How I Became a Work-at-Home Mom (WAHM)

by - September 17, 2019


Lately, I've had a few friends who asked me about my homebased job.

I'm not a freelancing ninja, like some people I admire like Jason Dulay, but I do have an interesting story to share that might help other moms (or non-parents) who would like to start working from home.

So here it goes, my story of how I started freelancing as a writer (and some tips to give you an idea!) and how I became a full-time homebased worker with a salary that's more than good enough to support a small family.

This is a long post, by the way, so better bookmark this in case you need more time to read it in its entirety :)

1. How I Started My Freelancing Journey

I was fresh out of college when I learned about online writing and blogging through my best friend, Jan Hilado.

Equipped with a laptop and a Globe Tattoo prepaid internet stick, I was so eager to start working online and earning money, even with such mediocre equipment (back then, computer specs and internet speed weren't even a requirement for online jobs).

Setting Up My oDesk Account to Get Jobs

In 2011, oDesk was the most popular freelancing platform (freelancing platform is like a Mynimo or JobStreet for remote jobs).

I signed up for an account, and then started applying for jobs. 

When I signed up on oDesk, I had to learn how to evaluate my skills and strengths so that I would know which jobs were most suitable for me.

It was also key to creating an attractive freelancer profile (a freelancer profile is your online resume). 

In my case, I've always had a love for writing, and the only "experience" I had was writing on my diary and contributing to the school paper (I was not even a staff), so you could say I was totally inexperienced.

But that didn't stop me from getting an online job.

To be honest, I only got a few jobs through oDesk, mostly SEO content writing jobs (content writing means writing website articles, usually company blogs).

I started at a very low rate at $1 per 500 words! But I didn't have any idea that that was a low rate, and I was still building my portfolio, so~

Discovering Other Freelancing Platforms:

As the years went by, I realized that the oDesk fees were taking such a big dent from my earnings (on top of the PayPal fees).

What's more is that oDesk is now called UpWork, and it has so many "premium" features now that would require you to shell out money in order for you to make the most out of it.

So I opted to find freelance work elsewhere. 

I didn't try other freelancing platforms, simply because I know they get a huge chunk out of your earnings, but I found to be the exception.

I like it best because there aren't any fees and you can be hired directly by employers, so you get to earn more. 

The downside with being directly hired outside of a freelancing platform is that, there's a bigger chance that you can be scammed (i.e., not getting paid for the work you've done).

So far, however, I've only been scammed once, and that was only a week's worth of work.

Setting Up My PayPal Account to Get Paid

Back to my 2011 story. I then set up a PayPal account so that I can get paid.

From a freelancer perspective, PayPal is basically a payment platform where overseas employers can pay you, and then you receive the money through PayPal and withdraw your earnings straight to your back account.

To set up a personal account on PayPal, you only need to have:

  • your personal information
  • your bank account details
  • for verification purposes (verification is a step needed on PayPal so that account restrictions, such as withdrawal limits, are lifted), a credit card (not a prepaid credit card) or UnionBank EON card (which is easier to acquire than a traditional credit card).

Handy guides:

I suggest you do your own research using Google to learn more about this.

As a freelancer, you need to learn how to be self-reliant and resourceful because, as I learned from my experience, not everything will be laid out for you and you have to use the power of Google to learn things :-)

2. Freelancing while Working Full-Time as an Office Worker

For a long time, I was mainly an office-based employee working full-time, while working freelance when I come back home from work. 

So you may ask, what do you mean by freelance?

Freelance means that you work as an independent contractor; in other words, you are self-employed. This also means that your work isn't permanent.

You may work part-time (around 2 to 4 hours per day) or project-based (just until the project is done).

But most of the time, if you're a freelancer, you have flexible work hours as long as you submit your deliverables on time.

Being a freelancer also means that you don't have benefits; SSS, PhilHealth, PAG-IBIG, and taxes will be shouldered by you.

Since I was already employed back then, I didn't have to worry about any of those :-)

For those wondering how to pay for your taxes as a freelancer, you can refer to the following guides:

3. Learning the Ropes with No Formal Training

In my years of freelancing, I picked up a number of skills: SEO content writing, product review writing, web content writing, marketing copywriting, social media management, and many more.

All these I learned without any formal training.

As I mentioned, it's crucial to be self-reliant and resourceful if you are to become a homebased worker.

There are, of course, free and paid trainings to learn various skills that are relevant to remote work, but then again, formal training is not really that necessary.

While getting formal training can give you an edge over the competition, in my opinion, what matters most is your willingness to learn and having a can-do attitude—and this means having serious Googling skills.

You can learn a lot through Google Search. And some employers are also more than willing enough to train you or give you time to learn the ropes as you go.

If you do want to have formal training, I suggest enrolling to Jason Dulay's VA Bootcamp

I haven't tried, but I'm an active (though silent reader) in their Facebook group, FreeLancers In the Philippines (FLIP) - by Jason Dulay.

(And NO, I wasn't paid to endorse him. I just feel like he has great authority in giving helpful trainings for aspiring homebased workers.)

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

4. Getting More Clients Outside of Freelancing Sites

As I mentioned, I wasn't a big fan of oDesk/UpWork. Outside of freelancing platforms, I got more writing gigs through referrals from friends.

LinkedIn was also a surprising social media site that I didn't expect I could get remote work from, but I did.

And Facebook was a game-changer for me. Through groups on Facebook, there's a treasure trove of online job opportunities where you can be hired directly. Here are Facebook groups that I suggest:

It was on Facebook, in fact, that I was hired by my current employer, which brings us to the last part of my story.

5. Finding a Stable Homebased Job and Working Remotely Full-Time

I started working as a part-time writer for my current employer, a digital marketing company, in 2015.

For two years, I was on a freelancer status (meaning that I didn't have employee benefits). I did, however, get a constant stream of workload and a generous monthly pay.

In 2017, I got married and had a baby. Since I've always wanted to be a hands-on mother, my husband and I decided that I quit my office job and start working from home

It wasn't an easy decision to make, and we had to consider a lot of things, but I was fortunate enough to have a boss who was so kind to offer me a full-time homebased job, complete with statutory government benefits and a flexible work schedule :-)

Since then, I became a remote employee—which means that I have a fixed monthly salary, I work 40 hours per week, and that my employer handles my taxes and other government-related stuff (SSS, PhilHealth, and PAG-IBIG).

All these in the comfort of our own home.

I also maintain a couple of freelance copyediting jobs from time to time.

It also pays well, provides flexible work hours, and offers quite a manageable workload that doesn't interfere with my full-time job nor my time for my family.

And that, folks, is how I became a work-at-home mom :-)

Closing Note

Working from home definitely has its benefits, the main one being not having to deal with lengthy commutes and heavy traffic.

But it also has its fair share of downsides—the first one on the list: today's fierce competition in the freelancing space.

My general advice is that you don't jump off ship immediately.

Try applying for part-time online jobs first, if time permits, and test the waters.

Homebased work is not for everyone, and it's not that easy to become successful.

Remember: All good things take time. If it's easy to achieve, it's also easy to lose. Just be patient and never lose your determination as you navigate the turbulent waters of online work.

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