I have talked about this here before “A simple guide to becoming a Virtual Assistant”, but since I have been receiving a lot of questions lately, I’d be glad to share again what I know and experienced through the years. Just to give you a short background, I started working from home in 2008 back when there were no support groups available yet, not many tutorials are found on the Internet, and different online tools that have been released in the market these days – yet WE SURVIVED without having to spend on paid training. I went back to working from home in the year 2014 as soon as I closed down my business. It wasn’t an easy journey. If I can recall, I spent a lot of time applying and sent about more than 10 resumes before I finally settled to something which wasn’t my forte at all – English Online Teaching. I thought it would be a good start though. So I did online teaching for a year until I found the job that I really love – Marketing.

To this date, I am still employed, full-time, and just completed 2 years as a Marketing Manager for a company based in South Australia. If you ask me if it’s good, I guess my 2-year of service (and counting) to them is already enough answer to that.

Anyway, these are the questions that were asked from me via private messages:

Do I need to have the (work from home) experience to land on a home-based job? Computer literacy, yes to that since you’d be spending all of your time working around it. Awareness of online tools beforehand helps a lot, too. To mention a few are Skype, Zoom, Slack, Google Drive, CRMs etc.

To be honest, the majority of the employers/clients prefer someone with experience, although some do not really care. If there’s one thing I learned from my current boss, is this one: Hire character, train skills. Besides, pieces of training and proper handover are also given before they put you to the actual tasks you’d be assigned to. So don’t worry, you’d get a handful of support from your teammates for sure, and if you get lucky, your boss will also help you.

Are training provided once you are hired? Yes, a lot of them do. Just be honest about what you do not know yet and do not sugarcoat what was written on your resume.

Is it recommended to enroll in paid training before applying? To be honest, this is not something I will recommend. Too early to invest in something that can actually be learned on your own. There are many free tutorials found on the Internet, support groups that can help and guide you with, and people who had the first-hand experience who can walk you through – ALL FOR FREE. I’d rather spend on paid training if I already feel the need to enhance what I already know, or if I want to level up from what I have already learned through the years. There are groups as well give free workshops about WFH basics, just check it out online.

Just to clear things out though, I am not against people who do this for a living, but sometimes I see it as taking advantage just because many are at it, and eager to land on a job as fast as they could especially during this time when people have lost jobs temporarily. Let’s help each other instead and do not overcharge people who really need it.

What equipment do I need to have to begin with? A laptop, a reliable Internet connection, and a headset.

♥ Laptop – This is something you need to invest in, a working laptop with good specs. I am using an ACER laptop, 4GB DDR4 Memory, 500GB HDD. So far so good since our documents are also stored online so storage does not really matter. Sorry, I am not a technical person so I really cannot help you with this haha! No, mobile phones are not ideal for a home-based job.

♥ Reliable Internet Connection – I will never suggest or agree to mobile data. You need to have a reliable Internet connection to start with. I started with having 5mbps, upgraded in-between as needed, and now settled to 50mbps fiber connection. Mine comes in a bundle with cable and I pay Php3,200 per month for this. Some employers shoulder half of what you spend on Internet connection, some do not so better allot something for this from your budget.

♥ Headset – If you are eyeing on a voice-job, then you need a good one similar to what Call Center Agents use. In my case, I only use earphones that came with my mobile phone. My job does not require frequent calls after all so I don’t really need it.

Do I really need to have an impressive portfolio to land on a job? Gone were the days when employers/clients have all the time in the world to read your 5-pager resume. The shorter, the better. The simplest, the best, unless you are applying for a “Graphic Designing” job which requires you to show your artworks and finished projects. Otherwise, there’s really no need for that. I would rather work on a great cover letter and sell myself than spend overtime putting information that the employers/client does not really care about. Oh and please, give yourself a chance and time to work on your cover letter, on your own. You know yourself better (and what you can do), and not somebody else.

Where can I find home-based jobs? To suggest a few (There’s more than this I know), these are the legit sites that I have tried, worked for me, and actually gave me jobs:
♥ www.onlinejobs.ph
♥ www.upwork.com
♥ www.virtualstafffinder.com | VSF FB Page

Just please be careful when you apply for a job. A lot of scammers have also invaded the first two sites mentioned above so please do your homework first. Always remember that legit employers/clients will never ask for logins and payments, if they do, then that’s a red flag.

You may also try and ask your friends around who may have recommendations and referrals. That’s much safer.

I guess I have pretty much discussed the basics. Here’s hoping that you’d finally able to land on a job that will work for you especially during this time when almost everyone is high considering working from home. A few more tips and advice before I end this post, remember these:

♥ Be patient. Nothing works like magic.
♥ Make reading a habit. Yes, it’s okay to ask a question from time to time but do not overdo it.
♥ Your attention to detail matters a lot.
♥ Anticipate the ugly side of it especially if you are a mom, it also comes with disadvantages.
♥ Do not fall for a 6-digit income right away, yes it can happen, but it does not happen overnight. If ever it does, you might need to have multiple jobs and a lot of time to achieve it which defeats the purpose of why you wanted to work from home – that is more time for yourself and your family.
♥ Do not be mistaken with how a home-based job is defined. Yes, it can be anything like online selling because technically you do it from home, too, but if you are really into finding a job that will make your ends meet on a very regular basis, then this is something totally different from online selling and pay per click, to begin with.

My point of view and opinions may differ from others, but above are my honest answers based on my experience. I hope the above helps. Goodluck!

Mitch Carvalho

YOUR DIGITAL MOM NEXT DOOR
A full-time home-based Marketing Manager by day, 24/7 Mom, and a Blogger at any time. I’m 43 and proud. Mom of Derelle & Erchelle, sharing my adventures as I walk through motherhood and having to do most things on my own while my Indian national husband works miles away from home.