My First 100 Days as a VA: Days 1 to 40

Here's a recap of my first 40 days as a VA.

Here’s a recap of my first 40 days as a VA.

The president  has first 100 days in the office. Some of my friends in Facebook have counted their first 100 days of 2014. Since I also entered a new adventure in my life, I also thought of doing my first 100 days as a VA.

So, I have worked from home for the past 6 weeks. There were ups and downs, but the most important thing is that I am living in what I have imagined – well, kinda not yet, but that’s another story.

So here’s my first amusing 40 days (photos from Facebook Bitstrip and Instagram)

Day 1 - Attending our weekly meeting for the first time.

Day 1 – Attending our weekly meeting for the first time.

Day 6 – I waited for 10 hours for a 30-second moment with one of my favorite authors, Mitch Albom. I promised myself that I’d book the hotel room next to Paulo Coelho if he comes here.

Day 6 - a 10-hour wait for a 30-second moment with Mitch Albom. :)

Day 6 – a 10-hour wait for a 30-second moment with Mitch Albom. :)

Day 12 – I directed a charity concert for our parish. The church (where the venue was) was jam-packed) and I saw every minute of happiness that they felt during the 3-hour concert. There was a nerve-wracking moment when the lights went off (one of the longest 15 minutes of my life) but the people never complained.

Day 12 - super blessed concert for a cause!

Day 12 – super blessed concert for a cause!

Day 13 – The day after the concert, I sat down for 2 1/2 hours to had my hair cut. I always wanted to have my hair long but I’m so impatient growing it. Since summer is coming, I had it chopped. As they always say, a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life (wink wink).

Day 13 - channeling Katniss Everdeen. :D

Day 13 – channeling Katniss Everdeen. :D

Day 18 – I got so frustrated over a month’s content which a client rejected at the last-minute. What’s a girl to do but cry? Then, I picked up the pieces of my aching hands and mind, got help from my colleagues at work, then moved on.

Day 20 – Laughter replaced my tears when I watched “Wicked: The Untold Story of the Wizard of Oz” in the Cultural Center of the Philippines. I asked my mom to get my jump suit since the play was at 7:30PM; plans of wearing a dress while traveling to and from Cavite crossed out. I never felt so comfortable wearing the jump suit until that night. Facebook and Instagram responded with many comments from friends (thanks pals!). The jump suit has avenged itself, I guess.

Day 20 - avenge of the jumpsuit. :D

Day 20 – avenge of the jumpsuit. :D

Day 26 – My childhood neighbors and I planned to go to Potipot Island, Zambales for a summer escape. Unfortunately, one got sick. And since a few could not join us (total of attendees were down to 4), I decided to have it cancelled. The bad news is we can’t go there by May due to the big waves. To Potipot: see you next year. Maybe.

Day 27 – I visited my orthodontist after three months. I was glad to know that my teeth are healthy. My orthodontist finally got to tighten my retainers. Ouch; please pass the brown rice.

Day 28 – I attended a recollection in our parish on a Sunday night, something that I never did before (as I had to prepare my mind and body for the Monday traffic hurdle). I felt great!

Day 28 - I attended a Sunday-night Lenten Reco in our parish.

Day 28 – I attended a Sunday-night Lenten Reco in our parish.

Day 30 – I had my first sick leave from work as I also went impatient with my comeback run training (that kept on being halted by the world’s glamorous athlete – me). I suddenly performed a heavy exercise that made my whole body went cold. To call it stupidity is an understatement. Yes, I hear your giggling. I don’t blame you.

Day 34 – I attended the VA 101 Seminar at Morgan Suites, McKinley Hill, Taguig. It was my first time to go in that part of Taguig even if I have frequented the near Bonifacio Global City. It was great to see VAs and friends that I knew because of joining Jomar Hilario’s mentorship. It felt great to attend a level up VA seminar less the info overload. I was also humbled by a number of people who saw my webinar guesting last month.

Day 34 - Met and learned from my mentor again - the level up way!

Day 34 – Met and learned from my mentor again – the level up way!

Day 40 – I attended my first company meet up. It was my first time to meet my colleagues in Social Metric in person. I saw them display their talents in Timezone (I just observed them). Then we headed for a billiard game (where I learned a valuable lesson: it seems easy when you’re watching it! I’d rather run a 10K than play this game! Much respect to Efren “Bata” Reyes and Django Bustamante). We continued our story sharing and munching at Dad’s (where I got many plates because of their merienda buffet. Sheesh, I really need to run a 10K…). The one thing that’s really cool? I was in a mall on a Friday afternoon, having no worries!

