Internet Wars: A New Hope

“You must be living in a rich village because you got Fibr,” Jomar told me minutes before the February 10, 2014 webinar where I shared my VA story for the second time. He was referring to my Internet connection.

Let me make this clear: Yes, I live in a village. But it’s not called Ayala Alabang (but my proximity in that area is one commute only). I live in a simple village that just luckily is slowly getting Fibr-d.

I am no longer having Internet connection concerns (just a few minor hiccups every now and then) since I signed up for it.

I was too far from seven months ago, where I had sleepless nights and zombie-like days just to get the best connection.

Here’s a story of why an exceptional Internet connection is a GREAT MUST-HAVE if you want to be a VA.

For two years, my Internet service provider depended on a mobile signal.

If you’d get to visit our house, you’ll see a tall metal stick in the roof (it’s there until now; my former Internet service provider has not returned to take it down). It was set up so I could get a better signal.

My previous Internet provided has served me well. I was able to update my VA portfolio, apply to many jobs until my ODesk job application list reached it quota, and I got to be a guest in Jomar’s webinar. Hey, I even got my first part-time VA job with it!

Then, late last year, I was hired as a part-time VA (social media manager) for Social Metric Pte Ltd.

My Internet connection could not keep up.

During the last few months before I got the VA gig, I observed that it was connection difficulties were just so, well, difficult, during nights. The only time I can connect well is either day (which is I could not do because I still had my full-time government work during that time) or after midnight.

When the social media manager tasks demanded of focus and time, I had no choice but to work at early midnight or dawn.

At first, I thought I could catch up sleep during lunch break and on weekends. Somehow, I survived.

Later on, I couldn’t keep up anymore. The Internet concern was no longer just a concern. I felt like a zombie and I couldn’t focus. I remembered asking my former co-workers to repeat what they said because not a word entered my brain.

I found myself up banging my mouse on some days and frowning at each re-setting of the router on other days.

The last string happened one night in January, when my conversation with my colleague was suddenly cut off. I never got back on the line after impatiently re-setting my router for close to one hour.

It was embarrassing. To think that he’s in Singapore totally made it humiliating (my VA gig is based in Singapore, the land of fastest Internet connection in the world).

That was it. I declared an Internet War with my previous provider.

I had to do something. If I don’t win the war, I’d lose my VA gig. During that time, I already took their offer to work full-time.

I know I can win this war. I just had to act immediately.

So even with less sleep, I frequented the nearest PLDT office to apply for a new Internet connection. I felt it was just timely, as my old Internet service contract will end in a month.

The lady in the PLDT office told me that what is offered in our area is PLDT Fibr. I told her that I was not applying for that; I preferred MyDSL. She said that I could no longer get that because eventually, MyDSL will be phased out to give way to Fibr connection in our area. Later on, I learned that three neighbors recently got Fibr-d, too.

I don’t have much of a choice, do I?

I also thought of my VA work, the turnovers and paper works that I did after I sent my resignation letter at my government job, plus the preparations for the home office. They were taking my wits.

So I signed the application paper for Fibr. 

I had to endure a two more weeks of sleepless nights. Finally, on the first Sunday of February 2014, I got Fibr-d.

Since then, I got to sleep well at night.

I can watch YouTube videos of the Backstreet Boys without the buffer (sorry, I’m a big fan).

I can talk to you on Skype for hours.

I no longer have to tell myself that I need to download some learning stuff because I can listen to them while working. All I do is hit the Play button.

The Internet War was over. I won,

Let me make another clearance: this is not a promotional story for Fibr. It just so happened that it’s the best Internet service provider in my area.

What I want you to take from this story is this: if you want to have an exceptional VA career, you need to invest on an exceptional Internet connection.

It would take some research such as surveying the neighbors and asking important questions to each potential service provider, but it’s sure worth it.

One more thing: you may say that I’m paying a premium for my Internet. I am. And I can honestly tell you that it hurts to pay a premium for an Internet in the Philippines. Guess what, it’s another worthy topic. But if you would always think about the hurt, you’ll lose many chances on earning big in the Internet.

Especially if you declared war against financial woes.

Meet my home office team!

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I was able to complete my list of home office equipment. Boy, was I surprised to accomplish them in just two weeks!

Meet my team. :)

My whiteboard.

My whiteboard.

I bought the whiteboard at National Bookstore. I couldn’t remember its size (it’s at the back of the board), but when I saw it, I knew it’s enough to write my VA tasks on. Later, it also had a special corner for my ACT NOW nights.

 

My anti-fatigue mat.

My anti-fatigue mat.

