Hi, My name is Ayman Sarosh and I am a freelancer, Consultant, and advocate of Women’s Empowerment through Freelancing, all while working from the comfort of my home, managing two kids, house chores, and social responsibilities.
Today, I am going to share my story as I have never done before, so please stay put. This is a story of a Virtual Assistant, who started at $2.5/hr in 2010 and worked all the way through $20/hr, for some of the premium clients, like “Legal Head of World’s biggest travel Corporation”, “Amazon Guru with 8 multi-million dollar stores”, “Caribbean’s Mega Annual Event” and right now as a full-time employee for a US company having 100+ employee count from 10 countries, and I am the only Pakistani serving them. I am humbled to manage multiple six figures clients while staying in the Virtual Assistance category, however, I did learn a lot of tools, techniques, and skills along the way (lesson 1: Break the Barriers).
Let me tell you from the start. I was born, raised, and lived till date, in Islamabad, and throughout my academic career, I was the Straight-A grade student, you know, the kind of kid your parents are quite satisfied from, that she will end up good education-wise and eventually land a great job if needed. However, this never happened, it was never destined to happen (lesson 2: Keep the faith).
In 2004, the day I was supposed to go and give the medical entrance test, my father passed away due to cardiac arrest. Our lives literally turned upside down. After six months, I opted for the first available option and got admission in COMSATS for BS Hons. Long story short, I got a job right after the degree in a multinational firm and worked there for 2 years (Don’t be in awe, the JD was not at all in alignment with my degree) (lesson 3: Never fret, you always learn something no matter whatever the work or environment is).
But as it’s rightly said that, due to lack of career counseling, we hardly know which decisions to make and which directions to choose. So I left the corporate job and got enrolled in M.Phil from Quaid-i-Azam University.
This is the turning point of my life people! when after leaving a job, I started a degree but I wanted to have a financial stream as well. I searched a lot, got scammed even but finally stumbled upon Upwork (back then it was ODesk) in 2010.
When I started, no one in my surrounding was doing it, so I didn’t know whom to ask, which skills to offer, or even that the online work I am doing is called freelancing. I am a self-taught freelancer who started off with the basic skills of a V.A (Virtual Assistant) for $2.5/hr. Back then, I didn’t even know how to withdraw the funds so I literally went through every forum and Upwork group to see how to make this work. So finally I ended up with Payoneer and got the actual affirmation of freelancing when I received $250 in my account (lesson no. 4: You gain nothing if you don’t try).
But this is not how my freelancing graph went upwards, I completely left it when I got married in 2013, as per the societal rules and my own mindset of getting a certified conventional BAHU tag. However, with time, I started finding myself kind of depressed. This totally happened due to lack of purpose, despite performing house chores and taking care of my daughter. So yes, I came back to freelancing again in 2016. This time, with a much clearer vision, knowing that I have other responsibilities too.
As an operations specialist, I started earning quite well and managing work-life balance pretty great, but I guess this was not it. The year 2019 started with lots of turmoils and hardships for my family but as I said keep the faith, so ALLAH did reward me in the form of a prestigious award “Freelancer of the Year 2019” by Payoneer. I am super honored to be the only Pakistani woman who has been awarded this, for the entrepreneurship award series happening for the last 6 years. 4500+ contestants applied, but I got selected across the globe. This is not it, I am also one of 5 hustlers who were covered in a story by Payoneer and got featured at NASDAQ Times Square, NYC. Recently, I also got selected among 100 premium freelancers of Pakistan who get featured in a coffee book and presented to all ministries of Pakistan.
I am ever indebted to the media endorsement that followed. Some of them are FORBES, FOX Business News, BBC Urdu, PTV World, SAMAA TV, ProPakistani, TechJuice and so many more.
So as a tribute and way of paying back to Pakistani society especially women, in September 2019, I started an initiative WEcan, on the very same date my father passed away. WEcan is all about providing online work opportunities, a place to network, and a hub of skills building. Through the platform, many women have got the remote opportunity and chance to empower themselves.
Moreover, I joined Google’s initiative #IamRemarkable as a facilitator, to let the women get out of their imposter syndrome and talk more about their achievements as a matter of fact.
So the year 2019, combined with two years of COVID, evolved me completely as a person. I have realized how important it is to give away what you know of. Only this is how a true community is built. Therefore, under the capacity of a trainer, I have trained more than 3000+ KPK women in the “KP Youth Employment Program” of KPITB, students of 10Pearls University, Foster learning program in Arid Agriculture University, IEEE NED Students, and Tech Karo by CIRCLE.
As of now, I provide 1-1 consultation to aspiring freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses to scale and grow exponentially. This is a total hands-on training they get to have, where they learn how to become a freelancer either by getting clients or building a financial stream for themselves.
Thank you for reading my story, and here is the crux of my story (especially for Pakistani women);
You don’t give up in any circumstance you have to face. You stay YOU and just be persistent. Being a woman never makes us any less. We have our own specialties to look at, so be very proud and grow at your own pace. If you want to be a hustler, just keep learning and evolving. Always remember #WEcan