Case Study

How A Mom's P9,995 Investment Became P2,892,600 in 1 Year

Most people think freelancing is a game of survival.

A survival of the fittest.

For you to survive, you need to get a job.

If you get a job, you could become an expert.

And if you become an expert, the higher the rate you can charge.

But what if you found out it’s not the expertise that makes a freelancer command higher rates?

It’s something else.

And it’s not what you expect.

In this story, you’ll discover how a mom closed a $20K project she had no expertise in using this one simple strategy…

Even if she hasn’t been freelancing that long.

She doesn’t have a website.

And what she knew she only learned from watching Youtube.

No skill, no actual experience, and no knowledge about the service she was offering to clients.

Read on to find out her secret weapon for winning the freelance battle.

Dina Samuel

Meet Dina.

A wife and mom to a 5-year old boy named Sam.

After quitting law school, she moved to Manila to get a job.

She ended up as a call center agent.

From 9 to 5, she’d make anywhere between 250 to 300 cold calls per day.

She says every day she had to close two sales.

Otherwise it’s as if she didn’t do anything the whole shift.

This was her life for five years.

She then worked at a marketing agency in Makati where she had to get appointments booked to do sales presentations.

But after a few months, the company went bankrupt.

“Then, there’s this one person, a German, na nag message sa akin sa Linkedin inviting me for an interview sa Lazada office.”

It turned out to be for an online food delivery service, a first in the Philippines at the time.

She went to the interview.

And on the spot, she was offered to become the Director of Sales, doing “business to business” (B2B) sales presentations.

As part of her job, she met restaurant owners all over the Metro.

Things were okay up until…

“After a year or so, nagkaroon ng conflict between the managing director and the big bosses sa Europe. He resigned. Sa sobrang loyal ko sa kanya, I also resigned.”

This was only the beginning of her story.

In 2014, she got pregnant. Dina recounts it was a miracle.

She was in highschool when she discovered she had a polycystic ovary.

She had to go back and forth to the hospital for regular checkups.

Back then, she thought she would never have any chance in her lifetime to have kids of her own.

That nightmare haunted her for years, until that day…

She discovered she was having a baby.

Her husband asked her to quit working and to just focus on the pregnancy.

And so she did.

While at home, Dina made a random wish and said…

“I’m used to working and parang ang hirap ng wala akong gagawin. Parang maganda sana yung may online job. I could get work at home.”

Little did she know she would get what she asked for immediately.

Because three days later, her previous boss from the marketing agency in Makati contacted her.

He wanted to hire her again.

And that’s where it all started — her work from home adventure.

At first, she was doing okay.

But it came to a point when her client’s business became very unstable.

There were times they were left hanging, waiting for the next client to come in.

She entered the feast and famine cycle in her first ‘work from home’ stint.

A stint that ended abruptly because…

She had a sensitive pregnancy.

On May 11, Dina had to be confined in the hospital because she experienced bleeding.

She was told she would have to undergo a cesarean section if she experienced another.

It was a difficult period.

Because she gave birth to a premature baby.

It was the lowest point of her life.

Apart from Sam being born premature, he also had respiratory distress syndrome.

The doctors told them that he might not be able to make it.

“It was super crazy! Kasi parang, all my life, I never thought that I’ll become a mother. And then pinagbigyan na ko. Nandun na. Nailabas ko na.”

The thought of losing him was too painful to bear.

Sam had to stay in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for more than a month.

She still remembers the first time she saw him there.

“When I saw him, I’m lost for words. All I can remember is I’m looking at him and just telling him I love him. I was thinking and worried if he could make it. Kasi parang impossible talaga.”

Dina’s life stopped.

Everything was a blur.

She didn’t know what to do.

She broke down.

She questioned God why this happened.

Why her of all people.

She blamed herself.

Dina looked at Sam, asking herself if he was really for her.

Sam’s every breath felt like a defining moment of her life.

“I looked at him and said: “Sam, can you just open your eyes?” And he did. And that moment, I said that I will do everything to be worthy of being his mom.”

They prayed and prayed until Sam was healthy enough to be out of the NICU.

Dina looked at the hospital bill.

It reached P1,016,543.25.

And for a new mom like her who was out of work, she didn’t know how they could pay off that huge amount.

Dina felt she had no choice but to go back to Makati and look for a job.

She was so desperate that she had to bring her medals to show proof of her sales experience.

But on the third day of her new job, she quit.

It was too unbearable for Dina to leave Sam’s side.

She couldn’t accept the fact she had to be away from him to work.

So, she started exploring freelancing jobs again.

