Mad Hatter: Freelancing Demands Many Hats!

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, I also blog for, 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.


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:

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!

Are We All Passionate People?

Let’s talk about passion. And, i’m not talking about just the passion related to romance, but passion for anything else. Passion is that uncontrollable feeling or desire for something. Reality though is that not everyone has discovered their own passion or passions. During a learning session for my workshop directors in my company, they had to interview random people. One of their insights was this: 50% of the people that they interviewed didn’t have any “passion”. This may be have been discovered already by a lot of people, brands, etc., because of the evident messages that are seen in ads for us to all discover our passion. The world is constantly pushing us to act on it.

These are my thoughts on passion. Aside from the thoughts that I have shared, here are some other things that I personally think about this topic.

I believe that we are all passionate people and we all have something that we are passionate about. It’s just a matter of discovering it. And finding your passion is not something that you should pressure yourself to look for and find. When I mentioned in the video that you will eventually know if you have found it, it will be through different experiences that you have gone through. I believe that with each experience, you unravel and learn something about yourself that will lead you to that passion.

I also think that your passion or passions (yes, you can have more than 1) will evolve. And when it evolves, don’t panic or don’t feel guilty or weird about it. Through time, you become a different person or evolve, also, so as your grow, your passion may “evolve” with you.

Now when you start a business, is passion enough? I wrote something about this five years ago. You can read it here:

To end this post on passion and on finding one’s passion, i’d like to say that we are all passionate people. Don’t be to hung up on not finding your passion, though. Don’t stress yourself out. The simple thing to do is to gain new experiences, meet new people and have fun learning about the world. With all these new experiences and with you gaining new knowledge about different things, I am pretty sure that you will find it sooner than later!

Have a happy journey!

P.S. This is a post for the Freelancers Hub Philippines‘ Blog Carnival that I am a host of for the Month of May. Hope you can join, too, and contribute your thoughts.
To join, click here: Freelancers Hub Philippines Blog Carnival for May

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.


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,

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 (; 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.

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

Good luck! 🙂

Here are the links to the posts!

Rey Baguio
Ginger Arboleda
Mahesh Kumar
Liberty Baldovino
Charlie Aquino

Please visit each one and share their stories! 🙂


Online Tax Preparation with a Heart

Never in million years would I have guessed that I would be a TECH STARTUP company co-founder AND focus on online tax preparation. When I was little, I never liked math. One of the reasons why I chose marketing was I assumed it had a few subjects where I had to compute or use a calculator. When I graduated and helped my dad handle the family business, I would be so bored looking at excel spreadsheets that showed profit and loss statements.

I think I only got to love numbers when I joined a bank. Of course, in the beginning, I forced myself to look at spreadsheets and reports containing mostly numbers — all kinds of numbers and computations. Plus, I had to force myself to understand banking language like ADB, MBR, TPR, NPV, TITF, JA, CASA, FLOATS, etc. But, for anyone who knows me, I am a competitive person. I loved the challenge. So when I started understanding number, I found that I loved it and it was “actually” useful! haha! My almost 7 years of service in that bank was the best years of my life. I learned a lot and challenged myself A LOT!

When 2012 came, I went away to seek the life that I wanted, which was to become an entrepreneur. I would watch videos of Marie Forleo, Tyra Banks, Oprah and other influential women on the internet. I really admired each one of them and how they got to where they were. I saw the millions and millions of people whom they have helped. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to see how I could directly help others with a business. This dream was the foundation of Manila Workshops. When I started, it was a challenge getting our name out there. It was even more challenging to manage the “business” side of everything — from sustaining profits, controlling costs and most of all, dealing and paying taxes! I really hated that part.

I would always get stressed it if taxes was the topic. I wished for the longest time that someone would create anything like an online tax preparation system or whatever to make it easier for me. And so, with someone did notice and create a rudimentary system for me. This someone was my husband and my saviour. With this very rough local automation at home, we were able to expand the business of 3 directors to 20 directors.

The TAXUMO Story


And this is where our Taxumo story begins. We wanted to share this process and system with other small business owners, freelancers and professionals. We created a deck of the idea that we had, and started to pitch it to different people and in different competitions. This is where we started, because it seemed that others were doing this as well. With this, we were chosen as one of the 100 startups in Asia for the Echelon e27 Summit. During this time, we were already slowly developing the product. I was talking to different possible partners and was building alliances. EJ was developing algorithm, framework and the other stuff that we had to have before developing the software.

The next chapter of our story started when we were chosen as top 25 for the Ideaspace incubation program. We got some funds to build the prototype. With the money, we hired a freelance developer who would build the working prototype for us (A big shout out to Barry! Thank you! He developed our MVP and was really good, but had to let go of the project because we didn’t have enough funds to pay him.). This is the typical challenge of a startup. If you’re going through a financial turmoil, this is normal. We were bootstrapping as bootstrapping can be. Then, we were chosen as one of the top 10 startups for the Ideaspace Acceleration program. This came in at the right time. We used the funds to speed up development. A competent team is helping us develop the new system now (shoutout to Spectres Solutions! Wooohoo!)

During this time also, we invited people to be co-founders with us. Why and how did we decide on that? Well, we knew that we needed competent people to join our team to handle different aspects of the business. We knew that we needed an accounting and taxation expert, so we invited Mark. We knew that we needed to be covered legally, so we invited Atty. Kevin. And finally, after a few months of personally handling operations and marketing, the four of us decided to invite Evan, a marketing and advertising expert, and a freelancing advocate. So that’s how our team came to be.

