Upwork Job Scams: Tips To Avoid Them

upwork job scams

I want to share you some tips to avoid Upwork Job Scams even the “smart ones” from revealing your personal information. Worst case scenario is not getting paid for what you work and the getting the value you deserve.

Tip 1:

Assess their profile. Obvious signs are they just join Upwork. Check Member Since information on the right corner of the invitation or job.

Tip 2:

Under the About the Client, it says Payment Method Not Verified. It’s a red flag not to have a payment method within Upwork. Upwork made it possible to have a verified payment method to get your money securely. Not a short cut method. It is never going to work with a client who does not follow Upwork policies when it comes to the freelancer’s earnings protection.

Tip 3:

No interviews or no hire rate on their profile. There might be 1 or 5 more proposals. 1 interviews might be appealing. Seriously, it does not have a proven track record that it ever hired someone from Upwork. It rings a lot of bells. Just trust your gut.

Tip 4:

Information provided is too general. There is no company name. The name provided by the Human Resources department sound too good to be true. Check for the company resources online. There are a lot of resources about scammers and companies. Sometimes, they have all the information right. Ask a few questions about the job, the company, how are you going to be paid and contact numbers. Some scammers are able to answer these questions. Always have the name of the person who interviews you.

Tip 5:

No company ever sends you a check without completing a job! Ever! These type of scammers prey on your personal information and they are identity thieves. Be careful not to divulge any SSS or Tax No. No employer asks for information up front before you sign contracts.

Tip 6:

They use Google Hangout for interviews and use chat as means of getting to know you. Most of my clients use Skype and Google Mail. Be careful doing conversations with them without knowing the person first and who they represent.

Tip 7:

They use fake email addresses for companies. An example would be like “info_transcomworldWide@qswitchdns.net”. I actually applied to Transcom Worldwide and their email address is nothing close to what I read.

Tip 8:

Looking for freelancers with the lowest rates. They target people who are badly looking for jobs.

Tip 9:

You receive an invitation. You never send a proposal about the job. That’s alarming.

Tip 10:

They cut you off when you ask questions. Drop you out of the project without any warning. Good riddance!

Take my word for it. It is never easy in any freelancing organization where everyone is trying to get jobs and be paid. Learn your value. Don’t waste your time. Be wise!

 

 

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How To Build Your Personal Website

Building a personal website can be easy, fun and complicated. When you choose to build it yourself, you face the toughest competition on the internet on making it look professional and unique. You ask yourself what type of website do you want to make? Or how can you attract viewers with the look and feel of your site? Do you even have to compare your site to the others? What do you want to be known for?

Here are tips to build your website online.

  1. To build a foundation for your website, you need to build balance of what is important for you. For example, if you want to put up a blog site. Choose a blog style theme that you can write articles or post videos.
  2. Get ideas on what to name your site. A good domain name that sound goods and easy for people to remember. Try Namemesh tool if you do not have any ideas.
  3. Decide to have a free or paid site. To start with no investment, go for free blog resources. Sign up at WordPress to get your free blog. To get a paid blog, look for blog hosting or starter hosting with a free domain for you to start easily. I use Bluehost as my hosting provider.
  4. Educate yourself about your blog interface. Check on the available applications and programs that are compatible with your site.
  5. Research your niche and make necessary adjustments to make your site standout.
  6. Know the SEO descriptions of your site.
  7. Search for related Google Keyword tools to make your site appear on the search results.
  8. Learn how Google Webmaster Tools works and how it will enhance your website.
  9. Have a customized logo and personal picture so you can establish web presence.

Make your site personal so readers identify themselves with you. Show that you are legitimate and take time to build a site that is going to last. Getting a professional website will cost you money and too complicated for you (if you do not know anything about CSS, HTML or even JAVA.)

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Shocking Truth About Being A Remote Support

remote support

Working more than 8 hours a day is an expression of commitment to my job. To run a remote support business, putting more effort and hard work into it is not an easy job. It’s my profession and I want to be accountable for myself. Trying to learn that to be in this business. I have to be fully committed and be determined to go where my business would take me.

When I started my virtual path a few years ago, I thought it would be the same as having a 9 to 5 job. I realized during my journey. There is no holding back about learning the future of being a home based worker. A lot of things could happen. At first, I was not sure that I should be going in this direction. Because I constantly face being criticized of being in front of the computer all the time. Telling me that I should be doing what everyone else is following.

My encounter with several clients that I met online have tested my abilities to its fullest. I surprised at myself for being able to do what I cannot do. Able to deliver great results for what they want. It was a revelation that this type of job could work for me. I don’t like listening to someone who is uncomfortable with the idea of being a home based assistant. Doing work in front of the laptop or computer all the time. I love computers. Their decisions might push me. I don’t want it to dictate how I want to follow my passion.

