First of all, please make sure to check out this blog post to see if your expectations on what Freelancing is matches what it actually is. Working as a freelancer doesn’t mean working on a pile of money or travelling all the time. While it has its perks, you would still have to give your best to make a living out of it. If you’re looking to gain success in an instant then perhaps, this path is not for you.

BPO Employee To Freelancer

If you’ve read the about me section, you would know that  I spent 12 years working in a call center industry. The upside of working for a reputable call center is earning higher than the average corporate worker while enjoying additional benefits such as having free HMO coverage for my husband and son and a quarterly allocation of 10k worth of medicine.  On the other hand, it means working on a graveyard shift, exposure to a lot of stress and being on call anytime of the day.  When you’ve been doing the same thing and been in the same environment for a long time, you start to wonder, ‘What else could I be doing other than this?’. Tired of the constant drama and demand of work, I’ve decided to resign and start searching for ways on how I could earn online while working from home.

My search for online and work from home work started months before my last day at work. I created a profile back when Upwork was still Odesk but on top of that I also created a profile at OnlineJobs.ph.

I got my first freelance work at OnlineJobs.ph as a Virtual Assistant for an Amazon store. The offer was to work 40 hours in a week at 60 pesos per hour (1.14 USD).  The salary of 9k+ (182+ USD) a month was way lower than what I used to get and yet I grabbed at the first opportunity to work from home.

Reality Bites

The truth is, although I know what I was getting into, I was still caught unaware of the consequences of jumping into freelancing right away. Since I was still adjusting to being a regular employee to a virtual worker, I started with having only the VA work as my full time work as a Freelancer.

I’m lucky that my husband fully supported me in my transition but I know that it must have been difficult to shoulder all the bills. Here’s a rough estimate of what our monthly bills and dues look like then:

  • Monthly rent – PHP 10,300
  • Utility bills – PHP 6,300
  • Monthly Amortization (Car) – PHP 11,000
  • Ethan’s Tuition Fee – PHP 1,300
  • Food allocation – PHP 8,000
  • Travel (Gas) – PHP 2,000

As you may have guessed, I wasn’t earning enough to support our expenses. We were living quite comfortably in the past, without any worry. Because of my decision to try out freelancing, my family had to adjust too. We had to do what we can to work within our budget.

Key Learnings

  1. Experience and skill is essential in landing a high paying work online. As you’re starting out, the foremost priority is in getting jobs that can value to your portfolio.
  2. Don’t expect large payouts while you’re just starting out. This is why it is better to still have your full time corporate/regular job while trying out freelancing. If you have expenses like ours, and with a family to support, it’s not right to jump in to freelancing without any support or back up plan.
  3. There’s no guarantee that you’ll find a job right away. Some are quick to land jobs while others take months or sometimes a year to get a client. If you still kept your 9-5 job during the search, then there’s no hurry for you to find one right away. You won’t get pressured to settle for low paying jobs or rude clients for the sake of money. You can focus on the experience versus the money value.
  4. If you’re expecting regular income, you can set aside money to invest on trainings or tools you might need depending on your niche.
  5.  It all boils down to timing and readiness. Give yourself time. Don’t make hasty decisions based on emotions. Test the waters to see if it would work with you. It might seem a good idea during that time but as you get your feet wet, you might feel different. By the time you realize freelancing is not for you, it would have been too late. You would have already experienced the consequences of your bad decisions.
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