Hey, thanks for tuning in to another Partner Spotlight interview at OutsourceSchool.
My name is Connor Gillivan. I’m the CMO and an Owner of Outsource School.
We’re on a mission to help 10,000+ business owners master hiring virtual assistants and freelancers, and industry partnerships is a big way that we’re able to make it happen.
We’re all about creating win-win partnerships where we are able to grow with other companies in the eCommerce, agency, SAAS, and online space.
In this exclusive interview, we interview Gilad Freimann from VAA Philippines.
Gilad Freimann is the founder of VAA Philippines, established on 2017. They recruit virtual assistants from the Philippines, and train them to work with e-commerce sellers (Mainly Amazon Sellers).
Their community has over 400 virtual assistants working with us.
Before founding VAA, he was an Amazon seller myself, building outdoor brands and hired VA’s for my own stores.
He works alongside his wife, Hila who manages a staff of over 40 employees, all based in the Philippines.
Connor: Hey Gilad, thanks for taking the time to chat with us here. We love getting to know our partners better so that our community can benefit from what our partners are offering and doing in the industry. To get started, can you give us a high-level overview of VAA Philippines and how it got started?
Gilad: Hey there! Thanks for having me. VAA Philippines? In a nutshell, we’re all about connecting e-commerce businesses, especially those on Amazon and Walmart, with top-notch virtual assistants from the Philippines. The idea sparked when we saw these businesses juggling so much and thought, “Hey, we’ve got a talented pool of professionals here who can help!” So, we started training them specifically for e-commerce tasks. Fast forward to today, and we’re not just offering services; we’re partnering with businesses, helping them grow and thrive. It’s been quite a journey, and we’re excited about where it’s headed!
Connor: Love that! Can you dive a bit more into the VA expertise that you offer for amazon businesses? I’m sure our audience would love to know exactly what problems you could solve for them.
Gilad: Absolutely! First and foremost, our Amazon VAs are at the heart of our services, adeptly managing the intricacies of the Amazon platform, from product listing optimization to customer inquiries. Complementing them, our PPC VAs specialize in crafting and managing pay-per-click campaigns, ensuring that every advertising dollar is effectively utilized for maximum ROI.
For businesses venturing into wholesale and arbitrage, our VAs excel in sourcing products, negotiating with suppliers, and pinpointing profitable resale opportunities, ensuring you get the best deals and maximize returns.
When it comes to social media, our VAs go beyond just basic postings. They craft engaging content, schedule posts, manage influencers, and analyze engagement metrics across platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, ensuring your brand stays ahead of the curve.
For the business leaders, our executive assistants are indispensable. They manage calendars, handle emails, set up meetings, and even assist with travel or event planning, acting as the reliable right hand to busy executives.
While Amazon is a major focus, we also offer specialized Walmart VA services, catering to the unique demands of the Walmart Seller Center and its clientele.
Lastly, our talented graphic designers are here to elevate your brand’s visuals, be it for product listings, social media, or promotional materials. Their designs are not only aesthetically pleasing but also conversion-driven.
In essence, from Amazon and PPC management to wholesale, arbitrage, social media, executive assistance, Walmart services, and graphic design, our VAs offer comprehensive support, catering to a diverse array of business needs.
Connor: Jumping off of that… if there was one problem you’d say that VAA Philippines solves best for your clients, what would it be? Why?
Gilad: If I were to pinpoint one problem that VAA Philippines solves best for our clients, it would be overwhelm. Many e-commerce businesses, especially those on platforms like Amazon and Walmart, find themselves swamped with a myriad of tasks. From managing product listings, handling customer inquiries, and optimizing PPC campaigns to navigating the complexities of wholesale and arbitrage, the list is endless.
VAA Philippines steps in to alleviate this overwhelm by providing specialized VAs who are trained to handle these specific tasks efficiently. Our VAs act as an extension of the client’s team, allowing business owners to delegate time-consuming tasks and focus on strategic growth and decision-making.
Why are we so effective at this? It’s our rigorous training programs and deep understanding of the e-commerce landscape. We ensure that our VAs are not just skilled, but also updated with the latest trends and best practices in the industry. This ensures that our clients receive top-notch support, tailored to their unique business needs, ultimately leading to increased productivity and business growth.
