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The 5A's of A-list Freelancers

July 10, 2021
by Giselle Armonio 
Giselle is part of VA Bootcamp's Content Creation Team, where freelance writing became her newfound love. A proud mom to 2 teenagers, she's also a homeschooler and a perpetual learner. She finds joy in little things and lives each day thankful for God's amazing grace.

How does listening to over 20 freelancing experts in a 3-day learning event sound to you?

Well, we had that privilege in the recently concluded FLIP Online Summit held on June 28-30, 2021. It was an opportunity for participants not only to learn but also to contribute to a good cause.

As a charity fundraiser event by Freelancers in the Philippines (FLIP) and VA Bootcamp (VAB), proceeds from the summit go to their partner organization, Operation Blessing Foundation Philippines, Inc.

Take one look at the roster of speakers and it will tell you how we were able to stay glued to our screens for 6 straight hours, for 3 consecutive days!

Each day was jam-packed with non-stop learning about freelancing, fitness, and financial wellness.

Okay, okay. It's not totally non-stop. We had few minutes of stretching breaks in-between segments, and experienced some technical glitches here and there. But who's complaining, right?

With the great hosting skills of Phoenix Jackson, there was never a moment of dead air. And who wasn't perked up with the super fun "Zoom In" game by the energetic Momshie Mahar Pedral?

If you weren't able to join the summit, don't worry. Registration for access to the video recording is still open until the end of July.

But for now, let me give you a glimpse of the nuggets of wisdom from these top-notch speakers. I say glimpse because the wealth of information was overflowing. Every presentation is worthy of its own blog post.

While each presenter spoke about a unique topic, I would like to highlight the common principles I found in their recipe for success.

I call them "The 5A's of A-list Freelancers."

#1 Aspiration

Aspiration is defined as "a hope or ambition of achieving something."

It all starts with that desire to achieve a certain goal. For us Filipinos, most of the time it's about giving our families a better life and spending more time with them.

Digital Marketer & Growth Hacker, Nix Eniego, shared with us his aspirations as a young student.

Early on in his freelancing career, he accepted writing jobs at P50 per article. He took it as his stepping stone, didn't complain, and remained focused on reaching his goals. And now he's teaching us about the different online pathways to maximize our freelancing earnings. His presentation is a goldmine!

Facebook marketer, Noe Ong Jr., reminded us of the words we've heard many times before - "Know your biggest why." This is something that we need to keep going back to, remembering why we're doing what we're doing. It's a way of holding ourselves accountable.

Without a clear-cut goal, it would be easy to let go and walk away, because this aspiration comes with a cost. Noe shared how he had to painfully let go of his CPA title to gain the time and financial freedom found in freelancing.

Aspiration comes with pain but also with power.

#2 Assessment

Now, where will your aspiration take you? First, you must assess your present reality.

What skills and resources do I have or lack? What obstacles stand in my way? How much time can I devote to learning or working online? What am I willing to sacrifice?

These are questions only we ourselves can answer. We cannot copy-paste somebody else's career path because we operate in different life circumstances.

Content Strategist, Liberty "The Youthful Granny" Baldovino, calls herself a late bloomer. Her lack of experience with technology is a reality, but so is her strong writing background. So the most logical plan for her is to use content writing as a start-off point.

John "The Legend" Pagulayan, CEO of The Freelance Movement, shared with us his back story. In case you still don't know who he is in the industry, you've got to find out!

In his Time Management talk, our very own VAB CEO, Jason Dulay, took the time to listen to the audience's real struggles. He asked us what our work-from-home challenges are. He typed the answers on his screen and addressed them one by one, like a caring father guiding his children.

We see how important it is to be real and honest about our struggles, our fears, and even our limiting beliefs. At the same time, we also have to be aware of what we already have. Identifying these things is winning half the battle.

So take a step back. Assess your life. Own your reality. Then begin wherever you are.

#3 Attitude

One of the most important ingredients to success, that our speakers touched on repeatedly, is having the proper mindset and right attitude.

"Ready To Be Rich" financial guru, Fitz Villafuerte, talked to us about the "7 Traits of Effective Freelancers." Be sure to check it out. I will not spoil it for you.

Another gem that you shouldn't miss is the "Premium Freelancer's Mindset" presented by digital marketing expert, Mon Agner. He gave us 9 life-changing reminders in his talk.

Life and Wealth Coach, Anna Gonzales, opened her presentation with this impactful quote:

"The depth of your abundance depends on the depth of your gratitude."

She said that acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation of all abundance. Looking at her success, the attitude of gratitude proves to be very important.

Podcast producer, Dave Visaya, talked about providing value to clients, among others. And his recipe for this shows an attitude of focusing on others.

It's interesting to note that while we are learning how to earn money in freelancing, these successful freelancers and entrepreneurs tell us to give freely and to always be grateful. That's the winning attitude we all need to develop.

