Earn from home with 51Talk

Are you in between jobs? Were you forced by circumstance to leave your job to take care of your family? Are you looking for something to augment your income? Are you retired or semi-retired and looking for something meaningful to fill up some of your time?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then this post is for you.

At one blogger event in the past with a BPO, I raised a question with them. I told them that there was an untapped labor force in this country – the thousands of well-educated, English-speaking, degree holders who have opted for different reasons to quite their office jobs and take care of the family. While a majority of these are married women with small kids, there are a good number of single people who have elderly parents and even husbands who have reversed roles with their working wives. While the BPO’s executives agreed with me, they said their present constraint was the kind of communications security required of their business which working from home would not be able to fulfill. Understandable. Still, the fact remains that there is a growing untapped labor force in the home.

Now comes a chance to tap that untapped market. And bring job opportunities back to this labor force.

51Talk (pronounced FiveOneTalk) is based in China. A premier online English school, it was founded in 2011 by Huang Jia-Jia and Shu Ting. Formerly called Talk China, 51Talk is now found in Beijing and Shanghai in China, and in Metro Manila and Baguio in the Philippines. As a major economic power, China is realizing the importance of being able to communicate in English and is strongly encouraging its citizens to learn the language.

I know of several teachers who left the Philippines and now teach English in China. But why leave the country to teach English if one can do it from here? That is the edge that 51Talk gives. Their presence here definitely brings job opportunities to our homes. And why not? We are blessed with many well-educated, English-speaking Filipinos. And…the requirement for connectivity is not as stringent as those required by BPOs.

51Talk calls this Make the Choice, the company’s movement that signifies a jump to a more digital approach. Now, Filipinos are given an alternative career to office work and allowing them a chance for a more balanced family life. People can now opt to work from home — a huge relief for those who have long had to bear with hours of commute and traffic. Because the classrooms are online, educators can schedule their teaching time around their daily routine and family tasks. By cutting down commute time, online educators have more time with the family and can experience flexible working hours.

Three well-known names in their own fields were chosen to represent 51Talk as its brand ambassadors.

(L-R): DJ Delamar Arias, 51Talk COO Shu Ting, Jim Paredes, Michele Gumabao

Jim Paredes is one of them. Jim, not many people may know, is not just one of the APO Hiking Society trio, but is a teacher as well (I’ve attended one of his classes out of curiosity, actually). He is very effective in engaging his students through his classes and workshops on life and is very active on social media. Jim was very positive about 51Talk. He kept emphasizing that the Philippines is rich in English-speaking people. He considers this a source of pride for us that we are able to teach English to another country. It is also great, he says, that there are opportunities to work from home, just as you would in an office, without the commute and without the time difference (because China is in the same time zone as the Philippines).

For Michele Gumabao, an athlete, a health and wellness advocate, she was inspired to see Chinese people wanting to learn English and believes that 51Talk will allow the convergence and exchange of cultural ideas. She says that working from home gives a big opportunity to those who want to do so while taking care of their families.

And for Delamar Arias, an award-winning DJ, and a mother, she sees 51Talk as a wonderful way for mothers to earn. She says it’s important that even a stay-at-home mom can keep her self-esteem intact by earning for herself and for the family as well.

Teach — Learn — Earn

This is a great opportunity for all those who have a lot of spare time at home and meet the minimum required internet speed connectivity.

Basically what is expected of the online educators? You will be a teacher to interested Chinese students who want to learn the English language. You will be asked to evaluate your students’ performance based on established guidelines. If you have wired DSL access to the internet with a minimum speed of 1.5MBPS and a Skype ID, you’re qualified to apply.

It’s so easy. As an applicant, you just have to pass these 4 steps in order to become an online educator.

Just to give you an idea of 51Talk, here are some trivia:

* Online educators come from different educational backgrounds. 51Talk even has educators from the nursing field!

* The teaching is geared towards American English.

* There are different packages, the shortest of which is 6 months, then 1 year and 3 years. An adviser will provide a student with advice on which package is best suited for his learning goals.

* 51Talk programs are divided into General English – reading, speaking, writing; programs for exams like TOEFL; and, programs for Business. The programs are geared towards improving communication skills rather than a certificate program.

* Curriculum development team is based in both Beijing and Manila

* Training programs for educators – new applicants begin with several days of teacher training (orientation, Chinese culture, how to teach, communication/teaching skills). Months after there are other kinds of training for the educators.

* 51Talk now has over 2,000 online educators in the Philippines.

Find 51Talk online on their social media accounts:



A Flexi Career as Sun Life Financial Advisor?

Do you wonder if an 8 to 5 job is really for you?
Do you have young kids and you wish you had more time with them?
Do you wish you could earn more than your current salary?
Do you love traveling but you know it takes a lot of money to do so?

If you answered YES to any of those questions, read on because this may be an alternative career path for you.

