About two years ago we posted our first interview with our WorkGenius Genius Bianca Tolentino. She has been a reliable part of the WorkGenius workforce for many years now. But what has changed within the last two years? How has Bianca developed? How did her prior experience in freelancing help her through COVID? In the following article, Bianca shares her experience and valuable tips for other students that are looking to work remotely!
Hello! My name is Bianca Tolentino and I am a freelancer Genius on WorkGenius. As a freelancer, I specialize in SEO copywriting, data entry, and voice talent. On WorkGenius, I have worked mostly in copywriting articles. I am currently a post-baccalaureate student in California State University, Long Beach in their Single Subject Credential program in English. I am an immigrant from the Philippines and my mom and three siblings moved here to the United States in 2006.
During my undergraduate years, I was a very busy body. I was an English Education undergraduate, a minor in theatre and active in a student-run theatre company, I tutored and taught middle school students in writing classes, and I took up odd jobs on WorkGenius and other freelancing platforms. I felt that my life was a whirlwind, but I also love being busy. My days were always jam-packed with activities, and I always stayed busy to help support myself and my family. Because my mom is a single mother, I knew I wanted to contribute to my family’s wellbeing by working as soon as possible.
I turned to freelancing as a viable opportunity for me to earn money doing things I was good at- writing and typing quickly. The last time I interviewed with WorkGenius, I talked about how I wasn’t interested in pursuing copywriting as a career. I still do not have it in mind as a primary career, but after working on WorkGenius for the past few years, I can see that I can keep up with my copywriting on the side and I can carry over those skills no matter where I go professionally.
Freelancing is not an easy gig to pick-up at first as there can be an intimidating learning curve. When I first started, I signed up with about five platforms and jumped between all five just to get a few jobs here and there. I didn’t know how to advertise myself because I was an insecure college sophomore, and it was difficult talking with clients. It was a chaotic time and it was definitely deterring me from taking care of myself as I balanced taking care of my family and my studies. Thankfully, after a few months, I was able to narrow down the platformes I worked on to make sure that I was working smarter, not harder.
Platformes like WorkGenius make it easy for students to get into the world of freelancing without having to face the slews of job boards that other websites put out. You also do not have to worry about branding yourself, advertising, or reaching out to clients. Simply accept jobs you can do, perform the task well, and you can keep succeeding. It did not matter who you are- what mattered was what you can do.
When COVID-19 hit, many parts of my life went into flux. As a substitute teacher, all of my jobs for the rest of the year were canceled, and a lot of my steady income was cut off from me. It was difficult to claim unemployment benefits because of my status as a substitute teacher. My family had a scare that my immunocompromised sister was diagnosed with COVID. On top of that, I still wanted to make sure I was on top of my classes and doing well.
One of the biggest benefits that I had going into the pandemic was that I already familiar with the remote work market. With three years of freelancing under my belt, I knew how to swing it and make sure that I could get jobs. I had the portfolio to back me up and get work, and I was ahead of the curve because of the skills that I had developed over the years. With these benefits, I felt secure that even when the pandemic was happening, I could still support my family.
One of the most valuable skills that I learned from freelancing is self-efficacy. Freelancing is just like any other job: it is not motivated by inspiration and passion alone. I have always believed that discipline is a skill, not a talent, and that anyone can develop it to make it come more naturally. I first had to make sure I kept up a regimen that would keep me looking for jobs that fit my schedule and would get me money to hit my goals for each month. When working on a job, I know that I have to keep myself disciplined to the client’s timeline. Most importantly, even when I receive revisions or critical feedback, I take it in stride and use it to keep improving.
For those who are currently studying, especially under strenuous circumstances and worried about taking care of themselves, I want to impart a few tips for you to help take care of yourself while also reaching your full potential. First, make sure that you can fit your classwork and jobs all into one schedule. It can help if you start scheduling what days are reserved for more academic work and which days are for freelancing. Since you will be in front of the computer for a while, do not forget to take breaks and rest your eyes from the screen. Also, since a lot of your tasks these days will be on the computer, from social interaction to school to freelancing, keep yourself to one task at a time. It will help you separate work and academic time from personal time. Respect the work that you do by giving it the attention it deserves and respect yourself by taking care of your personal and social needs.
I am grateful for the opportunities that WorkGenius has given me. Moving forward, I will continue doing remote work because of its convenience, accessibility, and utility in a time where remote work is on the rise. I know my value as an efficient worker that respects my work and my skills will only help me to move forward. I am looking forward to facing the challenges of this upcoming semester, and I hope that my experience can help someone else who may be just starting in freelancing.