Archives

Before I Was A Mom

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Cheers to all mothers out there!

This morning, after receiving numerous text messages, FB comments and emails from relatives and friends I decided to create a new post.  And what subject matter am I considered an expert? Motherhood!  I’m sure that you and I agree, experience is the best teacher.  We may all have our ups and downs as far as motherhood is concerned, but each one of us has a unique story to tell.  Here’s mine:

I have been married to the man of my life for 20 years, that is, if we reckon from the date of my civil wedding, or 19 years if reckoned from my church wedding date (that’s why I wear two wedding bands!).  We are blessed with three wonderful children. My eldest and only boy just turned 18 last Friday.  The other two are age 15 and 10, both girls.  I have been a stay-at-home mom for the last 10 years.  I think this is the best and most fulfilling job, but is also the  most demanding.  Sometimes (or should we say most of the time?) it seems that 24/7 is not enough to manage the children and the home.  I used to divide my time between my family and my corporate job. It has been my dream to become a fulfilled professional, given my two university degrees – excelling in my field and at the same time keeping a happy home and family.  It was tough, especially without my husband with me all the time to manage the household and our growing children as he is working abroad most of the time. Thanks to skype and yahoo messenger for video calls, but there’s no substitute for the personal care that he can provide and the quality time spent together with the family. While my husband is out of the country, I am both father and mother.  I had to be reasonably tough as a father at the same time gentle as a mom in order to bring out the best in them, thereby maintaining a happy family life. From marketing to cooking to washing clothes to driving the kids to school to carpentry to simple electronic repairs to tutoring to fixing clogged pipes, I easily fit into my role as both dad and mom.

Before I was a mom, I never thought I am capable of all of these.  My children say I am a “supermom“.

At least now that I am earning-from-home through oDesk, I can still be very productive and get to apply my education and work experiences to earn an honest  living online.  Bonus point is that I already have the time I need to do other stuff that interests me since work time is very flexible to a freelancer.  At anytime, I can opt for a vacation, or do crafts making, cross stitching, watercolor painting, baking, reading, and gardening…..and blogging too!  It has been very fulfilling for me to be earning extra money while at home. Although I no longer have the privilege of receiving company paychecks and bonuses, and my 40 hours workweek in an office has now become 24/7 at home,  I am happy with this set-up of having more time with my family while earning the same amount of income.  In fact, now, I earn even more than I used to in the real corporate world because 1 day pay there (8 hours) can be earned in just 1 or 2 hours online.

I dedicate these sacrifices not only to my own family, but likewise to very important women of my life – my Mom and Mom-in-Law.

If there is a diploma for motherhood, a lot of us would have received one and even graduated with honors.  From conception to birth to their first word and first steps, and likewise to their own marriage, we mothers always have an important role.  From whom did we learn all these if not from our own mothers, with all their love, care and sacrifices.  We share this special day with them too.  To my Mom and Mother-in-law, happy mother’s day! I love you both….

Let me share excerpts from what I searched online on the topic:

I salute all moms who chose to work from home.

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

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L-O-V-E

 

“Love is the revelation of our deepest personal meaning, value, and identity. But this revelation remains impossible as long as we are the prisoner of our own egoism. I cannot find myself in myself, but only in another. My true meaning and worth are shown to me not in my estimate of myself, but in the eyes of the one who loves me; and that one must love me as I am, with my faults and limitations, revealing to me the truth that these faults and limitations cannot destroy my worth in their eyes; and that I am therefore valuable as a person, in spite of my shortcomings, in spite of the imperfections of my exterior ‘package.’ The package is totally unimportant. What matters is this infinitely precious message which I can discover only in my love for another person. And this message, this secret, is not fully revealed to me unless at the same time I am able to see and understand the mysterious and unique worth of the one I love.” – from “Love and Living” by Thomas Merton.

“But to love another as a person we must begin by granting him his own autonomy and identity as a person. We have to love him for what he is in himself, and not for what he is to us. We have to love him for his own good, not for the good we get out of him. And this is impossible unless we are capable of a love which ‘transforms’ us, so to speak, into the other person, making us able to see things a he sees them, love what he loves, experience the deeper realities of his own life as if they were our own. Without sacrifice, such a transformation is utterly impossible. But unless we are capable of this kind of transformation ‘into the other’ while remaining ourselves, we are not yet capable of a fully human existence. “from Disputed Questions by Thomas Merton


HAPPY VALENTINES EVERYONE!

