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WFH Dad Enjoys Being His Own Boss, Thanks to Freelancing

April 6, 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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If you’ve worked in a corporate, you’ve probably experienced office politics and favoritism.

(Lucky you if you didn’t.)

Not to mention endless overtime and rest-day OT.

Nakakapagod.

No wonder a lot of people are making a career change or venturing into the freelance industry, especially these days.

Because of the internet, there are more options now that you can explore regardless of your educational attainment, work experience, and social status.

And sometimes the only limit is yourself.

We’re afraid to start from scratch.

You’re worried about your lack of skills.

You’re anxious if you can really do it.

All these self-doubts keep you from reaching your full potential.

You will never know how capable you are until your passion meets your determination.

Decide that you want it, more than you are afraid of it.

Meet Marco.

He used to work as an audit project inspector, water distribution supervisor, and customer service supervisor.

He yearned for more time with his family and to get better pay.

So he started as a VA in the e-commerce space.

He has upskilled a few times and served several clients.

Fast forward today...

He is now his own boss and is loving his newfound freedom.

Get to know him more on this replay.

Introduction

In his 9 years of being a government employee, Marco Dela Cruz was no stranger to the daily grind. When work became too demanding, he resigned and discovered freelancing. He now gets to be his own boss and spend more time with his family while earning money from the comfort of his home. Read on and unravel Marco’s struggles, strategy, and success as a freelancer.

Notable Quotes

  • Biggest advice ko coming from me personally, you have to establish para saan mo ba ginagawa ito talaga. Yung sabi nga sa commercial, para kanino ka bumabangon? Para saan ba ito lahat? Bakit mo gustong mag freelancing? Bakit mo gusto yung ganitong style ng pamumuhay? Kasi kung hindi mo siya na-establish, kung wala kang emotional attachment sa goal mo, hindi mo magagawa.
  • Matatakot ka, ma o-overcome ka ng insecurities mo. Pero kung talagang naka set ka sa priorities mo, lahat ng ingay na yan mawawala. You'll be able to overcome that and kahit man magkaroon ng struggles, I'm not worried na masisira ako kasi andun parin yung target ko para kanino ko ba ginagawa ang lahat ng ito, para sa sarili ko, para sa pamilya ko.
  • So yun, establish mo kung anong pinaka importante sayo, anong gusto mong mangyari sa buhay mo and the rest will follow talaga. It's really that simple, hindi mo kailangang i-overcomplicate. You can only plan so much, pero kung hindi ka mag i-implement, and you will overthink, walang mangyayari sa buhay mo. Yung plano mo, yung dreams mo, hanggang dun na lang kung hindi ka kikilos. 

Marco Dela Cruz’s Journey to Freelancing

  • A Civil Engineering graduate with 9 years of experience working for a government office.
  • Reasons he quit his job;
    • He had to wake up at 4AM on weekdays to prepare and commute for work to avoid the rush hour traffic.
    • Even on weekends, he was contacted for work-related issues, thus robbing him of his time to rest and spend with his family.
    • His workload has taken a toll on his health and his relationship with his wife and children. He was tired and frustrated and even got sick due to stress. 
  • He started to learn about freelancing when he was introduced to VABootcamp by a high school classmate who had also completed the course.
  • He decided to enroll in the VABootcamp Complete Package and finished the Virtual Assistant and Ecommerce courses in 1 week. Proceeded to create his Upwork profile and asked for help from VABootcamp mentors.
  • 2 months after he finished the course, he landed 2 part-time Ecommerce clients. Since he still needed to build his confidence working as a freelancer, he continued his corporate job while doing freelance work at night.
  • By the time he decided to quit his job, he had already secured 12 months' worth of savings as a safety net to kickstart his freelancing career.
  • He continued to upskill and gained more marketing knowledge. He was able to shift to his niche in E-commerce email marketing, and now enjoys being his own boss from the comfort of his home.

Question and Answer

So Marco, what’s your story?

2 years ago, sa corporate ako nag work, sa government office sa Baguio City. Graduate ako ng Civil Engineering but I chose the freelancing life kasi hawak ko yung oras, then the pay is better... Before that, everyday from Monday to Friday, gigising ako ng 4AM para mag prepare for work. Before 6AM dapat nakalabas na ng bahay dahil sa traffic. Minsan may time na weekend, imbes na nagpapahinga ka na, kokontaken kapa sa opisina. Nakakafrustrate na nakakapagod kasi imbes na yung oras ilaan ko sa pamilya ko, hindi ako nakakapagpahinga.

