#001 How I Turn From Being a Freelancer Into a Business Owner

How I Turn From Being a Freelancer Into a Business Owner

Hello, hello. Hello. Welcome to the Freelancing Marketplace Podcast. This show is dedicated to freelancers, marketers, and business owners who desire to leverage their online presence. We are going to be talking about the first episode of the virtual assistant series. And I want to be able to start this very first episode about my journey on how I turned from a Freelancer into a business owner from scratch.

Let’s talk about my childhood aspirations, family life, education, how I got started freelancing, the birth of FVA, and where it’s all going. I will also share my very takeaways in this journey and share a Freelancing Tip of the Week.

Now let’s get into this and get started when it comes to Surge Digital Agency. This is a company of the FVA Business Consultancy Corporation. We are based in the Philippines, but we also have an office in the US in Florida.

FVA is probably the first freelancing marketplace of its kind offering a one-stop freelancing solution in the world. Others provide online services, but when it comes to delivering both and providing solutions related to freelancing, FVA is your one-stop-shop.

Surge Digital Agencies started in 2016 as an avenue for me to respond to friends and relatives who asked me how they too can begin freelancing because they have seen the quality of our lives improved from really nothing at all into traveling, here and abroad. And just living the life that we like, and living the life of freedom, maybe time freedom and financial freedom. So they desire those as well. And because I have my master’s and education and finished my doctorate, I know how to craft an authentic world-based curriculum.

So whatever it is that’s needed in the marketplace, I crafted something that is a part of my training. And it’s also portfolio-based. And to our surprise, the very curriculum that we decided for our friends and relatives to get started with their freelancing is now conquering the world. It is helping many individuals create their freelancing journey.

When it comes to the FVA Business Consultancy Corporation, the mother firm of the Surge Digital Agency, the mission was to help people leverage their online presence on both the freelancing and brand side. This was to empower as many organizations, communities, and lives as possible.

How did it start? Maybe it was the way I was raised as a child. I was born into a Christian family, and I was exposed to many cultures and experiences. I watched my parents serve as ministers and missionaries at the same time.

So I did not have that mundane routine. When it comes to growing up, I was always under the goal. We would always move to another place and experience new cultures every year. And in those experiences, it’s always helping people as the center of it all.

So I was born in the lovely beach or Island life of Surigao del Sur.  I moved to Davao when I was in elementary, maybe around ten years old. I moved to Davao City when I was in college. And this is where I have been staying in my married life as well. Though I lived in Germany for almost one year, I started discipleship training school there under youth with a mission. And basically, that’s how my life has been before I got married.

In 2011,  I got married to my best friend. And in 2012, a year after we gave birth to two handsome baby boys, they are twins. And they have been the center of our affection and our inspiration since then.

When it comes to my educational background, as I mentioned earlier, I have my Master’s in Education because I am a teacher by profession. I am a licensed teacher. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education major in General Science. And then, I did my Master’s in Education major in Administration and Supervision. And my doctorate and lacking a dissertation, and it’s also focused on Educational Management.

As my Ph.D. is on hold, I am also studying entrepreneurship at the Asian Institute of Management. Since Filipino Virtual Assistance is growing big, I need guidance and training. And that is why you’re listening right now. Over the years, we have been creating tremendous value for all of our network. It is because we have been providing a lot of value to all our network. This could be freelancers, marketers, or business owners since our mission is to empower them and impact their lives.

Since I have always worked in the administration and supervision side, I can bring organization to a chaotic situation since it’s my expertise. Since I love management and administration, I worked in a school I established for those who could not attend a public school due to poverty. Most of them are kids from families who get the garbage or live from the city’s garbage. After three years, I worked in an NGO encouraging livelihood training and the religious sector.

In 2010, I was asked to start an outsourcing company. The very idea of that outsourcing company was to create jobs, especially online jobs. This is how I learned about virtual assistance. It was a very new concept, back when Upwork was still called oDesk. The social media and digital marketing skills were relatively new then. We were trying to figure out how it worked. The social media sites were also new at the time, but I learned how to assist clients and train virtual assistants.

My primary responsibility as the office manager was to organize the office setting, hire and train virtual assistants, and then match those assistants with clients and keep that relation as profitable as possible from the beginning until the end of that client and VA working relationship.

I then learned real estate virtual assistant tasks and financial tasks like online bookkeeping, social media, and digital marketing task. I was there for two years and have helped at least 50 people in that organization. When I got pregnant with twins, I changed jobs and moved home-based. As I come from a Christian background, my values have always been there for my family.

But that company grew. Now they have 1000s of virtual assistants and call center representatives. When we started, we only started doing five people, and when I left, it was around 500 people; now they have 1000. As well, I am happy with that company. I am also happy with the path I took because I moved home-based when I began my freelancing or home-based remote working career.

I shifted into the social media or digital marketing sphere as my niche. And then, later on, my husband also worked and focus on real estate investments. This mainly includes the property management flipping properties, short sales, and other real estate virtual assistants tasks. It was also Dj and doing video Jackie tasks offline. And later on, when our clients were multiplying, we had to give it to other people. So we’re managing a small agency while working on our tasks and our clients. When it comes to our freelancing, we were balancing being early parents or new parents. We were basically adjusting to parenthood and being newly married and then transitioning also into freelancing.