Day 40 - Buffet! Geesh I need to run 10K for this. :D

Day 40 – Buffet! Geesh I need to run 10K for this. :D

 

So there goes my first 40 days as a VA. I’m looking forward to completing my first 100!

Hhmm, any ideas for the next 60 days that you want me to do? No death-defying stunts, please.

 

Click here to learn more: http://www.filipinova.com

Click here to learn more: http://www.filipinova.com

 

 

Curious about how I made it as a VA? Nope, it’s a “Maalaala Mo Kaya” type of story. And the great thing is it can happen to you – even better, in fact! Visit this site to learn more: http://www.filipinova.com

I love shoes. Maybe that’s why I’m looking forward to the March 31 webinar.

Well, aside from that known fact (introduce me to a woman who doesn’t feel any excitement at the sight of shoes), Jomar mentioned the March 31 webinar guest during the VA Seminar 101 last Saturday (more of this soon!).

Get this: he sells 50 shoes a day without a mall store! He’s selling through Instagram!

So if you’re as curious as mine, log in your details here so you can get a link.

Here’s an image that I did today as an assignment in the Jomar Hilario Mastery Group (it’s where cool people are) for Monday’s webinar.

 

Simple Way to Sell 50 Shoe Pairs BIG

Post-VA Webinar: what you learned (and remembered)

Wilbs Lirag did this just a few hours after the webinar!

It was humbling to know that the attendees of last week’s free webinar (where I was in the hot seat) learned a thing or two.

Here are two of the images that showed up in Facebook, based on what they learned.

First is from Wilbs Lirag, who actually resigned first before getting a VA gig:

Wilbs Lirag did this just a few hours after the webinar!

Wilbs Lirag did this just a few hours after the webinar! (photo credit: Wilbs Lirag to Jomar Hilario Mastery Group)

Here’s another one from Chloe dela Rosa (posted to Jomar Hilario Mastery Group):

Thanks for the colorful image, Chloe! (photo credit: Chloe dela Rosa to Jomar Hilario Mastery Group)

Thanks for the colorful image, Chloe! (photo credit: Chloe dela Rosa to Jomar Hilario Mastery Group)

All new series of webinars are coming up starting tonight. It’s at 10PM. Let’s start our Mondays right by attending!

Thanks friends!

Thank you also to those who sent their warm wishes on my new adventure as a full-time VA. I also got a few “how did you do that?” inquiries. I hope I was able to clear your doubts – and make you sleepless about working (and earning) from home. I always tell those who ask that attending a seminar was a great help. My mentor’s running a How To Become a VA Seminar again on 22 March 2014. Go to http://filipinova.com for more details.

Tomorrow is the start of my Crazy.

My something crazy starts tomorrow!
One last look at my office table.

One last look at my office table.

I have cleared my office desk two weeks ago. But nothing prepared me for the last time I took out the last piece of stuff that I brought home with me last Friday. I blame the sleepless nights for feeling numb to my clearing out of office stuff.

But then, as I stepped out of the office gate for the last time, I felt heaviness and at the same time peace in my heart. I felt the wind against my face, then I saw the bright moon.

The same bright moon that’s staring at lovers last Friday is the same moon that stared at me, almost saying, “This is the start of something crazy!”

Last Friday was my last day in on my 8-to-5 job. Manila took the liberty of saying ‘so long’ by letting me wait for a ride for an hour and travel for another hour (Manila’s going to miss me, I think).

Tomorrow, I start my new job as a full-time virtual assistant.

An office mate gave this to me as a Hearts Day and So Long gift. The name is Little Belle. I hope it doesn't bark much during work.

An office mate gave this to me as a Hearts Day and So Long gift. The name is Little Belle. I hope it doesn’t bark much during work.

I don’t know how crazy it would get. All I know is that it’s going to be crazy good.

I start my first day of Monday of no waking up early to make it to 8:00 AM or 9:30 AM for the rest of the week, thanks to the flexible time that we are given (I consider it a blessing that I don’t have to commute, as the two-year road works in Metro Manila’s major areas starts tomorrow!)

