Ready to hear another inspiring story from a Work At Home Mom?
Diana was a corporate slave for almost 9 years before she learned about freelancing.
Her transition from corporate to freelancing was not an easy phase, but every struggle was worth it, as she now enjoys spending time with her family more and taking care of her kids while earning.
In this interview, Diana will talk about:
✅How to Handle Multiple Clients While Being a Full-Time Parent
✅The Challenges She Faced While Transitioning and How She Was Able to Overcome Them
✅How to Be a Freelancer that Clients Love
And a whole lot more…
Learn why she resigned as a network engineer, started learning about freelancing, and how she managed her duties as a mother while having multiple clients as a freelancer.
- Nag-explore po ako sa YouTube channel niyo [VA Bootcamp] wherein madaming mga courses na mapapanood. I mean maraming mga videos about certain topics kung ano yung interested ka. So that give me a light na pwede nga, marami nga services na pwedeng i-offer sa online.
- The good thing with VA Bootcamp po meron siyang estimated na or suggested siguro na timeline from start hanggang makakuha ka ng client which is around 30 days if depende din po sa student.
- Even if you don't join the Guided Hustle Challenge and you followed yung natutunan nyo sa VA Bootcamp, you can do it in DIY. Practice lang po talaga.
- Nakakatempt din kasi kumuha ng client kasi malaki ang kita when you do the computation. But at the end of the day, minsan hindi lang about money, it's about yung time with your family. Pwede mo namang gawin yun [client work] kapag nagschool na sila [kids]. During school time nila mag work ka buong araw. Pero maganda din may bonding time din kayo ng kids.
- It pays to know or do your research.
- Napakahelpful po ng freelancing community. Use it wisely po and then do your part. Kahit ano pong useful tips ang ihanda nila sa harap niyo kung hindi niyo po gagawin yung part para malaman niyo ang freelancing world, wala din pong mangyayari. So if you're really determined to transition to freelancing, magdedicate po talaga kayo ng time para aralin po yung mga kailangan dapat po aralin.
Diana’s Journey to Freelancing:
- Way back 2014, her college friend introduced her to freelancing. She just gave birth to her first child at that time.
- Her friend gave her an idea about Odesk (currently Upwork), and how freelancers earn while staying at home.
- She calculated her possible earnings if she will be a freelancer and compared it with her salary as a network engineer. It turned out that her current salary is higher compared to her estimated computation. So she did not pursue freelancing at that time.
- In 2017, she got pregnant with her second child. So she decided to revisit the freelancing site that her college friend introduced her.
- Before giving birth to her second child, she began watching the VA Bootcamp videos.
- It took her long to decide if she will pursue freelancing. She was afraid that she might get scammed.
- On May 1, 2018, she enrolled in the VA Bootcamp. She felt fulfilled because she could start working from home while taking care of her two children.
- It has been very challenging for her to work from home. But she strategized how to manage her mommy duties as well as her freelancing job.
- When she started freelancing, her earnings weren't that high.
- After three to four months of becoming a full-time freelancer, she got additional clients, so her income increased. It is still not as big as compared to her corporate job, but she was able to budget their family expenses properly.
What were you doing before you went into working online?
I was a network engineer in a BPO company before I jumped in freelancing. I was working in Taguig and I was living in Cavite, so imagine the distance. That's around 1 to 2 hours travel time. One-way depende sa traffic. Tsaka depende kung may masasakyan kasi sobrang haba ng pila. So yup, I was working 7am to 4pm in the office. Tapos hindi na ako magimik ngayon. Siguro nung dalaga ako, oo. Pero ever since I've been a mom diretso uwi talaga ako because I'm excited to see my kids.
So that was the scenario, kaya lang the challenge was that I know every mom here would be able to relate ang hirap pong maghanap ng kasambahay. Yung iba nga isa lang ang kailangan hirap na hirap nga, what more ako dalawa po ang kailangan ko. And a span of a year anim po yung naging kasambahay namin palitan. So parang nakakasawa po same old scenario. When a new one comes, syempre o-orient nyo po ulit house rules and then mag-a-adjust ka po kasi syempre everyone has different personalities. And then, six household helpers in one year yun yung naging eye-opener ko na I had enough. This is not the solution sa situation namin. So that's why I decided to look for other permanent solution sa situation namin. I had enough of the usual routine na parang hindi naman po permanent solution parang ang nangyari is band aid solution lang dun sa situation namin. So that's when I must find for a solution more fit doon sa family situation namin. That's when I jump into knowing more about freelancing.