“I reached out to my previous boss, the former managing director of the online food delivery service company, and he gave me some tasks to work on. Sort of like a VA. I do cold emails, and prospecting to 5-star hotels in Germany.”

Her salary was  $300-500 per month.

Still, she went to freelancing sites to find opportunities.

One day she thought of checking Facebook.

While scrolling her newsfeed, she saw someone offering paid courses for aspiring Filipino freelancers.

Money was tight.

But Dina gave it a try.

She enrolled in the Basic WordPress Design course.

Then there was an announcement.

There was going to be a webinar with a guy named John Pagulayan.

Dina registered.

For the whole duration of the webinar, she took down notes.

At the end of the webinar, there was an invitation to sign up for his email newsletter.

She immediately signed up.

And as she received the mini-lessons from his newsletter, she started implementing them one by one.

Several weeks later, word spread there was going to be an event in Makati.

John was going to be one of the speakers.

“Isang palaisipan na naman yun if I’ll go there because I was already satisfied with the webinar. I liked what he’s introducing. I love the idea that I’m not gonna bid for projects. And, that I can charge premium rates.”

He was going to reveal the exact script he uses when talking to prospects to find out if they can work together.

It was enough for her to go to that event even if it meant leaving Sam to her mom for a day.

So, Dina went.

Immediately after reaching home, Dina opened her computer and got to work.

She implemented the things John taught.

She reached out to local businesses on Yelp.

She joined buy and sell groups on Facebook where local businesses were.

One action led to another until…

An epoxy flooring contractor from the US reached out to her.

She invited him to hop on a call.

Before the big day, she researched about his business, prepared questions and practiced the script from John.

That time, Dina decided to offer Facebook ads.

She had zero idea, zero experience and zero knowledge about it.

She just knew the possible results it can give to businesses (if done right).

Now here’s what’s funny yet also unheard of to most freelancers…

Dina was able to convince the flooring contractor to run Facebook ads by…

“It was a product of me listening to an online influencer. And just taking down (on paper) every single thing that he’s saying.”

The perfect time had come for her to use it.

On the call, she re-hashed what the online influencer had said. She was like a broken record reading those nuggets from that piece of paper.

And she believed those words.

And that also made the flooring contractor believe in her.

“It really worked. I really love every single second that I was on that call. It’s the best call I did versus my 9 years in the call center.”

It made her feel like she’s a business owner.

That she’s a problem solver.

That she’s someone who can give him results.

For Dina, the penny dropped.

She realized it’s not the services you offer that will make you stand out.

But your genuine desire to help clients achieve the results they need.

Now when the flooring contractor asked Dina how much would it cost him to hire her, Dina did something “unusual” yet again to most freelancers.

She said she’d get back to him within 24 hours with a solid marketing plan.

“To be honest, pinagtripan ko lang yung pricing na yun. I priced it for $3,500. And he said yes.”

Did she doubt her ability to deliver the results this client wanted?

No.

She just knew she could make it happen.

Dina just felt that whatever this client was doing back then, she can do better than that.

“I told him that: “I’ll do everything to put you in a better position than where you are right now.” And kung ano pa man yung gagawin ko, bahala na si Batman.

I just freaking study everything. Exert every effort to give him the result he needed.

By the third month of them working together, her client was able to buy his own trailer and a new set of equipment from the profit of the new business Dina helped pull in.

While they were both new in their respective businesses, that didn’t stop Dina from giving it her all.

She experimented and her efforts paid off.

By the 5th month, they were able to hit the client’s first $100k sales.

As they worked together, her client told her…

“Dina, I want you to expand your knowledge with the services.”

And he added her in a group consisting of 15k members — all epoxy flooring contractors.

She started adding them one by one.

Through consistent prospecting, she was able to get her second client.

One fine afternoon, she came across their hospital things again — the bills, receipts, and every record from that ordeal.

And then she saw it.

Her excel sheet where she recorded all the payments she made.

It was P1 million.

“I really cried that day. I can’t believe I was able to pay all those debts. Thanks to John’s lessons. That’s why when he offered the Tribe, it’s really a no-brainer.”

She implemented the lessons, posted and added people inside the 15k group.

It turned out one of them was an authorized distributor of epoxy products in the US.

Her second client was a customer of that guy.

She remembered sending him a series of messages. But then, she always got short replies, making it seem like he wasn’t interested.

She was seen-zoned several times.

It took several months before this prospect showed signs of interest.

But all of a sudden, her second client called:

“Hey, Dina. So Brad contacted me and he wanted me to introduce you to the team.”

Brad happened to be the distributor’s assistant.

Dina’s second client told her that if Brad happened to call, he would vouch for them.

Imagine that for a second.

Your client vouching for a prospect to convince you to work with them.

