Case Study

How A Former Nurse Turned Freelancer Transitioned From Being Paid $1 Per Hour To Having Monthly Paying Clients While Turning Her Client Into A Referral Machine

Getting clients in your freelancing business is tough.

Not to mention the competition to outbid or outwit other applicants over jobs on online freelancing platforms.

Some freelancers bid the lowest just to get the job.

Others provide a thick portfolio to prove they’re worthy of the spot.

While most freelancers flash their shiniest cover letter to make a big impression to get that ‘YES’ from the client.

What if I told you, you don’t have to do any of these just to win clients and work with them?

What if I told you, you could get a consistent flow of clients even if you ditch those online freelancing sites?

What if I told you,  you can get clients even without lifting a finger?

If you think these all sound impossible, wait till you see Anna’s story.

Meet Anna. 

Anna is a 30-year old mom of a 1-year old boy who currently and a wife who helps her clients manage the important elements to run an online course.

Now, if you’ve seen someone launch an online course before, there’s a good chance that a person like Anna is helping to set up the website, the payments and assisting the students about their course-related needs. 

Prior to freelancing, she worked as a registered nurse to local hospitals in their area. 

But the problem is, the salary was not enough to sustain their family’s basic needs.

Not to mention the fact that they suffered from significant debt accumulated from her tuition way back her college days.

“College pa lang ako, alam ko na yung “work from home.” Make money online — yan yung keyword na lagi ko sine-search.

…My first job was to follow Twitter accounts using a Twitter app. I was paid $1 per hour for 10 hours per week.”

This was a client she got from Odesk, (now Upwork) which is a freelancing platform.

The client was so demanding to the point that she even questioned the speed of her output. She’s also told that her client can get the job done half the time Anna did it.

"During that time, I still want to please my client for me not to lose the job.”

She endured working with that client because she’s the breadwinner of the family.

After that, she was able to get virtual assistant jobs.

Anna was able to get virtual assistant jobs with each job lasting only three months on average. 

Article spinning, social media, graphic design, admin jobs — you name it; Anna’s probably done it.

"Then, in 2014, I got married, and since then, we both became freelancers."

As she got new clients, she started to increase her rate from $1 to $2 to $3.50 per hour.

“I was then hired as a social media assistant charging $3.50 per hour working 40 hours per week, full time. To add to that, I was hired as a project manager at $4 per hour.”

Aside from working for 50-60 hours weekly to support her family’s basic needs,  she also needs to support her mom for her cancer treatment.

"Ang katwiran ko dati, okay lang na mababa ang rate basta long-term and consistent.”

Her idea of freelancing is “work” at home — NOT a business.

And in the off chance, she’s able to charge $10 per hour for one project, the project would only last for a few months. 

In a nutshell, they’re still stuck with $5/hour and a few $10/hour projects. 

"I'm suffering from burnout for years now since my mother died last 2014."

Even if they’re earning enough, she’s not able to enjoy it since she’s working 50-60 hours per week. 

Sure, she’s earning enough.

But, what good is the money if you don’t have the time to spend it?

Back then, she joined an online business course offered by a globally recognized business coach and brand for female entrepreneurs. 

She thought it’s her long-awaited solution to her freelancing challenge.

But then, she realized the concepts and ideas taught are things not applicable in the Philippine setting.

She continued with the program because of one important reason: she’ll be able to meet and interact with high-paying clients who will need her services in the future.

“Hindi sapat yung business course in a sense na basic siya. Ang habol ko sa business course, yung community din. Maging connected ako sa mga high-paying clients.”

Then, one time, one of her friends introduced to her, The Freelance Movement Tribe (TFMT).

Anna’s friend: “Nag-join ka na ba sa TFMT?”

Anna: “Hindi. Ano ba yun?”

Then her friend sent the links of free resources inside the Freelance Movement Workshop, a free Facebook group John Pagulayan built for aspiring freelancers who want to experience a glimpse of a different way of freelancing.

If you want to get access to the same resources, click here. 

“Sa totoo lang, hesitant akong mag-join ng Tribe. Kasi ayoko sa local.”

She was exposed to local freelancing groups where people give negative comments and reactions to local course creators who offered their courses for a fee. 

“Ang nega nila na bakit kailangan mong magbayad, pwede mo naman aralin yan online. Free naman yung mga resources. Bakit nagcha-charge sa mga newbie. Medyo inaasar pa nga nila, “six figure, six figure!”

But then, she opened her mind to the possibility presented in front of her.

"Super burnout na talaga ako. Ang tagal-tagal ko na nagwowork pero ang income ko, ganon pa din.”

She decided to enroll in the Tribe because she needed to uplevel her freelancing career, charge more so she can work fewer hours

She wanted to manage her time wisely because they now have a 1-year old son who needs her full attention.

And one-year-olds need all the attention they can get.

