Former OFW Now Earning Dollars From Home Through Online Freelancing – Interview with Maria Jessa Estioco-Cabrera

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“Ayokong wala akong ginagawa.”

In modern culture, time is usually associated with money. We charge or pay people for the time spent providing a particular service or creating a particular product. If you are an employee, you usually get paid extra for “overtime.” As the saying goes, “Time is gold.”

This is the reason why most stay-at-home parents sometimes feel “useless” because they are not earning money when they are “nasa bahay lang.”

There is nothing wrong with that. It’s natural to get a feeling of satisfaction when we know that we are using our talents and skills to serve others. It’s even a better feeling if our efforts get financially rewarded.

“Ayokong wala akong ginagawa.”

This is how Jessa felt when, as a mother, she had to give up working traditional jobs in order to take care of her daughter. She had worked abroad for many years. Imagine the shift from working woman to full time mom! It can be a bit of a challenge when you are so used to earning money and you have to give it up in exchange for the priceless rewards of motherhood. (Judith and Bill said Amen!)

Thanks to freelancing, she doesn’t have to succumb to feeling worthless for not earning money while at home. With hard work and determination, she was able to rise from the challenges of transitioning to freelancing. She is now a happy Former OFW earning dollars from home through online freelancing.

Watch the replay of this inspiring JasSuccess  interview here.

Notable Quotes:

  • Dapat meron din tayong circle of friends na kapwa freelancer kasi sila din yung nakakakita o nakaka-appreciate ng kaya mo eh. Tapos ire-refer ka din nila (sa ibang clients).
  • Ang dami nilang binibigay sa akin na opportunities kaya gusto ko syang (client) alagaan talaga.
  • Since natagpuan ko na yung maka-earn ng dollars kahit nasa Pilipinas ako, pwede pala kasi sya talaga. Hindi na natin kailangang umalis (ng Pilipinas). Kailangan maging matiyaga lang talaga. Sabi nga, lahat para sa pamilya kaya mo. So etong pagaaral (VA Bootcamp), para ka ring nag-aaral ulit para madagdagan yung skills mo. Kailangan aralin mo sya para din sa pamilya mo. Katulad ng pagtitiis natin o  naming mga OFW before na tinitiis kong magtrabaho sa ibang bansa para kumita ng pera. Eto, tiisin mo yung struggle din ng pagiging newbie. Lahat tayo dadaan sa pagiging newbie. 
  • Yun yung gusto kong mangyari na sana makauwi din (si hubby) dahil alam ko yung hirap na malayo ka sa pamilya mo. Lalong lalo na kami nag-start pa lang kami ng family namin.
  • Maginvest tayo para sa sarili natin. ‘Wag tayong manghinayang kasi kumbaga nung mga bata tayo, laging sinasabi ng mga magulang natin na, “Magaral kang mabuti ‘nak, kasi yan lang ang mabibigay namin sa inyo.” So, dito din, kung gusto mo talaga ng freelancing, maraming courses online. Kung di mo man kaya (paid course), may mga free courses. Gumawa ka lang din talaga ng paraan para matuto. Sabi nga ni Julie, andiyan si Google, andiyan si YouTube. Pwedeng pwede kang mag-search. Nasa saiyo  yun eh, kung gusto mo talaga, gagawin mo. Marami talagang paraan.
  • Huwag kang mawalan ng pag-asa. Dumadating talaga ang mga ups and downs sa una. Pero kapag nalampasan mo yun, darating din yung swerte natin sa clients. Makakatagpo at makakatagpo din tayo ng “the one” natin na client.

Jessa’s Journey to Freelancing:

  • Before going abroad as an OFW, Jessa worked as a Marketing Coordinator (in the Philippines)  for two years.
  • Despite being the youngest among her siblings, she’s stood as the family’s breadwinner; wanting to help her parents have a better life.
  • An Aunt suggested that she try joining her in London for work.
  • After being unsuccessful in her visa attempts to work in London, she applied for overseas jobs through WorkAbroad(.ph). 
  • One of the agencies she applied to immediately gave her an interview, processed her documents, and mobilized her to work in Singapore in a week’s time. 
  • Life in Singapore was not too much of an adjustment for Jessa: food is closer to home, she’s working and staying with fellow Filipinos.  However, extended working hours with no pay, high cost of living, discouraging agency fee, and loneliness led her not to renew her contract with the employer after two years. She was left with no savings, with debt to friends.
  • Luckily, not too long after, she found her second job (in Singapore) in a Telco company. Now as a direct hire, she was entitled to benefits and commissions, and was able to keep most of her salary (without the agency fee).
  • Jessa met her husband while working in Singapore. She decided to finish her contract after four years working with the Telco company when she gave birth to their baby.
  • In 2017, Jessa was back in the Philippines to be a hands-on mom to their child.
  • Not used to not earning, she searched for ways to find income: from online selling to franchising a courier service (which she eventually discontinued).
  • She got curious when she saw her friend’s (Fb) posts  on working-from-home. She inquired where she could avail an online course and her friend recommended the VA Bootcamp.
  • Following her friend’s advise that she too can earn dollars even while working in the Philippines, she had no second thoughts on enrolling in the VA Bootcamp in January 2019.
  • She became a FLIP moderator on March 2019.
  • She joined the Hussle Challenge in May 2019 and was able to get a part-time job through a friend (Isay).  However, she almost gave up on freelancing since she could hardly get past through interviews on her online platform applications.
  • Determined to succeed, she finally found a client through UpWork which also referred her to another client. 

Q & A Highlights:

Ano po yung course na  kinuha ninyo noon?

Accelerated VAB course.

(May) installment din po ma’am?

May installment siya pero noong kinuha ko siya, full (payment) ko na agad. Ang hirap kasi yung iisipin ko pang may babayaran ako every month.

At mas cheaper siya pag one time payment compared sa installment. (Ms. Anna Soriano)

May mga free courses din kung ‘di pa kayang makakuha (ng paid course). Malaking tulong iyon.

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Jason Dulay

Jason Dulay

Jason is the founder and CEO of Work from Home Roadmap and VA Bootcamp. Aside from teaching Filipinos how to succeed working from home, he likes traveling, playing board games, and drinking coffee.

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