As of last year, close to a million Pinoys have been doing freelance work. Be it at home or at coffee shops or at co-working spaces, the freelancing industry has boomed in the Philippines. Just a few clicks on oDesk or Elance and you’ll see a lot of online job opportunities with the words “Looking for Filipino/from Philippines” in the post header.
Freelancing is a great way to pursue your long-forgotten hobbies or dreams and make extra cash on the side. Since most jobs don’t require you to work full-time, it’s relatively easy to be employed 8 hours a day, 5 days a week at a local office and still accept freelance job offers on your free time. This set-up lets you enjoy the security of a monthly paycheck and also get a flexible work schedule on your freelance project.
So how should you start?
- Define your skill set. What’s your craft? What is something you love doing that you’re not even worried if you’ll get paid for it or not? What is your passion? Determine what this is and work towards step 2.
- Work on your craft. Take classes, join seminars, and create your brand. What’s your unique selling proposition? Put it up on your website, social media accounts, or your blog. Know your identity and narrow down your specific industry. If you’re a writer, will you freelance as a copy writer or a web content writer or a medical writer, etc?
- Prepare your portfolio. Most clients wouldn’t mind whether you’ve already finished college or you just stepped into it. In just about any freelancing job, what’s more important is that you’re truly good at what you do and have an amazing portfolio to show for it. For freelancers with no prior experience in the industry they’ve chosen, it’s understandably hard to create a portfolio out of thin air. So to begin, be open to accepting non-paid work. Try volunteering for a non-profit organization. Accept a low-paying freelance job offer. Get as much experience as you can to build a worthy portfolio with glowing recommendations.
- Research how much freelancers in your industry are getting paid and set your freelancing rates. You don’t want to price your services too low nor too high. Decide whether you’re looking for a job that pays by the projects you make or by the hours you spend on it. If you’re a fast worker, getting paid per project is better as it would not take you x number of hours to earn x pesos.
- Tap into your network for possible clients. Pitch your portfolio. Create an account on online job sites like oDesk or Elance and search for jobs there. Potential clients can come from anywhere but make sure to only say yes to verified client accounts, unless you want to work hard on something and not get paid for all the trouble.
Everyone needs to start somewhere. It’s important to remind yourself that practice makes perfect. So before you quit your day job, completely invest in yourself, your skills, and your bank account. Before long, you’ll be raking in the rewards of your freelance career.