Today is a really important day for us — it’s Ideaspace’s Demo Day. This is where we show the world the months of hard work that we have put into our startup (thanks Charz Medoza for the great design work, our new logo and the new UI/UX that everyone should watch out for!) But forget about us, because this is the time when we share the benefits of Taxumo for all of the Philippine self employed individuals — small businesses, freelancers and professionals. You can now concentrate on starting and building your business. This is the time to REFOCUS on what matters. Refocus on your passion!


We know that the reason that you started this business is that you want to make a difference. You long for time to use words or photographs to tell a story. You wanted to see the smiles as your customers run their fingers on that dress that you so painstakingly created. Hearing the conversations of people after a workshop session that they are now inspired to take action makes your heart skip a beat. Seeing an email of gratitude from a US client for great VA work done makes you feel that you can conquer the world. Giving business or life coaching advice to hundreds of people on stage or even through a one on one session makes you elated. All of these things make you remember that it was passion and a sense of purpose that made you decide to start your own business or pursue this profession. This is how we feel. This is how we all should feel about our business.

So join the tribe and worry less about taxes! Pursue your passion. Leave all the taxation worries and sign up for Taxumo ( It’s should all be about YOU this 2017!

P.S. Thank you to all of our mentors (Ms. Diane, Sir Manny, Prim, Phil, Gabe, Paul, Edmond, Jojy, Jojo, Jay) and to all of those who helped us make this happen! We love you all! #TeamTaxumo

Raising Multi-Talented Kids

Growing up as a kid, I learned one thing about every person that I ever had the chance of meeting — every single one has a skill or potential that may be the same or different from what I have. When we were in grade school, I went into business with my sister. We sold pastries and in that business, we defined each one’s roles. She was the one in charge of baking the products. I was in charge of marketing.

Effectively selling to people and influencing them to buy into an idea or product were talents that I had identified early on in my life. Although, when I reached my mid-twenties, I went through a period in my life where I was lost. I didn’t know what to pursue. I got to identify and see so many talents that I felt like I was all over the place. I wanted to do a lot of things. A lot of people said that I needed to focus. I felt like this was a ‘disease’ that I needed to be cured of.

I am seeing this, too, in my daughter. She is such a great kid with so many talents. I see that she loves singing and dancing. I also see that she has a sense of fashion and she has innate talent for mixing and matching outfits (and not to mention posing!).

Great Kids 2

She loves shopping!

Great Kids 3

She went straight to the rack of Great Kids!

Great Kids 4

She searched for the perfect outfit and chose this!

Great Kids 1

I was worried, because I felt that I had to make her choose and encourage her to stick to that ONE talent. It was just until recently that I realized that this was something that we didn’t have to be ashamed of. While each may be gifted with a unique skill or two, there are also those who are “different”, not because they are highly skilled in one aspect, but because they have a skill set that is unique to them, as formed through a diverse range of interests they themselves developed with constant exposure to different things, and this is something not easily copied by others—the multipotentialites.

By definition, multipotentialites are people who live a life of diverse interests or creative pursuits. Oftentimes, people who are so-called multipotentialites hold many different jobs and careers and have tried many activities throughout their lifetime starting from their adulthood, simply because these things appeal to their curiosity and they find out that they are good at these, too.

A multipotentialite could be a person who is into painting, then later on turned into a writer, and then even later, pursued another unrelated interest. Or, this person may be a musician who turned computer programmer, and then later on, pursued a different job altogether.

When we were young, we were asked by adults what we wanted to become when we grew up. We then would only say just one profession — doctor, accountant, lawyer, etc. For the rather imaginative kids, they would blurt out an engineer-doctor, or a runner-writer-chef. I noticed that oftentimes, when kids would say a bunch of stuff like these, the adults would tell them to just choose one. But, really? Why should they just choose one path? Did anyone or anything limit us to just have one passion? Just one true calling? Multipotentialites are those children and adults who have no “one true calling.” These are people who have so many passions.

Raising a Multipotentialite

The multipotentialites, nor their parents, would not be aware that they may be a multipotentialite in the early stages in their lives. If you find that your child has a strong interest in one thing, then after a few months or a year, wants to switch to another hobby (this cycle of may go on and on), chances are the child is a multipotentialite. I, am a multipotentialite, and I know a lot of friends who are, too. I think my daughter is a multi-potentialite, too!

Regardless of this title or discovery, what we, parents can do is not to overthink. Let’s just support them and expose them to as many fields of interest as possible, and give them the freedom to switch interests and explore early on in their lives. Over time, your child will be independent enough to make choices for himself/herself. If they reach a point when they, too, realize that they have so many talents, we, as parents, will be there to back them up, because now we know better.

P.S. Thanks, Great Kids for allowing us to shoot in your store! 🙂

Great Kids

Great Kids offers fresh, fun and pretty apparel for young girls aged 2-10 yrs old and capsule collections of Infant Girls, Mommy & Me & maternity apparel.

GreatKids is available in

Pois Belly & Kids BOUTIQUES:
– TriNoma: Ground Floor near Activity Center
– SM Megamall: Level 5 The Atrium
– Shangri-la Plaza: Level 4 Main Bldg
– Alabang Town Center: Level 2 Expansion Bldg
– SM Mall Of Asia: Ground Floor in front of Kids Universe
– SM City Cebu: Level 2, Main Mall
– SM City Iloilo: Upper Ground Floor
– SM Lanang Premier Davao: Level 2
– Ayala Center Cebu: Level 3

The SM Stores:
– BF Paranaque
– Cubao
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– Manila
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