What Freelancing has Taught Me

I’ve been ‘relaxed’ the past few days so I decided to write another post for my personal blog.

I know, it’s been a while. First, let me give you some quick updates about what I am doing lately.

  • I resigned from my part-time job as a Virtual Assistant from Rajah Travel.
  • I am one of Trainings and Beyond’s part-time facilitators, so if your company needs to run programs that will help your employees, give us a call.
  • I have had a number of hosting gigs and I would appreciate if you like my page here.
  • My dad finally allowed to train me to run our construction business and for starters, I made a facebook page here. And please don’t forget that I am still selling real estate properties, OK?
  • Finally, I still do editing and content management jobs + virtual assistance. I work full-time but since I work from home, it gives me more time to do other jobs.

Some of you might get overwhelmed but I will be very honest, it’s not that HARD – most especially if you know how to prioritize. Let’s discuss this further later.

Anyway, let’s go to the reason why I wanted to write something about ‘Freelancing’.

To date, there are still a lot of people who slightly disapprove on taking this path, simply because it is very ‘uncertain’. Like for example, this month you earn PHP80,000 and the next you earn practically nothing. While that is true in most cases, I think I’ve already learned how to dance to the ‘freelancing tune’, and most probably I’d write something about that in the future. But right now, I will share with you the things I learned about being a SLASHER or FREELANCER.

I learned…

To Appreciate What’s on Your Plate RIGHT NOW and Learn How to Save BIG TIME

There are months that I earn hundreds of thousands, but there are months that I earn average. I think we all have that tendency to splurge whatever we have right now, but when I became a freelancer, I realized that it’s not ‘Christmas’ every day, or according to my dad, ‘Hindi araw-araw, pasko. ‘ Knowing that I do not have a standard pattern where I can benchmark my budget, I learned how to live simply so we can have more than enough for the rainy days. But this does not mean I don’t treat my family. If I do have a lot of money, I usually take them to the mall to play nonstop (which is not cheap) or book a hotel room for a staycation. I wouldn’t consider these things grand but it’s beyond normal.

To Add More Skills  

By now you probably now that freelancers have lean seasons. If I do not have kids and do not have a chunk of responsibility over my head, that’s fine. But reality is, if I don’t have enough cash, I would not be able to pay my kids’ tuition, school allowance, school service fees, and the list goes on right?

So what do I do?

I learn new skills and add that on the suite of services that I offer.

If you must know, I started as an online writer 9 years ago.  Up until now, there is a huge demand for writers. But I want more. Not just for net worth, but also for my self-worth.  So I tried different jobs even if I had little background of it, after all – it’s easy to learn things with our technology. You might want to take advantage of that.

I learned how to market online, to design simple websites, to create different marketing collaterals, and to manage content to name a few. And let’s not stop there. I improved my hosting and facilitating skills which proved to be lucrative as well. 

This allowed me to work on different projects with different clients. Rarely that I will not have a decent salary on my account. Thanks to all these ‘investments’.

To Prioritize

And so people will ask me how I juggle my life with multiple jobs, my own construction business, and being a mom.

Well, I prioritize and I focus.

When I need to work on something, I set time for it. If my kids need me in school, I’d drop everything else. 🙂 The good thing about working from home is that I have a LOT of time. For example, while most employees in Manila are still stuck in traffic for 2 hours (per way), I am already sending emails to potential clients. During that time, I can already upload videos of my boss, and probably edit 5 or 6 articles. And since I don’t have much ‘chika  or ka-chikahan’ unlike in a real office, I can focus more on my work. Lastly, my kids are already 8 and 6 so they can already take care of themselves. However, I recently looked for tutors for my kids, simply because more projects are coming and I want my kids to develop a study habit.

To Maximize Technology 

Thank heavens for technology, I can work practically anywhere – even inside the car. Yes, I do that (when I’m not driving, that is).

I don’t have the best gadgets. My phones are less than PHP10,000 and my laptop is around PHP25,000. You can say, my gadgets are at the bottom of the food chain. But that’s fine with me. As long as I can access my email, edit my work, access the most important websites and tools, I am fine. Of course, this is different when you are editing videos and a lot of images (which I don’t do a lot). In fact, I can work on my phone for simple tasks.

