2013 Planning: home… is where I make things happen!

I can’t believe it! It was only a year ago since I resigned from my call center job to become a Virtual Assistant, which is more commonly known as a Work At Home profession. Did I accomplish a lot in one year as a VA? A big YES!

At first, I was looking forward to reach my first 100 hours in oDesk. Then 500 hours. Next was my 1,000th hour. Awesome, right? ‘Til now, it is a roller coaster ride, just like any other office work.  I just prayed so hard for wisdom, courage, and optimism to progress and prosper in this field so that I can reach my dreams. Once you experience working at home, you’ll never look back.

Let me quickly share with you this one specific moment to inspire you. One of the MANY things I enjoy is having the luxury to work while playing with my nephew, Clide. My multitasking strategy to be able to work and play was to ask him to role-play as my office mate. It worked! =)

Role playing: my little virtual assistant

Role playing: my little virtual assistant

Now that I am done with my first year, what’s next? Through the help of my mentor Jomar Hilario, I was able to accomplish numerous things on my “to do” list, which I WILL continue to do this year. Writing down your goals, plans, AND dreams, is the first step.

Here’s my work station at home.

A virtual assistant's work station. (where the magic happens)

A virtual assistant’s work station. (where the magic happens)

This is my official spot at home. For me, having your own designated work station helps you focus more on your tasks or goals. During a more relaxed day, I work in the living room while looking after my ill dad, or at the bedroom where I can watch television or watch over my nephew doing siesta.

You’ll notice two strips of colorful paper pinned with round magnets on my whiteboard. Those are my pathway to a MORE prosperous 2013. See? I told you I will continue to accomplish many things this year! Planning helps me get there.

I am eager to learn more things and become a better person this year.

What's your purpose?

What’s your purpose?

How about you? Have you accomplished your goals from 2012? Did your “to do” list reflect more strikes than unmarked ones? Have you spent quality time with your family or mostly just worked for money?

YOU can make things happen differently this 2013! Earn more money, spend more time with family, gain more knowledge, experience, and motivation this year.

How?

JOIN Jomar Hilario’s FREE webinar tomorrow at 8pm Manila time. It’s FREE! All you need to do is register here: http://freewebinaraccess.com and be there! (that simple!)

I will be there with you too! See you there!

VA Tonic

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Virtual Assistant Tip: 6 Ways to Avoid Mental Stagnation

It’s been 3 months since my last blog.

The alibi: “I’ve been busy!”

But the truth is my productivity rate during that period was fluctuating. Trying to do so many things hurt my schedule and my ego. I was overwhelmed with the things on my plate and then ended up doing less.

waaaah!

It began when I was hired by three clients to do different tasks. I must admit, getting many clients immediately after my corporate resignation was exciting! The problem was that I focused too much on work that I forgot to continue learning more. I mean, YES I learn while working, but it was totally different to learn about “other” things from outside work. Let me give you an example. Majority of my tasks is related to Social Media Marketing. I learned a lot about marketing strategy, tools and more. But I forgot that there was a time when I wished to learn how to drive, to learn HTML and Photoshop, to build a business etcetera.

So what went wrong? Well, the excitement blinded me. It distracted me from focusing on the important things, like fully living my life. I kept on working, learning about work, meeting the expectations of my employer, until something hit me. How long do I intend to be like this, doing things routinely every day?

Image

I think God made a brilliant way for me to get my focus back. The big clients of my client got bankrupt. So the accounts I handle were gone except two minor ones. I ended up with 10 hours worth of work per week. I wasn’t really happy at that time because it meant lower income. I realized that it was a great opportunity to breathe in and to have more time to reassess the path I am taking.

You know what I did? (You can do these too!)

