67 million out of 105 million Filipinos are cited as now having access to the Internet, and 1.5 million of them, a considerable number, are logged in as freelance workers. Freelancers, or independent contractors, participate in a “gig economy” in which they negotiate their own work hours, type of project involvement, and compensation with individual clients. Much of the time, these arrangements are made on online platforms that connect freelancers to an international client base; the platforms act as a marketplace of sorts for the buying and selling of skills and output.
Some of the most popular reasons to choose freelancing over conventional 9-5 jobs are: flexible hours, more time to spend with family, and more opportunities to engage with foreign clientele. Thus, many more Filipinos have turned to freelancing as a respectable means to earn income.
If this is a working model you’re seeking for yourself, then you should know that freelancing also comes with its own challenges. It won’t be a simple matter of signing up to a website, then getting new clients in a snap. What you’ll need to make this lifestyle work for you are patience, dedication, and some savvy with regard to how to sell yourself. With that in mind, here are 7 tips that we can offer you if you’re trying to find freelance work in the Philippines.
Decide the scope of work you’ll be doing as a freelancer
Before freelancing in earnest, you should have some perspective about what you’re capable of. Will you be freelancing part-time and earning extra income alongside another job? Or are you willing to let go of your previous work, instead dedicating yourself to being a full-time independent contractor? Don’t jump into a decision before you’re ready, before you have enough savings, and before you have freed up your time. Remember, the transition to becoming your own boss might eat up a bit of your time and your resources.
Choose which platform you want to find work on
There’s a higher chance of scoring a gig if you’re on a freelancing platform, where clients are already looking for services. The big names out there are Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com, but there are also emerging freelancing platforms like Smalljobs.ph or ContentWritersPH that cater exclusively to a Filipino talent pool. Check any of these sites out, and learn about how you can score a job, what the payment process will be like, and how they can ensure your protection as a freelancer.
Join support groups where freelancers converge
Even as you choose and sign up for a platform, you might also want to join online forums and social media groups dedicated to freelancing, such as the Online Filipino Freelancers group on Facebook. Filipino freelancers are often very supportive of each other, and groups like these might supply job opportunities, candid feedback about freelancing sites, advice on dealing with clients, and the like.
Figure out a base rate for your skills
One of the first things you should figure out before you launch yourself to the freelancing public is how you will monetize your skills. For example, if you’re going to work as a virtual assistant, that will mean deciding how much you’ll charge per hour. If you want to go on a per-project basis for creative work, however, that will mean assigning a price to each written article or photograph. Our advice is to think of a rate that reflects your skills and experience, and to compare the existing rates of freelancers with more or less the same background that you have. If anything, don’t lowball yourself with too low a price, especially if you know you’re capable of providing top-quality work that well exceeds industry standards.
Draft a profile
Your profile should serve to introduce you to clients and to make you stand out among everyone else as the right fit for the job. Complete your profile with a recent and professional-looking photo of yourself, and include a short paragraph summarizing what kind of person you are, your educational and professional backgrounds, any certifications you might have, and what your skill set includes. You can opt for phrases like “your next partner for working on Amazon” or “a seasoned developer specializing in mobile apps.” Take our advice, and avoid cliché or vague descriptions like “rock star VA” or “copywriting ninja.”
Assemble a portfolio
Give future clients some insight about the quality and range of work you can do through your samples. 3 samples are generally safe for up-and-coming freelance writers, photographers, or graphic designers. Web developers can also send up to 3 links of sites they’ve done work on before. Those specializing in customer service can upload briefers detailing the clients they’ve worked with before, what their job description was, and how they improved the client’s productivity. Ideally, these sample works should speak for themselves.
Think ahead about all the questions a client may ask you
Before you secure any type of job, a client will reach out to you to pose some inquiries. Do make a checklist of questions you think they’ll ask you to assess whether or not you’re right for the job—what your work hours with them will be like, what your goals will be per phase of the project, and the like. The sooner you can provide clear answers for them, the better chances you have of securing the job.
Once you score your first few freelance gigs, it will be a process of trial and error to see what works for you and what doesn’t. Nevertheless, every time you clear a milestone, make sure to congratulate yourself and commit to improving your skills in your chosen line of freelance work. Congratulations on taking this big step in your career, and here’s to your success as a Filipino freelancer!