The point is, people are so hooked up to buy gadgets that are crazy expensive but they don’t know how they can earn from it. They download useless apps wherein they can actually have one that allows them to learn new skills, which of course can be used to earn money in the future.

To have an Entrepreneurial Mindset 

When I became a freelancer, I decided to attend meetups and from there I met a lot of successful people. They started as freelancers and ended up building their own empire. Well, that’s not surprising. You see, when you are a freelancer, you treat yourself as your own brand. You are building your services, you are widening your market, you offer it to people, you deliver, you get paid.

When you think about it, it’s like managing a small business. Those who are fearless enough would really build one.  Thanks to them, I finally took the leap and asked my dad to transition our construction business where I could apply the things I learned as a freelancer. I firmly believe that it will bigger than before, but please wish me luck. 🙂

That We can Offer So Much More 

You see, when I was in the corporate world, I felt that 8 hours was not enough to finish everything. But when I stepped out from that box, I was able to see that even a ‘no one’ like me can offer big things to other people.

It allowed me to creatively think of ideas because I was not confined to the norms, and templates. And this, THIS excites me every single day.

The fact that I can give more value to the world rather than to just one department or company, that’s just AMAZING. Of course, I am not saying that people in the corporate world do not have value. It’s just – it’s not for me and that I found more value and meaning when I became a freelancer.

So for those people who still think that FREELANCING is for the LAZY, I think know otherwise.

It’s not for everyone but IT’S FOR THE BRAVE, IT’S FOR THE BOLD.

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I Thought My Mom Was Weak – I Found Out, I Was Wrong

I look like my mom.

Well, sort of. She’s more beautiful. I am more of her ‘rugged’ version.

She’s more of a Virgin-Mary kinda beauty and I’m like the  ‘you-badly-need-to-comb-your-hair’ type.

Personality wise, she’s more refined and lady-like.

Basically, we are opposites. I am loud and my mom is obviously not.  For a time, I thought my mom was weak because she isn’t confrontational nor speaks with a loud voice like I do.

BUT I WAS DEAD WRONG.

She Doesn’t React Right Away…

I have that very strong personality, to the point that I don’t back down. And this means, if I know I am right, I will shove it to your face!

My mom isn’t.

She will remain silent and will refuse to speak unless she needed to. She ignores useless battles. She remains classy by not reacting right away.

Some people might think she is weak for not saying anything. But now I am certain, she is one of the strongest persons I know.

I realized this when I felt really bad towards someone very close to me. I was literally cursing beside her – and she was just there, listening to me. She didn’t say a word until I finished all my drama. After which she said, ‘Hayaan mo na lang, ikaw lang ang mahihirapan’.

At first I thought, “Why would I let it go? I wouldn’t let anyone accuse me of something I did not do.”

I thought to fight until the end was a sign that you are strong…

But her calmness was so contagious and I realized, yes, she was right. It wasn’t worth the fight. It was at this moment that better senses prevail. To ignore something you think is big is already a courageous thing to do. To stay silent is harder than to speak. 

She embraces unconditional love to its truest sense…

Sometimes, we block ourselves from loving unconditionally because of fear. I am guilty of that. But my mom is different. She loves unconditionally and she knows no boundaries. While some people might find it absurd, my mom thinks otherwise. And that for me – is bravery. To love without expecting anything in return. 

Let’s have a little backstory, shall we? My mom was one of the top students and she is an Engineer. She can easily get a corporate job but instead, she chose to build her dreams around us – her kids.

And what’s the topper? 

I never heard her ask anything from us, not even new clothes or jewelry.

She faces life challenges with grace and poise… 

When I was younger, my parents handled challenges the best way possible. And until now, they face ‘storms’ – together! And mind you, our family has been through a lot. We had our financial issues, health problems – name it, we faced it.

Instead of drowning in these challenges, my mom would handle it gracefully and with so much faith.

