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How More Confidence Helped Her Unlock Freelance Success

January 12, 2022
by 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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For someone who’ve learned the ropes of business at an early age, you might think it’ll be easy peasy when she transitioned to freelancing.

But it isn’t.

Meet Bong.

At age 19, she was already trained by her father in all aspects of their pawnshop business, from being a clerk to bookkeeping.

For 21 years, she was occupied with handling everything in their business.

Until the time came when she felt she needed personal growth.

Luckily, she was introduced to freelancing by her college friend.

Her lack of confidence initially hindered her in getting clients.

But fast forward today.

She’s now earning MORE than what she makes when she’s still handling their pawnshop business.

And she’s one of the of the successful Filipino freelancers who inspires and motivates newbies to set their goals high, to dream big and most importantly, to pray for God’s guidance and favor in their freelancing journey.

Let’s get to know her on this replay, as she shared with us her journey — struggles and wins.

(I heard her Upwork account also got suspended.)

Bong Isleta will share her journey towards freelancing and how she built her confidence despite those challenges she encountered along the way.

Notable Quotes:

  • Pag si Lord yung gumana sa buhay mo, ina-align nya yan lahat including my children.
  • Dumating ako sa point nagkaroon din ako ng 5 or 6 clients, halos di na ako umaalis sa laptop ko noon working 12 hours a day, masaya kasi maraming income pero eventually I had to let go of some clients to give way for my mental health. Sabi ko, hindi ito yung pinangarap ko, I have to work smart. Hindi rin magiging healthy na pinili mo mag work from home pero hindi na tayo(family) nag sasama-sama.
  • Actually, kapag sunod-sunod na rejection talaga, halos sumuko na ako pero parang pag ganon na sunod-sunod na rejection tapos demotivated na ako binabalikan ko lang biggest WHY ko. Bakit ko ba pinili mag work from home? Bakit gusto ko na nasa bahay lang ako tapos kumikita ako? Ang goal ko lang that time is to earn P25,000/month. Kung kaya ng iba kaya ko rin to, yung iba nga hindi sila nag graduate ng college, di ganun ka techie, takot sila mag explore pero nagkaka client sila kasi ang baon lang nila is lakas ng loob.
  • Kailangan mo talagang mag create ng biggest WHY mo. Bakit mo gustong pasukin ang freelancing? Bakit mo gustong mag work from home? And from there, dun ka rin huhugot ng confidence mo.
  • Lahat naman ng staff ng VA Bootcamp, willing to help naman kami kasi nga dito kami natuto. We want to help you and even yung mga students na nawawalan ng motivation. Kung nawawalan kayo ng motivation, wala kayong confidence, message niyo ko.

Bong Isleta’s Journey to Freelancing

  • Started freelancing way back in 2016.
  • Her family was into business particularly pawnshops, small hotels, bars, and printing presses.
  • Since graduating in 1996, she has already handled their family business.
  • Through time, their businesses started to decline because of big players entering the market.
  • They were forced to close their businesses and declare bankruptcy to minimize losses.
  • Luckily, they have remaining properties to start anew.
  • When they decided to close down their remaining businesses, she already started freelancing and her husband started working in Lazada.
  • She was introduced to freelancing by her college friend.
  • At first, she got frustrated because she didn't know where to start and because of scammers lurking in the internet.
  • While scrolling on social media she ran across Jason Dulay's website and took his courses and finished it in just two weeks.
  • She got a job invite after two days of applying but wasted the opportunity because she was scared of interviews due to lack of self-confidence.
  • Struggled with her first Transcription job because of long hours with low rate.
  • Eventually, she quit her first Transcription job and worked as an Admin in VA Bootcamp.
  • She joined the guided hustle challenge, and got confronted again by her fear from interviews. But this time it was different because she overcame her fear and gained the confidence she needed
  • Got rejected from interviews all the time.
  • Although frustrated from continuous rejections, VA Bootcamp supported her throughout the way and boosted her morale that's why she never gave up.
  • Got her first full-time client. Even though she has small to no experience in various tasks, she was confident that she could do her job properly.
  • As soon as she got a lot of clients, she became busy and lost her time with her family. That's why she realized that she should work smart.
  • Got suspended on Upwork. Luckily, someone helped her and made her a client to save her from suspension permanently.
  • Because of in-depth training in Masterclass and resilience, she finally got her niche, and her rate became $15/hr.

Q&A Highlights

Karamihan natatakot sa interview, how are you able to gain confidence with that?

Ang ginawa ko kasi syempre takot nga ako sa interviews tapos I'm not confident in English, nag prepare talaga ako. Inaral ko yung Better English na course ng VA Bootcamp. Nag takedown notes ako, nag practice ako, lahat ng nakikita ko, lahat ng nababasa ko binabasa ko siya out loud. Then kinakausap ko na yung mga anak ko kahit tinatawanan nila ako kinakausap ko sila in English para maka gain ako ng confidence. Kasi kailangan ko eh, hindi pwede sa actual na during interview na ako mag English.

