Are you tired of the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule? Do you want to take control over your career and achieve work-life balance? If yes, then freelancing may be the perfect career option for you.
With technological advancements, more and more Filipinos are turning to freelance as a way to pursue their passions while maintaining a flexible work schedule.
Freelancing offers the flexibility to work from anywhere and the freedom to choose the type of work and clients you want to work with. However, as with any career path, it also comes with challenges.
This blog serves as a guide for new Filipino freelancers as they navigate their way through this career path. We will uncover the steps you need to take as you start freelancing, the benefits of becoming a freelancer, and the challenges along the way.
Why is freelancing becoming more popular these days?
The global pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to the global workforce, and one of the most significant changes is the rise of freelancing. With businesses closing their physical offices and shifting to remote work arrangements, many professionals have turned to freelance to earn a living.
In the Philippines, there are already 1.5 million Filipinos doing freelance work. But even as businesses have resumed their operations post-pandemic, the trend towards freelancing is likely to continue.
Freelancing has provided a solution for those affected by the pandemic, allowing them to continue working and earning money from the safety of their homes. It allowed many people to work while caring for their families or to move to less expensive areas to reduce their cost of living.
Moreover, freelancing has also offered opportunities to those laid off or furloughed. Freelancing platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr have reported increased service demand as businesses adapt to the new normal of remote work and online business.
Freelancing has also allowed professionals to diversify their income streams and create more stable sources of income. By taking on multiple clients or projects, freelancers can ensure a steady flow of income, even during uncertain times.
Steps on Becoming a Freelancer in the Philippines
Becoming a successful freelancer requires careful planning and preparation. Have a look at the steps below to guide you through this path.
Step 1: Identify your skills
You need to determine the services you can offer to clients. For example, if you are a graphic or logo designer, you can provide design services to clients in various industries. If you have experience in customer service, you can highlight what you’ve done in your previous job.
Identifying your niche and focusing on your strengths helps you stand out from the competition.
Step 2: Build a portfolio
Once you have identified your skills, you must build a portfolio to showcase your work to potential clients. Your portfolio should demonstrate your skills and expertise and be easy to navigate. You can use platforms such as Behance or Dribbble to create a professional portfolio or set up your own website to do so.
On top of your portfolio, you must prepare a well-written resume highlighting your experience and expertise. Check out our freelance resume tips to guide you.
Step 3: Determine your rates
Determining your rates can be a challenging task for new freelancers. When setting your rates, you need to consider your experience, skills, and market rates. It is also essential to assess your financial goals and ensure that your rates cover your expenses and provide a reasonable income.
For this step, it’s essential to seek the help of other freelancers. You can join forums, online platforms, or Beppo’s freelancing community to ask questions about the process, working hours, and more.
Step 4: Find clients
Finding clients is crucial to the success of your freelance business. You can find clients through freelance platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr. You can also network with your peers or join professional organizations to connect with potential clients.
Step 5: Set up a work schedule
Freelancers often work on multiple projects simultaneously, and having a schedule helps them prioritize their work and allocate time for each project. Setting a work schedule enables you to maintain a work-life balance by establishing clear boundaries between work and personal life. Without a schedule, you may find yourself overworking, which can lead to burnout and lower quality work.
Here are three helpful tips for creating a schedule that works for you and your clients:
Determine your most productive hours: Identify the hours of the day when you are most productive and focused. This will help you schedule your work hours around your peak productivity times.
- Prioritize your workload: List and prioritize your projects based on their deadlines and importance. This will help you allocate your time and meet your client’s expectations.
- Use a calendar or planner: Use a calendar or planner to schedule your work hours, deadlines, and appointments. This will help you track your schedule and avoid overbooking or missing deadlines.
Step 6: Understand your tax obligations
Freelancers are responsible for paying their taxes, and it is essential to understand your tax obligations to avoid any legal issues. You can consult with a tax professional or use online tools to calculate your taxes and ensure you comply with the law.
In the Philippines, all self-employed individuals and freelancers must file income tax returns with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). Freelancers have two options when filing their taxes: they can use a graduated income tax rate or choose an 8% tax on their gross sales above P250,000.
For your reference, here is a comprehensive guide on filing your 8% income tax.
Step 7: Consider forming a business
Finally, consider legalizing your freelance business. Registering as self-employed legitimizes your business and ensures you comply with government regulations and requirements. This will help you establish a professional image and gain the trust of potential clients.
Benefits of Freelancing to Filipino Freelancers
As a Filipino freelancer, you enjoy many benefits that may not be available in traditional employment settings. If you’re still on edge, read through the benefits of freelancing below.
- You gain flexibility and freedom to do your work, the way you want
One of the most attractive benefits of freelancing is flexibility. You can work from anywhere, whether from the comfort of your home, in a coffee shop, or even while traveling. You can also choose your working hours, allowing you to create a schedule that fits your lifestyle.
- You gain control over work environment
Being a freelancer allows you to create a space that works for you, whether a quiet and cozy home office or a bustling co-working space. Also, you only have to commute to work if your client asks to meet you. Control over your work environment can increase productivity and overall job satisfaction.
