Money is a difficult subject to talk about. But with the right financial tools, anyone can learn to manage their expenses and stay away from financial troubles later on.

Those who know me would know that I like automation. And, I also like looking for financial tools that can make my life easier and my business run smoothly.

Today, I’d like to share three financial tools that can help freelancers manage their finances better. I’ve personally used these, and I can attest that they definitely work.

Financial Tool #1 – Wally for Expense Tracking

I’ve been a fan of Wally for almost two years now and I’ve been using it to tracking and managing finances.

What I love about it is that it lets me compare my income versus expenses. It also gives me insights on my spending habits.

One of my guilty pleasures is online shopping. I just can’t help it! I get curious about a lot of stuff, especially when it comes to beauty products and Zeeka’s things. I’m also into checking out local brands. Just check out my Instagram and you’d know what I mean.

And sometimes, I can’t help but be a bit impulsive.

But with Wally, I get to see the expenses I’ve made and categorize them according to their purpose. It lets you create your own budget, add tags and categories, and even the location of your purchase.

It also lets you add reminders for recurring payments, attach images and pictures of receipts, and even keep track of all financial accounts in one place. You also even set goals for savings and investments.

Wally also has a feature where you can track the loans you’ve made and strategize on payments to avoid incurring penalties.

The most awesome thing about the app? It’s absolutely FREE!

You can get yours today by visiting the App Store or Google Play.

Financial Tool #2 – Paypal

I have used PayPal ever since I started writing for a living. And being a recognisable brand all over the world, Paypal made it easier for local and international clients to trust me with their business.

What I love about Paypal is its flexibility. I can send and receive funds from my clients without the fuss. I can also integrate other apps and automate processes like recurring payments with ease.

I have always prioritized automation in running my projects and businesses. As an entrepreneur, it’s important for me to free my time so I could focus on the tasks I need to do. And Paypal has given me the option to do just that.

Paypal has come in handy for online payment options, especially for Manila Workshops and Taxumo.

Those who avail of our workshops find it easier to make seat reservations through our website. It also gives them easier access to ongoing promotions and deals with just a click of a button. Taxumo users also get to enjoy seamless payments when they use their Paypal to pay for our services.

This service from Paypal is an awesome tool you can use for your freelance business. You can use it to get direct payments from anywhere in the world transferred to your local bank account.

You can also add it to your website and other profiles for clients to make payments any time.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how you can also add a Paypal button to your website:

Financial Tool #3 – GCash

I’m such a fan of GCash because it’s so convenient. Ever since I started using it, I didn’t have to carry as much cash anymore.

GCash is perfect for freelancers, especially those who don’t have time for long queues just to pay their bills. With just a tap of a button, you can get your phone bills, credit card bills, and other utilities paid at your convenience.

Here’s a cool feature from GCash. Did you know that you can just scan your electricity bill to pay it on your GCash app?

Yep, I used to type in the reference numbers when I started paying our electricity bill through the app. This process is a bit tedious and is prone to errors, but it definitely beats standing in line at the payment centers or banks.

Thankfully, GCash now added a feature where you can scan the code at the bottom of the bill and saves you from all the effort.

GCash also has other features that freelancers can take advantage of. There’s GCredit, where you can use it as a credit card for online payments. And there’s also GInvest, where you can start investing your hard earned cash and get access to various investment funds.

You can check out my post for more information about GCredit here.

If you’re interested in investing, you can learn more about GInvest here.

Freelancing can be difficult, especially if you’re starting out or if you don’t have a steady stream of clients. That’s why it’s important for every freelancer to learn how to manage their finances well.

Good thing that there are financial tools available today that can help you stay out of debt and financial troubles.

What tools do you use to manage your finances? Share your finance-related tips with us below.

Yesterday, I was talking with a friend and we were talking about how the industry has changed over just a few years. It’s good that freelancing has provided Filipinos jobs, not only for people in Metro Manila but also in provincial areas. But, as the number of freelancers grow, the more competitive this landscape will be. Consider that there is a rapidly increasing number of gig workers all over the world.

To upgrade your freelancing career, you can’t just stay in your comfort zone. What do I mean by that? It means that you should be looking for ways to be relevant to your clientele. You should look for ways to stand out and at least attract a certain niche.

As a freelancer, there are two ways to “earn more”: 1) get more clients at the same price point or 2) increase your price and get quality clients. If you choose the second, understand that an increase in price should be equated to an increase in your brand value.

To increase your value though, you need to have skills that are in demand. You need to have a specific set of skills that not a lot of freelancers can offer.

As years go by, never stop evolving. Why? Because this fast paced world requires you to. As a freelancer, you need to catch up. You need to know what’s happening. The field of work along with the expertise in need changes every single day. What might be in trend today might be forgotten tomorrow.

Learn new skills that are required in your chosen vertical, but also be on the look-out, study and research on new technologies and new things that are being introduced in the market.