But then yung isang graduate ng VABootcamp, who also happens to be my classmate in highschool, introduced me to VABootcamp. Lahat ng sinabi dun ni bossing Jason, tumama sa’kin kasi gusto ko ng more time for my family, kasi nagkakasakit din ako, and burn out, then I decided to enroll sa VABootcamp. Kinuha ko yung Complete Package kasi lahat ng bagay sa online world, bago sakin. In one week tinapos ko yung course, gumagawa na ako ng profile ko sa Upwork, and then nagpatulong din ako kay Ms. Ana.

Natapos ko yung course nung February at June ako nagkaroon ng dalawang part-time clients sa E-commerce kaagad. Masaya ako kasi finally meron na akong client, pero wala pa akong confidence na bitawan yung work ko sa opisina, so I needed time na mag-plano talaga. Kahit may dalawang kliyente na ako, hindi pa ako nag quit. Nag start ako mag work 8 or 9 PM, matatapos ako 11 PM. Kumikita ako ng dollars nang nasa bahay lang ako. Kahit ‘di pa niya natutumbasan yung kita ko sa office, masaya ako.

Pagpatak ng February 2020, that’s the time na nakapag quit na ako sa corporate at nakapagfocus sa freelancing as a VA. Lahat ng pwede ko ma-absorb na knowledge sa marketing nasubukan ko at na-enjoy ko kasi nandito lang ako sa bahay. Blessing na rin kasi pagka quit ko ng corporate, ilang weeks lang nag lockdown na tayo. 2 years ago hanggang ngayon, nadagdagan naman ako ng clients and nakapag shift na ako ng niche, nag offer na ako ng email marketing sa E-commerce parin.

Meron bang point na parang sinabi mong ayaw mo na?

Naka-enroll na ako non sa VABootcamp, malapit ko nang matapos yung course. Pero that time stressed ako kasi madaming complain sa opisina. Na promote ako as Supervisor, at naikot ko yung kumpanya namin. Yung final 2 years ko, dun matindi ang work. Ang pattern kasi sa corporate kung nakita nilang kaya mo yung trabaho, dadagdagan ng dadagdagan yung load mo. Ako yung tipong hindi pabaya pero at some point bibigay karin. So kahit wala pa kong kliyente non, nag file na ako ng resignation at nagpaalam na ako sa office. Tapos nagbakasyon kami sa probinsya ng misis ko, doon ko tinapos yung VABootcamp course habang nagpapaklama din ako thinking about the next steps. Hindi ko na kaya kasi parang sa akin na lahat. Naawardan ako as Outstanding Employee before. Binigay mo na ang lahat pero kulang parin. 

Ano yung struggle mo sa journey sa freelance na nag win ka as VA?

To be honest, hindi ako gaanong nagstruggle. Hindi ko pinepressure yung sarili ko. Naging honest lang ako sa kliyente ko kung meron akong hindi alam gawin, sasabihin ko “sorry, I don’t know this part of marketing but I’m willing to learn. Marami narin naman online resources, nandyan ang YouTube at Google. Aaralin ko lang then implement ko na kaagad sa work. Exciting, I wouldn't say na struggle siya. Wala akong matatapon kasi it’s a learning experience. 

I want to know more how you took the course. Marco, napagkasya mo ang isang linggo, 1 week natapos mo na ang complete course?

Hindi actually yung complete course, yung VA course mismo and then yung Ecommerce. Sila talaga yung first. Ganun yata talaga kapag motivated ka at meron kang pinaghuhugutan. Sa isang araw, makakatapos ako ng 6 or 7 videos ni sir Jason dahil gustong gusto ko talagang matapos na at makakuha na ng client. Kung meron kang insecurities, mabubura yun. Ang gusto mo lang talaga tapusin lahat para maka move on kana sa next step ng buhay mo.

Ngayon freelancer kana, ano yung pinaka nagustuhan mo as a VA freelancer ngayon sa niche mo?

Overall, yung relationship with clients. Ang sarap sa feeling yung pinagkakatiwalaan ka nila at nakakausap mo sila sa first name. Nararamdaman mo yung kalebel mo sila. Pag may client or prospect client ka na ang treatment sayo ay mas mababa ka, that's not a good client.

How were you able to make yourself your own boss? Ano ba yung mga changes na ginawa mo para masabi mo na sarili mo yung boss mo?

Nung nandun pa ako sa corporate, I had to find a way na kikita na ako at the same time merong transition yung hindi biglaan. So hindi muna ako kumuha ng full-time work. Yung priority ko kapag nag-apply ng work, titignan ko yung postings kung flexible time ba. Maghanap ka ng something that will fit your schedule, 'di pwedeng i-sacrifice yung oras for family. Kaya ngayon masasabi ko sa sarili ko na I'm my own boss kasi hawak ko na oras ko. I can work whenever I want.

