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Wanderlust/Foodie/Digital Nomad/ Freelance SMM Responsible Pet Ownership/Saved by Grace
1 month ago
It was in 2013 that I braved and prepare myself of the possible outcome as I finally left the corporate world. I had no definite plans on where to go to and what to do after, all I know is I will make the most of anything online and make sure I will profit from it. My first year as unemployed, I made it productive through online selling and blog writing. In 2015, through the help of VA friends as my mentors, I ventured into the world of Virtual Assistant and built my career as an online freelance professional.
It wasn't easy at first, most especially the late night online training part where everything is virtual and you had to learn fast. Compared to working in a BPO company wherein even if it is late at night, you have co-trainees to talk to and keep you awake. I guess most of us can relate now to the hardships of online learning since it is becoming a part of the new normal because of the pandemic. Part of being a VA aside from the trainings is investment in a quality laptop/computer that is good for multi tasking , fast internet speed access plus back up internet in case of internet problems. You also have to have a back up workspace in cases of power outage.
After those vigorous trainings, we had to undergo numerous client interviews, most are on the spot wherein you had to log in at night, wait for a call from one of the VA (virtual assistant) agency handlers and schedule you for a client interview which is mostly booked at the same day or in a few hours. I got lucky that I don't have to wait long and I was able to nab a client 2 weeks after our training.
I became a part time VA for 3 months with a Real Estate Agent. My work schedule is fixed from 6am to 10am weekdays. He made me write travel and food blogs as if I am experiencing them first hand and that the one writing it is located in San Diego, USA. In short I became a ghost writer for his website. I also did bookkeeping for him. I had to learn bookkeeping fast because I have zero knowledge how it is, I am thankful I have an accountant sister to go to for help. I learned later on that as a General VA, content writing is a different payment and it shouldn’t be a part of what I applied for but well who I am to complain right? I am just happy someone hired me.
Later on, I learned about another VA Agency wherein once we got hired as a VA, we will work and get paid directly. Unlike with the one I am working with that it is the agency who will give us our salary. I tried applying for a full time job with them and again I was blessed to be hired. Very much thankful even, because the client is aware that I am still a newbie but he believed in me and he knew he can easily teach me.
Knowing that VA jobs are unstable, I took a risk and resigned from my part time VA job and chose to work with this direct client. He is an architect in the US, let us call him MR and choosing him was one of the most valuable risk taking decision I made when it comes to my new chosen career.
MR taught me everything and made video walk throughs of all the tasks he needed help with. My task is mostly Social Media management. He even has a social media page for his dog that I also need to manage. I also managed his blogs for his state to state bike tour.
What I liked most about my work is the flexible hours, no time doctors to log in too and regardless if the task given to me will only take less than an hour, my salary is fixed and paid bi-monthly. All that is expected of me is to submit or finished the task before the day ends and send him a daily report. MR took care of me as his employee, he pays my salary on time, gave me salary increases yearly, pays my 13th month bonus, paid holidays and vacation leaves and even sent me some computer equipments so I can work more efficiently.
One of the things I am most thankful for is when he learned that one of my dog Tinker had a tumor that needs to undergo surgery ASAP. I was only working for him for two months but he did not hesitate sending me money so that Tinker can have her surgery.
In 2018, during my 2 week trip to the US, I had the chance to meet MR in person in Warrendale Pennsylvania. He was with his dog Molly, we had breakfast and we talked for at least 2 hours before he headed to his next conference to a city nearby. During that time, he talked about finally finding a personal secretary who will work with him side by side and has a background with Architecture. I was secretly worried he will no longer need my VA services. Two months after, my hunch was correct. More than two years of working with him and when I read his email of letting me go, I literally stared at my computer dumbfounded of what to do. I was heartbroken. I remember waking up the following day realizing I no longer have work. MR still thought of my welfare and gave me a separation pay on top of my last pay plus a recommendation letter that he knows can be of good use to my job huntings.
I had to blur our pictures here because
1. my face is so puffy and haggard, I still had a major jet lag here
2. I do not want to expose MR's face as a respect to him.
Here's what was written at his endorsement letter:
To Whom It May Concern,
I am very excited to write this letter of professional recommendation on behalf of Xris. She has been an employee of mine for two years now and a very important part of my business. As an employee, Xris is very loyal, hardworking, dependable, and all around a great communicator. Working virtually has its challenges when coming to tracking what an employee is doing, but Xris always communicated with me flawlessly her achievements. Staying on tasks without me having me having to worry or follow up.
Xris was always willing to learn new tasks and in fact learned how to manage my very active social media platforms. She had a wide variety of daily, weekly and monthly tasks with my company and always delivered. Ultimately it is only because of recent growth and an overall reorganization internally that I had to let her go.
I would though with the utmost confidence, recommend Xris for any similar type supportive role. Overall she is a fantastic employee and a great human. She will be an asset to whomever she works for next.
If you should have any specific questions for me, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Six months later, MR reached out to me to work for him for a one time project. This time the pay is per hour but the rate is better to what he used to pay me. His letting go of me taught me a lesson to never settle and work for just one client. VA jobs has a high paying rate but it is unstable. I was already working with at least four clients during that time but in a heartbeat I took his offer. I worked for him for another four months on top of my other clients until the project I helped him with was finished. All in all, I have nothing but gratefulness for everything MR taught me, the opportunity to work with him is already a blessing enough and when we finally parted ways professionally, what happened next when I was back for job hunting is such a humbling and rewarding experience. I will talk about it soon in my succeeding blogs.