My Fate Awaits Me

After a month or more of burning the midnight candle, I finally finished the assignments from the VA Seminar that I recently had. A satisfying sense of achievement swept over me when I “zipped” the files and hit the sent button!

I must admit it was an arduous experience doing all the tasks assigned to us. But it was well worth it!

I love learning new things. There’s a vast wealth of knowledge out there waiting to be learned, beckoning.

The next step is going to http://odesk.com and apply for a job.

My fate awaits me… ¬†ūüôā

~ Marisa

C’est la vie

Brownout!

It can be frustrating when we have so many things lined up to do and it happens that electric power is cut off.

If you are a VA (like me) and¬† then a brown out takes place, that’s a disaster, right?

Not necessarily.

To begin with,¬† I haven’t started working on any project. I have not applied ¬†because I am in the last stages of finishing the assignments I was tasked to do from the VA Seminar that I recently had. I can go right ahead and apply if I wanted to, but I wanted to be better equipped with additional skills so that I can have better chances landing a good one. Since I am not yet “gainfully employed”, no pressure yet informing a client of my recent predicament.

I can choose to be proactive. This brownout is a scheduled one.¬† It was¬† published in our local newspaper, announced on the local electric company’s website and information was likewise disseminated through twitter. (Yup, I chose to follow our local electric company’s Twitter account to get updated regularly. )

Since I knew of the scheduled brown out, I downloaded as much information as I could about what I was supposed to do if there was no brown out. Like today, I wanted to learn what steps I should take after opening an account at http://oDesk.com. I downloaded as many articles as I could, saved them on my laptop, and printed them out. Now, I have materials to read and study which can last me for hours.

Do other tasks that do not require electricity. I work, but I’m also a homemaker to my husband. It’s always a challenge meeting deadlines for my (past) clients and keeping our home. Like this morning, I woke up really early to cook rice because I prefer cooking rice through the rice cooker. Then, to take advantage of the lack of electricity, I¬† defrosted the ref. After that, I cooked four meal viands, placed them in Tupperware containers to keep. Now, we have food good enough for three days. Which means that I can concentrate on completing my http://oDesk.com requirements and proceed to making a bid for a project.

Read. The power has not returned and I still had extra time on my hands. I got a book from the shelf and thought that this was the best time to catch up on my reading. Before I knew it, the electricity is back!

Many things happen in our lives that are just beyond us. Unless I would like to invest in a generator, I have to learn to live with brownouts and other challenges that come my way. I have not been overcome because I choose not to. As it is often said,¬† c’est la vie!

~ Marisa

Absent? No need

photo:link.growth/flickr

I sent a text message to my travel agent this morning:

“Can we talk online after 15 minutes? I’m just in the middle of something. I got word from my client that the group will push through with their travel. Revised itinerary is Manila – Bangkok – Hongkong – Manila.

My travel agent, said:

“I’m sorry Ma’am, I cannot go online. I am not in the office, spending some time with my family. It’s a holiday today :)” **

Embarrassed, I apologized and told her we will just talk tomorrow.

She texted me back :

“No prob :)”

VA’s have a different timeline. For us, there is no such thing as HOLIDAYS.

Like if I’m working on a project with a deadline, come hell or high water, results have to be produced on or before the deadline.

For VA’s working full time, I believe that absences are allowed as long as the client is previously advised, preferably a week or two beforehand. But if an emergency comes up, and the VA will not be able to report for work on a particular day, the VA must inform the client as soon as possible.¬† (Tip: it may be a good idea to take note of your client’s contact details so you can get in touch with them in case of an emergency).

As a VA,  I own my time. I may not have holidays like the rest, but I can create my own holidays. I can even be on a holiday and yet remain to be logged in. No need to be absent. What more can we ask for?

~ Marisa

** Note:  August 21 is a non-working Holiday in the Philippines to commemorate the death of democracy icon,Sen. Benigno Aquino,Jr. 

A (literally) Sunny Day for a VA

My husband and I woke up to a sunny morning, with sheer delight!

It’s the first time in almost a month that the sun has come out smiling. The birds are chirping out loud. The neighbors are washing clothes and hanging them on clotheslines, eager and longing for that elusive sun.

