Basic Facts and Ideas about Freelancing
For some time, freelancing became the buzzword for those who seek greater work opportunities and extra income. For employees, this provides them flexibility in the workplace, and a way to upgrade their skill sets. Homemakers and even the unemployed also turn to freelancing and make use of their knowledge and free time to earning money.
However, nowadays freelancing has become a legitimate and stable business, especially for those who pursue this venture full-time. This is mainly because it functions indeed as a business, if not a career connected to their expertise.
Freelancers generally take job orders online through international freelancing sites like Upwork, Onlinejobs.ph, and local ones like Raket.ph. Experienced freelancers either interact directly or are sought after by clients. Other job sources are professional networking sites, referrals, and headhunters. Even social media such as Facebook post ads or job offers for prospective freelancers.
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Freelancing Means Hard Work
There’s a misconception that freelancing is for lazy or socially awkward people. Some may also say that freelancing is for those with limited career choices. That is not so, especially in the Philippines.
Freelancing websites claim to have over a million registered Filipino users working on different fields. A survey by Freelancing.ph says that as of 2016, the population of freelancers comprises of predominantly female users, aged 25 to 34 years old, and in Metro Manila. Working as a General Virtual Assistant, it adds, is the most popular niche among freelancers. Other top specializations are content writing and strategy, digital marketing, web development, and customer support.
Learning and upgrading skills lead to more job offers, and thus more income. Simply put, freelancing offers an opportunity for career growth, as long as you are willing to learn even the basics.
Freelancers generally charge based on their location, expertise, and length of experience. That said, freelancers in the Philippines charge the lowest hourly rate so far at $11.72, compared to those in Great Britain who charge $46.54 per hour. The US, in comparison, has an average rate of $37.87.
In the local setting, freelancers work on average for 32 hours a week, and in turn, earn P39,000 a month. Some earn as much as P100,000 or more, but this may mean they charge higher rates rather than work longer hours. More seasoned freelancers tend to do both.
Hubstaff says developers make up the largest number of freelancers worldwide. Other top niches are design and multimedia, administrative jobs like data entry and virtual assistants, and writing. In these specializations, Filipino freelancers are among the most active talents in the international workplace.
Freelancing is a Commitment
Yet another common misconception about freelancing is that it’s easy and stress-free. It’s partly true that all you need is a suitable computer or laptop, and a stable internet connection, and you’re set. Even so, working freelance needs as much discipline and effort as a regular job.
Freelancers who hope for easy money will be disappointed. Becoming a freelancer is no different from setting up your own business, especially once you start accepting regular jobs. That means managing your finances, planning your activities, and upgrading your services, all the while improving your own skills and spending personal time.
Apart from the rigors of ensuring quality service, you have to play the part of the businessman in paper too. You will need to show proof that you are a legitimate service provider, such as issuing receipts, showing permits, and paying taxes.
One misconception about freelancing as a business is that online freelancing sites engage in digital arbitrage, meaning they enable employers to avail of cheap labor. This may seem the case, considering how low Filipino freelancers seem to charge on average. Add the fact that freelancing sites deduct from a freelancer’s fees for acting as middlemen.
However, while freelancing sites help employers get services at minimal cost, they also ensure that freelancers get the best rates possible, depending on one’s skills. As mentioned earlier, freelancers charge based on their location and forte, and some even consider cost of living in their rates. It all boils down to the quality and quantity of work you offer.
At the end of the day, freelancing is a competitive and rewarding career option. This will help boost career growth, improve your competencies, and provide an ample income stream at your own pace.