I ordered the anti-fatigue mat from Amazon. I tried looking for mats in the local stores but couldn’t find any. As a VA with a standing desk and an over pronator, I need to make sure that my feet are not that stressed while working. After I got this mat (it arrived 3 days after I ordered it), I felt the aching pain on my right foot gone. That pain started when I was standing without a mat. The mat is wide enough for me to dance, just in case the files are still loading or it the Spotify playlist is just too irresistible to stomp my feet.

My chair

My chair

I got this chair at a local store in Paco, Manila. Pass by the Paco Catholic Church and you’ll see an array of furniture and office shops left and right. I ordered it on Labor Day then got back to get it the next day. I wanted a chair that is comfortable to rest if I get tired sitting, but not too comfortable that I will not longer stand up.

And lest I forget…

My brother gave them to me.

My brother gave them to me.

My brother bought these from the local variety store near our church. Unfortunately, they imitations of the famous toy brand, but every time I see them, my imagination soars to new heights. Well, like the song says, everything is awesome (okay, you can sing it)!

What do you think of my office team? What do you think I still need? Send me your thoughts!

Snippets from Day 48 to 100 – My First 100 Days as a VA

Super late post. Sorry, I got caught up with the VA work and storm Glenda. Okay, they are decoys. Of course I blame myself for not just posting. :)

Reunited – I got to meet my friends in my former workplace. We call ourselves Clinic Gang because our lives got intertwined by hanging out in the company’s clinic. Most of us resigned from the company since but the friendship stayed. We spent time eating and laughing (our favorite past time). The best of all, we got to do a groupie shot with everyone in the frame.

All clear – I underwent tests as part of my post-thyroid operation. I was instructed to undergo a blood test called thyroglobumin to determine if there were traces of cancer in my body (a tiny portion in one of the thyroid nodules had papillary carcinoma. But it was so tiny that I need not to go for radiation, but enough for the surgeon to decide to remove my whole thyroid during the operation). The results were out – and I am a clear! Still on my way to great health!

Buffet – eat is the highlight of our team’s monthly meet up. I learned how to just get tiny portions of each food I see. That’s hard when you’re in Dad’s and Saisaki, but I learned the tricks of the trade. Still, I always leave the restaurant having a big tummy.

30-minute walking – I was finally able to drag myself out of bed at 6AM to walk around the village. After giving up a 5K race in April, I thought of what I needed to do to get back into running. My game plan was to consistently walk for 30 minutes for 2 weeks then focus on a 5K in 5 weeks plan. I made it to the first phase. I’m looking forward to he 5K in 5 weeks training. But then, the lazy me came back. I haven’t walking again. The sun misses me, I guess.

Summer was just HOT – I dreaded working between 1PM to 4PM. It’s the time of the day when I feel my sweat is drawing works of art at my back. The summer is just enjoying itself. I drank every hour to beat the heat.

Home office wish list complete – I was able to purchase a white board, an anti-fatigue mat, and a tall chair in a span of two weeks! Now it’s easier to track my work tasks with my white board (my VA contract is posted there too, aside from my ACT NOW nights, which I’ll discuss after). The pain that I feel at my right feet is now gone, thanks to the anti-fatigue mat. And I feel like a lounge singer with my chair.

Last full show with my mom – It’s been years since I’ve watched a last full show movie, and ages since my mom watched a movie. We got a chance to do both during Holy Tuesday when we watched Son of God. Too bad a local channel ran The Bible later on the week, but here’s what I know: my mom rarely watches a movie because she really prefers radio, and yes, Jesus is hot – always and forever.

ACT NOW Nights – one Jomar’s webinar made me re-focus on what I needed to do. I was having times when I was finding it hard to juggle the full-time VA work and the other plans that I have. The Jomar’s webinar had this message: ACT NOW. There is no other time to fulfill my dreams now. Life is going to make me forget, but I should never forget. As an action plan, I used my white board to write my weekly schedule (Mondays – attend Jomar’s free webinar, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are for Online Marketing Club 3.0 lessons, Thursdays and Fridays are for Virtual Assistant 101 output preparations, and weekends are for blog and book writing). There’s still some nights that I’m missing my ACT NOW activities, but I’m trying to keep up.

CANVA Convert – Thanks to Canva, I am able to practice my design skills by changing my social media covers (Facebook, Twitter, and Google+) every month.

33rd birthday – Yes, I am 33! I realized Jesus started His ministry at 33, so I really thought that I should really do something really remarkable. So I’m announcing on this part that I’m going to publish a book (this is to put the pressure on myself, too). I also planned my remarkable 34th, 35th, and 36th year on earth (Jesus preached for three years. If that’s the case, he went to heaven at 36). But that would need a different post.

