I am a Filipino online personal assistant, and I am proud to be one.
For over four years, I have been a writer/VA for various clients from different parts of the globe. If you watched Marv De Leon’s interview with me, you would have known that my journey to freelancing was not that easy. Like other newbies, I committed mistakes too, both major and minor.
Yes, all of us make mistakes. It is how we learn from those mistakes that matters. As a sage once said,
Mistakes are meant for learning, not repeating.
So I’m sharing five mistakes that I made during my online journey and the lessons I learned from them. I hope you learn from them too.
Five Lessons I Learned as an Online Personal Assistant
Lesson Number One: Don’t lower your rate
From my original rate of $11.11, I lowered my rate to $1. I know, I know, I should not have done that. But like other newbies in the world of freelancing, I was also kinda desperate to earn my first few dollars. Not that I badly needed it to feed my family (I was still teaching, so I had a stable source of income), but because at that time, I thought it was the wisest thing to do.
Yes, my clients were the ones who raised my rates, but honestly, until now, I regret that decision. Not that my rates are not competitive now, but somehow, I think that I could have done better. Lowering rates just to get hired is like allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. So don’t. Just DON’T.
Lesson Number Two: Don’t Be Too Greedy for Work
Okay, so I was able to rise from being a bottom-feeder, thanks to some of my good clients. About this time, I already resigned from my teaching job to write full-time. I guess I was doing a good job because offers poured in. After all, I had a five-star rating and got great reviews. I accepted as many jobs as my time would allow, thinking I could handle seven clients with varying weekly time limits. The result? Burnout. Missed Deadlines. Substandard work quality. Marriage problems. All because I wanted to have it all.
Lesson Number Three: Don’t be Afraid to Try
I love to write. I have the passion and the knack for it. Give me a list of words and I’ll give you an article. But when my day started and ended with writing, the passion began to wear off. It became a routine. Most of the time, I procrastinated for lack of good ideas.
It’s a good thing that I tried virtual assistance. Doing different tasks for different clients broke the monotony of my schedule. Initially, I had doubts about my VA skills because I never had a call center experience. Luckily, a good friend encouraged me to try. I did, and there’s no going back.
Lesson Number Four: Strive for Excellence
My regular readers might already be tired of me saying, “It all boils down to the quality of your work.” But really, it’s the secret to freelancing success. Your reputation will precede you. A client will remember you not for the color of your hair or for the beauty of your face but for what you brought to his table.
If you’re a writer, create well-written, grammatically correct blogs or articles. Yes, we are Filipinos. Yes we have language barriers since we are not native English speakers, but don’t give that as an excuse. We are online workers and as such, we must learn to speak and write English properly. It’s time to show the world that Filipino writers and VAs can compete globally and be paid accordingly.
Lesson Number Five: Don’t Forget Your Social Life
And finally, don’t forget that you have but one life to live. Don’t miss out on your social life. Reach out. Make friends. Spend quality time with your family. Have fun! Believe me, it will make you a better online personal assistant.
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I’ll be having a talk on August 27, 2016, 9am-12pm, 48th floor, UnionBank Plaza, Meralco Avenue Corner Onyx and Sapphire Roads, Ortigas Center. Get your tickets here: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/talino-talks-win-win-relationships-with-clients-for-freelancers. Early birds have a Php 200 peso discount. See you there!!!