About Phoebe Nicolas

Phoebe Nicolas loves to travel and write about how to keep up with work-travel lifestyle. She started Work Hard and Wander in May 2018 and she’s been writing about working remotely as well as her travel experiences.

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My Work Story

My very first job was back in 2004 when I was only 19 years old, as a telemarketer for a credit card company. At that time, the call center industry was only starting to boom in the Philippines. It was commission based, so I had to strive hard to get paid. I’ve worked there for two years with hopes that I would gain enough experience handling sales calls.

Then a co-worker encouraged me to apply at a night shift call center. I remember my first night was a torture as I tried to fight my sleepiness while I was inside the training room. The job was to conduct a survey on the phone and be able to transfer the call to a verifier based in the USA who would try to sell some sort of insurance to the customer. Sometimes they would also ask us to sell an online yellow page listing. Four months after, I resigned and transferred to another call center of a Canadian company selling memberships and credit protection. Sales work became a piece of cake for me.

After a year and a half of nightshifts work, my body could not take it anymore and my social life suffered tremendously. Then I discovered an Australian Telco that offers a day job for experienced call center agents. Luckily, I got hired and this was the beginning of my customer service journey. From sales and telemarketing outbound calls, I switched to inbound to help people with their billing problems, not-working internet and tons of service complaints.

Two years after that, I applied for a different position at the same company and so I was transferred to the corporate department as an administrative support for the business development managers in Australia. Another two years passed and I was promoted as an account manager handling small to medium size businesses. My career as an account manager lasted for 6 years. I received two service excellence awards, countless monthly recognition for being the highest sales generator and lots of commendations from different clients.

On top of that full-time job, I also started hustling as a part-time virtual assistant through Upwork (formerly oDesk), a freelancing platform where businesses and independent professionals connect and work together remotely. My part-time freelancing gigs started in July 2012; I would work for 2-3 hours a day after my day job on weekdays and about 5-6 hours on weekends. I maintain a hireable profile and became one of the top-rated freelancers. After, 20+ clients and various projects, I’ve met my now employer, Daniel Cole, from United Kingdom. I’ve worked for him as a virtual assistant doing mostly research, data entry and other admin tasks.

Move forward to December 2017, Daniel offered me a full-time position (100% remote job). He gave me enough time to think it through. After much contemplation, I accepted the offer and started to work for him as basically his right hand helping him to grow his business. Working for Daniel is really a blessing, not only because of the salary, but also mainly because my flexible working hours and the remote nature of my job gives me the freedom to be location independent. So with his help, I started Work Hard and Wander in May 2018 and started blogging about my experiences as a remote worker and how to manage a work-travel lifestyle.

Currently, I am working for him as his project manager for the digital marketing side of his business. I am also a niche site manager looking after the affiliate strategies and overseeing the work of our other remote employees across the Philippines.

My Personal Story

I grew up in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila. My mother was a house wife while my father worked in factories and securities. We were underprivileged and we lived at my grandparent’s house. My grandparents helped us a lot and treated us like their own children, God I miss them so much. Despite the hardships growing up, my parents especially my mother did everything she could to give us a decent upbringing. Unfortunately, my mother died at the age of 67 and that was the saddest part of my life.

I have four brothers and one sister. I’m the fifth amongst the six children. All of my siblings are married and have their own families now so in total, I have about 20+ nephews and nieces combined, so yes Christmas is always expensive for me haha. But although I have a big family, I chose to live by myself to break the stereotype of Filipino extended family culture. I also like my own space where I can be at peace and live independently.

I would not consider myself as a hobby person, but when I was young, I liked drawings and arts. Now I’m not so sure if I still have that talent. But what I really love now is travelling, so I quit my office based day job as I wanted to travel more and experience different cultures and lifestyle, discover new things or just simply wander where my feet take me. But of course still earn money at the same time.

When I’m not travelling, I work mostly from home in my most comfortable clothes with messy hair. I hang out with my friends when boredom strikes. I also like movies, stand-up comedies and I binge-watch series on Netflix when I’m not too busy. I like to read sometimes, my favourite authors are Sophie Kinsella and Mitch Albom. I love cinnamon rolls, I don’t eat avocado and I think coffee and beer are the greatest inventions of all time. I am a Virgo and maybe that has something to do with my hyper-aware and perfectionist attitude.

Places I’ve been to

So far, I’ve been to seven countries in Asia when I started working remotely and I’m aiming to explore many more in the near future with possibility of living abroad. I love discovering new food, museums, history and of course meeting new people from different walks of life.

  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Japan
  • Thailand (twice)
  • Cambodia (thrice)
  • Vietnam (twice)
  • China

My Bucket List

  • Travel around Europe, so obtaining a Schengen visa
  • Witness the Northern Lights
  • Visit Australia
  • Road trip across USA
  • See the Royal family in UK
  • Go on a wildlife safari
  • Explore South America
  • Join a tour in Jerusalem
  • Live in different countries for 6 months to 1 year at a time
  • Visit all Eight Wonders of the World (so far I’ve been to one, The Great Wall of China so seven to go)
  • Spend a week or two in each of the major “global” cities (I’ve been to Tokyo, so my targets now are New York, Paris, and London)
  • Visit the lost city of Pompei
  • Be kissed under the Eifel Tower (hahaha, I can be hopeless romantic too)
  • Spend new year’s eve in Japan
  • Explore the beautiful places in Switzerland
  • Travel to New Zealand
  • Take a yoga class in Sri Lanka
  • Learn to cook a Thai dish like an expert
  • Become fluent in a new language
  • Conquer a lifelong fear
  • Adopt a rescue animal
  • Try an extreme sport
  • Take out a life insurance policy
  • Help a charity for the elderly and children regularly
  • Work on giving up any negative feelings and thoughts I’ve been holding on to
  • Totally quit smoking and stop getting back to it when I am stressed
  • Find a fitness routine that works for me and to stick to it
  • Reach my goal weight
  • Compliment myself every day in the mirror
  • Have a small tattoo to commemorate my mom
  • Reach expert level in my field
  • Master a new work-related skill each year
  • Make my website successful and start earning from affiliates
  • Be a successful online entrepreneur
  • Make a video that goes viral
  • See Ellen De Generes in person
  • Change a life of someone (directly or indirectly)
  • Become a millionaire!