John “Setting Freelancers On Fire” Pagulayan


“Who is apparently the man who brought me back to life. Who reignited the fire in me when I thought all there are, are dead embers and ashes.”

I used to be so lost in my career path. I knew I want to work remote, but I didn’t know how to make it work. I was doing work that had no meaning, no purpose, no growth and no goals. I was demotivated and down-hearted.

I thought about working abroad and (finally) practicing my profession (which I never did yet because I don’t see myself doing it for long term) as I want to earn for my loved ones and future family. I considered that, knowing how much I hate the thought of being away, the thought of not being be there physically when needed, the thought of how short life is and not living it with the people I care for the most. Working abroad is just against my core desires. But because I was desperately looking for something that makes me feel fulfilled and making an impact on the world, I considered doing so.

“During my depression this year (self-diagnosed) I slept 10-14 hours a day to keep the bad thoughts away.”

Occasionally, I watch courses to learn something new and watch interviews of successful freelancers from Jason Dulay‘s podcast. I saw Charm Dizon there and many others not in FMM. That’s where I saw John R Pagulayan for the first time. I was amazed someone was earning that much in this industry. (He wasn’t open for mentorship that time, and I wasn’t ready to invest in myself.) I started following his page and profile for inspiration. I do that when I learn about a freelancer that I admire.

“Wishing someday, I would pick their brains and succeed too.”

Then, I went on sleeping 12-16 hours a day. Even with Upworks‘ time tracker, in the middle of work. I never came to work on time. My shift starts at 2 pm, I clock-in at 4 pm to 6 pm. I lost so much weight skipping meals because I’d rather sleep and keep the bad thoughts away. Data entry is a bitch. I felt so sorry for myself doing a no-brainer job where it doesn’t even matter if you do it well or not. But it paid me way better than the BPO company did so I did that for 10 months.

“This self-doubt and self-esteem issues cost me all my passions. I stopped baking, I shut myself off from friends as I’d rather really sleep and keep the anxiety attacks to a minimum. I felt anhedonic. Happy is an old friend who can’t seem to find his way back to me.”

Like Jonna and Mark David, I prayed so hard during those months of turmoil.

“God, please give me back my passions. Please reveal to me your purpose for my existence. I know your plans for me are the greatest desires of my heart.”

But why isn’t anything making me excited anymore? Nothing makes me happy anymore. I try so hard to because they say happiness is a choice. But is it?

For those who personally know me, you’d see me as an intense, happy, passionate, also dramatic and expressive and hungry for adventure and learning and love. I am the girl on “extremes. ” As I always allow myself to feel. Until one day, I felt nothing.

Fast forward to October, the Freelance Movement Masterclass happened to me. For the first time in forever, I felt excited about something again. Like what I used to feel with #bakingmondays, #joyeetriestobake, and #sosillyloquy. I get up earlier than my shift, I prepare for the day (when I used to just grab some food and eat on my desk), and watch the courses from the 24 masterclasses.

I felt excited about the bonuses, that’s the major reason I want to go all in. 7 phases of a 7 figure freelancing business, tools of the trade, Upwork hacks and ways to get direct clients, proposal templates and etc.

When I finished the 7 Phases of a 7 Figure Freelance Business, I was shook. I felt cheated. I was like, “that’s it?” I felt like I read a good book from Paulo Coelho but wait, what? 7,500PHP for this pep talk? Changing the mindset? What is to change I know I want to earn good money! Dafuq.

(Would also like to mention that I lost my Data Entry job 3 days after I enrolled at the course. Yeah, God moves in mysterious ways)

Lemme refresh you with the 7 Phases so I don’t sound overreacting. (Even if I really do.)

Phase 1: Find out who I want to work with
Phase 2: Learn or develop a skill that fits into my client’s model
Phase 3: Find my audience
Phase 4: Position my offer
Phase 5: Outreach
Phase 6: Be an authority
Phase 7: Sell my services

That didn’t make sense to me. I mean, like “duh? isn’t that what I’m doing?”
And true enough it wasn’t. *hides in shame*

But some things did make sense, I got myself an interview for a CEO of a business coaching company in Australia. I used #JTL‘s method of “come from a position of help.” And amazingly, I closed that client without having to show sample work or portfolio. I now work with that amazing company and I’m learning so many things about podcasting. It doesn’t get me the cut, I was earning better doing the data entry work but yeah, right now I am doing a work I believe in. Something that will create a big social impact to the world as the podcast is created with a purpose to inspire and get downtrodden entrepreneurs get back to the game. I will keep you posted about our launch early next year. Stay tuned!

Fast forward to the Freelance Movement Masterclass 30-Day Accountability Group. This wasn’t part of the offer. The offer was 24 masterclass, bonuses, and 2 webinars.

John, The Legend, due to some frustrating circumstances turned to be a blessing to 200 freelancers, decided to man a 30-day accountability group. It started with an intro, why you enrolled, what are your fears, what are you excited about and what’s your freelancing business. (Wait what? business? I work from home, it’s no business)

I read my classmates’ Intro (as it was part of the intro task to read and comment and engage to other comments) and I was shook (again but in a different way) to see the likes of Charm Dizon, for whom I knew from the interview is earning quite well in the industry. Then, there was this Liana Girl that did her intro so well, I felt in love. I stalked her website. It’s rad. I was like, this is my classmate? I must’ve been in a really good place here.

