RISE OF THE FREE: Freelance Professionals for the Win!

I have much to say about the Freelancing community in the Philippines, and most of these things come from actual experiences and close contact with people in this community.

Not a Raket Anymore

There have been a lot of misconceptions about being a freelancer, one of which is that freelancing is merely a side business that you do, and since it’s something that you do in your FREE time, freelancers don’t take their work seriously. Another misconception is that Freelancers should be cheaper or FREE. And a common one is that Freelancers have so much FREE time, since they don’t really do anything.

Now being with freelancers for the past 7 years of my life, I’d like to share my experiences of dealing and being a freelancer. For the first point, most freelancers really take their work seriously, and most of them get into freelancing doing the “thing” that they love doing. For what I have seen, even when these freelancers still have day jobs, they enjoy the time that they spend doing these extra jobs, because it is where they find fulfilment.

Next, freelancers may be cheaper than other alternatives, since they don’t have much overhead expenses to pay for, but they definitely are not free. Yes, they may give exceptions especially when they are building a portfolio, but let’s not abuse them. And if companies and brands want to stay competitive, it may even be advisable to hire freelancers to bring down your overhead expenses as well. Monitoring work and payments from them is not an issue, too, because these freelancers use tools that monitor the delivery of project, hours of work spent on a project and even send online invoices via PayPal to charge for the work rendered.

Lastly, when you become a freelancer, you will notice that you actually spend more time now working. What used to be 8-10 hours of working in a corporate environment, now extends to 18 hours of work. What freelancers love though about being a freelancer is the flexibility of time spent working. Freelancers can choose to wake up later than everyone else, but they work to deliver results. Results is top of mind and not time spent working on a project. They make sure they deliver!

Part of a Strong Community with a Deep Faith in Humanity

*Picture taken by George Buid

Last week, I visited one of the schools that I have been eyeing for my daughter. My daughter is 4 years old, and she’ll need to go to “big school” next year. The administration officer left my husband and I inside the classroom of 4-6 year olds to observe. It was a school that allowed each child to explore — to see what they found interesting in the room, to tinker with it, to feel things, to hear things, to really “get into it”. Some were intensely building a tower using bricks. Some were counting beads on a chain. Some were pretending to have a tea party with another friend. Another child was mopping the floor out of whim. Some of them were writing words on a piece of paper, and one was just staring at a fish in the aquarium. And in this kind of environment, the children were happily wandering and wondering. It was, at least for me, the perfect environment for growth and learning.

While thinking of what to share with you, this was the kind of environment that crossed my mind. This is the kind of environment and community that we, at Manila Workshops, envisioned to help build for our country’s freelancers. We want to help build an environment where freelancers and solopreneurs will discover more about themselves, discover passions and discover talents that they never knew existed. It will be an environment that they can always run to, their safe haven where they feel safe & secure as they grow as individuals.

*Picture taken by George Buid

For the past years, we have seen this ecosystem grow stronger, bigger and better. And personally, I believe that the reasons may lie in our deep faith in humanity. Now this may sound so “super-heroish” or like a line from a sci-fi movie, but this is what I think. Let’s go back to what humanity or being humane means (according to Merriam Webster online!). Humanity is the quality or state of being human joined by their common attributes and qualities. Being humane is being compassionate, sympathetic, exhibiting generous behavior and disposition.

If you take a closer look at what is happening in the freelancing community, you’ll see that freelancers naturally flock together. They look for people with common interests, and most especially, the same way of thinking. This is what drew me personally into being part of this community. The generosity, kindness, support and patience knows no bounds. You feel that you can quickly leap from being a novice freelancer to a successful one in no time at all just by the cheers and the rah-rah-rahs of your fellow freelancers.

Professionalizing Freelancing

Because of these things and the relentless support which is so evident in this community, people now are seeing freelancing as something that one should consider looking into, as a source of livelihood. They also see freelancing as a way to efficiently operate a business or even as a source of inspiration for our country, where talented and highly skilled people live.

*Picture taken by George Buid

And as freelancers continue to build and cultivate relationships, they become stronger and more confident. In these relationships lie the strength that freelancers need to continue to grow and persevere. Let’s help everyone be better versions of themselves.

If the remarkable turnout in every event, the constant increase in members of different freelancing groups and increased engagement in different communities and the increase in revenue from foreign clients coursed through PayPal are indications, my fearless forecast is that a LOT more FIlipinos will turn to freelancing inspired by you – pioneers of this continuously growing field of expertise. Its proponents unencumbered by the conventions of a bygone era of strict work hours and boss-driven development. Soon we will truly be witness to the RISE OF THE FREE.

