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Payroll Officer Chooses the Freelancing Path After 17 Years in the Corporate World

September 1, 2021
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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"I don't know where to start."

"I don't know how to set up a profile properly."

"I have no idea about a portfolio."

These are just some of the challenges of beginners in freelancing.

And these are the exact same struggles faced by Mari when she was starting out.

Mari worked as a payroll officer for 17 long years.

However.

"during pandemic last year nawalan ako ng work"

Ouch!

This and because she wanted to take care of her one and only daughter, she chose the path of freelancing.

Which wasn't easy at all.

But she persisted.

*Now I am working with 1 VA and became a FLIP mentor and I am helping other bookkeepers to find clients as well."

Be inspired with her journey on this replay.

Introduction

Mari Donna was a former payroll officer. She worked 17 years in the corporate world but she was fully determined to build a career in the freelancing industry to have quality time for her family. A person who was chasing a freelancing task before now gives tasks to one virtual assistant. She is now celebrating her 1st anniversary as a freelancer

Let’s take a look at how dedicated Donna was to pursue her career and how she improves her life as a freelancer.

Notable Quotes : 

  • Oo nga maganda ang trabaho pero kulang ang time sa family. Dahil puro trabaho ang iniintindi. Yong travel time pa lang 3-hours na tapos 8 hours kang mag-wowork, 11 hours kang nasa labas. Parang nangyayari gigising ka lang, papasok ka sa office tapos uuwi ka tutulog ganon ‘yong routine. Parang kulang ‘yong quality time para sa family tapos later on parang ang toxic, ang toxic ng corporate job.
  • Tumatak sa utak ko ‘yong mga sinasabi ni Ms. Anna na “ Kapag napagod, mag pahinga lang pero magtuloy-tuloy ka parin” 
  • Narealize ko po kasi na grabe ‘yong training feeling ko ‘yong mga pinagdaanan ko noon kinakailangan ko siyang pagdaanan para sa freelancing ko ngayon, nagagamit ko talaga siya.
  • Yung freelancing kasi is ‘yon talaga yung sinasabi ko is continues learning siya. Parang three stages siya para sa akin. Una, newbie ka. So learn the skills as much as you can. Nandiyan ang Google, nandiyan ang Youtube. Kung seryuso ka talagang mag paid courses ka. Maginvest ka talaga ng time para ready ka pagdating  mo sa client, makahelp ka sa business nya.
  • Mas maganda yong prepared ka, may proper training ka, kaya mo nang mag-help sa business nila. 
  • Learn how to find client. Kailangan talagang aralin mo ‘yong maghanap ng client. Maging active ka. Mag-join ka ng mga Guided Hustle Challenge. Mag-join ka ng mga mentorship program. Internship para mayroon kang experience. 
  • Learn how to make your profile, portfolio, and cover letter outstanding. Yun yung talagang importante. Para maging outstanding din yong applications mo. 
  • Second stage, may client kana. Pag may client kana never stop pa rin. Hindi ‘yong may client kana okay kana. ‘Yan pa lang ‘yong simula. Mag-exceed ka parati sa expectation nya. Parang ito lang ‘yong ineexpect niya pero ito ‘yong binigay mo. Ibigay mo parati ‘yong best mo. Dahil ganon ang ginagawa mo makakpag-produce ka ng happy clients. 
  • Ang kagandahan kapag nakapagproduce ka ng happy clients. Diyan ka makakakuha ng mga refferal. 
  • ‘Yong Third Stage. Kapag expert kana, magaling kana, marami ka ng clients. Keep on learning pa rin kasi kailangan mong mag niche-down. Maghanap ka ng mga specific na business na gusto mo nang ioffer ‘yong service mo. 
  • Then magpataas ng rate, hindi lang din naman ‘yon para sa sarili mo, para rin makapag pay it forward ka. Makahelp ka rin ng ibang freelancer. Na mabigyan din sila ng chance  na magkaroon ng experience and later on iguide mo sila, magkaroon din sila ng sarili nila. Kumbaga iduduplicate mo ‘yong sarili mo. 

