From the corporate world to my stay-at-home empire.
Hello! I am Nizza Gueco. I am a licensed architect residing in the Philippines. If you would have told me 5 years ago that I will be a stay-at-home mom, I would have gotten mad at you probably spat you with a huge sermon with this prominent phrase:
“I did not study for 5 years just to stay at home!”
But, lo and behold, as fate would have it, I am now a stay-at-home mom.
It’s not as bad as you think.
Yes, it’s not as bad as you think, you know why? Because it is the best decision I have ever made. Imagine saying goodbye to traffic, overtime, and canteen lunches.
Contrary to what other people believe, saying “I work online” does not necessarily mean that a person is working for a networking company, or that it is a scam or whatever get-rich-quick or horrendous things you think of when you say online.
You know what? The people who get scammed are those who fall for get-rich-quick schemes that you see everywhere. Let me tell you this, anywhere you may go and anything you may do, you can only experience true success if you work hard for it.
Nobody was ever born successful. You must take the step and face the challenges if you want to be successful. Patience and determination will always be the key.
Don’t you ever tell me that “You can’t”
You say YOU CAN’T? I say YOU JUST DON’T WANT TO.
In fact, I love inspiring people to start freelancing.
Yes, I do, why the hell not? I am enjoying my life now, so I want to share my blessings and see as many successful people who are happy with their lives as I can.
Freelancing is not a hobby. It is a career, and if you don’t work hard for it, you will not survive. It can give you all the freedom you want while broadening your skill bank and your bank account. You can actually earn twice or even thrice (more if you are determined) of your monthly salary when you were working, in one week of freelancing.
But, sad to say, it’s not for everybody.
Here we are, I know you are used to reading books and blogs that sugar-coat everything and feed you the fluffy-bunny facts as if they are afraid the truth will break you.
But not me. What you will see here is the truth, I will not tell you what you want to hear. If you want to succeed, work hard for it. If you are looking for someone to feed you the spoon every step of the way, like apply for you, create your profile for you, construct every single reply for you? Then that is not me.
I want to see people stand up for themselves. I want to see people succeed because they stood up and took the step.
I can hold your hand through your journey, but don’t expect me to walk your path for you.
There will be bumps.
In everything we do, there will always be challenges. What defines you is not actually how many they are, but how many times you stood up and carried on.
Here is a rough peek through my life before I got to where I am now.
I Landed My First Job
16th July 2009
I will start this by telling you about my first job. Yes, I got my job before graduating. I am still finishing my thesis when I got my job as an Autocad Operator in Kbarr Unified Structural Corp. I started my story here because this is where my corporate etiquette and leadership was shaped. I firmly believe that your leadership skills will be greatly based on how your first boss is. So there, I was lucky to have a boss who loves his people so much. He’s not the greedy type that loves money more than the welfare of the people under him. What touched me most is that he believes in people. He takes jobless people around their area and give them jobs. And what a big difference that made in his career. The people he took became loyal to him, like how I became loyal to him when I saw how he leads. Because I had him as my first boss, I now handle people and I know how to value them more than money. After all, money can be earned, but lost trust cannot be earned back. MY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS MILESTONE: I learned that the most important thing is how you treat people. It’s not how much you make but how much of a blessing you are to people. In turn, they will also turn out to be more of a blessing to you and your life.
I Graduated From College
9th October 2009
As I have told you, I got a job when I was still studying. My boss even treated us out just because I graduated. Well, anyway, as you can see in the date of this milestone, I graduated in Oct. That means my batch mates graduated before me. Why? Because I failed one subject. I failed Building Tech 2. All in all, I remember 5 of my classmates including me failed that subject because the a**hat of a professor cannot own up to his mistakes. All my other classmates all went to him and asked him for a passing grade, I don’t know what they offered him or if they ever did, but they passed and I didn’t. I was not about to lower myself and offer something just because he thinks he has me in the neck. So there, my pride got in the way and I failed so I’m an Octoberian. But I stuck to my beliefs and that is what is important, right? MY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS MILESTONE: Falling is not failing. You only fail if you stop trying. You just stand up and keep on trying, as long as you know that you are sticking to your beliefs, do not let anybody stop you.
I Became An Architect
28th January 2011
I told you in the previous milestone that I graduated late. That didn’t stop me from carrying on with my goals, though. I was one of the few from my group of friends who took the board exam for architects. Deciding to take it is just a spur of the moment. One day I was at the construction site where I was assigned in Makati, two of my friends just happened to pass by because we are just in front of Don Bosco Makati where they graduated. They told me they enrolled in the review center near UST to take the board exam in January 2011. What happened next was a whirlwind, I just said “Sige, ako din”. The next thing I know, I was reviewing for it and the next is that I am in the exam room already. So, what am I getting to here? I am just saying that I did not over analyze it. I just went for it and I passed. MY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS MILESTONE: Do not overthink anything. Overanalyzing things will just stress you, and stress is your number one enemy in anything that you do.