*Note: This is the longer version of my speech during The Freelancer Fair

Where to hire a freelancer?

Do you feel like you are doing everything for your business and need an extra hand with tasks, but don’t think your ready to hire an extra head count just yet? Hire a Freelancer!

As a small business owner, there are times when you need an extra hand to do chores that are not your expertise (such as graphic design or accounting tasks) for a quick project. Some of these tasks don’t necessarily require a business owner to hire someone permanently that’s why its such a relief that the freelancing industry is now growing and its so much easier to find a freelancer that can fit your job requirement and get things done right away!

For those of you who want to understand what freelancing is, here is a web episode of RISE OF THE FREE. Rise of the Free is a web series that give you information about the freelancing industry and how it is to be a freelancer.

There are so many freelancing sites today and to make it easier for you, we’ve listed the top 5 sites for you to kick-start your search for the best staff fit for your requirements.

Upwork

Widely known in the Freelancing industry in the Philippines and in the world! Upwork has established their reputation of getting quality freelancers since 2003. They have their own tracking application that makes it easier for both boss and client to have transparency when working.

Freelancer

Freelancer is one of the leading freelancing sites since 2009. It has the same functions as Upwork.com though its interface may seem more complicated to use for first timers. It has a unique chatting option when used via desktop. It also has a wide array of job categories that makes it easier for you to find the proper staff.

Onlinejobs.ph

A Filipino freelancing site with over 250,000 resumes where you can easily search for the right person fit for the job, interview them then offer them a job and negotiate salary. This is a website for those who want to hire only Filipinos for their tasks.

RareJob.com.ph

RareJob is the top English school in Japan and it aims to encourage 10,000 Japanese to speak fluent English. They started in 2007 and focuses on solely teaching English to Japanese students. It has no other job categories offered and application seems easy. All you need is to register, undergo an assessment and open lesson slots where your future students can book classes with you.

Bizmates

Bizmates is the number one online Business English School in Japan catering to Japanese professionals. Their goal is to help their clients succeed in global business by enhancing their communication skills.

199Jobs.com

199Jobs.com is platform where you can hire freelancers for as low as Php 199 pesos. Although, price may go up depending on the work that you will outsource.

Fiverr.com

Fiverr is an Israeli company where you can get jobs down for as low as $5. Here is a link that will show what Fiverr is all about: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1456762414351137/

Do you have experiences with any of these sites? Which one would you recommend to a client looking for a freelancer? How about for a newbie freelancer?

Freelancers’ Questions About Taxation, Answered!

I have seen a shift in the mindset of a lot of freelancers (for this working online and for those rendering offline services). Back in 2013, when we at Manila Workshops started to create learning events for Freelancers and aspiring freelancers, we saw that most of them were in that realm of trying things out. Some of the freelancers that we encountered were starting a freelancing career and most of them were still thinking of starting. Four years after, we see that now, a lot of them want to make this their full time profession. They want to make this a career and their main source of income.

Since they will make this their primary source of income, a lot of questions on legitimising and registration with the government come up. As you know, as a freelancer, you need to fix and do everything (as an employee, people in HR do it for you). Registering as a freelancer in the Philippines is actually quite easy. I kid you not! You just need resources (like this article) to guide you.

Do I need to pay taxes even if I earn only a little from Freelancing?

Yes, you need to pay taxes, and it’s clearly stated in Section 74 in the Philippine Tax Code. It says that for as long as you receive income, regardless of the source (even from international entities), you are required to pay taxes. Again, we are seeing more freelancers pay taxes because of their need for a proof of their income which they will use to get VISAs, loans, health cards or HMO plans, etc.

So, I’m now earning a small amount of money from my freelancing career, but I am also employed. How do I declare my income to the Bureau of Internal Revenue?

First, you have to register as a non-PRC Licensed professional. You may opt not to have a DTI Certificate of Registration. In DTI you reserve the name of your business, which is something that is not really that important if you’re registering as an individual. As a freelancer, you NEED NOT go to the municipal hall to register for a barangay business permit. Just go straight to the BIR. Although, some BIR Revenue District Offices (RDOs) may require you to get an Occupational Tax Receipt issued by the Local Government Unit (LGU).

What are the instances when I need to get a barangay business permit and clearance?

For example, you are a yoga teacher that is commissioned by different yoga studios, you need not get a barangay permit. Once you open your own studio though, this becomes a sole proprietor/business that you will need to register. You will need to go to DTI and the Municipal Hall, and of course, BIR. If you don’t have employees, you need not go to SSS, Philhealth and Pagibig, since you will just have to pay for your own SSS/PHIC/Pag-ibig contributions under your own identification number as a voluntary contributor.