- You can choose the client you want to work with
You can select clients who align with your values and who offer projects that interest you. This level of autonomy can give you a sense of fulfillment and pride in your work.
- You can increase your earning potential
Freelancing offers the opportunity to set your rates and take on more projects as your business grows, leading to higher income levels and financial stability. As you gain experience and build your reputation, you can command higher rates and take on more lucrative projects, increasing your earning potential.
- You can develop your skills overtime
Freelancing offers the potential to work with clients from different industries and on various projects, allowing you to expand your knowledge and expertise. With each new project, you can learn new skills and develop your existing ones, making you a more valuable asset to future clients.
- Work-life balance becomes more achievable
Freelancing can provide a better work-life balance, giving you more time to focus on other business areas that matter most. With the ability to set your schedule, you can prioritize your personal life and make time for family, friends, and hobbies.
- Have variety in your work
As a freelancer, you can choose the projects you work on, which can lead to a diverse range of experiences and skills. You can work on projects in different industries, take on new challenges, and expand your portfolio, giving you a competitive edge in the job market.
Challenges of Being a Freelancer
Being a freelancer is a rewarding experience but comes with hurdles. If you want to pursue freelancing as a full-time career, be mindful of the challenges below.
- Lack of job security: Unlike traditional employment, you don’t have a guaranteed income or a steady stream of clients. This means you’ll need to constantly search for new projects and clients to maintain your income stream. This can be stressful and time-consuming, making it difficult to plan for the future.
- Finding clients: One of the biggest challenges of freelancing is finding clients. It requires a significant amount of time and effort. You’ll need to constantly network and promote your services, whether attending industry events, reaching out to potential clients directly, or leveraging social media and other marketing channels. This can be time-consuming and exhausting, especially if you need to get used to doing everything independently.
- Setting your rates: As a freelancer, you must set your rates. This can be not easy if you’re not sure what the market rate is for your services. You’ll need to research and prepare to negotiate with clients.
- Managing your time: Freelancers often work from home, making it difficult to separate the time you spend on work and leisure work from personal time. It would be best to be disciplined and set clear boundaries to ensure you use your time effectively.
- Dealing with taxes: When you work for yourself, you’re responsible for paying your taxes. This can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the tax code. Also, having irregular income makes estimating and paying your taxes on time difficult. You’ll need to be organized and disciplined in tracking your income and expenses, calculating your tax liability, and setting aside money in your bank account to cover your tax obligations.
- Staying motivated: Freelancing means doing your work at your own pace, and it can be hard to stay motivated when you don’t have a support team to work with you. You’ll need to find ways to stay focused and inspired, whether taking breaks to recharge or seeking support from other freelancers.
- Managing cash flow and finances in general: Freelancers manage their cash flow and keep it positive. This means ensuring you have enough money to cover your expenses, even when work is slow. You’ll also need to be prepared for unexpected expenses like equipment repairs or medical bills.
- Dealing with difficult clients: Being a freelancer means you must be ready when dealing with demanding clients. This might mean managing unrealistic expectations, negotiating rates, or handling conflicts. You must be assertive, professional, and confident in handling these situations effectively.
Success Stories of Filipino Freelancers
Get to know some of the most respected freelancers in the Philippines. Check out their profiles below.
Julmar is a freelancing evangelist who believes that having the freedom to work as a self-employed individual improves the quality of life. She started a company called Filipino Virtual Assistance (FVA) Business Consultancy Corporation, which is now called Surge Marketplace. She specializes in social media management and marketing, content marketing, web design, SEO, and real estate. She has been doing freelancing work since 2010.
A licensed architect with more than 15 years of experience in design and construction, JP has been helping design professionals (such as architects, interior designers, contractors, realtors and more) to learn about client acquisition, lead generation, marketing, and business development.
In an interview, she said: “I have tried everything; I was a corporate slave for a decade, tried to be an entrepreneur, an OFW for 5 years. You can say that I’ve tried it all. [Now, as a Freelancer,] I’ve never been happier in what I am doing.”
Since 2020, Mike has provided various clients with freelance motion graphic design services. He handled accounts known in the household–from Biogesic to Coca-Cola to Johnson & Johnson. To date, Mike aims to use design to tell the company’s story.
You can be successful with freelancing too
Becoming a freelancer can offer you a world of opportunities and benefits. It may be a challenging journey, but with determination, hard work, and the right mindset, you can build a successful career and achieve your dreams.
Remember, freelancing is not for everyone, and it may not be an easy path, but if you’re ready to take on the challenge and get freelance jobs in the Philippines, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
This is where Beppo comes in: we aim to assist new and seasoned freelancers in making their freelancing journey easier. Beppo helps you make freelancing a long-term career by supporting your business’s finance and tax side.
The Beppo app is an all-in-one financial management solution that allows freelancers to enjoy astounding benefits and features.
- Manage and track your income and expenses using the Cash Book feature
- Get an estimate of your taxes based on your freelance earnings
- Send invoices to clients via SMS, Viber, and email.
- Set budget limitations and automate your finances.
- Get assistance when filing your taxes.
- Meet and collaborate with other freelancers through our exclusive community