The Virtual Assistant You’d Love to Hate
Meet Lailanie Sazon. She has the face of a Korean tele-novela star, a complexion that beauty product endorsers will envy and a slim body that ramp models would die for. Oh, and yes, she’s a virtual assistant too.
She has beauty, brains, and everything nice. Nice jobs, nice home, nice car…gorgeous husband that girls and gays would love (wink) and a son who’s so cute and endearing.
But don’t be fooled – because beneath the sweet and charming veneer lies intelligence, strength and determination. Traits that have helped her succeed as project manager for several Fortune 500 companies. Oh, just a tip from this youthful granny – if you are faint of heart, don’t wish to be a part of her team. She eats weak, inefficient fledglings for breakfast. (Metaphor mine, not hers…lol!)
Yes, Elle’s one helluva virtual assistant, with skills (and rates) that match, and in some cases surpass contemporaries from first world countries.
So what’s the secret of this virtual assistant?
I guess her favorite quote sums it all:
“Three simple rules of life…If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it…if you do not ask, the answer will always be no…if you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place.”
– Nora Roberts
Like most freelancers, Elle’s journey was not an easy one. Yes, she graduated cum laude from one of the top universities in the country. Yes, she acquired skills from her offline jobs. But still, those were not enough.
She tried oDesk (now Upwork) way back in 2010. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Why?Elle said:
…first time ko with oDesk I didn’t have time to research and I really didn’t take it seriously. First na pumansin sa application ko mukhang scammer pa…
As for how she landed great jobs after her first attempt:
This time around I did my research starting with what should be my niche… thing is, my very first client was outside Upwork/oDesk. I got him from onlinejobs.ph and there I got trained for a lot of different skills which helps me until now. So when I feel it is time for me to spread out my wings; I aimed for the big roles…ung tipong may “manager” na title, or assistant to the “CEO” ang peg. It is not about the company because you’ll never know unless it is stated in the job descrip. When I go for jobs and submit my bid, it is more about the client, his current needs, and getting sufficiently compensated for the responsibility. So go big. Don’t go for easy jobs, go get the hard ones!”
Her tips for those who’d like to become a virtual assistant or wish to be better VAs with higher rates:
“Pack great English skills! If a freelancer is eager talaga to be good at something, turn off the local tv shows; mag English only policy sa bahay. Kami ng husband ko at one point EOP lang kami sa house… when we talk to Willen (their son), English palagi. Great English skills. Essential un sa project managers kasi – imagine communicating to teams that are located in India, Australia, Germany?
High and dry ang patience mo palagi pag may communication barriers. Not unless kung solid pinoy ung team mo… pero you limit yourself agad as team manager to only PH based teams.
And remember, there are still people who think that your English fluency level is a sign of your intelligence. It holds true most of the time for freelancing believe me, at least when you are trying to get really high paying jobs with elite clients. As for the skills – ayan si Google… research if one is willing and determined, kayang kaya naman to learn.”