For employees, they have to option to opt for “substituted filing”, which means they are exempted from filing an income tax returns on their own. To qualify, one should have only worked for one employer during a calendar year and has no other sources of income. This can be availed by signing off on the Form 2316 (proof of remittance of payroll tax) provided by employers after the end of the year, or after an employee has moved on. The Form 2316 will then be submitted by the employer (or ex-employer) to the BIR.

If one has worked for more than one employer during a calendar year, he or she would have to file for either of the following:

Form 1700 – use this form if one has no other sources of income other than employment income, and add all employment income and deduct all payroll taxes withheld by employer(s), and pay remaining tax due (if any)

Form 1701* – use this form if one has other sources of income in addition to employment income, or earning purely business income; use this form to report all sources of income (employment, business, others)

*Self-employed freelancers, professionals and sole-proprietors are required to also file quarterly income tax forms (Form 1701Q) in addition to the annual Form 1701. However, employment income are not required to be included in the quarterly tax returns as these are to be reported only at year-end.

Self-employed freelancers, professionals and sole-proprietors are also required to pay monthly “sales” tax. Depending on their classification (see section below), they will need to file either:

Percentage taxes (Form 2551M) – gross revenues x 3%

VAT (Forms 2550M and 2550Q) – gross revenues x 12%, less the VAT charged by VAT-registered vendors/suppliers

But before going to taxation, what are the requirements to register as a freelancer in BIR?

First of all, you have to decide on a business address. The city where your business address will be should match the Revenue District Office of the BIR that your TIN will be attached to. If you previously worked in Makati, and have decided to use your home address in Pasig as your business address, be sure to transfer your TIN from the Revenue District in Makati to the Revenue District in Pasig. Just fill up the form 1905 (Download Form 1905) then submit it at the current Revenue District Office. Wait for at least a week before going to the new RDO to register as a freelancer.;

The list of the BIR Revenue District Offices is here: https://www.bir.gov.ph/index.php/contact-us/directory/revenue-district-offices.html

Once I have transferred my RDO, what should I do?

You should fill out the form 1901 (download Form 1901). You can get it from the Officer of the day or from the guard from the entrance of the RDO.

For the Taxpayer Type, as a freelancer, choose professional – In General. (It’s best though to ask the Officer of the Day on how they classify Freelancers).

Be sure also that you start as a Non-Vat entity. Vat Entities are those that earn Php 1.919 Million a year. Be sure also that you say that you still don’t have employees, if you’re working alone. Check the form, and ASK QUESTIONS before signing and submitting the form.

Each form is only at Php 500 which you can pay at the Authorized Agent Banks (AABs) near the RDO using form 0605. There will also be a certification fee and you also have to pay for Documentary Stamps. These will be around Php 30 to Php 50. You will get the Certificate of Registration a week or two weeks after.

Before leaving the Revenue District Office though, you can order for you Official Receipt booklet. Some of the accredited suppliers are in the BIR premises. If you don’t see them, just ask the BIR Officer the details of the supplier that you may contact. One order is normally 10 booklets at the minimum. This may cost 1000 to 2000 pesos for 10 booklets (depends on the design and if duplicate or in triplicate).

When you go back for the Certificate of Registration, you will also receive the following: ATP or Authority to Print and your books of accounts. The BIR will stamp your books of accounts (journal/ledger/subsidiary professional income book and subsidiary purchases/expenses book) and also your official receipts.

You will know if you are registered when you have your Certificate of Registration. Once you have your COR or form 2303, you SHOULD already start filing and paying for your taxes. Be sure to file even if you haven’t earned anything for the month.

Here is the schedule for the tax deadlines for a Non-Vat Entity

Percentage Tax (Form 2551M) – BIR Deadline is on the 20th of every month
Quarterly Income Tax (Form 1701Q) – Q1 is on April 15 / Q2 is on August 15 / Q3 is on November 15 / Annual Income Tax Return is on April 15 of the following year

Once you have your Certificate of Registration, this is where Taxumo, an online web application service can help you file and pay for your taxes. All you need to do is:

  • Copy the details in your Certificate of Registration to your Taxumo Profile
  • Fill in your income and expenses tabs
  • Click on the tax cost to submit your tax filing
  • Payment can be done online, too! Just go to Taxumo.com
  • Taxumo will save your BIR confirmation and the payment confirmation in your dashboard as proof of payment.

YOU’RE DONE! It’s so simple. Please view this video if you need more information.

I hope this article helps!