Your husband at that time, what was he doing then?
My husband is working sa General Trias naman po. So ganoon po kami magkalayo po. And now sa Semicon Industry po siya and I'm in the IT industry. So, between the two of us kasi wala pong mag babantay sa mga bata let's say may times po na isa lang po yung kasambahay namin. Actually tinutulungan po ng parents ko, my mom and my in-laws palitan po sila. Nagpapalitan na yung mga bata dito. But the problem is that they are all senior citizens nga so mahirap sa kanila na mag alaga ng kids na super active full of energy tapos hahabul-habulin mo. So kawawa naman po sila. They have their share, kumbaga nakakapag-alaga ng mga anak nila which is kami nga po so atleast dapat sa kanila po is nag-e-enjoy na lang.
So ang nangyari po pag walang nag-a-alaga sa mga anak ko nagpapa-alam po ako sa boss ko na pwede bang magwork from home ako. Kasi walang mag-a-alaga ng kids ko and that would work occasionally lang po. Pero po to have it permanently hindi po kasi pwede. It would be unfair for the other team members. Yun po so prior na magfreelancing ako may experience din po ako ng working from home as a network engineer. It's not easy because it's not that flexible as freelancing po. I have a schedule to follow. So I try to make it work but it depends, so I look for another solution that's when freelancing came in.
Is there any specific memory that you remember that you said that you had enough and need to stop working in the office?
Ayun nga po yung situation nga po sa kasambahay, because honestly speaking meron naman hindi naman ganoon malala yung ugali. Pero one week lang sa amin. Mahirap din naman po kasing makisama specially kung hindi nyo po kilala. So ang nakakatrauma siguro, mayroon nga po yung iba isang araw nga lang e tapos biglang alis na po. Atsaka po ito po pala most of the helpers that we get are from my mom’s province. So Visayas po yun so we must pay for the travel which is minsan airfare po. So mabigat sa bulsa namin plus babale pa po yun. So sasabihin po na hindi na daw po tutuloy so parang heart breaking po sa amin na hindi mo na masisingil parang give away na po yung pera so ilang beses na nangyari yun promise. Kaya po nadala na din po talaga kami kasi hindi naman po, nagtatrabaho nga po kami para makaahon sa buhay parang every now and then nagtatapon lang po kami ng pera para sa wala ganoon.
Although ni let go naman po namin yun ganoon po talaga ang sitwasyon. Kaya iba na lang po yung tinignan namin. Another incident po pala regarding dun sa question nyo rin po, being a network engineer din po I was also included sa on call roster po. So even after work hours, I'm being called for any issues. So sa operations po kasi ako so issues po. So, there was a time na wala pa po yung son ko dito yung daughter ko pa lang. Na hospital sya. I mean suka po sya ng suka wala syang tinitake and yet may call ako na P1 P2 it’s a critical case po. Priority 1, Priority 2 so hindi ko siya maiwan pero gusto ko sumama sa hospital para sa daughter ko, So I must push back dun sa case ko po para masamahan ko yung daughter ko hospital.
When you enrolled at the Bootcamp last year, you said that after you got home you had to spend time with the kids also then you had to juggle studying allocated 1 to 2 hours for Bootcamp, right?
Pagdating ko study po muna kami ng daughter ko and then I give it around 30 minutes to 1 hour and then magkukulong po ako sa kwarto. That time luckily mayroon po kaming dalawang helper sa bahay so I ask help from them to destruct the kids sila muna mag-alaga sa kids while give me at least one hour na makapag aral po ng VA Bootcamp. So that did work so after three months around late august nakakuha po ako ng client. But nung naka kuha ako ng client mas mahirap naman po kasi 20 hours per week ang required na working hours. So that would be around four hours a day. So parang saan ko isisingit po diba po.
You slept only about two to three hours a day. You're not burning out on that?
Bumabawi po ako sa tulog sa weekend po. Tsaka yung travel time ko po is 1-2 hours di ba po. Doon po ako umiidlip. So masandal tulog po ako e. Kumbaga nasa isip ko po talaga na kailangan kung mapagana tong set up na to. Hindi ko po kasi pwedeng gawin na magresign po ako agad sa office work ko and then jump in agad sa freelancing. Because we have some financial obligations din po, and I don't want to give that burden sa asawa ko lang po. Kumbaga gusto ko magka tuwang po kami doon na I cointribute financially sa family.
So kapag nag resign po kasi ako malaking amount ng budget namin ang mawawala. Yung income ko po mawawala. So, I must have an alternative income para makatulong pa din sa family namin. I mean having two kids magastos po talaga. So, vaccines pa lang and milk need talaga po yun.