  1. Write goals. Remember to use a pen and paper! Put it somewhere you can see it often. Make sure that you follow SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound).
  2. Stop checking Facebook first thing upon log in. Don’t go overboard and annihilate your Facebook life or delete your friends. Facebook after you’ve done your work! That way, you minimize the chances of wasting your time. Some of you will agree that it takes you more than an hour checking on your friends and their photos, playing app games, etc.
  3. Schedule your day in an hourly basis. I don’t believe in this strategy before because it made me feel like a control freak. Fortunately, it’s not yet too late to try it! Good thing I did! Anyway, just think of it as your typical day in school where every subject ends in an hour. Try your best to make the most out of every hour. You will not only look forward to new learning but also made every bit of your time “accomplished.”
  4. Challenge yourself! Try doing something for 30 days. Add it to your daily routine. It feels great to have a sense of purpose. And it will surely feel AWESOME to successfully overcome a challenge! My challenge for myself is to do yoga and Navigator (that stepmaster thing for cardio, or simply an enhanced stationary bike) for 30 days! Can you imagine doing different things every month?
  5. Allot time for reading. It will not only widen your vocabulary, but also add more to your knowledge. I simply went back to my mentor Jomar Hilario’s lessons from the Online Mentoring Club and evaluate myself. Refrain from reading Entertainment news, instead search for How-To articles. There are How to cook or bake, how to build a chair, how to invest in the stock market, how to get abs in 10 minutes, and a lot more guides to choose from! Imagine the things you can learn in a week or month’s time if you try to do this daily! I’m sure that we will all be renewed!
  6. Train! No it’s not the choo-choo train! It’s training your skills! What skills do you want to learn? Do it! What skills do you want to develop? Do it! Utilize YouTube in a more meaningful way by learning through the available video tutorials.

So, what do you think? You can create your own list that is according to the path you want to take. Remember, let no one delay your success, NOT EVEN YOURSELF!

I’d love to know what 30-day challenge you’re up to or the things you intend to learn more about. Your difficulties or experiences on dealing with mental stagnation are most welcome! Write them on the comment box below!

– VA Tonic

Virtual Assistant Tip: Your First Step To Increase Wealth

Remember Robert Shemin? The New York Times Bestselling Author and Wealth Coach that I told you from my What You Do Today Defines Your Future post who slapped me with the question “Why Is That Idiot Rich And I am Not?” Well, he is also the one who told me that a rich person has a lot of time.

I’d like to make it clear that I am not talking about bummers or bystanders who completely have plenty of time but do nothing else. I am talking about the people who have control over their own time because this is the type where you want to belong.

Lego Time!!!

People consider a Virtual Assistant profession because of a lot of reasons. Many of us want to work at home because we realize, more than anything else, that time is essential. We want more time with our family, on ourselves, in the community, and basically anything that we consider important in our lives. We just wanted more time but rich or poor are equally given 24 hours to spend each day.

To become rich, you do not just need to work. You need to learn how to make your income work for you. I will help you with that on my future posts but first things first. Make that first step.

Your first step to increase wealth is simple! Start with “Spend your time wisely.”

For every second to the hours you spent playing games or reading insignificant stuff on your computer, you already lost an incredible amount of money. You could have used it to improve on or learn new skills like baking, losing weight, web development, and so on. It may also be a new language, widening your vocabulary and educating yourself on social relevance by reading substantial stuff, or simply becoming inspired from different platforms like YouTube videos, TED Talks, and Forums. Doing these things will not reward you with instant money. But with the new “you” from your time well spent, you gain the capacity to invest more for your future.

Harvesting my crops

I’ll give you an example. I was addicted in playing Farm Town in a pretty long period of time. I always leveled up and have gained a lot of trees, crops, animals, barns, trucks, and almost everything the market sells, and then I realized that I am rich. Yes, I am super rich with Farm Town money. The problem was that I cannot spend it to buy groceries at home nor pay our bills. I told myself I had to stop, and I did.

Spend your time wisely to get you closer to your dreams.

You cannot just pick up a peso or dollar on the street. But you can work on it little by little. A dollar is a dollar. I took some Virtual Assistant projects that offer writers to produce articles with a minimum number of words. My time spent on reading rather than playing online games helped me complete the job with a quick turnaround and positive feedback.

Earned my dollars in a few hours

With more knowledge, the task becomes easier. The easier it gets, the faster you can accomplish it. The quicker you complete it, the money comes in rapidly!

