How much do you want me to reveal?

This is going to be an unusual update since I won’t be sharing any tactics and strategies with you today. Instead, this is a personal appeal. I want to hear what YOU think.

See, something’s been bothering me a lot lately. It has to do with transparency.

As many of you know, I am a freelance writer and marketer. I’ve been freelancing online since 2003, when I was 20 years old, initially as an effort to support myself through college. It didn’t become a regular, stable thing until 2004.

Since 2013, and a little bit before that, I started helping out other Filipino freelancers. At first, informal yung attempts - someone would hear from a friend of a friend that I was freelancing online and they wanted to learn how to do it. But by March 2013 my mentoring efforts became a paid 6-week course, Pinoy500 PRO. Since then I’ve relaunched the course a couple of times, and also created a new course on negotiation (Negotiation Toolkit), which I’ve also launched twice.

The tricky thing about being a mentor or sharing knowledge with others is that the mentor should be held accountable for the advice he or she gives. Madali lang maghanap ng information online - whether it’s about freelancing, starting your own business, how to diagnose your medical symptoms, or how to train your dog. For each topic you want to learn, there are hundreds of web pages out there giving you answers.

Pero papaano natin malalaman kung reliable ba itong information na ito? Do they come from specialists who have studied that field for years? Do these specialists have practical real-world experience? For example, there are many ebooks or courses out there that teach you how to train your dog - but how many of the people who offer these courses have actually trained dogs? How many dogs have they trained? How many of those trained dogs succeeded with the training?

So that’s what’s been bothering me, especially since I don’t really like talking about myself or my personal life and experiences. As someone who is selling information and training to other people - information that’s supposed to work and help them achieve concrete goals - how much of what I teach do I actually apply? How much of it has worked for other people? How can you know that I’m really walking the walk and not just talking theory? Has freelancing made me as happy or as free as they said it would?

That’s what I want to learn from you. How transparent do you want me to be?

If I were to send you a monthly update of the details of my freelance work, or even my courses, what do you want included in those updates? For example:

  • What facts about my work, clients, or courses should I mention?
  • What doubts do you have about my character or my work as a professional, and how can I help you confirm or clear up those doubts?
  • Which details of my professional and personal life would be useful to you?

Let me know. Because if I can find a good balance between keeping my personal privacy (for safety reasons, of course) and giving you full transparency, I want to do that for you.

There are two ways of letting me know the level of transparency you want from me. 1) Hit “reply” to this update if you’re reading it via email, 2) Leave a comment on this blog post.

I look forward to hearing from you.

10 thoughts on “How much do you want me to reveal?

  1. jerome

    I think Celine you just have to be transparent the way you have said. Like what you do to your work or how do you get a client and billed them. I really want to know much of this stuff but I don’t know where to start atleast. I think the best way for you to communicate about transparency is by being in someone shoe’s who are starting to be a freelancer. I believe this would help us alot. Thanks and God bless!!

    1. Celine ( Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Jerome. It’s been a long while since I started, but I hope I can address that for you. You just gave me an idea - maybe I can give a thorough breakdown of some key stages in my career (when I started, the switch 3 years later na nag-start ako mag-charge ng premium rates, when I moved from “just writing” to “writing + marketing consulting”) and be as transparent as I can be about those earlier stages. Since ilang years na yung nakalipas, those contracts have lapsed, and although baka hindi ko pwede i-name yung businesses or clients specifically, there’s probably a way for me to describe them a bit for context.

  2. Stef Gonzaga

    I admire your willingness to be as transparent as possible. I’d be happy to reveal the same kind of freelancing information to those who’d be interested in the backstory behind The Freelance Pinoy.

    Which got me thinking, have you thought of how you’d be revealing said info to the freelancing community? A Q&A session? Individual blog posts based off on people’s responses?

    And just like that, I’m imagining you being interviewed at a press con with flashing cameras and wagging microphones.