Love lots,

Ginger

P.S.

These are other links to some other articles that can help you:
http://www.freelancing.ph/bir-requirements-every-filipino-freelancer-should-know/
https://www.rappler.com/business/53578-self-employed-how-to-register-bir

P.P.S.

How to Maximize your Time at The Freelancer Fair

First of all, thank you, thank you! Thank you for your overwhelming response for this year’s The Freelancer Fair that will be held on September 2 at the Bayanihan Center, Pioneer, from 8 am to 5pm. I hope that you are as excited as I am! I hope that you learn a lot, meet more co-freelancers and aspiring freelancers, meet new clients and people you can collaborate with, be inspired to be one (if you aren’t already) and get to see if the freelancing life is for you! For my readers who have just heard about this event, it’s not too late. This long post will tell you what it is about and at the same time, give advice to those who have already purchased a ticket on how to maximize your time at the The Freelancer Fair.

What is the Freelancer Fair?

In the Philippines, we have around 1.5M freelancers who are working online. Most of these freelancers are virtual assistants, graphic artists, programmers, marketers, animators, etc. This number does not include the freelancers who are working “offline”, such as photographers, videographers, make-up artists, fitness coaches, consultants, etc.

Both of these numbers are growing, as the “gig economy” is now being widely accepted as a viable option for a career or a profession. Manila Workshops has always believed that we have talented people in the Philippines and we want to make it widely known that being a freelancer is a legit profession. The successful people who have made it in this industry took it to heart to always be ahead of the curve by learning new skills and by adapting to the changes happening.

But more than a profession, we also want to educate people on how Freelancing is the door to many more possibilities you can do with your life whether it’s simply having more time with your family, or finally getting started with that business or passion you’ve always dreamed of.

With this year’s theme Cultivating Relationships, the event promises to give you a full day of learning through a series of talks, panel discussions and networking with freelancers, industry experts and businesses.

What are the Official Hashtags?

The official hashtags are #RiseOfTheFree and #TheFreelancerFair. Kindly use these hashtags when posting. Also, please follow and like the new page that we have created on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefreelancerfair/

Where and what time is The Freelancer Fair?

The Freelancer Fair will be held at the Bayanihan Center. It’s along Pioneer. Please CLICK HERE for the map details. There is FREE parking beside the venue that can accommodate a lot of cars! 🙂 The event will start at 9:00 am, but registration will open at 8:00 am. Please come during this period (from 8:00 to 9:00 in the morning). This is to avoid long lines in the registration area.

Registration and Entering the Venue Proper

Please wear comfortable clothing, but please no shorts and slippers please. There will be different lines at the registration area. We will have the following lines:

a. Paid online – Surname or Last Name starts with A to L
b. Paid online – Surname or Last Name starts with M to Z
c. Walk-ins – Surname or Last Name starts with A to L
d. Walk-ins – Surname or Last Name starts with M to Z
e. VIPS / Sponsors (including Booth Sponsors) / Media

Children 17 years old and younger can enter the venue for free. Kindly present a proof of their age/birthday at the registration area. Please attend though to your children at all times. Also, let’s be respectful of other people’s intent to listen and learn. Any behaviour that is not conducive to learning is highly discouraged. 🙂 Hope you understand!

Upon signing up, you will be given an ID, which you need to wear at all times (since Bayanihan security is strict). At the back of your ID will be a copy of the program. You will also be given a loot bag, which you will use to keep all of your belongings and all the freebies that you will get from our partner brands and sponsors. It will also contain the Booth Stamping Game Sheet / Feedback Form. IF YOU PRE-ORDERED FOOD AND DRINKS, be sure also that you get the food stubs from the registration area.

PRE-ORDER FOOD AND DRINKS

The venue does not allow cash transactions for food and drinks inside the venue. If you want to order food and drinks, please PRE-ORDER from our partner merchants. This is highly recommended as restaurants, cafes, etc. are across the street. The time spent to buy and line up may have been time spent networking! 🙂

Here is the list of the partner food and beverage merchants:

BEVERAGE PARTNERS

ORDER COFFEE FROM BLACK BRIDGE: http://bit.ly/BlackBridgeTFF2017

ORDER MILK TEA FROM NITRO 7: http://bit.ly/Nitro7TFF2017

FOOD ORDERS

For those who asked, yes, you can bring water jugs, too, and it is advisable to bring water.

For those who are breastfeeding, please do let anyone from Manila Workshops know. They will direct you to the room where you can breastfeed if you need privacy.

