PUHLEAZE PEOPLE

Yes, 2nd time in a row. You know my lovelies – I don’t do this – But I am desperate. And desperation makes you do strange things. But no, I am not “ashamed”. As Barney said and I reverently quote:

In my body where the shame gland is, I have second “Awesome” gland”

I NEED a VA who can provide support to a Malaysian-based startup. VERY cool people – Silicon valley can’t wait to get their hands on ‘em but being nearly as awesome as me and Barnacle dude, they obviously flip their hair and say “No”.

OK – so to the point.

Need a VA to work from home to work from 9 AM to 6 PM US Pacific Time. Good money – I assure you. US accent a must. Doesn’t matter what gender you are (or are not). Simple work for someone with common sense (ever wondered why its called “common sense”? Seems pretty uncommon to me).

If you know someone have him/her contact me ASAP. Of course want a Pakistani national. Come on my pretties – help a fellow girl in need. If you don’t like helping fellow humans, I am gonna try the “Puss In Boots” on you.

VA, virtual assistant, virtual assistants, virtual assistance, work online, work from home, vacancy

Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

 

oDesk Wire Transfer

Went back to my oDesk account the other day after a long, long time. They have added an option for Wire Transfers now. For a moment I was excited. Yipppeeee … no more signing up for Payoneer and waiting forever to receive the card. No more setting up Skrill (formerly Moneybookers). I quickly went on and set up my account only to find out oDesk charged $30 per withdrawal via Wire Transfer. WHAT THE HELL! So the portal charges 10% of the withdrawal amount and then another $30 for the transaction and then another $4.99 as currency conversion fee. It’s ridiculous considering most of the tasks pay $1/hr and the fixed price projects are like $4 an article (for example). I can write about 5 500 word articles a day so let’s say I have a good month and write 5 articles every day for 30 days that would come to around 150 articles and a total earning of $600. oDesk subtracts their 10% and another $34.99 for the transaction and that leaves me with $505.

So for a whole month worth of work I get what? Only $505!!! Recently an SEO client-turned-friend from the US said the low rates were the fault of the contractors. They bid so low in order to get a job it makes the rates so pathetically low. It’s sad how the low employment rate in our country and in others like Philippines and India forces people to work for peanuts. I know how hard it is to get work on these portals and maintaining a good rating. There are predators out there that will hire you for pennies, give you an impossible task (25 articles 500 words each in 3 days) and when you deliver they will still bug you over the money threatening to give you a bad rating if you complain to the admins. It has happened to me so I know what I am talking about. And if it comes to the worse and you do go to the admins, chances are they will side with the buyer. So what options do online workers have?

What has your experience been like using these portals both as clients and service-providers? I know you will never comment coz you are probably here looking for info on “honesty and generosity” as per my stats. But miracles happen. Which reminds me of MJ … :'( “And I believe in miracles, and a miracle’s gonna happen tonite … “

What Am I Blogging About Again

I am a little confused! Ok, I am very confused. My blog is supposedly about me being awesome and the fact that online work can earn you $$$ and help you stop leeching off your husbands which is what women in this country are supposed to do (it has its perks, for sure). But um … been following search engine terms that people are using to find their way here and it seems like I am blogging about the following:

You understand what I mean??? Ahhh … of course honesty, sleep, lack of sleep, nervous speaker, no sleep, bilal sehgol, is what this blog is about … SO TOTALLY! *pulls out her hair* Despite the fact I understand honesty is a rare virtue to come by these days, and sleep evades us all for various reasons (no money, constipated babies, unemployment, Brad Pitt), I am having a hard time digesting this. (the ‘what clients want in content writers‘ doesn’t count – have had only 1 hit) The one that intrigues me the most though is, CARTOON VIRTUAL ASSISTANT!!! I want to LOL and CRY both at the same time.

Dear whoever-stumbled-upon-here-looking-for-info-on-honesty-and-lack-of-sleep, how do you feel after reading this c*ap? I mean, how disappointed are you? Do you want to kill me, yourself, the dog? I would really like to know. *scratches her head*

OK byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

P.S. Free tip for all you SEO-types; if you are looking to make some $$$ through Google AdSense, try a website on the above topics – they are obviously in demand.)

