Now you’ve probably already made your new year’s resolution list, and I hope you’ve started to make some progress when it comes to realizing each of your goals. But if you’re still looking for a little direction, I thought I’d come up with a few things to start or update yourself on this year to make sure that by the end of it, you’re happier, healthier, and wealthier!

Amp up your graphics game.
Learn to use graphics apps and services like those offered by Canva.com. I’m not a very artsy person, but Canva has made my life wonderful! Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a professional, you’ll find this skill useful for social media promotions and ads, poster-making, sprucing up presentations, and so on. Even if you’re not using this for business, you can prettify your personal messages and posts, add personalized graphics to your blog, and more.

CANVA BASIC TUTORIAL

Open an online payment account.
If you’re not already using PayPal or a similar online payment gateway, this year’s the year to do it. It’s getting more and more convenient to buy and sell online, and this is one way to keep your credit card information secure. Plus, you can use this to send money to loved ones anywhere, anytime.

Transition to online shopping.
Like I’ve mentioned, online shopping is becoming more and more popular and convenient. Whether you get home, fashion, tech and more from Lazada, makeup and skincare from BeautyMNL, restaurant food and groceries from HonestBee, or whatever else you shop for online (and these are just a few of the local options), you have to admit that online ordering and delivery is one way to beat the traffic and save hours on your shopping trips.

Use transport networks.
Ride services like Uber and Grab have been around for years, but if you haven’t been using these too much, now’s the time to embrace them. And before you start thinking using them regularly is too expensive, perhaps you should also count the cost of parking, gasoline, car maintenance, and either wages for a driver or your own driving stress. Plus, there are ways to save, by sharing a ride with officemates who live close to you or with neighbors who work in the same area as you, by creating a “carpool” system so your kids can share a car with schoolmates from the same area, and so on.

Start or grow your rainy day fund.
This is one of those things that makes just about everyone’s new year’s resolutions list, but rarely gets resolved to your satisfaction. It’s understandable—expenses pile up, and temptations to spend are everywhere. But this year, start thinking about a sustainable way to save money. Better yet, look into investments that will grow your money instead of simply saving it.

Schedule regular date nights with your partner—and your gal pals.
It’s so easy for life to get in the way of romance, so make sure you and your partner take time out to rekindle that flame. Add it to your weekly schedule so you never forget to spend some quality time together.

On a related note, your monthly schedule should also include time with your BFFs. One study I read about has shown that, for women, spending time with your best friends can help your body fight stress and create more serotonin, which is a mood-balancing hormone essential to staving off depression. And another study mentioned we are more likely to live longer if we maintain a large network of friends as we get older.

Maintain a skin care regimen.
Time and aging only move forward, never backward, so it’s never too early or too late to start taking care of your skin. This doesn’t just mean slapping on some facial wash and moisturizer each morning and night. Pamper your skin and it’ll keep you looking and feeling fresher and younger. Plus, you’ll need less makeup if the canvas you have to work on—your face—already has a healthy glow to it. Check out this 10 Step Korean routine video that I created using Nivea products!

Explore freelancing and entrepreneurship possibilities.
Whether you’re already a freelancer or entrepreneur or you are working a corporate job, it’s always a good idea to diversify your income stream. And who would say no to making a little (or even a lot of) extra money? Explore ways to supplement your current income, and if you need a little help doing that, check out the events we have planned for this year at ManilaWorkshops.com.

Start journaling.
Bullet journaling and similar practices can help with your efficiency and productivity, so I’d definitely recommend this. But what I really would suggest doing this year is journaling for your state of mind. Here are some ideas for your journal. go over the events of your day to put things into perspective and clear things for the next day, make a list of things to be happy about and grateful for, have a daily goal and write about what you did to achieve it. You’ll find yourself happier and healthier just for having picked up the pen more regularly.

Manage your taxes.
There are a lot of changes related to taxation coming in 2018. Make sure these things don’t take you by surprise. Plus, if you aren’t filing your taxes properly, now’s the time to make sure you do that. After all, you don’t want to risk heavy penalties from BIR for failing to file the right taxes at the right time! And to make things easier for you, make sure you check out Taxumo and the services we offer, which are ideal for freelancers, entrepreneurs and mixed-income professionals.

Do you have a recommended must-do for 2018 I didn’t get to list? I’d love it if you’d share in a comment. We all have our personal goals this year, and it would be great if we could work toward them together!

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