Connor: As the company continues to grow over the next year, what are your plans for expansion? Any new products or offerings or enhancements to your current services?
Gilad: As we continue to evolve with the e-commerce landscape, our focus now is on expanding into the Walmart arena. Just as we’ve meticulously trained our VAs to master Amazon operations, we’re now channeling that expertise to develop top-tier Walmart-specialized VAs. Recognizing Walmart’s significant investments in its e-commerce sector, we’ve observed a growing trend of Amazon sellers either transitioning to Walmart or adding it as an additional sales platform. Our mission remains clear: to be right there alongside these sellers, offering them the support they need to flourish on both platforms.
Connor: And how specifically would you say that VAA Philippines and your team is different from other similar businesses in the industry?
Gilad: Great question! What sets VAA Philippines apart from others in the industry is not just our commitment to our clients, but also to our VAs, fostering a sense of community and growth. Here’s a breakdown:
- E-commerce Specialization: While many VA services offer general administrative support, VAA Philippines is laser-focused on e-commerce. Our VAs are trained specifically for Amazon and now for Walmart, ensuring they bring platform-specific expertise to the table.
- Rigorous Training & Continuous Support: Our training programs are comprehensive and continuously updated. Beyond initial training, we provide ongoing support to our VAs, ensuring they’re equipped to handle evolving challenges and stay updated with industry trends.
- Building a VA Community: At VAA Philippines, we believe in fostering a sense of community among our VAs. Regular online meetings and updates, training sessions, and feedback forums are organized, ensuring our VAs feel connected, valued, and heard.
- Client-Centric Approach: We prioritize understanding each client’s unique business model and needs. This allows us to match them with a VA who’s not just skilled, but also aligns with their business ethos and goals.
- Flexibility & Scalability: As e-commerce businesses scale, their needs change. We offer flexible packages and services that can be tailored and scaled according to the evolving needs of our clients.
- Cultural Fit: Being based in the Philippines, our VAs bring a blend of professionalism, warmth, and a strong work ethic. The cultural emphasis on respect, diligence, and loyalty translates into a dedicated and reliable VA for our clients.
- Holistic Support: Beyond just task execution, we provide strategic insights and recommendations. Whether it’s about optimizing a PPC campaign or suggesting improvements in a product listing, our VAs often go the extra mile.
- Affordability without Compromise: While our services are competitively priced, we never compromise on quality. We believe in offering premium support without the premium price tag.
In essence, VAA Philippines stands out by offering a blend of specialized expertise, dedication, and a genuine commitment to both our clients and our VAs, ensuring a thriving ecosystem where everyone grows together.
Connor: What’s your outsourcing story? We find that everyone has a different experience when outsourcing and hiring online. What is your first memory that comes to mind?
Gilad: Ah, our outsourcing story is quite personal and close to my heart. It all began when my wife, Hila, and I were scaling our private label business on Amazon. As the operations grew, we found ourselves swamped with tasks and realized we needed an extra pair of hands to manage our daily Amazon operations. We turned to the Philippines, known for its skilled workforce, to find a VA. But the journey wasn’t smooth. After a series of trials and errors, we were left thinking, “Surely, there’s a better way for Amazon sellers like us to find reliable VAs.”
That’s when the idea of Virtual Assistant Academy (VAA) Philippines took root. Founded in 2017, our vision wasn’t just to create another agency but to build a community. We wanted to offer employment to skilled VAs in the Philippines and ensure they’re well-equipped to support Amazon sellers globally. Today, VAA isn’t just a service; it’s a thriving community where VAs continuously learn, grow, and excel in the Amazon ecosystem.
The first memory that comes to mind? It’s the day we decided to turn our outsourcing challenges into an opportunity to make a difference. And as we continue this journey, I invite everyone to join us, help build this community, and collectively grow in this ever-evolving industry.
Connor: Love it! Talking more about outsourcing, what advice would you give to yourself if you were just about to start outsourcing and hiring online?
Gilad: If I could go back and give advice to my younger self just about to embark on the outsourcing journey, it would be:
- Start with Clear Expectations: Before diving in, have a clear understanding of what tasks you want to outsource and what outcomes you expect. This clarity will make the hiring process smoother and ensure you find the right fit.
