Tag Archives: Freelance

Top 5 Health Insurance Providers for Freelancers

Health Insurance for Freelancers Philippines

Working freelance can be an envious idea for fixed-time employees. The idea of being on top of your schedule without the need of dragging yourself up every morning to get yourself at the office on time or squeezing yourself on a bus every afternoon rush seems to be a perfect thing. What is even more exciting about this job is that you could schedule your own break, and oversee your house needs while working in your pajamas. You could even take two, three or more jobs at a time if you can, which is very unlikely for a regular job that eats up your time. It is no wonder that more and more regular employees quit their jobs to work freelance.

These are all too good to be true. There is no perfect world as they say. Though what had been mentioned are the good points of working freelance, before you immediately decide to quit your job, weigh the pros and cons of each. One disadvantage is that you will miss the benefits provided to regular employees like the health care benefit.

Paying for your own health care plan should not be taken for granted. If you had previously used the health card provided by your employer in one of the reputable hospitals in the country, you must have an idea on how much you saved. Can you imagine losing that privilege and pay medical bills out of your pocket?

If you don’t want to spend all your earnings from your freelance job better get a healthcare plan. It is not as expensive or as difficult as you think. Here is a list of some of the health insurance providers in the country that you might want to consider.

The following may not be the complete list of the members of the two organizations. This is the list of the members that offer health insurance plan for individual or family members. Some offer group or corporate plans but I have a great feeling that one of these may have what you look for a health care plan. (All price quoted are based on a 30 year old male or female. Premiums differ per age.)

PHILHEALTH (as low as Php 200/month)

This is the government subsidized health care provider. It is more affordable compared to other private plans but does not offer comprehensive package as others do. Check for the benefit coverage it offers so you’ll see if you’d need additional private health care plan.

  1. It provides room and board subsidy, laboratory exam, and professional fees for confinement of more than 24 hours.
  2. It also provides out-patient benefits
  3. It offers special benefit package like treatments for TB, SARS, H1N1 and other special illnesses.
  4. Some cases classified as non-cost-effective as defined by PhilHealth are subject to approval like optometric services, non prescription drugs and services, fifth obstetrical deliveries and the like.

Blue Cross (as low as Php530/month)

Blue Cross is a member of Association of Health Maintenance Organizations of the Philippines Inc. (AHMOPI) providing medical and travel insurance. The following are good points to consider why to choose this health provider

  1. It provides maximum coverage limit of up to Php 3,000,000.00 and fully reimbursable on eligible medical bills depending on your insurance coverage
  2. It allows flexibility by letting you choose your own hospital, clinic or doctor.
  3. It offers comprehensive coverage
  4. Medical benefits are extended even when you travel
  5. 24/7 customer assistance is available for emergency needs

MEDICARD (as low as Php650/month)

This is the HMO usually provided by employers due to low cost of premium. Not too many may be aware that they also offer individual or family health care plan. Make sure to keep a list of the accredited hospital because they will reimburse you only 80% of the expenses not exceeding Php 5,000 if you’d been to non-accredited hospital in emergency cases. The following are the other benefits they offer:

  1. Hospital confinement
  2. Out-patient care
  3. Preventive Health care
  4. Emergency Care
  5. Dental Benefits

INSULAR HEALTH CARE (as low as Php1150/month)

This company is part of Insular Life Assurance Inc which has been in business for more than 100 years. It is formerly known as I-Care. Here is the list why you would like to consider this provider

  1. It offers competitive rate. For the exact premium rate, you might want to check directly with the company because that depends on every individual. To give you an idea, dental benefit costs only Php 336/member/year
  2. It has built-in life insurance. Being a member of the Insular Life Group, each policyholder is entitled of life insurance benefit depending on the coverage and on the schedule of benefits.
  3. It does not require PhilHealth membership. They pay 100% of the eligible medical charges.
  4. Reimburses up to Php 1,000.00 of the prescribed medicines.
  5. Offers  convenience because they are hospital-based.
  6. They do not require pre-enrollment medical examination.
  7. Provides free annual physical examination.

SUN LIFE PHILIPPINES(as low as Php1250/month)

Sun Life is not a member of AHMOPI but under direct regulation of the Insurance Commission. Among all the insurance companies operating in the Philippines, it was ranked number 1 in 2013. One of the protections they offer is the Sun First Aid. Here is the list why you will choose this product.

