I love playing Instagram stories of friends, colleagues, actors and actresses and even of people I don’t personally know, but “know of”. My husband laughs at this idea, and asks me why I spend so much of my precious time “stalking” people 1) I don’t know personally, 2) I may never know personally and 3) I wouldn’t really care about and would actually forget in the near future.
But you see, little ol’ me knows the importance of connection. Back when I was in High School, my hobby was to look at the society pages of newspapers and magazines, and to memorize people’s names, who they were and what they do. I was just really fascinated with how each individual was unique, and how each had their “own thing”. I never knew that this was actually something that people do, which was public relations. The concept of public relations was still so foreign to me and to my young high school mind. But ever since I was young, I loved meeting people, learning their stories and connecting them with people who might be of help or of service to them. I was happy being the bridge to the fulfilment of discussions, deals and dreams.
I now gawk at how social media can bring people closer in a way with just mere @s, #s and links. I get to know people, because my friends tag them in their posts. I get to know brands because hashtags and links were used. The world is seemingly smaller, and everyone seems to know everyone else. You can just grab a bite with a friend after sending a message on Messenger or Viber. You can purchase an item online by clicking a button and sending funds via PayPal. You can build a community of people with the same likes and passions, by setting up a Facebook or Meet-up group. All of these are done in minutes, if not seconds. All of these tools are available for you to utilize and make the most out of. These tools help you build relationships — relationships that will mean a lot to your personal and professional life as a freelancer.
Building relationships, both online and offline, is an important part of your life as a freelancer. Even if you’re mostly online, it doesn’t mean that the basic human need of connecting with other “humans” is stripped off from you. As humans, we feel the need to connect with others. Now looking back at my career as a freelancer and now as an entrepreneur, these connections made such an impact to achieving success for different endeavors. Success is getting more clients, raking in more brand partners, having the right business partners, having the right suppliers, etc. All of these, I now enjoy, because of the network that I built and the relationships that I have established.
I want to share tips on how I built my network with you, and I am truly appreciative of PayPal for giving me the opportunity to do so. I will be one of the four speakers of the PayPal Summit: Freelancing Anywhere in the World that will be held on August 24, 2017 at The Manila Peninsula Rigodon Ballroom from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
I hope that you can make it to the event. Do let me know also, beforehand, if you have questions about networking and building partnerships and relationships. I will gladly share my thoughts on it at the event.
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!
P.S. If you want are looking for support, you can check out these groups:
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.
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
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.
8. The host will choose the best post on May 31, 2017!
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
“Pulubi na naman ako, teh, this month” (I don’t have enough money this month). Have you ever uttered these words? Have you ever been in this situation?
Yesterday, I was talking to two blogger friends, Frances and Yuki. Both these bloggers are established influencers and have been blogging for quite some time now. Both of them are go-getters, too, and will now leave anything up to chance when it comes to earning for themselves and for their family. We had a serious conversation, and the topic was earning enough from being a full time blogger and full time freelancer at that.
The misconception that others have about people who work from home, or those who are freelancing or even those who are their own boss is that you hardly spend on anything. Even if we work from home, we still have bills to pay (phone, internet, water, electricity, rent, mortgage… and the list continues). We still have to earn so that we can make it work! Our main concern really is that income as a freelancer or even a solopreneur is unpredictable. Sometimes, you earn really well and sometimes, the only thing that you can afford for lunch is a Php 50 Chao Fan with siomai that you share with your co-founders (yes, that was a real experience).
So what do we do? How can we make it work? How can you truly earn from your passion? Wouldn’t it be such a great year if you can sustain a lifestyle that is fuelled by something you love?
Lucky for me, I am willing to share with you my secret on how I stay afloat. Actually, my secret is not a tip, it’s a person. For the first time in history, I am sharing with you my husband. Yup, my husband, EJ Arboleda.
I’m not good at handling money. I don’t splurge or buy anything extravagant, but it seems I only have enough all the time. But man, this guy is amazing and he really makes it work for us. When I met him, at 28, he already had his own condo unit, he had investments here and there and he was able to gift me with my dream wedding and a honeymoon to Europe. What impressed me is that he had all of these, because he worked smart and hard.
I am really excited that EJ will be conducting a workshop entitled Budgeting for Freelancers and Solopreneurs (brought to you by Manila Workshops and Payoneer) and believe me when I say this (and I am not saying it because I’m his wife) that he if you just follow his tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way to letting go of all those fears and worries about not having a stable income. I know because I have already let go of all of my worries! haha!
I’m not sure why I just thought of inviting EJ to be a speaker for Manila Workshops only this 2017. For those who want to check on his credentials, EJ is the CEO of Taxumo, a tech startup that helps freelancers, professionals, and entrepreneurs with their taxes. He is also the Chief Technology Officer of Wunderman Manila – a digital advertising agency under the WPP group. He is a certified Project Management Professional, ITIL v3 Service Manager, and a SAP R/3 FI Consultant. He has been freelancing since 2010 as a web developer, project manager, and consultant.
This year will be our breakthrough year! This year, we will all let go of all of our worries and start living the life that we want. We will start earning from our passion! Let’s make it work!