Becoming a home-based Filipino Virtual Assistant seems to be the dream lifestyle. However, finding a job and maintaining one isn’t necessarily easy especially when you don’t know where to start. In this guide, I answer some of the most common questions about becoming a digital nomad.
After 8 years of working online, I’m finally sharing my professional tips on how you can succeed in finding a sustainable online occupation.
Being a digital nomad isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle. The truth is, it takes dedication and intense passion to be part of the virtual community.
If you’re ready for the ride, then keep on reading.
Where to start?
First, don’t quit your job [YET].
Becoming a virtual assistant takes a lot of preparation, both mentally and emotionally. You will have a lot of competition, and just imagine what your parents are going to say. So the first step of this life plan is to not quit your office job (if you have one!).
If you currently don’t have a job, then try selling your unused clothes and gadgets. The goal here is to prepare for the home-based office lifestyle. Remember that your employer won’t be providing you with equipment at first. You need to invest in these things if you’re really serious about building yourself as an online worker.
Investing in Equipment
As mentioned above, you will have to provide for your own equipment. Here are some of the things that you “MUST-HAVE” when working online.
Stable Internet Connection
This is a no-brainer, of course. Most, if not all, employers will be testing your internet speed. The ideal speed is at least 5MBPS, even when you’re still starting out. Anything less than this will just give you headaches.
While most would suggest getting a PLDT Fibr plan, such isn’t always the case. You also need to consider your location to see if which internet service provider is best for you.
A Backup Connection
I can’t even begin to stress how important this is, especially when your area is prone to power outages and downtimes.
Having a portable WiFi connection is also helpful when you’re traveling to other places, or are planning to work in a cafe.
PRO TIP: Most of the time, I just use my iPhone to connect to the internet and share it to my laptop via mobile hotspot. It doesn’t just save me money on load, but it also saves me a lot of energy.
For Globe subscribers, I found that registering to the GoSakto90 promo has been enough for my backup needs. Simply type GOSAKTO90 and send it to 8080. This includes unlimited text to Globe and TM subscribers, as well as 2GB worth of mobile data.
A Good Laptop
When investing in a laptop, I always check four things: price, brand, operating system, and Intel Core microprocessor.
I started working back when I was a student and as my job got more demanding, I found that my laptop couldn’t keep up with my needs. So, last 2016, I decided to invest in a quality work laptop.
The first thing that hindered me from purchasing one was, of course, price. Thankfully, Emcor offers loan options for those who can’t cash in right away. I simply had to provide a valid ID plus proof of income to apply. The process was quick enough and in just three days, I finally had a brand new Acer Laptop.
Choosing a laptop brand
I can’t really provide an expert opinion on this since I’ve only been able to use two brands: Lenovo and Acer. However, I found that my Acer is more user-friendly and durable [dropped it more than 10 times now and it still works, ha!]
If you do have the budget, then feel free to invest in a Macbook. It has always been a dream of mine to own one but I haven’t really felt the need to invest in one yet.
Choosing an up-to-date operating system
When purchasing, always ask the seller if the laptop has a built-in OS and if it’s updated. I find it a hassle to have to install your own OS. Most of the free options out there have some licensing problems, etc.
PRO TIP: Make sure that Microsoft applications are installed!
Intel Core Processors
I don’t want to go technical on this, but basically, when you’re working online, you’re going to be using a lot of tools. Having an Intel Core i5 and up will prevent your computer from freezing.
Headphones with Microphone
This is optional, depending on the job you’re applying for. If it’s going to involve a lot of voice calls, then this is a worthy investment. However, if you prefer to write and edit, then this isn’t what I consider a necessity.
Where to find an online job as Filipino Virtual Assistant?
I get asked this question a lot! People even ask me if I can find them an online job.
Make sure to apply for jobs that you are qualified for. Don’t go directly for the higher-paying jobs. If you do plan on applying for these types of jobs, you might want to invest in developing a set of skills.
Virtual Assistant Tools
No experience? Not a problem. Here are a few tools that you can easily learn and add to your resume.
Google Apps is probably one of the most fundamental tools that any Filipino virtual assistant needs to learn. It’s basically similar to using Microsoft Applications. To access these apps, you simply need to create a Google account. It’s free and comes with an email address that you can connect with almost any app these days.
Skype is one of the most easy-to-use video messaging app. It’s free and can be accessed on any device – whether desktop, mobile, or tablet.
Trello is a free project management app that allows users to create boards where they can list tasks, projects, and other information. Employers often use it to assign tasks, plot out their appointments, and more.
There are also other project management apps out there for more advanced users. Some of the most common ones include Asana, Basecamp, and Podio.
Slack is an instant messaging tool similar to Facebook Messenger but more appropriate for work. You can use it to send messages, upload photos, attach links, and even call other users.
Free Online Courses to Learn Technical Skills
Interested in expanding your skills? Here are a few FREE resources for you to start:
For those of you who are intimidated by using Adobe products, opt for free cloud-based tools instead. Canva is a great graphic design tool that requires little to no training. It offers pre-built templates for almost everything under the sun. This includes social media graphics, infographics, posters, invitations, resumes, and lots more!
Above are some Youtube tutorials on two of the most popular video editing software, Wondershare Filmora, and Adobe Premiere.
If you’re really serious about making it into the video editing industry, then using Adobe Premiere is a must! It’s a bit complex though so make sure to practice, practice, practice!
On the other hand, Wondershare Filmora is more of a blogger-friendly option, especially those who want a simple trim and edit software. It also offers a lot of free animation templates and video effects that you can easily apply to your project.
This isn’t for everyone, but this is one of the best paying skills in the industry (ranging from Php 40,000 – Php 100,000 per month) so if you’re up to the challenge, then try out these courses.
How to get hired?
Online jobs are all about making impressions.
I always tell newbies that if you want to get an online job, the trick is about making a kickass personalized cover letter and a customized curriculum vitae.
Here’s an example of a Curriculum Vitae that I designed back then.
There are tons of available jobs out there, but you’re wondering why no one has replied to your cover letter? You must be making some huge mistakes.
If you want to get noticed, you need to filter out your options. Only apply for jobs that you’re qualified for. Choose the ones which fit your standards in terms of salary, working hours, etc.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, create a cover letter that addresses all the specifications written in the job description. Highlight all your experiences that are relevant to the job position you’re applying for. I know this takes a lot of time, but believe me, once you do this, you’ll almost always get a reply.
How to get paid?
Setting up a PayPal account is crucial to becoming a Filipino virtual assistant. Most employers prefer to use this platform to send payments. Creating an account is free. So if you don’t have one already, I suggest you go sign up for one.
Connect With Other Filipino Virtual Assistants
Working online doesn’t have to be lonely. In fact, it’s a great way to build relationships with other digital nomads. There are a lot of Facebook groups out there that cater to traveling. You can also try to follow other bloggers and collaborate with them. You won’t just gain a friend, you’ll also get free exposure for your blog.
Here are some of my favorite Facebook groups for freelancers: