Monday, November 15, 2010

My First 'This is It!'

The image above is a screenshot from my oDesk notification box sent by a client for the VA job that I applied to.  It says " I would like to give you a 30 day paid trial period to see if we work well together.  Are you ok with this?  If so, how soon could you start? "

Michael Jackson declared 'This Is It!' when he was about to give one of the greatest and final performances of his music life.  He was preparing for the consummation of his music career...then we all knew what happened next.   When I got the message above, I also said to myself, 'This Is It!'  Meaning, I mark this message as a new beginning of my career in working online and working and earning from home.  Due to some reasons, I'm still not quite ready yet to do this full time.  But I've given myself a deadline, then I'm out of the traditional office rat race.  This is a good place to start for me now.  'This Is It!'  The first step, as Lao Tsu said, could lead to a thousand journeys...and for me, I claim,  thousands of satisfied clients, thousands of dollars, hundreds and thousands of hours more time spent with my family :-)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A First for Being Bold and Daring

For almost three weeks now,  I've started client hunting over at oDesk.  Every aspiring virtual assistant should be familiar with this online hub where job seekers and job employers meet and do an exchange of services.  For about a week, I built my resume and portfolio.    It's a must for VA's to have a comprehensive resume and portfolio. It's easy.  You too can start it now.

Armed with my resume, I started to spread the 'good news' to about 10 employers that I could be the best out there to fufill their service requirements.  Out of the 10, 1 heeded my call and requested for an interview:

Yahooo!  At least 1 took notice.  Actually, the posting stated that the employer needed someone with at least 4-star feedback and at least one hour odesk job experience. Me?  I had zero.  Yet, I boldly stated in my cover later that 
"I am taking a shot at the moon applying for this post.  I still do not have any Odesk work experience.  I am sorry if I pursued this, inspite of your specifications to have Odesk work and feedback.  Yet, I believe that I have the makings of a "mogul", with an openness to learn, gain and enhance my online skills and be a well rounded team player. ..."  
It really pays to be bold and daring oftentimes... For three days now, we've exchanged messages ---throwing more questions at me and asked me to submit a sample work.  Now, it's the waiting game...hoping, wishing, matter what the result is, I'll wear a smile on my face and keep that bold and daring spirit.

I Test, therefore I Am...Part 2

To pick-up from where I left-off in my previous post,  another online testing venue for Virtual Assistant aspirants is Brainbench.  Getting a certification from Brainbench adds another feather to your cap, which is your resume or portfolio.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I Test, therefore I Am...

One of the initial steps that a would-be / aspiring virtual assistant should take is to build a portfolio or a resume of one's experiences, education/training, work samples...all these elements should give one's prospective client a clear picture of one's qualifications.

One of the more effective ways of presenting a virtual assistant's skills and aptitude is by taking online tests that measure one's knowledge and skill that match with a particular job requirement.

I am currently building my portfolio at oDesk, a virtual assistant's hub to find online jobs.  I am taking as many skill-focused tests as I can so as proof to a prospective employer that my listed knowledge and skills are backed-up by diagnostic test scores.

 I am thrilled, proud, and owe myself a pat on the back with this recent test score that I got:

Doesn't that make you feel like you're on top of the food chain? Well, it could be a jungle out there...

My destination is to be a work and earn from home mom.  Being a virtual assistant or a virtual entrepreneur is my road.  I've got pave it smoothly with my portfolio.  You just gotta start somewhere. Start it here, start it now.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

WE ARE THE WORLD: A Virtual Assistants tool in organizing and managing projects

A virtual assistant may be assigned to coordinate with everyone in the team, make sure that everyone's on track and aligned on a certain project.  How do you do this if your team members are on different locations half way across the globe, wake up to different time zones, and juggle a multitude of projects?  

A virtual assistant can do it with ones fingertips.  Yup, all you need is a software that could organize, manage, collaborate, and share.  All you need is BASECAMP.Aileen_cortez_how to Use Basecamp

EVERYTHING COUNTS: A Virtual Assistant's tool in analyzing website traffic

For those who work 9 to 5 in an office and commutes or drives to the workplace and back home, traffic is such a dreaded word.  It is like saying 'Voldemort' in your face.

