How The VA Bootcamp Kickstarted Her Freelancing Career

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“How po?”

“Sana all!”

“What work mo sis?

“Where to apply?”

Oftentimes, we hear these things from aspiring online freelancers who’ve seen and heard inspirational stories, interviews, and posts from successful work-from-home professionals who share their achievements and milestones online.

Online jobs have been attracting a lot of attention in recent years. Thanks to the availability of fast internet connection and affordable computers, almost anyone who knows how to use a computer can now get a chance to earn dollars without leaving their house.

Over 1.5 Million Pinoys are now enjoying better working hours, higher pay, and more time with their family. They are definitely NOT missing traffic, toxic coworkers, and overworking while being underpaid.

One might think that these remote workers are experiencing a lot of conveniences and perks, and it’s probably true. But getting started on your freelancing journey is not as easy as it sounds.

When we asked Barbie, a former BPO worker about the challenges that she faced when she was just starting out, she replied,

“It took 20 tries before my profile got accepted in Upwork. That was the first challenge. Then I almost paid some money to a scammer in Freelancer.com.”

But because she hated Manila traffic so much, she persisted and did her best until she landed her first online job.

“Once I got accepted in Upwork, it took some time before I got the right clients.”

She also shared, “I’m a proud product of the VA Bootcamp. My first task with Ms.
Anna was a transcription job and that kickstarted my other transcription jobs in
Upwork. My role with my current clients has evolved from transcription to email
management to project management, social media management, uploading blogs in WordPress, email marketing, etc. One of my tasks with my other client is recruiting a new VA for the team, instead of posting it on other freelancing sites, I posted the job opportunities in the VA Bootcamp page as my way of paying it forward so other freelancers could also be given the chance to find the clients.”

Do you want to learn more about Barbie’s story?

Watch the replay here.


Barbara Olivo is a Registered Nurse by profession but destiny led her to be a Quality Specialist in a BPO company for 9 years. Freelancing was not an alien word for her because she happened to have a friend who’s been doing it two years after they graduated. She’s comfortable with her job and with the steady flow of monthly income, except for the idea that she’s sacrificing her 4 hours to commute for work- back and forth. So she decided to quit her job in June, enrolled in VA Bootcamp and spent the next 30 days studying how freelancing works. It took her less than 20 attempts before her Upwork profile got approved. But hard work paid off, now she’s working from home and now free from the struggle of the daily commute. 


 Notable Quotes: 

  • It was a challenge, but that pushed me more to learn quickly and find clients quickly because my savings can only sustain me for 6 to 9 months and that motivated me. 
  • Sometimes you are hesitant to take small jobs but I took it because I need it and I know it is going to be a stepping stone for me. If I do this job then I’ll gain experience. If I do well then the client would be happy and probably give me good ratings and it would reflect on my Upwork. 
  •  In freelancing, you have to highlight what you can offer because nobody will be there to back you up. Highlight what you can do. Promote yourself. 
  • You just continue and push yourself if you believe that you would be able to succeed. 
  • When you get something so easy, it is easy to take it for granted. But if you encountered difficulty getting that something, then you would probably do whatever it takes to succeed. 
  • The mindset that I have right now is ‘What else can I offer”
  •  I just have faith and I put in a lot of hard work and I know that it will pay off. 
  • There is no turning back. 


Journey to Freelancing

  • A Registered Nurse by profession, who worked as a Quality Specialist in a BPO for 9 years.
  • It was June when she decided to quit her job and pursue freelancing. She enrolled in VA Bootcamp and studied everything about freelancing for 30 days. She signed up as a transcriptionist in GoTranscript, to earn while she’s still learning the ins and outs of Freelancing.
  • It took her almost 20 attempts just to get into Upwork.
  • Her one-on-one Coach, Ms. Anna Soriano in the VA Bootcamp was her first client and that kick-started her career in Freelancing, winning transcription jobs, which led her to more stable clients and referrals.   


Question and Answer

 What’s your story?

It started about 2 years ago when I resigned as a Quality Specialist for a BPO company. I used to work near MOA in Pasay, but I live in GMA Cavite. It’s a daily commute from our place. It’s a day shift starts at 7 and then ends at 4. I travel 1 ½ hour from home to work, going back home is 2 hours every day.


Our account downsized, so I decided that it is time for me to resign. I’ve been there for almost 9 years so it’s quite a huge decision. When I was in BPO, I got a salary monthly. Just do your job, eventually, you’ll get promoted. But then you sacrifice your time in daily travel so I decided to quit. And then, my friend introduced freelancing to me but I didn’t start immediately.


I saw the VA Bootcamp ads on Facebook, I signed up for the free course. I spent the entire June studying- How to be a VA? How freelancing works? Is it safe? Am I going to get paid? I have a lot of doubts in my mind.


My friend helped me set up my Upwork account but it took me less than 20 attempts before I was able to get my profile approved. I was already getting frustrated. I signed up for Gotranscript, to do transcription jobs. While you are learning, you’re earning, but it’s just a little amount compared to what you used to earn when you have a regular job.


Ms. Anna was my first client in Upwork, she gave me a good rating and that kick-started transcription jobs, and then I was able to get stable clients and referrals. So that’s the short story about my freelancing.


I like that you are motivated, but why did you not quit during those hard times. You seem to have had a difficult time during the start of your career. This is despite the fact that you quit a job that was already considered as a stable job because you have been there for 9 years as you said. And you suddenly came into something new and you have no idea where the direction are you going to be and yet you did not quit, why is that?


First, I didn’t want to go back to BPO. Since I am a registered nurse, my sister was bugging me to pursue my profession. But then I was telling her that I have other stuff that I need to do first.


I think your question was “Why did I not give up even though it was hard at the start”. I think because I know I would be able, if I work harder, if I work on my profile, if I work on my skills, if I develop my skills, it would eventually like to succeed in this career. I’m not yet there but I think I’ve made some progress in terms of like where I started to where I am now.


What was the process of getting approved to Upwork?


I don’t know if others feel it too but every time you submit your profile, you would pray and hope that you won’t get an immediate email because then you know that you failed again.


You try again… there are days that I would say to myself “Should I not continue? Should I pursue it? Is this the way like a call that you know just give up don’t proceed with this one, you are not gonna succeed”.


But I feel like if it is hard at first it would eventually get better.


You are already a leap away from where you started but you are enthusiastic, you sound very enthusiastic. It seems like you already know where you are going to. Am I correct?


When you say I know where I am going, I’m not sure, but I have an idea of where I want to be with this career.


How about you tell me about having doubts about enrolling in VA Bootcamp? Are you sure you get an income from this? How you can go through that doubt and enroll at VA Bootcamp?


I had a lot of doubts, ‘coz you are stepping into another world. What I did was I joined a lot of Facebook groups. I knew that my friend was freelancing. I asked her about what she does but she didn’t go into details but that assured me that it is a real thing that I’m going to earn, and I got a chance to earn from doing this. That helped to remove or lessen the doubts. Until now, I still have doubts, even though I still have clients, steady clients. At the back of my mind, “What if the other client just gets out of business or for whatsoever reason stop your contract.” It happened to me I was let go by one of my clients. I had to let go of some of my clients as well for it is not working out anymore.


I think you just have to keep the faith and continue, just push forward. For me, there is no turning back. As I was telling my sister if I decided to pursue nursing, I would still want to keep doing this as a side job.

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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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