Interview with Bernie Castro - Losing Everything and Gaining it Back

November 21, 2016
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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Notable Quotes:

  • Apply what you learn in the Bootcamp and take the initiative to learn more about the client and ways to help the company grow.
  • Identify your goal.
  • Prepare your plans to reach that goal.
  • Identify your strength. Identify your core skill or talent that you love doing then focus on that skill first and apply on that skill.
  • Do not lose hope. Be courageous, persevere, and pray hard, just P.U.S.H, always P.U.S.H. - Pray Until Something Happens. Faith without action is dead.
  • Do not quit because if you quit you will never win.

Bernie Castro Journey to Freelancing

  • His dream was to become a seaman and so he took up Marine Transportation. Unfortunately, he was not able to finish it and had to work early for almost 15 years in different companies.
  • He resigned in 2010 and gave his dream a chance which is to work abroad. However, because of his medical condition, it did not push through. For 2 years he stayed at home. He was hired again by a different company but after 2 years he had to resign to take care of their son.
  • Early in 2013, he explored the opportunities of working from home. He tried to send applications online through ELance but had no success.
  • In 2014,  their house burned down. So everything he had invested with his wife for the last 15 years was lost.
  • With the money that they got from the insurance in 2015, he decided to buy a computer to pursue working from home.  Despite sending a lot of applications for more than 1 year and not being noticed by clients, he did not give up.
  • In 2016, while browsing his Facebook, he found the Virtual Assistant Bootcamp of Jason Dulay. They had a lot of payables and are in debt, but that did not stop him from enrolling in this paid course. Good thing he had commissioned money from his part-time gig. At that time, he opted not to tell his wife about it. July 29, 2016, at exactly 9:00 pm, he started to learn the lessons.
  • 2-3 months after he enrolled in the VA Bootcamp, he got his first contract for a Customer Service position. That was also after passing the five-day trial tasks given to him by a client.

Q&A Highlights

How long was it before you found the Bootcamp and you got hired, how many months or how many years was it when you were applying and didn’t get hired?

Actually, I started to focus on applying for work online in June 2016. I asked my wife to give me until August and if I cannot find a job online, I will try my best to go back to my previous employer since my previous supervisor still wants me to go back there. But I really want to work at home because my son is getting bigger, and I want to be with him all the time. And then in July, I saw your post on a Facebook ad, "How I earned 80K a month working from home." So, around 3 months.

You said you started applying 2014, 2015 so and starting June 2016 you were applying like very consistently. In Online job and Upwork, every day how much time did you spend applying and how many applications did you send?

Consistently. Submitting 10 or more than 10 proposals to all job posting that I am confident at, like data entry or something like that. Mostly data entry because I don’t have any special skills. I don’t have the skills in Photoshop. I don’t have the skills in video editing. I don’t have those skills so only data entry, it's a typing job. That’s why it's the kind of job I am focused on.

What gave you the motivation to keep going? What gave you the motivation not to give up?

First I really want to work at home because of my situation. I can not work the way I used to because of my medical condition. So I consider myself partly a person with a disability. But I can drive.  I can read. I can type. Then I want to be with my son everyday because he’s growing up. Because one reason that I resigned from my previous work is that when I go to work, I go early, my son is still sleeping and when I go back home after work my son is already sleeping. So we don’t have the time really, you know, father and son relationship or like playtime with him. I have that desire to have any job where you can bring your son to your work. And working from home is making that dream into a reality. So I am really happy about what’s happening in my life right now by having this kind of opportunity - working from home.

I also have the desire to work abroad because I want also to earn dollars. And right now I am earning dollars even without moving out of the Philippines, so that’s the best of it.

Can you tell us how you got promoted to supervisor and to manager because that’s within 2 months. That’s very very fast so can you share maybe some best practices or your experience, What did you do to impress the client?

Actually I started as a Product Researcher. So they give all the details, categories. I ask them what is the goal in finding this product, what is the plan so I will know what to look for.  I am also looking ahead and not only giving the result they expect but I go more than that. Then after 4 days, they got impressed and they gave me a contract to work beyond the trial period. My boss told me they were impressed and that they plan to have me supervise the other VAs they have. And I’m happy because these VAs are more experienced than me.  Some were working 8 years already, some 5 years,  some 2 years while I was working for days 4 days only. So I give my everything. Actually, they already noticed my initiative to do this, to do that. I also searched for their business. I ask everything because they did not give me details, so I searched for everything about them. They did not give their website yet because it’s still new but I had the opportunity to find their website even without asking them. Then I noticed that their website lacks some features so when I learn something I give ideas and they are happy with that. So they decided to train me more on the operations because I’m only doing product researching. They taught me how to manage their social media, their Gmail account, their Facebook pages, and the operations.  Actually, my boss at the time when I was still doing product research asked me if I can recommend somebody, someone like me daw. So I had the opportunity to recommend one, which is Mavi, for the task that I left as a Product Researcher. And last week they gave me an assistant because they want me to focus on the operations. I also want to help them in managing the whole operations of their company. Right now we are 10 Filipinos including me, I’m handling 9 Filipino VAs. I started searching for everything that could help the company. Because I want to help the company grow. So when the company grows, I will grow too.

Do you have any tips for any new freelancer or for people they’re not yet freelancers but they want to start working from home.

First, identify your goal. My personal goal is to work at home, to enjoy the comfort and freedom in working. I want to work while I’m with my son. The second is to plan on how you will reach that goal. So you have to strategize before going to battle, right?

Identify your strength. Like me, my strength is I love to work on the computer. So everything I do is about the computer, everything on the internet I learned, I searched about it. That’s why freelancing caught my attention. Identify your core skills or talents that you love doing and focus on that.  I remember what Moses had in his hand when God commanded him to Egypt, it’s only his staff. Yung tungkod nya lang yung meron and God used that thing to tap the rock and the water came out. I remember that story in the bible. So focus on what’s in your hand.

Focus on what skills you have and lift it up. Actually I lift everything to God. So everything I do, I lift it to God and ask for intervention, for blessings. God is gracious enough to provide what it is that you ask. But having only faith is useless. It's just like what Jim said, “Faith without action is dead." So take actions with your plans, it's something like having the goal to pass the exam. Like in the board exam, you have the review materials, you prepare everything but you did not take the exam. So how will you pass? You have to take action on that plan. Like what happened to me, I failed many times. I think I passed 100 proposals but was declined. Like in the Facebook chatbox, I get seen zoned. You chat somebody and you see that they read but they have no reaction, no reply. But I did not quit. So next my advice is, do not lose hope. Be courageous, persevere, and pray hard. Just push. Always PUSH - Pray Until Something Happens. In a war you lose, the next thing to do is to retreat and ask for assistance - ask for help. That’s why I ask for help, I ask for assistance. I study everything on the internet and I also learned from you. So I’m really happy that an opportunity came like when I saw this Bootcamp. It gave me a lot of confidence to find a job and gain more knowledge and strength. So I think that’s it. Do not quit.

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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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