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?

I’ve worked a lot of different jobs in my life. I originally worked as a banker, but I’ve also been a dog breeder, makeup artist, product/fashion stylist, and social entrepreneur. I’m the founder of Manila Workshops and Taxumo. And of course, I’m a blogger too! Apart from this blog, I am a lifestyle blogger at ManilaReviews.com and a health and fitness blogger at ManilaFitness.com.

I’ve done styling and make-up…

So no one knows better than I do how life and a wide variety of interests can pull you in so many different directions. But while diversification can keep your life fun and exciting, it can also make it easier for you to get frazzled and spread yourself too thin. When that happens, especially when you’re freelancing, it can push you that much closer to burnout.

This makes it all the more important to find your niche as a freelancer. It’s not just to improve your own life, either—it will help you find and serve quality clients who are willing to pay more for your unique set of skills.

Still, finding the market and skill set to specialize in can be tough. In my case, it took me years of doing different things before I settled into the roles I have now, but I don’t regret any of them—in fact, I highly recommend doing the same. It’s good to explore the many avenues that are open to you because it helps you find the best fit. Think about how it works when you go to college, where you take mostly general subjects in your freshman and sophomore years, which gives you the option to change your course before you go into the subjects related to your major, which you take more and more of in your junior years, so that you have the right knowledge and skills for your chosen career path by the time you graduate.

Most freelancers find that finding their niche markets require quite a bit of trial and error. Still, there are ways to make sure there are fewer “errors” than there are trials. Here are a few things I’d suggest:

Do some exploratory research. Talk to other people. Join meetups not just for freelancers doing the same thing you’re doing, but other kinds of freelancers and professionals as well (if this is something you’d like to do, I can recommend joining the Freelance Blend group by Marvin de Leon and also the PayPal Philippines Freelancer Community. Immerse yourself in an industry you find interesting. Read books, watch videos, subscribe to podcasts—there are so many things you can do!

Do a SWOT analysis. You might have learned about these in school or at work. Outline your strengths and your weaknesses, and identify opportunities and threats for your freelancing business. You’ll want to play to your strengths and maximize your opportunities, but also find ways to improve on your weaknesses and protect your business from threats.

Do a little soul searching. Not to sound cheesy, but the better you know yourself and what you want to do, the easier it will be to find a place in the freelancer market that fits you. Ask yourself a few probing questions. What do you want to achieve as a career goal? What do you love doing most—and love learning? Or conversely, what do you hate doing? Where is your network? Who are the people who support you? And on a more social note, where can you do the most good?

At the end of the day, and even when you have found your niche and made a name for yourself, you’ll likely still find that you’ll still need to know a little about a lot of things, as your clients’ needs may vary. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to spend lots of time and money getting professional-level competencies at skill sets that aren’t your primary business focus, but you need to know enough to be conversant and to make sure what needs to get done is done—more on this in my next post! And at the basic level, you’ll need to develop good communication and productivity skills, as well as the know-how to use tools like Taxumo and PayPal to make sure all your earnings are properly reported and received.

But don’t forget that you should have one or two things you should know a lot about, in order to be an expert in your field or career track. Once you know where your priorities lie, you can focus on working smarter instead of harder. And that just means more time for travel and, more importantly, for friends and family!

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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 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.
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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