That’s probably the reason why she looks great regardless of what life throws at her. At the back of her mind, she always knew that things will be better. And that again, proved that she is stronger than what I thought.

So what am I trying to say here?

That even with a soft facade, even with her silence, my mom is strong – even stronger than most people who talk loudly, and stronger than most people who are extremely confrontational.

And my goodness, I hope I can learn it before I punch someone in the face.

Is Our Generation Better Than the Rest?

Just the other day, I was browsing a number of websites to kill time that I landed on a page that gave me an idea of what to write (because it has been a while since I did). 🙂

Are millennials really that bad?

You see, I have read different articles and have seen memes against my generation. Similarly, millennials are doing what they can to debunk these claims…. but here are some of my thoughts on this matter. Hopefully, I can help tighten the gap between generations.

OUR GENERATION ISN’T THE BEST, no particular generation is.

Let me explain this further before you comment or you know, kill me with your words.

 

Each Generation is Good in Different Areas

This is something that I honestly believe in. While we are more ‘techie’ and we always find ways to make things more efficient, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are better than the rest. Older generations are good with more manual skills. If you must know, these skills are needed just in case solar flare happens and all these technologies which we are accustomed to will be wiped out – in an instant! (Knock on wood, of course)

We are good at streamlining communication. We can send a hundred messages to different people in a matter of minutes. But we can also learn how to properly communicate from the older generations. Their traditional ways of touching lives, when used with our fast-delivering technologies can actually create a better world. Don’t you think?

I can think of a lot of examples right now, but I would leave it at that with high hopes that by now, you are getting the point.

 

Can we stop generation blaming? 

From the articles that I have read, some millennials are blaming the older generations for creating such a messy world that leads us to create processes and ways which we think are better than theirs.

While our world isn’t perfect (in fact it is chaotic), I don’t think our parents/ grandparents deliberately messed it up for us. Can we just give them the benefit of the doubt and probably consider the means and resources they had at that time? They made use of it. For some of us, their ways are obsolete. But again, these ‘errors’, these ‘mistakes’, help us to create things that we enjoy right now. You do not expect them to spoon feed us, right? Again, these errors allow our generation to be more creative, to think of improvements.

We might be more efficient now, but that doesn’t mean they are less of a person. I couldn’t imagine myself finishing an entire research paper using a typewriter and not a computer. Show some respect!

To the older generation 

But of course, this is not a hate letter for millennials. I have personally heard older people generalizing and stereotyping millennials. (I was one of them – until I realized, it’s not doing any good for anyone)

Please understand that not all of us are lazy and dumb just because we always find answers from Google. We respect that you did your research going to libraries, scanning actual manuscripts, books, and whatnots. But that doesn’t mean we are inferior when it comes to intellect. It’s just we do things differently.

The ‘branding’ that we receive from older people can actually hurt us and we feel that there is a need for mutual respect. For me, if we want to be respected, then we have to start with ourselves. Everyone deserves fair treatment regardless of their age or regardless of their generation.

 

Afterall, we all exist, and we CO-EXIST.

 

My Thoughts About School and Grades

My #son.

His grades in school aren’t the best. In fact, he falls on the end of the list. But as always, I am not bothered by his class standing and the numbers that reflect on his report card.

As his mom, I know where my son excels. He is good with public speaking (ehem), dancing, and building things among many others. Trust me, he can build amazing lego structures and can solve rubik’s cube in minutes (even seconds). Did I mention that he is self-taught?

You see, I might be bragging about my kid’s exceptional skills but I want all #parents to realize that sending your kids to school and pressuring them to get straight As will only do so much.

When they are already out in the jungle, they need to be equipped with more than just theories, with more than just grades.

Hone them with skills even without seeing its corresponding numbers. Let them figure out what they love. Let them develop high #EQs apart from impressive #IQs.

