Hip-hop dancer turned entrepreneur helps people get jobs
Iloilo -- After years of teaching dance in order to pay for his college expenses, Leif Brian Margallo now offers work opportunities to his fellow Filipinos through a business he founded - Virtual Workforce Professionals.
After graduating from high school little did Margallo know that he was to become the chief executive officer of his own company someday. At that time, he has other problems such as whether or not he could go to college. “Our only source of income was my father who was a casual worker in the Province of Guimaras Capitol Motor Pool Department,” he said.
Although Margallo earned a full tuition scholarship in ISAT-U, he needed money for his boarding house and allowance. This is where his God-given talent in dancing came in.
|Leif Brian Margallo|
“I taught hip hop, jazz, contemporary, cheer dance and the likes to different schools, colleges and universities in Iloilo. Plus, I became a member of a dance group called KOA Dancers which was a regular talent of a local TV station here in the city. The local TV station had weekly gigs where we performed plus we were invited to different events also. This, along with my choreography service greatly supported my college life. Thankfully I was able to graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Information Technology,” he narrated.
After graduating from college, he worked as a call center agent. In his three years as a call center agent, he experienced being a Customer Service Representative, Tech Support, Lead Generator and a Telemarketing Expert. Margallo has the qualities needed in order to thrive in the BPO industry -- independent, motivated and competitive. In Callbox Inc. where he worked in 2008, he was recognized as Employee of the Month twice in a row. “This is the part of my life that God gave me a sign that I can actually create my own small team of call center agents. Though I did not know what or how that time,” he shared.
|Margallo with his fellow KOA Dancers|
Margallo’s sense of responsibility is not only limited to his career. He is also a supportive eldest son, brother and husband and these roles played a big part in the direction of his career.
“My two brothers and my sister were already in college and being the eldest, I had to help my parents support them. Plus, I got my girlfriend pregnant at the age of 22. With those being said, God did not give me too much of a choice but to transition from being a call center agent to become an online freelancer,” he said.
He admitted that leaving the corporate world was a big risk to take. But he found out that being an online freelancer worked well for him. The pay was good, so he was able to support his siblings as well as provide a home for his wife and son.
Margallo said this is where God pointed the right direction for him because that was when he found out that there is a demand for workforce in the BPO industry which “I can take advantage in order to help other Filipinos by providing them work opportunities while offering quality service to clients worldwide.”
The Philippines indeed has become the world’s largest market for BPO next to India because of its pool of young, dynamic and skilled workers who are also known to be loyal, dependable and easy to adapt.
|With his Virtual Workforce Professionals team in Iloilo City|
VIRTUAL WORKFORCE PROFESSIONALS
Margallo founded Virtual Workforce Professionals in 2011 starting with one client, seven freelancers, seven projects and no physical office. Now, they have 416 clients, 709 agency freelancers all over the Philippines, 582 contracts and six expansion offices nationwide.
Behind the success of Virtual Workforce Professionals are years of challenges. But backed with experience, talent and determination, Margallo and his team weathered it all.
They recruited more freelancers through Facebook and invested in client acquisitions. To gain the trust of both the clients and the freelancers, “we focused on strengthening our reputation and credibility to solidify our presence.”
Virtual Workforce Professionals also gives back to the community. Just recently, they adopted Unisan Island, a sitio in the province of Guimaras. They gave school supplies, books and a set of Encyclopedia in time for the opening of the 2017-2018 school year.
Five years from now, he hopes to have acquired more expansion offices for his team and make a big impact in advocating for online freelancers.
“Like what we are starting with Digital Career Advocates of the Philippines (DCAP),” he said. DCAP is an association established to promote the growth of the Online Outsourcing Industry and advocate for the welfare of online workers in the Philippines. Margallo is their Vice President, Executive Director of Visayas Operations as well as Head of Membership Committee.
He also hopes to inspire people with his life story. “I really believe that success is not about what you have accomplished; it is how you inspire people to do more.”
With skills, hard work, determination and Divine Providence, Margallo was transformed from being a dancer to entrepreneur.
These days, one can also find him dancing with his friends, trying out the latest dance craze./Kathy Villalon
Note from the writer:
I have watched KOA Dancers participate in dance competitions in the past but I met Leif Brian Margallo up close during the launching of Payoneer in Iloilo City early this year.
Headquartered in New York, Payoneer is an award-winning cross-border payments company that provides payment solutions to leading brands such as Airbnb, Amazon, Google and Upwork as well as millions of small businesses around the world. With more than 3 million users worldwide, Payoneer can send money to more than 200 countries and regions, in over 150 currencies.
Virtual Workforce Professionals started using Payoneer in 2016. “It has the highest forex rate compared to other providers so it’s like we no longer pay transaction fees like withdrawal fees or bank fees. Online withdrawals to Philippine banks usually take two to three business days but with Payoneer, we withdraw in the morning and receive our earnings in the evening. All of us in the online and BPO marketplace only want the best in terms of receiving our hard earned paychecks, combined with fast delivery. This simply means Payoneer is by far the best financial service provider we have worked with online,” said Margallo./