Freelance

4 Reasons Not to be a Virtual Assistant

July 27, 2017
virtual assistant

To be or not be a virtual assistant.

That is the question.

Virtual assistance as a fast-growing work-from-home opportunity has attracted lots of people who want to try it out. Many advantages await prospective virtual assistants (VA’s)- flexible working hours, sizable paychecks, more time for yourself and your family- that entice many to take the opportunity of being a VA.

But there are also “disadvantages” to this job, or what might seem like drawbacks when you work as a Virtual Assistant. While you entertain the idea and decide whether you can be one, there are common scenarios that Virtual Assistants encounter. You definitely need to prepare for these instances once you make the shift from to office to your home.

For new VAs, loneliness usually becomes a problem. Since you work alone from home, you might eventually miss having officemates and going out on Friday nights. The thing is, working alone is the job description of a VA (even with teammates who you talk to online), and you should have known this before you took the job.

If the feeling of loneliness becomes too much that it hinders your performance as a VA, take some time out. Since you have a flexible timetable, you can schedule breaks for yourself, and coordinate with your client or teammates regarding these. Having breaks should allow you to meet with your “offline” friends during lunch or coffee breaks. Being a VA should not stop you from being social.

In relation to this, there are also times when VA’s confront loneliness because their clients are “not present.” Unlike in the office setting, talking to your superiors is not as easy. Being able to work independently is a quality most clients look for in a VA. You cannot expect your client to always be there; they hired you because they have no time to do the tasks they hired you for. As such, they expect you to deliver without relying too much on them.

Besides, working with clients can be a bad experience. There will be nice clients, and there will be disrespectful clients. You will encounter clients that will say or do offensive things, give inappropriate criticisms about your work, or treat you unfairly. You need to prepare to be disrespected, but that does not mean you will allow such a behavior to continue.

When the relationship between you and your client turns sour, it might be better to quit the job. Just remain professional when you send your resignation letter because the rule- Respect Begets Respect- still applies.

Sometimes, however, it is not the client that is the problem but the workload itself. As a VA, you have a specific skill set that you want to develop in your job, but sometimes you will be given work that does not match those skills. You will also be given work that drains you, maybe too demanding or stressful that takes up much of your time. If any of these come into the picture, you might end up not being happy about your job as a VA.

Happiness is important in a job. Even if a job pays high enough for you, money is not the ultimate endgame of a job. What good will your money do if your stress levels are high? Find a job that makes you happy, gives you excitement and a sense of fulfillment.

And while VA’s definitely receive nice pay for the amount of work they do, there are clients who prefer to pay their VA’s once a month which means you need to wait for the paycheck before you spend on the essentials and non-essentials. VA’s then need to be financial managers for their payouts; it will be challenging for most that have weekly finances to manage.

Lastly, VA’s usually have night shifts. This is another occupation hazard, wherein your sleep pattern and body clock has to be adjusted, especially if you have clients abroad. It is not different from working in a call center of BPO office, Adjusting your sleep pattern should be an organized pattern for your schedule, making sure that you have enough time for work, sleep and personal time.

These are a few of the scenarios you might encounter once you finally become a VA. You need to be prepared for all of these, aside from the real stress of working for your clients. But rest assure, being a VA should be rewarding both financially and personally.

