Sarie San Pablo is an active administrator of Philippine Virtual Assistants Network. This is where I got to know Sarie. I love how she keeps things organized in the group. I’ve asked her how it is to be PVAN’s admin and asked her insights about how an aspiring VA can start a work from home career fast.
A brief background about Sarie: She was a corporate manager for over ten years before she left the corporate rat race and became an online professional in 2009. Competition was not as tough as now during those times but because of hard work, diligence and professionalism, she has able to survive the tough times of being an at will online professional. She started her online work as a writer and is now servicing clients from C-Level executives Australia, the UK and USA as an Administrative Assistant. She’s married with 4 grown up kids, 2 girls and 2 boys – the eldest, a girl, getting married this 15 Jul 2016 in Malaysia and the youngest a boy, already in Grade 9.
Sarie always believe that working at home is a mindset and skills are learned while attitude to work is inherent.
1. How and why did you get started working as an online professional?
My working online is an accident. I resigned from my corporate life for over 10 years but I needed money to earn my keep as I don’t like to be dependent to my hubby. I love writing so I started with writing for content writing sites for SEO and forum sites or doing reviews and summaries. And would you believe that I was just earning P50/article at that time? I used to sleep late just so I could get my P10k for the month. And the rest is history. 🙂
2. What’s your specialization ? The Virtual Assistant industry is growing, how do you keep yourself competitive?
Project Management and Executive Virtual Assistance – meaning, majority of the clients I provide assistance to are C-Level Executives. CEO’s.
I am fond of subscribing to newsletters that I’d know would add to my existing skills. Through those newsletters, I learn a lot. At times, if the price is right, I enroll when they offer online webinars. I prefer live webinars than live seminars because of the traffic in Metro Manila.
3. Will you give us an overview of how your typical day looks like as you start your work? What are some VA tools you can’t live without?
I start my day at 6am. And ends at 7pm or 8pm due to time differences. Hahahahaha. Yeah. Since I live alone (some of my kids are studying abroad and the others working overseas). So instead of just you know browsing through FB or other social media platforms, I make use of my day by offering assistance to business owners who needs me.
The only drawback of my niche is that I needed to be with them during their office hours. However, there are clients that needs me on demand or I already know what I’m supposed to do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
4. Will you tell us about your experience managing PVAN Facebook group? How do you keep engagement and make things organized?
PVAN is a great idea! And I am grateful that founder, Jay Pasana added me as one of the Administrators. I think I am the most active Administrator as it gets my ire when there’s chaos from within the community – mind you, just the issue of posting what where. It’s hard managing the group specially as there are a lot of people who do not follow the rules, simply because they don’t read. 🙁 PVAN right now is lenient as compared to before when we really check out FB pages of those wanting to join. For the first few months of it’s inception, it was open to the public until members are posting information that are not VA-related.
I don’t think engagement is a problem with PVAN because members are so engaging that sometimes they ask questions that are already posted. LOL. Getting things organized is the problem because others do not follow rules. Thus we made it as a closed group. Although we approved practically everybody who requests us to join, we outrightly delete them if at the first instance they are requesting for permission to posts of something that does not belong to the feeds.
5. Please give us 5 things which you think aspiring VAs should do to get started working from home fast?
Before I enumerate the 5 things one could do to start working from home ASAP, I’d like to say that working from home is a mind set. DISCIPLINE is paramount and if you don’t have that, your productivity will suffer. Simply put, if your productivity suffers, you’ll end up ending your contract with your client and is likewise tantamount to getting peanuts rate. And your resume won’t look good if you have a lot of clients but only on short term – specially if you’ve been just a VA for less than a year. In addition, VAs who have had corporate experiences are better at handling protocols. However, of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Bottom line, it’s really your ATTITUDE. I believe skills can always be learned but ATTITUDE is inherent.
Now, what should one do to get started working from home ASAP:
1. Be a member of PVAN and VANP – a lot of agencies and business owners themselves, post vacancies at our group. I hate it when someone posts and ask where should I apply. More often my answer would be – “scroll and you’ll find the answer.”
2. Apply, apply, apply – just like any other job seeking individual, you need to apply for the project/job as these won’t go running after you.
3. Invest – you need to invest with your internet connection as majority of foreign clients know Philippine’s problem on slow internet connection and electricity. Always remember that the speed you get from your actual subscription is just 50%. If you get their supposedly 80% for Fair Usage – that’s already a bonus.
4. Be watchful – there are a lot of scams out there. Most newbies would just dive in because of high pay. Remember: if it’s too good to be true, then it’s not true!
5. Pray – as always, prayers are always my number one go to in times when clients are scarce. God is good and He knows what’s best for us. If at first you did not succeed, just try and try.
To get in touch with Sarie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring her – 09178754870
Sarie’s website will be updated soon, so watch out for it – www.freelancingbliss.com.
If you’d want to get started working from home, read the Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant.
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