I survived Frozen – I got a godson as a neighbor and they live next to the house. He and his younger brother watched the movie Frozen EVERY WAKING DAY. At first, it was fun listening to the songs (you know what they are). But weeks after, I found myself mumbling “Frozen again?”, “Oh no, it’s that intro song again”, until “Do they have another favorite movie?”. I reached saturation point and the songs lost their power on me. Slowly, the songs were never cute. Eventually, the hype died down. I know Disney will always cook up something for the kids. But until then, I’ll be at peace because summer made the frozen ice melt (pun intended).

VA 101 – I attended a higher level of Virtual Assistant Seminar – the VA 101 Seminar. This time around, Jomar taught us how to become a content marketing strategist, someone who thinks awesome marketing for companies. It’s a thinking job, but taking this challenge would mean more help to business owners because they don’t have time to sit down and take a look at their marketing plans. I also met new and Facebook friends. It was humbling to see my name in the list of Jomar’s successful students.

Sococo – it’s Social Metric’s latest communication tool. It’s like a virtual office where anyone can see who’s present. We can talk clearly, share screens, hold meetings, call clients, and have cool cubicle names (my room name is Awesome Ann). We look like Pacmans in Sococo, less the eating part.

So what did I do on Day 100? I ate a great lunch in house. My mom cooked food as always (I’m always the Chief Eat Officer). I’ve always thought of my Day 100 as something special – like an eat out plus a movie. But then, my Day 100 fell on a weekday. Still, I had my full!

Get marketing lessons from my Medium blog!

I am currently attending Jomar Hilario‘s Unlocking Success Secrets : Marketing Mindset Webinars. It’s a two-part webinar series that will hopefully change my mind into a full marketing droid (just kidding).

One of its assignments is making YouTube an ultimate hangout for learning and posting the lessons on our blog. For a change, I tried putting the marketing lessons on Medium.

The site’s cool – and so are the lessons that I have learned so far:

1. Gary Vaynerchuck‘s take on social media;

2. Jack Canfield said writing a book is good, but you need to market it;

3. Ted Rubin on return on relationships.

After a week, I got surprising results: one from my VA gig, and one from Ted Rubin himself!

This is my recent share of how my recent learning experience has paid off.

This is my recent share of how my recent learning experience has paid off.

I hope to populate the blog within the next few weeks.  Check my marketing musings here: https://medium.com/@annexceptionalva

The truth about my VA journey and the World Cup

Happy to have witnessed an awesome sporting event at the comforts of my home!

Happy to have witnessed an awesome sporting event at the comforts of my home!

 

Four years ago, I was in an 8-5 job. I just finished my VA assignment and looking for a VA gig. At the same time, the World Cup is everywhere on the Internet and the news.

Four years later, I’m happy to be in a different state: I’m now a full-time VA, catching up with my Online Marketing Club and VA 101 assignments (I’m trying!).

This time, the World Cup in on – and I have totally fallen in love with soccer.

Many people do not like the sport because it takes a while (90 minutes – and added extra times in case no goal was done) to make a score. Others say they are already asleep once a player scores a goal. But for millions of fans across the globe, soccer is in their blood. Indeed, the game takes patience, hard work, skills, and a lot of dedication.

 

My intention was to just watch the opening ceremony. I ended up updating myself on the World Cup games.

My intention was to just watch the opening ceremony. I ended up updating myself on the World Cup games.

 

You need patience - lots of it - before you see a goal.

You need patience – lots of it – before you see a goal.

 

The World Cup memes  - just like this one - were just hilarious!

The World Cup memes – just like this one – were just hilarious!

 

As it was my first time to get to know the game, I relied on history as to who is the best team to cheer for: Brazil. Unfortunately, they missed to win their important games. It took me half a day to sink in Brazil’s 7-1 loss to Germany. Oh well, like what they say in Filipino, “bilog ang bola” (the ball is always round).

I am glad I kept myself updated in the matches, the players (eherm, ok I’m admitting here that Julio Cesar of Brazil is my #mancrushWorldCup), the fans (they are simply creative and passionate), and the game through the official site of FIFA, Facebook, Mashable, Twitter, and Google’s Doodles.

 

So heartbreaking. The Germany-Brazil game took a while to sink in.

So heartbreaking. The Germany-Brazil game took a while to sink in.

 

Four years ago, I was just trying to find my way to become a VA.

Four years later, I am now a full-time VA.

Hhmm, I wonder where will I be in four years’ time.

An online marketer?

Chief Marketing Officer of the next best thing that ever happened in the universe?

A best-selling author?

The cutest marathon finisher?

Wow, I’m excited for the next four years.

 

I'm excited to the next four-year journey of World Cup - and myself!

I’m excited to the next four-year journey of World Cup – and myself!

My Spotify is now filled with wisdom.

I got my Spotify account early this year, just in time when I became a full-time VA.