Quick Flashback…

I quit cold turkey from a job as Vice President of a bank, with a fairly promising career path, in order to be a full-time Mom to four kids. It took a while to make the decision, primarily because I was a very driven corporate person, had never been jobless since I graduated, and I knew going back to a single income would make a dent in the family’s income stream. But I knew inside me that I did not want a job that kept me till weekends and late nights at the office while my kids were raised by yayas. I wanted to be present to them.

Some female colleagues in the bank who heard I was quitting actually wished they had my kind of option. Many of them had to work to augment the family income. It was sheer prudent spending and tight budgeting that got me through all those years without a job.

Thankfully, the internet and technology have now developed to the point where a new direction has opened up for people like me – telecommuting work. I am kept busy by blogging, article writing, advocacies and all these while being able to stay home most days, visible to my kids.

But are there options other than telecommuting work?

Of course. One can get into entrepreneurial ventures, join multilevel marketing companies, and other business endeavors but often, these do take a lot out of you at the onset due to startup pains.

There is another way that is less painful.

Several of my lady blogger friends and I met up over lunch with Christine Lee and Dar Uyco from Sun Life Financial, so they could present opportunities for you if you wish to consider becoming a Sun Life Financial Advisor.

If any of you are cringing right now, you are probably thinking this post is for someone who will be hard-selling insurance just like those who approach you in malls, go door to door, or aggressively call you up to ask to make a presentation. Before coming to this meeting, I asked precisely about this because the last thing I wanted to do was to attend a meeting where I’d be invited to be some kind of insurance agent or ‘ahente’. I personally avoid hard-selling agents and one of my pet peeves is to be accosted at a mall and be offered some kind of product.

I was assured this wasn’t the case.

Financial Advisor vs The ‘Ahente’

Thankfully, this was the first apprehension tackled by the Sun Life Financial team when we met up. The ‘ahente’ stereotype is what Sun Life wants to redefine and differentiate. With the backing of a large insurance company, they want to equip their financial advisors with professional skills — not simply selling skills — to read into the situation of each and every potential individual or company they are approaching in order to offer a product which comes close to, if not exactly to, what the client needs.

With interest rates so painfully low, simply parking money in savings or even time deposit is no longer an investment option. Inflation will easily eat up the interest gains in those products. If one is planning to build a financial nest large enough to sustain him into his senior years, then more strategic and well-placed investment choices need to be made early on.

The role of a financial advisor is important in identifying the long-term financial goals of each individual and recommending the appropriate insurance product that one can ably pay for during earning times and which will cover him/her when capacity to earn is diminished or lost. In a way, I think it is fulfilling to be in the shoes of a financial advisor because you are not earning just for yourself and your family but you are ensuring that someone else’s future is also secured.

What Sun Life Financial is offering someone interested in becoming a financial advisor (FA) are the following:

1. Monthly Kapihan sessions – give current market updates and trends to look out for;

2. Leadership programs for its Management team as opposed to Management programs. Why? Because one can have the title ‘Manager’ and yet, lack leadership skills.

3. Collaboration with the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) to create the 1st Certified Financial Planning Course (CFP) in the Insurance Industry. This program already produced 27 graduates. It will be cascaded down to its FA’s in the next 3-5 years.

Dar and Christine related how they actually never contemplated working in the insurance industry but their separate circumstances eventually led them to Sun Life Financial. They were part of the first batch that finished the CFP course in AIM. And the financial rewards that came with their efforts were more than they initially expected. Through Sun Life, they were also able to travel to foreign places that are not normally the run-of-the-mill tourist places but exotic, educational ones (think Russia, for example).

But just so reality sets in, here’s a table showing the pros and cons of this kind of work:

I think the major CON for many looking for something stable is the lack of a fixed monthly compensation. The salary scheme is purely commission-based. But, if one has the business aptitude, positive attitude, right network and hardworking, the financial rewards can actually significantly exceed a regular monthly salary.

For starters, this is a brief of the type of people they are looking for:

Male or Female, 21-35 years of age
College Graduate
Filipino/Foreigners with ACR/ICR
Driven to Succeed
Sales background not necessary
High Integrity
People Person
Financial Background a plus, but not necessary

If you are beyond the age mentioned above, no worries. Just give them a call to see if you can still apply. Not sure if your educational background is sufficient to make you a financial advisor? They do say it is a plus to have some financial background but their training programs pretty much prepare one who doesn’t have it.

Sometimes, you never know if you have it in you. Many of those with Sun Life Financial now never planned to join but somehow found their way to it and now attest to its being fulfilling and financially rewarding.

If you are in between jobs, have been a stay-at-home parent or still employed but looking for more flexi options, could this be an option for you?

Contact: Darwin Uyco, Unit Manager
Tel: (02) 719-3815

Mobile: +63917 8988926

Sun Life Financial – Red Spruce Unit
G/F E-Square Building
Ortigas Ave., Greenhills
San Juan, Metro Manila