To be able to see the milestone po nung kids kasi na-a-adjust ko din po kasi yung schedules ko. Example I should have a work in the morning pero pag may school activities po yung daughter ko. Gusto ko po ako yung a-attend stage mom e. Papakiusapan ko po yung client ko na I won't be working in the morning because I need to attend my daughter’s school affair. Supportive naman po siya. Basta may fix or numbers hours naman per week mameet saka yung deliverables na dapat mabigay din ma meet and submit basta magawa yun masaya na sila.
How about your hubby Diana? Is he ever considering it?
Hubby ko po kasi is classmate ko po nung college and he is into Semicon po talaga. He finds joy in what he does. Ako kasi as a networking engineer medyo alinlangan ako kung fulfill po talaga ako sa ginagawa ko because maraming magaling talaga. Makikita na matatalino talaga na pro to consumer ang usapan and the likes, how to trouble shoot, they would solve the issues in a shorts span of time while ako ang tagal. May alinlangan din ako sa skills ko dun. But here in the VA or freelancing mas na build ko yung o mas nahanap ko yung fulfillment ko as a freelancer, siguro dahil sa flexibility. By the way yung oras ko sa trabaho ngayon ay cut it short, parang segment sya. I work in the morning 9:30 to 11:30 while I have a kid playing around.
Then I start working again 10 pm until 2am naman po. So nasesegment ko yung work which is nagkakaroon ng refreshment breaks. Na hindi ka maburn out ng full 9 hours your working. Yung flexibility ang maganda. I mean may opportunity ako na magwork from home whenever I ask for it. Pero hindi naman lagi. Pero yung work from home ko na 7 am to 4 pm straight yun. May lunch break pero pwede ka magbreak every now and then. Pero pag may issue which is primary engineer din kasi ako noon kapag may issue ako yung unang hinahanap, or kung may meet kailangang umattend. Hindi ko pwedeng maiwan basta basta. Hindi katulad dito sa freelancing. They are output oriented basta may results okay na yun. You don't have to stay lagi from your computer when the client is there. You have the flexibility for you to work.
Did you have a client Ms. Diana? Did you join in Hustle Challenge in VA Bootcamp?
Di ako sumali sa Hustle Challenge. Nag DIY lang po ako. The reason is that medyo tight ang schedule ko hindi ko alam kung masqueeze in ko pa yung resort time ng Guided Hustle Challenge. What I did was to have it DIY sa akin lang to. Kung kailan ako free dun ako mag-a-aply. Minsan sa cellphone lang while putting the kids to bed.
By the way hindi ako nag Upwork nung una. Nag Hustle Challenge ako on my own hindi pa ako approved sa Upwork. So ang ginawa ko nag sign up ako sa People Per Hour. May trial period sila. Hindi ako nakakuha ng client dun. But the good thing is kahit sang damak-mak yung sinend ko proposal, nakapagpractice talaga ako. May mga clients na nagrereply. Minsan may paasa, may scam. Nakita ko yung parang pattern, noong una kabadong kabado akong gumawa, dahil nasasanay na kong gumawa nagiging normal na sakin gamit ang ROPE at AIDA.
How many clients do you have?
3 clients. Dalawa doon is VA yung work the other one is more on marketing. Yung total number of hours ko 45 hours per week. I'm trying to limit the number of hours. Total number of hours ko na working. Try ko na i squeeze into 40 hours per week para may time pa rin sa kids. The reason why nag resign ako sa work is to monitor them to spend time with them.
Where do you look for the clients?
I started sa People Per Hour pero hindi naman ako pinalad hanggang sa ni required na ko mag bayad so luckily na approved yung profile ko sa Upwork and after 1 to 2 send ng proposal doon ko na nakita yung client ko. Tapos may mga nag iinvite sa kin na interviews. Nagrereply din ako dun. Yung isang client siya ang nakakita sakin na ininvite nya ko na maging VA and then the other one yung pangalawang client ko from Hubstaff. So yung friend ko yung isa sa mga mentor ko sa freelancing nag-apply ako sa kanila nagtrial then after one week na absorb na din. Nag hahanap ako ng client mostly sa Upwork. Kilala ka ng friend mo kung paano ka mag work. So marecommend ka nila. Maganda din kasi pag direct. We cannot deny kasi maganda din naman ang reputation ng Upwork.
Do you have any time management secret or time management tips?