So when I was freelancing for five years. Those trained in virtual assistance in an office-based setting started noticing the quality of our lives improved. So we were traveling around the Asia Pacific, like Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and other beautiful places also in the country. So they were wondering, why is your time freedom and your financial freedom developing fast compared to the ones that are virtual assistants in the office setting.

And when I shared with them the reason that you are being paid a fixed rate when it comes to an office setting, but when you are home-based, as a freelancer, you can be paid directly, and all the money comes to you. So you have to manage your finances when it comes to taxes regarding your benefits and insurances and everything. So you can save a lot. And the more you have time, the more you can also earn big when it comes to freelancing.

And when they knew that they were seeing that we started getting a lot of our house appliances, we moved to a bigger house. We got a car. We were buying properties, starting businesses, all that in three years of being home-based. So they started asking me can you also teach me how to do freelancing home-based.

And this is when I crafted a curriculum that will help my colleagues before my friends, relatives, and those acquainted with how they can start freelancing.

This was in 2016. To my surprise, the very personalized approach, the portfolio-based approach, and the extensive discussions that I was starting to sell out to some of the natural networks. It played a huge factor because they get hired, and their lives also started improving. So from just going and promoting it into my natural network, it went nationwide. And just after a few months, we were averaging from 30 people monthly to 100 people at the end of the year.

In 2017, we served FVA as a business, not just personal coaching by Grace Locsin. We created the Filipino Virtual Assistance as a sole proprietorship company. So I had to hire staff, we’re averaging at least 100 to sometimes even 250 students per month. We also ventured into franchising to serve more people into different territories by providing coaches in various regions as the franchise. And we also opened a few other courses.

And those were courses in social media, SEO, and real estate virtual assistants. Later on, we grew as a company that now, in 2021, as I’m recording this one, we have at least 15 staff. We also have 31 online courses, and we are going global when it comes to the services that we opened in 2019. We have an office in the Philippines. We have territories all over the Philippines and the US in Italy, Vietnam, Japan, in the Middle East, like Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. We also have territory in Europe, Italy, and other territories are coming in as well this year. We also have other trainers now. So we have at least 20 trainers under the FVA Business Consultancy Corporation.

And these courses and services are offered in our digital platform, specifically providing freelancing marketplace solutions, which we call Surge. We desire to see Surge as the one-stop global marketplace for freelancing needs. And we desire it to be a surge of digital partnerships between freelancers and business owners on how they both can leverage their businesses and brands through freelancing.

So this is how I started as a freelancer and turned into a business owner from scratch. But before I’m going to share my takeaways for this episode, Allow me to share our freelancing Tip of the Week with you.

Freelancing Tip of the Week.

The Freelancing Tip of the Week

The freelancing Tip of the Week is a quote by Lee Morris. And it says the road to success for 99% of people isn’t a job. It’s a steady incline from one successful project to the next. I love this quote because this is really how I was able to turn freelancing into a business. And we are even positioning globally right now. And this is all coming from scratch.

Top Three Key Takeaways

When it comes to my takeaways that I would like to share with you in this first episode, these are:

  1. Don’t limit yourself.
  2. Freelancing is the fastest route to success.
  3. Don’t stop dreaming big dreams.

I’m sharing these three key takeaways because when I was a freelancer turned business owner. This is all coming from scratch. Just like I mentioned earlier, we transition from the office setting virtual assistants as an office manager into a freelancer home-based. And when we did that, we did not have anything at all. We had to go to an internet cafe to be able to provide services for our clients. And that went on for at least two months. When we had the money to buy a computer and have the internet at home, that’s when we transitioned at home. And we even had to rent a laptop to provide to more clients. We even have to pay another virtual assistant to help us with clients. So we did not have a computer at home, we did not have laptops, we did not have internet, all we had was the willpower to make it happen.

Yes, we had some training from the office setting. And we’re very grateful for that. But even when we ventured into the freelancing world, there were avenues, and there were not known skills. And it was our first time to have heard several words, some descriptions were scary, and we don’t know how to make it happen.

But it’s just really the willpower, the guts, and the ability to dream big and make it happen that moves us from a basic Freelancer into a global entrepreneur today. Later on down the Filipino Virtual Assistants Business Consultancy history, we learned as we grow as we go. And we were connected to the right people as well as we go. So it’s just a matter of taking one step at a time. And then the rest will conspire around you when you are very much focused on pursuing that dream.

It also helped us that we have a mission deep inside us. And it was really to help people. That Avenue was the force within our hearts to go ahead and overcome whatever we would be meeting when it comes to challenges along the path. May it be not having the right people or hiring the best people who support the mission may have key partners in our training and our agency to get suitable suppliers. And when it comes to relationships around us, there were a lot of hiccups. And there were a lot of adjustments. But again, if you are passionate and a mission and a vision are driving us, there will be challenges along the way. But if you’re very passionate about your mission, your vision, and the values that you like to provide, it will be nothing at all when you can reap the fruit of that dream. So for my takeaways today, in this first episode, I hope this will inspire you. Number one, don’t limit yourself.

