Month: May 2021

Month: May 2021

  • Be Your Own Headhunter- Land Your Dream...

    There are pros and cons of remote work going mainstream.

    In the very recent past, remote working changed forever. There has been a substantial influx of remote workers, of people who were forced into working away from an office. And it turns out that some ended up preferring it! The competition is tight, it’s tough. You gotta find new ways to stand out in order to land your dream RV job.

    But the good news is that it’s not just an influx of remote workers, there is also a massive influx of remote job opportunities that are perfect for Rvers as employers see the benefits of moving away from sprawling office buildings. A forever-changed workforce that now expects work flexibility. To attract and keep top talent, employers are now offering more remote work options than ever.

    In this new world of remote work going mainstream, you must advocate for yourself when you job hunt – “headhunters” represent corporations these days, not individuals, so you must become your own headhunter to gain a competitive advantage.

    We’ve published an extremely comprehensive guide to finding a remote job, and discussed how to translate your experience into remote work success, but today, we’ll dive deeper into being your own headhunter in context of the new attention on remote working. We want to help you get your dream RV job that will let you travel AND earn an income along the way!

    Updating your resume can help recruiters find you

    Let’s peek at your budget.

    If your budget allows, hiring a high-quality resume writing service or career coach is ideal. The money you invest gets you past the learning curve your competitors are dealing with, and these people will best know the current hiring trends and what methods are landing jobs. It is a tremendous shortcut, but you still have to put in the work and apply for these roles.

    Not all budgets allow for this, so you may have to expedite the process yourself and be your own advocate in this competitive environment, so let’s discuss how to do just this.

    Here are 9 ways to rise to the top of the new candidate pool and snag your dream RV job.

    You’re smart – you already read our guide on landing a remote job. You know the standard advice of updating your resume, preparing for an interview, and so forth. What follows is information specifically formulated for the context of the current hiring environment:  

    • Adopt an awareness mindset.

      • Keep all eyes focused on applying your awareness of the influx of candidates AND open roles. This means addressing it in your resume, and in job interviews. You don’t need to avoid the topic for fear your interviewer will rule you out. Be bold and take it head on – it shows you’re not sticking your head in the sand, you have an awareness mindset.
    • Adopt a profitability mindset.

      • Nick Corcodilos of the Ask The Headhunter blog says, “There is only one rule for success in a job search, and almost no one follows it: You must prove, to the manager for whom you want to work, that you can do the job he needs to have done and that you can do it profitably.” Here’s how to be the profitable hire.
    • Be available.

      • If you are currently employed, unless it’s a toxic environment, stay put until you have that dream RV job opportunity lined up. But also understand that someone ready to start next Monday could beat you out for a desired role. Availability is one component of decision making for employers, and not just for starting date. Demonstrate your availability by being flexible with interview times, and by being responsive quickly via email. In this competitive environment, the early bird often does get that worm!
    • Start with folks you know.

      • Comb your LinkedIn connections for people at companies you’re considering applying for. If you actually know them, reach out! Many employers put emphasis on internal references, and if your friend or former coworker is willing to vouch for you, they may get a bonus when you start, AND you may get a foot in faster than a stranger. Seriously, don’t overlook this option.
    • Spice up your search with actual headhunters.

      • Don’t know any recruiters at third party firms in your industry or town? Time to hop on LinkedIn and find them – they’ll often have a website where you can apply to specific roles, and once applied, you’re in their database. Doing this may open invisible doors only they can see, so get in that database and connect with them on LinkedIn without being annoying. Network with them – most will be receptive if you’re a catch!
    • Act as a talent agent. (You want that dream RV job, right?)

      • For some people, it’s hard to say “I’m amazing, I’m the best!” If that sounds like you, acting as if you’re a talent agent (like actors have) representing someone (that just happens to be you) can be wildly empowering. So, at each step, ask yourself, “how would a talent agent phrase this to get me in the door, or close the deal?”
    • Over-communicate.

      • Follow hiring managers’ expectations, and never expect someone to drive the process or to be psychic. They can’t know that you’ll email by X date, so state it explicitly. Thank people by email or the channels they’ve established communications on. It sounds simple, but very few people do this, so it’s an easy way to stand out. This also helps demonstrate your reliability and communication skills, two things employers commonly doubt when hiring remote employees.
    • Pick the RIGHT job search engines.