I am a full-time employee and I learn to love the life as a virtual assistant. They were wrong about the kind of job that would suit me. I was happy to manage to work alone and being able to focus on my job. They added I could end up as a socially awkward person. Honestly, I was not. I volunteer for teaching jobs and join networking. I appreciate the cycle of my obligations. The balance and the freedom I experience made my life simpler compared before.

I finished my teaching certification. Other things like having a few courses up my sleeve really help me to step up in the race. The situation engages me to be fully aware of my skills and capabilities. Not take them for granted and allow me to learn in the process. My job inspires me to be exceptional at what I do. It made me appreciate that not every journey is a one size fits all plan.

 Photo credits: Freepik

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Top 15 Virtual Assistant Niche You Can Identify Yourself

virtual assistant niche

Learning how to find your virtual assistant niche can be confusing. Some started being a general assistant and some figure out what they really want to do based on their experience. The way how the industry labels someone without niche falls into the general category. You should understand that tasks they do like data entry and secretarial tasks. Not everyone can do this.

There are vast opportunities for freelancers to learn special skills for a specific industry. It is not good to focus on one particular niche. That is why you need to learn how to target your skills to the business you want to be associated. Choosing your virtual assistant niche will get your more clients and make more money.

How do you do that? Let us first identify the different virtual assistant niche.

1.) Audio Transcription – is a service which converts speech (live or recorded) into a written document. It also comes in audio translating from a different language into English.

2.) Event planning – covers from small business events to large corporations. Weddings and parties are also considered a great start for professionals who have experience in this field.

3.) Financial – this category includes bookkeepers, financial consultants, accountants and financial planners.

4.) Real Estate – the job varies from the administrative side of the business, online marketing, and sales support side.

5.) Social Media – we call them social media consultants and experts. They handle most of the social media marketing and strategy to increase the online visibility of their clients. Most companies hire a social media virtual assistant. Others use a full-time social media manager.

6.) E-commerce – Online stores need a lot of tasks to fulfill especially when it comes to orders and customer service. This category covers order processing, return/exchanges, manage inventory, order products, website maintenance, press releases and handling back office support.

7.) Medical – this area requires that you should have a medical degree and experience. The job entails you to do administrative work, electronic medical record management, medical transcription, research and reporting, medical data mining and analysis, social media marketing and website maintenance.

8.) Content Writer – This specialized area requires writers who have the ability to write content for people to small and large companies. They produce content for the blog with SEO, product and website reviews, marketing, ebooks, short stories and more. You can do ghost writing for an author within this section.

9.) Entertainment – You can work with management firms, entertainment agencies, talent managers, producers and related positions within this category. The tasks include general administrative tasks, online research, planning, scheduling, creating proposals and contracts, newsletters and managing expenses.

10.) Sports – Part of the job is to do online research, managing databases for the past and current scoring of teams, make sports related content and online marketing. Some virtual assistants started organizing conferences, sell sports program and products, updating the website, PayPal reports, and customer relationship calls.

11.) Legal – Every lawyer needs a legal assistant who does the following:

  • Prepare wills, powers of attorney, corporate documents, agreements, legal forms, and court forms from precedents, digital dictation sent by .wav files, emails, and fax;
  • Attend at the court office to file documents;
  • Attend at adjournments and to set trial dates;
  • Liaise with Legal Aid and the Crown’s office;
  • Work on backlog in document production;
  • Prepare accounts;
  • Assemble the information (such as photos and documents) for evidence books;
  • Complete reporting letters and post-closing follow-ups using merge letters and a summary;
  • Highlight the duplicate asset purchase books and discoveries;
  • Transcribe the recording of meetings;
  • Attend at discoveries to take notes and to transcribe;
  • Answer forwarded phones, arrange for courier pickups and deliveries, make travel arrangements, and order supplies.

12.) Educational – This section refers to the ESL teachers and virtual assistant masters who offer online training. Target educational institutions, schools, and companies. Most of the tasks are pure teaching and some additional administrative work in their repertoire.

13.) Bankruptcy – Virtual Bankruptcy Assistants take care of everyday tasks like working with lawyers in filing bankruptcy forms, contracts and do online marketing for them. You can avail of training here.

14.) Human Resources – This field requires a background in Human Resources. Having an experience is a plus. Most of the work done is hiring employees for the company, doing background checks, interviewing online using Skype, manage job postings, make newsletters and announcements.

