Interview with Charm Palomo: The Lady Whose Name Fits Her So Well

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When I reached out to this young, energetic lady to join the group I formed for Zambales virtual assistants and online entrepreneurs, I knew there was more to Charm than just her positive energy.

I was right.

And her name fits her well. She has that “charm” to engage and draw people in. That’s exactly what she did being the co-admin of Zambales Online Entrepreneurs and Virtual Assistants (ZOEVAs). It was just so innate in her to befriend people and engage with them sincerely.

But beyond that charm is something deeper. Charm’s resilience and positive attitude is simply admirable. All virtual assistants (freelancers, in general) experience setbacks and Charm is no exception. If you are a freelancer who knows what those setbacks are, you can pretty much figure out what I’m driving at. With Charm though, she can turn things around in her favor in just a matter of days. Amazing!

Find out more about Charm and in my interview with her.

TDC: How many years have you been freelancing? How did you start? Please tell us your story.

Charm: This August marked my 6th year freelancing. My journey is like a rocky mountain with lava flowing, that’s how I paint it. It wasn’t easy during my time because I only rely on myself whenever I need questions. I started at Elance and it was all thanks to my brother in law’s girlfriend who answered my question, “how can i have a profile like yours?” She amazingly showed me how she built her profile. Because I love writing so much, I poured my heart out when I did my profile. I navigated the biggest forest that I have met, PAYPAL. For a noob who is persistent to solve her way out of the forest, I successfully registered my account in one try.

The journey didn’t stop there.

For some, they need to know what are their areas of expertise, but for a mother like me who has hungry mouths to feed, I have to get a sparkling star on my Elance profile, so that employers will get attracted.

I accepted a data scraping with out knowing how will I start doing it. I asked my brother-in-law how to scrape email addresses and phone numbers of people. The only way to do it then was manually. Oh boy! I have done it for 2 weeks and guess what? I have formulated a great plan of opening a dummy account then befriend those people, add them, and ask for their numbers if it isn’t in their About page of their Facebook. Yeah! you are right that’s so hard but look I made it, and it opened many doors for me. How did I start my proposal? You see, I am a bookworm, passionate writer who always poured her heart and everything when she writes. I read the job description when I feel that I can do it, I base my proposal about the job posting on how will i rock his business good! After that data scraping, I promise to myself that I will never go back in that field again.

My second client gave me a lovely break in the industry. I helped a Russian client who was one of the staff of Kickstarter. He taught me how to use social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. He taught me how to use CRMs like Insightly. He taught me how to use WordPress and post articles there. I had a VA life with that client for over 4 years. I helped him on every product campaigns and became his multi-tasking VA from social media managing,  to wordpress creation, to product campaigns, to customer service, to content writing and CRM development. During my work with him, because I have acquired so many skills, and because of him, I updated my Elance profile with new skillsets and got three more clients! The first one was a multi platform seller (Ebay, Amazon and Tradesy seller), in which I helped in the whole operations – from product research up to order processing. The second one was from real estate, where I helped with graphic designs, craigslist posting, cold calls and many other admin tasks.

The third one was a podcaster from Japan,  where I helped the client book radio guests for her podcast and re-vamp her WordPress.

I am on hyper mode that I get only 2 hours a day sleep. I told myself, “Why sleep if you do not have money?” It became my motto for the past 6 years until I got punished. My immune system suffered. I got a very rare disease that when I got stressed I couldn’t sleep at night. Good thing there was a solution and that is to full load myself with vitamins.

All my experiences in freelancing are from clients who trained me and some are self taught.

TDC: How has freelancing changed your life?

Charm: Because of freelancing I have my own house with everything inside are all bought new. It became my bread and butter that I can’t sleep with only one client.

TDC: What kind of work do you do for your clients at the moment? Can you please tell us more about it?

Charm: I help mainly in customer service but I have other services to help a business such as social media strategist, product campaign, multiplatform general admin (Ebay, Amazon, Tradesy and Shopify), SEO off-page and onpage (white hat and backlinking), Appointment setting, Graphic design, Squarespace design and WordPress design and my most favorite, Content writing. All these skills are not purely self taught. They are earned for every client that I have encountered.

TDC: What is your typical day like as a freelancer?

Charm: My day starts at 6am because I have to cook for the kids then afterwards I started my work on my bed. Sometime I am on the sofa. I work anywhere in the house because i have to take care the little boy who is always on hyper mode.

TDC: What freelancing tips can you share to those who are just starting out?

Charm: Do not lose hope. Dig deeper into the web whenever you encountered unfamiliar words. Google is your friend while Youtube is your bestfriend. Gather data first on how to become a VA. Check out which skills you think will prosper and most importantly, if ever you landed your first paying client, be sure to treat his business with tender loving care.

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