“I felt left behind because I have years of experience offering freelance services, but I’m still stuck with lower rates, and I can’t even talk with prospects on the phone.”

She felt the pressure from newbie freelancers who are charging premium fees compared to her who’s been freelancing for 8 years now but still stuck in the chain of $5-7 per hour rate.

“Gusto kong alisin yung burnout ko, para bumalik yung interest ko na mag move up sa business.

Kasi hindi talaga ako entrepreneur. Nung pumasok ako sa Tribe, na-open yung mind ko. Ganito pala ang mindset sa business.”

The first thing she decided to remove is her employee mindset.

Being a people pleaser, she just accepted tasks given to her by clients, even if they’re not part of her job at all. 

“Parang wala akong ‘say’ (voice) sa company. Hindi ko alam bakit pinapagawa yung task na yun. YES lang ako ng YES. Nahihirapan ako mag-NO.”

Before, if a prospect reached out to her for help, even if the prospect’s need is out of her expertise and skills, she still grabbed it just for the sake of earning more income.

“My number one challenge is believing in myself that I can charge the premium fee — mindset. I have a scarcity mindset; I always want to close clients even if they are not ideal because I need the income.

…It leads to burn out because I don’t love what I do, and I’m doing anything the client throws at me.”

She wanted to gain the confidence to sell her service and charge premium; that’s why she joined TFMT.

Even if there are doubts and hesitations brought about by the opinion of other people around her, she still pursued and got the course.

"Nung nakita ko yung price, okay naman. Kasi 1 year access naman. Tapos bibigyan ka ng mga scripts, templates and tracker.”

One of the selling points for her was the discovery call script because that’s her weakest point. She even avoided job postings in Upwork if it’ll require hopping on a call for an interview. That’s how intense she hated it.

"Narealize ko kailangan talaga. Kaya kailangan ko matutunan. Good thing, meron sa loob ng Tribe.”

She also joined the Tribe out of curiosity. 

She’s puzzled as to how other Filipino freelancers earn premium fees. And to know for herself if she can do the same. 

“Honestly, when I first entered the Tribe, I envied newbie freelancers who are closing premium clients at the early stage of their freelancing business.

…And at that point, I’m clueless how they’re able to do that since I just started that time.”

When Anna started to immersed herself inside the Tribe and implemented the lessons taught by John, she realized she had made the right decision.

She learned how to market her freelancing business the right way.

Plus, the fact that she never felt alone in her journey.

“Nagustuhan ko yung accountability kasi may nakaka-gets ng pinagdadaanan ko. Yun yung pinaka-selling point ng Tribe. May nakaka-gets sa journey mo na gusto mong mag-level up.”

It helped her to connect with people who are in the same trenches as her. 

Even though she learned the basics in the business course she enrolled in; she’s still looking for strategies and processes on how to market a service-based business applicable to the Philippines setting.

“Yun yung hinahanap ko. Yun yung nakita ko sa Tribe.”

Now, Anna is clear as to what she wants to do and who she wants to work with. She now has a list of qualifications which she’s looking for to a prospect before she decides to work with them.

Gone are the days when she needs to hop on an interview to answer questions by clients.

Gone are the days when she needs to showcase her skills and portfolio just to get a spot on the final interview.

Gone are the days when she needs to create impressive cover letters to get her foot on the door and get selected.

Because now she qualifies the prospect first before she works with them.

“Hindi ko na din iniisip na employer si client. Parang friend na lang kasi same lang din kami ng struggle and pain. Kasi now, I consider freelancing as my business.”

She also learned to come from a place of help — the #1 freelancing principle taught inside the Tribe. 

“Naging magaan din sa akin ang pag-apply nun. Kasi, since hindi naman lahat talaga matutulungan ko, because I know who I want to work with, who I can bring results to.”

She has 3 specific qualifications for clients who want to work with her:

She only works with clients who are clear as to what results they want.

She only works with clients who are clear as to what they want to happen.

She only works with clients who have a solid business idea.

"Ngayon, kung ano lang yung skill ko, mag focus lang ako dun. Alam ko na din magbigay ng boundaries before mag enter sa contract.”

She’s now confident to get calls with clients to find out more about their business, their challenges, goals and plans. 

She’s also now able to say ‘no’ to prospects who are not her ideal client. 

As someone who was overworked and underpaid…

She now works less hours and earns more compared to what she was making last year.

“I was able to ditch freelancing platform 100%. I fired all my clients who give low rates via Upwork.”

She now has clients who treat her as an asset. 

Gone are the days where she felt unappreciated. She’s now perceived a vital part of the business and her help has a strategic impact on its growth.

Anna now has clients who listen to her suggestions. 

Since clients find her valuable, her expert advice is now taken seriously. 

She took time out of her way to know more about the clients’ business, their challenges and goals. And thinks of solutions which will help them achieve the results they want.

