(Cathy wrote a really good article on what we talked about yesterday, I think it is good to paste it here before I add my write up for the sake of my readers. Enjoy)
Can you tell us something about yourself, educational background, previous works etc?
I’m Catherine Quiambao, a freelancer working as a Marketing Strategist. I founded Freelancing.ph late last year initially to help my friends work from home.
But before that I used to work in the corp world as Brand Manager for about a good 8 years. I got my Marketing degree in DLSU and have been in the industry since 2003.
What kind of service is your specialty?
So as a Marketing Strategist, I work in the backend developing business and marketing plans for clients. So I conceptualize plans and also assist in the execution. More like a holistic and integrated marketing strategies.
How do you earn your money nowadays?
Right now, my source of income is from my freelancing gig. Although I just work part time now due to Mommy duties.
What is the hardest task that you were able to overcome?
Selecting clients that are in line with my goals, finding a new venture where I know will help me grow.
When did you decide to create the freelancing group you are handling today?
Offshoot of the biz for graduates to continue the learning process; discovered some people wanted to join too so we grew slowly but surely (infancy stage)
Where do you get your inspiration in your everyday work?
Love this question! My 14 mos old baby is my source of inspiration, he’s a game changer. At the same time, I do have goals and dreams that I’m holding onto. My time is just limited now but that inspires to work one day, one goal at a time.
Who are the people you look up to?
A LOT!!! Jenise, Kelsey and the whole SEJ team + Glen + Fervil (SEO), Noah Kagan, Yong Fook, Buffer, John Lee Dumas
What do you think is the future of freelancing in the Philippines?
Fearless forecast? Growth will spur at radical rates.
I’m a believer that with the right mindset and awareness 1) jobless people will find a source of income 2) the number of people working abroad or OFWs will decrease and 3) seasoned freelancers will learn to charge what they deserve, eradicating the image that Pinoys are good because they’re cheap. “A rising tide lifts all boats”.
What are the advantages of working from home as opposed to working as an employee?
Time with family – best reward
Although, I will be forever grateful for my corporate experience as it has taught me a lot about discipline, teamwork, proper work ethics.
What do you think is the greatest threat for freelancers today and in the future?
Cheaper freelancers from India, Bangladesh and likes. But as to quality, we are far off and I don’t think freelancing gigs will run out anytime soon.
Lastly, addiction to freelancing. Earning $$$ is a great motivator but it comes with less physical exertion (health may suffer) and less time for friends and family which we all agree are the reason why we’re working.
After 17 minutes, Cath told me that she couldn’t hear me, so I tried fixing my headset. Soon after we proceeded with the interview and continued our discussion, only to notice that the recorder is not recording.
What I felt that time was excruciating regret. As you can see in the video above.
I tried to wrap my head around the idea that what we just talked about earlier is not going to be enjoyed and appreciated by my readers and other potential freelancers out there.
So I decided just to accept that fact that what just transpired was only meant for me and Cath alone to enjoy. Nonetheless, it is something that will forever change my perspective in life.
Personally, I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe that everything happens for a reason.
They say that life starts with an exam before giving you a lesson, whereas in school they give you a lesson before giving you an exam.
And this story is one of them.
I just lost a huge client of mine after working with them for three years.
In an unforeseen move, this client just removed all its Filipino staff and just sent us a letter informing us that they don’t need our services any longer.
They did not even pay me for my last receipt.
You see this client is my bread and butter, and my spirits are down, and I was in a rut until I decided to interview Cath.
I’ve seen Cath only once in the recent Peepcon held in Manila.
I believe we were personally introduced, but I never had the chance to talk to her at length.
I also noticed that she was wearing ankle support. Later on I will find out why.
I frequented her Facebook group, reading posts and sometimes sharing my ideas on the different topics posted there.
That’s when I decided to interview her being that she is also a freelancer, and my website is focused on Freelancers doing SEO.
I felt that she is a good reference for those people who want to start working as a freelancer.
In essence, I asked the same questions all over again, but there were a lot of other questions that stemmed from the original ones.
Chief of them is on how she came to learn about freelancing.
She told me that one day she was diagnosed with a rare disease that debilitated her, as she was paralyzed from head to foot.
Until now they still don’t know the exact cause of the disease.
She was under therapy for two years while being bedridden.
In this part, I was trying to hold back tears until I just let it go while Cath was also teary-eyed reminiscing on that hard part of her life.
Perhaps trying to make sense of everything.
She said that there were a lot of times when she wants to give up on life. There were times when she does not know what will happen next, and the feeling of being helpless is always present.
Until she was able to move her fingers… her toes. Until she realized that she can still think and be productive and especially earn.
As soon as she was able to take full control of herself, she decided to pursue a career in freelancing.
She started at Upwork as a virtual assistant, starting with a salary of $3 USD per hour until she was already handling 6-7 clients daily and earning more than she can imagine.
I asked her where did she get her will power.
She answered: “I’ve always been a go-getter. I jump on every opportunity that come my way. YOLO right?
But what transformed me was my battle with GBS.
I hit rock bottom and months of being bedridden changed my perspective on life. I started counting all the little blessings that I still have.
And until now, I use that experience always to focus on the positive side of things and to drive me forward closer to my goals.”
As it so happens, the interview spun into a life journey that makes it more endearing to me and the topic at hand.
It proved my thesis that in life sometimes you are not meant to do things you are not destined to do, but you can do things, according to your heart's desire.
We continued talking about her experience with freelancing, from competing with ridiculously lower paid freelancers from India (they go as low as .50 cents per hour) to the current state of freelancing in the Philippines where we both agreed on the soon to be taxation of freelancing and the seeming unfairness of it to begin with.
After the talk, I promised her that I will give her a rundown of what people missed in the interview.
I also felt inspired and empowered.
I couldn’t ask for more.
Thank you very much, Cath! And may you help more people in the future.