A Complete Guide to Becoming a Successful Freelancer in the Philippines [with infographics]
Posted on November 25, 2016 by Franco Alvarez
Many see freelancing as a sideline gig which employees with regular 9 am to 5 pm jobs do to supplement their income. While it still holds true in many cases, freelancing is also gradually changing.
In the United States, survey results on the State of Freelancing in 2015 revealed that that “2/3 of respondents are in it for the long haul, saying they plan on freelancing for 10+ years.”
In the EU market, a report revealed that freelance numbers have increased by 45% from just under 6.2 million to 8.9 million in 2013, making them the fastest growing group in the EU labor market.
In the Philippines, an estimated 800,000 freelancers use the online crowd-sourcing marketplace and online platform, Freelancer.com, to find jobs worldwide. The top skills Filipinos have been hired for are data entry, using Excel, copy typing, data processing, and article writing. More specialized work includes website development or software programming.
Being a freelancer is not just about the chance to work from home in your jammies, scouting for the best coworking spaces, or holing up in your neighborhood “coffice” with the fastest Wi-Fi. It’s a lot like owning a small business, and as such, you need to treat it like a one-person company with only you running the show.
Here are what you need to know to get your foot in the door and launch your freelancing career.
Click on each link to know more.
Putting Together Your Freelancing Toolkit
Starting your career as a freelance professional can be as simple as getting your own laptop and attracting clients. But, once the question of invoicing, coordinating schedules, and meeting deadlines start pouring in, you need to be adequately prepared to avoid undue delays or work disruptions.
Have your tools ready before you start working with clients. It will help you focus on the actual task of working instead of juggling all the paperwork required from the get-go.
How to Apply for Government Permits and Other Paperwork
Being an independent freelancer does not exclude you from performing your duties as a law-abiding citizen. Just like regular employees, you need to pay your taxes, register your business, and file your returns.
As a self-employed business owner, otherwise known as a sole proprietor, you also need to issue invoices, maintain a book of accounts, and other responsibilities. Unlike an employee, though, you’ll need to do these tasks yourself in the absence of an HR department to do it on your behalf.
Where to Get Your Freelance Projects
Technology has made it so much easier for freelancers to find clients and let their services be known to a broader market. There are numerous websites and regular events you can visit to start working as a freelance professional.
Some sites post a list of available job openings on behalf of employers, while others are created for specific roles such as content writers or programmers.
Browse the Job Board to check any available openings that fit your skills. Set up an account and get in touch with potential clients on the website.
You can search for jobs according to price, hourly rate, project duration, and location. From Data entry, content creation, to legal services, a whole gamut of jobs is available that will match your skill set.
This international online job platform requires you to sign up and wait for their team to approve your application. Once you get it, you have to submit a proposal, and you’ll be evaluated against others vying for the same position.
This Philippine-based online job board is made for Filipinos, for Filipinos. The platform works as a conduit between clients and freelancers. You can also network with fellow freelancers and join workshops to hone your skills.
You can set up an account to gain access to a list of writing jobs available at the site. You can choose topics according to your preference. It has a grading system that prioritizes more “senior” writers who have successfully fulfilled their commitments, while newbies have a chance to earn points by submitting high-quality work.
To join this international site for freelance writers, just submit a few samples and take a test that evaluates your level of proficiency. ArticleBunny’s editors review submissions, and you can get hired directly. Also, you may or may not get revisions requests, depending on the quality. They have the option to reject work that doesn’t pass their standards.
This is a US-based site dedicated for designers, mostly those who are adept at logo design, websites, packaging, brand identity, and the like.
Freelance Writing Gigs
Freelance writers may search jobs that are contractual, full-time, part-time, freelance, or get credits as an intern.
Social Networking Communities
Facebook is filled with freelance communities you can join based on your skill set. For example, there’s an FB group, “Work in Freedom Community for Female Freelancers,” where peers regularly post freelance jobs. LinkedIn is also a minefield for freelance job seekers. Use your search function to find those that are right for you.
Former work colleagues
If you used to hold a corporate job, you can contact your former workmates and do freelance work on a contractual or project basis.
Office Options for Freelancers
Flexibility is one of the perks of freelancing, and this extends not just to your work hours, but to your place of work as well. You can set up an office at home, go to your favorite cafe with your laptop, or find a coworking space nearby to start working. All you need is a reliable Wi-Fi and your laptop to get started. Here are a few areas to consider.
It is best to find a dedicated work space in your home that is used only for work. Put all of your paperwork and other equipment within reach to optimize your space and time.
The best “coffices” are those that have quiet areas and reliable Wi-Fi. Good coffee is a bonus for those who need a caffeine boost. Scout your neighborhood for those that also have electrical outlets.
Coworking spaces such as Foxhole usually have reliable Wi-Fi and other amenities you need for working. Most have separate rooms you can rent for those who require privacy while collaborating with teams or when conducting meetings. There are hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly rates to choose from.
Now that you’re equipped with the tools and information you need to start your freelancing career, it’s up to you to hit the ground running. Get the paperwork out of the way and leverage on all the available tools you can use to start clinching on your next project. Set up your home office or find the perfect coworking space in your area.
Once you get the essentials out of the way, you can focus on growing a sustainable business. As long as you work hard and adopt the right mindset, you’re well on your way to not only survive, but thrive as a successful freelancer.
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Franco has always had a passion for entrepreneurship. Even at a very young age, he would constantly find an opportunity to make a little cash on the side. May it be selling women’s bracelets made out of safety pins and cheap stones or writing research papers for his rich classmates who didn’t want to study, he took advantage of each chance he got. Now, as a father of three and a full-time entrepreneur, he believes that there is always an opportunity to be of service to your fellow businessman. All you need to have is the right intention, and the proper skill set to be of help to others. In his downtime, he and his wife find new things to distract their kids with.