Are you stressed with your current career path? How about this, are you tired of the long commutes? Even better, are you both stressed with your work, long commute hours and also a parent who wishes to always be there for your child? I believe you should dive into the world of freelancing.
Freelancing is a fulfilling career that could give you the ability to uproot at any time you desire. It could change your life and provide you the lifestyles you always dreamt of even if you are a mom or dad with kids always needing constant attention, this career could enable the improbable. Don’t believe me? Check out my interview with Belle Betsy Aguilar and see how she was able to escape the corporate world while having a child at the same time, and succeed in achieving her dream.
Who you are and what do you do?
I’m Belle, I’m a freelance graphic designer, so what a Graphic Designer does is mostly designing logos, different flier’s social media post, more on graphics, also I’m doing blogs which is MommyBellePH and with my family I also do vlogs which is the awesome family time, I have a lot of time to do that, aside from that what else ba, I also do photography before, so as a freelancer there are a lot of opportunities to do.
Bring us back to your life before freelancing
During the time I graduated back in 2012 with a BSBA Marketing and Advertising. During that time, I was struggling on what I wanted to do, which company I want to work at. My friends wanted to do after graduating and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I wanted to do a lot, I wanted to start a business, do my photography, but if I do that I might not make money immediately. During the time I was lost. So when I graduated I just applied, and my first job was in HR, wasn’t sure what to do, but I had training. I stayed for a while, but I didn’t stay long, because I went to work for the sake of money, but I didn’t enjoy what I was doing. I was just dragging myself to work. My commute time was around 2 hours and I was like going home to sleep and didn’t have time for myself, and I didn’t like that, so I left the job, and applied and applied and ended up in a Call center industry. I wasn’t planning to work, I just tried applying for fun to see if I passed or not, and I made it so that was my first call center experience at Convergy’s. After that I wanted to excel and look for better opportunities that paid well. When I got into another company with better work I decided to take it seriously, but all of a sudden the account closed when I wanted to push through with it. I realised it wasn’t consistent, so I decided to look at another company. When I going to focus on looking for work, I got pregnant with Zelda, that was back in 2016. I didn’t work for around 4 to 5 months, so it was a change of lifestyle. I was almost always out, never home, and all of a sudden my lifestyle changed where I’m mostly at home. So I decided I wanted to work from home, but before then I still landed an office work job.
The very last work I was at before freelancing was being an IT Analyst at an IT company, doing troubleshooting, etc. So I did IT Analyst, and doing my maternity leave, I was thinking if I should stop and just focus on freelancing, because I didn’t want to leave my first born just to go back to work. So I really thought about it, because sayang yung pay, benefits and secured job. So I talked to my Husband Abe about it. He said if I wanted to work from home, it’s okay so we can all my together and look after Zelda, but if you wanted to go back to work it’s okay it’s up to you, but I suggest you pursue your Graphic Design since you’re good at that, so that’s what I did. I followed my heart, I followed what my husband suggested, so now I’m a freelancer.
How did you know about the idea of working from home?
When I was in college, I didn’t want to work in a company, I wanted to be my own boss. So the time when I was in my maternity leave and really wanted to work from home, I used Facebook as my instrument. I looked for and joined different groups about freelancing. I found FHMoms, online freelancer, etc. So I joined those groups that would help me as a freelancer.
When did you start and what are the first steps that you did?
First thing I did was to create my resume, but what I suggest is to build your portfolio first, because what I noticed when I was starting, every time I send my resume, there would be a follow-up saying “Can I see your portfolio? Can I see your website?” Because no matter how good your resume is, if you can’t show them how good you are, your designs, your skills using your portfolio, you most likely would not get the job, grab the client.
If you’re starting din, and you want to be a Graphic Designer, or Social Media Manager, or anything you want to be, I suggest you join different groups first, from there, you may have no idea what you want to do first, but there are a lot of life trainings, or ideas from the people in the community, you can watch live tutorials, etc. And if you have an idea with what you want to do, like if you want to be a Graphic Designer, then look for inspiration. Look for graphic designers, you’ll see them in groups, so look for designers you want to follow. Once you have inspiration, you can now build your portfolio, you can start with quotes, post on FB, post on your page. It’s a lot easier now these days, because the resources are there now.
Landing your first client
My first client was under an agency, it was SM (Shoe Mart), so I designed for SM under an agency, but it was just a contract, so I’m not sure if it was considered full-time, but it was long hours. Took me a while to get that work, because a lot of applications, rejections, etc. So I realised every time I send my application, I think if there is something wrong with what I send, is it the design, the cover letter, etc.
Do you think it is easier to get a client now compared before?
Compared to before, yes, because I’m able to build my portfolio now. Though it may take some time to get a client, but just keep on designing. But right now it’s easier to get clients now, because I have something to show for now.
What are the things that you wished you knew when you were just starting?
At that time, I wish I was more focused, not doubting myself if I could do it, because back then I was thinking that I couldn’t do it, the mentality, but what I did for myself is I kept applying, because it’s free! I don’t have to spend on commuting, or stuck in traffic, so just keep on applying and applying.
What advice can you give to aspiring freelancers
To all aspiring freelancers, I suggest you keep moving forward and believe in yourself, because you know in yourself if you want to do this, then go for it. Never stop learning, just keep on reading, make use of your tools, use FB, Instagram, twitter, etc. Instead of those chit chatting waste time like back in the days, join different groups where you can learn and grow. If we can use our Social Media correctly, there’s a lot we can learn.
Your top 3 favorite tool
Will you consider going back to a corporate job and stop working from home?
No. I would rather stay as a freelancer and work from home, because I realised when I was working in the corporate world, I didn’t have time for myself and for my family, compared to us now, even if the house is messy when I work or when the babies cry, the feeling is different, because now I feel contented since I’m here with my kids, my family. I’m here for them as they grow. I get to be present for my babies. Also freelancing gave me the opportunity, freedom and time to get into blogging, attend events, attend my kid’s events. There’s a lot you can do as a freelancer, and your opportunities are not limited, you have a wide variety of opportunities that you can choose from and you can do it all at the same time as long as you’re motivated and you’re focused on what you’re doing, and you enjoy what you do.
Belle Betsy Aguilar is a freelance Graphic Designer super momma. She is a breastfeeding advocate, and is passionate about making the lives of her clients happier through her designs which reflect her heart and personality. Belle is happy with what she does and always finds the joy in her clients happiness.
To find out more about Belle, head to:
Referenced in the Show
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If you’ve got a question about this interview or want to leave us some inbox love, you can email us at [email protected]. Or, you can always find Hazel hanging out in her awesome community, the Freelance to Thrive: Mastermind Group for Filipino Freelancers.
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