(from Brylle Kim Solomon) For a newbie like me, ano pong maadvice niyo para ma-gain yung full trust ni client?

You don't have to complicate it. Hindi mo kailangang mag overdeliver. Kapagka may work, syempre you have to set yung requirement ni client, pero you don't have to work that hard para ma-gain ang trust nila. You just have to be honest. Kung meron kang hindi alam, sabihin mo, hindi yung nagpe-pretend ka. And then kung pinagkatiwalaan ka, hindi mo i-bebetray yung trust nila. The rest, kung paano mo sila kausapin. Dapat mag commit at mag show up ka. Kailangan lang talaga totoo ka sa sinabi mo.

What’s your typical day, "like" ngayong freelancer ka na?

Gigising ako ng 9AM, aasikasuhin ang mga anak ko, then trabaho, kain ng lunch, then work ulit. Magtatrabaho ako 10:30AM to 4PM, minsan earlier matatapos, minsan hanggang 7PM. Depende nalang kung maraming pinapagawa si client. Tatapusin ko yun pero I can take a break whenever I want. Family time naman sa gabi. Pagpatak ng 8PM or 9PM, kanya kanya na kaming mundo ni misis by that time tulog na yung mga bata. Mas chill nalang yung routine ko daily kasi I only have to think about my family. Flexible na yung oras.

Ano po yung advice niyo sa mga daddy din na gustong mag work from home at iba na natatakot mag transition sa freelancing?

You don't have to overcomplicate things. Una, ano ang priority mo? And then from there, doon ka mag plano. Dapat meron kang at least 6 months allowance. Pag na cover mo na yung budget at ready kana mag transition, pwede kanang mag quit then start job hunting. Para sa transition, nasa corporate palang ako kumuha na ako ng part-time clients para hindi na maging bago sa akin. Pero it's your choice, pwede kang mag quit rin kaagad if you feel confident enough and meron ka nang backup funds. Pero kung medjo alanganin ka pa at may iniintinding pamilya, wag kang basta mag quit ng wala kapang naipon. I'm pretty sure naman dahil sa support system ng VABootcamp, makakakuha at makakakuha ka ng client. I can guarantee that.

With your experience Marco and your history, what is the biggest advice you can give to our audiences for today?

Biggest advice ko coming from me personally, you have to establish para saan mo ba ginagawa ito talaga. Yung sabi nga sa commercial, para kanino ka bumabangon? Para saan ba ito lahat? Bakit mo gustong mag freelancing? Bakit mo gusto yung ganitong style ng pamumuhay? Kasi kung hindi mo siya na establish, kung wala kang emotional attachment sa goal mo, hindi mo magagawa. Matatakot ka, ma o-overcome ka ng insecurities mo. Pero kung talagang naka set ka sa priorities mo, lahat ng ingay na yan mawawala eh. Depending on your goal, kung na-establish mo na yan, kahit gaano pa kahirap halimbawa nasa freelancing kana at nawalan ka ng kliyente, hindi ka magpapanic. So yun, establish mo kung anong pinaka importante sayo, anong gusto mong mangyari sa buhay mo and the rest will follow talaga. It's really that simple, hindi mo kailangang i-overcomplicate. You can only plan so much, pero kung hindi ka mag i-implement, and you will overthink, walang mangyayari sa buhay mo. Yung plano mo, yung dreams mo, hanggang dun nalang kung hindi ka kikilos. 

What comes next in the life of Marco?

Ngayon, I am working parin ng Tuesday-Saturday at a flexi time. Pero ang next goal ko is to be able to work nalang ng 2 to 3 times a week without having to worry about bills and other monetary concerns. Tapos the rest is oras sa pamilya at oras sa sarili.

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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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66 comments on “WFH Dad Enjoys Being His Own Boss, Thanks to Freelancing”

  1. Thank you po for sharing knowledge. Actually gusto ko muna pag aralan at observe muna lahat lahat.. Kasi ang target kong client is Engineers from other countries. Kung may available po ganitong course magkano po kaya fees?

  2. " Tinitingnan ko talaga yung job posting. Hindi ako nag-aaply ng full time work. Kasi bata pa yung anak. Kasi ang oras ko sa kanila ay oras ko sa kanila (family) "-Marco

  3. Kailangan nagagawa pa din yung mga gusto nyo para hindi kayo ma-bored Wag lang puro trabaho sa freelancing possible yun lalo na if flexible time mga clients nyo 🙂

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