  1. It has a money back feature that is unique from other insurance policies. They will give back 50% to 75% of the premiums paid after ten years whether the policy holder had been hospitalized or not.
  2. It offers financial assistance in case of hospitalization. There is cash benefit directly given to the policyholder when confined, if hospitalization exceeds 30days, or if surgery was performed.
  3. It also offers benefits like those you will find in life insurance policies like, life insurance coverage, waiver of premium in case of disability, and accident rider.

In choosing a health care insurance, it is advisable to choose one that is regulated by the AHMOPI or by the Insurance Commission (IC) itself.  AHMOPI is the body that regulates HMO providers in the country. Getting one from a regulated insurance company adds another level of protection to your insurance. The organization will act as mediator between the policy holder and the insurance provider in case of disputes or any irregularities in providing the benefits.

When choosing a health insurance there should always be a perfect mix of quality and quantity. Although you are paying very cheaply in your health insurance make sure that it qualifies to all your bare requirements, such as availability of accredited hospitals or clinics in your area, treatments that you deemed important for your condition and if it will save you from all the headache of following up in your reimbursements because when it comes to health, money can be scarce. So we better make wise decisions!

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Juggling Freelancing and a Day Job: It Can Be Done

Juggling Freelancing and a Day Job It Can Be Done

Having a day job AND doing freelancing work is something that is quite common nowadays. Many employees feel the need to take on freelance work for many different reasons.

Financial considerations are, of course, the most common reason for getting freelance projects despite having a day job. The chance to earn extra money is an opportunity no one wants to ignore. But there are also other benefits to getting freelance work while having a day job:

  • The security of having a regular job while at the same time dabbling with additional work that would allow you to add more to your savings.
  • Getting freelance work helps beat the mundanity of your regular work routine.
  • You’ll be able to experience new things and develop more work experiences outside of what you do in the office. You’ll further hone your present skill set and acquire new ones. This will make you more valuable as a professional.
  • Freelancing allows you to grow your network and make new business connections.

But you also need to realize that keeping your day job and getting freelancing jobs will take a lot of effort to make work. Here’s how you do it:

Know your limit

You should need to implement goals for your work and make sure that it is realistic and something you can achieve. You should ask yourself how much time and effort you are willing to spend for a freelancing product without having any negative effect on your day job. Make sure that your responsibilities are manageable.

Know Your Tax Situation

Holding down two jobs means more taxes to pay. Make sure that you know your tax situation especially with an added source of income. Ask an accountant about the things you need to do in order to protect yourself from any liability.

No Conflicts

Arguably the biggest problem a person who wants to hold down both his day job and a freelancing gig faces is conflict of interest. There are two ways conflicts can happen. First, you may start using your day job time for freelance work. Second, if you are going to rely on your present skill set to get a freelance job then there could be conflict with your employer’s company. For example, if you’re an art director who works for an advertising agency and you get an art director freelance consulting job then there is an obvious conflict there. Again, know your limitations and if you think a conflict is happening resolve it fast.

Day Offs

Most day job/freelancing jugglers are usually faced with a dilemma. How can they squeeze both responsibilities with a limited amount of work hours? The obvious solution is to work on weekends. But experts are saying that you should still have a day off from work. Although a two-day off is the most ideal, setting aside one day can still work. You need to rest and recharge your batteries, so to speak. Getting rest positively affects your productivity so always have some time every week to relax.

 

About The Guest Author

Sean Stone is the CEO of LikeJobs.com, a job vacancies site.

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Freelancing: The Definitive How-To Home Phone Setup Guide for Freelance Bloggers

N.B.: The article below is not just helpful for freelance bloggers but to any freelancers who travel a lot.  It is written by Rachel Greenberg, a fellow writer from the TheDigest.com.

Whether I’m blogging silly photos of my cat in a bunny costume or offering tips on how to be a successful entrepreneur, the beauty of blogging is that I can write from the comfort of my own home. For all of those at-home bloggers that use a residential VoIP system, they get to experience the best of both worlds: they can work in their PJs, but they also have a fully-featured phone system that gives a highly professional outward appearance.

With VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), customers get a cheap Internet home phone service that is as fully-featured and reliable as any traditional home phone service, but without the high costs associated with traditional providers. In so doing, at-home bloggers can make every penny count without sacrificing quality home phone service.

Cost Savings

If I’m blogging just for fun, blogging full-time, or blogging for a little supplemental cash, I’m most likely in the market for a money saving telephone system.

Installing a telephone line in your home office with a traditional phone provider can result in a huge bill. Traditional phone services often charge installation fees and technician fees on top of you regular high monthly phone bill. And if you want to add a second line, that’ll cost you another pricey visit from the technician.