Travel

Our 7 Day Puerto Princesa- El Nido Trip

June 5, 2017
El Nido 2017

This year summer highlight was spent in El Nido for almost 7 days with my best friends (for 10 years). When we were planning how are we going to celebrate our decade old friendship, Palawan trip was on our top list. Well, it was my suggestion and did not expect they would agree. So, yup my convincing power did work.
I did the booking of airline tickets, did some research but our friend Vern did the intensive research and planned our itinerary. The itinerary went according to plan.
It was not an easy travel because I am currently living in Isabela. Yes, 8-hour drive from Manila. Fortunately, Matt (One of my bestfriends) is staying with me. So, we left Isabela at 5:30 PM Monday (April 24th) and our flight is at 8 AM the next day. Arrived at the airport at 5 AM. Vern, our bestfriend from Tarlac arrived an hour later. We still had the time to have our breakfast at the airport. The flight was delayed and we left Manila at 9 AM, arrived at Puerto Princesa at 10 AM. Right after we arrived, we were picked up by our driver from a travel and tours agency. Just to make it clear, we did not book our tours from the agency, we did all the work. We booked the van transfer straight from our first hotel, which is Pawikan Hotel. We only paid 500 pesos for the fare (for the three of us already). I am not sure if it was a promo but that’s the only amount we paid.
We had had lunch at Ugong Rock Restaurant. The place is nice. We asked for their famous dish Samadulas and Seafood Salad. I also ordered mango and buko juices for my two friends.
Our travel time from Puerto to El Nido was 5 hours. The driver dropped us directly to Pawikan hotel. By the way, part of our itinerary is to try not only one hotel but we have 5 hotels in total including one hotel in Puerto Princesa. The reason behind this? For me to have reviews and comparison, so I can give my best recommendations for you guys. Oh yes!! Keep reading and you’ll know which one fit your needs and wants.
First day was spent on the road. Travel from Manila- Puerto- El Nido.
First Night. Tuesday night. Sava Bar.

El Nido

Second Day. Wednesday. We had our Canopy Walk. The view is breathtaking.

Canopy Walk, El Nido

Canopy Walk El Nido

Then spent our happy hour at Nacpan beach. It’s a 45-minute drive from the town proper. Good thing we have Kuya Ken. We rented his truck and had him as our driver. We only paid 1500php. Not bad because it would be the same price if we hire a tricycle. If you want to contact him, this is his phone number 9050-308-8094. He is very nice, considerate and accommodating.

 

Nacpan Beach, El Nido

Nacpan Beach

Second Night. Wednesday. Spent the night at our second hotel, Spin Hostel. Spent it working. They have a very strong internet connection. Good for digital nomads like me.
Third Day. Thursday. First island hopping tour. We had tour C.

Hidden Beach, El Nido

Hidden Beach, El Nido

 

Secret Beach

Secret Beach

 

Talisay Beach

Talisay Beach

 

Matinloc Shrine

Matinloc Shrine

Third Night. Thursday. Tried the ever famous Altrove. It’s a must.
Fourth Day.  Friday. Tour A. Met someone from Switzerland. Sometimes traveling is not just about discovering the place but also meeting other tourists from other places.

Seven Commando Beach

Seven Commando Beach

Big Lagoon, El Nido

Big Lagoon, El Nido

 

Small Lagoon

Small Lagoon

 

Small Lagoon

Small Lagoon

Secret Lagoon

Secret Lagoon

 

Shimizu Island

Shimizu Island

 

Snorkeling at Shimizu Island

Snorkeling at Shimizu Island

Fourth night. We transferred to El Nido Reef. We were somewhat exhausted from the two consecutive days of hoping islands and beaches, so we planned to have our relaxation day at El Nido Reef. It is located at Caalan Beach. It offers a stunning sunset and Cadlao Island view. It was a new resort owned by a German and the owner was very friendly and approachable. Few beers at El Nido Reef bar and a little bit of online work.

El Nido Reef Strand

Fifth Day. We stayed at El Nido Reef until 12 noon and transferred to our next hotel. This one is the most disappointing of all. The water from the faucet has a very unpleasant smell. Though the internet connection is good, we could not tolerate the smell of the water in the bathroom. Good thing we only had to stay there until 5 am the next day. So right after checking in, we went directly to Maramegmeg beach. It is known for its beautiful sunset view. You can spend your happy hours here with few beers.

El Nido
Fifth Night. Still at the same beach. Went back to Alexus Hotel, slept until 4:30 am.

El Nido

El Nido
Sixth Day. Had to travel back to Puerto Princesa. Arrived at Palawan Seaview at 11:00 AM. The staff was very accommodating, they upgraded our room to deluxe. They welcomed us with iced tea and a warm greeting. I highly recommend the hotel. The front view is not that beautiful but the rooms and staff are five stars.

Palawan Seaview

Baker's Hill Palawan

Rancho Mitra Palawan

Sixth Night. Coffee in our room’s veranda. Few laughs and chat. We had a good night slept. The beds were really comfy and we were all tired from the EL Nido trip.
Seventh Day. Our last day!!! We were not excited to leave Palawan. We had our complimentary breakfast. Then wrapped our trip watching the sea view.