BRING CALLING CARDS OR COPIES OF YOUR WORK (JUST IN CASE)

You’ll never know if a someone in the fair would be interested to avail of your service. It’s good to be prepared and ready to network. Be sure to use the hashtags when posting, since a lot of the attendees will follow the event by searching for the hashtags. Also, update your Facebook, Linked-In, and other profiles prior to The Freelancer Fair.

There will be different communities that will be present. They will have booths during the event. Be sure to network and get to know people in these booths! The community leaders and members will be there to help answer any questions that you may have and will be open to welcome you with open arms into this industry! 🙂

BE SURE TO INTERACT WITH THE SPEAKERS AND PANELISTS!

We have an interesting line-up of speakers, and these people are very open and willing to help you jumpstart your freelancing career. Don’t be shy to approach them!

Here is the list of speakers:

PROGRAM & SPEAKER SCHEDULE: 

Hosts: Marv de Leon and Jieneb Kho

◊ Part 1: FREELANCING: AN OVERVIEW
9:00 am to 9:15 am: Opening Remarks: Cultivating Relationships w/ Ginger Arboleda, CEO of Manila Workshops
9:15 am to 9:35 am: The Freelancing Industry in the Philippines w/  Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim, Director of Department of Information Communications & Technology (DICT)
9:40 am to 10:00 am: Freelancing Association: Introduction of DCAP w/ Genesis Reonico, Founder of OnlineJobsUniversity.com and President of the Digital Career Advocates of the Philippines

◊ Part 2: FREELANCING AS A PROFESSION: SUPPORT & SERVICES 
10:00 am to 10:20 am: Business Registration and Taxation w/ Dandy Victa, President of Manila Civil Service Review & Mark Ong, CFO of Taxumo
10:20 am to 11:00 am: Freelancers’ Funds Flow w/ Paolo Baltao, EON & Miguel Warren, PAYONEER
11:00 am to 11:20 am: Freelancers: Finding Your Purpose w/ Jackie Cañiza, Founder of Haraya Coaching
11:00 am to 11:40 am: Talk from Facebook with Paolo Lacuna, SMB Business Development Lead, PH at Facebook
11:40 am to 12:15 pm: Freelancing Opportunities and Tools w/ Lory Desuasido (Bizmates.ph), Fitz Villafuerte, Founder of 199jobs.com and Julia Jamie Madrazo, OnlineJobs.ph
12:15 pm to 1:00 pm: Lunch Break

◊ Part 3: ONLINE FREELANCING
1:00 pm to 1:20 pm: Building Relationship Through Email w/ Allan Ngo, Founder of Digital Solopreneur
1:20 pm to 2:00 pm: Building a Brand and Relationships as Freelancers (Panel) w/ Nix Eniego, Marketing Head of Sprout Solutions & CJ Maturino, Founder of Online Freelance Community, together with successful & seasoned freelancers – Allie Pasag, John Pagulayan, Nina Mendoza & Liberty Baldovino
2:20 pm to 2:40pm: Fitness Freelancing Opportunities and Tips (Panel) with Rach Bonifacio of Treehouse Yoga, Toni Nicolas (Yoga / Zumba Instructor) & Allan Enriquez, Fitness Blogger

◊ Part 4: SOFTWARE & SERVICE FREELANCING
3:00 pm to 3:15 pm: Financial Freelancing w/ Bong Fajardo, Jr., Regional Sales Manager of SunLife Financial Philippines
3:15 pm to 3:30 pm: Real Estate Freelancing w/ Icel Dy of Spectrum Investments

◊ Part 5: CREATIVE DESIGN & FREELANCING
4:00 pm to 4:20 pm: Creative and Design Freelancing w/ Francis Miranda, CEO of Tagline Communications Inc.
4:20 pm to 4:45 pm: Creative Freelancing: Opportunities and Tips (Panel) w/ Ria Lu, CEO of Komikasi Games Charlie Aquino, Managing Director of SophieCreatives; Dennis Abad, Co-founder of SHOOT! Practical Videography School
5:00 pm: Closing Remarks

JOIN THE BOOTH STAMPING GAME (RAFFLE)!

There will be some raffle prizes from some of our sponsors. To join the raffle, you will need to join the booth stamping game (BSG). The BSG sheet will be your raffle entry. All you need to do is to interact with 20 other people (ideally, people whom you have just met at this event!). 🙂 Come on people… no cheating! This will be to your advantage! Once completed, fill out the feedback form at the back of the sheet and write your name. Submit your sheet to any of the Manila Workshops event directors at the reception area.

Please visit the booths of our sponsors, too! They have mini surprises at their booths, so go and visit them, too!

