Category Archives for "Exceptional VA’s Journey"

Sticking to my rate

As a VA, sticking to your rate is important. Sticking to your VA rate is also like negotiating for your salary in a physical workplace. As a VA, you will not only be paid based on your skills, but also for your incremental costs (electricity, Internet bill), so it is important that you are well paid.

Here is the story of how I stuck with my rate.

One client responded to my ODesk job application (remember the 20 ODesk job applications the last time? See, I told you someone’s going to respond). She sent me through ODesk e-mail a few questions as part of the interview. I replied to her questions immediately. After that, she responded with a step-by-step instruction on researching for a material for a blog post, creating a blog, and posting a blog post. For her last instruction, she told me to give her the total number of hours I did the instructions.

I did what she instructed me to do. When I finished, I replied to her with a link to the blog, saying that it took me one and a half hours to do the job. I told her that I spent majority of the hours in composing the post’s content.

She was happy with the sample post that I did. But when rate negotiation came, she said she could only pay me $1.00 per hour. She said it that the blog where she would need my help will take months before attracting sponsors. More so, she could not promise that she would be able to raise my pay. I insisted on my $3.00 per hour rate.

Here's the screen shot of the client's reply after I sent her the link of my sample post.

This is the screen shot of my reply to the client. I stuck to my rate.

Sadly, she had to let me go. I was sad, too. I think the client is very nice and great to work with. But $1.00 per hour was just too small. My blogging and writing skills were worth more than that (they are actually worth more than $3.00 per hour, but since I’m still a beginning VA, I stick to the minimum rate).

And that’s the story of how I stuck with my rate.

20 job applications

My 20 job applications

I can not believe that I was able to use all my quota for ODesk job applications!

It took me two days to empty my ODesk job application quota. I applied to jobs again after doing an update on my ODesk profile. The ODesk job application quota was the result of my happiness upon being verified by ODesk. whoopee!

I applied to a lot of jobs – blogger, Pinterest poster, HR consultant, social media manager, and article writing. I gave each possible client a link to my blog so that they will what I am capable of doing.

I know that after so many ODesk job applications, I will get hired.

I’m claiming it.

ANN Exceptional VA’s Brainbench Exam Results

ANN Exceptional VA's Brainbench Tests Results

ANN Exceptional VA's Brainbench Tests Results

Finally, after a month, I am now publishing my Brainbench Exam Results. I was not able to post it immediately due to updating of my ODesk and Freelancer profiles and applying to jobs (more on this in my next post).

I took a total of 25 exams and passed 19. I was happy with my exam results because for the first time, I took exams that were not about school subjects like Math and Science (which I either got an F or a low-grade back in my school days).

One of the surprises that I got was when I got a higher grade on Computer Literacy Windows XP compared to Windows 7. I guess I need to be more adventurous in tinkering Windows 7 so I that I will be able to update my skills.

I was also happy on my Training Delivery and Evaluation (3.29) and Training Development (2.91). My training work for five years paid off.

I got disappointed to have failed the MS Excel exam. I thought I knew Excel well. I found out I didn’t. I will schedule a time to learn about it so that I could take a “revenge test.”

All this would not be possible if not for the Brainbench Games that took place last month.

I was happy with the results but it doesn’t mean I was contented. I will strive to improve my skills so that I could share it with others and be a better VA.


Here is a screen shot of the job invitation that I ODesk. An employer invited me to apply to manage their Pinterest account.

Last night, I got a job invitation from ODesk. The company was looking for somebody who can manage their Pinterest account for their product.

I was thankful that I got a job invitation (I’m always thankful for them). Two things why it happened: one, I updated my skills list in ODesk (I just kept on typing and typing. I realized I already listed 56 skills! And I still need to type more!). Second, I included Pinterest as one of my skills.

Wait a minute, how did I know Pinterest first?

One time, I was reading Sir Jomar Hilario’s blog post. After reading, I scrolled down up to the bottom of the site and found this:

Being curious, I clicked it and directed to the Pinterest site. The rest, as they always say is history.