Life-long learning should be a priority. You need to be able to adapt to the changing needs of your clients and the world. Doing so will assure you of any job no matter what happens.

Today, I will be sharing with you some awesome tips on how to level up your freelancing journey. Some are absolutely free, while other strategies may need some investment. But all of them will contribute to your success as a freelancer.

Take Online Courses, Webinars, and Events

There are tons of free courses and webinars you can attend. Be careful though in choosing which ones to take.

While most experts launch courses to help others succeed, there are still those who do it for personal gain. It’s best to get to know the credentials of the person conducting the training. Also, look for practitioners. There is value in learning from another’s experiences (especially in this field). Doing so will help you learn and acquire new skills that you can use to level up your game.

Luckily, we have a lot of experts in the local industry that offers free online courses. There are also live events, like the PayPal Freelancer Community Workshops, you can attend to help you be a better freelancer.

I recently finished a workshop hosted by PayPal where I discussed how to become an “official” freelancer.

As freelancers, you should take advantage of these complementary events. Speakers in attendance are experts in their own rights. And they also have a lot of things to share that will help you upgrade your skills.

To know more about Paypal’s upcoming events, you can follow their Facebook page for details.

Maximize Online Quizzes and Worksheets

I’m a sucker for lists, worksheets and templates. I subscribe to newsletters just because they have a list or template that I’d love to have. The value though that you get from these online template, quizzes, worksheets, etc. is ONLY IF you actually use them.

Are you studying to be a copywriter? Check out this website for free copywriting worksheets.

Want to improve your social media marketing skills? Here are some downloadable worksheets to help you manage and plan your social media marketing strategies.

You can always go to Google and look for relevant quizzes and worksheets to test your conceptual knowledge of the topic or the skill.

Check out and use Web and Mobile Applications

Technology enables us to do whatever we want at the tip of our fingertips. When you put structure to what you do using technology, you will be more efficient. When you are more efficient, you never miss on any commitments that you have made to your client. You then become more trustworthy and credible.

One way you can professionalize your career is to prepare the needed documents of a client and submit it on time. Have proposals, contracts, project timelines, and invoices ready to be sent out. For invoices, create an online invoice already using your PayPal account. You can customize your invoices using your PayPal account / dashboard.

As freelancers, these documents are very important when it comes to winning a client. The more you inject professionalism in handling your freelancing business, the more clients will gravitate towards you.

What’s important is you keep up to date with the times and learn about the important updates related to your freelance business.

Here is a video on how to use the invoicing feature of PayPal.

Enroll in an Actual School or Class Setting

If you’re seriously considering to upgrade your skills, enrolling in a school or class setting would be the best to go.

Enrolling in a specialized course can give you all you need to get the proper training you need. But make sure that you will get the best out of it. After all, it’s your time that’s on the line.

Attend to all your classes and be punctual with your schedule. It’s also vital to do all the assignments and pass all the subjects. All of your efforts will be rewarded with a certificate that will signify your successful completion of the course.

This will also strengthen your expertise as a freelancer. It will also be beneficial for your career, since it will give you the credentials you need. It will also help you get better deals and better pricing for future projects.

Put Everything You Learn into Practice

As the famous Gary Vee says, “Ideas are sh*t without execution.”

This is so true! Learning about theories is good, but without practice, it wouldn’t mean anything. Those theories and concepts will just be put to waste if you don’t use it, and come up with concrete outputs.

Make sure to try out the things you learn. You don’t have to be an expert to get results. Plus, you get to learn more things when you start doing them.

In the vast world of freelancing where workers are coming from all over the world, what makes a freelancer successful most of the time is that he/she just starts acting on plans that they create.

Stop overthinking and start doing.

So, are you ready to upgrade your freelancing career?

Few and far in between are the freelancers who do just one thing. Because we are essentially one-man (or one-woman!) companies, it means that whatever our specialty, we often are required to do other things, perhaps as additional services for customers, but also marketing our services to potential clients, making bids and proposals, doing our own bookkeeping and accounting, accepting payment for services rendered, and so on.

Previously, I talked about the importance of (and how to find) your niche market and the skill set to succeed in it, which forms the core of your business as a freelancer. But there are also other, auxiliary, aspects of your business that you can’t afford to ignore or neglect if you want to become a successful self-employed professional. And there are skill sets you need to develop to supplement that core business and make it more profitable.