Recommendations:
Hotels: SPIN and El Nido Reef are highly recommended. If you are traveling alone, Spin is the perfect place for you. El Nido Reef matches the honeymooners. They have a beautiful sunset view and the hotel is new so, expect it very clean. Staff needs more training. I believed their staff are also inexperienced. Pawikan Hotel. It was a bit disappointing because they don’t have a generator. There was a power outage when we arrived and instead of spending the night prepping for the next day, we had no choice but went out. Good thing we were able to try SAVA BAR.

Sava Bar: Very modern and the ambiance is great. Drinks are a bit pricey but worth a try.

Altrove:– my friend recommended this and I would recommend it to you guys as well. It is A MUST TRY in El Nido. Pizza is the best and if you are a vegetarian they offer food for you.

To conclude, we all have one thing to say. EL NIDO is the best place we have been so far. …….. Definitely going back there!

If you have questions or would like any help in your Palawan trip, feel free to comment below. See you on my next blog.

Events Freelance

New Year, New Goals, New Beginning

January 25, 2017
New Goals

Yes, I know – it has been awhile. I had to take a hiatus from blogging because life happened. And when life calls, you heed! But I am back, and ready to take on everything that the year 2017 has in store for me.

2016 was a roller coaster ride of sorts, especially since it was the year I really went full throttle with my freelancing work. I am eternally grateful for being blessed in that respect, not only because life became a little more comfortable, but because I was able to share my blessings with family and friends. Moreover, because I started training VAs, I was able to help them earn, too. Even if 2016 was technically a rough year for most, it was a relatively smooth ride for me.

I am thankful for my work setup, because honestly the wanderlust bug never left me, and I was able to travel while still getting lots of work done. Nothing beats being able to work at a busy streetside café while taking in the scenery, or working with the sand on my toes and the ocean just a few feet away from me. I was blessed with numerous clients I am still fortunate to be working with, and every day is just a learning experience.

And now, perhaps the biggest news of all – I got engaged last year! The love of my life and my partner in crime asked me to spend the rest of my life with him, and of course I said yes! There’s really no better person to spend forever with, as he is highly supportive of my lifestyle and the way I work. He has no complaints about the late nights, the deadlines, me having to work through weekends and holidays, having to bring my laptop and work stuff during vacations. He even prepares my meals and makes sure I am well fed and well rested whenever I get too knee-deep in work.

So what’s next for the Digital Wonder Woman?

Apart from the wedding planning (which I am very excited about, by the way), I will definitely be taking on more tasks and will seek to enhance my VA skills. In fact, I am currently working on my Social Media and Community Mastery Certification from Digital Marketer by Ryan Deiss (thanks to my former client). I am also now more actively seeking content writing and social media tasks because it’s never too late to gain mastery of new skills. I will still continue helping my VAs in enhancing their skills so they can be more productive and retain their clients.

And of course, I will continue making the most out of my digital nomad lifestyle – working as hard as I can, as long as I can, whenever and wherever possible, while making the most out of life.

Life is beautiful. Here’s to a productive 2017 for all of us!

Freelance

Benefits of Working Freelance

June 4, 2016
Benefits of Working Freelance

Choosing to be working freelance full-time was one of the scariest and most difficult decisions I have

ever made in my life. After all, at the time, the prospect of giving up a stable, regular source of income

and completely uprooting my life from the province to the big city was terrifying. Only the bravest and

the gutsiest are able to cling to uncertainty and decide to be freelancers.

 

It’s almost been more than a year since I decided to become a full-time freelancer, and I do not, in any way, regret

that decision – in fact I am very thankful I made a blind leap and moved out of my comfort zone. Sure,

it’s difficult at times, but the benefits far outweigh the uncertain moments.

 

If you’re on the fence about going freelance – if you need that one last push to take the big leap – then

read on about the many benefits I enjoy as a freelancer, which include:

 Being able to work anytime, anywhere  

This is where my favorite place to do my freelance projects- my bed.

Working in my bed while eating pancakes- the best feeling ever!

