From Filipino Virtual Assistant to a Highly-paid Entrepreneur? Well, Why Not?


Being a Filipino virtual assistant, I’ve always considered myself lucky for earning more than what day jobs can offer. Not until I met John Pagulayan, The Email Guru who just doesn’t seem to look like one, with his young looks and tattooed arm (lol). To me, he’s the type who breaks conventions, from the way he looks, to the way he talks, to how he passionately loves to uplift the lives of his fellowmen.

So how did John change my perspective?

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that this Youthful Granny met him in Marv De Leon’s Mixer. Our main activity was to stand in front of everybody else, tell other attendees of our skills and what we needed help with. John had my attention when he mentioned that every Filipino creative can earn as much as a MILLION pesos a month if he had the right mindset. I became an instant fan!

After the event, I sent John a friend request (yeah, fans do that, right?). And, he accepted!

Fast forward to a couple of weeks. I just created my FB group, Writers’ Forum and Blog Sharing Group. I invited him to join, and again, he accepted.

After a week or so, he sent me a message – that he’d like to meet with a few freelancers like me to help us find better clients who pay better rates. He even promised to pay for the coffee! I must admit, I was skeptical at first. Why would someone of his stature spend time with us?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, this guy breaks conventions. He himself posted his intention on the group’s wall. (He’s such a sweetie, if you ask big-headed air at all). That meant he was really serious about the meetup.

And yes, the meetup took place at Starbucks Megamall. John, Jan (a highly paid writer) and all 18 of us. John didn’t mind the noisy vehicles nor the crowd. Then he talked.. and we all sat there, hanging on to his every word, trying to learn as much as we could, asking questions whenever.

It was a very informal setup, yes, but highly informative and fun, too. You should try attending one of TYG’s mini-meet ups!

Main Takeaways of this Filipino Virtual Assistant

This Filipino virtual assistant learned that the keys to better jobs and higher pay are:

Specializing on a certain skill and not through diversifying

A different mindset, yes, and kinda scary, but definitely makes sense. As John explained, when you specialize, clients will identify and find you if they need your specific skill. John, for example, is an Email Marketer for Product Launches. Very specific, right? So his clients are those who seek what he offers. And because he has been doing it for a long time, he has become an authority, thus commanding mind-boggling rates! And, he can do it fast too!

Stop thinking of ourselves as mere home-based employees

We are our own business, so we should start thinking like entrepreneurs. As entrepreneurs, we should be the ones to interview our clients, not the other way around. We Filipinos are very talented, and it’s about time we let the world know of our capabilities. We are world-class.

Not focusing on the hours

Many online Filipino personal assistants, including me, believe that hourly jobs are the best. Why, it’s great to have a stable income in a world that’s constantly changing, right? But this limits us in terms of pay and flexibility. Let’s say you are a writer who charges $10 per hour, but you can write fast; you can finish a 500-word article in less than an hour. So instead of moving on to the next writing task, you’ll just dilly-dally to meet the time requirement.

Profiling clients

I must admit, I’ve never done this before. Clients come and go – that’s how I thought. Now I think differently. Profiling clients and building relationships long after a project is done is one of the ways John continues to get work – at rates that I can only dream of.

Here are the audio files of the meetup. Sorry for the side comments and the extra noise. As I said, it was an informal gathering, but definitely fun! Listen and learn from John P himself….



From Other Attendees…

From Filipino Virtual Assistant to a Highly-paid Entrepreneur? Well, Why Not?
Emily Tan Cal

I learned that we should veer away from the “Employee” mindset of a freelancer and should think that we are all entrepreneurs because we sell our services to clients, and as such, we should protect their interests and make sure that what we do for them is of great value or help to them in a way that they would not see us as someone whom they employed. We should also be seen as an expert in the field that we specialize in. -Emily Tan Cal, Transcriptionist Guru


yhazIt was a breath of fresh air. I have realized that there are more opportunities apart from just getting paid from the article/s I have written – that I can increase my revenue through the strategies he shared. -Sirikit Hiyasmin Loong-Elebaran, Pro Writer, Editor


michelleWhat I took home from the Writer’s Forum and Blog Sharing group Meetup yesterday:

1) New learnings!
2) New friends
3) New mindset (to work hard on! Haha easier said than done. But definitely achievable through practice 😉)
4) Aaaand… 14 SB stickers – for free!!!
Thank you so much Mommy Liberty of The Youthful Granny VA for allowing the meetup to happen and John P., The Email Copywriter Guru (yes, the guru!) for sharing to us and making us realize how to REALLY thrive in the freelancing world! Hehe! We learned so much talaga. -Michelle Deveza Adriano, Founder, Nostalgic Momma


theaIt was an eye-opener for someone like me and what he provided was not just informative and insightful but he had also laid down a map of a freelancer’s career. -Althea Maefe Tañola Sagayno, Founder, The Quirky VA


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Grace Jimenez says:

    I hope I can join succeeding meet ups. More power!


    1. Sure!!! I’ll post it on my group’s wall if there’s any. So keep a good eye on it.


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