      • You’re on one right now, but we’re one tool in your toolbox. You should never have to pay loads of money to see job listings (employers typically pay job search sites already), that’s why ours are free. Keep your security in mind – don’t just give your personal info to any ol’ site. First, you should look and make sure you’re not getting scammed… Remember, you may be giving your home address to an insecure source, so use caution. Can you delete your resume once you’ve found a job or are you permanently in their database? Look at the jobs – are they posted by employers (which is preferable) or just third-party firms? Are the jobs current or 90 days old? Peek around before wasting precious time!
    • Find your choke point.

      • Look at the timeline of your applications and where everything stops. If you aren’t getting any interviews, there’s a problem with your resume. If you aren’t getting called back after any interviews, those are the skills to focus on. Stress less about the entire process and focus strictly on your choke point. Think of it as levels in a video game – where are you getting stuck? Focus there to level up!

    Woman participates in panel interview, being her own headhunter and advocating for herself

    You have the competitive advantage

    We love the analogy of a job search being like a modern video game – you won’t win the entire game in seconds. It takes time. It takes practice. And leveling up has everything to do with working on your strengths and uncovering your weaknesses.

    To be your own headhunter and advocate for yourself in landing that dream RV job, you must adopt an awareness and profitability mindset. YOu must also think like your own agent whose income relies solely on you landing a badass job. Be available, over-communicate, connect with third-party recruiters and inside contacts at companies, use only the best job search sites (like ours, duh), and you’ll have the competitive advantage in the growing talent pool seeking remote jobs!

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  • 6 Methods to Move Away from “Punching...

    Who’s working 9 to 5?

    Let’s face it – 9 to 5 desk jobs are rapidly evolving, and the clock-punching trend is coming to an end. This is especially true after a pandemic has forced most folks into a remote working situation.

    Now that so many people have had the opportunity to work away from an office, a surprise result has emerged – productivity is actually up!

    Punching a clock is a hard habit to break. Our brains have grown accustomed to feeling productive only if we have driven to another building and interacted with humans for a recurring number of hours. The magical number of 8 hours being for work was an idea solidified during the Industrial Revolution, aiming to reduce abuse of factory workers who were forced into long, inhumane hours.

    So, if you’re not a factory worker, does the theory of balancing your day into 8-8-8 (8 hours of work, 8 hours of personal time, 8 hours of sleep) even make sense now!? We have come a long way, but our hours haven’t evolved along with us.

    Woman interrupts busy coworker

    Does anyone actually work 8 hours in the office?

    Today, studies show that most people only work 3 hours each day. THREE. Why? Besides people popping in and out of offices, folks operate their side gig while on the job, scroll Facebook all day, earn their master’s degree from their desk, or binge watch an entire season of a Netflix show in a day.

    If you mentally tie your productivity to a number of hours worked instead of results achieved, it can be hard to transition to a task-focused environment. When you work remotely, you often end your day wondering where the time went, and you can no longer point to your going to an office for 8 hours as an explanation.

    The transition away from clock-punching is a difficult one, and the most successful people that have done it tend to work based on results. While they sometimes end up working more than 8 hours, many times, they work far less.

    Days in an office are filled with distractions and busywork, but remote working allows for a more modern, reasonable balance wherein you work until that day’s goals are achieved. Remote employees tend to work based on task accomplishment, not arbitrary hours.

    As noted, high achievers often work too many hours, but it is worth pausing to remind you that even robots need rest (for maintenance, downtime). Your heart works constantly but it takes a break after every single beat. Keep that in mind as you move forward.

    So how can we find that balance where we no longer punch a ridiculous clock, but we don’t work ourselves to death? Below, we will outline six methods for transitioning. These exist on a spectrum, so read them all and see which speaks to you. Then begin experimenting and tweaking to suit your own setup.

    1. Work in intervals

    Hear us out – this sounds like saying you should punch a clock, but intervals are flexible.

    A study recently conducted by the Draugiem Group tracked employee habits, discovering that the length of a workday was irrelevant. What mattered was how their days were structured. Employees who took short breaks were the most productive and had the best focus, with an ideal ratio being 52 minutes focused only on work, then a 17-minute break.

    Dr. Cal Newport recently opined positively about a German startup that enforces a strict 8 am-1 pm workday after a successful productivity experiment, echoing an increasing number of studies.

    Rather than aim for an 8 hour day, experiment with intervals – try Rescue Timer, an app that privately tracks your online activities and basically spies on you to help uncover where you’re wasting time. This method works best for people that feel highly connected to a clock, or time tracking (and that’s okay). 

