No, don’t be impressed.
I did not plan to earn over a thousand dollars after I resigned as a call center agent. Though I believe I could earn it— somewhere down the road probably in two years’ time. I thought this thing could only be earned by some geeky guys out there who go online.
Those guys who are geniuses with computers.
Now when I work online, I was looking at to earn around P25,000 a month. That’s $500 (For P50 vs $1 conversion). I didn’t know any better back then.
To earn a thousand dollars a month, it was serendipity. The amount was a combined income from two clients who came into my life at the same time. I prayed to God relentlessly to give me an online job.
In my mind, one client is enough. For as long as I have a job, I could just find later another one. I considered myself lucky. I mean, not that I did not make a lot of effort.
It’s still hard work. Really.
At that point, I was about to give up and ready to throw a towel, “Hey! This online thing is not for me. I’m no good with computers! Why complicate my life? Let’s go back to the BPO industry!”
But I went on. I felt all the pain and rejections and drank all the confusion understanding online stuff!
Furthermore, I absorbed all kinds of things: being ignored and being turned down by many clients. It was part of the process. But, how did all this started? Let me start first with my call center life.
A bit of history how I became a call center agent
The funny thing why I became a call center agent. I wanted to become an international speaker. Seriously, I’m not kidding. While others apply just to get a job (My second reason), I had a different reason.
It was absurd. Crazy even.
But here’s the thing: I had a problem to become an international speaker. I was bad with my English. Or so, that was I thought. And I started to apply, I realized I wasn’t bad after all.
I was freaking worst!
I could not pass even the initial interview. All BPO companies did not want me. They turned me down quickly like I had a viral disease. I even thought they’re the problem. That it was just a mistake not seeing my good English.
There were lots of comments about how I spoke. They said I couldn’t pronounce the P and F, V and B, the TH sounds, vowel sounds, and consonants, yada…yada… I wondered what else I couldn’t pronounce.
It will be a long winding story to tell you the whole journey.
It was a sad and pathetic and exhausting experience. I could laugh about it when I think of it today. It’ll take pages and pages for what I did just to get hired as a call center agent. To make my long story short, I was hired in my fifth month applying almost every single day.
It was a non-voice job. But, our company folded up in less than two years operating. Subsequently, I transferred to another company finally as a call center agent.
Was I happy as a call center agent?
At first, it was ecstasy. All sorts of things amazed me. The building. The pantry. The training room. It was all high-tech. The people speaking really good English on the floor. They’ve spoken dollar man.
I felt like a child. Full of sense of wonder! I fell in love with my employer and my job. This is it. I could speak English every day. And I could learn now how to be a better English speaker, while at the same time paid through a salary.
This was the goal. Slam dunk! Yahoo!
Fast forward, I reached three years. I got married and had a baby. My salary was average on P20,000 per month including bonuses. It wasn’t enough to live comfortably in Cebu with my family.
My wife went home and lived with her parents when she got pregnant and raised our baby alone.
Now here’s my biggest dilemma: I want to be with my family every day. I missed them a lot. We lived miles away. It gave me so much discomfort without them by my side. Then I began to drag myself to work. I forced myself to do things at work.
It’s as if I was like a dog with a leash attached to my neck, the owner was pulling me hard to be with him even though I don’t want to.
I could not go home with my family as much I’d want to. Because there were no jobs for me at home. The job that could sustain our lifestyle at that time. In other words, to get the same salary
I began to sense deeply the unhappiness in life and at work—that I was no longer content being a call center agent.
I felt the salary was not enough. I thought the company metrics were terrorizing me. And I hit a dead-end. That there’s no room for career growth and especially to double my salary.
Truly, unhappiness was a turning point. Enough is enough!
The company offered an early retirement if we reach five years. So, I’ve waited. Thereafter, I resigned.
The Pursuit of Online Career
Finally, I was home in General Santos City. We took advantage of the Pag-Ibig housing loan before I resigned. We rented it out while I was in Cebu. Several months later, our tenant notified us that she’s leaving, as her seaman’s boyfriend dumped her and will no longer be supporting.