So far, I got 20+ playlists. In fact, I was able to alphabetized my playlists.

But then, I got bored today. So I mindlessly typed the name JIM ROHN in the Search Area.

Let the images continue the story.

 

post_june10

 

 

jim_rohn

 

 

top_3

 

I’m happy because the curious kid in me found gold. :)

If you are a member of the Jomar Hilario Mastery Group, VA Group, and the OMC 3.0 Group on Facebook, you should see these images, too.

So, who’s on your playlist?

My 6-year old self can beat me into Marketing.

Jomar concluded his 2-part series on “Are You Smarter in Marketing  than a Six-Year Old?’ last night.

Boy, I was dumbfounded. My 6-year old self can really beat me into marketing.

Here are my learning posts from last night’s webinar.

 

The game is Marketing.

The game is Marketing.

 

The secret of financial success is marketing mindset.

The secret of financial success is marketing mindset.

 

How honest are we on our life on earth? We say life is short. But we live life like it's in our hands.

How honest are we on our life on earth? We say life is short. But we live life like it’s in our hands.

 

To my 6-year old me: please let me amend my ways (some of them).

Click on this link to watch the webinar replay here: http://jhilario.com/betterthan6yearoldpart2webinar

Cashflow Game 101 Event: learning about game and life

Let's play!

Let’s play!

 

(This was the testimonial I sent to Jomar Hilario a day after volunteering for the Cash Flow 101 Game. He read it last May 26 on his Free Weekly Webinar.)

For the first time since knowing Jomar, I made it to his seminar volunteer list. I tried doing the VA Summit last November 2013, but the others had faster fingers than me.

As an Online Mentoring Club 3.0 member, I was privileged to sign up as volunteer. I did not get the confirmation until Friday night, so I did not know what will my Saturday was going to be until I got the notice. I made it! I’m going to finally see how this game in played!

The event was CashFlow Game 101, the famous board game of Robert Kiyosaki. Rich Dad Poor Dad was one of the books that made me curious about financial freedom and gaining wealth for others’ good. I have an unofficial Cashflow Game on my phone (created by fans of the game).

As a volunteer, I know I would have slight chances of playing the game. But I went for it because I know that 1) I’d get to go out of the house and see people (I’m a full-time VA) 2) I’m excited to see how the game is played and 3) I know I’m going to learn a lot.

"What I like sharing about is..."

“What I like sharing about is…”

 

It was a fun and learning experience volunteering for the Cashflow Game 101 Event. I was with co-OMC 3.0 colleague Jervie Jala, who is on his two-week vacation from working in Singapore. I saw how people played. I felt great when I saw teenagers who joined the session. Ah, the future is indeed bright.

Aside from that, I was able to help the players in the Success Game (another board game played that I think is better than the CashFlow Game 101) by becoming a banker. Never in my entire life did I imagine that I’m going to be a banker. I was happy I never screwed up with counting money (I hated Math in school).

Here are some of my CashFlow Game 101 Event snippets:

  1. I finally met Dha Teñoso, another successful VA. I also met Ms. Cheng Go, the businesswoman from Cagayan de Oro, who flew to Manila to play the game. She was my seatmate during the first Plan Your Best Year session that Jomar facilitated.
  2. Like I previously mentioned, I hated Math when I was studying. Such was my disappointment when Jomar said that Trigonometry and Calculus are useless subjects in school! I couldn’t remember my Calculus, but I remembered my Trigo teacher because she was so nice. But then again, I wasted 10 months of thrice a week 40 minutes of my life.
  3. Star struck moments – Ms. Eden (she is so tall I asked God again why was I only 4’11”. And I told myself I’m going to stay longer in the magazine section in a famous grocery store nearby), Jay Castillo (the Foreclosure Philippines guy! I wanted to bow down and say “I’m not worthy!” but I controlled myself), and – believe it or not – Lucia, Jomar’s first born, whose smile as I entered their home was a charming way of saying I’m welcome. I’ll cherish our selfies because she’s going to be a great cinematographer in the future (she couldn’t stop taking videos).

 

Let's roll the dice!

Let’s roll the dice!

 

Decide, decide...

Decide, decide…

 

It’s great to know that Jomar’s planning to hold Cashflow Game 101 Event sessions monthly. Maybe I’d get to volunteer again or sit down and play the game. Whatever role I’d play, the game is a great reminder of why I got into working from home and online marketing – financial freedom.

 

View from the deck. A rewarding treat after a day in a life of a volunteer. :)

View from the deck. A rewarding treat after a day in a life of a volunteer. :)

 

You have to attend the next CashFlow Game 101. Jomar’s going to hold another event next month! Stay tuned to his site to get the details soon.