Freelancing is the future. This is true not only for foreign freelancers but also Filipinos. A 2018 PayPal Global Freelancer Insights Report revealed that over 1.5 million Filipinos are already in the freelancing business. This accounts for 2% of the global freelancing population. During and after the pandemic, this number doubled and tripled as more people looked for safer means to earn a living.
If you’re wondering when is the best time to start freelancing, the answer is now. The great thing about this industry is that even beginners can land a job and you can learn valuable skills along the way. With a positive disposition and constant hunger for learning, you can go a long way in your freelancing journey.
What exactly is freelancing?
In the simplest sense, freelancing is when individuals become their own boss. As a freelancer, you’re offering services like virtual assistance, social media management, or others and then get paid for them in cash. You can land a steady gig with hard work, diligence, and tenacity. You can work anywhere — while traveling or at home. Above all, you can set the hourly rate that you want and work with multiple clients at a time for higher earnings.
How does freelancing work?
The freelancing hiring process varies depending on the company and industry. Some companies and employers hire you straight away after a few message exchanges. Others require you to go through a series of interviews and written exams. Moreover, they may also require you to send video or audio introductions.
The interviews are usually conducted via Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, or other interviewer-designated platforms. Once you pass all the stages of the tests and interviews, expect to receive an email from the employer outlining the subsequent courses of action.
To get paid, you will be asked to link or send your bank account details. While the payment method mostly depends on your client, you can also suggest what’s convenient for you. Here are the most popular online payment platforms freelancers use:
What do you need to start your freelancing career?
The first thing you need to start freelancing is the willingness and commitment to go all in. Secondly, since you’ll be working on your own, you need to possess your own equipment, including the following:
- Laptop or desktop (with 8GB RAM or higher, GPU, and SSD)
- Wired internet connection
- Back-up internet connection
- Headset with noise cancellation feature
What are the pros and cons of freelancing?
Weigh your options by looking at the advantages and disadvantages of freelancing below.
- Freedom of when, where, and who to work with
- No commute or traffic
- Work even while on vacation
- Ability to set your own rates
- Earn while doing what you love
- Higher earnings
- Work with multiple clients at a time
- Risk of not getting paid
- Some projects may not be long term
- Possibility of not landing a gig right away
How much do freelancers make?
A freelancer’s pay is dependent on the number of hours they put into work. Most freelancers earn by the hour, so you will make more if you put in more hours. You also have to factor in the per-hour rate you agreed to. For example, for a client you decided to work for $3 an hour for 40 hours per week, you can expect to take home $120 per week or $480 per month.
Seasoned freelancers even peg around $20 to $100 per hour or higher for their service. While some freelancers are paid by the hour, others are paid per project, an article written, lead, or fixed monthly rate.
According to the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), on average, Filipino freelancers get paid around PhP39,000 or $780 per month. Just like what we said earlier, the more hours you put in, the bigger your earnings. With freelancing, it’s pretty easy to achieve a 6-digit salary within months or a year after starting.
Top freelance jobs for beginners
Here are the top freelancing jobs for beginners you can explore.
- Virtual Assistant: You’ll be working as an extension of your client. Your task will vary depending on what your client needs. The duties could include replying to emails, organizing your client’s schedule, and doing personal errands.
- Content Writer: As a content writer, you will be tasked to write blogs, service pages, link-building articles, landing pages, white papers, and other written content. You will also be responsible for optimizing these contents.
- Transcriptionist: The role of a transcriptionist is to convert videos into written content.
- Online English Teacher: If you’re passionate about teaching foreign students, you can try working as an online English teacher. Most of these students are Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.
- Social Media Manager: This job requires you to oversee your brand’s interactions with the people on various social media platforms. You will be tasked to identify customer trends, analyze engagement data, build online communities, and also launch campaigns.
- E-commerce Virtual Assistant: This role requires you to oversee your client’s eCommerce store. Part of your task would be to list products, optimize listings, reply to user queries, and provide relevant information.
- Real Estate Virtual Assistant: Your task would range from lead prospecting, appointment setting, calendar management, and data entry to doing anything your client assigns to you.
- Customer Service Virtual Assistant: This job requires you to cater to customer queries about the brand. You may need to assist in order fulfillment, tracking, payments, refunds, and customer management.