Let’s take my life as a blogger for an example. Apart from MommyGinger.com, I also blog for ManilaReviews.com, so one way or another, I’ve been blogging for several years now. It’s all too easy to think that setting up a blog only requires that you be a good writer, but you’d be wrong about that. Here are a few basic skill sets every blogger should have:

  • Writing: You don’t have to have perfect grammar, but having the skill to effectively communicate what you want to say is vital to attracting and keeping readers. You also need to develop a particular voice and style for your blog, one that helps you connect not just with your readers’ minds but with their hearts as well.
  • Photography: In this day and age, not many people will read a solid block of text on a blog without any pictures to speak of, so you’ll have to know what attracts the eye so you can take or select good photos. This becomes even more important for food, travel, fashion, and other lifestyle blogs.
  • Technical: Yes, you can hire a designer or buy a template for your blog, but while you don’t need to learn to code, you still need to know enough to make small tweaks and adjustments to make your blog your own and troubleshoot when need be. It can be time consuming and expensive to go to a designer for every little change you want to make.
  • Marketing: If you want your blog to pay for itself, you’re probably going to be looking at advertisements and sponsorships; for personal blogs, endorsements are great too. If you want to maximize earnings and preserve the integrity of your blog, you need to have the marketing savvy to understand how the content you publish as well as the products and services you endorse fits your brand.

So just from this one example, you can see how I need to wear many hats as a blogger—and my blog is not my only business, so you can only imagine the madness that results if I don’t manage my time and my clients’ expectations properly!

Still, this multi-hatted nature of freelancing presents a two-layered challenge if you’re just starting out. First, you need to determine which skills to hone so they do you the most good and you earn the most money, and second, you’ll need to actually learn and sharpen those skills.

For the first, think of drawing a flower the way we learn it in kindergarten. The center is your core competency or specialization — your niche in the market place. Inside that “center” are the skills you absolutely need to keep your business robust. Then draw the petals around the center. Each can contain a skill set that attaches to that specialization and makes it more appealing to your clients. Now, you may need to focus on certain “petals” over others, but it’s still good to know what those other aspects are—and where to source people with those skill sets should you need them. One way to do that is to expand your network, to talk to people who are experts in those fields, join meet-ups (the Freelance Blend monthly meet-ups are great for these) or online groups.

To get a crash course in necessary skills, you can do your own research or look into workshops. In fact, you may want to check out the PayPal Freelancer Community Workshop series—more on this later. Apart from workshops like these, you can also join online courses such as those offered by Udemy, Coursera, and more. You can also find lots of video tutorials on YouTube as well as informative and inspiring information from TEDTalks and the many, many podcasts produced around different industries and interests. In this day and age, you don’t need to go back to school to go back to school, if you know what I mean!

I will always encourage exploration as a freelancer: Learn a little about a lot of things so that you can make an informed decision about the few things you want to learn a lot about. And you never know when those little bits of knowledge will come in handy when dealing with a new client or business opportunity.

And yes, you may find yourself feeling like the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland from time to time, especially if you’re a mom! We are constantly putting on and taking off different “hats” or roles, sometimes even wearing more than one at the same time.

But one of those skills you’ll have to learn is organization and time management—to find a method to the madness. In the same way you try on many different hats, then settle down with a collection of headgear that complements your looks and personal style, you should also explore the different skill sets that relate to your career, then develop the ones that you are comfortable with (or which you actually enjoy), as well as the ones that help you grow your business.

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Do you have any tips or resources you’d like to share with me and other Mad Hatters reading this? If you’re keen to learn more about things that you’ll need to flourish as a freelancer, i’ll be having another session on November 18, 2017 for the PayPal Freelancer Community Workshop series. The details are on this link: http://bit.ly/PayPal5thFreelancerWorkshop

Continue to follow also the other freelance experts Fitz Villafuerte, Abe Olandres, and Liz Lanuzo. Check out the full schedule below, and join the PayPal Philippines Freelancer Community group on Facebook for updates on the venues. Hope to see you there!

I’ve been too nice. I know that sounds chauvinistic, but just hold on for a bit.

If you know me, I will say yes to a lot of things. I will offer to meet up and coach a person for free. I will sometimes offer free advertisement on my blog for small business owners. I will offer financial resources for things to push through, even if I won’t exactly benefit from that thing. I will even offer brands free stuff from my blog and from my own time, if I want to help out.

And mind you, these things are things that are of value to me, whether it be because of the time spent or the financial resources that I spent. I know that these are valuable to many others, too.

And I did not build my brand overnight. It took blood, sweat and tears.

Where is this going, you may ask?

This is going to a lesson that is applicable in all of your freelancing careers (and entrepreneurship lives! haha!). And I was reminded of this lesson while I was watching White Nights, a korean drama on Netflix.

I was reminded that to keep a Client/Partner happy, the relationship that we have should be a “win-win” situation for both parties. Although, in that K-drama, they laid things out in a blunt manner.

But seriously, why do I NEED to keep giving if I feel that I don’t get anything out of a relationship. Why is it my fault that I have to step back when I feel that I’m no longer valued? Why do I always need to understand people around me, when it was I who was the one in the losing end all along?

So before you make decisions, or feel things, assess the situation. Ask yourself, were you fair to your client? Did you give it your all during the times that they needed you? Did they value you as much as you valued yourself?

If you did the best that you could, then that’s what matters.

And if you’re on the other side, before you judge, think. Did you really give as much value? Why do you feel that way? Is it the other party’s fault or was it a lapse on your end. What could you have done to keep the relationship alive?

Walang forever if walang effort para maging forever.

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