I start my first day of no office outings and no Christmas parties (and sometimes, unhealthy food. My mom said she will let me eat camote and raw carrots. Yes, she loves me).

I start my first day of walking and running every day.

I start my first day of going back to normal sleeping hours (sorry, can’t help but say it again).

Tomorrow is the start of my crazy good day.

I am excited.

My something crazy starts tomorrow!

My something crazy starts tomorrow! (photo credit: Paulo Coelho’s Facebook Page

My mentor, Jomar Hilario, is running a level-up How to Become Virtual Assistant Seminar on 22 March 2014. If you plan to have career shift, earn from home, or get rid of the traffic for the next two years, sign up at http://filipinova.com

Thanks to everyone who listened to last Monday’s webinar with me as guest. Your warm wishes (and quips about me) made me stay awake on my last week as an 8-to-5 employee (it was hard to juggle two jobs!). If you have not watched it, you can click play here: http://bit.ly/jhilariomasterygroupvainterview2014

How I Finally Resigned to Become a Full-Time VA

NOT-SO-BREAKING NEWS ANYMORE: I got a full-time gig! And I got to share it in my mentor's free webinar last night!

NOT-SO-BREAKING NEWS ANYMORE: I got a full-time gig! And I got to share it in my mentor’s free webinar last night!

I underwent many events at the first month of 2014. Now, I can finally tell to the world: I got a full-time gig.

I am now a full-time virtual assistant! :)

How did this happen?

Good thing my mentor, Jomar Hilario, got me into his weekly free webinar to share my story. My webinar guesting was moved  to two weeks later due to my erratic Internet connection (which is an entirely different story).

Here’s the YouTube version of the webinar. The video’s slides may be a bit earlier than the audio if you’re wondering. For those who tried to come in but weren’t able to, indulge (I’m just not sure if the video will be up only for 7 days or it will be there for a long time, so I hope you’d get to see it).

Thank you to the 101 attendees that listened to my story (that’s the most number that the GoToWebinar can handle). I topped my first webinar guesting two years ago.

Here it is!

ANN Exceptional VA’s 2013 in review

My VA blog 2013 in review was recently released. All my stories will not have many comments and reads if not for all of you.

Honestly, I am still at awe every time somebody says “I read your blog!” for many reasons – get an idea, laugh at my story, laugh at my story more, or just to keep their sanity.

Moreover, having many followers were a dream. But seeing my followers growing by hundreds was still jaw-dropping.

I’m sharing my year in review to you because YOU made it happen!

Happy 2014!

 

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

What Virtual Assistants can learn from Christmas Carolers

“Sa may bahay, ang aming bati…” Yes, it’s the time for the carolers again. I think we can learn a thing or two from them.

Last Sunday, the Simbang Gabi started here in the Philippines. It also started the Christmas caroling. Children of the neighbors and other nearby communities are going from house to house to sing Christmas songs in exchange for a few pesos.

This time of the season never fail to make me feel nostalgic, as I have also experienced doing Christmas carols myself with my neighborhood friends when I was a kid. There was a time when our collected money for one night amounted to P 100.00, a time when that amount was a big value (okay, you may start guessing my age).

But come to think of it, virtual assistants can learn a thing or two from these Christmas carolers (ah, what can we not learn from the innocence of a child?).

1. Carolers do prepare. I remember making a list of songs to play and the musical instruments that we will ask our parents to create for us (please tell me you had that musical instrument made of tansan and alambre!)

In the same way, virtual assistants also prepare – from the first moment he wanted to work from home up to the time he is ready to work. A VA must have a computer with great specs (I learned from my mentor that an SSD drive will make your computer faster), a very fast Internet, a VA resume, and a lot of skills piled up in a portfolio (like this blog!).

2. Carolers do have confidence. Kids can never go from house to house and sing for all who cared (and their hearts out) if not for confidence. A VA has to have a lot of guts to be able to find the best job for him. A VA is able to show his skills, positions himself well (like ANN Exceptional VA – I wonder who’s that), and knows his price.

When the house owner says “Patawad!” Christmas carolers will just shrug their shoulders and go to the next house. To them, hope is not lost. A VA is also like that – especially when all he does is apply and apply and apply and get nothing. To a VA, hope is not lost.

Christmas caroling is an aged tradition in the Philippines. It is a must-experience as a child.