👍💡

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My #son. His grades in school aren't the best. In fact, he falls on the end of the list. But as always, I am not bothered by his class standing and the numbers that reflect on his report card. As his mom, I know where my son excels. He is good with public speaking (ehem), dancing, and building things among many others. Trust me, he can build amazing lego structures and can solve rubik's cube in minutes (even seconds). Did I mention that he is self-taught? You see, I might be bragging about my kid's exceptional skills but I want all #parents to realize that sending your kids to school and pressuring them to get straight As will only do so much. When they are already out in the jungle, they need to be equipped with more than just theories, with more than just grades. Hone them with skills even without seeing its corresponding numbers. Let them figure out what they love. Let them develop high #EQs apart from impressive #IQs. ☺👍💡

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What I Learned from being a Single Mom – The Road to Super Mom!

Being a single mom isn’t easy.

Heck, being a mom per se is already hard.

So, can you just imagine if you are – gulp – single?

Anyway, while it is not technically a ‘walk in the park’ to raise and support my kids on my own, I sure learned a lot of valuable lessons while in the process. And you know what, I actually enjoy being one.

 

Me and my beautiful kids.

What I Learned from being a Single Mom

Prioritizing Expenses

There are a lot of challenges when you are a single mom. There’s, of course, the financial side. Can you just imagine having one body and working your arse off for your two kids  – who are by the way, both in school? Here’s the thing, we can all survive. But thriving is a different story.

I was always ambitious and I want to give the best for my kids. Thus, I learned to prioritize. I learned how to eliminate unnecessary expenses such as ‘TOO MUCH 7-11 and MC DONALD’S DATE’ in order to send them to a good school. I learned how to cut off my ‘social – life’ allowance, so we can spend more on hotel staycations. I decided not to have cable TV, so we can spare money for more activities.

Working Twice Thrice As Much

Most of the time, people would ask me if I solely support my kids. For almost a year, yes. But I am already in talks with their father so we can split the cost. But you know, child support is a different story and you can find another post from here.

A side note though. If you can patch things with the father of your kids, please do so. Do not be selfish and give your kids the liberty of having fun memories with their dad. This doesn’t mean you need to be together. But as much as possible, be civil. 

Let’s go back, shall we?

When you are a single mom, you become open to all sorts of jobs and sidelines. And when people ask me what I do for a living, trust me, I actually don’t know where to start. Let me give you a quiz and can you guess what my job really is?

a. I am a proofreader

b. I am an online writer

c. I am a virtual assistant

d. I am a host

e. I am a corporate trainer

f. I am a real estate broker

If you answered just one, or two, or three, you are definitely wrong.

If you answered all – DING DING DING DING, you got it right!

It’s good that I like doing a lot of things. But you know what, it can be pretty exhausting. Like what I do with my budget, I prioritize. I maximize my time, and I organize my tasks in such a way that I will have only few backlogs.

Does it work?

Certainly.

However, if given a chance, I will just leave 2 jobs and focus on those. I am thinking about being a host/ corporate trainer and real estate broker. However, while these 2 give me the biggest chunk of savings, these aren’t ‘regular’. Until such time that my days are filled with hosting stints and huge sales, I still need to take on the other jobs. 🙂 It’s all good. All good.

Warning: If you are going to take that path, you know – multiple jobs, there will be days that you will get drained. It will take a toll on your emotional state. When that happens, try to assess yourself. Is it still healthy? Are you still spending quality time with your kids?  If no – drop it. 

Dropping my High Ego

If you don’t know me, I have a strong personality (that’s what other people tell me), and I’ve got such a skyrocketing ego (this is both a blessing and a curse). I had that attitude that I can do anything without help. THAT IS SOOOOOO WRONG!

I need help. While it’s not really about money, I needed help with a lot of things.

a. Who’s going to look after my kids when I am out? 

My family is very supportive. I couldn’t emphasize this enough in my posts. It’s easy for me to schedule client meetings and to accept hosting gigs because I know that there will be someone to look after my kids.

For those who can’t leave their homes to work, you can always get an online job. If you want to know how, I can help you. 🙂 

b. How can I raise my kids properly? 

I consider myself in the early stages of parenting. And boy, I suck at it. I needed help from the seasoned ones so I can be guided. Of course, there are old parenting ways that I disapprove of, but that’s also a way for me to learn how to have my own parenting style.