You see, our life is a continuous cycle of cause and effect. Observe that you gain something from every deed you do. When you are rich, you can use your money to leverage on people. When you do that, you gain more time to spend. Maybe a vacation, a birthday party of your daughter, a movie night with your friends, a dinner with your parents, anything!

Reflect on how you spend your time daily. You will be wealthy when you spend your time wisely!

-VA Tonic

Virtual Assistant Tip: How To Create A Concise And Effective Cover Letter

oDesk Employers are usually very busy. So when they need to delegate work, they hire staff or employees that best suit the skills required to complete a job.  They consider a lot of things such as knowledge, experience, and character. Their hectic schedules and the need to beat deadlines require them to fill the position immediately. You need to learn how to create a concise and effective cover letter in order to impress employers. It is your crucial shot to have them hire you.

Here are some valuable Virtual Assistant Tips on how to create a concise and effective cover letter:

by mpclemens

Opening

  • Greet your employer in a professional manner.
  • Most of the time, job postings do not show the employer’s name. You can generally say “Dear Employer” or “Dear Hiring Manager”
  • Show respect in cultural differences so refrain from using slang words like “howdy” or “hey.”
  • If a name was indicated, you can plainly say “Hi Mike”. “Sir” or “Ma’am” is also acceptable. But be careful to whom you use them, some names are gender biased and you may have mistaken an “Alex” as a Sir when it could be a nickname for Alexandria.

by wilhei55

 Body

  • Go straight to the point.
  • Read the job posting completely before applying for the position.
  • Most of the time, employers require a “magic word” to be indicated on your cover letter to ensure that you have read the entirety of their post.
  • Indicate your interest with the position and assure them of its completion. It is better if you can estimate a timeframe of how soon you can finish the job.
  • Inform them if you have a previous experience that is related to the project. Notify the employer if you have a portfolio to attach or a link sample available.
  • For the benefit of both parties, include the time of your availability. Informing the employers of the difference in time zones is a sign of courtesy and it shows you respect their time too.

by vistamommy

Closing

  • Seal your cover letter with a pleasantry to leave the employer with a positive impression of you.
  • Right before your salutation “Thank you, (put your name below)” the classic closing “I hope to hear from you soon” still works because it conveys a hopeful and positive attitude.

Follow the virtual assistant tips on how to create a concise and effective cover letter to successfully win that contract.

 -VA Tonic 

Virtual Assistant Tip: 3 Valuable Lessons From My First VA Contract

September 20, 2011 was when I attended the Virtual Assistant Seminar by my mentor Jomar Hilario. Since then, I would do something productive on a daily basis that is aligned with our assignment and of course with my future plans.

I was still employed back then as Quality Specialist in one of the leading inbound call centers in the Philippines. It was hard for me to be on the night shift. Aside from the weird body clock and having your breakfasts at 6pm, I had to spend more hours in the morning for my additional knowledge and skills as a preparation to my VA life.

After shift, I would hurriedly clock out on the dot to avoid the morning traffic. Upon arriving home, I’d have my “dinner”, rest up a while,  and then went on to do my assignment, review tutorials, navigate applications, and so on.

by i eated a cookie

It was October of 2011 when I registered in oDesk. My VA assignment was not done yet, but I ventured into creating my oDesk profile early and took some tests. I began to find jobs with whether Fixed or Hourly rates.

I took oDesk tips on how to become a valuable contractor seriously. I read the importance of an impressive cover letter and basically tried my best to win my first job.

by Victor Bezrukov

I value this new Virtual Assistant endeavor that I have. One of the greatest characteristics that I would like to convey to my clients is honesty. So I admitted on my cover letter that I do not exactly know how to do the job but I have researched and is willing to do everything to do it right.

Voila! I landed my first contract “Putting Survey from Survey Monkey on Website” My client said she admires my honesty and that she is willing to give me a chance.