Meet the 25-yr Old

You have heard a lot about him and wonder why and how a 25 yr old can mentor someone as awesome as me. Osama Sehgol, co-founder of TimeSvr talks about his startup, challenges, bootstrapping, social enterprise, CSR, and he talks a lot – so just watch the video. I am secretly very proud of the kid. You’ll know why in a bit. :)

 

 

Social Communications Company

That’s what the acronym Sococo stands for. I think I am in love. I simply MUST have this integrated into my soon to be launched (hopefully – sighhhh) website. Obviously I am never going to be able to afford it (notice how I said “going to” and not “gonna” – I am trying to grow up). I am forever broke. But, my sad finances aside, this is amazing. The website’s About page says that, Sococo is a social communications company that develops and sells shared environments for network-centric individuals to work and play. A small piece of advise to people in Silicon Valley – we know you are brainy and your products are usually great but there really isn’t no need to make things sound so complicated!!!

Mr. Scoble, whom I dislike for his past disparaging remarks about Quora, does a far better job of describing it. Sococo gives you a virtual office, where you have an office space on screen. Yeah, so what it essentially does is it provides you with this wonderful tool to work with your remote team where you can have a virtual conference room or office space, you see who is “sitting” in her office, you can call them and have a voice chat. You can even make calls to landlines or cellphones, much like Skype. The thing can even be integrated into your website. Look at some of these images – I am drooling, I tell ya …

How YUMMY is this!

Conference Rooms come in different sizes

 

Your own virtual office - I know mine would read, 'Meryl Streep was a softie!"

You can also share multiple screens. If any of my family or fans or secret admirer is contemplating bequeathing me with half their wealth, please hurry up – because I need this. I really do!  Plans start from $39.99/month to $59.99/month.

OK now – I kept the promise I made in my last post, and actually wrote about stuff that could help you with your online business. I am off now …. To infinity and Beyond …

OK byeeeeeeeeeeee

 

 

Passion

The language of art is universal. What’s better still is that you can interpret the same painting, music, poetry in different ways. I was reading through Charlotte Bronte’s “Passion”. Look at these lines:

Wild, long, a trumpet sounds afar;
Bid me–bid me go
Where Seik and Briton meet in war,
On Indian Sutlej’s flow.

Blood has dyed the Sutlej’s waves
With scarlet stain, I know;
Indus’ borders yawn with graves,
Yet, command me go!

Though rank and high the holocaust
Of nations steams to heaven,
Glad I’d join the death-doomed host,
Were but the mandate given.

Passion’s strength should nerve my arm,
Its ardour stir my life,
Till human force to that dread charm
Should yield and sink in wild alarm,
Like trees to tempest-strife.

I don’t know what they mean to you but they struck a chord with me. Our country is going through some very hard times. Karachi is burning, Waziristan has burned already, a huge mass of the population is living in IDP camps under some very tough conditions. There are drone attacks, visits from some very angry US officials, there is an energy crisis, so much so, our industries are shifting to, lo and behold, Bangladesh. Sectarian violence, terrorism, target killings, people burning down their own country and going on killing rampages because they hate America, America sending in drones and causing civilian deaths and crushing the economy because it hates extremists. Either way, it’s a Pakistani that is killed, or suffers in some way. I get depressed. I get very, very unhappy on certain days. But then I ask myself; what are you gonna do about it?

Who? Me? I am a nobody. I have no power, no voice. And a voice inside my head says; “WRONG! You are somebody – you are YOU! So think hard and tell me what are you going to do about everything that’s upsetting you.”

I know nothing about politics so that can be checked off. I know zilch about governments and how they should be run, so another check off. I can go out and start a  revolution Egyptian-style only my family would kill me and I also am not sure what the Egyptians were doing (see, I honestly don’t watch TV or read the newspapers). So what can I do? Ah, I know. I can stop whining for one. Another thing, I can help a bit with the economy of the country and earning my own $$$ and not being a dormant parasite.

