When I decided to finally pursue a virtual career, I thought that I would start it right by enhancing my online skills. I excitedly signed up for the Virtual Careers Summit & Seminar (Your Date With Freedom) by Jomar Hilario, dubbed as the Tim Ferris and Tony Robbins of the Philippines. The summit and seminar were held in Ace Hotel in Pasig City last May 29-30, 2015. So here’s what happened on those two days.
VENUE AND COMMUTE
There were directions and maps sent out to the attendees several days prior to the event. I was not really familiar with Ace Hotel but based on the directions and what’s shown in the maps, the place seemed easy to find. The first time I went to the hotel, I rode the MRT in Cubao station then got off in Boni station. From Boni station, I rode two tricycles going to the hotel. For the second day, I took an easier route. I learned that if you come from Quiapo or Recto, you just need to ride a jeep going to Pasig. The jeep would pass along Shaw Boulevard. Alight from the jeep when you reach Pioneer Street. You would already see the Ace Hotel building as it has a very visible sign from afar. It would be a 15-minute walk going to the hotel.
When I got to the hotel, there was a seminar volunteer wearing a Jomar Hilario shirt who ushered me to the elevator. The event was going to be held on the function room on the third floor. Upon reaching the third floor, I was greeted by another volunteer/usher to the registration table. There was an attendance sheet. I just looked for my name then signed. I was given a name tag/ID. I liked that there was already a table and seat assignment. I was lucky to be in Table number 5 which is in the middle and only a table away from the stage. From my table, I could see the stage and the screen without much obstacle. Apparently, the table assignment depends on the date of your registration. The sooner you signed up for the event, the nearer you are to go the stage.
I found it somewhat stressful going to and from Ace Hotel. My travel time was one to two hours. It made me realize all the more that I needed to be successful as a work-from-home-er. I do not ever want to be subjected again to all that traffic, pollution, bumpy jeep and trike rides, expensive fare, and bone-crushing drama in the MRT.
The event officially started at 8:30 AM. Jomar Hilario, together with Veia Lim (who is also one of the event’s speakers) and two other guys who played the guitar and cajon (sorry I did not catch their names even if they had a name tag) led the participants into prayer and short worship. After the worship, Jomar gave a very short welcome message to everyone. For the first half of the day, the speakers were virtual assistants (or virtual professionals as what Jomar would like us to be called now) who shared their journey from being employees into becoming virtual assistants. These people were Veia Lim (used to work in BDO), Nina Lauren Mendoza (formerly a BPO employee like me), Marivic Gutierrez (formerly an ESL teacher), and Ann Kristine Penaredondo (a former DOLE employee). I was all ears as they shared their success stories and tips on how we can make it as virtual assistant/virtual professional. My most favorite part of the whole event is that during break times, there were other VAs who would sit with the attendees and we can ask them any questions about being a VA. I really took advantage of this and asked as many questions as possible. I got valuable information from each sharer. I even asked for the contact details of some of them in case I wanted to seek advice on being a VA. Right after the four speakers shared their story, Jomar asked the family members of these speakers regarding what they felt about having a family who opted to leave their otherwise secure jobs to be a VA. It was interesting to hear their insights. Some of them opposed to their family letting go of secure employment and jumping into the world of unknown. Eventually, the family members came around and became supportive of the VAs’ chosen careers. I felt very blessed to have a family who is very supportive of me going freelance.
In the afternoon, it was the clients’ turn to be on the stage. Jomar invited business owners Macky Masilang (owner of Nutriwell, a nutraceutical company) and Jocelyn Chan (owner of Gryn Wasabi). Jay Castillo, the man behind the popular real estate website foreclosurephilippines.com also graced the stage. All three of them shared their experiences, insights, and lessons learned regarding hiring virtual assistants. It was nice to know what the clients look for in a virtual assistant. As a client, they had positive and negative experiences too
The last guest for the day was Brother Jay Yogawin, a builder from the Light of Jesus family, a Catholic charismatic community in the Philippines. Like most of us, Bro Jay was also a workaholic and this led him to neglect his health. This resulted to him suffering a stroke more than once. Thankfully, he came around and left his stressful job. He is now blessing many people with through preaching and ministry.
As is his custom, Jomar opened the session with worship. Jomar invited a very special guest to give an inspirational talk to everyone. It was none other than Brother Bo Sanchez, the founder of The Feast, the weekly prayer gathering of the Light of Jesus Family. Brother Bo’s main points are to be humble, seek mentors, and continue to learn and grow. The second day of the event was actually the seminar part and Jomar discussed the technical aspects of being a virtual assistant. In the morning, Jomar discussed the type of online jobs that are suited for different personalities. By the way, during the very first live pre-event live seminar last April 25, Jomar had us determine our DISC personality type (I’m a C/S). In the afternoon, Jomar introduced the various tools that VAs needs to know to do well in their respective jobs. Jomar closed the program with another powerful worship.
WHAT WAS SPECIAL ABOUT THE EVENT
Apart from having wisdom-filled talks and discussions, Jomar and his team also prepared a lot of gimmicks to make the whole event interesting. The participants did not just sit on their bottoms the whole two days. There was also a lot of physical activity involved! After every hour or so, all of us would do a little dance routine. I found it really fun! Jomar also gave away prizes all throughout the 2-day event. Tokens were given to the May birthday celebrants, the early birds (those who got to the event first), fast movers (those who signed up for the event early), etc.
The food served by Ace Hotel was very good. It was a controlled buffet and there was something for everybody. I especially liked their salad selection. There were snacks provided in the morning and the afternoon. I am sure that everyone was really filled and satisfied.
Jomar Hilario’s Date With Freedom seminar is actually composed of 9 events. There are 5 “live” events and 4 webinars. Essentially, it is a nine-part series. I am glad to have met great people since the first live pre-event meet-up that started last April 25, 2015. The participants were from different backgrounds but we all had at least one thing in common: we wanted to be free from employment and learn how to work from home. I met students, retired executives, managers, OFWs, stay-at-home moms, and of course, employees. I sat in Table number 5 during the 2-day event in Ace Hotel. We were all women in the group and everyone was really nice. We decided to stay in touch by forming a Facebook group. We hope to support each other through this.
As I have already mentioned, buying Jomar Hilario’s Date With Freedom seminar was a good decision. The experience had been great so far. I say so far because it is not yet done. I have at least 2 more webinars to attend in June and July 2015. Each event has been a great learning experience. In all of the events, I was all ears and took notes furiously. There were just too many great tips and valuable information that were flowing. I wanted to catch them all. At first, I felt that the fee was somewhat steep (Php 10,000+) but then again, I knew I needed it. I knew that I would get so much value out of it. And I am happy to say that I did. It was all worth it.
I had at least 30 major action items that I wrote in my notebook. These include improving my website, learning more by watching webinars, taking online courses, reading up, and joining Facebook groups relevant to my newfound career. I will definitely enhance my skills by continuously learning and applying the things that I learn.
WHERE TO GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE DATE WITH FREEDOM SEMINAR
In case you would like to go through the same wonderful experience, Jomar offers a downloadable version of this seminar. More details are available in Jomar Hilario’s official website here or in the Date With Freedom website here.