3. Carolers are composed of two or many. Though these past few years, I have seen many kids going solo, the ideal number of carolers is two to many. As a VA, one may work with many VAs who are stationed anywhere in the world. And their goal is to work as one to make their client and their customers delighted.

In the same way, a VA working from home does not mean he is alone. He still has friends to go to make sure he is sane. And a family to literally spend time with every day.

4. Carolers update themselves. These past few years, children will sing new songs. Most of them are new to me because I only get to listen to the FM radio on weekends.

VAs also update themselves by getting on a new course or undergoing a mentoring program, checking a new app or software, or reading books or useful websites.

 

I hope the kids who are singing outside our homes this season are not a disturbance to our VA work. Let them be a break for us to stand up from our computer, walk outside the house, and give them their due (I hope you’re not always shouting “Patawad!”).

Have an Exceptional and Happy Christmas, everyone!

Happy and Exceptional Christmas, everyone!

Happy and Exceptional Christmas, everyone!

Photo credit

Photo credit

Photo credit

The Standing Desk Verdict

Here's my personalized standing desk!

Here’s my personalized standing desk!

It’s been a month since I had my standing desk made. I guess it’s time to let you know what happened to the standing worker convert.

Here are my notes:

1. The most hours that I have stood is 5 hours. But this is not all the time. I sat down on the nearest chair when programs took time to run, walked to the kitchen to see what’s on the fridge (only healthy food!), and did some stretching.

2. I realized that my standing desk still has, well, standing issues (pun intended). I still felt uncomfortable using it because the height of the table was well measured for my taller younger brother. The wooden stool created for me and extra base for the keyboard still had to be adjusted so that my pair of hands is not one inch lower from the keyboard.

3. My stool is strong enough to carry me, but I got to buy a foot mat.

3. Everything is still a balance. If I feel that my legs are tired, I grab our high chair and sit. What I love about the high chair is that it strictly tells me to sit with correct posture or my head will be tilt up while looking at the screen (I hope to buy a high chair soon because what I have is a make-shift). Sheesh, tough teacher.

4. The great thing about having a standing desk is that I got a better choice now to make a stand (again, pun intended). When I still had my old computer table, it was hard to type if I wanted to stand up from long hours of sitting. So I had no choice but to sit down again.

5. This desk made me do a reward-punishment scheme of sorts. When writing, I target a time to finish it. I set my focus on finishing my writing for it is only when I finish that I’d get to sit!

Now, this post is done minutes before my deadline to myself! I can now sit! Hahaha!

Here's me using the standing desk. I know, I'm beside the window, which is a no-no. Still trying to find a better workspace. :)

Here’s me using the standing desk. I know, I’m beside the window, which is a no-no. Still trying to find a better workspace. :)

The Exceptional Things I Have Learned during the First Ever Virtual Assistant Summit 2013

Snapshots of what you missed (if you weren't there): fun games. Christmas gifts, fun people, and answered questions. :)

Snapshots of what you missed (if you weren’t there): fun games. Christmas gifts, fun people, and answered questions. :)

I was super glad to be one of the participants of the first ever Virtual Assistant (VA) Summit 2013. The Luneta Hall of Bayview Park Hotel Manila was packed with top-caliber Filipino VAs, aspiring VAs, employees, and entrepreneurs. Our mentor, Jomar Hilario, hosted the summit.

Eight speakers, including Jomar, took turns in imparting empowering messages, heartwarming stories, easy-to-do action steps, and a lot of a-has.

It was fitting to note that the first ever Virtual Assistant Summit 2013 took place on the 150th Anniversary of one of our heroes, Andres Bonifacio. I think it’s because Bonifacio fought for what is for Filipinos – their land, their country, their freedom. Same with us VAs (and newbies, even wannabes), we have gathered in one event to sought another way of having financial freedom, time, and pursuit of our passion.

What I love about the summit was that each speaker were given 15 minutes to answer questions on each table. I was so humbled to be asked questions, too, even if I was not a speaker, because I am already a virtual assistant. I hope my seat mates learned something from me (a big shout to Table #6!)

Moreover, it was great to see people in the flesh because we only see each other online! :)

It was great to learn from these exceptional Filipino Virtual Assistants!

It was great to learn from these exceptional Filipino Virtual Assistants!

So, what are the exceptional things did I learn from the first ever Virtual Assistant (VA) Summit 2013?