Donna’s Journey to Freelancing:

  • After her graduation, she immediately worked as a secretary.
  • She got a child after seven years of marriage. Then, she wanted to be a hands-on mom.
  • She searched and tried to work online. Until she found the "oDesk" (old name of Upwork) and started there.
  • She also struggled to get her first client. She didn't know how to set up her profile properly. Also, she had no idea about “portfolio” and how to have attractive cover letters. She got depressed after every rejection. 
  • Until she had her work for a 1-dollar per hour, her tasks were copy-pasting, creating flow-chart, and web research. All of these were just for a contract. Her depression got worse that led to postpartum depression. She thought that freelancing was not for her. She went back to work in the corporate world.
  • It went successful and she got a high offer from one of the big companies in Australia. But she realized that it was a nice job but she didn’t have enough time for her family.
  • While she was working in her corporate job, she tried again to enter freelancing even just part-time. 
  • She enrolled in a different course (not the VAB course ). After her work,  she was studying and sometimes she didn’t go to sleep. 
  • She kept searching for a client while she was working. Her interview schedules were always the exact time of her work. So, she never attended her interview invites until she got nearly suspended in Upwork. Then she gave up freelancing to continue her corporate job for 3-years.
  • In the Year 2020, she was “ redundate “in her work because of the crisis caused by the Pandemic. 
  • Again, she continued freelancing. She invested her time to learn the skills and to have proper and complete training. 
  • She invested in her education. She enrolled in an accelerated package offered by VA Bootcamp.
  • She joined the Guided Hustle Challenge but of course, she was still experiencing rejections and scams.
  • After one month, she got her 3 clients and a lot of interview invites, but she didn’t attend those because she already started her training for one of her clients that gives her full-time and long time work. 
  • She is now a mentor in FLIP. She is guiding those who want to start freelancing. 

Q&A Highlights:

Bakit ka paulit-ulit na bumalik sa freelancing despite the disappointment after disappointment ? Bakit hindi mo naisip ‘yong mga ibang options? 

Kasi parang ito talaga. Parang may passion talaga ako sa freelancing. Kahit noon pa. Atsaka talaga ‘yong time. Grabe ‘yong benefits na nakukuha ko ngayon dahil nagfefreelancing ako. Dati kasi syempre big companies ‘yong tinatrabaho mo kaya talagang ubos ‘yong time mo, kailangan mo pang mag over time. Wala talagang quality (time) sa family. Parating busy ako. Ngayon (nakakamit)  ko talaga ‘yong benefits. Kaya pala ito ‘yong gusto ko, kasi ang dami ko pang gustong gawin aside from magtrabaho lang. Nagkaroon ako ng freedom sa time. Tapos lahat ng areas na ng life ko naiimprove ko, ‘yong finances, ‘yong health, ‘yong quality time sa family, ang dami. Kaya parang navivission ko na siya noon pa. Ang hirap talaga hanggang sa wala akong choice but to make it work. 

So if that is the compromise, ‘yong papasok ka sa corporate kailangang isakripisyo mo ang oras mo sa pamilya mo tapos you have to deal with  toxic people. Ano naman ang kapalit non nong lumipat ka sa freelancing? Ano naman ang dapat mong isakripisyo? 

Actually, pareho lang, busy parin, pero at least ‘yong pagiging busy ko para sa sarili ko, para sa family ko. Kasi naiinsert ko na. Kasi don sa corporate job as in puro trabaho para don sa company. ‘Yong time ko nadidivide ko siya sa work, nadidivide ko siya sa pagaaral tungkol sa finances, pagaaral sa pagiging healthy. Nagiimprove talaga ‘yong quality ng life ko. Pagaaral sa pagkakaroon ng time to serve God, aralin ‘yong kanyang words. Nagkaroon ako ng time sa Home schooling hindi lang bonding sa anak ko. ‘Yon na yong kinakabusyhan ko ngayon. Busy pa rin, pero hindi lang tungkol sa work. ‘Yong kabusyhan na ‘yon para maimprove ko naman ‘yong sarili ko ‘yong relationship ko sa family, ‘yong  relationship ko with God.

Dumaan ka sa hirap, imagine nascam kapa. Ang dami mong bantay, nandyan ang Guided Hustle Challenge aside from your other groups, paano ka napasubo sa scam? 

Sabi niya trial lang, tapos sabi niya hired na ako. Bigla na lang siyang nawala, hindi na siya sumasagot  sa chat. Pero sa akin tinake ko naman siya as “ okay lang hindi mo ako bayaran pwede kong gamiting portfolio ‘yong experience na binigay mo sa akin ” ‘yon ‘yong nangyari sa akin kaya win win pa rin.

Ano ang effort na ginawa mo in order for you to get hired ? Meron bang napansin si client sayo kung bakit ikaw ang pinili nya? 