    Working to a schedule can be helpful

    2. Focus on “deep work”

    Another method is to work according to “deep work,” which is described by Dr. Newport as the tasks that take your complete creative focus and what most gives you pride. This isn’t administrative stuff, but the core, the purpose, of your work.

    If you are thinking that the first method of even looking at a clock sounds awful, this alternative might be best for you.

    Rather than worrying about a clock (or even having one in your workspace), doing deep work for as long as you feel called to is best, assuming that it’s more than an hour in the morning, then jetting to play time.

    3. Work according to spoons

    Christine Miserandino was having coffee with friends years ago and was asked what it was like living with her chronic illnesses. She explained with spoons from the table as a prop, that each day has finite energy levels, and with each activity, a spoon is taken away.

    Some days start with more spoons, others with less, but people with chronic illnesses often have no way to predict that day’s energy (or fatigue) level. It is now referred to as the “Spoon Theory.”

    It sounds extremely simple (and it is), but before this, it was hard for people to explain, let alone understand. Most people with chronic health challenges typically live with extremely high levels of guilt for any resulting shortcomings or tasks not completed due to fatigue but having a visual helps to assuage a tiny bit of that guilt.

    Even if you don’t have a chronic illness to contend with, you can work according to your own spoons. Some days you may have a handful of them, other days you may have very few. If punching a clock isn’t realistic for you, try working according to each day’s energy levels and you might find that you can get more done in fewer hours. 

    Writing down goals can help you stay on track

    4. Work according to your goals

    If these first three methods sound awful to you, worry not – a fabulous method is to record your top three (or more) achievable goals for each, and working until you’re done with them.

    It sounds easy, but it does require attention. Some people close out their day by setting task-oriented goals for the next day, others begin their day with goal setting, but it is the core component of this method.

    Working according to your goals requires a strong commitment to those goals, so writing them down or typing them out helps to strengthen that commitment. And as a bonus, you have an ongoing record of your accomplishments!

    5. Lean into your external activities

    For a select few people, a healthy work/life balance leans more toward the life portion of the equation.

    Take for example caretakers. If a spouse falls in the shower in the morning, there is no 9 am clock in, there is only helping make sure that person is bandaged or taken to the doctor, and work is started when everyone is stable.

    Another example would be someone who plays music professionally after work – if there is a big performance on Friday, perhaps it means spreading that day’s goals to the other four days so the focus can be exclusively on practice and prep on performance day.

    Working away from an office affords some people the ability to engage in more life than work, and the key component to succeeding with this method is shedding the guilt of leaning into a different balance than the Industrial Revolution believes to be valuable.

    If you are doing so reasonably, and still meeting your work goals, this method can be the key ingredient to a healthier life.

    6. Do whatever you want

    The final method is to just do whatever you want. If you’re ready to break up with the clock, you don’t want to track your time or worry about your spoons, or do anything regularly, just do whatever you find helpful in accomplishing your work tasks.

    Working away from an office can be a huge benefit for some people, but let’s be honest and acknowledge that for others, it is extremely difficult and without the structure we’re wired for, the day can get away from us.

    Worry less about a specific structure if that’s not your jam and do whatever works for you – do this method if pressuring yourself into fitting into some method sounds awful. Just keep in mind, you do have work to do!

    Breaking up with your clock or resetting your thinking about the workday isn’t easy. Our culture is still wired for factory work, but if you’re a desk worker, there’s no reason not to experiment with your workday.

    If we really do typically work 3 solid hours in a workday, we can either do better or lean into our personal lives more by focusing on deep work. Experiment with these methods to determine which works best – you might be surprised at how your day changes over time!

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  • What Is A Virtual Assistant?

    Are you curious about what a Virtual Assistant is and wondering if it is something you would like to pursue? Awesome! Let’s do this!

    So… What Is A Virtual Assistant?

    In short, a Virtual Assistant can be almost anything you want it to be in terms of work that is assisting someone and their business. It is a broad title that can cover a lot of different areas. This is great since it means there are lots of opportunities for VA work!

    Virtual Assistant Admin​

    In this role, you are, in a sense, a virtual secretary for the person you are working for. You are available to help with any virtual task that your client is looking for. That may be data entry; it may be emails or social media help.

    Any task that your client wants. This work is usually done within a set amount of hours each week, dependent on how much help the client needs. 

    This can be a fun role to have if you like variety and are looking to learn many different tasks. You may decide to take these tasks and hone in on one or two to become an expert in them. Or you may enjoy the variety and be open to continuing to take on whatever tasks the client is looking for. (Want some help keeping track of all these tasks? Learn about organizing your digital workspace.)