She now has clients who pay her for her worth. 

Anna no longer has to experience earning $1 per hour working for 50-60 hours per week. She can now work less and even earn more since she’s well-compensated with the work she does for clients.

“Ngayon, kasama na ako sa strategizing. Alam ko na bakit yun ginagawa. Nagtatanong na sa akin yung client. Ano ba yung experience ko sa ganito, sa ganyan. Paano mapaganda yung campaign.

…Nagustuhan ko yung kasama na ko sa team, na di lang basta tanggap lang ng tanggap ng work.”

She has a steady stream of hot leads coming in. She just chooses who she wants to work with. 

She’s no longer stressed looking for new clients because she knows where they can be found.

Being inside the Tribe, the biggest win she has is a client she’s currently working with. She’s able to find different ways to help her in her business — even if it means going the extra mile. 

Initially, she got this client on a per-hour arrangement and transitioned to a per-package basis this year.

She decided to charge her on a retainer for flexibility. They agreed beforehand what set of output needs to be delivered in a month. 

She now focuses on what she can bring to the table instead of worrying about the client monitoring every minute of work she did on the tasks given to her.

“Sa una, nakakatakot kasi siya yung biggest client ko. Pero di na din ako natakot kasi yung mindset ko, is coming from a mindset of abundance.”

She realized there are a lot of clients out there, and the online space is a blue ocean of possible clients. There are a lot of prospects she can reach out to, whom she can convert to clients. 

That’s how confident she is now.

And she was surprised how easy it was for her client to say “YES” to the new arrangement. She factored in the relationship she built with this client, which she learned inside the Tribe.

This same client acts as her referral machine since she refers clients to Anna when she sees fit. 

As of this writing, she got 5 referrals from her, ranging from $297 to $497 per month.

“I’m more confident to handle my business. Plus, I begin to have more time with my family. One of my accomplishments is I’m able to breastfeed my son exclusively for two years.

…Hindi naman kami formal na nagho-home school pero natututukan ko siya. Natuturuan ko siya ng alphabet, ng numbers.”

Even if only a few hours are dedicated to client work, she’s still able to take good care of her son and helped with the finances. 

Before, she’s working 50-60 hours per week. Now, she works 20 hours per week max. She also learned how to outsource some simple tasks to other people in her network. 

Currently, she’s working with 3 retainer clients and will onboard two more in the coming weeks.

Client # 1 – A career coach from Atlanta, where she’s handling tech and launch support. 

Client # 2 – A copywriting expert from Atlanta, where she handles tech setup and course launch assistance.

Client # 3 – A digital marketing expert/business coach based in Chicago whom she helps in setting up the backend of their funnel.

Plus, two upcoming clients who are a career coach and a life coach, respectively.

“My ‘aha’ moment is when I discovered that it’s all in ME. I have the skills to charge a premium, I just don’t know how to do it, and I need the push to my growth zone.

…I love the community support, accountability, and the easy to follow steps (CCPP).”

For Anna, building a successful business using the Tribe’s resources is not a matter if it will work for her or not…

It’s only a matter of when it will happen.

“I’m currently building my team now to serve my target clients better. I want to learn more from the STAGE 4 of the course.”

She’s now in the process of creating written documentation and recorded videos of systems and processes to get more people, help more clients, and scale her business, making her goal a reality.

And that is…

To renovate their home soon.

Your freelancing business will still thrive even without the help of freelancing sites.

You don’t need to be at the mercy of Upwork or OnlineJobs.Ph.

It’s because there are proven and effective channels where you can get a steady stream of clients who are ready to work with you.

You just need to find where they hang out and make yourself visible in their eyes.

To be honest, you only need to have one raving client which you always do your best work with, using this single principle:

Always come from a place of help.

And make that one client become your client generator for your freelancing business. 

You’ll have a steady flow of clients whenever you need one.

Combine it with a proven client acquisition strategy, and you’ll never have to worry about finding your next client again.

Dry months will be a thing of the past.

To be honest…

In freelancing, there is no inconsistent income… only inconsistent freelancers.

Would you want to do a different brand of freelancing — one which doesn’t rely much on freelancing sites like Upwork or OnlineJobs.ph and still have a consistent flow of clients without the need to apply for another job?

You no longer need to hop on interviews to impress the client with your interview responses.

You no longer need to showcase your skills and portfolio just to get a spot on the final interview.

You no longer need to create impressive cover letters to get your foot on the door and get selected.

Then, click the button below to get you on our waitlist when we open the enrollment for new Tribe members.

Neri Marcos

Neri Marcos

Neri is a copywriter who is passionate about courses and product launches. She helps course creators and experts get 6 to 7 figure sales on their launches by providing persuasive sales copy and conversion-focused case studies. You can check her website or connect with her on Linkedin.