I live in Baguio City. We are 240 kilometers north of Metro Manila, where lies the capital of the Philippines. ¬†Baguio City is commonly called the summer capital of the Philippines because of our cool climate. We sit high in the Cordillera Mountain Ranges, 1,500 above sea level. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it? No pun intended. On the down side, Baguio gets largely affected by heavy rainfall during the rainy season of July to October. That’s why, a sunny day like today is something to celebrate about.

Working as a VA is quite advantageous for me. No need to brave the storm to get to work. No need to dress us very early to catch a good ride going to the office. No need to worry about domestic concerns because I’m at home, working. The wonders of technology!

~ Marisa

Dropbox

DROPBOX is an internet tool that offers File Hosting services.

It provides users the opportunity to store their data or any document, photos or videos online. It is also very convenient because anyone with a Dropbox account, can access the files stored from the Dropbox website from any computer or mobile phones.  Any file that is saved or updated on your DROPBOX account will automatically save the file to your computer, phone and website. No need to email updated versions of your documents to yourself again.

Because of its file sharing feature, DROPBOX allows the user to share their files to anybody to whom they allow access to their files.

DROPBOX, for free accounts can store up to 2GB of space.

If you want to secure your files — documents, photos and videos — store them online through DROPBOX. Then you won’t have to worry about losing your files again!

Here is a short tutorial on how to install and use Dropbox.

Time Tracking your Clients

Are you a Virtual Assistant with numerous clients?

Or do you supervise a team of Virtual Assistants?

Easy Time Tracking (ETT) is a tracking and billing software that you may want to consider purchasing.

ETT has many salient features:

a. You can track the time of hours worked per client through their time tracker feature.

b. You can produce, print, or email timesheet reports to your clients for easier billing.

c. Synchronize online time tracking so you can continue to track your work hours wherever you may be.

d. Generate professional looking invoices based on timesheets, taxes, expenses and payments.

Easy Time Tracking will surely be a big help for any VA, especially for those with voluminous workloads, multiple clients, or working with a team.

East Time Tracking software has a free version available online.  However, there are also different versions with better features which may be purchased online.

Here is a tutorial on Easy Time Tracking…

Log Me In

Sometimes in our work as a VA, we need to be able to gain access to our client’s computer. Or vice versa.

LogMeIn may provide us a solution.

LogMeIn has a free software that allows remote access to to our laptop or desktop so that we can open files, check our email, check our Facebook and Twitter accounts, run programs from any computer, iPad or mobile device through the internet.

It’s like being able to work on our computer (or our client’s computer) even if we are in a different location.

Oh, by the way, LogMeIn has an extra security feature. It boasts of having the highest level of security in computer software. The same one used for online banking.

Awesome, isn’t it?

Let me walk you through the simple steps of creating a LogMeIn account…

Invoicing Online

Why do we work?

There are a lot of reasons why we seek gainful employment. Some people say it’s to be able to use their talents, to express themselves, to fulfill a need, or some other reason. However, we have to ¬†admit that the primary reason why we go to work is to earn a living and provide for ¬†our needs and the needs of our loved ones.

As a Virtual Assistant, we would like to have an efficient monitoring of our income and expenses.

Sage Billing Boss is one of the internet tools available online that will largely benefit us.

Sage Billing Boss is an online invoicing tool that create, send and track the status of invoices.  Hence, receiving payments faster and swifter!

Want to know more about this online invoicing internet tool?

Here is a short tutorial on Sage Billing Boss…

 

Google Docs

 

Google Docs is a free online internet tool which makes communication between two parties easier. For example, If I invite my client to collaborate on a document with me, he/she gains access to my document. He/she can view my work, and together we can work on our project online… in real time!

Now, that makes our work easier and faster, doesn’t it?

Mind you, Google Docs is not only limited to Document files. It is likewise available for Spreadsheets, Presentation files, Forms and Drawings.

Managing files, saving and uploading them,  and sharing it with others is made much easier through Google Docs.

 

Sharing Files Online

Ge.tt is an internet tool that allows file sharing and file publishing in real time. It allows you to share all typesof files such as documents, videos, music or photos by sending it through email, Facebook or Twitter. You can even track the number of people that have downloaded or viewed your files through Ge.tt.

Ge.tt is purely internet based and you work directly from your browser. No need to upload a special software or install a plug in. No need to create an account (unless you would like to). With Ge.tt you can start sharing from your browser in just a few seconds.

What’s more? Ge.tt provides up to 2GB of storage space for FREE.

Here is a short tutorial on how to use Ge.tt