15.) Sales – Virtual sales assistant do the following:

  • assist with sales reports
  • schedule calls for the sales team
  • take hand written notes and log them into the CRM software.
  • follow-up with the sales team to remind them to enter information into the CRM.
  • conduct research on prospective customers.
  • listen to call and check log notes for your sales person to input into CRM.
  • ensure the follow-ups scheduled at the right interval.
  • conduct research on cold and warm leads.

Photo credits: Slideshare.net

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10 Free Online Courses To Improve Your Virtual Assistant Skills

free online courses

Getting free online courses really helps you to survive. You live in a world where nothing is constant. Everything is changing. You see where office workers are becoming home based. More small and big companies are hiring virtual workers up to now. It has become a trend to hire a virtual assistant for many purposes.

Improving your skills is important. You have to teach yourself and never assume what you know is the best. You need to find the top resources to go to the next level. The best way to learn is taking advantage of free online classes.  You can learn them anywhere you are and when you have time. Lastly, improve your résumé too.

To get you started, here are 10 free online classes you can take now:

1.) Alison – Diploma in Customer Service. The online diploma helps you to focus on delivering excellence in customer service and car. Its certification course is ideal for you who wants to learn how to implement good customer service.

2.) Social Media 101 – Social Media Quickstarter. The videos organize in this course are for social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google, Youtube, Snapchat, and Blogging.

3.) GCFLearnFree – The online tutorials on this site are for anyone who needs to know more about the technical side in using Microsoft Office 2016 Programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, and Powerpoint.

4.) MOOEC – This site helps you to learn English with a lot of free resources for you to choose. You can learn by difficulty, choose beginner, intermediate and advanced.

5.) Udemy – Learn Basic Accounting. The purpose of this lesson is to educate you about handling finances as a freelancer and a self-employed virtual employee. Learning basic accounting equips you to become knowledgeable on areas that other people usually neglect. You do not have to be a master to handle your finances and taxes. You need to be accountable for your actions.

6.) Udemy – Power Writing. Harness your ability to write an article or a blog post. The internet works using content in any possible ways. The best action for you to take is to learn all about content writing, style, and the process. You can specialize using content writing as one of your main services.

7.) Alison – English Writing. take this free online courses in writing.  Learn about the different styles of content writing.

8.) Copyblogger – Content Marketing. Learning how to market your content is essential to any business who wants to gain leads and customers. Sign up for their content series. Learn by doing. Practice makes perfect.

9.) Google – Digital Marketing Course. Every day small to large corporations is looking for ways to increase their customer interactions online. The role of digital marketing is to help companies analyze and evaluate their statistics online. From search and display advertising, mobile, social, analytics and video techniques. All are necessary to make your business successful.

10.) Canva- Graphic Design Tutorials. What you see on the web is the creation of the imagination. From websites to content, every aspect of the internet needs creativity. The purpose of graphic design is to help you build images and graphics that will help attract people to your site. Graphics allows you to express yourself.

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8 Effective Tools for the Remote Personal Assistant

personal assistant

Working as a remote personal assistant definitely has its advantages. You can do the same job you otherwise be doing in the 9 to 5 cycle. You can work the hours in the setting you want and, essentially, do the job you want to do. This opportunity can be beneficial. It exists the potential to help companies, organization, and people all across the world. Having said that, it is important to be properly equipped with the necessary tools to deliver best results for those companies and organizations that you are assisting. Decide what you would like to take on this place, or already hold it and are looking for ways to improve, these tools are sure to help prepare you for best delivery throughout your daily tasks.

  1. Gmail – this email tool is one of the most effective of its kind. This email service reliable, it is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and easy to organize. You have the option to use it with add-on apps that can help you manage an overflowing inbox.

  2. Freshbooks – This tool helps the user manage invoices and accounting all in one setting. Manage invoices, accounts, and financial matters for each and every one of your clients.

  3. Asana – this tool can help any virtual assistant stay organized and on top of the work responsibilities. They help out a variety of companies and/or organizations. Asana acts as an efficient project management software. To keep track of what needs to be done for each client.

  4. WordPress – the WordPress website service can be useful for virtual assistants who wish to get their name out there. Easy to download, easy to use, and easy to navigate, this site can help clients find you and your services.

  5. PayPal – this service is great to use for virtual assistants and their clients. All you need is a valid credit card by the employer. You can accept a plethora of payments that are easy to receive and easy to track.
  6. Google Hangouts – this tool is a must for virtual assistants who have the need to collaborate with their respective teams. As a reliable and free service, this tool can be easily obtained through an already existing Gmail account. The service has the ability to have a phone call or face to face call with one or more people.

