Need your advice, specially virtual assistants with several years of experience

Jan 28 '20 Rean 1538 clicks ask

Hi guys, need your advice, specifically Virtual Assistants with several years of experience.

What works for you and what doesn't, what keeps you loyal to the company and what is a GOOD boss to you? What makes you tick?

I need to rant for a bit so you will understand my position.

I've been working online since 2009 and for the most part of it I've been involved in hiring developers, marketers, and writers for myself and partners/clients, and that's quite simple to do because they have a specialized set of skills -- I could say that 99% of them are focused on the work that they do.

Now, my ONLY problem is working with Virtual Assistants from the Philippines - most of them either pretend they are working (even with time trackers), working two jobs (secretly), or outsourcing their job to someone else. In one Skype call, one VA was discussing with someone how they should answer because it was X person who was talking to me then (and I understand Filipino).

I've only experienced this from Virtual Assistants, not from other professionals. I once paid someone $800 monthly to do the typical VA duties involved in eCommerce work (all training included), but for a simple work that can be done in 6 hours daily (I give a lot of leeway and I set really low daily/weekly quotas), that VA still decided that they could take in 2 more jobs outside of our arrangement, and the decline in performance was noticeable. I was paying someone $500 while on training and probation, and this is a number that they AGREED on, but later on backtracks on their words saying it's not enough (why agree in the first place, I'm not forcing anyone, and besides, previous VA experience was only less than 6 months, no portfolio to show).

Anyway, you get the idea. My main problem is with Virtual Assistants. And perhaps, I'm the problem here? Am I being too lax, or is $500-$800 not a good range for someone with barely above average skills? I understand that you get what you pay for, but quite honestly, I wouldn't even pay $250 for those sub-par performance. There is a pattern here because it keeps on happening.

What are your thoughts on this? I am asking, because, quite honestly, I think you could help me understand things better. I see a lot of great discussions here. And maybe I can give it another try.

12 Replies

To be fair, it is not just Virtual Assistants. Nagkataon lang siguro na puro VA iyong pumalya sa part mo. But it also happens with different professionals. On my part, I handle couple of Accountants and I am not impressed on most of their performance. They are good with their skills but I can't say the same for their work ethics.

One of the problems, most of those who accepts low rate are those who are still struggling to find clients consistently. So sacrificing few $$$ per hour, they had to accept lower bid. Unfortunately, most of them lacks a good work ethics.

Madami ang nagpapatay oras, thinking the client's budget is unlimited. While some don't even bother to step up their game. They are satisfied with an ok to below average performance. Ang masama diyan, they ask for an increase without even trying to give more value.

Then once these professionals learn the ropes around this industry, they are now more comfortable in finding their own clients consistently. So after 3-6 months or a year, they either leave you for a better client or ask you some ridiculous increase.

In our industry, we are really a service oriented industry. So our employees and staffs are our greatest assets. Mas mahirap pa yatang makahanap ng matinong staffs than finding a good client.

I read an article before and it says that it is better to have a more strict form of hiring process. This way, only those who are determined will be hired and they'll value more of their job. Sobrang hirap lang talaga maghanap.

Siguro, setting up an office and hire locally will produce better results. That way, you can monitor them better and keep them at least 6 months or for longer years.

Iba kasi, tingin sa online, ok lang magbreak ng contract kasi walang penalties pero even these online contracts are binding and legal action can be sought.

Anyone is willing to take as many contract as they want.

If performance is your concern then you need to step up your standard. Don't be soft, don't baby. It is a free market and everyone should be manage equally.

Don't do fixed rates if you don't want them taking in other jobs. If it's hourly, then they have to clock in the hours working on your tasks. Simple solution. 🤷‍♂️

500-800 monthly? how many hours do you expect weekly? also, have you considered paying weekly? it is kind of difficult to live on a monthly basis salary for some people. most have immediate financial needs.

@kc Yes, monthly. As for the hours, it is always flexible as long as the targets are being hit. I really don't care if people only work for 2, 3, 4 hours daily as long as the targets (which are really low) are being hit. Initially during the first month, it's weekly payment to establish trust, then every 15 and last working day of the month.

