This week, Bottleneck Virtual Assistants interviewed Michelle “Mitch” Calma. Mitch has been working online for 6 years. This is her VA Story: Michelle Calma Success Worth Waiting For. Read on and be inspired!
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Off to a New Career
Mitch started working from home in 2011. She did lots of different jobs from data entry and research to managerial positions. She went through different kinds of industries as well.
But, her experiences weren’t as pleasant as they are right now.
She started working from 10 hours per week for $1.25 per hour. The online industry in the country was just booming that time.
“Your rate and your skills are based from the day you started working from home.” -Michelle Calma
Working online is a world apart from working traditional jobs. According to her, you need to build your career from scratch. The skills and experiences you had before working from home do not matter much.
In her first job, she initially worked for 5 hours a week until her client increased it to 10 hours. After a few months, she became a full-time worker.
That’s when she decided to resign from her previous job.
Because Family Matters
Mitch used to work in the call center. She was still working full time when she started working online. While still there, however, she needed to work 10 hours a day.
It was not easy.
Her body’s system weakened, and she became sick many times. Even her children became sickly.
One day her office mates talked about online work. She saw the opportunity and considered it well.
“Nowadays, full time moms are no longer a trend. My [achievements] might just be put to waste if I don’t use them.” -Michelle Calma
Mitch didn’t have an internet connection when she started her online career. She had to go to her neighbor and browse the internet from there.
A month after she resigned from her work in the call center, she got bored waiting for online work. So, she went back to the industry and worked for another company. But, she eventually quit.
She saw that as her children were growing up, she seemed more like a stranger to them. It was like they didn’t know their mother. Mitch needed to do something.
The Will to Keep On
Mitch had her own share of good times and bad times as a virtual assistant. She tried different job sites to look for a job. Sadly, she also experienced a scam.
A client hired her immediately, and things went well at the start. Her job was to receive payments from various customers, and then withdraw the money. Afterward, she’d send the money to the client’s account.
The client was generous enough to give her a 10% commission.
Three months after, the customers began asking for a refund. That’s when her client went missing.
In another experience, she was hired directly and received her pay promptly for the first month. Next month, her pay got delayed. And in the third month, her client became out of reach.
But, Mitch was determined.
While waiting for another job, she sold street food to make up for her time. According to her, patience is the key to achieving success. You need to be patient until you already have a good profile online.
It took her a year to build hers. She took tests and upgraded her skills until the clients were already the ones looking for her.
Sacrificial but Worthwhile
As Mitch puts it, her journey as a virtual assistant has been sacrificial. From earning P5,000 a week, she had to put up with just P800 a week in her online work. She launched on a new career, and so needed to start from nothing.
She also needed to sacrifice the time she spent with her friends. Mitch needed to work during her clients’ time zones. While everyone was probably asleep, she was up working.
“The journey that I’ve been through has been worth it.” -Michelle Calma
Now, she is reaping the good fruits of her labor. Her life is more comfortable, and she can work efficiently. She also gets to spend more time with her family.
Mitch is thankful to her current client, for whom she works as an executive assistant.
College and Career
“I’m not the type of person who would say I cannot do anything about [a problem].” -Michelle Calma
Mitch graduated with a degree in Computer Science. She spent four years in college and took up an associate degree afterward. But in all those, she only learned the fundamental computer skills.
They had no computer, and she was working to help her family. Consequently, she failed to focus on her studies. She also did not have the privilege to hone her programming skills, because she worked in the call center right out of college.
Nonetheless, her background helped her in her online career.
Life Outside of Work
Mitch loves her family. She would want to take care of them full time.
“In the perfect world, I would rather be a full time mom.” -Michelle Calma
Her son once asked her if she could take a day off because she’s still focused on work even when at home. She would love to spend time with her children.
One time in 2013, Mitch gave birth a week after a client hired her. She logged in 2 hours after she got discharged from the hospital. Her client was kind enough to allow her some rest.
Mitch thought she needed money to make up for the hospital bills. She was just surprised when the day after, her client sent her $50 just to spend for anything she might need.
Outside of work, she desires to bake and do gardening. At present, she is just happy with what she is doing.
Good Workplace Relationship
It’s different when you get to work well with your colleagues. Mitch enjoys working with the team she’s with right now. She always considers her colleagues as friends.
“Be nice, because you don’t know who you’ll end up working with in your job. Work from home is a small world.” -Michelle Calma
Mitch takes good care of her reputation. She understands how it will affect her employment.
She loves her clients. They give her good feedback. She sees herself working online for a few more years, but is open to good opportunities that could arise.
Advice to Aspiring Applicants
To aspiring virtual assistants, Mitch advises them to be patient and to work smartly. Clients need VAs to perform their jobs well, and hard work is not enough.
“There’s no sense in working hard if you are doing things wrong.” -Client
She also tells them to consider how much they earn and how much they spend daily. When you’re working online, you only have utility bills to pay. You also would not have to worry about commuting or working overtime.
You may, however, dress well if you want. Mitch shares how she enjoys meeting with clients. It gives her the reason to put on makeup and be beautiful—a little getaway from the work hours she spends alone.
Online work is different and more convenient.
You wouldn’t worry if there’s bad weather outside, because you’re safe in the comfort of your home. These are just among the reasons why people decide to work online.
But, some aren’t willing to dare. They find it lonely, and inconvenient. Nonetheless, Mitch is very happy with her job.
Advice to Clients
To clients, she advises them to learn to appreciate and respect virtual assistants. She believes that a VAs’s skills come out when his client trusts him.
“Without trust and without better communication, it’s not going to work.” -Michelle Calma
Mitch once had a client who wanted to do things his way, but it just wasn’t effective to her. The client was also not open to suggestions.
She was most effective for those who trusted her. That gave her the opportunity to learn.
Let us know what you think about VA Story: Michelle Calma Success Worth Waiting For? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!