Of course, I have to be mindful about my deadline and my overall productivity but what I love

most about this setup is that I am able to work wherever there is stable Internet connection and

a sturdy table, and at my most convenient time, too. I dictate my work hours – I can work in the

morning, or late at night. I can sleep through lunch and the afternoon and get to work the

moment I am up. Because I have no direct boss, the world is my office – I have worked through

vacations and out-of town trips. I have worked seaside, poolside, roadside, pretty much

anywhere. I work from restaurants, coffeeshops, co-working spaces, and yes, in bed, in my

pajamas. Being able to work anytime, anywhere allows me to save precious time and max out

my productivity. Which brings me to my next point, which is…

 

 

 Avoiding traffic at all times

Being a freelancer means I don’t need to brave it out everyday and worry about commuting to

work. I never have to worry about travel time and fighting out the rest of humanity for space

inside jeepneys, buses, and the MRT. I don’t need to deal with obnoxious cab drivers who

complain about the distance from my home to my workplace and the traffic we’ll inevitably

encounter. Of course, it goes without saying that I do not need to spend on fare. I choose where

I work. I can choose to stay indoors all day, everyday, and never leave my house – all while

earning continuously.

 Freedom!

IMG_5187

Exploring the mountain side of my province during weekdays. Taken at Cervantes, Ilocos Sur.

The most seductive aspect of working freelance is the freedom it affords me. I wouldn’t

exchange it for anything in the world.

I am free to spend time with family members and friends when they are free. I have time for

tasks that involve government agencies, banks, and other institutions that operate from 8-5 on

weekdays. If I need to go home to the province, I just need a moment’s notice and I’m there.

This is very convenient for me, especially since I am in charge of many familial obligations.

Financial freedom is also a major perk. I do not have a fixed salary a month, but that’s fine,

because my salary is directly proportional to the hours I work – the more I work, the more I

earn. And the more I earn, the more comfortable my life and the lives of the people I love can

be. Now that’s a major incentive for working hard.

 

These are just some of the major benefits of working freelance. Like I said earlier, if you’re

considering the same setup, this entry just might get you to make the big move. Good luck!

Share your thoughts on this article on the comments section!

Food

Weekday Find: Yoshinobu Restaurant

January 29, 2016

Happy Weekday! Let me share you our newest find, where you can taste an authentic Japanese food, Yoshinobu Restaurant.

Makki and I decided to work in a coffee shop nearby. We were thinking of Seattle’s Best Coffee because we are already sick of Starbucks, there is one near our place where we regularly get our coffee. We go there about twice to thrice a week. So we finally changed the venue this time, we went to Valero Street with an empty stomach and before heading inside the Seattle’s Best Coffee Shop, we saw this newly opened Japanese restaurant across named Yoshinobu Restaurant. We decided to give it a try.

Yoshinobu Restaurant at Valero Street, Makati City

Inside Yoshinobu Restaurant

The restaurant is spacious and can accommodate more than a hundred pax. Well, in fact, there were only 2 tables that were occupied when we arrived. As we enter the place, we saw a sign attached on the door saying they only accept cash for payment at this time.

12633015_1227882810574884_1268122397_o

They serve authentic Japanese food and when it comes to the price, it is quite expensive compared to other Japanese restaurants in town specifically restaurants in Little Tokyo.

Ikura Don

Tekka Don

Tekka Don is a rice bowl with marinated tuna Sashimi on top. This was ordered by Makki and it costs 480 pesos.

12637228_1227882697241562_378355831_o

Ikura don

Ikura means salmon fish roe so, Ikura Don is a rice bowl with salmon fish roe on top. I ordered this and it costs 790 pesos. Yes, I know it is expensive, but I was just curious and wanted to experience the famous Ikura.

12620774_1227882503908248_1338948501_o

Water melon mango shake

The shake is superb and it was my first time to have this kind of smoothie.

receipt

Our bill was a total of 1,826 pesos, pricy for just an ordinary day of the week. LOL. They don’t issue an official receipt, maybe because they recently opened.

REVIEW: Expectations in an expensive restaurant were lacking for a 5 star, would be my response. The service is great, however the food was not the best Japanese food we had tried. If I would compare Little Tokyo restaurants to Yoshinobu Restaurant, I would rather go back to Little Tokyo. As Makki said that it is not worth the money, but it was still a good try and good experience overall.

You can give it a try, but I would not really recommend. When you do, please let me know your experience in the comment box.