    The best advice I have for this role is to know you aren’t going to know how to do everything out of the gate. BUT if you have the drive and want to be good at what you do. Say yes to things you don’t even exactly know how to do and use your own time to research and learn (don’t charge the client for this). This will help grow your skill base – while also getting paid for the work you are doing for your client.

    Clients appreciate having virtual assistants who have this drive and desire to learn and deliver what they ask for. If they ask you to do backend coding or some complex task, it is OK to say no. For more straightforward tasks or tools, it is worth it to give it a go and see what you can learn.

    Specific Tasks Virtual Assistant

    This is a whole different kind of Virtual Assistant. In this case, you will present to the client what your skillset is and the type of work you can do.

    You may choose to be a Project Manager VA – who can take a client’s project idea and make it a reality.

    Or this could be something along the lines of a Social Media or Pinterest VA where you hone your skills on a specific set of Social Media tools and only offer those services.

    In this case, you can put together packages with a set price and set work that you will deliver for your client.

    If you specialize in a particular task/area, you can generally charge more for your services since you are an expert on the service you are providing.

    This becomes less of an “I will do what you tell me” role with the client, and more of a “this is what I do.” It is always OK to take on more work from the client if you would like to, just be sure you are getting paid appropriately for your time and expertise.

    Here are a few specific tasks you could offer:

    • Newsletter creation
    • Data entry
    • Email inbox maintenance
    • Presentation creating
    • Social Media
    • Pinterest
    • YouTube maintenance
    • Blog post-editing
    • Basic bookkeeping
    • Invoicing clients
    • Podcast tasks
    • Organization
    • Landing page creation
    • Customer relation manager

    The list goes on and on.

    Above all else, to be a successful Virtual Assistant, you want to focus on a few things.

    1. ALWAYS deliver on time.
    2. NEVER make your client reach out to you asking you how a project is going.
    3. OVER communicate.
    4. Take ownership of your tasks and do what needs to be done to get them done.

    If someone hires a VA, they want someone to take things off their plate – not add to their plate. Make this easy for them and make them feel like you are making their life easier.

    If you really want to impress them, find things in their business, they could improve on and present ideas and options on how YOU can do this for them.

    Alright, you are ready to do this and become a Virtual Assistant. Now what?!

    Getting Your First Virtual Assistant Job​

    This is what I always share about getting your first clients. It is also what worked for me to kick off my business.

    Find a few people you know that have their own business and reach out to them and ask if you can work for them for free for one month. Make it very clear that it is only free for one month. Also, have a plan on what you could do for them.

    To put this plan together, research their business and find places where you think they may need help or support. Put together a simple PDF document laying out the kind of work you could do for them.

    Present the document to them and offer to do the work laid out for free for one month. If they like what you have been doing after one month and it is working well, you will present what your fee is to continue with the work.

    I like this approach since it gives everyone time to try out this role and see how it works. Many business owners are hesitant to bring on a VA since they aren’t sure how it will work. This gives them a chance to try it out.

    It also gives you a chance as a new business owner to see how this works, if you like it, and to get an idea of how you should present your offerings to future clients.

    To keep it simple and straightforward, be sure to provide set dates out of the gate. For example:

    • Work for free from May 1st – June 1st.
    • May 15th – Reach out to discuss how things are going.
    • May 22nd – Send over potential fees for ongoing service beyond June 1st.
    • June 1st – Start paid work.

    From there, game on! Time to prove to your first clients that they want to pay you and that you can help them accomplish more in their business.

    Once you have your first few clients, be sure to set up a referral system and let your clients know. It can be as simple as saying I will give you $50 off your next invoice for any new clients you send my way. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy.

    Alright – you got this!! Time to put a plan together on what you want to do as a VA, find those first potential clients, reach out to them, and get the ball rolling!!

    Author

    Bryanna Royal

    Bryanna Royal started Virtual Powerhouse, a business that does Pinterest support for small businesses, and co-founded Crazy Family Adventure with her husband, where they write about things to do in locations, road trips, and RV life. They have been traveling full-time around North America in their RV with their 4 kids since May 2014. If they aren’t out climbing mountains, hiking to a waterfall, or playing at the beach they are most likely at the local donut shop trying to find the best donuts in the US!

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  • Going Home : Transitioning to Work from...

    With all of the different ways to stay connected remotely, more and…

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