Subscribe to updates
Get updates of interviews and tips via email
How a CPA 5x'd His Income Through Freelancing - Interview with Noe Ong
Did you know that it's possible to 5x your income even if you've only been doing online freelancing for less than a year?
Ask Noe Ong, a certified public accountant who previously worked in a government agency miles and miles away from home.
He was already lined up for a department head position when he first learned about freelancing, but what made him give it up, and how did he convince his parents that online freelancing is the better career path?
Learn more about his story in this upcoming JAS SUCCESS interview.
Be inspired and learn from his experience so you too can increase your income and spend more time with your loved ones.
Who needs a fancy job title when you can enjoy financial and time freedom and pursue the things that really matter to you?
- Our work is divided into seasons. The tax season is the busiest. That's the point that I've realized that Audit job was not for me. Because, we have to work an average of 12 hours per day, Monday to Saturday. Every tax season, we are asked to work extra time but unpaid only with free OT meal.
- Despite it being advantageous in terms of me being able to practice all that I've learned in school, despite that, I decided to quit. I quit since work became my 90% of my life. And I didn't want that to happen, since I have a vision that when I worked, I am going to save a lot, to save for the future and have a convenient life that all Filipino aimed.
- I didn't expect myself to actually give almost all of my time just to work on my first job. Eventually, I experienced that I am overworked and underpaid. Although the experience was really worth it. I just decided right then and there that it's not for me and this is not something that I can endure if I'm thinking it on a long term basis.
- I think of it a lot of times and I can't do it anymore. That I need to wait for another 3 years to establish our own business. And I've realized that after 3 years, I will start again since it is a new business. Since I'm the one to run my business and I have to learn to handle people again. And it's not just worth it for me. Maybe, if I pursued that, until now I am still on that situation working tirelessly just to make it out of every month. Because I have my own expenses (clothes, bags, uniforms, food, gifts every Christmas), and need to set aside some budget for that. That's my struggle with my first job.
- I really thought that being a CPA would change my life a lot. It's actually changing my life but indirectly. The things I learned on my CPA journey was really tough. We have to undergo things not everyone undergoes.
- My father knew my struggles on my job because I go out of our house by 8 A.M. and returned home by 12 or 1 or 2 A.M. It's really taking a toll on my body, to the point that I am always getting sick, Of course when I submitted the resignation, my father was surprised since we have the plan to establish an accounting firm that will not be pursued since I resigned from my job.
- But I told him, “Don't worry, I am not stopping here. I am going to find a way to earn money to be able to help you.” My father answered, “Ok.” In the end, I convinced him to push through my resignation. Actually, in between the effectivity date of my resignation, my father still asked me to cancel my resignation. But I am really determined and my decision is final, That's also one trait that I really like about myself. Because if I really don't like it, I don't like it and I'm going to find a way to stop it. That's the real me.
- If you are really not happy anymore, it's not worth it. If you knew that there's nothing wrong with what you want, then you have to pursue it. Because it's not for them, its for you. You owe it to yourself because you have worked a lot.
- I have to give myself the need to be happy before I am able to give back to others.
- It starts within you. When you fulfill your desires, then everything else will become easier.
- You really have to satisfy what it is you desire, in the end, when you are in a place of abundance, once there is a need, you can give to them without worrying about the things you'd like to do because you have already set aside for that.
- Once I buy it, there's no turning back. I'm going to do what I have to be able to accomplish my goal which is to have clients.
- I discovered freelancing through the VA Bootcamp course. I bought accelerated course. The moment I finished it, I wanted to buy the 100k master class. I messaged Jason about it but I found out that it is already finished. So what I did is I started to find clients. I finished the course in 2 to 3 weeks. The course is not too long, you only have to spend 30 days to be able to absorb everything on it. You can study the course within one day, 2 days, 3 days or one week but that doesn't necessarily mean that you are ready. You have to internalize everything, though you knew it already. Don't assume that you knew 100% of the course content. There will be tricks to it like how to properly use it wisely. You just knew the functionality but you didn't know how to use it wisely.
- You just have to persevere. The very first hurdle to starting in your own freelancing career is getting your first ever client. That's a very difficult part of it. But you can get over it through perseverance and passage of time. The moment when you send out a cover letter, it doesn't mean that they will read it immediately. Some of the clients will have one week to gather the applicants and then filter it out and choose who has the best cover letter, whose cover letter caught their attention.
- I got my first job from the VA bootcamp group that was posted by Ms. Bong and my job was to edit transcription and transcribed the JSU interview for $5.00. I was so happy to receive a return from my investment in the VA bootcamp course.
- Then a week after that, I got a job for consultation position and the pay is $6.25 an hour. My first client was a software engineer and he was creating a bookkeeping software. My client needed someone who is an expert in accounting and he doesn’t know anything about accounting.