Yung ginawa ko noon talagang stick sa schedule ako. Seven to four dapat nasa office na ko, pero okay lang yung pero atleast alam ko kung anong oras nasaan ako dapat halimbawa nasa 7:10 na dapat nasa office na ko. Magmadali na ko to reach that goal. Di mo maiiwasan na masegway ka minsan sa schedule mo. It's good to have na meron kang schedule na susundin mo. Madedelay ka ng kpnti. Pero mag-a-adjust ka rin para imeet mo yung schedule mo. Minsan yung travel time ko minsan from office to work kapag nata-traffic ako minsan ang gagawin ko di muna ako mag VA Bootcamp nung araw na yun pero dodoblehin ko yung time na yun tomorrow. Adjust ko base sa schedule ko para maibalance ko ulit na masunod ko pa din yung schedule ko. Yung schedule pag masusunod mo talaga it would pay off.
What can you share to us moms who like to venture on freelancing?
So yung gusto magfreelancing marami pong nagtatanong sa akin regarding that. Ang una kong sinasabi magbasa-basa po kayo muna. Of course, I provide yung mga links na alam ko. Like the 5-day free training ng VA Bootcamp. Para you'll have an idea para of what service to offer. Saan kukuha ng client? How you get paid? Kumbaga the nitty-gritty part of the freelancing work. Kasi it is flexible for mommies but it's not that easy. Hindi siya madali so you must prepare yourself para pag pinasok mo na yun. You somehow know what to expect. So ako nga e dapat 6 months yung preparation from yung nag-enroll ako nung VA Bootcamp up until nag full-time ako. Pero in reality talaga parang 1-year preparation ako kasi inaral ko talaga kung saan ako mag-e-enroll, ano yung services na pwede kong iprovide sa client, how do I get paid, saan ako hahanap ng client. Yang mga ganoon ba, that's the basic e. That's on top pa ng skills na o-offer mo. You know na yung ganitong service. Pero may skill ka ba na ganun. So, you must have the skills din. Pero minsan as a starter may mga clients talaga na willing naman silang magtrain like my client did. Yung first client ko train nya talaga ako.
Did you gain your weight while at home?
Yun nga po yung funny thing. As an addition, breastfeeding mom din po ako sa aking son. So that's the reason why pag dumede siya is nagugutom din talaga ako. Although excuse ko talaga yun para kumain. Kung nag gain ako nag weight? Sabi nila pumayat din daw ako, siguro kasi nakikipag laro ako sa kids ko. Minsan nabobored yung kids ko dito sa loob ng bahay. Sometimes they would ask kung pwede lumabas magbabike yung eldest ko mag walk yung son ko. Yung pag hahabol pa lang sa mga bata nakakapayat na din. Yun na po ang exercise ko which is good thing din naman.
What is your niche? Also, what is the job that you have in your three clients?
Hindi ko nga po alam kung may niche na ko pero as of now yung first client ko po is general VA, anything na ibigay nya sakin na pagawa. Usually mga routinary. Ako yung nagcre-create ng invoice nya, booking sa mga travel nya because I know his preference na. I even help him para sa mga receipts para sa box filing nya. Anything na he provides training for that din naman. Yung second client ko, dito ko ma build yung niche ko kasi more of marketing sila. So yung mga task ko is nakakatuwa siya may Blog Article Writing, QA Testing, Email Writing. Medyo inclined ako dun ngayon nakakatuwa pala yun paggawa ng ganun. Since it's part of my task I might as well be able to pursue it as a niche. Tapos yung third client ko, ang background nya is IT din. So isa din yun sa reason kung bakit nya ko ininvite din for the job. Ano lang to five hours per week more of research siya. So siguro in a way part din siguro ng niche ko yung being a VA to IT businesses, to IT business owners. Di ako technical sa kanila talagang admin task lang. It's just that yung mga inuutos nila I have a background and I have an idea of what they are talking about, so I can relate. It would be easier for me to do the research. To do something na pinapagawa nila.
What's the piece of advice that you can give to the audience as we end this interview?
Sa mga gusto pong mag venture into freelancing. Alam ko maganda po yung naririnig niyong story like flexibility and all. Pero you must equip yourself. You'll have to ready yourself kung ano yung haharapin nyo sa freelancing journey. Maganda po siya nanay-friendly po siya pero you must do your part hindi po siya madaling madali lang mahirap din po siya. And you must utilize po yung mga FB group like yung sa FLIP po. They have a lot of information that would be helpful which you need to know. Like filing for SSS, Philhealth, even for tax.
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.