    1. Celine ( Post author

      Honestly, I haven’t figured out the format yet or even how to do it. There are a lot of things for me to consider - for example, some of my contracts are very strict, I probably can’t elaborate on the details of some of my client’s businesses but at the same time I can link to the work I finished for them - so I have to find a healthy balance that 1) gives people useful information about my work and 2) honoring my contracts and agreements.

      So generally I’m just gauging if a more transparent approach would be useful, and what exactly it is that people are curious about.

      1. Jovell Alingod

        “…you being interviewed at a press con with flashing cameras and wagging microphones.” Love this Stef!

        @Celine, maybe just general tidbits about how you got some clients, how you maintained your relationship with them, and the like. I also avoid mentioning and linking to particular client projects in posts, even when asked in the comments section about who that client was, I didn’t mention it. I’m sure other freelancers will understand that you need to take care of the trust given to you by your own clients.

        1. Celine ( Post author

          Thanks for the tips Jovell! I’ll keep that in mind. I think with my first clients from 10 years ago, or even with some of my clients from 5 years ago, I can go deeper into describing the details (though not necessarily naming them). I wish I hung on to my archives though. I’m sure marami akong makikitang mistakes that would be worth pointing out, and I can deconstruct what happened with more objectivity.

  3. Genesis Reonico

    Hi Celine! I 100% agree about what you said. I believe that it’s very important that trainers and online coaches have proofs of their competencies and the success rate of their initiatives. Actually I am on the same boat as you are, where I also limit the information I show or display. With OJU, our marketing is really not in place yet so posting students feedbacks are not really being highlighted. Basically, we purely rely on word of mouth, which is working very well. But I guess the need to show results is really important so i might need to rethink how to present those information that are readily available.

    With regards to your transparency, I have nothing to say because I believe, the information you are sharing is more than enough proof of what you can do and have achieved. But then again, it wont hurt if you are to show and share more about your daily or weekly journey as an online professional so that your followers can be up-to-date on what is happening with you and in your industry or niche. Thanks for all the tips and learnings you have shared. Glad to be part of this loop :)

  4. Grace

    Hi Celine,

    Your email invite to this blog post was quite interesting. I believe the brave gesture of revealing more of yourself as a mentor is sincere. I’d say I can very much relate as some people simply want to “mind their own business”, or that making a bit noise about oneself (often labelled as self-promotion) becomes too uncomfortable. However, as a trainee-in-progess, I’d like to make sure each peso I spent on training is well spent on trainors that truly represent themselves as masters in his or her field. In my mind, the fees I invest spend for the “revelation” of actual work experiences of the trainor in the field and hardly in the theories involved, becasue Google can already supply me with that. As a trainee, we pay for a model that works based on real work experiences . When I first invested some P1,800 to be oriented on the VA world, I didn’t learn anything despite lavish presentations and sharing of stories of “real VAs’. I thought paying for a seminar by a seemigly popular guy is enough to get me started. That initial investment didn’t help make me more money. Until another mentor in the same field told me that “he (referring to the other guy) will never be able to walk the talk becasue he was never a VA practioner”. I didn’t understand what it meant then until recently, when I realized I wanted to learn more from different mentors in the field and willing to spend a bit. Still, I do need to consider the return on my investment. That said, and in my personal case, I truly pay mind the basic background of my trainors, both their noisy (suspicious) claims and unspoken (word-of-mouth source) claims. Especially these days, seems like almost everyone labels him or herself as some kind of mentor. Kaya parang mas makakahilo @-@

    I’m all for transparency, simply because for me it’s one foundation of trust :-)

    Thanks for the opportunity to feedback.

    1. Celine ( Post author

      Thanks for your insight, Grace! I’ve always felt that anyone who was interested in the work I did would be able to find enough proof with a bit of Googling, but your story adds to the reasons I already have for wanting to share my background in a more structured way. Like you mentioned, I do feel uncomfortable talking about my “achievements” because it might come off as too self-promotional or bragging, but I guess if I also mention my failures I can achieve a healthy balance :) Thanks again


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>