- I saw a job post it was a full time job and requires someone who is knowledgeable in accounting. I saw this job on upwork, applied and luckily got noticed.
- I just told him that this is me taking the wheel of my destiny. I don't want to stay from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. job. I don't want to have a boss. I don't want someone to control my time. I don't want the situation that when you have to leave from work, you have to seek approval first.
- It's a different feeling if you started you bring that way to Lord that you are grateful for everything that you have, for everything that you are. It's real in freelancing. It's not hard to work on it but you get paid more than what you think you're worth.
- That was I thought too, freelancing was not stable. But if you've tasted to earn 60k, 70k, 80k in a month, that's a different feeling that will bring you “Wow, that's the reason why drop-outs became rich.” They spent their time on the right thing. They don't believe that you have to endure how many years first before getting rich. They believe that you have to endure hardships in doing what you like doing before you finally succeed.
- What I can tell to all VAB students and to those future students, if you go into freelancing, do not be afraid to make mistakes. Because that's the only fastest way to learn if you commit mistakes.
- If you try to cook, then put your hands on fire, of course, you get hurt since it's hot. But you can't get to know it if you don't try. You will forever wonder what if I tried to put my hands on fire, can I endure the pain? That kind of mindset you can get that on freelancing. This will teach you how to think with a growth mindset. Everything else you can achieve.
- If you spend your energy, effort, mind, heart, time into doing what is supposed to be done in order for you to get that, then you can get it. Believe that you can, because you can.
- I really didn't think that I'll be able to spend time, but now, I'm able to spend time with my girlfriend whenever I want. Then I am not worried about my savings. Not about time bragging, it's a reassurance that I'm on the right path. I get to do the things I want without sacrificing the savings that I have. That was my whole journey, eye-opening
- And the best thing about this, my mind had opened into the thinking of I can get all of the things I wanted. I'm not thinking positively, I'm thinking that because I believe that. You have to believe in yourself that you can do it. That you can't walk on the path that Henry Sy went through or those rich people or Mark Zuckerberg. You have to mind your own path. You have to mind your own journey. In the end, if you really stick to it, you are going to be able to make it.
- I promised you 100% you are going to be able to make it. Just don't quit. There will be times that you thought that it's not meant for you, but, that's where your dreams will come true. The world will show it to you that it's not for you. But if you insist, that this is for you then, there are ways on how to achieve it. I promised you, you will make it. Even, if you asked some people, you will make it. Even you thought on yourself that you don't have skills, you don't have the tools to make it, you will make it if you believe you can.
Noe’s Journey to Freelancing:
- A graduate of BS in Accountancy in 2017
- Passed the CPA board exam on the first take
- He worked as a Junior Audit Associate in an accounting firm and a government CPA on a municipality.
- He left his job due to the following reasons:
- work became 90% of his life,
- he felt overworked yet underpaid,
- he had little time to spend with his family and girlfriend,
- his government job is too far from his home,
- he didn’t want someone to control his time,
- he didn’t want a boss, and
- he didn’t want the situation that whenever he has to leave from work, he needs to seek approval first.
- He started learning to freelance when he was still on his government job. He found out freelancing through a testimonial job post feedback of his friend Sergio Benoya.
- He enrolled in the VA Bootcamp Accelerated course and had finished the course from 2 to 3 weeks.
- He did the DIY Hustle Challenge consistently in 30 days, sending out four proposals per day, spending four hours in creating proposals to tailor-fit into the clients' needs.
- After a month he graduated, he had already a full-time client and was able to earn a lot.
- He had a hard time to convince his father of quitting the government job. Thus, was able to convince when his income became five times his previous salary when he was working.
- He quit his job and do freelancing. He has now the independence to do what he desires with his time without worrying about it because he had set aside for it.
- He just believes that when you do your desires, everything will become easier and be always grateful to the Lord for everything.
Q & A Highlights
Being a CPA is a big title, is the pay you are getting is worth it?
No, all of the CPA there knew it. It needs to have certification before you get promoted.
How close your salary from your previous job to Php 50,000?
Let's just say that the salary I’m getting is at the elementary level and the Php 50,000 is on the college level. That's the range.
So what did you do? You were not happy with the CPA audit job?
I really thought that being a CPA would change my life a lot. It's actually changing my life but indirectly. The things I learned on my CPA journey was really tough. We have to undergo things not everyone undergoes. I filed a resignation without any permission from my parents, I told them not to worry because I am not stopping and going to find a way to earn money to be able to help. I have to give myself the need to be happy before I am able to give back to others.
Are you still with your government job when you do freelancing?
Yes, I was. The job post was full time but I told the client to do it just half 20 hours. That gave me 5k a week and 20k the whole month added to my current salary, which was big for me. That was the first time I experienced that big salary.