I felt great! Though I know nothing about web development, I researched and learned a lot. It turned out that my client’s site had just started and don’t even have an index page yet. It took me more than 6 hours to finally realize that I will not be able to do what the client needs to be done. So, I delegated my task to someone who knows exactly what to do and it only took her an hour to finish it.

by woodleywonderworks

And since I am honest, I told my client everything so she’ll get her money’s worth. Fortunately, she was that nice because she still paid me the agreed amount. I was able to pay the person that I hired to do it.

After my first VA contract, I learned three things that we can all use on our future application:

1. Honesty is the Key

by William Hook

Everyone wants honesty. Clients appreciate you when they sense that you’re truthful. Just be open!

2. Know The Job

My first VA Contract Feedback: 4.60

Save yourself from the hassle and the stress. If you are aiming to get your first VA contract and would like to have a smooth start and a great feedback score, make sure you know what to do.  I got a 4.60 rating by the way. It was okay but I should have not taken that job to keep a 5 star rating. But for all its worth, I still learned something through the experience.

3. Be Prudent

by tm-tm

Know when to stop. Be diligent. Do not think about considering your pride. What you need to do in cases like this is to save yours and your client’s time.

To my fellow Virtual Assistants, especially those who haven’t found their first VA contract yet, DO NOT lose hope, think positive, and remember these 3 lessons!

– VA Tonic

 

Virtual Assistant Dilemma: Learning New Application, Program, or Software

When you start to work at home as a Virtual Assistant, know that you should always strive to add a new learning every single day. It could be about a new application, program, or software. Developing strategies and cultivating skills are also keys to improvement. It helps  you to challenge yourself, rejuvenate your mind, and grow more diligently than yesterday.

A Virtual Assistant's Dilemma

However, with a lot of interesting ideas and complicated concepts that offers multiple categories to choose from, you will start to get confused and overwhelmed with the information flooding your mind.

A good way to avoid dilemmas is to have your own system. As a Virtual Assistant, being systematic helps me organize my thoughts and also learn to identify priorities.

Again and again, planning will always be a part of a successful equation. When you plan your day’s itinerary, include the new learning that you’re interested to invest your time with. If you stumble upon a site where your curiosity leads you, decide whether it is something you need to know immediately or could possibly be something you might want to bookmark first and get back to after a few days.

Last but certainly not the least, FOCUS!

-VA Tonic

 

3 Simple Reasons Why You Need to Learn Brendon Burchard’s Elements of High Performance

Brendon Burchard, author of the #1 New York Times Bestselling The Millionaire Messenger, sent me an email two days ago. Watching the FREE video linked to it not only changed the course of my day but also improved my way of thinking.

Well of course, the term “High Performance” is not only positive but also intriguing. Optimistic and eager-to-learn type of people are always enthusiastic about developing their skills and finding what’s missing. So when High Performance was enhanced with surprising elements, my curiosity came in seeking for deeper understanding.

On his email, Brendon Burchard asked “Is your Psychology and Physiology giving you the ENERGY and vibrancy you need to take on the world?”

Brendon Burchard: Elements of High Performance

Brendon’s question made me think. I was sure that his intention was for me to click the link, and I did. Why wouldn’t I?

Here are my 3 simple reasons why you need to learn Brendon Burchard’s Elements of High Performance:

1. New Learning for FREE! – Gaining more knowledge is a gift. Getting it from an expert (for FREE) is winning the lottery! Never limit yourself on the things that you can learn everyday. And as they say, “The best things in life are FREE!” By listening to Brendon, you will realize why you need to filter the information that comes to you.

2. You can make a difference – Once you have learned to filter information, you CAN and WILL ASPIRE TO influence people in a more positive way. When you care for other people, and you decide to stand out and do what you love especially for the benefit of others is a magnanimous act of making a difference. Creating your own legacy is a vision that you can pass on to others who aspire to become a leader, a star, or someone who dreamed of fulfilling his or her ultimate purpose in life.

3. Life is sweeter – Everyone’s life is a journey, a race. While running it, you sometimes focus too much on the goal. But winners aren’t only the ones who crossed the finish line first, they are also the ones who really lived to experience racing to “represent” and to finish strong. Life is sweeter when you learned something and you share it to make a difference.

To watch Brendon Burchard’s video, click HERE.

-VA Tonic