  7. DropBox – this tool is extremely useful for document sharing. The use of this program, the client and you as the virtual assistant can share important documents, databases, and calendars.

  8. Grammarly – virtual assistant like yourself is required to write several emails a day for their client. Those emails should be professional and free from flaws. This tool can help you correct any grammar mistakes on the article you created. 

       Photo Credit and Designed by Freepik

 

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What is a Business Plan?

what is a business plan

What you need to know is how to improve your business plan as an important part in making your success. The purpose is to prepare you before starting your own virtual business.

Your imagination has the ability to form a mental image that is perceived by the five senses and your feelings. Your mind can develop the ability to think about the past, present and the future. What does this mean for you? It means it can help you make a mind map of what type and kind of business you want to build and grow. It will give you a different perspective rather than comply with the business plan.

The purpose of this exercise is to improve your self-perception and discover a part of yourself that you can use to your advantage. What is important is your attitude towards your success. Consider taking a few minutes to develop this power and learn how to work with it. Find a quiet place, get a piece of paper and answer the questions.

The first five questions to ask:

1.) What inspires you today?

2.) What drives you to do the things you like every day?

3.) Do you like routine work? Why?

4.) What would be your dream daily schedule?

5.) What are your passions? Select one and explain why.

The next five questions ask about your business.

6.) What do you do not like about being a boss of your own business?

7.) Do you have a niche? If Yes, describe your niche. If No, list your possible business niche.

8.) How do you view success within your business?

9.) Who is your target market?

10.) What is your purpose to build your business?

The last question asks you about your direction. Here I am encouraging you to create a mind map.

11.) Create a mind map of how should your business model run. Use this free tool.

With the right questions and mindset, your business plan can go a long way. Never forget that any business plan needs to adapt to certain circumstances. Like knowing your competition and filling the need. One last advice, do your research before spending any money.

Photo credits: Freepik

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3 Ways To Make Long Term Planning As A Virtual Assistant

long term planning

Long term planning as a virtual assistant is the challenge that seems too hard to do. As a beginner like you, I started on a path without direction. Only to realize that I was wasting most of my time on short-term projects. I had a lot of excuses and reasons that I could come up with why I choose to accept low-end jobs.

After I gained experience working for a market research company for years. I realize that with my skills. I could start my own virtual business. Without guidance, I was scouring through jobs online looking for something that can help with my expenses. Sadly, I was not successful.

I had successful short-term jobs. I always question myself, why can’t I find a better and long-term job? My short-term jobs were not challenging enough for me. I thought there is got to be a way. After one year, I landed on my first long-term job as a virtual assistant. I secretly wanted this job a lot. I planned to improve my confidence on the phone. Through several tests and examination, I got the job.

It was my first step to learning about becoming a true virtual assistant. I was very happy. It’s been 1 year and five months celebrating my life and career as a virtual assistant. My journey was not easy. I made mistakes and improve myself throughout the year. I created a short-term plan for you to realize your potential. Be able to pursue your interests and niche as a virtual assistant. You can do this in three ways.

1.) Develop a self-analysis report. Think about your strengths and weaknesses. Get a sheet of paper, divide it into two. Label the first column, strengths and the second column as weaknesses. Be honest with yourself. You need to take into account what you know about yourself. Write everything down. Do not assume about your abilities, experiences, and skills. A good example is knowing how technical you are. Follow these guide questions.

  • Do you have basic knowledge in computers?
  • Do you speak good English?
  • Do you know how to use computer programs like Microsoft Word and Excel?
  • Do you like working alone?
  • Do you like routine tasks?
  • Are you self-motivated?

You need to take into account why you are investing your time and effort in becoming a virtual assistant. Always remember that no one is going to do it for you. Exert effort, give more time to learning and self-development.

2.) Identify the opportunity. The virtual assistant industry is growing. Endless of virtual assistants in different niche often excel with the right given skills and experience. The opportunities are endless. You can tap different market segments. Emerging virtual assistant niches like real estate, law, small business, corporate business, e-commerce, retail, accounting, programming, administrative and more.

  • What skills do you have the most experience?
  • Are you inclined to find a job that suits your experiences?
  • What are your dream job and niche?
  • How can you find your dream job?
  • What ways can you improve yourself to find your choice of niche? List them.
  • Where can I find the opportunity that will help me succeed in my business.? Search them online.

I present those questions to guide you in weighing your options on what niche you should focus. It will decide the type of job you will do. For you to have a clear path in starting your own virtual assistant business. Your niche will help you acquire skills to prepare you for long-term goals. All you need to do is learn and apply.

