Tips for Entrepreneurs from a Top UpWork VA

Editor’s note: this article is from Janice Deleon, the virtual assistant who has worked full-time for for almost four years. I have edited the article for grammar only.

Well hi, this is Janice Deleon, Maria’s SMOC Director of Member Happiness.

When I’m writing my name and my role every time I email SMOC members, there’s always a smile on my face ☺.

Is it a tough job? Well yes, really! And a very challenging job for me.

Growing up in a different culture here [Philippines], polishing my English language, keeping myself updated on the fast-growing virtual trends in social media, while serving my American clients virtually, are all challenges. It’s really a fun and exciting career to work virtually and beneficial for a mom of 4 like me.

It was 2009 when I started to work as a virtual assistant; it was a crucial beginning for me, as there was a lot of competition between freelancers and newbies who didn’t have any 5 -tar rating. I started to apply as a data encoder, at a lower rate, to prove first that I have the proper skills for the job, so employers knew they could trust me for their future projects.

As time went on, I acquired my skills by self-study & research. From data entry, to administrative assistance, email marketing using various email marketing tool, project management, up to working as a web developer (I’m into creating membership sites).

I’m still learning; not just for me, but for the businesses I take care of.

This year I got my badge for being one of the top VAs on oDesk, now UpWork. I felt great and proud of myself when I received the email that I’m one, out of the thousands of VAs from the Philippines, to earn this badge. It’s a reward for all of the hard work of being a virtual assistant for almost six years( and still counting):

top upwork VA

Now I am here to give some tips for U.S. entrepreneurs on what they need to know about working successfully with a VA.

So here are my top four tips:

#1. Trust Your VA

You need to give your trust to your chosen VA. You are sharing your business with them, so trusting us feels like we are part of your business that we need to take care of (not just your responsibility but for us too).

For example, I have a client from oDesk, that I have worked with from 2009 to the present; he still contacts me for any of his business needs. I feel good about myself for having people trust me for years. And even we are not seeing each other — we are just a chat away to connect.

But of course before giving your TRUST to people living in a different time zone, you should always verify they can be trusted. For me, it’s my UpWork Profile ☺ and my client’s feedback, and same for other freelancers working on UpWork. That’s for sure.

feedback 3

5-star feedback from a delighted employer proves future employers can trust me with their work

2. Share Your Goals

This is simple: virtual workers are very visual people. You can share with us your goals (what you want to accomplish on a certain project or for your business) and our minds will process it to help you correctly the first time.

For example, I completed one short project for Maria a few weeks ago, but with some complexity, as there were two-to-three software tools that I needed to integrate. She told me what she wanted to accomplish and gave me some screenshots and a video tutorial to make it easier to understand. I read carefully the given instructions, then visualized the process in my mind.

I then asked her, “was the process something like this? Create a new funnel page – > integrate to autoresponder -> make automation active -> change the landing page content -> send to the main site thank you page – > then check email software if optins were successfully captured.”

I got it right and I finished it just in time for about 3-4 hours. ☺

Here’s another example: a client invited me for a job, told me what he wanted, and asked me, “what do you need from me to finish this project with less supervision?” So I reviewed what he needed, estimated the possible time completion based on his requirements, and told him directly what I needed, with no drama:

Sir, send me your wp-admin access, your model site, content and it will be finished in 3 to 4 days.

Then I finished it in less than 3 days.

A VA who knows 100% of the skills he or she is offering won’t waste time on drama and excuses. Time is important for the VA as well as for his/her employer.

feedback 1

Enable your VA to do 5-star work for you by communicating your project goal, showing how to complete the job with screenshots and/or video,

3. Remember VAs Have Family Too

It’s vital to know the family background of the VA you are working with. From my own experience, almost half of my teammates and acquaintances from the UpWork community are a mom or a dad working from home. Working virtually and having our salary in US dollars is a blessing if you are working from home.

But sometimes, our availability is affected if we have issues at home, like having a poor internet connection, or the worst – our computer isn’t working perfectly for our needs. Note that we freelancers provide everything we need for the job, and pay all the bills for our tools.

So for employers, it’s important to ask about our family background and where are we working: home office or just at house with kids running around, and our time of availability. If this is not clearly discussed, we will just end up ending the contract and leaving poor feedback.

So for both parties, we need to discuss family prior to the hiring process, and in the case that some issue or important errands can’t be avoided, a responsible VA will always inform their clients and have a Plan B.

feedback 5

4. Pay Your VA on Time

Here’s my last tip, and my favorite after all the hard work:  send your payment to your VA on time.

  • It’s simple, we are working virtually and we’re thousand of miles away from you.  We are giving you quality work and we deliver the project on time.
  • We know sending payment via wired transfer will cost you a fee. So we will be happy if our payments will be processed via Upwork on hourly or on fixed cost project.
  • Sending our salary from non-Upwork clients can be sent via PayPal; it’s fast and affordable for both parties.
  • A responsible client, who knows his or her VA needs a timely payment, will build trust and long-term working relationship.

So that’s how it goes: my tips for U.S. entrepreneurs are all based on my work experiences, U.S. clients’ encounters, working with teams and various projects that I have worked on for almost six years of working virtually.

You might be asking why I always have a smile on my face every time I write my name and role to SMOC members in customer support emails. It’s because I am happy to be of service to my client Maria and to the business that we are both taking care of. With her since 2012 and still counting. ☺

Janice Deleon

Janice Deleon is the Director of Member Happiness of (formerly, where she handles customer support and digital marketing services for Maria Peagler for 8years. A mother of four amazing kids and a former student of BYU Pathway Worldwide.

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