?
Alex Garcia: For a client’s standpoint is that we are giving them a trained virtual assistant. I don’t know if your people or your listeners are aware of virtual assistants right now and they are multi home-based freelancer, online workers, like that. Basically, they are assisting a business owner in the U.S. or some other parts of the world. What we’re doing is that the freelancing industry is relatively huge right now. What we’re doing is that, we’re focusing to one niche which is assisting real estate investors, because that’s where our strengths are. What we do is that, we train our virtual assistant, we tell them the ins and outs of the real estate investing world in the U.S. and that’s what we promise our clients that they can get the quality virtual assistant they need for the real estate industry. And for the VA standpoint is that, I’ve worked as solo entrepreneur before. I’m just alone. The hard part is that how to get a client, alright? And next is how to be paid on time? Those are the challenges. What we assure our VAs is as long as they can just focus on their work, we will provide everything for them. Like give them clients and if they are really good, we’re going to add more clients to them and of course, payment will be every 15th and 30th and no delays on that, we make sure.
Henry Acosta: That’s very professional. Do you usually just get your clients off Google or is there any other way that you guys get clients?
Alex Garcia: There are so many ways that we can get connected with our clients. First is on LinkedIn. What are with LinkedIn is very unique and special because if you’re going to add me on your LinkedIn right now and I can see that you are not into my industry, then I will add you up. Basically, I just make sure that you are a real estate investor and then you just work on the same industry with the real estate people in the U.S. If you’re here, a real estate investor in the Philippines, then I won’t add you up if you’re into other industry. The reason behind that is because I want to get targeted leads and I want to… blast out email or message them, at least I know that these are the right people that we target. That’s our LinkedIn part. Also, we hang out in where the groups are on the Facebook page, real estate investor groups … and other websites where they hang out.
Henry Acosta: Have you ever had real estate investors and clients fly out here in the Philippines? Is that the kind of work you do?
Alex Garcia: Actually, we almost add one. I just partnered up with someone in the U.S. And then I decided to fly in by this month, it just so happens that there’s Martial Law in the Mindanao area, so they cancel it and about to reschedule it.
Henry Acosta: Would ever recommend your clients to ever fly out here and maybe experience the Philippines with our outsourcing?
Alex Garcia: Absolutely. This is our goal, of the company. I want to show them that ‘Hey, this is a beautiful country and what you hear from the news is just probably 10% of who we really are.’
Henry Acosta: That’s true. And with regards to virtual assistance, how are Filipinos different from other countries that service virtual assistance too?
Alex Garcia: I think we’re really great in what we’re doing. We got passion, we got work ethics and we got the skill. I think what we’re going to thrive in this industry is because we are family-oriented people. I’ve realized that the VAs I got right now they are from call centers or they work from the corporate companies, they decided to resign and just focus to work from home because they want to be with their children, their family, and brothers, sisters, whatever, it’s just the Filipino thing. The skills, I can say we’re really good. Plus, Filipinos tend a work overtime without pay as long as their clients are happy.
Henry Acosta: For those clients or the potential clients who are still looking for that one last push with regards to just jumping the gun and doing outsourcing, what advice can you give them?
Alex Garcia: I think it’s basically their reviews. They need to check who these people are and of course, they need to check recommendation. I think the best way really is to look for someone that they recommend you for this right company or right people. That’s the main thing. As you just cannot, everything is online and people can just make up things alright. Basically, they need to check on reviews Google and talk to their friends or someone. Because I think there’s a lot of company out there like Upwork, I worked with Upwork before, that we have to decide to stop working there because of their fees and everything. It’s just that working from a reliable agency like us is very great because there’s people who can support your VA or not, you can check your VA from time to time. That’s it.
Henry Acosta: What’s the best way to get in touch with you Nick?
Alex Garcia: You can visit our website, it’s www.va4rei.com. You can call our phone number for our clients outside, it’s (321) 200-0155. For those, I don’t know if you got local listeners, they can send their resume for those who are interested to be a virtual assistant, send their resume to [email protected]. I think that’s pretty much it.
Henry Acosta: Question, what do you want our listeners to have as a takeaway from this interview, or learn about the Philippines as a place for business?
Alex Garcia: I want to tell them that this is a great country. This is a beautiful place, beautiful people living here. I think what they need is just here. I mostly hire my people locally like someone who can edit videos, someone to do the recording, and one website – it’s great about Filipinos. There are people here who were capable at doing all these things as long as it can be done in the internet, online. It’s a beautiful country, great people. You can just always hire a Filipino. I just want to let you know that in their reviews, we’re assisting Americans so most of our clients are in the U.S and they really recommend Filipino. They really recommend Filipinos because of our communication skills, and our work ethics, and our culture.
Henry Acosta: Sounds great. That’s all our questions for today and thank you for coming on the show.
Alex Garcia: Thank you so much Henry.
Henry Acosta: That was Alex Garcia or Nick Mesias of VA4REI or Virtual Assistant for Real Estate Investors. We just finished talking about his company and what they do to serve their clients and how they get employees. You’ve been listening to the Outsourcing and Offshoring Philippines podcast with Henry Acosta. If you want to listen to more podcasts, you can find us on SoundCloud and iTunes.