1. Marvin Macatol – A VA needs 3Es to Nurture (endowment, energy source, and endurance), 4Ps to Watch Out (priorities, progress, phrases, and posture), and 4Cs of Getting Gigs (connect, communicate, correspond, and contract).

2. Mr. Clement Wong (Managing Director, SocialMetric Pte. Ltd.) – A VA’s best bet is education. It is best to invest in 200 hours of education a year! Later, Mr. Marcus Ho (SocialMetric Pte. Ltd.’s Operations Director and a best-selling author in Singapore) said that they look at a VA candidate’s suitability and eligibility when hiring the best person for their company (thanks to Sir Marvin for correcting data here!)

3. Noemi Cariaso-Mora – techonology is a VA’s frenemy. A VA has to stay focused. And it’s okay to ask for help.

4. Joyce Villarisco – one is never too young to start thinking big (and having a Rich Dad mindset!). Joyce is the YOUNGEST Filipino VA that the circuit knows – she left school to pursue what she wanted. And I think she got more than what she asked for.

5. Shawi Cortez – a VA is and should never confined in a four-walled home office. She has traveled many countries that even I could not pronounce correctly and still earned money. If she can do it, so can we!

6. Franz Escolastico – time management, doing tasks in advance, and having a ME time made her earn money as a VA and at the same time play violin in different music gigs. She even played two songs for us! (Get well soon, Franz!)

7. Joanne Vergara – a Filipino can become a VA – that’s a fact. But Joanne taught us that it is also possible for a Filipino VA to become a leader through empowering one’s online team.

Feast Builder JC Libiran sealed the summit deal when he shared to us that we VAs are not only earning money at home and are with our loved ones most of the time. We are serving somebody else’s mission. JC and his wife also shared God’s faithfulness in us. JC gave these inspiring insights after the video message of Bo Sanchez, Philippines’s leading Catholic preacher.

Bro Bo. Sanchez and Feast Builder JC Libiran gave empowering messages.

Bro Bo. Sanchez and Feast Builder JC Libiran gave empowering messages.

Everyone went home happy, thanks to the Christmas exchange gifts, 1 minute dances, and new friends.

Attending the VA Summit was a great way to start my week-long break for an out-of-the-country trip (hey, did we say that a VA is not confined in a four-walled home office?). I will bring with me the exceptional learnings that I learned and the online friends that I finally met.

Next year’s VA Summit is on November 29, 2014. So if you already got a 2014 calendar, I suggest you mark it red.

Super thanks to our mentor, Jomar Hilario, for making this event happen (and kudos to the volunteers, too!)

Super thanks to our mentor, Jomar Hilario, for making this event happen (and kudos to the volunteers, too!)!

Standing Desk – coming soon to my home office!

These plyboards, nails and glue will become a magnificent standing desk soon!

These plyboards, nails and glue will become a magnificent standing desk soon!

Weeks after my thyroid operation, I focused on one of my vacation goals: have a standing desk.

Why a standing desk? Well, I have read many studies about sitting for too long as unhealthy. Two years ago, I felt numbing pain at my back for sitting too long. I thought that as a runner, I may have overused something in my body that caused the numbing pain. I was stuck on that theory as I underwent therapy.

I was wrong.

The latest issue of Runner’s World Philippines (where I’m subscribed) formally wrote about my concern. Even if I run many kilometers for my training or for my race, I am still at risk if I sit too long.

This was the tipping point: I want to be a healthy virtual assistant. I had to have a standing desk.

So after proposing the plan to my family, phase one of my plan pushed through: we talked to a recommended carpenter.

Unfortunately, the carpenter, after talking with him about the specifications and the design, did not show up. I thought maybe another client called him for another work, so I waited.

I saw the end of my vacation with no carpenter. So, no standing desk yet.

Today, we talked to another carpenter and we agreed on the specifications and the design that I want. A few hours later, a delivery of wooden boards, nails, and wood glue arrived. Wow, my standing desk is about to become a reality!

Since my brother is taller than me, the standing desk’s measurements shall be based on his height. The new carpenter will create a stool for me to stand on if I am the one’s who’s on board the computer. Once the standing desk is done, the next plan is to buy a foot mat and a tall chair (if I get tired of standing. We still need balance in all things!)

I am preparing myself to be a stand convert in the name of health. I think being exceptional is both in the skills that I have and my physical ability to use those skills. I am excited to work standing!