- Graphic Design Virtual Assistant: Your primary role is to create informative and appealing visuals using tools like logos, website graphics, infographics, eBook designs, and more. It will help if you’re adept in designing tools like Canva.
How to become a freelancer
While this career option offers an outstanding work-life balance, you still need to hustle. After some time, you’ll see your hard work generously paid off. To help you kickstart your freelancing journey, consider the following tips:
Assess your skills
Know where you’re good at. As a freelancer, you need to have the following skills:
- Hard skills: These are the specific knowledge, competencies, and abilities you must possess to perform your role in an organization. Your hard skills will depend on the industry you belong to and the job you have. It could be as simple as proficiency in MS Word and data entry or as advanced as expertise in coding languages, data management, and financial planning.
- Soft skills: These are social competencies and personality traits you have to perform unique tasks and interpersonal activities. Examples of soft skills include communicating clearly, ambition, motivation, as well as leadership skills.
Decide on your niche and pricing structure
Your niche will be based on your skill sets, education, and background. For example, you’ve been working as an office-based copywriter in the past; you can offer content writing services. After identifying what services to offer, you need to be clear on how much you’ll charge for your services. Consider your lifestyle and get real with your monthly expenses. In addition, you need to ask yourself these questions:
- How much do I need to earn to support our lifestyle?
- What is my monthly income target?
- How much do other freelancers change for this kind of service?
- If I accept a full-time workload, how much should I earn to justify the time I’ll spend working?
- What are the possible expenses that a freelancer is expected to have?
- Are my skills in demand?
- What can I offer to my client to justify what they pay me?
Your yearly income goal should be six times the collective cost of all these expenses. For example, if your expenses like equipment, taxes, software subscription, and health benefits would cost you PHP 100,000 per year, your yearly income goal should be PHP 600,000 or higher.
Sign up on different freelancing platforms
You need to know where other freelancers are looking for gigs and clients. Here are the most common freelancing platforms you should be familiar with:
- Upwork. This is one of the largest freelancing platforms where employers and independent contractors meet. You can find various jobs here – from content writing and virtual assistance to website development and programming. Sign up through this link.
- Onlinejobs.ph: This is another freelancing platform where you can find gigs like graphic design, content writing, virtual assistance, and web design. You don’t have to bid for jobs. Instead, you need to verify your account and apply for employee job postings. Sign up here.
- LinkedIn: Although LinkedIn is not technically a freelancing platform to bid for jobs, you can still use it to network with companies. You can follow headhunters and check their posts for hiring. Here, you have a higher chance of being a direct hire. Sign up here.
- Fiverr: If you’re looking for digital projects like voice-overs, content writing, and website design, try Fiverr. Instead of bidding for projects, all you have to do is sign up and list your services. Sign up here.
- Freeup.net: This is the best marketplace for accountants, marketing professionals, salespeople, web developers, content writers, transcriptionists, and those offering admin work. They pre-screen freelancers, making the hiring process for employers easier. You can register to be a freelancer in FreeUp here.
Build your portfolio
You need to wow your prospective client with your skills. To start your freelancing career, you need to work on a one to two pages resume. Summarize your experiences and skills and capitalize on them. Ensure that you highlight the competencies the job you’re applying for requires. After which, you need a portfolio. The portfolio’s content would depend on the job you’re trying to bag. Despite these differences, one fact stands – you need to include your best projects. This is like your ‘foot-in-the-door’ strategy, the chance for you to take the home run. Once the client shortlists you, expect to undergo a series of interviews and tests. If you ace these parts, you can expect to get a call for another set of screening tests or a job offer.
You need clients, that’s why you need to sell yourself and your skills. The best way to do this is to join Facebook groups to network with other freelancers, as well as prospective clients. Here are a few Facebook groups you should consider joining.
- Homebased Filipino Freelancers
- Onlinejobs.ph Group
- Hiring Virtual Assistant – Philippines
- Upwork Pilipinas-Freelancers
- Upwork Philippines
Indeed, freelancing opens up great opportunities and unique possibilities. If you’re tired of commuting for long hours only to get to work already exhausted, or if you want to earn more than your current job pays you, then go for it.
If you want to jumpstart your freelancing career but don’t have the skills yet, we’ve got you covered. Check out our affordable, beginner-friendly courses to begin your online career today.
Become a skilled freelancer
Looking for in-depth courses? Click the link below.