Sounds crazy, right?

While most freelancers need vouching, here’s Dina doing it the other way around.

So, Dina messaged the prospect.

They confirmed they wanted to work with her.

Now as it turned out, this client has another franchise business where he offers a full package which includes a marketing bundle.

Can you guess who will do the marketing?

That’s right.

Dina.

In a nutshell, Dina would be paid to market his clients.

That’s where the relationship started.

And also the growth of her business.

Now throughout all these years the client’s been in business, their website was never given that much attention.

So, Dina messaged him.

She told him that his website needed some TLC (tender loving care).

Her client agreed.

So, she sent him a solid action plan.

A few days later, they chatted about the plan Dina sent.

He had hesitations because the investment was no joke!

(You’ll find out the amount later.)

Dina sent over a video of herself, explaining the plan she sent.

And after watching the video, he said:

“I’m liking what I see.” 

“I really like where you going with this.” 

“Our website is absolutely horrible now 🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️” 

“I just watched the whole video. Great work.”

And here comes the big “O” — as in objection.

“But the investment is a big hit for me. It’s a lot of cash.”

Did she panic?

Hell no.

Why not?

Dina knew that once she worked on the website…

It would translate into 100X more sales – and the ‘little’ investment she was charging is nothing but a speck of dust to this business.

She believed in it so much she sent that video, along with the ‘mysterious’ huge amount.

After days of him thinking about Dina’s offer, the investment, the promise of 100X more sales, the doubts and hesitations…

Dina asked him this (which she believed nailed the deal)…

“Me: Guess my question is – how bad do you want this website to get up and running and selling?”

Client response: do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you guess how much was the investment?

$20,000 — Dina’s first biggest deal for a single website project.

It created a ripple effect in her life.

On her first anniversary inside the Tribe, she shared a quick year-view of a crazy, full-of-battles, brain-sucking and victorious freelancing journey:

  • From 4 years renting to owning their first home in Dasmarinas
  • Several insurance and investments
  • Got her Tatay an SUV and her Nanay’s ultimate kitchen makeover
  • Invested a pick-up truck for another business venture she’s itching to get
  • Prior to the Tribe, John’s newsletters alone brought her to her first million
  • A health card for her family
  • And since the Tribe opened, she’s in complete awe that her P9,995 investment to get inside the Tribe brought her to her current gross sales of P2,892,600

That’s a 288X return on investment

And that’s not all…

Now she no longer has to approach prospects first to get them as clients.

Instead she gets inquiries about her services as a result of applying John’s strategies inside the Tribe.

Plus, Dina was able to hire a team to help her.

With this, she was able to free up time to spend with her family and Sam.

Fast forward today, Dina’s team is serving 10 clients (and counting) from different states in the US doing SEO, FB ads, and content management services:

  1. A concrete resurfacing contractor based in New Zealand
  2. A flooring contractor based in Nashville TN
  3. A flooring contractor based in Phoenix TX
  4. A flooring contractor based in North Ridgeville OH
  5. A flooring contractor based in Atlanta GA
  6. A flooring contractor based in Riverton UT
  7. A pressure washing company based in Atlanta GA
  8. A flooring contractor based in King of Prussia PA
  9. A lighting company based in King of Prussia PA
  10. A flooring contractor based in Eastern Iowa

9 out of these 10 clients are paying Dina and her team a monthly retainer fee to keep her services.

What’s next?

Dina’s freelancing business is like her second baby.

It isn’t just a source of earnings, a job, or a career.

“It’s my life now. It’s who I am.”

And because of that, she came up with a bold mission she called…

THE 1K MISSION:

To strategize and design 1,000 high-converting websites that help local businesses increase their leads and sales.

“My primary goal is to DO MORE so I can GIVE MORE. I truly think that it is the only way to live this life, as an individual, as a mom, as a daughter of God.

Bottom line is TO SERVE. And I do that by helping flooring contractors tap those people who are in need of their services.”

Do More, Give More is Dina’s battlecry.

Dina can 10X her time and focus on what she does best by outsourcing the rest.

To make it in freelancing, you don’t need to be an expert.

Like Dina, you don’t need a long list of skills to impress prospects and charge higher fees.

In fact, focusing on just one skill is enough.

You can add more services in the future, but that’s for another story.

The thing is…

As long as you have the genuine desire to help clients achieve the growth they’re looking for, then you’re all good.

That’s Dina’s secret weapon.

And it can be yours too.

It’s the one thing that will make you stand out from other freelancers.

If you want to start your freelance business the right way and experience a different way of freelancing…

Then sign up for the waitlist to be notified first when the Tribe opens for new members.

Click the link below to sign up for the waitlist:

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.