 

Beauty

Tips and Tricks on How to Carry a Bold Lip Color

January 23, 2016

First things first, let me get one thing straight: I am a diehard makeup fan, and one of my weaknesses is lip color in various shades and finishes.

One of the perks of going freelance is being able to work from my bedroom or a nearby coffee shop and never needing to primp and prep as much as women who are required to wear corporate attire and makeup day in, day out. Sure, I miss dressing up and as a beauty junkie, I always welcome the prospect of putting on makeup.

There are days, however, when time is of the essence and my tasks are my top priority, so there’s very little time to put on makeup. On those days, I rely on the power of a bold lip to make me look presentable and give me my much-needed confidence boost. Wearing lipstick in a bold color can take some serious guts – not all women can pull it off. If you’ve been wanting to try this trend, but do not know how to work it, read on – I have some useful tips that you can benefit from!

  • Choosing the right lip color 

    We are lucky to be spoilt with so many choices as far as lip colors are concerned. Go bold and red, or choose a deeper plum color, or, if you’re feeling extra girly, wear a loud and proud pink or fuchsia hue on your lips! A punch of bright citrus orange or coral always looks on-trend during summer, while the really daring can choose attention-grabbing violet.

    There are no hard and fast rules with choosing lip color, but generally, women with fair skin look great with bold red lips, while medium-toned women can definitely rock a hot pink color. Women with deeper skin tones can opt for plum, raisin-hued ones. But I say go for whatever you feel like wearing!

  • Prepping your lips and applying color

    Bold lip colors need to be applied meticulously – after all, they are the focal point of your face. Prep your lips with a light coating of clear lip balm, then lining your lips with a lip liner that matches your lipstick. Fill in your lips with the lip liner, then a few swipes of your lipstick. For a more precise application, you can use a lip brush. Pat on nude-colored powder on top, then blot your lips. Apply another layer of lipstick, then blot. Finish off with a layer of clear gloss if you want extra shiny lips.

  • Don’t forget the finishing touches

    After you have filled in your lips with your bold color of choice, make sure that you clean up the area surrounding your puckers. With a q-tip, dab any wayward color. Then, to make your lips stand out even more, apply concealer with a small brush around your cupid’s bow and lower lip line to make the area look cleaner and make the color pop out even more.

  • Keep the rest of your face simple

    Bold lips deserve all the attention, so make sure to keep the rest of your makeup simple. Simply line your eyes (easy on the cat eye!), groom your brows, and pat on some powder to ensure that your face is shine-free. The trick to keeping your makeup from being overdone is to let your natural skin color shine through, so do not pile on the foundation. It’s okay for your skin to show through.

  • Work it!

    Lastly, when wearing bold lip color, make sure that you WORK IT! The best complimentary accessory to a bold lip is lots of confidence.

What’s your favorite bold lip color? Let me know in the comments section!

 

Freelance

Productivity Tips for Freelancers

January 8, 2016

Working freelance definitely has a lot of perks. One of the biggest perks is, arguably, being able to control your own hours. I find this very convenient, because I only work the hours I want. I can choose to take breaks when I want to. I set my own rest days. Of course, this also means dealing with the consequences of taking too many breaks or taking an extended vacation – I have to work double time, sometimes until the wee hours of the morning, and often for several days in a row. Despite this, I wouldn’t trade my current setup for anything. I like the freedom it affords me.

When distractions get in the way

One disadvantage of this setup is that freelancers such as myself are prone to a lot of distractions. Because we set the tone of our workdays and we (rarely) have bosses monitoring our activities, the temptation to do non-work things can be strong, especially on days when there is a good show on TV, or if a new movie is showing on cinemas, or when it is raining and the best way to spend the day is curl up in bed with a good book, then sleep afterwards. Staying online does not make one immune to distractions, too. I have been guilty of delaying my tasks in favor of wasting spending time on social media. One link leads to another and the next thing you know, I am on YouTube, binge-watching makeup tutorials. And of course, when you’re watching a tutorial and you have makeup you can play with… you get the picture.

