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Becoming a VA means isolation? Not for me!

This is my dream home office. I have this in my dream book and computer wallpaper. :)

This is my dream home office. I have this in my dream book and computer wallpaper. 🙂

Recently, Mashable.com published an online article on how to solve top pitfalls of working from home. In the article, four pitfalls and solutions were identified. One of the pitfalls was virtual assistants may bring “inevitable sense of isolation.”

Well, I’m going to be honest: one of the reasons why I want to work full-time at home is because I can no longer stand office politics and getting along with people who, for reasons I don’t know, are born negative. I believe in the saying, “you are the five people who you hang out everyday,” and so I try to either be positive or hang out with positive people. But the office really IS a corporate jungle – one really can’t find a lot of positive people around (I’m sorry to all the companies where I previously worked, but it’s true). I actually envision myself standing on top of my office table, with red high heels and red lipstick on the last day of work for my grand rant. Ok, I’m kidding on that last sentence.

On the other hand, I also thought of the “isolation” idea. I thought of what life would be working alone – just me and my computer, working on the outputs for the day, then checking Hollywood gossips and stalking at Facebook friends during the break. Interesting thought, right?

I know I can work well with others and alone. I have tried and tested myself on that after 11 years of working. But life would be utterly boring going solo. So when the isolation idea occurred, I immediately listed down things that I would do to fight loneliness:

1. That running club in Alabang every Thursday that I’m so raving to join? Hah! That would be a great Thursday night run with new running friends!

2. I’ll be the official events organizer of every circle of friends that I have. I’ll make sure we will meet once a month.

3. I’ll buy another computer for Skype, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest break during the day.

4. How about tutoring kids after school? I’d get to earn and learn with children at the same time!

5. I’ll enroll in Spanish Language Class and Cooking Class – that another set of new friends!

6. I’ll visit my former office mates for a short chat and let them see how great it is to work from home.

7. I’ll burn the phone lines and Skype. No SMS, just pure calls.

8. I’ll do once-a-month seminars for my church. That’s a great set of people.

9. Get to know the neighbors one by one (honestly, I don’t know some of my neighbors ever since I started working).

10. Oh well, I could sing my heart out loud in the house and sing “it doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone!”

So, is becoming a VA means isolating myself from the universe? Not for me!

4 Planning My 2013

This is a print screen of my 2013 plan. I was officially finished on December 27, 2012, 5 minutes before 5 PM.

This is a print screen of my 2013 plan. I was officially finished on December 27, 2012, 5 minutes before 5 PM.

Others woke up last December 26 to brace another day at work after Christmas. Me? I did my 30-minute ran, cleaned the house, took a bath, then closed my door’s room.

I was so excited for my two-day ME Planning. I waited for this day to happen. This was my second time to do this after learning how important it is to plan our life for a year from one of my mentors, Jomar Hilario. My 2012 came into light through my attendance of Sir Jomar’s Plan for Your Best Year Ever last January.

My room was not the ideal venue for ME Planning; Sir Jomar advises anyone who would like to do this to get out of the city (or your house) and go somewhere else where quiet and nature is closer. Alas, the hotel rates during December have sky-rocketed, so I settled for my room this year. Well, I made sure that my ME Planning next year will be in another place!

As I reviewed my 2012, I again remembered how blessed I was. I went through a lot this year, like getting rejections for online jobs almost every day, then getting a job then losing it for a week. The sacrifices paid off – I got a part-time job after months of trying. Not only that, I got to share my experience through one of Sir Jomar’s webinars and his last How to Become a Virtual Assistant seminar of 2012.

The 2013 plan was completed thanks to MindMaps app. This was my second time to plot my year through MindMaps, so the preparations were a breeze. What gave me a bit of headache was the plotting of schedules – I had to make sure that I my plans for the year were there, without sacrificing all the targets in all areas of my life. To release myself of confusion, I did the following: got out of the room to eat spaghetti (my all-time comfort food), read books, and watched movies (I finished Ratatouille and 3 Idiots for my two-day planning).

Now, my 2013 is now printed, like a spider ready to create more and bigger webs. I was even happier to have our parish priest blessed my plan.

Even though my 2013 is already printed, I still remembered some plans that should have been there. I am about to open my file again to add some details.

Planning my year is one of the best things that I have learned ever since I decided to take responsibility for my destiny. But I’m not resting everything on what I have put on paper. I believe that in every year, the best is yet to come. Planning my year does not mean I hold every little detail in my hands. I still open myself to whatever the Divine Providence will give. I just made sure that the new 365 days that He’s going to give me is well-planned; that I’m prepared.

And I’ll keep doing it even until I meet my dreams.

Happy new year, everyone! Cheers to new 365 days!

Happy new year, everyone! Cheers to new 365 days!

Christmas Decor

a few days to go!

Have a wonderful Christmas! http://www.flickr.com/photos/99472898@N00/5278223836

It’s 11 days before Christmas as I wrote this piece. It was also the only time my mother finished setting up the Christmas decorations in the house. She started last Monday.

The past few years, she has prepped up for Christmas a week before the nine dawn Masses. She said she doesn’t want to decorate early, as the trimmings and garlands will also start gathering dust early. Moreover, my mom has stopped putting up the Christmas tree. She told us that a Christmas tree is not THE symbol of Christmas anyway. Besides, she finds it tedious to set up.

Honestly, I just agreed with that idea for the past few years. She was the one who has put them up, taking them down, cleaning them, and then storing them, so she has a point about the dust and the time it takes to put the house in the holiday’s mood.