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2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2010. That’s about 31 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 8 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 39 posts. There were 100 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 11mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was April 30th with 193 views. The most popular post that day was Employer Goes The Extra Mile.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were odesk.com, pinoyexchange.com, odeskpinoynewbie.blogspot.com, search.aol.com, and facebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for gold star, challenge, gold star image, gold star picture, and star images.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Employer Goes The Extra Mile September 2009
9 comments

2

My oDesk Debit Mastercard July 2009
23 comments

3

A Taste (and Test) of the oDesk Guaranteed Payment December 2009
13 comments

4

Wear The Employer’s Shoes September 2009
7 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

5

Resources July 2009
7 comments

I Shot 3 Birds With 1 Stone

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There are lots of advantages to having many skills.  Your marketability as a freelancer/contractor is greater since you can fit into many different jobs.

I remember last July when I was scanning  job posts  and chanced upon an ad for  Legal Drafting.  As a practice, I check whether  the employer got verified payment and yes he had.  There are not many feedbacks in his profile yet since he is relatively new  on oDesk.  But, there are already ongoing contracts dealing with web design,  flash design, SEO/SEM/SMM, and article writing.  I noticed that besides the legal drafting job, he also posted one for accounting.  I sent my application for  both jobs and got invited  to interview.

Over at skype, the Canadian employer and myself had a voice interview (recorded on Pamela Call Recorder).  I thanked the employer for considering my application, and told him I am glad to answer any questions he might have in relation to the job or my skills.  His first question was: Thank you, Please first tell me about your skills and experience, and especially if you have done any work with any clients in Canada before?  What type of services have you provided?” I responded and gave a summary of my work experience, highlighting those related to his job requirement.  “Because I’m looking for an expert to prepare business agreements, Partnership contracts etc.. with other Canadian partners and also USA.”

He also discussed his business and his plans to move it forward.  I took this opportunity to recommend solutions that he may adopt to address the situation.  This is one way to let the employer know that you are there to help out.  He seemed to agree  because he said afterwards, “so, now let’s talk about the price…” To me, when an employer starts to discuss rates it is a strong indication that he is convinced that you’ve got the skills necessary for the job.  “What rate you’ll be expecting if we consider you to be in the Legal team, in terms of hourly rate?” It is one of my strategies to give my max bid rate.  Should it be accepted at once by the employer, then it’s a super great deal.  But if he haggles, at least there is still room to negotiate and I can still get a good rate/hr.  For me, I set a standard rate for different types of job and never agrees to go lower than that no matter what.  After all,  I have already established myself  as a diligent service contractor.  The employer tried to persuade me to lower it down a bit more but I stood firm on my set rate for legal.  At that point he said, “I think I would like to discuss the accounting job with you not the legal one.”

(Ok, as I’ve said before…patience is a virtue…..now, let’s switch channel…)

I asked him about what concerns his accounting books, the present setup, how many months is it behind, etc. “I have a bookkeeper, and an accountant, but I’m not happy and they are very expensive.” (Hmmm…this is music to my ears!)  This is again another opportunity and I used it to recommend solutions gearing towards highlighting my skills and experience in Accounting, specifically in fixing messy books.  This time, I gave him a picture of what he can expect from my accounting skills and the time frame I will be able to get it done, to his expectations. His comments have been positive so far, and has hinted that he would like to hire me.  So, what’s keeping him from pressing the hire button then? “..but I still need to know more about how you’ll be the best fit, and what I will receive from you at the end of month, including invoices in/out payments out etc…”

We discussed again in more detail what I will be doing to straighten up his books.  At some point, I grew tired and merely answered his questions matter of factly, not anymore out of interest in the job. I felt that I have lost a lot of  oDesk hours  already because I am not logged to any of my assignments.  In my more than 1 year experience on oDesk, that was the longest interview  I went through, as the others before it did not last more than 20 minutes before hire.  This employer wanted to get the most out of my wits!

And his next question?

“Hi, I will be back in 30 min and I need to talk to you about the legal doc that I want so we get started on it.” Oh boy, now its back to the legal thing!  But wait…he said ”so we get started”?  Okay, that means he is considering me for the legal job then…not the accounting.  Whew!