This is Pinterest - an online virtual pin board of everything pretty. Look at the topmost right of the screen shot - yep, that's me. I got myself an account recently. 🙂

Just a few days ago, Sir Jomar’s been talking about Pinterest, and how everything beautiful is there. It is true: all things pretty and cute and beautiful are there. There is no doubt that people are taking interest on the site – especially potential employers.

It is sad, though, that I did not get the job. The company was looking for someone who has been a Pinterest user for at least a month (I don’t qualify for that, I must admit). Geesh, I need to up my Pinterest skill because before I could even reply to the invitation, somebody else was already taken!

In my next post, I will teach you step-by-step on how to have a Pinterest account.

Happy is the one who loves learning.

Moving On

from Pinterest

After a week of not surfing the Internet, I’m at it again.

The sudden me-out-of-online-job got me to contemplate about what I need to do so that it will not happen again.

What I am happy about is that I was able to finish a book (Hooray!). I realized that I got to finish it after eight months. But even if it took me time to finish it, I finished it anyway for I’m determined to finish it.

So I decided that I will do the same thing with my life as a VA.

Here are the things that I need to do:

1. Update my profiles in ODesk and Freelance.

2. Verify my accounts.

3. Re-check my skills list.

4. Make this site show more of what I can do.

5. Take more tests in ODesk – and make it to the Top 10% of each test.

6. Visit my Brainbench account – take tests.

7. Finish my step-by-step presentations on every site that I learned, post them in Scribd, and link them here.

Well, moving on may never be easy. But it will come to pass.

And I will be better.

1 I didn’t know I inspired a few.

I never expected that my VA story will inspire others. Take a look at this post that I saw in our Facebook group (I erased the name and picture for the person’s security):

I might be an angel to you now, because you were to me before (and now).

I’ve got a lot of comments from my “Whirlwind” posts. Thanks to my mentor, Sir Jomar, for sending the link through our almost daily e-mail updates. Thanks also, to my new-found friends in JM Mastery Group and Marketing Master Insiders for all the prayers and support.

So now you know why I call myself Exceptional (wink wink).

One thing’s for sure: I’m never giving up.

Hope that’s your mantra, too, as we look for our online employers

4 So this is how it feels to have a heart broken on Valentine’s Day.

I sat down for my first Tuesday work. I opened my ODesk Team application, signed in, and waited for my team to become visible.

I wondered why my team was still invisible after a few minutes. The application even said that it might be so because I do not belong to any roster.

That’s weird. I have an online job. That means I have a team, right?

I got the answer when I opened my ODesk account.

Well, this is embarrassing. But this blog is about my life as I become a full-time work-at-home geek, so I’ll spill the beans.

My employer ended my contract; she said it was not working out. She’s going to pay me on what I have worked for.

I told you I got the job in a whirlwind. Too bad I lost it in a whirlwind, too.

It’s sad. I’m going to lie if I tell you it did not hurt a bit.

It was like you know you have a Valentine’s Day date, only to find out the last-minute that you got dumped.


But a few minutes after, I breathed slowly, then smiled.

Well, first, I was happy for the chance to have work with the employer. That was my first ODesk work, and she gave me a chance. She gave me a good feedback on my work.

Second, I also learned that I need to work faster to keep up with work. I know I am a fast worker as a full-time employee in the companies where I worked. I need a little more re-training on how to work more fast for online jobs.

So I decided to move forward from the loss. Heck, I even provided words of encouragement to others who gave their time to post their comments in my earlier post (thank you, guys!), minutes after learning I lost the gig (and I started looking for jobs again).

Still, I’m going to lie if I tell you that it did not hurt a bit.

I just chose to carry on and take the lessons with me because I believe I will be able to get a better gig.

I thank God I have become matured enough to always see the good things. I have also realized that situations like this remind me to be humble yet still be a source of encouragement for others.

So this is how it feels to have a heart-broken on Valentine’s Day.

Nah, there are still a lot to date out there.

Inasmuch as there are still a lot employers online who’ll get me.

