The Truth About Freelance Work in the Philippines

A freelancer working on his laptop Source here
In 1989, British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web, which the world would later dub as the Internet. This innovation enabled people to share electronic data from computer to computer, and greatly revolutionised the way people communicate and do business. However, it wasn't until around 1994 that the internet came to the Philippines. In fact, the country just celebrated the 20th anniversary of the internet's arrival on March 28. 

Now, one of the most significant changes brought by the internet to the Philippines is the mobile workforce. Today, people don't have to report to offices and work according to a fixed schedule because they can attend to their tasks from home and set their own hours. Although, there are those who choose to rent an office space (or business lounge for a time, especially if they have a team. Still, these workers often don't follow strict schedules and often people can work from just about anywhere they want. This type of modern employment is called freelance work.

Now, what is freelance work? 
Actually, being a freelance worker is not something new. Decades ago, some professionals chose not to work for one company and instead hawked their expertise to businesses or individuals for a limited time and for a specific fee. Most of the freelancers before were those who were considered vanguards in their fields and had really exceptional skills that they often did not look for jobs or assignments -- instead, employers were the ones who searched for them. Moreover, freelancers before had agents that also helped them find connections and employment. 

With the advent of the internet, however, freelance work has greatly evolved. Now, you don't have to have exceptional qualifications or agents to find work. You can just surf the internet and visit online classified ads to find projects to work on. In fact, a growing number of Filipinos today have opted to become freelancers instead of being ordinary employees. According to an infographic by graphs.net, Philippines is one of top 5 countries  in the world with the highest number of registered freelancers in 2013. 

Important Traits that Freelancers Must Have
Contrary to popular belief, however, becoming a freelancer is not easy. As a matter of fact, freelancers must have these following traits in order to thrive in this type of work:

Self-Discipline. One of the biggest challenges that freelancers face is the internet, especially social media. According to one article, the Internet is where productivity comes to die. If you don't have self-discipline, you may very well end up wasting your working hours surfing the web, online shopping, or chatting with friends on Facebook. 

Organisational Skills. Since you'll be dealing mostly with digital files, it will be very easy to lose track of where you put them if you don't get organised. This is especially true if you're dealing with multiple files for different clients. Moreover, computers can easily crash and lose stored data. This is why you should exercise forethought and always have backup copies. 

Marketing Skills. Basically, you'll be selling your services to employers yourself so you have to know how to make "the pitch". You have to know how to convince them that you're capable of doing the job according to their specifications and deliver results on time. And since the population of freelancers in the country continues to increase, you have to also convince them that you're more worth their time and compensation than other freelancers out there.

Aside from those mentioned above, you also have to be a good negotiator if you hope to thrive doing freelance work. This is so you don't end up doing too much work for just a small fee. If you're just starting out though, you may have to start with low rates and gradually increase it as you gain more experience and mastery in your field.

Author Bio:
Loren Maluenda  writes freelance for Regus, a global provider of corporate solutions for businesses of all shapes and sizes. They were founded in Belgium in 1989 and now have offices in 600 major cities around the world.

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