I Landed My Second Job
4th July 2011
After taking and passing the board exam last January, I did not look for a job immediately. I originally planned to take a rest for 6 months before I start looking for a job. In this milestone, I learned that opportunities knock when you least expect it. SM Retail Inc.’s Store Planning Department emailed me and said I was scheduled for my initial interview. This was around June. Come July, I found myself working in SM. Around December, I was transferred to SM Retail’s Engineering Department where I was assigned to work on SM Aura. My stay in SM taught me about how politics work in the corporate world. I learned how to say NO when I know I am being taken advantage of. I did not become their robot. MY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS MILESTONE: I learned how to stand my ground. I learned that when you know your worth and you know your goals, you will have to stand up to people that may seem to be too scary picking a fight with. In the end, though, it will be worth it if you just focus on your personal goals and not “go with the flow”.
I Said Goodbye To The Corporate World
4th April 2013
In April 2013, I found out I was pregnant. I knew that if I wanted my baby to have a bright future, I should not stay in the corporate world. Don’t get me wrong, the corporate world is a good and secure world for many people, it’s just that, I know that it was not for me. Especially where I worked. Talent and perseverance are not keys where I was, politics and connection were. I just didn’t see any growth for me. So I made my decision and set my priorities. I chose to resign and say goodbye to the corporate world. MY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS MILESTONE: I learned how to set my priorities. If you have a longterm goal, the temporary fallback, such as having no salary for a few months, should not bother you. You know that what you are doing is for the future.
I Jumped Into Freelancing
4th June 2013
After saying goodbye to the corporate world. I stayed at home. When I was working, we did not have an internet connection at home. I didn’t dare subscribe to a monthly plan when my husband’s salary is just enough for us. So I bought a Huawei pocket wifi and loaded it up for one day at a time. I used the internet to look for ways to earn online. Back then, freelancing is not as well known as today. I had a notebook, I listed every possible site that I found and registered to all of it. I nearly filled out 2 pages if I remember correctly. Anyway, of course, Odesk was one of the frontrunners along with Freelancer.com, ELance and Guru. Google became my bestfriend. I refused to give up. I jump and went through it alone. Now, looking back, I am glad I jumped and didn’t give up. MY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS MILESTONE: Sometimes, taking the jump is the only way. Going back to something that you were used to just because you are afraid of change will just get you to where you were before. I blindly tried a new path from what I was used to, and I am thankful I did.
We Had Aljanna Silver
20th October 2013
On October 20, 2013, I received the most special gift that I could ever wish for. I gave birth to Aljanna Silver or Asti. Back then, we were not yet as stable as we have to be. I was barely making enough to add to my husband’s salary. But I stood firm in my decision that I will not go back to work. Especially now that I have Asti, I will not dare leave her just to go to work. I have nothing against the working Moms, but this is just me. MY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS MILESTONE: SOmetimes, even if you don’t expect it, the best blessings come in unlikely packages. Because I had Asti, I didn’t go back to work. I worked on my freelancing journey and never lost hope. Looking back, I am thankful for my decision.
I Started Do It Write Solutions
26th February 2014
In less than a year after I started freelancing, I was proud to say that I was doing “ok”. A lot better than when I started. I already have a steady stream of projects and I am able to say “No” to clients already. I was past the stage where I will work for anyone, no matter how small or absurd the project is just to have work. So, I was enjoying my work when I met someone who wanted to start freelancing, but no matter what he does, he can’t get hired. Then it hit me, there I was, saying NO to clients when there are people like him who are desperately looking for projects. I talked to him and offered to hire him through ELance, I accepted the excess projects and invitation in my profile and outsourced them to him. I did not get a huge cut at all, he took almost all the earnings. But I was happy, in the end of our project, I gave him 5 stars, and I was able to jumpstart his career. Not long after that, he was able to land a job, and I am proud to say that he is now a successful freelance writer. After that, I took in newbies and helped them start their careers. That is how Do It Wrie Solutions started. MY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS MILESTONE: When you focus on helping people without asking for anything in return, you will not only be a blessing to them, but they will also play a big part of your life.
1st Freelancing Milestone
4th June 2014
This day marks my first year in freelancing. All I can say is that all the hardships that I encountered when I was starting is worth it. I am so glad I never gave up. MY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS MILESTONE: Taking it one step at a time is the key. There is no shortcut to success, I believe in building a solid foundation and slowly working your way up.
2nd Freelancing Milestone
4th June 2015
Today marks my second year in freelancing. I’m happy to tell you that I have been better since I started. This just goes to prove that when you don’t stop trying and improving, you have nowhere to go but up. I fell a few times, but I stood up and carried on. MY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS MILESTONE: No matter how hard you fall, stand up if you want to succeed. I learned how important it is to build a solid foundation from the beginning, this will ensure that you won’t fall to the ground and start from scratch if anything happens.
I Became A Top-Rated Freelancer
8th August 2015
Today, I got an email that I have reached the Top Rated Program status of Upwork. I feel that all that I have been doing is finally getting something. MY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS MILESTONE: If you keep an eye on your goal and make sure that every step you take moves you closer to it, you will eventually reach it.
3rd Freelancing Milestone
4th June 2016
Today marks my third year in freelancing. I am enjoying my life more than ever and I am very thankful to the clients and friends that helped me along the way. MY TAKEAWAY FROM THIS MILESTONE: I learned how to value my clients. I learned how to “fire” a high-paying client and choose a lower paying client that encourages me to grow along with her business. True enough, my decision was right and I am able to quadruple my supposed earnings from the high paying client by growing and improving from the client I chose.
Stand up and succeed.
I hope my experience was able to inspire you that if you want anything, you just have to work for it.
Here’s to your success. Our success.