Dubai, United Arab Emirates: A licensed architect who has stopped working abroad and transitioned to freelancing online, where she now makes up to seven figures a month, said merely “chatting with prospects and making an offer is not enough” to close a deal.
“It sounds too simple, but it’s what so many entrepreneurs skip over when trying to book clients,” said Joannes Paula “JP” Espino, who obtained her degree in architecture from the University of Sto. Tomas (UST), and a degree in the teaching profession from the Philippine Normal University (PNU).
“Too often as entrepreneurs, we reach out to prospects, have a little small talk, and bam! Go on and on about ourselves and our services without building a real relationship first.
“That doesn’t work. Our prospects want to feel understood and validated,” said Espino.
Espino was recently resource speaker at the ongoing weekly, free Zoom livestream workshop series in Dubai dubbed, “Opportunity for Filipino Workers” (OFF Workers), where she discussed how to establish an effective online presence through social media.
Espino gave tips on how to post a more effective social media content that attracts the target market for OFWs who also want to transition and use social media to promote their businesses and attract more clients.
“Basically, my advice to OFWs jumping into social media marketing is do their homework and understand their target market, know the needs and how to fill the gap through their products or services,” she said.
“They want to feel that you not only care about where they are in their business journey, but that you actually hear where they want to go and show belief that they can get there with your help.
“Your prospects are ready to book with you, they just want to speak to a real person. Give them that,” she added.
A licensed architect, Espino’s online journey began when she was not paid her year’s salary while working in Brunei.
“When I was an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), I had a bad experience with my employer, whereas he didn’t pay my salary for a full year,” Espino said.
“Because of that,” she added, “I was forced to file a case against him.”
But unknown to her at the time, filing a case against her employer meant she could not take on another job because of her employment visa, which could not be nullified while the matter remains pending arbitration. Espino also could not go home to the Philippines while the case was being held.
“Because of that, the only way I could earn was to work online, which was what I did. It (labor case) turned out to be a blessing in disguise as that (freelancing) became my turning point. From earning just $5 per project (during the early days of freelancing online), I have now transitioned to multiple business opportunities that generate up to seven figures a month (in pesos),” Espino said.
The employer eventually agreed to settle out of court. “I got what I sued him for,” Espino said.
Espino, who fondly calls herself “The Digital Architect,” now helps other architects transition their business to virtual operations.
The OFF Workers live stream is being held every Friday and Sunday starting at 1pm UAE time. This has been slated to culminate in a week-long trade fair in October this year, organizers said.
Nineteen sessions, with each facilitated by 19 resource people, will be held. The topics range from entrepreneurship, as well as e-Commerce, personal and visual branding; to sales and marketing; Facebook ads and e-mail marketing and website development, among others.
The first sessions kicked off last week June 18.
Registration is free at https://bit.ly/3glv6iG
Visit https://www.facebook.com/OFFWonline for more information