Hindi ka ba naiirita or na di-disappoint na they are making fun of you, tinatawan ka nila, kinakantyawan ka nila, hindi ka nila sini-seryoso. Was that not disappointing to you?

Hindi, kasi sabi ko nalang sa mga anak ko kahit hindi niyo ako kausapin ng English basta pakinggan nyo nalang ako tapos i-correct niyo nalang ako kung mali ako kasi gusto ko talaga matuto magsalita ng English. Parang naging cooperative naman yung mga anak ko. Hindi naman nila ako dini-discourage mag English parang ine-encourage panga nila ako mag English so parang nakakadagdag pa rin yun sa confidence ko. 

Bong paano mo natutunan ang Bookkeeping? I am very interested, I am a BSBA Management Graduate pero manual lang kami noon. Please help I'm very interested. 

Kung meron ka naman background sa Accounting, maganda pero kailangan mo matutunan yung mga online platform na ginagamit like Quickbooks and Xero. Madali lang naman yun kase i-input mo lang naman dun tapos automatic mag generate na siya. Tapos may mga tutorials naman, may Basic Bookkeeping Course kami dito sa VA Bootcamp. So madali lang especially kung meron ka nang background madali nalang for you pero you have to get certificates, you have to create your portfolio kase yung mga kalaban mo, marurunong na sila nung mga Quickbooks. Pero kayang-kaya mo yan wala naman di kaya basta gugustuhin naman diba.

Could you share a piece of advice to our viewers today?

Wag lang puro SANA, wag lang natin isipin na sana maging katulad rin ako ni Miss Bong, work on your confidence, parang katulad ng ginawa ko di ba dahil hindi ako confident magsalita ng English so nag-aral ako. Inaral ko yung Better English, nag practice ako. 

Kahit small steps ginawa ko para lang ma build ko yung confidence ko, kasi wala naman ma bu-build non para sa akin kahit naman sabihin ng ibang tao na  "You just have to be confident.", kung sa sarili ko hindi ko pa rin kaya maging confident, ako parin magtatrabaho, ako parin ang mag ta-take action. So I took action sabi ko kung hindi ako mag ta-take ng action walang mangyayari sa akin. 

But I really want to work from home and spend time with my children and earn. Di ba? Iba pa rin yung may sarili tayong earnings as wife. Yung di tayo palaging nanghihingi sa husband natin. Yung nakaka provide pa rin tayo sa mga anak natin kung ano yung gusto nila. Iba pa rin yung may pang Lazada tayo pang Shopee. At meron din tayong pang invest sa crypto at stocks. 

Walang mangyayari sa atin kung magpapakain lang tayo sa lack of self-confidence. So kailangan mong gawin yung kailangan mong dapat gawin. Kailangan mo rin i-assess kung ano ang kahinaan mo and then work on that. Kailangan mo kasing tanggapin kung ano yung mahina ka kasi papano mo siya ma co-correct kung hindi mo alam o dine-deny mo sa sarili mo. Accept mo mona kung ano yung mga weaknesses mo, kung kailangan isulat mo yan and then work on it.

Wala rin mangyayari  kung puro ka naman din confidence pero di ka naman nag-aaply. Andami mo nga confidence, makapal mukha mo di ka rin naman nag-aaply so wala rin. Halimbawa, oo nga may confidence ka pero hindi rin naman tama yung nilalagay mo sa cover letter so wala rin. 

Sa VA Bootcamp ko yan natutunan(cover letter), yung VA Bootcamp din ang nakapagbigay sa akin ng confidence, na magkaroon ng learnings dun sa mga skills kung ano ba  talaga yung gagawin. And then as you go along, inaral lang naman natin basic knowledge, yun lang din baon ko, and then kung anong task yung pinapagawa ng client inaral ko nalang as I go along. Kailangan talaga kasi na open ka rin to new learnings. Lagi kang open diyan at di ka takot mag explore. 

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by 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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72 comments on “How More Confidence Helped Her Unlock Freelance Success”

  1. December po ako nag enroll, parang nakkita ko self ko kay Ms Bong.. dami ko natutunan dito po. Hope po makakakuha ako ng support if I need one. Sa pagstart ko sa modules nangangapa pa po ako. Paano po ba makaconnect sa mga classmates ko po? Need ko ng kasabay pro parang everybody's busy. Thank u so much, Ms Bong.

    1. Post lang po kayo ng questions sa student group and/or FLIP group.
      For sure marami po sasagot sa mga questions nyo po

      Then after nyo po ng course, I envourage you to join internships pp talaga to build more connections

  2. Thank you so much Ms. Bong Isleta for sharing your story. Truly amazing and inspiring.
    Thanks, too, Sir Phoenix.
    Learned a lot from you, both.
    More power and God bless you more.

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