2 Distraction

No se puede, Ricky! I've got a job to do!

It was my first day in my ODesk job. I was happy and excited. Finally, another work!

My dad was watching TV during the time that I worked. He switched the channel and found the show, “Glee,” on TV.

Before I could even tell him to stop watching the show (we watch the re-runs on Sundays), Ricky Martin, this week’s guest, showed up.

Well, if you know me very well, you will know that Ricky was one of my boyfriends (he doesn’t know that).

I could very well admit that I got distracted.

Here’s the lesson: if you want the virtual assistant job, you’ve got cut ALL types of distractions.

No matter how dashing they are.

You have to find an area in your house where there is no TV. Well, unless you are really good in multi-tasking (watching TV while working), there is no problem with that.

So I begged my dad to go to another channel so that I could focus on my work.

And I told Ricky Martin not to do surprise show ups.

At least that’s what I told him on the poster in my room.

2 Lessons from the New Job


Lessons from the VA world

Here are the lessons that I have learned on the new job that I just got:

1. Training is really important. I am thankful for the VA seminar that my mentor, Jomar Hilario, has been conducting. It did not only open my mind to this new “work-at-home” idea (no scams), but it also made me confident that I could be a VA.

2. When you are working for somebody out there, it’s not only your skills that matter. I felt that being a Filipino also matters. As I have learned from my VA training, clients have big expectations from Filipino VAs because we are good. Oh no, let me change the word. Filipinos are EXCEPTIONAL. It is an inspiration for me to do great on my job because I am competing against other nationalities.

3. Improvement of one’s self is empowering.  As what I have said on my earlier post,  my employer got disappointed with the previous contractors that she got because they do not know WordPress. When I got the VA training, Sir Jomar told us to put all our outputs in a WordPress site. I learned to tinker on a blogging site that I was not familiar with. I had mistakes in putting this blog during the first few days, but I got the hang of it. Had he not told us to do that, I would not get the job.

Life has lots of lessons to give. May we learn to accept them and make us grateful.

36 Whirlwind


Had I been alone during the Skype chat interview, I could have screamed on top of my lungs like this!

On my last post, I showed you a print screen of the 10 ODesk job applications that I did. It was really the most number of applies that I did in just one sitting.

As I signed out on my ODesk account, I said a prayer. I know that out of the ten jobs, there will be one who will respond.

Indeed, one responded. And the series of events was like a whirlwind.

I applied on a Sunday, had an exchange of communication with the employer from Monday to Tuesday, got interviewed, hired, and started work on Wednesday.

Until now, I cannot believe what happened. This is my second VA job; a first in ODesk!

My employer is from the United States who maintains a site on free deals or coupons for those who want to shop for home stuff under a budget.

My employer was very particular with the WordPress know-how. She kept on asking about it during our exchange of communication in ODesk. She also asked if I was able to read the job description/instructions that she attached on the job posting. I couldn’t blame her; she has interviewed some applicants who claimed they know how to use WordPress. I just assured her that I am knowledgeable of the site; I know how to create, edit, and update posts, as well as insert pictures. To show proof, I even gave her link to this blog (as I always do in my applications).

The interview in Skype took two hours. I could consider it as non-formal interview because the contractor gave me the opportunity the ask clarifications on the job. At the same time, she already created an account for me in her WordPress site so that she could explain to me her requirements in work.

My employer is very accommodating; she told me to throw her questions about the job. I took the chance because I would like to know more about the job that I was applying for. Moreover, I would like to know more about who I will work for.

After a few more questions, clarifications, we talked about my work time and days. I told her that I can work for four hours from Mondays to Fridays.

Then the employer said, “That’s okay. Just make sure that you always log your hours in ODesk to make sure that your working hours is recorded.”

With that, I said, “Ma’m, does that mean I already got the job?”

She said, “Oh I’m sorry I forgot to tell you that. Yes, you got the job! I will now go to ODesk to hire you. Thank you!”

I laughed, and then felt some tears in my eyes.

I guess that’s what really happens when a whirlwind strikes.