KEEP A SOUVENIR! ORDER OUR LIMITED EDITION RISE OF THE FREE SHIRTS!

 

To order these nice shirts, please fill out this form: http://bit.ly/2wMcYtl

This day is about learning a few things about being a freelancer in today’s times. It’s also a day of cultivating relationships. Won’t it be more fun and exciting if you go on this journey with other people? I’ve been a freelancer since 2008 and let me tell you that I have made friends and these friends have been with me, supporting me through the “thick and thins” of my freelancing and entrepreneurship career!

Let’s show the world the power of the Filipino Freelancer. Get ready for the Rise of the Free!

Love,

Mommy Ginger

 

 

 

 

P.S. For those who haven’t bought a ticket yet, you still have time! Please visit this link: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/thefreelancerfair2017 Online registrations will close on August 30, but we will accept walk-ins. ONLY PREPAID ATTENDEES THOUGH WILL GET LOOTBAGS 🙂 🙂 See you!

P.P.S. Please join our newly created The Freelancer Fair Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thefreelancerfair/

 

How to start Freelancing? Where do I begin?

I’m really grateful that almost 60 people signed up for the Freelancing for Beginners workshop last Saturday. And after observing the questions from the crowd, it seemed that 90% of the crowd was really there to learn more about what freelancing is and how do you actually start “freelancing”. We hope that you really learned a lot! We also got to read the suggestions, and most of you were asking for more time to discuss more topics and to network. Awww, thank you for actually mentioning networking, since support is crucial in this type of career.

A freelancer offers his/her services to different Clients. If you can do something for someone else, like create a video, look and build a list for a client, handle social media accounts for them, create business strategies, do their accounting and legal work, create a design for their office, create marketing campaigns, etc., you are a freelancer. Now I mentioned that there is a blurry line between being a freelancer and an entrepreneur, because for example, if a yoga teacher then decides to hold classes in her home and convert it into a studio (is she now a freelancer or an entrepreneur?). There are numerous examples that will make you think of the difference, but I think the main difference (as best said by my marketing idol, Seth Godin in this interview) will come when the freelancer decides and starts creating a plan to make systems work for him/her to earn money rather then use his or her own time, skills and effort to earn money.

If you have not seen and listened to video above, you need to! Another point that he stated, which I completely agree with, is that if you’re looking to be a freelancer, strive to be an extraordinary freelancer! This is the reason why my main goal is really to help freelancers learn more about their craft and strive to be better than what they were yesterday. I wish that each on would wake up and say that today they know MORE than what they did yesterday.

My Freelance Journey

Not a lot of people know that I after starting my blogging career way back in 2008, I started writing for different clients. I then joined Upwork (at that time Odesk) way back in 2010, as a freelance writer. I was an SEO/technical writer. I was hired to write articles for websites, and the articles that I wrote ranged from reviews of different vacuum cleaners to flooring for the home. I then became a writer for Philippine Online Chronicles (POC) for half a year. When I had to resign from my job from a bank, I created my own business called Manila Workshops, with the main intention to help people turn their entrepreneurial and freelancing dreams into a reality. I had to forego my freelancing gigs, but continued on applying my love for writing through my blogs. In blogging professionally, I continue to apply and hone my skills, and most importantly, I still manage to keep sane because of writing.

Your Freelance Journey

Your freelance journey may be different from mine, but regardless of WHAT you intend to do or WHEN you decide to freelance, it will be something that you will definitely learn from. So, what have I learned from my journey that I hope will help you in starting your freelancing career? Here is a list of a few things that I have personally learned:

The first step is really knowing yourself — know your skills, know what you are capable of and the limits to what you can do, know your strengths and your weaknesses and know your flaws and incompetencies. This “digging deeper” and reflection is not just for you to assess technical skills, but even your emotional capacity. What irks you? What motivates you? What inspires you to do your best and strive harder?

This is something that you alone can do. Clarity, in this aspect of your life, can only be achieved by you and you alone. And I say this even for those with spouses or significant others. Your partner can only give your bits and pieces to a jigsaw puzzle that you alone can build. Ultimately, deciding if you want to have a freelance career will be your choice. It’s good, however, to step out of the house, talk to people, gain insights from what other people are doing, and gain insights from other freelancers so that you see what’s out there. You’ll have a broader perspective of what can be in store for you in that potential life as a freelancer.

Next, after you have gained a little bit of clarity on what you want to do, build your portfolio. Create samples of your work. From the work that you have created, test and gain feedback from other people (especially from people from the market that you want to tap). For example, if your forte is writing about health, medicine, nutrition or anything that involves fitness and health, have people who are interested in these topics, brands who operate in this vertical or clients who have customers who would want to read these kinds of articles,  check your work and give feedback.

