VA Asrah

VA Asrah

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Look What Freelancing Made Me Do

Freelancing was one of the words that were not included in my vocabulary. In 2018, if you asked me about freelancing, I would just say, “huh, what”? It’s just amazing how a quick change in my life introduced me to this field. That very time when the doctor told me that I needed to stay at home for the sake of my then unborn child, it broke my heart as I didn’t know it would open me to new opportunities… or should I say BETTER opportunities.

Well, what is freelancing by the way? For me, freelancing is marketing your skills and acquiring clients (not necessarily) virtually. It’s having a contract with a client that you will help their business grow by, of course, practicing your skills for them. It’s not employment that you work FOR a boss but it’s working WITH a client. I know, I say “client” too many times.

Below are just some of the things freelancing made me do:

Freelancing made me enhance my skills and learn new skills.

All of us, surely, already had skills even prior to entering this world. You may already know how to draw, write poems, or even sell products effectively. In my case, I already knew how to use Adobe Photoshop and I already had the eyes on multimedia. In freelancing, you will be encouraged to master one or more niche as this is what you will virtually sell. So I did hone my design skills by enrolling in short online courses and by watching YouTube videos. While doing that, I discovered an easier platform for me to design graphics on the web and it’s called CANVA. It’s a drag-and-drop online design platform that can be accessed through their website and/or you can download their app from Play Store or Apple Store. Aside from these, I learned some new skills and a couple of them are social media management and marketing and WordPress design. I was able to practice what I learned to showcase my portfolio both on Facebook and here on my website.

 

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Freelancing made me change my mindset.

This may be an example of Tabula Rasa of mindset. As naive as I was, I never knew that earning outside employment was possible… or feasible for me. The society I grew up in pushed me into thinking that I should earn a degree to succeed in life. Well, acquiring a degree is always good but I was wrong by thinking that it was the only way to earn a living. As I entered into this dimensional space of freelancing, I was warmly welcomed by so many life testimonies and success stories of countless individuals who, even without a college diploma, are earning staggering 6-to-7 figures a month. I was overwhelmed! I thought it was too good to be true until I was surrounded by some of them. And what’s even funny is some of didn’t work hard but worked smart instead to get there. Now, my mindset has completely taken a turn. I now know that this field is so promising it can even do so much more for me than staying in a 7 am -to-5 pm kind of job, which I am NOT saying it’s bad, it’s just a matter of preference. Of course, what it may not be able to offer is stability unlike being in a government office. But this is a talk of risk-taking and believing that if you just do your best in everything that you do for a client, a better future may be almost guaranteed.

 

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Freelancing made me learn to invest.

Consider me as a moderate-risk investor as I always wanted to play safe. I never had the passion nor the skill for any business. But freelancing is business. You market your skills and clients purchase them. So being here slowly taught me to invest in skills. What do I mean by that? I invested money to enroll in online courses to garner both the knowledge and of course, the certificate that I can use for my portfolio. I invested time in studying some niche I could excel in, learning from other people, and of course, learning by experience. I invested emotions in dealing with rejections and accepting that I would need to be better to fit their standards.

On the other hand, I also tried to invest in a traditional business. Founding Top Wonder Travel and Tours allowed me to practice my social media management and marketing skills and it has become my venue for exploring more strategies that I have not known before.

 

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Freelancing made me earn more and spend less.

This is true. In this business, most of the clients one will have is a foreigner and they tend to pay more. Depending on how you value your skills, you can charge a client for least $3/hour- and that’s actually still low. In my case, I started with getting only $5 for transferring columns of data from a scanned photo into a spreadsheet. That was my very first client with Upwork, an online platform where you can create your account, profile and portfolio to present what you can do and it’s also a marketplace of job opportunities. Then I found a few clients who paid me $4/hour for data entry, web research, and data scraping.

Browsing more opportunities on onlinejobs.ph, I found this client who was looking for an online teaching assistant and I applied. Gladly he hired me even without talking with me, face to face. I started as an online teaching assistant for $3/hour and had the opportunity to start his website from scratch. This made me get a pay increase of $6/hour- where I’m currently at. Well, not as good as many freelancers who earn hundreds of pesos every month, but this is more than good enough. I am so grateful as I was able to start my savings, get insurance policies for me and my husband, and invest in a Travel and Tours business.

Working from home deleted former expenses from my list such as commute fare, unnecessary snacks, new clothes, new shoes, etc. Well, together with this, it made me become more responsible with my finances. As I started to dream bigger, I knew that I am compelled to spend wisely. Funny because my husband always complains as I have become more strict with our expenditures but at the end of the day, he’s grateful that we now have an emergency fund that we used to not have.

 

Freelancing made me spend more time with my family.

This is my favorite thing about freelancing- the ability to see and kiss my baby anytime I want. As I work only a couple of meters away from him, I am able to breastfeed him whenever he wants. And this is the freedom that I never thought I wanted in the first place. Being at home whenever my husband arrives and being always there for them gave me the joy that I am too afraid to let go.

Freelancing made me dream bigger.

Freelancing has planted a great desire within me to do more to earn more. Greedy as it may sound, it made me become a dreamer. With a view of great opportunities in front of me and now knowing that things can get better for me and my family, this venture made me believe that I can actually reach whatever goal I have. Content and happy with what I have now, I didn’t stop myself from listing more goals to achieve: our own house and lot, our own car, a completely insured family, a thriving traditional business,  and a family that spends more quality time together. There’s a huge difference between hoping for a dream to come true and working for it to come to pass and freelancing can make you do the latter.

And of course, this world also has its downside. It made me be physically active less- which is my fault. Being too comfortable on my office chair, it made me walk and move around less. Well, I should start to work on these but overall, freelancing has been one of the biggest blessings and opportunities in my life.

I entered the freelancing world by force- I needed to earn while being on bed rest due to a scary pregnancy and being on sick leave with no pay. And there are many among you who are unemployed and not into business, or basically, no steady source of income. I want you to know that there are opportunities out there- opportunities you would have never thought exist. Start by joining Facebook groups and pages on freelancing as you will virtually learn so much. Next, discover what niche you want to master and learn the required skills. Then, build your branding and showcase it on any platform (social media for a start or a website portfolio). Learn to market your skills and target potential clients. Then once you land a job, never give less than the best as you’ll surely reap success.

But- never get me wrong. I still praise God I got into DepEd. I’m just expressing how thankful I am that I got into this world and I want to spread awareness that this blessing exists.

Thank you and God bless you always!

VA Asrah

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