Then there were daily tasks to comply and BOOOOOOOOOOM!

This is when the 7 Phases To a 7 Figure Freelance Business made sense. BAAAAM!

I would write about the amazing, crazy, mind-blowing 30-day journey in a different post. But to sum it up,

I meet bad-ass mentors who will go out of their way to help you with your inquiries or perhaps just chat with you about your wildest dreams and actually, push you to do it. Hello Shoden San! Or talk with you over the phone for more than 2 hours about anything under the sun freelancing and listen to your filthy drama, Hello Carlo Mercado. It still feels weird to call you like my name. Then there is Pinky Anicete, and Toni Chan and Daise Virtuadazo and Allan Ngo and Nix Iniego and Jason Dulay and Aiza Cabilan and Mamu Liberty Baldovino who would comment on your post to reach out when you need something, share with you the exact tools they use for their business, give you recommendations and even record video tutorials on how to do it, Hello Pinky, #pinkween. Niel Riehcl who helped me with tech issues with Messenger Bot, Bottbott. Ms. Ice! The lady who I will never be, very calm (I’m so intense and impulsive eh) and put together.

But more importantly, helped me a lot in clarifying my goals, niche, and target market.

It was a lengthy discussion I feel really grateful for all the time spend giving insights as well as classmate Sergio.

Then, there’s my classmates, the #babylegends. My love tank is overflowing right now. I will write another post about your “awesomeness” guys but to sum this up. I now have a great network of #babylegends with me in my freelancing journey. I posted on my Facebook wall last night,

“The greatest thing about arguing with intelligent people, is whether you win or lose, whether you’ve proven a point or be advised against it, you always, always, get away with a better insight.”

I can be pretty impulsive and intense sometimes, thank you for keeping me grounded. I needed people who can be brutally honest with me about anything. Only my best friend and my mom can do that, and they don’t get any say or idea about the things I go through in this “off the charts” career path. So I am vehemently grateful to connect with you.

Let us do our best to maintain this community of like-minded, knowledge-hungry, passionate freelancers.

“You are the very people who keep me going. You keep my fire alive.”

I hope it stays that way forever.

And then, 30 days passed by like seconds. I was low on sleep averaging 3-4 hours a day, forgetting my meals but my heart is full of hope and inspiration. And my mind is now set to succeed. No more no-brainer jobs. No more sleeping in to stay away from the insecurity and self-doubt and self-pity. My mind is better than well. My heart is happy. Even with little sleep, I am energized. I am empowered. You know what they say, Scorpio girls are so intense we actually don’t need rest. But yeah, that’s quite an exaggeration. But true enough,

I am the Content Queen on Fire and John “The Legend” Pagulayan lit the match.

From the tip of my Pedipalp to my Telson, I thank you!

Carla Joyce Aberion

Content Marketer | Freelancer | FMM Baby Legend


I swear I’m ready to let this go



“I swear I’m ready to let this go,” (by the old gods and the new, LOL)

I had repeated this several times in my head the last few weeks that I was here. So when it was time to leave, I did as quickly as I can.

“Nah! No time for tears, I’ll be back anyway” (for exit interview. LOL) But as I was moving on, I find myself looking back. This is a great place I am deserting, I am happy here.

“But it’s time to fly.”

I went back as I must. It was the same place as I left it, same vibe, same scent, the familiarity haunted me. But one thing was different.

“I do not belong here anymore..”

I couldn’t fight back my tears. For the first time in a long while, I felt alone beyond solace. I didn’t understand why it felt as if a part of me was disintegrated.

“Perhaps it was the comfort, the warmth of what is known and secure that I was uncomfortable letting go.”

It felt as though there were little fragments that was a part of me for while, left me. I went for a walk, the long waiting hours served it’s purpose. Then suddenly, an epiphany. It was as though an angel whispered a reassurance from where it’s from or fairy  sprinkled some pixie dust.

“For whatever made me feel a little broken at that moment, built me. It strengthened my wings and renewed my spirit.”

Yes. I swear I am NOW ready to let this go,” (by the old gods and the new, hihi)

-The Soliloquist



Behind the Poem: Happiness is A Choice

What inspired me to write this poem (Happiness is a Choice)
Is a guy who made my heart ecstatic.
He made me really happy. He said I deserve to be.
He is so good to be true. At times I thought I didn’t deserve him.

But JC sent me someone to remind me that,
“Ask and you shall receive”.
A friend told me that “we decide for what we deserve.”
And that “JC is ready to give us life’s greatest treasures when we’re ready”

But that isn’t the only case.

The situation is difficult, like close to “impossible”.
And it hurts. That at some point I wanted to just give it up.
Let it go, watch it fly, because it aches to fool oneself.
To be lost in a daydream. To live in a fantasy.

I have told myself that this is temporary happiness
and I should wake up from this dreaming.
Because pursuing this is like travelling a road that I know is a dead end.
But I didn’t. Because I just CAN’T.

I want it. No matter how difficult or crazy it may seem.
I desire it. So I decided, I am not giving “us” up without a goddamn fight.
HAHA! And if worse gets worst, well. This gotta be WAR. Rawr!

To mister prince charming, tattoo this in your heart and mind:
We both know this. “Things are crazy.” But jeez, love is madness!
And it’s DIFFICULT. But we don’t need easy remember?
We only need POSSIBLE.

-The Soliloquist

Photo from
Photo from