How To Succeed as an Upwork Freelancer with Catherine Quiambao

How To Succeed as an Upwork Freelancer

Are you looking for a way to succeed as an Upwork freelancer?

Look no further. This week, I interviewed Catherine Quiambao (Founder of Freelancing Philippines) where she’ll share:

  • important tips on how to work as a successful Upwork freelancer
  • her success story in overcoming a rare disorder to becoming a successful freelancer
  • her journey to transitioning from a Virtual Assistant to an Online Marketing Manager

Catherine is an Upworker herself. Her 11-year marketing experience is a mix of brand management in local companies and marketing consultancy for US and Australian clients.

In 2011, her career was put to a halt due to health reasons. But a year after, she bounced back and dipped her feet in the world of freelancing. Her online career flourished since then. oDesk featured her success story here.

Here’s my interview with Catherine…

How did you get started in freelancing? What’s your story? 🙂

Freelancing was something I didn’t plan. In 2011, I was working as a Brand Manager in a local FMCG when I was struck with a rare auto-immune system disorder called Guillain Barre Syndrome. It left me paralyzed from head down. Prognosis was good but the recovery period took a while. I had to endure one year of extensive rehab just to learn how to walk again. It cost me my job which was understandable.

As time progressed, I regained muscle control enough to do limited physical activity. But I wasn’t yet strong enough to return to a full-time job. That was when a friend suggested that I check out oDesk (now Upwork).

It was June of 2012 when I decided to create an account and profile. I took a couple of tests to make sure I hit the maximum job application quota and began applying non-stop. For one week, I created cover letters, applied daily until I maxed out the limit.

I wasn’t sure which job category to pursue but after reviewing several ads, I felt I could do justice to a virtual assistant job. I started applying for Virtual Assistant jobs. In the absence of any oDesk hours, I banked on my 8-year corporate experience to win clients. After one week, I was fortunate to get two part time contracts and two weeks after, started a 3rd one.

As soon as I got the hang of working remotely, I fixed my mind into building my marketing career in oDesk.

How would you define “online freelancing” in simple terms?

Offering your skills and services remotely to a global clientele 🙂 I always say I love freelancing simply because the opportunities are endless!

Do you classify the work that you do as virtual assistance? Yes or No. Why?

At the onset of my online career, I was offering virtual assistance to my clients. A VA is typically expected to offer a wide range of skills. So, it was important then that I was adept to various tools, processes, and software with superb organization skills.

Right now, I work as an Online Marketing Manager for a startup. In a way, it still is virtual given the nature of the set up. However, since I now focus on a specific niche, I feel like my role is more a consultant in nature. Like how it is when local companies temporarily engages in a consultant’s services. I hope that makes sense.

What’s your top 5 tips in working as a freelancer in Upwork?

  • In the absence of any Upwork hours, bank on your corporate or university experience to win clients.
  • Create a custom and hard to resist Cover Letter that will highlight your skills and why you are fit for the job. (#ProTip: watch out for hidden requirements like catch phrases you need to include on your application)
  • If you’re not confident with your skills, then learn a new one! There are tons of resources, blogs and webinars online. Or if you are already working as a freelancer, keep updated and enhance your skills. Never stop learning!
  • Once you get a client, maintain a good track record to gain great feedback that will highlight your profile. My friend, Roel Manarang once said “always under-promise, but over-deliver!”
  • Expand your network to get more referrals. Apart from keeping a good relationship with your old clients, make it a habit to network with your co-freelancers. Both are great sources of client referral!

Watch Freelancing Ph’s video webinar for more practical tips on “How to Win Your First Upwork Contract” –  click here…

Where can people find you? What services do you offer?

I’m a Marketing Strategist. I work with startups, publishers, retailers and manufacturers. My work typically starts with a market analysis, business review and ideation of a marketing plan. Other clients also get my services to execute the campaigns I recommended.

On top of my client work, I founded, a web-based platform aimed to help aspiring and seasoned freelancers alike through webinars and events. I also lead an active community of freelancers to further the learning process via a forum.

They can find me on:

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Gwenn Doria

Founder and Author at Virtual Success Avenue
Hey there, awesome! I started this blog because I understand the challenges of starting out and thriving as a professional working from home. My aim is to empower aspiring and fellow Virtual Assistants by sharing tips, inspiring stories and lessons learned about the Virtual Assistant industry. Get to know me more by visiting the "About Me" page. 🙂 Cheers!