With a residential VoIP provider, however, you receive much cheaper monthly service, while in many cases installation is completely free of charge. VoIP services usually cost $10 to $20 per line, while traditional phone companies are notorious for charging between $20 and $40 per line.

Free Features

VoIP systems can also offer your at-home business a professional outward appearance to the public. With VoIP companies, you can receive numerous free phone features, such as conference calling, call waiting, and call forwarding, which can make your residential blogging business seem more capable and efficient. Oftentimes, traditional phone companies otherwise charge you for these basic features.

Unlimited Nationwide Calls

Well-respected bloggers need to keep up to date on the latest trends, whether it’s a new technology popular among teens or a promising new anti-aging solution, you need to stay on top of the fads.

In some cases, you’ll want to receive first-hand information, and that more than likely means picking up the phone to call experts, witnesses, and other bloggers. It’s not uncommon, however, that you will need to interview someone who lives on the other side of the country.

The good news is that you don’t have to forgo valuable quotes and opinions from those subjects just because of your fear of long distance calling charges. Countless VoIP providers offer free and unlimited domestic calling on basic residential plans. These basic plans allow you to spend as much time as you want on a nationwide call, jotting down all the juicy details for must-read blog entry.

Low International Calling Rates

Some of the most successful bloggers have worldwide followers. Acquiring a readership that spans the globe means adapting to an international audience. Bloggers need to write about topics that will interest and intrigue international readers, and to do so, bloggers just may have to pick up the phone.

Regardless of whether I’m blogging about current events in China, or announcing a popular hair treatment in the UK, I’ll want to be able to cover every story without worrying about the related phone bills.

Fortunately, various residential VoIP providers offer affordable international calling rates. Many providers charge just pennies per minute for international calling, while others provide unlimited international calling plans. These international calling plans offer unlimited calling to various international destinations for a set fee each month. Residential VoIP provider ITP, for example, features a global calling plan with unlimited calling to 60 countries for a flat rate of $24.99/month.

Flexibility

Perhaps I’m conducting research at the library for my latest blog entry or maybe I’m just hanging out in the coffee shop while I work. With a VoIP provider, I can continue to send and receive VoIP calls even if I’m miles away from my residential landline.

One of the most convenient aspects of VoIP is that with a hosted VoIP system, you can receive your VoIP calls on virtually any mobile device, from PC and laptops to tablets and smartphones.

Simply log into your VoIP account on any of these devices, and a softphone will appear on your screen. A softphone is an on screen dialpad, which allows you to use your device to make a call through your regular landline phone number. You can also receive incoming calls to your home phone number this way.

This is a great feature for bloggers who want the freedom to blog outside of their homes and still remain accessible by their VoIP number. This feature also allows you to take advantage of those unlimited nationwide calls and low calling rates for international calls from any remote location.

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License. Credit.

About the Guest Author
Rachel Greenberg
is a tech and telecom writer and editor.

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5 Ways to Bring Your Freelancing Career to the Next Level

N.B.  This week’s freelancing guest post is brought to you by Erica Moss, a fellow writer who is also a well-seasoned freelancer.  You will surely learn a lot of new stuff about Freelancing if you’ll continue reading her article below.EOD

Being a freelancer is a very rewarding path for creative and self-motivated people. You’re not tied to a mind-numbing commute or the same drab office day in and day out. You work on different and exciting projects, and meet new people all the time. Those who choose the freelance lifestyle are generally pretty happy with their choice, but finding new clients and new projects can sometimes be the most challenging thing they do.

The one thing that a freelancer should always dread is getting into a rut. If things aren’t improving, then sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of why you even became a freelancer in the first place. It can be extremely beneficial to your career and your well-being to break through these plateaus.

One of the biggest advantages of being a freelancer is that you have control over your destiny, but sometimes it can be nice to have some help. To that end, here are five simple tips to help get out of a rut or over a plateau and to generally improve your freelancing career:

Increase Your Rates as You Gain Skill and Experience

While it may have been okay to charge rock-bottom rates when you were trying to break into the field, your compensation rise should reflect your skill and experience. There is a human psychology element to premium pricing: Those who charge more and have the skills to back it up will often land the job over the cheaper but less-experienced person.

Don’t sell yourself short! You are really good at what you do, better than you used to be, and your rates should reflect that. Try not to let longstanding clients bully you or guilt you into keeping your rates low, either. You need to upgrade your tools and skills over the years, and they secretly know that. And on that note …

Upgrade Your Tools and Skills

Whether it’s learning a new version of the software you use or upgrading your hardware, tools or materials to reflect changing trends, it really helps to keep on top of things. Announcing that you now use a new version of a popular software package or have upgraded to a new device that can help you express yourself better can actually bring in new clientele.

