Meet Our Virtual Assistant Staff - Glen, Insurance Expert

Meet Glen, Team Lead for an Insurance Agency

Glen has a degree in Development Communication with a major in Journalism

Glen is an online professional who specializes in office administration, customer service, and marketing. He’s a well-rounded virtual assistant who is able to carry out various tasks which he has learned from his job experiences along the way.

Glen worked in the customer service industry for five years before changing careers and joining Smart VA Staffing Agency.  Glen now works virtually for an Insurance Agency located in Costa Mesa, California.  He handles client retention and provides the insurance needs for the personal and commercial accounts of the company.

Glen’s other interests include music, watching series and movies, and learning about anything new under the sun. He’s a cat person but loves dogs too!


Glen’s thoughts regarding common questions about Filipino VA’s

Why do Filipinos like to work for American companies?

Filipino virtual assistants have the opportunity to work with companies from other countries, but what makes American companies the most attractive to Filipinos is the familiarity of the culture. Though very different, American culture has an influence on Filipino culture, which stems back to the American occupation in the late 18th century. Despite giving the Philippines its independence in the 1940s, the American influence has stayed up to this day; with English used as the medium of instruction in schools and heavy consumption of American media by Filipinos. I can say that Filipinos are very fond of American culture and always keep up with American movies, music, and other trends.

What are the risks for Filipino’s working for American companies?

For new virtual assistants, who may not have years of experience in a particular role, there is always the fear of losing a job. There is always a feeling that you can be replaced at any moment, so I use it as one of my motivations to always deliver quality outputs.

Is it better for a Filipino to work with a local company in the Philippines or a US firm?

There are a lot of benefits to working online for a US firm. Firstly, US firms offer way more opportunities for creative jobs such as social media marketing, web design, video, and photo editing, among others. A lot of Filipinos are passionate about this field of work but can’t find opportunities locally.  Secondly, US firms compensate workers better than Filipino companies, offering more competitive hourly rates and bonuses.  Thirdly, a lot of American companies offer flexible working time and put more emphasis on efficiency. Lastly, since working with American companies is carried out online, Filipino VAs are able to avoid stressful commute traffic, saving money on transportation and meal costs.

The cons of working with American companies, or working online in general, is that Filipino VAs are responsible for paying their own taxes, insurances, and other government benefits; since local companies will do all of those for their employees.  There’s also the risk of being dispensable; being dependent on client satisfaction.  In my current role, retaining clients is a high priority, so Filipino VAs really must strive to retain clients. Another thing, although it may sound silly, is not having Christmas parties to attend during December. Christmas parties are big events for local companies, and I do miss attending these occasions at the end of the year.  Although there are cons, the pros of working for an American company trump all of it, and I wouldn’t trade it just for a Christmas party.

How easy or hard is it for a Filipino to get a good job with an American company?

Most Filipinos look for companies to work on freelancing platforms, and with the tight competition with other freelancers, it will depend on the experience, skills, and presentation. Seasoned virtual assistants who have worked with a lot of clients for years and have a proven track record, will have an easy time landing a job with an American company. Skills will also be a factor, as the more employable skills a virtual assistant has, the more they will have a chance to work for American companies. For new virtual assistants, it boils down to how they present their resumes. As the least experienced and knowledgeable about the industry, newbies have to do double time on learning new skills and writing an effective resume that will attract companies.

How easy or hard is it for a Filipino to get a good job with a Filipino company?

The main problem in the Philippines when it comes to employment is job mismatch because of a lack of quality jobs. A lot of Filipinos who have college degrees are often forced to take jobs that are either not in line with their skills or that do not require much expertise.  This makes them underemployed and underpaid in the process. It is really hard to find a job in the Philippines, which is in line with your passion and can also put food on the table. This is the reason why a lot of Filipinos explore working online to find more employment options.

What is the biggest work/life fear Filipino’s have?

Job security and not being able to meet job expectations.  In a fast-paced industry, clients may come and go. The only guarantee that a Filipino VA can have a long-term client is to work hard and consistently deliver quality outputs. Most Filipino VAs support families, and not being able to provide for their needs is the number one fear that Filipinos have.

What could an American company do for a Filipino worker that would be most helpful or beneficial to them?

Filipinos like to hear how well they do in terms of performance.  It would really be helpful for them to know their strengths, to continue building them, and to coach them on their weak points in order to improve. Appreciating a great job done every now and then also goes a long way to boost a Filipino’s motivation to do more.

What hours (time of day/night) do Filipino’s prefer to work and why?

For me, it depends on the nature of the business and the type of job being done. As much as I would like to work Filipino working hours, some American companies may need our support during their working hours. As a VA, I would like to be able to contribute to the client’s business in the best possible way.

What could we do better for our Filipino workers than we currently do?

So far, there’s nothing that comes to mind. Just continue to be awesome and always supportive to us. I’ll let you know if I can think of one : )