While waiting for the release of my bar exam in 2006, I sent my application together with my resume to a company offering writing services to US students. I started writing for the company the following week. At first, I was assigned to work on 1 or 2 orders a week. I accepted writing on topics related to Philosophy, my undergraduate course. I also worked on Psychology, Sociology, Political Science and Law. Because of my work ethic, they started sending me 3 to 5 orders a week. During my first few months, I was happy and contented with the PHP5,000 to 8,000 additional monthly income I was getting. Back then, it was good money considering that I was single. When I passed the bar exam in 2006, I figured that I wanted to continue freelance writing because I needed more cash to prepare for my wedding.
When I got married at the end of 2006, my wife and I moved in to a new apartment near Makati. Saddled with monthly amortizations on our new car and the monthly rent on our apartment, it got me thinking about our future. Income from my full-time and freelancing work was barely enough to make ends meet. It was clear that I needed to find other sources of income. At the time, I thought that taking more civil or criminal cases on the side was not a sustainable and long-term solution because lawyering was a very stressful occupation. I realized that taking more clients means less time for my wife.
So, I decided to take a second look at my freelance writing work. I have been writing for this company for more than a year but I still have not received a raise on my rates. There was also no indication that they were planning to increase my rates either. I realized that writing for somebody else was also not a long-term solution.
Nevertheless, academic writing was less stressful compared to lawyering. Moreover, freelance writing allowed me to earn extra income even while I was at home or at work. I thought it was more feasible to pursue more freelance writing as it allowed me to pursue my passion.
Thus, I began thinking. How can I earn more from writing without spending so much time and energy? I decided why not offer writing services on my own? Why not get my own clients and offer writing services to them?
I realized to get clients of my own I needed to put up my own website. With a website, clients can directly place their orders and I can get paid directly. However, there was one challenge that stood in my way, I had zero knowledge in making a website. I thought I had to find somebody who can help me make a professional website. I checked the website of the company sending me those freelance orders to find out if it shows who made that website. Fortunately, the name of the company who made the website was indicated at the footer section. I promptly contacted the company and inquired how they can help me make my own website.
Manny, the freelancer who made the website, told me that the website together with the limited order management system costs around 20,000 to 25,000. He told me that he needed content for the website and any suggestions for the design. After sending him my content and my proposed design, my website was up in 2008.
Getting clients was not easy though. With no knowledge in marketing, the first few months was spent waiting for clients to place an order. Whenever I get an order, I worked on the paper at night when my wife and my baby were already sleeping. The website’s first order got me really excited because I was doing things on my own, finally. I made it!
However, the second order came in two weeks after. The third order came in several weeks after. I realized that being an online entrepreneur was not easy. For the first few months that the website was put up, I was getting only 1 or 2 orders a month or about $ 50 to $100 a month. Realizing that I needed to do something to get the sales up, I started to do a bit of research.
Research online led me to the keyword “online marketing.” I decided to find out more about marketing my website online while working as a Bank Attorney in one of the government financial institutions. Since I started following the suggestions of online marketers, I noticed an improvement in the number of monthly orders which increased to 3 to 5 orders a month or about $150 a month. It was still a very small amount, I know. But I found it very exciting that my online marketing efforts are bearing fruits. I persevered with my strategy for several more months. After the first year, the website was averaging about 8 orders a month or about $200 to $300 a month.
Now, more than 10 years after, I have several websites where our clients can order and place orders, and another website where writers can register and get freelance work. I am now receiving more than 30 orders a day. I also have more than a hundred freelancers helping me complete my clients’ orders.