As the Time Will Go

Oh my goodness. I’ve been at this for over a month! WHAT?! How?

It’s been a busy few weeks and I’m finally in the groove. What started out as a side job is now an obsession for me! And I love it! I have a constant client who not only has taught me a lot but has provided me with the means to pay my bills, without ever having to leave the house!

I logged over 7 hours today on just the one client. I populated a mailing list for 48 prospect marks for my client and then created mailings for each of them. The whole process, while not hard, was challenging enough for me that I learned something new, and fun enough that I never lost interest. Those 7 hours flew by.

I’m now a WordPress moderator for one of my clients as well. I research topics, distribute the topics to our contracted bloggers, and then schedule the post. Four topics, one post a week for a real estate company. New skill. Nice.

I schedule appointments and meetings. I participate in phone and video conferences. I Skype. I Yahoo!Messenger. I use Jing and take screenshots. I’ve become proficient at Google Drive. I invoice my own clients now through Zoho. In a few short weeks I’ve become a virtual office powerhouse.

Tomorrow I’ll probably be putting in another 7 hours. I have the full ability to work full time if I like. With each client I take on, I add a new skill set and expand my marketability.

Lets see where the next few weeks take us shall we?

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It’s All Part of the Business

 

 

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I got up extra early this morning to drop a client from my work flow and for a Skype conference that thankfully didn’t involve video, just audio. Yikes. Can you see how motivated and awake I am? 

Anyway, the client I dropped was very courteous but there was always something a little “off.” They sent me numerous emails, chatted with me on Yahoo! Messenger and all that jazz but it seemed that they were feeding me just enough to make it seem like a legitimate position. I was to receive a working email, company equipment (always a red flag), paid training and guess what? They were even going to pay me if I wasn’t working for them as long as I was online! Awesome right? Nope. But the biggest red flag was when they voluntarily told me not to look up the company because the website was going through a URL change and I wouldn’t find them. Hear fishy, fishy, fishy. 

The hardest part about a job like this is sorting out the bad apples. Thankfully the website I freelance through is very strict on fraud, and if there is ANY concern whatsoever on the part of a freelancer, they intervene, investigate and will ultimately terminate the company from the site. BUT they are only able to do so if the client conducts the suspicious behavior through the site email and instant message communications, nothing outside the website can be submitted as reason for suspicion. This is where I was on my own because the client was very careful about conducting all the communication with specific details through Gmail and Yahoo! (read, “you’re on your own bitch!”). Why would I ever do that knowing I wasn’t protected outside the website? Easy. 

Once you are chosen for the job, your client then marks you as “working” on their profile. This alerts the website that I am to be paid for any invoices submitted or electronic hours I submit. Once I’m working, I’m golden. The burden of disputes made is on the client. If I say, “hey he said he would pay me for these hours,” the client has to prove that he is paying within contract. I’m protected once I’m working. Also, the website has this nifty little electronic online time-sheet tracker. I just download, select the clients name and click a button. It automatically tracks my time and takes screenshots to prove that I am doing my job. Communication outside the site is fine now because I can screenshot the convo with the website tracker and it is then considered through the website. 

This client however, never logged back in to the site to select me for the position as “working,” though in all our communications I was already doing so. When I asked that someone log back on and make it legitimate and so I could use the electronic tracker, I was told that, as I was employed with them and not the site that it wasn’t necessary. Then it got really weird. I was going to receive a complete office setup; desks, chair, computers (yes more than one), printer and telephone. In the mail. For free.

Nope! I have a computer and a printer that faxes, scans and prints. I don’t need multiple computers or a telephone! Just agree to pay a portion of my phone bill! I have unlimited national calling! “We require company equipment. They have our software pre-loaded for you. And we can control the usage.” No, no, no, no, no, no, NO! Aside from the fact that this is completely scamalicious, where would I put such a set up? “Please sign our employment contract stating that you accept our terms, the equipment once shipped, and our benefits package.” Not happening Cochise. You’re just dying to charge me for that bull-snot, once you have my signed consent to send it. 

But lets say I was wrong. Maybe they were a perfectly legitimate company who was willing to send everything for free, offer paid vacation and benefits within 2 months of employment and pay for time spent just piddling around online. But in this line of work, where your relationship with your employer/client is purely electronic, if you have an uneasy feeling for any reason, you terminate the relationship. It didn’t feel right, I walked away. I have more clients, legitimate paying clients with no loss. The real loss would have been if I had accepted their contract, started working, and they never intended to pay me. I would have lost time and money and that would’ve been LAME!

All right, I’m done. I have a conference call in six minutes and then I’m taking a nap. During my workday. Yep. 

