Jack Ma and 2 Unexpected Life Lessons for Online Freelancers

For the past three months, blogging and freelancer writing had been good to me. On average, I am making anywhere from 160,000 to 180,000 pesos per month. In a nutshell, I have met my immediate goals. Still, the journey is not over. Let me pause, though, to share life lessons that put online freelancers in a position to succeed.

Life Lessons

People often mistake life lessons as principles that apply only to personal life. In other words, we tend to compartmentalize philosophies.

By placing limitations, we fail to use one life lesson and apply it to the different aspects of our life.

An example I can think of is John Maxwell and the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Although he talks about being a leader, his philosophies also apply to personal life. We can say the same thing about Jack Ma. His life lessons may be about business, but we can use them in a family and other relationships or endeavors. In our community of online freelancers, we can use his wisdom to achieve success.

A life lesson is universal, but it is not for everyone. It is one thing to read and understand the context of a principle. Acquiring it as a habit is a different thing. For many people, learning is just a word in the vocabulary. Willingness to learn is something everyone states, but only a few actually do.

1. Dream

If I did not think that there is a progression as an online freelance writer, then it is not something I would do. It does not matter if I do love writing. I need the income more than spending my time on a useless activity. In fact, I had in mind the different ways I could use money that would make me happy.

A lot of young people today believe in doing the things they love. In the end, many of these people end up craving for things they could never afford. Even worse, they could not give the things that would make the people they love happy. Here, I refer to ‘things’ as the necessities and the luxuries, as well as security.

People who think of passion as love often ignore growth. Once the expenses pile up, only then do they seek better opportunities. By the time they do that, most lack the necessary preparation. As a result, dreams remain nothing more than a figment of the imagination.

“The dream is great, but the thing behind it is tough,” Jack said. “When you have a dream, then you have to think of the backside of the dream very clearly.”

1. What do you have?

2. What do you want?

3. What will you give up?

As online freelancers, most of us just go and do it, whenever we can. It means that many of us do not account for our time and schedule. We not only lack goals but also do not have a plan of action which includes improving and learning.

Granted that some do have goals and a plan of action, the third question then becomes relevant. “If you do not think about what you will give up,” says Jack. “You will not have what you want.”

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2. Complain

Time and again, we are all reminded of the value of not blaming others for shortcomings. To be honest, I had perfected the art of putting the blame on other people or circumstance. What I had not comprehended then was that it was one of the habits of failure.

“Do not complain about others,” Jack said. “Only complain about yourself. What’s the problem with myself? Can I change myself? A lot of people fail, and when they do, they complain about the others. Only those people who check themselves survive and succeed.”

Online freelancers blame and complain about many things. One is the poor pay rate offered by clients. Moreover, it is the fault of people who accept below average compensation that led to the rise of cheap clients.

At the end of the day, many of us fail to go on having a more stable source of income. Of course, there are many reasons or hindrances. Creating one excuse after another is one trait that we all are masters of.

“It’s not the competitor that’s killing you,” Jack said. “It’s the future that’s killing you.”

Regardless of the hindrances, there is always a way for us online freelancers to place ourselves in a position to succeed.

Failing to improve and add more skillsets, how then could one be deserving of the pay rate that turns a dream into reality?

Conclusion

Jack Ma is one of the entrepreneurs that I admire. I did not have the opportunity to see him in person when he visited the Philippines. So, I did the next best thing. I watched and listened to Jack share his wisdom with students of DLSU on YouTube.

Of the many things he said, I chose two of his principles that is beneficial to online freelancers. These are life lessons that are relevant to all facets of living.

Using these two life-altering philosophies, it has guided me to arrive at where I am today. It will also serve me well as I continue the journey in the world of freelancing.

Embrace these life lessons and use it for it will serve you well too in life and career.

ROBERT LEE

Content Manager, Article Writer, Blogger

5 Comments
  1. I love this quote from Jack Ma, “The dream is great, but the thing behind it is tough.” That is so true! I teach this also in my workshops.

    Passion is not enough. One can’t just pursue his/her passion. An individual needs to assess his skills and potential at the very least. Otherwise, he/she could be wasting so much time pursuing a passion wherein he/she couldn’t flourish.

    We need to be realistic also. One can attend a lot of training and seminars to pursue their passion. But these would not guarantee success. That’s why I help assess people to help them discover where would be a perfect or good niche for them given their experiences, skills, interests and many other factors.

  2. When I resigned from work, I dreamt of being a mother to my boys and being a wife to my husband. I never thought it would be too hard to be a stay at home mom.

    What am I driving at?

    My dream was simple. But when I am now living the life I dreamt of, I find it too challenging. I thought this was the life I always wanted. Or maybe you’re right; there are still things I can’t give up thus I am not fully realizing the happiness I am still dreaming of.

  3. I would love to earn more doing what I love! Somehow though I have to set aside that dream for a more realistic option so I can earn what I need to earn to provide for my kids. I only recently learned about Jack Ma and his success. It really gives you the idea that you can succeed if you try and are determined.

  4. I have to agree with Jack Ma when he said that the dream is great, but the thing behind it is tough. Of course, achieving your dream entails hard work, sacrifice, and giving up some things that are important to you. When I became a mum and refused to hire a nanny to take over childminding whilst I work away from my little man, I dreamt of being a full time mum and had to give up my job along with the earning, the opportunities, and career growth that comes with it. Heck, I even had to give up my social life, since I cannot be with my friends as much as I’d love to whilst taking care of my little one. It was serendipitous that I discovered blogging and online freelancing. I found a source of income, albeit irregular and unstable, whilst I stay home to care for my son. The dynamics as he grows old is changing, though, and I now need to find a steadier source of income so I can pitch in for the household expenses and set aside enough amount for emergency fund, and hopefully, retirement.

    I absolutely agree that his teachings is not only applicable for business, but also for personal goals especially for online freelancers like us who only have ourselves to blame if we make or break it in the online freelancing world.

  5. I have watched a lot of videos of Jack Ma, and it motivates me a lot. Just like you, he also inspires me. Dreaming is such a big word and only a few people who dare to dream and turn their dream into reality. Just like what I always tell my friends, “the poorest of all is not a man who doesn’t have one cent in his pocket, but a man who doesn’t have a dream.” It is something that drives us every day.

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