How to start as a VA or a Freelancer is the most common question of Filipinos who have no experience and who want to pursue a career change. Although nowadays few are still skeptical about it but no doubt that a lot of successful Filipinos in 2018 are appearing now in social media.
So, how does or what does a Filipino need to start as a virtual assistant or a freelancer?
I think there’s no definite answer to this as we all have different sets of skills, attitude, and mindset but when it comes to things you need, it’s definitely an internet connection and a laptop or PC.
What you need first when you transition to working online?
This is the first question you need to ask yourself or ask those who have experience. Remember, you don’t need to have a good laptop and a strong internet speed to get started. The important thing when working online is for you to get started to earn and slowly buy what you need.
Don’t worry if you don’t like the job, what’s important first is to earn and slowly buy a better laptop which you can actually pay (this is to be sure you can still pay even if you lose a job while finding another client) or a stronger internet connection then change to an online job of your choice.
In my case, I started only by using a Dual OS (Windows 8.0 and Android 4.4) Cherry mobile tab alpha morph which cost 5,000 php and a pocket WiFi (not LTE) 800 plus php. I bought a cheap keyboard and a 5 in 1 USB slot so that I can connect the tab with the keyboard and mouse. I don’t even have a computer table and chair. This the only thing I have as I bought an LG smart TV 32 inch from the 13th month pay of the last work I attended on the second company I worked with. It was a sale from 24,000 php to 14,000 php if cash ( I just grabbed the opportunity).
The last money I have is around 30,000 php, and I didn’t show up to work anymore as I was sick and was terminated anyway on the 4th day, you know and understand this if you have experience working on a call center.
Some of you may judge me or think that I should have saved my money and find a new work but I was depressed and burn out from working. I’m sure a lot of you can understand or relate to this especially if your account is sales.
The reason I bought the TV was for me to have an inspiration or that mindset that finally I bought a TV and damn I need to work hard as I have little money left.
Note: Don’t copy what I did as we have different styles on how we handle ourselves.
Anyway, I have divided it for you to know where you’re currently at.
If you’re currently working in a corporate office (office based)
While working, you need to assess yourself first; this includes if you have the money, laptop, and internet.
Don’t quit right away, either save money (a lot of times it’s impossible when you’re working from a call center). For me just save for 3 months then quit if you can’t take it anymore.
My suggestion is;
-don’t quit yet,
-go home right away,
-research about working online (a good place is social media, especially Facebook)
-Apply for work online
-If you get hired, don’t quit right away. Wait for the first salary of your work online and salary from your office job. If you get already your salary from your office job then ask for a 3-7 days leave when it is almost your payday online or 7 days left when you will be paid. This way, you won’t be tired so much and you can get back to your office work incase you are not paid online or worst scammed.
-When accustomed, find additional clients until the maximum you can handle
-When you have 2-3 clients, update your BIR, pay your SSS, Pag-ibig, and get an insurance.
If you’re not currently working or was recently terminated from office based work
This is hard to suggest as we have different situations but if you have a relative who has an internet connection then I recommend from there, try to research and learn how to work online. In worst case scenario that you don’t have a laptop, then go to an internet cafe and try to apply. It’s good to pick a non-voice job as we all know that internet cafes are noisy. Also, good thing if you know the owner as you can just pay later.
I know its hard but I promise you that it is worth it when you get hired and started earning. I remember that I have less than 500 php on my wallet at that time but I was hired after a week (16 hours everyday) of online research and reading. If I was able to do it without experience, then definitely 100% you can do it also.
Is experience really needed to start working online?
This is not always the case. To tell you honestly, I have no experience in SEO and content writing when I first started. I just read online and learn from people. It started out as a content writer position as it was a non voice job and it was the only job that my pocket WiFi can handle.
I just watched videos which are free and subscribe to website where I can get a free PDF. While learning and reading, I applied everyday and observe every response and understand why that is the client’s response.
Note: Experience is not needed but the will and attitude to work is important as skills can be taught.
Do you think a certificate is a necessity to be able to work online or get a high paying job?