In addition, it’s a challenge for me to raise my son as he is looking for a father – figure. I am lucky to have my father and my brother to fill in that spot. And again, it’s good that their father is now more open to spending time with them.

Last words: Being a single mom can be bearable if you have a personal system in place – and a strong support system. At first, it can be overwhelming, nonetheless – extremely rewarding.

P.S. Few days from now, my kids and I will be on stage for their recognition day. My kids will receive a handful of medals and while I do not gauge their skills based on the academic achievements alone, these little things mean so much.

 

To all parents, most especially single moms or single dads – Congratulations. You are doing a great job.

 

Child Support and My Personal Views

I am a single mom and somehow, I understand the battle for child support. In this post, I will try to explain my views on this hot topic. You may, or may not agree with me so I welcome comments.

When raising a child, money is really important. I won’t pretend that I don’t need help and quite frankly, life will be a whole lot easier if there is a fixed financial agreement from both parents.

For months, even years, I was affected on why my kids do not receive enough support. And I will be very honest – it sucks to wait. And it sucks more that other people think you are begging for money.

You see, I have an overflowing ego (and that is something, I need to change a bit). Because of that same ego, I did not ask for proper financial support. Until such time that I badly needed to.

For those who do not understand the ‘financials’ of raising kids, here’s a quick overview.

  • School Tuition
  • School Allowance
  • School’s Extra Curricular Activities
  • Food and Vitamins
  • Emergency (medical expenses)
  • Entertainment Allowance
  • Insurance

The last 2 are not mandatory, but highly recommended. We live in the province and the cost of living is generally lower. But to give you an idea, I spend at least 30k for the kids, and this does not include my rent and other bills.

So yes, working for 2 kids isn’t exactly a walk in the park. In my case though, I am lucky because God has given me great jobs to support our financial needs.

But let’s go back to a different take on ‘child support’.

It is actually more than the money.

Supporting a child is much more complex.

Our kids need time and affection. They need to have someone to look up to.

It’s not enough that you send them money. Instead, make them feel why you are sending them such.

If you are working overseas, make sure you call them regularly. Check on them. Greet them on special occasions and give them genuine words of wisdom.

But, if you can spend more time with them, do so.

Personally, it is easier for me to talk about delegating finances. And it is understandable if one will not be able to provide the amount he or she should be giving.

But TIME, AFFECTION, EFFORT? These are the things that are considerably FREE. Why would you deprive your kids of that?

So again, child support isn’t just money. There are more important things, fortunately free, to consider.

Making Good Things Out of a Bad Situation

Even if you are the most optimistic person alive, that doesn’t mean you are excused from the world’s challenges. In fact, most of the time, the world has a funny way of mocking you and will test your patience – all over again.

Anyway, the past couple of weeks were a little bit rough for me.

One employer delayed our salary because few of our colleagues didn’t work based on their expectations. Our boss decided to pause the project until such time that they have fixed everything. (Project will resume next week – thank God)

UPDATE: For some reason, the employer decided to just cut us all off and didn’t pay what is due. I got half of my salary but hey, life is better now. 🙂 

Another employer cut us off for some unknown and still vague reason.

I was rattled a bit because you know – bills! 😂 But instead of worrying too much, I decided to divert my energy into something more beautiful.

Since I had a lot of free time due to that ‘paused’ project, I used the time to build my real estate website. It was also the perfect opportunity for me to review my current listing. After all, I really wanted to go back in the field. You see, even if I love working from home, there is something about selling properties that makes me happy. So yes, the website is almost finished and I will share it with you once done.

Now, instead of asking questions why our contract was not renewed, I decided to make use of my time in applying for other jobs. Again, I used onlinejobs.ph. Such a blessing! For 3 days, I made it my commitment to send my resume to multiple employers every single day. You know what, in just less than 4 days, I got hired and mind you, the pay is just amazing!

Funny though because I was telling my friends that I can get a job in less than a week – and I did. I told you how firm my belief is on Law of Attraction, right?

I am sure there will be more challenges in the coming years, but as always, I will try to use it as a stepping stone for something even better.