I love how the mindset of serving, giving back, and contributing, has been mentioned several times by our speakers. That is the very reason for this summit.

A winner's mindset is not all about the mind after all. It comes from the heart too!

#4 Action

According to Financial Coach Prex Parnacio, "Knowledge with Application is Power. Without execution, our learning is useless."

There were tons of actionable items that we got from the summit. Our speakers gave tutorials and practical tips, and also shared new trends, useful hacks, and best practices in their respective fields.

Here are some of their timeless advice that we can apply at whatever stage we are in our freelancing journey.

Invest in Yourself.

Life and Financial Coach, Yani Moya, started her presentation with this:

She tells us to commit to growing and expanding ourselves, to take opportunities to experience different things, and then to contribute.

Attending the online summit is one of the ways I have invested in myself. I've reviewed the video recording a couple of times already and I still get new insights each time. The testimonials that we have received from fellow participants echo my sentiments.

Join me in following our celebrity speakers on different social media platforms to continue learning from them.

Find Mentors.

Another thing I found common among successful freelancers is that, at one point or another in their careers, they sought out the help of mentors.

Liberty Baldovina and Prex Parnacio both said that mentors accelerate your learning curve. It saves you a great deal of the greatest commodity, which is TIME. From newbie to seasoned freelancers, this one thing has been valuable in their journey.

Both in FLIP and VA Bootcamp, there are mentorship and internship programs available for members and students. We are thankful for our generous coaches who are willing and able to help newbie freelancers find their footing in this industry.

Be Visible.

One of the most repeated calls to action in this summit is to make ourselves visible to our clients. The goal is to be our clients' top of mind.

Several talks helped us understand how to do this, such as, optimizing our social media profiles, creating our personal brand, connecting with potential clients, providing valuable content, etc.

John "The Legend" Pagulayan taught us to do only "3 Simple Things" that will make a big impact in our prospects' minds, producing real results. You wouldn't want to miss his presentation!

Our veteran VAB Coaches, Anna Soriano & Honey Eduque, taught us how to make our cover letters stand out, and how to ace interviews, respectively. Make sure to check out all these valuable resources.

Build Relationships.

Jowi Morales, content writer and FLIP mentor, talked about the right way of networking. It's all about building authentic relationships and helping others. You will enjoy and learn from his 8-point presentation.

Social media strategist, Akhimi Zambales, urged us to "Connect, Show-Up, and Serve." Relationship building is an end goal for her. Being a VAB Coach herself, she walks the talk when she tells us to serve without expecting anything in return.

The call to join communities and surround yourself with like-minded people cannot be overemphasized. Fitz Villafuerte tells us to be part of a community where we can learn and help others grow. He said, "Opportunities are always connected to people."

When we establish good relationships with others, opportunities will inevitably arise.

So let's start acting on what we already know. Just do the next thing.

#5 Achievement

Finally, this is what we want to reach. We all want to have a winning story to share.

In FLIP and VA Bootcamp, we love hearing about our members' wins. Big or small, we celebrate them. But it doesn't end there.

I learned that this list of 5A's is not a one-time, linear process of going from Point A to Point B. It's a cycle that you keep going through over and over again. As we grow in our freelancing careers, we would always want to level up and create new aspirations again. We keep learning and we keep giving. And as we go through the cycle many times over, our journey becomes more meaningful.

But how do we truly measure success?

We had a touching ending to this summit. I wish the context was different. But it was a fitting way to encapsulate what one's success really means.

Phoenix Jackson led us in a prayer of remembrance as we mourn the loss of one of VAB's dear colleagues, FLIP mentor, and friend, Mr. Francis Catubig.

He was described as a strong contributor to education, an email marketing expert, but most of all, a mentor who aims to help aspiring freelancers in their journey. His story will continue to inspire many people even beyond today. His legacy lives on because he was a true freelancer who was willing to share and bless others.

That is how we define true success.

Final Thoughts

Jason Dulay's closing remarks say it all:

"Remember to be grateful, that we are blessed to just be here, to have these information in our hands, to have this opportunity.

One of our goals is for you to be in that position to bless others. Look at where you are right now and know how you want your life to change - in one year, in the future.

You've learned so much over these past three days. and what remains is for you to take action.

So have your goal, take action towards that goal, and we're gonna see your success story."

See you at next year's summit!

To get access to the video recording, you may register at vab.ph/summit2021.

P.S. FLIP and VA Bootcamp are truly thankful for our generous speakers who have contributed their time and expertise, and for partnering with us in this charity event. This is our way of extending help to our fellow Filipinos most affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

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by Giselle Armonio 
Giselle is part of VA Bootcamp's Content Creation Team, where freelance writing became her newfound love. A proud mom to 2 teenagers, she's also a homeschooler and a perpetual learner. She finds joy in little things and lives each day thankful for God's amazing grace.

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