I was in Davao at that time taking a mini-vacation after I resigned as my wife was working there temporarily, to help augment our family’s income. We immediately went home to hear the good news that our tenant will vacate the property ASAP.
I was so excited! I could now pursue an online career.
Luckily, a new BPO company in Gensan was looking for a non-voice agent. I applied immediately. And I was hired instead as an admin officer. While employed with a low salary compared to my salary in Cebu, I began applying online.
Here I went: Ready—Aim—Fire!
I fired a lot of applications in different directions online. For a month, no one bothered to respond. Where are the clients?
I couldn’t answer.
Alright, no pressure. I still had a job. I kept on sending applications just in case someone will notice me. Indeed, someone noticed my application and notified me via email. I got hired.
I was luck I got him. But he abandoned me in less than two months working together. What’s worse, our company announced at the same time for a shutdown.
How I became a virtual assistant (VA) career
Having no job, my wife and I worried a lot. How could we survive now?
She’d kept on pressuring and asking me a lot of when I could get a job online. She’s so bothered to our recurring monthly bills. It’s bleeding expenses day to day with no income coming in. I kept on sending applications again but all were ignored.
It’s been three weeks, and still, I have gotten no response. Our family’s savings were running out.
“Damn! What’s really the technique in getting clients online?” I was puzzled. I had to find the answers all by myself. There were no available books for specific techniques in attracting clients. Especially with a person like me who doesn’t know about computers. I was no geek (Even today, I believe.).
I kept praying and praying. Until God struck me an idea. I did not know how it happened so fast.
The first thing I realized, I discovered the problem.
I was applying for a job I wasn’t good at. Like getting a job as a writer. I was a terrible writer (Today, less terrible.) Believe me, I wasn’t good at writing. I could just express my thoughts, but my grammar was really screwed.
(Yeah, screw my grammar.).
How I Made Over a Thousand Dollars
Becoming a virtual assistant was the answer for a non-techie like me. I began to research about a virtual assistant, and how to become one, and what are the jobs he can perform.
I also try to figure out the pay on how much I could charge clients. Based on the expenses I incurred at home. The internet. The food. The laptop I invested.
And then narrowing down the techniques and started implementing them.
(You see, this is THE HOW people keep asking me online and offline. It took me an entire book to write them down. And I did. It’s coming out soon!)
It surprised me.
Within a week I got five responses using the techniques I discovered. From five potential clients, I discarded two as they gave me a lot of questionnaires. One I ignored. And I ended up working with two clients.
When I computed what I was getting from them, it’s over $1,000. Wow, it was only two months of working. It’s a far cry with my BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) salary, which I started at P10,000 only.
Such a big relief to our family’s budget. I made my wife happier. That’s the most important thing. She’s my treasure and our son.
I realized, money can’t buy happiness. But the lack of it causes us more unhappiness.
My online career today
Out of the two clients I serve, only one left. The other one, we parted ways amicably. I was her extra employee. My tasks were done.
I enjoy serving my only client today. My full-time client. We are both dependent on each other. I did not take more clients as I am focused now on building another source of income on the side. And I am also focused on building another skill to use online. Obviously, you can see it now. I’m writing.
(Did I write well? I hope so. I’m still learning.)
Building a career online, it requires patience. You have to invest time to build skills, to get clients, to learn some techniques, to read more, etc. A lot of things you need to do.
There are no shortcuts. Unless you are extremely good at writing and skilled with computers. It’s easy to transition. But if you’re a person like me when I started, mind you, it’s not gonna be easy. It takes hard work. A lot of patience. And a lot of reading. Getting mentored and learning from others’ mistakes can shorten your path to success online. You avoid repeating the same mistakes.
You can do it too
Today, I forget about becoming an international speaker. I’m an introvert. I love to be at home. I can be with my laptop all day seeing no one (Believe me, you can ask my wife).
Thank God my wife is here with me. She’s bothering me sometimes to go out. Whenever I go out, I love to be with her.
You don’t need to be like me. We have different personalities. But working at home, people have common reasons: to be with their families and earn a good income.
Isn’t it what you’re here for, reading this article now?
If you are planning to work at home and earn better income online, no one will stop you. When you believe you can, you always can.
Go on with your plans. You can do it!