Go one step ahead and try teach others how to do same. Maybe even find them work because let’s admit it, getting work on oDesk and Elance etc is REALLY hard. Now if each one of us would just FOR THE LOVE OF GOD stop feeling sorry for ourselves and go and do whatever little we can do, that’d be much appreciated. It doesn’t take fancy speeches, it doesn’t take quoting verbatim from Rumi, or shaking our heads in dismay and saying, “Pakistan has gone to the dogs – I am moving out of the country soon as I sell my mansion in Islamabad”. It takes just a little bit of sincerity.

Become a VA. Have your friends laugh at you and think you need a job. Earn a dollar an hour and have your family pass snide remarks about paying their janitors more than that. Think SMEs. Think startups. Let people think you are an emotional fool who needs to grow up. As Bronte said:

Blood has dyed the Sutlej’s waves
With scarlet stain, I know;
Indus’ borders yawn with graves,
Yet, command me go!

Things are bad – things are REALLY bad – Sutlej, Ravi, Indus – they are all dyed with the blood of people who haven’t got a clue what they are fighting for. But hang in there and do your bit.

I promise the next post will be more about tools,tips and tricks, and info on virtual assistance. For now, thanks for bearing with me. Have got a lot on my mind lately.

OK BYeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Business is Common Sense

The 25-yrs old does it again. Couple of days back I was whining to him about work and how I should do what my friends say and just get a job, and he says, “Business is common sense, Maria – perhaps you need to rethink your expectations”. Much as it pains me to admit it but that made sense. This blog is not about him so I’ll skip to what it actually is about. What is business really?

In her guest post on Women 2.0, Jennifer Toney, Founder and CEO of  WeMakeItSafer describes business beautifully (and I am a little jealous of her for being so eloquent).

“If I’m cursing, there is a business opportunity.” You know, every time you say, “@*#*! I hate it when that happens!” or “@*#*! Why in the world did they make it this way?!” …. if a problem is big enough and important enough that it makes you mad; if it evokes enough passion that you are writing about how stupid it is on your Facebook wall, or better yet, a three-page blog post; it just might be a problem worth solving. After all, if it irritates you, chances are good that it irritates others.”

I just LOVE the simplicity of this definition. I can relate to it when it comes to WDL. I was working as a teacher at a private school and hating every minute of it. I naturally quit though it took me three long years to reach that decision. While sitting at home, I kept thinking to myself there HAD to be a way around this problem. I couldn’t do anything but teach – no one would let me – but I am not one to give up easily …. :D I started looking around, found Rozee online. Wrote 200 essays for a lady in Multan for Rs. 15k. Found oDesk while shadowing her on the Internet (I am evil, I know), earned about $400 in the first month. Was approached by founder of a not-for-profit startup in SF, CA and became a full-fledged VA from a content writer. Heard about Women 2.0 Startup Competition, and became an entrepreneur. Ladies (GET OVER IT – I am a feminist), motive behind the brag? I had a problem and instead of sitting down crying about it and shouting at God for not  being fair to me, or having a sighing competitions with other women over who has had the hardest, saddest life and hence deserves a place among saints, I found a solution to the problem. I know, I am AWESOME! :P

You don’t have to start big, you can start with making beaded jewelry, or embroidered mobile pouches and selling them on Etsy or Folksy. Or you can start from your home designing clothes for friends and family, taking pics of all the dresses you made so far and putting them on a Facebook page, or you may want to start a cooking class for little girls. It doesn’t have to be a social enterprise. It doesn’t have to have a huge social impact changing people’s lives for the better. Look at Facebook, Evernote, Angry Birds. I don’t feel like a better person for using any but man is a social animal and wants to mingle with people, we all have our own crazy ways of unwinding, many of us have trouble keeping track of our ideas. These businesses banked on those needs. Look around you and see if you can identify a problem that you can solve, something you feel passionate about, something you can do better and differently, find out if there is a market for it. Start with friends and family, neighbors, the random people you have added to your FB list, twitter – and then stop contemplating and take the plunge. See where procrastination landed Hamlet? I always say, “I’ll never know unless I do it”.

Trust me, it has its pitfalls – there are days you want to commit murder – you curse yourself for refusing to get an easy 9-5 job at some huge multinational whose owner is best buddies with your uncle – but it’s fun. The adrenaline, the small conquests, the way the world unfolds before you gives you a high like nothing else. It’s the strongest addiction ever. Try it and let me know how it goes.

OK byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee