SPF 009: From P4k to P400k/mo as a Freelancer now a BPO Owner | Mike Cubos

Mike grew up poor. In fact, one of his strongest childhood memories is how his parents sometimes couldn’t afford to buy any food.

Instead, they’d have soy sauce…together with rice.

That was when Mike told himself that he wanted a better life.
Years later, he was making P400k/mo as a freelancer.

And now? He employs hundreds of Filipinos around the country giving them better lives.

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Mike Cubo’s Journey to Freelancing

  • A graduate of Mass Communication from being a self-supported person
  • Living from a very poor family who was born in Davao who have not owned a house, merely rent a house and transferred to a different place to survive
  • Been into different jobs to support himself in college
  • He got his first job as a Jollibee crew, working the day and going to school at night after work
  • He becomes a sales clerk at Gaisano Malls in Davao as his second job
  • He becomes a telemarketer at Marco Polo Hotel Waterfront which only paid by commission


His Paths after Graduated

Their family went to Cebu to look for the opportunity, but he became jobless for six months, so he decided to the telemarketing jobs to earn his living. Any kind of jobs he went through like credit card agents in HSBC and Union Bank. He also has been into selling membership cards of one of the resorts in Danao Cebu particularly Intosan Resort. He learned from selling over the phone. Life for Mike is very hard because he is a Mass Communication graduate while working this kind of job.

Unexpectedly, he got a son from a previous company which makes his life, even so, tough and earning not good enough to support as early as 20 years old. Strangely, he applied for a call center company in Cebu, Sykes Asia, but fell down going back home for he was declined due to unable to speak English fluently. He realizes that it was frustrating to response the interviewer every after 2 seconds. Davao people use Bisaya language, so when speaking English there, are social people where he’s not among them.

He helps himself to become a better person while living in Cebu. Every day he read books and novels and read them loudly with a pen in the mouth. He had found an old dirty, broken keyboard since he also had a problem in typing skills which also need for the job. After six months, he applied again the Sykes Asia and this time he got the job. He earned seven thousand a month being a TSR 1 and became a reporting analyst. He also went to Teletech as TSR 2 or L2, then at Lexmark as a Supervisor as a Tear 3 Engineer Supervisor, Trainer and Reports Analyst, Operations Manager at Concentrix. The expenses go higher so he tried in Singapore but he was failing to land a job there. He was jobless awhile, all their money were all used up, he had banks loan and that was the lowest point of Mike’s life. Then later he visualizes where his real path is.


Q&A Highlights

What motivates you most to the freelancing?

I heard oDesk and took me two months visiting the site. I had read most of the time Indian testimonies that they are earning high paying jobs at home. I was thinking “it was a scam”. I’m in a certain of safety net, like doubting that should I go to freelancing or not. I’m earning this, but how about the insurance of my kids, my car allowance, my perks? So I was at the peak point in my life. So, that started me to motivate into freelancing. I started as a Data Entry Specialist. At that time oDesk was very competitive and I do not have the experience history yet so I earned 3$ for 8 hours or something. I was very good in excel because I was a reporter analyst so I got the job again, but the rate is very low so the client and I agreed to give me five stars and will accept the offer.

How do you go over the journey with freelancing that makes you on the top-rated freelancer?

I build up my profile in ODesk. The next position that caught my attention is a high paying project management job. The pay is minimum and it’s better now, but I was worried thinking I have no experience of the job stated. When I was at Lexmark, we had a training six sigma but different to project management. So in order for me to get this job, I went to Expertrating.com and purchased the project management course. I was trained and took the exam. This time I have the certificate, then immediately applied for a job.

How much do you earn in a project management job?

There are sometimes, clients are looking for who knows the project management job and the paying is high, so they cannot afford for the certified PMP freelancer. For me, I have the certificate and that’s the bonus for them for accepting a 6$ per hour. Until I got the right client, which earns me a lot like 400 thousand a month.

Wow, that’s really a big money. How do you get that job and what position are you applying for?

I saw a job post that they are looking for a management consultant with a call center background, good in customer service, good communication and good at analysis. So it was perfect for me with all the experiences I had. I applied for the job, I created a long application letter, attached all my credentials and certificates. While waiting for a client’s response, I reviewed all the learnings I had and surprisingly, I was awarded the job. The job took me more headaches, working 60 hours a week, constantly thinking and analyzing. I must be going online always and observe EST time. Yeah, I am earning much, but no excuses and cannot have a vacation without advance permission. Until I see myself that my hair is losing, I look like have an old face. When the project was going to complete, I was earning half of it this time and 20 hours per week. Our life was easy with then I was thinking, should I stay like a management consultant?

What do you mean by that?

I was thinking again about my path. I already have all the good things. So I was asking should I stay like a management consultant or going to go into business? I was thinking a traditional business, however, it took too much capital of them. So I was contemplating that night. I got the job like a vendor management position that you will be managing call centers in India. I encountered challenges works here because this is a long-term job and I handle Indian people and it’s my job to make sure they are productive. In a long run, it came to my mind that why not have my own call center in the Philippines?

How do you make it possible to have your own call center?

I ask my client to take 10% of the jobs in India, will be here in the Philippines since I am managing all the centers in their place. Knowing Filipinos are friendly, can speak in English and we love our jobs. The client agreed by our agreement to pay per performance. So that makes possible for me to have a call center in my own without having a high capital. I really had no resources at all so I rent computers in an internet café during the night and that started my first call center business in Consolacion.

So you were saying “first”. How many call centers do have operates now and how does it grow?

My target is to build at provinces so the people will not go to the city to work. I encountered a client who has failed to pay me and it was a learning experience. So I prayed to God and I believe that when you ask, claim it that you have it. So the blessing comes. I have call centers in Consolacion, Cordova, Lahug, Mandaue, soon in Liloan, Davao and this year, in Butuan City. There’s  big client behind it and we can provide three thousand jobs next year and hopefully ten thousand in the next 3 to 4 years. So I was thinking everything has a purpose why I was jumping all those jobs before. Everything happens in my life is an essential component of where I am now.


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