Several years ago, someone I didn’t want to work with tried to shame me into wanting to work with him by saying, “You don’t want to die known as the girl who worked from home.”
Working from home has been a growing trend in recent years, with gurus popping up like poisonous mushrooms left and right trying to teach people how to leave the corporate world and make a six-figure income being a VA or copywriter or online entrepreneur.
In recent months, working from home has exploded. Everybody now wants to work from home. I’ve had people come to me asking for opportunities since the start of the pandemic. They wanted to know how they can make money online, where they can learn to be a VA or a copywriter or a social media manager, and who will pay for the skills they’re bringing over from their day jobs.
Truth is I left the traditional work-from-home path a few years ago already. I still work at home or in a cafe, occasionally, but I don’t need to do all the stuff JobStreet and today’s hottest work-from-home gurus say you need to do.
That’s because I began working from home more than a decade ago not because I needed to or not because it was cool and certainly not because of the purported huge money people who work from home make. I did so because I refused to spend 1/6th of my life on the dirty, smelly roads of Metro Manila just to be able to work in a swanky Makati office owned by a company whose values I didn’t get. I believed there was a way to reach my goal–at that time it was to make money writing–without slowly dying inside. And there was.
In my 30s, my priorities have changed. While I still want to make money writing, I no longer want to do so while compromising on my values. For example, I refuse to work with people who only do things for the money–and I can sniff them out from a mile away. I will not write for anybody who wants me to write the same ol’ shizz everybody else is writing on the Internet. And I sure as hell will not work with anyone who views me as cheap labor.
My standards may have narrowed down my options. At least, that’s what you’ll believe if you listen to every single person out there telling you you need to do this and that and, oh, if you don’t do it then perhaps you’re not ready for success just yet. But 12 years ago, I made my decision to work from home as a freelance writer and stuck to it despite practically everyone except for my parents questioning my decision. It didn’t matter that no one else was doing it. It was the choice that felt right to me at that time.
There was nobody to teach me SEO or email marketing or copywriting or WordPress. I learned it all on my own. I fumbled my way through the dark, while later paying up to thousands of dollars for the very expensive occasional Internet marketing course with content that’s no longer relevant in 2020. In a way, I’m glad there were no gurus to tell me what to do when I was just starting out because it made it so much easier to stick to what I know was true and see things through.
Now, everyone has suddenly become a work-from-home expert overnight, and it’s gotten harder to shut out the multiple voices on social media trying to entice people with promises of making a lot of money online. In my 20s, I was blessed with the opportunity to make a good amount of money (at least for someone in her 20s) by working online. But more than that, I was given the opportunity early in life to realize that working for money without caring for anything else about the work that you do is the easiest way to kill your soul. Not to mention it’s also the fastest way to lose all that money you just made.
So here’s my advice to you, if you’re thinking of making money as a freelancer, work-from-home employee, or online entrepreneur:
Follow your damn heart and stick to it!
There are so many ways to make money online that it can be so confusing for the beginner. You can write. You can be a VA. You can build websites. You can teach English. You can be an Instagram influencer. You can make videos for YouTube. You can sell other people’s products for affiliate commissions. You can put up ads on your blog. You can become a coach. You can build a course. You can grow a membership site. You can sell blueberry cheesecake. You can sell pretty much anything on the Internet.
Pick one thing that you actually want to do and STICK TO IT. Don’t get swayed by people trying to convince you about their step-by-step scientifically proven system or script or template for making money online–there will be plenty of them. Most of the money I made I made without having followed any of those systems, even unknowingly breaking so many supposed rules and doing things people say I’m not supposed to do. Sure, if you’re completely new to Internet marketing, you need to learn the basics of how it works. But you don’t need to learn anybody’s system for making money online. That’s their system, not yours.
Every single online marketing method works, whether it’s SEO or social media marketing or email marketing or video marketing or Pinterest marketing or Messenger chatbots. You only have to choose the method that works for you. And then everything else you need to know, you already do.
- That to be relevant, you have to provide something that people need.
- That to get clients or employers you love, you simply have to connect with them by being who you truly are.
- That to keep clients or employers you love, you have to love the work that you do and let that love shine through.
- That you are valuable, worthy, and deserving just as you are and no flashy gimmicks or marketing hype can somehow make you better than who you already are.
- That money shows up when you don’t really care if it does. Irony of all ironies, but the more you try so hard to make money, the harder it shows up.
This is basically how I breezed through my 20s as a successful freelance writer making more money than most people. This is also how I graduated from college with honors from the best university in the country without trying. And this is how I’m in a fun, loving, and spiritually fulfilling relationship with someone who inspires me to become even better.
By giving it my best.
Doing it for love.
And not expecting a reward in the end.
That’s all you really need to do.
You can start with your brand new work-from-home career. Or you can ignore my advice and let yourself be pulled in a hundred different directions at once trying to listen to all the cool kids of Internet marketing. Maybe, in another decade from now, people will be forced yet again to veer off the traditional online marketing trail as they’re being forced right now to leave their traditional work settings. Maybe, by that time, they’ll be more open to taking the path of working from the heart, not just of working from home. But–who knows?–I’d probably have forged another of my own paths by then. When will you?