$500-800? That’s basically $3-5/hr. Online world is not totally different sa corporate world when it comes to freelancers/employees. You could answer your question easily. Compensation and happiness should make your freelancers stay. But since you said 3-5 hrs daily work is okay as long as they met the target. Then may problema nga freelancers mo. Why don’t you hire an agency that way you can set your expectations. Or you maybe has an agency yourself.

a lot of people i've read in these threads have multiple clients with multiple laptops. i've personally only handle 1 client a day. more than that and it will actually be too stressful.

there are good days where there is very little work, but there are days that there is a ton of work. if you are working for multiple people and you encounter a day with tons of work for everyone, you will be in shit pile.

your rate is good for starting people, but not very good for experienced people. even if you do train them, people will always lean to finding a better renumerated job. in your case, they are doing 2 or more jobs at once.

honestly i think you need to communicate with your VA on what you expect from them, as well as what they expect from you.

$1000 was good 2 decades ago. $1000 now is just barely enough to feed a family in a city. $300-$1000 is the average monthly condo cost in the city.

Thanks for posting this. I think this is a wake up call not just for you but for some of us as well. As some of us tend to be ungrateful of the opportunity that was given to us, talking about cheating (tracker, outsourcing work and etc). While other aspiring and more dedicated online workers are still here at the bottom shelf waiting for that decent client. Try to find a hiring manager to help you with that task and also have that open-line of communication with the VAs. If you see bullcrap, never be afraid to call it out but also be considerate of your workers. Thank you for giving others a chance to earn a living. I wish you all the luck that you deserve.

Let me enlighten you my dear. For your position being the HR responsible in hiring freelancers to be part of your team, it may really be hard to screen who is the right candidate for a certain job. Most probably you look for their experience, but you take for granted the quality of that experience they had. You may look of their skills, say on graphic designs, which they have practiced it on actual printing shop, but not with online clients, and you don't usually consider that (well, most of you don't) because you want someone who have experiences online, the logic is it's the same softwares used. Next, someone applied with strong personality but most HR gets intimidated not giving them a chance to atleast try. I am not saying all HR are the same but most HR posts qualifications like being self-suficient, have a can do attitude, productive etc, then in reality all they want to work with them are those that can act as their puppets... I have been applying to Filipino HRs but I was never hired.. yet I wonder these foreign clients of mine now commends me for my great job and dedication... These goes to all Filipino HR who feels so privileged with their position, You yourselves know the toxic culture that you have within your teams.. I hope and pray you get to start quitting feeding your egos and misjudging those that truly aims and deserved the positions you are offering.. You are the guide and most of the time it's because of you too that your team mates leaves you behind.

If you think you know more and you are better than your newly hired freelancers, then stand up and do your best to encourage them to be like you.. and not to undermine them because of the inferiority complex that you as their seniors should have eradicated in their first few days of stay with you... as a workplace of trust and confidence can do a lot more than you could imagine..

You may want to consider hiring someone who really loves to learn and perform the work you are offering over someone with experience who only does it for the sake of $$$...

HR people it is your call that matters.. you have yet more to learn despite your expertise on this field.. and that is to connect to your virtual employee's hearts and minds.. PEACE & LOVE😊

Kung ako lng nasa position nang mga VA mo na provided pa ang training, I would really value my job.

I believe if your VA could deliver results then it's fine for him/her to have more than 1 job. I could still remember when my client asked me if I would like to be hired as an employee or as a contractor. So I guess there really is a difference. 😊 contractor - can have more than 1 job.

$500-800 per month is not a "full time" job. Not for freelancers. Since you gave your VA flexi time and expected that the task on hand can be done in 3-4 hours per day. Again it is not considered a full time job.

As per perfomance and quality of work. Trial and error talaga. Integrity, drive and discipline is hard to find. Hit and miss din minsan na swak talaga yung skills ng freelancers. siempre kapag nag-aaply pa lang lahat pinapangako. Tapos kapag andyan na yung work may reklamo na pati sa sweldo. It happens everywhere, ofc set up or online. I'm not an HR person, I cant say that I can relate to your frustration. But I think that's part of the job, right?