Again this is not always the case, If you just research online and ask people who have experience then answer your client based on what you know. Tell them honestly that you don’t have any experience yet but have the knowledge and you’re willing to work.
Note: Willing to work but not work on a very low salary.
To get a high paying job, this depends on how you negotiate with your client. If you know how to position yourself and answer the question then you will definitely get it. It may not that totally high like $1000 a month but for a start this will serve as your portfolio when you apply for a high paying job.
While you are hired, just get some free certificate online even though it seems its not a need anymore to get a certificate. This maybe useful to other clients and for your own personal growth as you may learn something new.
Is it necessary to have a laptop or a PC with high specs?
When you’re starting, its not necessarily needed. Just work on what you have and slowly progress from there. If you decide to venture on graphic designing , web designing and the likes, then a higher specs will definitely be needed (laptop with graphics card).
Note: Don’t buy a high specs laptop/PC like what others do. Only buy what you’are able to pay for and scale from there. It’s not good to brag on something you have but you don’t have any clients or earning this much only.
What platform will I apply for online work?
There are a lot of platforms nowadays and you can choose any of them. I would suggest to try at Onlinejobs.ph first as it has a higher probability of getting hired before trying other platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, and more.
You can definitely create an account on all of this platforms and apply at the same time. If you don’t know what to put to your portfolio just look at others portfolio to have a basis and just improve it.
What type of jobs will I choose?
Assess yourself first by checking the equipment you have and the strength of your internet connection, and the skills you currently have. Its not important what your compatible job now as you will learn what you like along the way. The important thing is to earn first.
Non-voice or Low internet speed (5mbps below)
-Social Media Management
Voice or high internet speed (10mbps-100mbps)
-Graphic designing and multimedia
How will I know if it’s a scam or not?
Its hard to tell sometimes especially if you’re new at this online work. My advice is to join some groups in Facebook and look at posts of companies or clients scamming people. You will also know the template they use, how they will scam you and more.
What payment method will I use?
The most common is PayPal, I suggest to create an account if you haven’t had one yet. Other payment method will be Transferwise, Western Union, and Bank Transfer. There might be other payment methods but this will depend between you and the client’s agreement.
What Bank or card should I use to connect with my PayPal account?
It depends on you, you can choose between Unionbanks Eon card, BPI, Eastwest, Gcash, RCBC, and more.
Do you need a great cover letter?
You may or may not need. What I mean about that is I never have a good cover letter but I know how to talk with clients. So, this really depends on you on how you position yourself. I have great confidence due to my GF brought it back, I lost it due to my previous relationship.
Also, I develop that skill when I was working at my 2nd call center company (sales account).
Note: Stop making excuses and just do what you can
Never stop learning
Always read on your free time so that your work will be much easier as days go by and for you to be kept updated. This is beneficial also as a lot of Filipinos are venturing working online so the competition may be fierce.
Have the right attitude and mindset
Do you wonder why Filipinos aren’t getting the result they expected?
Results, meaning getting clients? The reason for this is that in my opinion most of us forget what we need to improve and mistakenly just focus on earning money. See the whole picture and look for where you lack and improve it. We may see this if we compare what you went through and what that successful person went through to get where he is now.
Note: Don’t ask clients to other VA or Freelancer but work your ass off and apply for one. Be proactive and research what you want to learn. If you can’t find it then politely ask someone to give you a link or guide for you to read.
Also, remembering difficulties, regretful past are effective as a wake-up call when lazy and burned out.
Lastly, Is working online Easy or Hard?
You hear a lot of people say that they have the freedom and you saw or hear others say otherwise. The answer in my opinion is both. Naturally, when you’re just starting then it is difficult but along the way you will learn more then that will be the time it will be easy as you will have tools to help you.
What I mean about the tools to help you can be referred as equipment or people you hired to help you. You will understand this along the way.
Dale Basilla is a content writer for various niches, SEO (Off-page & On-Page), and lives in a location where there are lots of beaches in the Philippines. He loves to watch anime, TV series (mystery and solving crimes), and movies. In his spare time, he plays chess, plays the guitar, and spend time with his ever busy girlfriend.