Staying productive when you’re a freelancer can be tough, but here are a few tips to help you:

  • Compartmentalize – Organize your tasks the way you organize your closet – compartmentalize your tasks and put them in imaginary “boxes”. For instance, all writing tasks are accomplished within a certain number of hours, followed by video editing tasks, which should be done within the next two hours. Crossing from one task to another can be confusing and make you lose focus, thus making you more prone to getting distracted.
  • Make a list, check it twice – Sure, you can memorize your tasks – but it’s still better to list everything on a piece of paper, on your laptop’s sticky notes app, on Evernote, or on your whiteboard, if you have access to one. Not only do you get a visual on the things you need to accomplish on a certain day, you are also assured of never forgetting anything. Plus you can make little notes and comments next to those tasks – try doing that in your mind and you will get confused. And there’s nothing more satisfying than crossing off a task you have accomplished at the end of the day.
  • Listen to music – This might not apply to everybody, but it works for me. When I need to go beastmode and focus on a task, I put on my earphones, crank the volume up high, and listen to my power songs. Because I am oblivious to my surroundings, I am able to get laser-focus on what I need to accomplish.
  • Take breaks – but time them – Staying productive does not necessarily mean never taking breaks. You can take short breaks in between tasks, but make sure not to take too long! One trick that has helped me stay on track with my tasks and my time is to set an alarm so that I am reminded of when I should go back to work. This way, you do not feel completely deprived of a break, but I do not take too long with non-work pursuits, too.
  • Know when to stop – There are days when the creative juices just won’t flow no matter what you do. Despair not, it happens to the best of us. Perhaps it’s time for an extended break. Stop what you’re doing, take a walk, have a snack, play with your kids (or pets), talk to a friend on the phone, and, if you do not have pressing deadlines, go out and enjoy the day. You will feel refreshed and more ready to take on work after. Or you can move on to a completely different task and finish that first, before going back to your other task. This ensures that you are not completely unproductive when your brain cells just won’t cooperate.

I’ll be sharing more tips in the future. For now, I hope this helps! What other productivity tips can you share? Sound off in the comments section!

Freelance

Why I quit corporate and did freelance – and how I survived

January 4, 2016

As briefly discussed in my About Me page, one of the reasons I quit corporate and decided to engage in freelance online work is so I can have more freedom with my work setup and so I can find time for my family. I needed to be mostly home-based so I can take care of a beloved family member, so I had to uproot myself (I was based in the province) and quit as a medical representative.

Was it scary? Definitely! We always fear the unknown. But the fear was mixed with a healthy dose of excitement, as I have heard a lot of great things about Odesk (now Upwork) and online work in general. I have been told of the numerous benefits, such as being able to manage my own time, earning in dollars, and earning as much as I want to – provided of course that I put in the work. Having worked in a corporate setup previously and being dissatisfied with how my salary did not quite match up to the effort and hours I rendered on a regular basis, the freelance setup appealed to me.

Initial struggles

It was difficult at first – I had to search for clients on my own, bid on projects and send proposals, and hope that, amidst all the other talented applicants, I will get hired. I landed several clients alright, but getting the work done was another struggle altogether – I needed to expand my skill set, fast, so I can deliver the work required.

YouTube tutorials and Google became my best friends. I quickly discovered that the Internet is one huge library that can teach you almost anything, if you know what you are looking for. I used the resources I had at my disposal to accomplish the tasks assigned to me, and after a few tries, I was able to deliver results that, according to my clients, were more than satisfactory.

I am very fortunate because I am never out of clients – I even reached the point where I needed to refer other people for the job because I am already swamped with numerous projects and did not want to spread myself too thin. Fellow freelancers have asked me what my secret was, and I always tell them that there is really no secret – just sheer hard work and determination to deliver the best results, all the time. I also make sure to foster good relations with all of my clients so that they will feel comfortable in hiring me again, or refer me to friends and colleagues who might be in need of my services.

No regrets, just love

A year after, I could say I am at my happiest, career-wise. My income allows me to live a comfortable life that lets me afford some nice little extras. I am happy I don’t need to commute every day and worry about getting to work on time. I am also able to spend more time doing other things I like and with the people I love. Most of all, I learned a lot of valuable skills – skills that will only help my career flourish in the long run. I am more confident and fulfilled now, and I couldn’t be happier.

What about you? Thinking of going freelance? It’s worth a try! Let me know your thoughts in the comments section!