3.) Constantly evolve yourself on your niche. The reality of virtual assistant jobs can have a lot of threats. With the entry of the low price virtual assistants, the competition to win jobs can be difficult. You need to update your skills. You need to research your prospective clients. Learn the ropes of the business. Improve your quality of work. Here is a guide to help you.

  • What skill do you need to improve?
  • Did you check your competitor’s in the same niche?
  • What do they lack that you can improve?
  • What are your strategies to improve yourself and your business?
  • How can you give value to your clients?
  • How can you motivate yourself to do good work?

Take action even thought how uncomfortable it is. Rise up to the challenge and think about how you can improve every day by just learning. Everything in your life is a constant state of growth and commitment. Bad experiences happen only you let them. Learn from your mistakes as you go. Do not rely too much on what you know. Sometimes your mistakes can be an eye-opener to what you should do next. Pay attention. Write your mistakes down. So you can develop a plan and strategy to make it big. You have all the time in the world to make a name for yourself. Do not delay. Persist and learn to forgive yourself too.   

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Life-Changing High Expectations: Step-by-Step Guide

high expectations

In the virtual assistant’s world, both employers and virtual assistants have to mismatch high expectations when it comes to acquiring skills, job requirements, work performance, and career stability. A virtual assistant does not put herself in a situation. Doing tasks for a boss who delegates everyday tasks. Unknowingly, he starts to think about not paying your once training starts.

To get the service you deserve. Think about your virtual assistant’s expectations. You can lay ground rules for your business. You fall short on giving job benefits to her. You are going to miss out on one thing that could make her happy. Here are common reasons:

a.) A VA can do everything perfectly without mistakes. VA’s are humans. We commit mistakes just like anyone else. We all have different ways of learning and coping. Adjust your standards when hiring someone from India or the Philippines. They may not be as aggressive like the Americans.

b.) Being able to read your mind. Employers duty is to communicate about hours of working, work leaves, salary, working days and rest days. Virtual assistants should tell their side too without limitations. An agreement is finalized before starting projects. 

c.) Not laying a good foundation for job contracts. As we all know, there are too good to be true jobs and scam jobs that offer great pay and commission. Yet they leave you feeling in the middle and not satisfied with the results. 

d.) The process of hiring and firing. Hiring a VA is not shopping and free. Don’t even think of hiring several virtual assistants and let them do work with you like they are supposed to be paid for the job they do. Train them, know your boundaries. 

As a start-up business owner, give yourself time to learn. Patience to admit your mistakes and grow from it. Never rely too much on what you know. Short-term goals are important aside from the long-term goals that you set for your business. Start reading, learning and educating yourself on becoming the great employer.

IJJ2016

image source by FreePik

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Super Virtual Assistant: The Misconceptions

virtual assistant

Different advertisements from job portals who have posting job requirements and qualifications seem to find someone who has it all. Call them “Super Virtual Assistants”. There are job posts indicating they are looking for Super VA’s for a low rate. Really? Is it possible for a virtual assistant to do everything for a low price? How would you interpret this?

The role of a virtual assistant does not stop at administrative duties. It goes far beyond making reports, back office management, and customer service. How far should an employer take a different perspective on hiring a virtual assistant that can match the job description? Can VA’s really do everything you tell them to do? Can Virtual Assistants demand the salary they want?

Look at the big picture, virtual assistants might know it all yet they do not possess all the skills.  They are good resourceful people who always learn and knows how to make things work. Yet low wage virtual assistants hardly have the expertise to do everything thoroughly. These are some misconceptions about them:

a) Expect perfection from a virtual assistant. Communicate instructions clearly to your virtual assistant. Use a productivity tool to organize tasks according to projects and dates.

b) Mismatch virtual assistant and employer. A good match would benefit the long-term relationship between employer and assistant.

c) The concept of multitasking. We are good in multi-tasking. However, we should know how effective it can help us finish the job.

d) Micro-managing your employee. Micromanagers give employees tasks to do and meddle by over analyzing every detail involved. This is not a good treatment. It seems they have no confidence in the assistant’s ability to do her tasks well. Try to focus on the results you want. Give your employee the freedom to do their jobs.

e) You get what you paid for. Hire a Super Virtual Assistant with low rates. Do not expect a lot. Do not expect quality and excellent results when you hire someone below the minimum wage.

When you hire, it is best to define your objectives, job descriptions and the tasks involved. Being a business owner and manager must realize that they need to listen to their employees. Get ideas on how to improve business.  Do not assume employees are there just to work for you. They have the expertise, experience, and the skill to help your business grow.

IJJ2016 Updated


image source by Freepik

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