Since these are samples of your work, you can improve further and create more samples. I’m sure that for those of you who have corporate jobs, this will be something that you can do when you have spare time. Also, try to create something everyday that moves you a step further into freelancing (it doesn’t matter if it’s just one sentence or just a few strokes in a painting).

The other lesson that I’ve learned is that consistency is key. Just keep at what you’re doing, no matter how hard it is. You’ll reap the rewards later on. I just watched the Katy Perry Part of Me Documentary on Netflix, and I was amazed at how full of grit this lady was. For a lot of successful freelancers and entrepreneurs even, people just see the successful you. They fail to think about the journey that you went through. For most of the successful people that I know, or don’t know (like Katy Perry! haha!), it was a very hard and grueling journey to the where they are now. For example, when we have workshops, people only see the ‘event’ on the day itself. They don’t see the hard work and the effort that we put into making the workshop possible.

So there, my tip is really to just keep at it, no matter how down, worthless and unsuccessful you feel.

Always have someone to talk to, like a mentor, a friend who is already freelancing, or anyone who you know will understand what you’re going through. It always helps to have a friend who will listen to what you’re going through. They have probably gone through the same situation already and may be able to give tips on how they handled difficult situations.

For those in the corporate world who wants to try freelancing, go ahead and try it out. But, don’t let go of the job that you have until you have successfully 1) built enough funds that will last you at least 6 months 2) Even with that parachute fund, you need to have a good base of clients already that are paying you enough for the monthly expenses and for the debts (usually credit card debts) that you have 3) if you still don’t have that base, but really want to allot more time to freelancing, get a bridge job (a part time job that will give you more time for freelancing).

Create a clear visual plan of what you want to be and what goals do you have for yourself. I have a corkboard in my room that shows all the plans that I made for myself. I look at it every so often to be reminded of where I am and how far do I still need to go before I get to the goals that I set for myself.

Learn more about the skill that you want to build. Attend workshops, online courses, download ebooks, read up on the things that are related to the skill that you want to learn more about. The more you know, the more value you can give your clients. And learning doesn’t have to come from structured courses or classes. You can learn from talking to people. Set up meetings with people you want to learn from and just talk about any thing. Strive to be wiser everyday!

At the end of the day, it’s about priorities and making yourself happy. If you really need this and you really want to be a full time freelancing professional, then decide to make that happen, and work smart to make that happen. It will be hard work, but if this is what you want, then go for it.

For those who have been freelancing for year, hope you can give your own tips, too! 🙂 It will be great if you can share your experiences and comments in the comment section below! Read on, aspiring freelancers!

Love,

Mommy Ginger

 

 

 

 

P.S. If you want are looking for support, you can check out these groups:

Freelancing Philippines

Online Filipino Freelancers

Work in freedom community for female freelancers & entrepreneurs

Freelancers in the Philippines

Social Media Managers

Freelance Blenders Group

Professional VAs

Upwork Freelancers in Philippines

Fivrr Success Philippines

Startup Marketing Philippines

Freelancers Hub Philippines

Boss Bellas

 

 

 

Blog Carnival: Come and Join the Conversation!

Hi everyone! Some of the freelancers in the Freelancers Hub Philippines Group have decided to bring you amazing content every month through a blog carnival. There will be a chosen topic per month and a host blog or platform per month. Everyone who wishes to be part of the carnival for that month can sign up using the form created by the host.

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For those who are wondering, a blog carnival is an online event where bloggers/content providers/publishers come together to write/create a video or podcast about a specific theme or topic.

For 2017, here are the topics that we have set.

Here is the Step-by-Step Guide on how to join the Blog Carnival for the Month of May (hosted by Ginger Arboleda, http://mommyginger.com)

1. Write a blog post within the month of May about the topic or anything related to the topic above: Monetizing a Passion / Why Freelancing? / Why “my passion”?

2. You can create more than one entry. There will not be any minimum number of words for articles nor duration for videos or podcasts, but the content needs to be something that readers or viewers will find value in reading

3. The article / post should contain the link to the mechanics of the blog carnival (http://mommyginger.com/2017/04/blog-carnival-freelancers.html); For all social shares, please use #freelancershub, #freelancing and the host’s hashtag #mommyginger.

4. Posts need to be published and submitted via the form by May 10, 2017, 11:59pm. After you have published your blog post, please fill out this form:

5. The host will keep track of all the submissions and will publish it on the mechanics page in her blog/website. All links will be posted by May 11, 2017.