But for the virtual assistant who works at home, particularly those that work with internet based businesses, traffic is like music to their ears.  

One of the most helpful tools that could help virtual assistants and their clients get a snapshot and at the same time, microscopic view of their website's performance is through Google Analytics.

Here's how:
Aileen_cortez_how to Use Google Analytics

Friday, October 8, 2010

SURVEY SAYS! - A Virtual Assistant's tool in creating super surveys

A virtual assistant's role is to make things easier for the client.  One of these may revolve around getting feedback from a particular market segment or group.  Gone are the days when one has to go around with survey forms and pens and inconvenience someone with this oft avoided questions:  "May I take 5 minutes of your time?..." Surveys can now be done online, at one's convenient time and place .  They can now be integrated into blog sites, web sites and social media sites, etc.  where people more often than not, openly interact with each other.  Here's a tool that would show your client that you're not monkeying around.

Aileen_cortez_how to Use Survey Monkey

Thursday, October 7, 2010

FROM A DISTANCE: A Virtual Assistant's tool for sharing what's on your screen

Sometimes, a virtual assistant's client needs a visual walk-through on how processes are done, be it a report or a graphic design, or reading directions from a map or uploading a video on youTube.  No amount of words in an could be able to spell it out crystal clear  and fast if your client wants it n-o-w.  A virtual assistant should  be able to find a way on how to show what exactly's happening on the screen monitor, what buttons are you pressing, etc...

The 'print screen' button on one's keyboard is kinda old school for this already.  Here's a software that gives it to in your face!
Aileen_cortez_how to Use Jing

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

SAY YOU, SAY ME: A Virtual Assistant's tool for communication

Communication is an intergral part of a VA's routine.  Technology has enabled realtime communication among people from opposite sides of the globe.  One of the tools or software used in realtime communication is IM or instant messaging.  Widely used and popular here in the Philippines is Yahoo Messenger or YM.  Here's an easy to follow guide on how to use Yahoo Messenger.

Aileen_cortez_how to Use Yahoo Messenger

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Journey Begins

I have this song buzzing in my head right now: (to the tune of "Material World" by Madonna) "'Coz we are living in a 'virtual' world and I am a 'virtual..."  And so the song goes, with me just changing the lyrics.  Now I admit, I grew up in the 80s and I finished all my school term papers using a typewriter. 'Say whut?!?! That's what my 10- year old son would probably ask.  So in the name of generation gaps, here's a short video clip that would somehow illustrate the transition from 'material world' to 'virtual world'.

Technology has brought about a lot of changes on the way we do things, that's why we need to adapt so as not to be the laughing stock at YouTube!  So what does this video have to do with this blog?  I intend to document my journey into the virtual workplace.  Say whhhuuut again?  Let me illustrate it this way... My present career as of late is a 9 to 5 job.  I get up in the morning, I travel to the office, work on a desk and computer with occasional event and out-of-office meetings in-between, report to a boss, eat lunch at a cafeteria, log-out of the office or sometimes go on overtimes, travel to get home, eat a hurried dinner, make the most out of the short time I have for my kids, get ready for bed, sleep an average of 5 to 6 hours...then repeat the cycle.  Let this 'career cycle' represent  the typewritter on the YouTube video.  So day in and day out, I pound on the keys of the 'typewriter'.  Until one day, I decided it's time to make a move by trying out a computer.  Let the computer represent a new phase in my life that I intend to pursue:  BECOMING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT / VIRTUAL ENTREPRENEUR / VIRTUAL SOLO-PRENEUR...I think I'm more comfortable with the monicker VIRTUAL MOMPRENEUR.  I'm a mom with 2 kids and a big part of me wants more time spent with my family, yet still pursue a career.  I'm still equipping myself with the necessary skills on how to make a big leap into the virtual career set-up.  A Mac computer would be good to start with :-)  I don't want to be like the woman on the video who whacked the monitor with all her might, instead just pressing enter with her fingertip.  

I know this won't be easy, but I'm optimistic and positive about what lies ahead.  To borrow and paraphrase a quote I heard awhile ago from Jim Paredes (ex-Apo Hiking Society member):  "Jump, as if there is a net.  But if there's none, who knows, you might have wings."  

I know one day, I should make that choice to jump, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to also wear kneepads.  :-)  May the force be with me.