It’s easy to panic and give up when a tech glitch messes with your system or an unknown error causes your work to crash. Challenges like these can really affect your momentum, but they can also be seen as learning experiences.

This is what VA Jamie Rose S. Ayque has learned while working as a virtual assistant in charge of digital marketing for different clients.

Client Happiness Manager Kirby Alvarez had a chat with Jamie Ayque about her work as a VA for Outsourcing Angel and how best to tackle challenges in order to attain a great career in the online industry.

1. Tell us more about yourself.

I am Jamie Ayque and I’m currently living in Muntinlupa City with my husband and daughter. I graduated with a degree in Journalism from the University of Santo Tomas but only got to practice my profession for a short period of time. As I developed an interest in marketing when I became a copywriter in an advertising agency.

Before working as a Virtual Assistant for Outsourcing Angel, I had been hopping from one industry to another, from advertising and banking to I.T. and real estate, handling different areas of marketing.

I got acquainted with digital marketing through experience, self-study, online courses and training from experts in the field.

2. How did you learn about the online job industry?

I explored online home-based jobs when I got pregnant in 2015. My first experience with online work was as a writer for a U.S based online news website. I quit work shortly to focus on being a stay-at-home mom to my daughter. However, after a year I started to do online work again. Small business owners have found me on LinkedIn and thought that my background in digital marketing would be helpful. I think it was also my becoming a mother that made me realize working full-time in a corporate job and then commuting every day wasn’t going to work for me.

When I decided to make a career out of online work, I discovered Outsourcing Angel and had been with the company for the past nine months.

3. Tell us more about your clients and your relationship with them. Please share with us your first-time experience working with them. 

Haley Brown owns a small website development company and our relationship is very dynamic. Over time, we began to work and see eye-to-eye as we deal with a lot more projects. We are happy to close 2017 with a lot of projects and welcome 2018 with many opportunities coming our way. I am also very fortunate to be provided with training opportunities. At the moment, we are both taking SEO courses so we can start offering SEO as part of Brand Shack’s flagship services.

Haley is very systematic with tasks. When I got onboard, she’s got all tasks listed for me per day and all I have to do is tick off a task in Asana when it’s done. Following daily tasks is the easy part. The challenging part is since it’s a design company, there are certain design aesthetics that I have to follow. And these things don’t come naturally, especially since I’m not a design person. So this took a lot of learning but the good thing is Haley was very patient and I’ve become honest with her in terms of expectations, what I can do and what I cannot do.

Arna van Goch is a very laid-back person. The challenging part was ad hoc tasks and prioritization of work but working with her for even just a few months, we start to be in sync with tasks.

4. Can you share with us some unforgettable experiences that you had working as a Virtual Assistant?

Just recently, my client Arna and I had a scare: We went to the website and found that all critical content was gone (except for the blogs). We panicked at first but I remembered a similar incident that happened when I was doing freelance website maintenance work. So the client deleted WordPress users and this resulted in critical website content to be removed as well. It was a relief that all deleted content can still be accessed and retrieved from the website server. Fortunately, the content is recoverable but it would take a few days to restore everything.

It was a good thing and a huge relief, especially for Arna. I didn’t want her business to suffer because of a down website. Especially at that time when people are looking at the website. We have social media going on and people are clicking on the links to our blogs.

5. What’s your takeaway on that experience?

It pays to be very attentive with everything. This may not be the sort of thing that VAs encounter on a daily basis but when it happens, you have to know what to do. Website administration may not be included in your job description but as a VA you kind of feel responsible for your client’s business. It’s best to learn minor troubleshooting, stuff you can learn from the web through YouTube tutorials and forums. You also have to be one step ahead. I recommended my client to schedule a once-a-week maintenance to see if everything is working fine.

6. Do you have any advice you can give to a VA who is just starting or a VA struggling for a moment?

One thing I’ve learned working with clients in Outsourcing Angel is that basically, any kind of work is challenging. One moment you’re dealing with website problems, setting up templates, and then dealing with customers the next second. Everything is challenging and it’s normal to get discouraged, yet I always remember to always find the fun in everything I do.

We’re also not perfect, we’re bound to make mistakes but apart from admitting your wrongs and telling clients that there are certain things that you can’t do, you should also be open to learning. Yes, this may be something that I don’t know how to do now but it’s something that I can learn to do in the future. This way you’re not just a VA but you also have the mindset of a boss.

You make mistakes along the way but you should also find a solution for those problems. For every error you make, you have to find a way to make it right because that’s the only way you can learn. Being aware of your weaknesses is the first step to improving them.

Lastly, think of yourself as well. You have to have that mindset that you’re happy, you’re healthy and you’re well taken care of. I think Outsourcing Angel also wants us to do the same so that when we’re working with our clients, we’re in our best selves.

As a VA, Jamie does digital marketing for her clients, which includes blog writing, social media marketing, SEO, graphic design, email marketing, basic website maintenance and a few administrative tasks. Working with online tools, technical glitches and errors happen on a regular basis.

Despite the work-at-home set-up—the convenience, the work-life balance and the privilege of time it provides—being a VA and working remotely is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are challenges and stumbling blocks along the way. Tech glitches, errors, and mistakes are almost inevitable in the job. One way to work around those difficulties is to turn them into learning opportunities. For every issue she encounters, Jamie makes it a point to do her research, find out the reason these technical problems happen and look for solutions.

There may be issues at work that are generally not included in your job description as a VA. Jamie believes challenges provide a way to enrich a VA’s knowledge bank, and in the rapidly evolving world of online work, it is important to build on your skills every chance you get. This includes training options, online courses and simple troubleshooting tutorials and how-to videos on YouTube. It takes time to build on your expertise for a certain discipline (i.e. SEO, graphic design), but little learning opportunities like these, including minor troubleshooting techniques, can add up to your skills.

At the same time, Jamie believes that by thinking of your client’s business as your own, you become instinctive and more responsive to their needs. You start thinking on the same wavelength as them and become proactive in finding solutions to their problems.

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