6. Once links have been posted, all participants are required to visit each of the link and comment on the comments section of the post. If you’re done visiting the links, please comment “DONE!” on the comments section below!

7. For May, the host (@GingerArboleda) will choose the best post and will give out a Multi Function Bluetooth Selfie Sticks + Monopod to the best post.

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8. The host will choose the best post on May 31, 2017!

Good luck! 🙂


Here are the links to the posts!

Rey Baguio http://reymbaguio.me/being-passionately-be-your-best-to-succeed/
Ginger Arboleda http://mommyginger.com/2017/04/are-we-all-passionate-people.html
Mahesh Kumar http://blog.transcriptioncertificationinstitute.org/make-money-online-touch-typing-skills/
Liberty Baldovino http://www.theyouthfulgrannyva.com/freelancing-turning-my-passion-into-something-unexpectedly-beautiful-and-profitable-too/
Charlie Aquino http://www.upskillvideos.com/discover-your-passion/

Please visit each one and share their stories! 🙂

 

Digital Career Advocates of the Philippines

During the Philippine Impact Sourcing Conference or PISCON, held by the Department of Information and Technology (DICT) and the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines, I learned that there is a new meaning for the acronym OFW. It can also mean Online Filipino Workers. There is a growing number of online workers and freelancers who are doing jobs that are outsourced to them.

Yours Truly with the Secretary of DICT, Atty. Rodolfo Salalima

Yours Truly with the Secretary of DICT, Atty. Rodolfo Salalima

If you count those who are on online platforms like those present during PISCON 2017 (Upwork.com, Freelancer.com, 51 Talk, OnlineJobs.ph), there are around 1.4 Million Filipinos on these platforms in total. This number has been continuously growing. With the growing number of people who are entering this type of profession/career, there are growing issues also that this demographic asks to be addressed.

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Since what they do is quite different from being employees (some of them are employed by a foreign client), and not quite in the realm of turning it into a business (excludes those who have created online agencies, teams that have turned into corporations, etc.), they have their own set of concerns and issues that they need addressed. Some of the issues that I have heard from freelancers who attend Manila Workshops event are how to register their business, how to get a business permit, what taxes to pay, how to get health benefits, etc.

With this, the launch of Digital Career Advocates of the Philippines or DCAP during the PISCON 2017 was of perfect timing. DCAP is an association established to promote the growth of the Online Outsourcing Industry and advocate for the welfare of online workers in the Philippines and its members.

I was fortunate enough to interview Genesis Reonico, the President of Digital Career Advocates of the Philippines or DCAP.

THE VISION

DCAP envisions a thriving and united Online Outsourcing Industry, helping reduce the unemployment rate in the country and provide work opportunities to Filipinos especially to those who are differently-abled and those who live in the countryside where employment opportunities are limited.

DCAP envisions itself to be the voice of the Filipino Online Freelancers in the country, that will speak in behalf of their needs and concerns, lobbying and assisting in drafting policies that can positively impact the online outsourcing industry, and collaborate with the Government in its initiatives that will further grow and support the industry.

THE MISSION

DCAP’s core mission is to educate, equip, and enable as many Filipinos as possible in finding and landing a job online so that unemployment will not be a problem and they do not need to leave their hometown just to find rewarding work and career elsewhere. DCAP will also support & empower online workers who wish to grow and level up their career or establish their own HomeGrown BPO company that will provide employment in their areas.

In addition, DCAP will do its best to protect the industry from individuals, companies and institutions who are taking advantage of the industry for their own personal gain and not for the best interest of the industry by calling them out and issuing guidelines and notices to the public.

These can be achieved through united efforts and support from key stakeholders, mainly the online workers, online outsourcing agencies, training providers, online job marketplaces and companies who provides support services to the industry, who are DCAP’s member themselves.

With some of the founding members of DCAP: Genesis

With some of the founding members of DCAP: Genesis Reonico (President), Maritess “Allie” Pasag (Chairman) and Leif Brian Margallo (VP for Visayas)

The founding members of DCAP are the following:

Genesis Reonico (President)
Maritess “Allie” Pasag (Chairman)
Leif Brian Margallo (VP for Visayas)
Kim Romarez (VP for Mindanao)
Crizelda Joy Cajoles (VP for Luzon)
Ronald “Piper” Ramboanga
Rochefel Rivera
Regina Evangelista
Glenn Mark Dizon

I am happy that there is this kind of association for freelancers and for those who have digital careers. If you have questions for the Digital Career Advocates of the Philippines or DCAP, please leave it at the comments section below. I will gladly ask Genesis and the other founding members to reply.

Sulong, Pilipinas!