I just realized: since I started working, I never got to help decorating the house for Christmas. Less pair of hands meant more time for my mom to spend all by herself for the Christmas decorations.

I felt bad about it.

I felt bad not only because I am not able to help my mother, but because I don’t get to do the decor because I have no time.

So in the past few years – no, decade – , every time I come home from work, all I do is say, “Wow! It’s nice!”

Because every time I arrived from work every December, it’s all been set up.

As I gazed on the Christmas lights and lantern that she patiently set up outside the house tonight, I told myself that this December was not the same as last year’s. I got a part-time job as Virtual Assistant now, a goal that was just that – a goal – last year. My earnings somehow helped augment my income every month. Also, I get to do what I love to do. I have to say that there is much development on that.

But as what others say, one can never be satisfied. I just don’t want my part-time virtual assistant job to be just that – a part-time job. So my next goal is to work full-time as a virtual assistant, and be happier every day. Then become a full-time online marketer.

Who knows? Maybe next year, my mom and I can put up the Christmas tree when September comes.

And I would never mind setting them up, taking them down, cleaning them, and then storing them ‘til the next year.

I am sure that my mom will be happier with another pair of hands.

And a lot of time.

2 The Truth about finishing the How to Become a Virtual Assistant Seminar Assignment

I urge you to become Optimist Prime. Say to yourself, “I can finish the VA Assignments!”

This is the truth: the assignment that Sir Jomar gave during his 15 September 2012 How to Become a Virtual Assistant Seminar was kind of overwhelming. 10 tutorials of websites of your choice, close to 100 slides, plus opening a Klout account and putting your score in your VA resume (in PDF) is no joke.

But here’s a fact: the assignment that he gave in his How to Become a Virtual Assistant Seminar two years ago was also overwhelming. He also instructed 10 tutorials of websites of your choice. Though the least number of slides is 30 and there’s no need to put a Klout score in your VA resume (there was no Klout two years ago).

I did it anyway.

Some VA participants in the seminar had this excitement of learning something that could change the way they live their lives. But upon hearing of the assignment, they had the same look on their faces: that’s just too many!

I tell you what: in our current office environment, we are asked to do reports and presentations. Some of them you may have brought home to make sure that no detail is left. I am not going to ask you anymore if you love doing that.

In the VA seminar, the tutorials that you are going to do are based on your CHOICE. You will choose what you want others to learn, and in return, you will get to learn, too.

Here’s my unsolicited advice to future co-VAs who are just about to give up in their minds when they have not even started. I am focusing on 10 tutorials preparation because I feel that’s what makes you palpitate (okay I’m kidding):

1. Stop thinking. Just do it. You want to fire your boss and not the way around, right? Breathe, it’s not a sign of the Mayan belief of the end of the world.

2. From the websites that Sir Jomar taught, choose 10. Just list your choice websites down in a paper.

3. Take in one a day. Day by day, watch a YouTube video tutorial about 1 website.

4. Prepare one tutorial a day or two days. As you go through the steps of your tutorial, do not forget that Print Screen is your friend. Press the Print Screen every step.

You may choose between MS Word and MS PowerPoint in doing the tutorials.

5. Don’t focus on the number of slides. You will freak out. Focus on how you’re making the slides. Are there only a most of 10 words per slide? Did you miss a step? A great question will be “will somebody else understand and follow my tutorial?”

Get this: if you watch one YouTube video tutorial and do the slides in one to two days, you will finish 10 tutorials in 20 days! Who says two months for the assignments is too short?

Got a day job? Then stop bringing work home and do the assignments at night. Staying awake in the wee hours of the night with what you love is just amazing.

By the way, why only two months to do everything? I have read in Tim Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Work Week” that giving too much time to students to finish their assignments or tasks will make them say “I’ll do it later.” If one’s pressed for time, the brain functions actively. The results are masterpieces. Do you remember when you were still in school and you had to do a project with a tomorrow deadline?

So there you are. I hope this helps. I gotta stop now because I am about to do the assignments, too.

6 Bounce – two months after

So, it’s been two months since I have not posted anything here in my blog. I guess I have been too busy with my new-found productive job every night!

So, here’s a look at my two-month “hiatus”:

So far, I have earned enough to pay for my monthly Internet fees. This seemed to be a distant dream before. Now, I never have to worry about the bill! Of course, I do plan to increase my earnings so that eventually, my part-time earnings will be enough for me to fire my boss. Earning dollars and spending it in my country is just so cool.

Recently, I have started applying for jobs (right after increasing my rate). A prospective client from London called me through Skype last week. It was a sudden job interview! We will have another schedule for the second interview, but what struck me most was when the prospective client said that she saw this blog and finds it great!

My client has made me the administrator and content creator for her company’s Facebook page. Just today, she made a manager of her company’s Google+ page (hey, I got a tutorial on how to create a Google+ page. Just stay tuned for this!).

Google+ Page Manager – sounds cool.

Also, I can’t remember how many times she has called me and my work “great.” I also lost count how many exclamation points she has included.

great great great!

But I never changed a bit. I sit down in front of my computer with excitement. I report my outputs with as much energy as my first day.

It is important to stay humble always and do what we have to do. Here’s a look at my work output report, which I do every night.

I felt that with my job, I have traveled a lot in just one sitting.

Who knows? With the earnings that I will slowly increase, I could see myself traveling the places that I only used to tweet, post, pin, and +1 before.

So, how’s your VA adventure?

Pinterest

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.

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