When he came back, (good thing I have other contracts that I can work on in the meantime, so the waiting time is not wasted…but speaking of wasted time…I spent a considerable time in this interview so I told myself  I have to get  hired to compensate  the “lost worktime”).  ok, so I would like to know what rate I will have if I hire you to do my legal documents, and the accounting work?” Oh, okay….so he’s considering me for both jobs now.  Is this enough to get my interest back? You bet!

Alright.  So lets see how I negotiated the rate for this 2 jobs…(skype chat now).

Employer: Accounting will be on regular basis, Legal will be occasionally (when needed)

Verena: so how much are you willing to give me for both?

Employer: I will tell you the others that I’m interviewing

Verena: ok

Employer: so for the accounting job I have people rate at (2.22-5.00) and you are the highest at $**

Verena: and for the legal?

Employer: (5.00-7.78) and you are the highest at $**

Employer: So Verena, tell me your best offer for your services separately (Accounting, Legal), as this is going to be a long term relation

Verena: your comparison is mainly on the rate…are the others whom you interviewed barely new to oDesk or established with 5.0 feedbacks like me?

Employer: Range b/t (10hrs-431hrs)

Employer: Rate is a big factor, especially if I will count on you for multiple tasks, and you will be my go to for that

Verena: Admin  job?

Employer: Yes

 

He’s got a point. I can bid a high rate but will get a short term contract in the case of Legal…or as needed in case his Accounting books gets updated eventually.  His offer  of giving me a 3rd job (Admin), which is on a daily basis, makes sense.

 

Verena: can we meet at $** for the accounting and $** for the legal then?

Verena: you have your Accountant-Paralegal-Admin in one…

Employer: lol

Employer: That’s high for accounting. I can have you at $** for legal, but not accounting

Verena: ok, $** then…you look at my profile and check the rates I charge for accounting…

Verena: the lowest rate is $7

Employer: no, it’s $5.56

Verena: oh but that was my starter…the very first accounting job I did…

Employer: lol

Verena: you can’t charge high if you’re only starting right?

Verena:  i worked hard and my clients did not go wrong….

Employer: so how about if we meet half way for both jobs?

Employer: So we can get the confidentiality agreement done and start

Verena: u mean $** for acctg and $** for legal?

Employer: I can do $* for everything

Employer: Legal will be occasionally (when needed) , (i.e: agreements, contracts, NDA etc..)

Employer: I propose $* for acctg,  $* for Legal

Verena: ok, here’s my counter-offer, my final deal….i will work for $* but I get all 3 jobs (acctg, legal, admin)

Employer: you are still the highest from whom I interviewed, but…

Verena: but…

Verena: you can do $*  right?

Employer: ok…$* acctg, $* legal works for me

Verena: deal

Employer: deal

Employer: your hired

Verena: thank you…

 

I am happy that I got a fair deal in this contract.  The employer can be “hard to please” but overall, he is nice.  After a few hours, I received a list of  tasks and I had to reorganize my work calendar  to accommodate  the new job…I mean, jobssssss…because I was able to get 3 jobs from a single employer.

Have you had the same experience?  How did you go about negotiating a reasonable rate? Why not share yours….a lot of visitors to this blog can benefit from other freelancer’s experience, too.

Be generous!

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I Ate My Words

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As promised, here are some of the very interesting updates on my oDesk milestones….let’s start with this one:

I have said before that I prefer to work on hourly basis than fixed price due to a lot of cases where contractors get themselves cheated by employers who refuse to pay them after the work is submitted or suddenly are out of reach, no matter how many emails.

Fixed price jobs may be very convenient since the contractor need not log into the oDesk Team App for time log and work diary monitoring,  however, this type of job is not guaranteed by oDesk.  Not all fixed price jobs result into this though, but since it is not guaranteed, it becomes a caveat or warning especially to newbies in order to avoid early frustrations.

For those who are not yet aware how fixed price jobs work, it is one where you complete the job first, submit the output to the employer, and get paid when employer is satisfied that the work is within specifications agreed upon before commencing the task.  In very few cases, even if the employer is not satisfied, he pays full or pays a certain portion of the project amount.  It all depends on the parties to reach a reasonable agreement.

I got myself  into one fixed price job last March.  Did I eat my words?

This was the job post:

I got invited to interview, and here are a few of our exchanges:

I sent my answers to each of the questions and here was his response:

The new job he created for me was for fixed price.  I requested that I be allowed to work on hourly basis under a limited number of work hours according to his stated budget per week.  He agreed then he went on to repost an hourly job and invited me to it.