Oo kasi outstanding talaga. Parang sabi nya out of 200 na applications nag-outstanding yung application ko. Kaya sabi ko talagang nakatulong, ang laking tulong ng GHC sa akin. 

How was your life before Guided Hustle Challenge (GHC)?

Hindi ko alam kung paano mag-hanap ng client. Hindi ko alam kung paano ang standout ng profile. ‘Yong cover letter  parang pang corporate. ‘Yong sinasabi mo na hardworking ka, mga magagandang words na sinasabi mo, pero iba kasi kapag freelancing, iba ang strategies. 

Was the job easy? Dahil ikaw naman ang namili ng client mo.

Hindi siya madali. Mas madali kapag sa corporate kasi may IT. Sa pag set-up ng system my IT to help. Pero kapag solo mo lang, freelancer ka, ikaw lahat sa set-up. Mahirap siya pero naging support system ko talaga ‘yong VA Bootcamp, diyan ako nagtatanong kung paano mag set-up. Halimbawa, paano ba ako makakasuweldo ? saan ba dadaan ?. Magpopost lang ako ng mga questions tapos may sumasagot.  Mahirap siya kung wala akong support system, pero dahil meron, may mga friends, may mga classmate ka, tutulongan kayo tapos ‘yong mga beterano nandoon sa members only. Ang laking help talaga. Before , hindi talaga nagwork ‘yong freelancing ko kasi ibang group ako galing, walang ganong support, iba talaga.

Galing ka sa corporate na sangkatutak ang kasama mo. kahit na toxic sila, entertaining pa rin, mero at merong ganap, merong nangyayari sa araw mo. Pagdating sa freelancing halos wala ka ng kausap dahil mag-isa mo lang. Didn’t you ever feel lonely?

Hindi po. Mas marami po akong kausap. Araw-araw nagmementor po ako. May mga friends ako, tapos ‘yong group ko sa Bookkeepers, mga kachat ko, mga friends ko sa GHC, nong naginternship ako sila ‘yong mga naging friends ko talaga. 

Mas gusto mo ba na ikaw ang nagmamanage ng buhay mo ngayon or gusto mo bang may nagmamanage sa oras mo? Mayroong nagdidikta sayo.

Ayaw ko. Syempre mas gusto ko na ako nagmamanage ng time ko. Ginagawa ko kung anong gusto ko. 

What made you decide to do coaching?

Actually po hindi ko talaga plano. Hindi ko alam kung bakit ko ito ginagawa. Siguro, gusto ba ni Lord? Pupunta talaga ako doon kasi ininvite nila akong mag mentor. Ang daming nagtatanong, gusto ko silang bigyan talaga ng time, meron ding interaction, may communication hanggang sa naggaguide na ako kung sinong may gustong mag start. Hindi ko plinano. 

 Masaya ka ba sa sitwasyon mo ngayon? Sa lahat ng ginagawa mo masaya kana ngayon?

Oo 

Bakit hindi ka nadisappoint dito sa length of time na disappointments? 

I guess siguro po natuto akong kumain ng rejections. Na-immune na ako. May desire talaga ako. May passion talaga ako na gusto ko talagang mag freelancing, at magkaroon talaga ng freedom sa time. Binabalik balikan ko talaga siya. ‘Yong will ko talaga hindi nawawala nandon talaga siya. Parang nagfafire yung desire. Masakit. May time na umiiyak ako kapag narereject. Pero nandoon talaga ako sa GHC yung sinasabi nila na agahan, tanghalian at hapunan mo yong rejection. Magugulat ka na lang na “ ay na-hire na pala ako”. 

 Wala bang naisip na “ ano ba ito, improve ako ng improve bakit wala pa ring nangyayari sa akin” ? 

Mahirap, kasi ang tagal mo bago mahire. Pero natututunan mo, hanggang sa matutunan mo ng matutununan. Naisip ko, kailangan ko talagang aralin lahat ng bagay sa freelancing.

What is the future for Miss Donna?

Sa akin po parang THIS IS THE FUTURE  na nga. Pero hindi, never stop learning. Gusto ko pa ring maimprove ‘yong craft ko. Gusto ko, dumami pa ‘yong clients ko. Gusto ko, makapaghire ako talaga ng mga VA, makatulong ako sa mga ibang freelancers. Kasi ‘yong panahon natin ngayon grabeng Pandemic ang daming nawawalan ng trabaho. Ito lang ‘yong pinaka safe na trabaho sa bahay. Safe na, may time ka pa sa family mo. 

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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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