Round 2- Drone Workers Anonymous

My name is Tiffany and I’m a recently freed slave. Okay, maybe not how it really sounds but up until February 2013 I worked a 8-5 job Monday-Friday and did it again after Saturday and Sunday. While I loved my job (I worked as an medical assistant and in apprenticeship for mid-wife), the people I worked with and my patients, I found that the 8-5 (and on call with my midwife) lifestyle didn’t suit me; Oh come on, you’ve never felt that way? I call BS!

So my husband and I decided to move, to leave town, skeeddadle and all that jazz. Lo’ and behold, we lacked the cash. Plan B! I quit, he works, we move to a DIFFERENT house, and move out of town later. We moved, but struggled. I needed to get back in the saddle and fast. But where? While the job I was with would’ve LOVED to have me back, damn me and my German pride, I just couldn’t do it.

I wanted to work from home. I had found an online position for medical transcription that I could do before I quit (Yes! Income! It’s only responsible when quitting) but it BORED THE EVER LOVING CRAP OUTTA ME. To listen to someone drone on and on and on and ON was going to kill me. I knew it would. I still did it though. We needed the money honey and that don’t grow on tress. Though I tried. 

Eventually I needed something more… enlivening. Something that didn’t find me at the end of the transcription with drool all over the keyboard and my ears sagging from the headphones. I researched. Surely there are some legitimate websites out there for slackers, I mean, future home-based entrepreneurs like me! That was the struggle. Either it cost you to get online to even view the damn jobs, or the sites were so obscure, I would never consider hiring anyone associated. 

Finally, I found one. By accident. With intense skepticism, I signed up and got hits the first day! Thats great, but it was more transcription and I HATE transcription. Ew. But again I did it. I had to get established somehow. It paid lowly. $10 per AUDIO hour. I could transcribe for 6 hours on one file and if it was only a 1.7 hour file, I only got paid $17. Better than nothing sure, but still, wasn’t gonna pay the rent. Or groceries. Or even gas. 

I updated, and tested and worked dang HARD to get my profile to attract more monetarily beneficial positions, and now here I am. Awesome? YES! Hard? Not if you compare it with the fact that I work in my pajama’s, eat whatever I want, and when I get burned out, I just do some house stuff. Better? HELL YES! 

Now I’m busy, happily so, making money from home. I don’t have to go anywhere unless I want to, and if I need some time, I take it. It is by no means the key to financial freedom, but it definitely makes me feel free and isn’t that what counts? I’m happy. When you’re happy you work better, when you work better you make more money, and when you make more money… that is the key to financial freedom. 

When my poor dear husband comes home, I actually can listen to his day, his gripes his successes, without being tied up in my own. Its beautiful, awesome and all around hunky-dorey. And I can take a break and write a whole lot about nothing on my blog if I want to. Yay! 

If conclusion, do what makes you happy. If you are happy, there is nothing that needs to be changed. Except clocks at daylight savings. Thats all. Enjoy it, live it, love it. 

Day 1

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First day as a Marketing Virtual Assistant or MVA. I have proven experience in virtual assisting, but never on a marketing level. My supervisor, er, boss, um… guy that I’m working for on a freelance level suggested I become familiar with WordPress to get a feel of how it works. In essence, I’m to start a blog…. so here I am.

So far I’ve bought some books, checked out some sites and in general am attempting to crash course myself into what he does so that I can do what I do. How can you assist if you don’t know what you’re assisting with? Case in point. So  now I’m learning and expanding. It’s really the most important job of any virtual assistant. With ever changing roles, technologies and employers, you have to be adaptable. That is every virtual assistant main priority.

Now that I’m off my proverbial soap box I’ve decided to get cracking. I’m going to be doing some personal research on the company I work with, the types of marketing they do and current clients. This will give me an idea on where I can expect my workflow to progress. I’m excited to be given this opportunity. Robert has expressed that I will be gaining some new marketable skills that will aid me in future endeavors which is the main component I look for in taking on a new position.

I have also taken on another position, also VA though not in marketing, for a computer resource company. My training also begins with them tomorrow so I’m doubling up on my workflow. I’m thinking about “hiring” a buddy of mine to be a part of my team for this project specifically. My MVA will be taking the majority of my time.

This other opportunity is completely individualized from the other. There is a lot more document and data processing as opposed to actually interaction. My friend worked 7 years doing data processing and was (as of yesterday) laid off. This would be much more his speed. It also pays enough that we can split the hourly pay down the middle and both be making $11 an hour.

Overall I’m in a much better place than I was at the beginning of March. If you have any questions on how to get into VA or the like, message, comment or come on over! For now, I’ll get cracking and let you know tomorrow what else has come up!