I received a notification and readily hit the accept button, then I got another notification that the contract has begun.  Little did I know that what I opened and accepted was the wrong  job post, as it was the fixed price one.  We had a chat to clarify the matter but the employer was very busy at that time so he just assured me that I will get paid  and even offered to pay upfront 50% of the agreed amount.  I accepted the offer since there is a clear indication that I will be paid in full upon completion of the project.  I then started working on the tasks.   After three months of work I successfully completed all that was required as per agreement and the employer was satisfied with the output.  I then requested the employer to end the assignment in the meantime.  He agreed, paid the balance and left this feedback:

I breathed a sigh of relief….not only because I got paid in full but also because I earned another good feedback, and the employer is not at all like those encountered by other contractors.  If given the chance, I will gladly accept another job offer from this employer.  I learned a lot from this project – writing a Business Plan, different legal materials, etc.

Will I again work on fixed price jobs?  Maybe….maybe not…..but when I do, I make sure to agree only when the employer sends a detailed specs and pays 50% upfront.  As an added precaution, I log my hours using oDesk Team App even if not required.  That way, should the employer not pay despite successful completion of the project, there is proof to lodge a complaint.

I am not discouraging you to apply for fixed price jobs…let me be clear on that.

But as for me, some of the many things I value most are

hardwork and peace of mind…..

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Hello…Anybody home?

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My! I feel like a stranger in my own .

It’s been 5 months since my last post in April.  So what happened since?

A lot!

Did I mention before that I make it a point to maintain at least 6 contracts?  When one ends, I scan the jobs board for job opportunities and always manage to get one brand new contract to replenish my cupboard of assignments.  Well….I still do that, but I guess I got very enthusiastic at pushing my skills to the limit and ended up adding 3 more…so, I have a total of 9 active contracts.  Enough reason to set aside my blog for a while?  You’re right….

Juggling from one job to another everyday and every week is more than enough reason to tire me that I don’t get enough time to organize my thoughts in writing an article to update my blog.

So, why am I here? It’s both good news and bad news.

Bad news is….two of my contracts got suspended.  I don’t know what’s wrong….but more often than not, its the employer not updating his payment methods with oDesk.  So, until such time that the employers update their payments, I cannot log and bill work time.  I may opt to continue working but the time logged  is not guaranteed as it will not be billed to the employer….that means, I will be working for free!  Sorry, but I don’t want to do that.

Okay now……whats the good news?

Well….that I have time to spare and I am writing here again!

I got lotsa things to share….tips…lessons learned….etc, etc, etc.  I’m sure you can pick up something useful to apply in your freelancing.  And one that I am very eager to share to you is the story on how I got all 3 jobs from a single employer, and another is on how I stood ground because I believe that I was in the right, and I was…and still another, is the odesk press opportunity which can become even better than being buzzworthy (although this is still nipped in the bud…if it gets to me, a big thanks! if not, all the same, I have a grateful heart).

But before that, allow me to greet myself…….HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!  Not only because I celebrated my wedding anniversary last September 6, but I realized I have been freelancing at oDesk for more than a year now.  I officially started logging hours at 10:09:26 PM last May 26, 2009, TuesdayMy struggles when I was yet a newbie came flashing in my mind.  How time flies……

I am very thankful that I found oDesk.  The past year of my freelancing had been very fruitful, not only in terms of virtual income, but also by the fact that I became more independent  and happy with the kind of  jobs that I do….plus, I learned a lot new stuff that I would not have had the chance to learn if I still have been working in the real world, with the same stuff everyday.

Oh, how I love the flexibility of working freelance on

In my next posts, we will start the ball rolling again….so, walk with me, as I travel down memory lane and recall what happened since my last post in April…

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Who Really Is The Best Buyer?

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Sometimes I realize that when I am engrossed with my oDesk  job, I work as if there’s no tomorrow, and I forget to take as much rest as I should.

Today till Easter Sunday, I will rest from my oDesk contracts.  I am not sharing any stories about  my oDesk milestones this time.   But what I’ve posted here are meaningful presentations that I have downloaded from a wonderful site I just visited. You won’t regret stopping by and viewing the slides, as these will show us who the BEST BUYER (now termed at employer) really is…..

He Is The One Who Said…

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Aren’t we glad that we have the best employer in our lives?

Not only during the Holy Week but every moment in our lives,  may we appreciate His great love for us and reflect on….

What Jesus Said On The Cross

A blessed Easter to oDesk and to all oDeskers…..

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