I am only a wife that probably stopped learning and maybe sacrifice my degree before freelancing. Still, because freelancing has given me worth, it has given me value. It has given me that self-actualization that I can still be somebody and something to the world, even if I’m a housewife. I finished my Master’s in 2008. And I started my doctorate right then, but I’m still not done until now because I transition into the Master in Entrepreneurship. But even with that, I can still spend some time with my family. But with freelancing, I’m able to balance work and then also time with my family. I wasn’t compromising something because I was still earning. After all, I was a marketing manager in a certain company in Australia. And, I was the franchising manager for a certain company in Ireland.

So freelancing did not limit me and becoming someone in the world. When it comes to dreaming something today, don’t ever give up on who you think you can be in the future because it is an avenue where you can be somebody to someone. May it be giving worth to your students if you’re an online teacher. Or you are providing worth to your client if you are a web designer or an executive virtual assistant. Or whatever niche that you want to focus on as a freelancer. You’re giving value you’re giving worth, or probably even your freelancing is providing value to your marriage or your parenting because you’re just at home. You’re earning dollars, or you’re earning big. Do not limit yourself to where you are right now. Today you can be a freelancer, tomorrow you can be a global CEO because you did not limit yourself.

Number two, freelancing is the fastest route to success.

Maybe there are other avenues where you can also earn money faster. But when it comes to my experience, I have seen freelancing as the fastest route. Now, this doesn’t mean that it’s going to be an overnight success.

This doesn’t mean at all that you don’t have to work anymore. This doesn’t mean at all that you don’t have to advance yourself in learning and empower yourself with a lot of training, a lot of books, and a lot of audiobooks, maybe, or empower yourself to be a better person to be a better professional to be a better CEO. It also needs some upgrading yourself, some upskilling, so you can go ahead and scale up as well.

But when it comes to freelancing, it seems to be faster; I could imagine that if I have been focused on the education world, as a teacher myself, maybe I would still be successful. And I can earn 40,000 Pesos, around $1,000 per month. If I have been in the classroom setting, because I have my Masters, I have my doctorate. And I may be successful, but maybe it would take me years before I can buy my first car. Perhaps it would take me years before I would be able to have the dream home or the dream house that we have been planning for years. Maybe even I would not be able to travel and experience life to the fullest, even if I have impacted the world.  It’s probably okay for many people, but I want to live the fullest life that I can be with the people that I love.

So when it comes to the experiences that I have done so far, it seems like freelancing is the fastest route to achieve my dreams. Why do I think so? Because freelancing is targeted, you can focus on a particular niche, be an expert on that, and focus on providing that to your clients. And you will be paid big. You don’t have to go through school for four years, no need to go through the bureaucracy of the systems, and you don’t need to go through several masters to start freelancing. You can learn something overnight and give that to a client tomorrow. You can grow and be an expert in three months, and you can create your digital agency if you focus on one year. Thus, it is the fastest route towards your success.

And the number three takeaway that I would like to leave you guys in this first episode of The Freelancing Marketplace Podcast is don’t stop dreaming Big Dreams.

You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Now that we are going global, we are positioning ourselves to be the one-stop freelancing marketplace in the world. It may seem big, but you don’t know what will happen with hard work. And that vision, mission, and value that we want to provide to clients. Don’t ever settle for less. And don’t ever be complacent with what you have right now. Keep on dreaming.

When you achieve something, dream for more. When you achieve something in your bucket lists may be long-term or short-term; dream again because the more you dream, the more you can impact as many people as possible in this one life that we have been provided for.

So don’t limit yourself. Freelancing is the fastest route to success. And don’t stop dreaming big dreams.

That’s it for the first episode of our virtual assistant series here in the Freelancing Marketplace Podcast. I hope that this has been inspirational and you’re able to get something out of this story on how a turn freelancing into a business from scratch. So far, we talked about my childhood, aspirations, family life, education, how it also started freelancing and the birth of FVA, and where Surge is going in the next few years. The key takeaways that I’d like to inspire you with are don’t limit yourself, freelancing is the fastest route to success, and don’t stop dreaming big dreams.

This is just the first episode of the virtual assistant series on getting started with freelancing. In the next episodes, we will discuss the benefits of freelancing, how to start freelancing, transitioning to the work from home setup freelancing skills, start with freelancing, interview and application tips, and many other episodes and discussions on how you can start freelancing on your own.

Don’t hesitate to get connected with us. We are on social media at Surge Digital Agency. Don’t forget to check us out, especially on YouTube and on Facebook, because we have free tips and guides for you all. You can also connect with me personally on my personal account at Grace Locsin via facebook.com/julmargracelocsin.

I hope to see you guys on our next episode to get started with the freelancing series under the surge freelancing marketplace podcast. Bye for now. I will see you again on our next episode.

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