- Prioritize Communication: Effective communication is the backbone of successful outsourcing. Invest time in regular check-ins, provide feedback, and ensure your VA feels connected and valued.
- Patience Is Key: Remember, there’s a learning curve for both you and your VA. Be patient, provide training when needed, and understand that perfection right out of the gate is rare.
- Cultural Sensitivity: Understand and respect cultural differences. This not only fosters a positive working relationship but also brings diverse perspectives to your business.
- Invest in Building a Relationship: Beyond just tasks, get to know your VA as a person. Building a strong rapport leads to increased loyalty, understanding, and productivity.
- Security First: When sharing sensitive business information, ensure you have security protocols in place. Trust is essential, but safeguarding your business should always be a priority.
- Continuous Growth: Encourage and provide opportunities for your VA to upskill. A VA who grows in their role can offer even more value to your business over time.
In hindsight, outsourcing has been a game-changer for our business. But like any journey, it’s filled with learning experiences. Embrace them, learn from them, and remember that a successful outsourcing relationship is built on trust, communication, and mutual growth.
Connor: How about this one… how do you communicate with the people you hire online? What’s your best practices there and how has it changed over time?
Gilad: Communication has always been the linchpin of our successful relationships with our online hires. Over time, our methods and best practices have evolved, but the core principles remain the same. Here’s a glimpse into our approach:
- Regular Check-ins: We’ve always believed in the power of regular check-ins. Whether it’s daily, weekly, or bi-weekly, these touchpoints ensure everyone’s on the same page and provide an opportunity to address any concerns promptly.
- Use of Collaboration Tools: Initially, we relied heavily on emails and Whatsapp messages. But as we grew, we transitioned to tools like Slack for real-time communication and Trello or Asana and Hubspot for task management. These platforms offer transparency, streamline workflows, and ensure everyone is aligned.
- Clear Documentation: Over time, we realized the importance of having clear SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). This not only helps in onboarding but also serves as a reference point, minimizing errors and misunderstandings.
- Feedback Loops: Constructive feedback is crucial. We’ve institutionalized regular feedback sessions, ensuring our VAs understand what they’re doing well and where there’s room for improvement.
- Open Door Policy: We’ve always encouraged an open communication culture. Our VAs know they can reach out with concerns, suggestions, or even personal challenges. This has fostered trust and loyalty.
- Training & Upskilling: Communication isn’t just about tasks. We regularly discuss career growth, training needs, and upskilling opportunities with our VAs. This not only benefits them but also ensures we have a team that’s always at the forefront of industry trends.
Over the years, while the tools and platforms have changed, our commitment to clear, transparent, and empathetic communication has remained unwavering. It’s the bedrock of our successful partnerships with our online hires.
Connor: Finally, this is one that I think our community will love, who’s been your best online hire? What do they do for you? Why are they your best hire? Tell us all about them and that story!
Gilad: In response to the intriguing question of our “best hire,” I’d say it’s not about a single individual but rather the collective strength of our team. We firmly believe that the true potential of a hire is unlocked through comprehensive training, a supportive community, and dedicated mentorship. While each individual brings their unique strengths, our approach is to meticulously filter our applicants, selecting only the top 1% of the talent pool. From there, we tailor our training and task allocation based on the individual’s character and strengths. So, while it’s tempting to spotlight one standout hire, our philosophy is that excellence is a collective endeavor, nurtured by the right environment and opportunities.
Connor: As we close this out, I just have one more question. Where is the best place to find and follow you and the company online? Also, if you have one, is there any special offer that you’ll be offering to the community today?
Gilad: Of course! For anyone looking to connect with us or learn more about VAA Philippines, the best place would be our official website at vaaphilippines.com. It provides a comprehensive overview of our services, testimonials, and more. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can book a call with us to know more about our services using this link.
Additionally, we’re active on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Just search for @vaaphilippines and you’ll find us!
As for special offers, we’re thrilled to extend an exclusive promotion to the community today. For any new clients who come onboard through this interview, we’re offering 20% OFF one-time fee + 10 hours FREE on the first VA. It’s our way of saying thank you and ensuring businesses get a taste of the quality and dedication our VAs bring to the table.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to share our story and offerings. We’re always here to support and look forward to connecting with more members of the community!