Think about people in your field who are stuck in a rut and keep churning out the same thing over and over again — you don’t want to be that guy. Trends change, and you need to change with them to stay relevant.

Invest in an Online Portfolio

There are so many great online portfolio sites out there that no matter what you freelance in, there’s bound to be a perfect site for you. Many of the high-end portfolio sites have free basic services, but to really connect with others and make it worth the time, you should probably invest in the premium paid service.

If you’re an artist or designer, for example, Behance offers a premium service that can put you in front of serious prospective clients. Photographers might want to try selling their work on 500px or Smugmug. No matter what you do, having the right portfolio site might be the difference between a slow month and a busy one — and sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

Take Your Social Media Networking to the Next Level

Whether you love it or hate it, social networking was “the future” of marketing a couple of years ago; now it’s the present. You’ll have a very hard time finding new clients online without the important connections that social media provides. At the bare minimum, having a current and modern website, Facebook profile and Twitter account is required. If you cannot or will not make these profiles and use these services, it might even be worth hiring someone to do it for you.

For every kind of freelancer, there is a valid and important social network. Image-based networks such as Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest can be incredibly beneficial for artists and photographers, while Facebook and Twitter are tremendously important for bloggers and writers — freelance journalists, for example, are expected to have active Twitter accounts at this point. No matter what your discipline or social network of choice, putting effort into your social media outreach will only benefit you.

Find a Mentor

There is nothing like a kick in the pants from someone you respect to get a fire lit under you. Sometimes only that human touch can get us to snap out of a rut. Find someone who is successful in your field or someone you respect and reach out to them. Ask them for advice; be humble; thank them. Remember that some day, someone might ask the same favor of you.

Hopefully these tips will help you stay on track. Remember: You are a freelancer, and the world is your oyster!

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License.  Credit.

About the Guest Author

Erica Moss is the community manager for Georgetown University’s online graduate nursing programs, which partners with Nursing License Map to provide valuable nursing license information. She enjoys blogging, TV, pop culture and tweeting @ericajmoss.

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Freelancing $5 At A Time

N.B.: As what I have mentioned in the previous freelancing guest post that I published almost a month ago, freelancing is a very challenging field and it is not ideal for anyone.  But, if you managed to get your hands on it, it would become a stable source of income with limitless opportunities.  Below is a guest post by my fellow freelancer, Marc Lafleur, on how he managed to start a freelancing career.EOD

Are you dreaming of being your own boss, to start freelancing and take control of your financial life, but don’t know where to start? Have you heard about $5 mini jobs web sites but didn’t give them a try yet?

Let me share with you my story.

It all started in January 2012 when a good friend of mine told me about $5 sites where you can offer mini jobs and also buy mini services. My friend is a funny comedian so he offered was to dance in a spandex suit and do dedicated videos for $5 that people could buy for themselves, their company or their friends. I even bought one from him to wish happy birthday to one of my relative.

I ‘Googled’ it and found sites like www.minijoblist.com, Fiverr, and a few other ones. All have a similar concept and interface and over 15 categories of jobs that you can create: Fun videos, graphic design, tips and advice, video testimonials, social marketing.

One category stood out: Social Marketing. I found tons of people selling Youtube views, Twitter Followers and Facebook Likes. I really had no clue how to do this and had no other skills to sell at the time so came up with an interesting idea: what is I can sell the exact same things that other people sell on the site, and once I get orders I hire someone else from the same site to do it for me?

In example, I noticed that some people were selling 5000 Youtube views for $5. So I decided to 1000 Youtube Views for $5 and every time I would get 5 orders I would pay that other seller $5 to fulfill the job. Soon I was making $50 per day just by forwarding a few emails, which took probably 30 minutes! This little exercise taught me a lot about micro entrepreneurship and 5$ outsourcing. It taught me that you can sell absolutely anything on the internet, even if you don’t have a clue about the industry and even if you don’t have any skills related to the matter. Just sell it, and then find someone to do it for you for cheaper.

Less work, more profits, more time for personal activities that you really want to do. Sweet deal!

So I wanted to take this concept further and promote it on Google (www.buymorefans.co.uk). It was a steep learning curve but I did, and 1 year later I am financially autonomous and starting 3 new online businesses as we speak.

Take control of your life: Sell anything online, then pay someone to do it for you for less. Good luck!

Photo used above is under Creative Commons License. Credit.

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