Tag Archives: Freelancer
Almost two months ago, I received a private message via Facebook from one of my ex-colleagues. She told me that she needed my opinion whether she’ll go full time in freelancing and leave her regular job. Of course, the very first thing that I told her was to go for it. That was in the context that I know fully well that she’s a pro in her field and she’s a very talented, skillful, and resourceful woman. A few weeks later, she informed me that she just handed in her resignation letter. Hooray!!! *Claps* But wait…
I might be an advocate for online freelancing but I don’t want people to be uninformed or be misinformed with the serious risks associated with this kind of work. To many, online freelancers may seem fortunate enough to work on their own, have flexible schedules, and earn more compared to those ones working in the office, but don’t get carried away. Online freelancing has deadly (literally) risks and you should know about this before you jump into the bandwagon.
1. You Pay for Everything
Unlike working in an office wherein your boss or the owner pays for every facility and utility you use, in freelancing you pay for everything. From the electricity, computer, internet, software subscriptions, down to the repairs and any work-related emergencies – you are the only one responsible for them all. Compare that to those ones who work in a traditional set-up and you would surely choose the latter because it’s hassle free. You only need to focus on your work.
As an online freelancer, I keep tab on the additional obligations that I need to properly manage. Working on my own teaches me to become self-efficient, self-reliant, and most of all I learned to manage my finances the hard way. If you are not willing to face this kind of responsibility, then online freelancing is not for you.
2. You Can Lost Your Client Any Time
This is one of the main reasons why most people who are new to online freelancing have quit easily. They quickly labeled the industry as unstable and hurriedly look for a “regular” job. While it is true that you can lost your client anytime, it is also a fact that 80% of the time, the responsibility of making your client stay is in your hand. Online freelancing is like having your own business. You need to know how to keep a constant flow of loyal clients that are willing to work and stay with you.
For me, the most important aspect of freelancing is “Client Retention“. Anyone can attract a client right away but keeping them for good is where your real skills can be measured.
3. You Don’t Have Instant Insurance and Benefits
Unlike regular jobs wherein insurance and health benefits are already part of the compensation, in freelancing it is the freelancer’s responsibility to get them and ensure they are being diligently paid. For those who don’t want to be bothered by these things, then freelancing is not for you.
Of course, this may seem a great disadvantage. But, once you realized how “much” have you missed by not taking the opportunity to work on your own, you would never be bothered by health insurance or social benefits anymore. (;
4. You Are Solely Dependent on the Internet
Online freelancing is fully dependent on the internet. If a catastrophic event would lead to the annihilation of the internet, then its bye-bye time for all online freelancers. This could mean the end of your source of income, the end of your world, the end of Facebook, and end of everything. ): But, you need not to worry actually because you won’t be alone. The end of the internet would mean unimaginable lost of income especially for big corporations. They would surely ensure that the world wide web would keep on going.
In ordinary cases though, the problem with internet is only limited to slow connection and brown-outs more especially here in the Philippines. The simple solution is to get more than one internet connection (from different internet service providers). You can get a cable broadband connection and back it up with a data connection that you can use during brown-outs. You can also buy an electric generator to lessen your work distraction during brownouts.
5. You Can Lost Your Sanity
You can literally lost your sanity if you don’t know when to relax and play. This can happen to new freelancers who forget that getting more clients is not the main goal. The main goal is to make them stay and choose you every time a new project comes in. The moment you accepted more clients than you can handle is the time you increase the probability of losing all of them.
One of the biggest advantage of online freelancing is you can work anywhere and in my case, anytime. But, these don’t come in easy package. You would only rip the rewards if you work hard and you know how to manage your time properly.
For those who are planning to embark in this life changing career twist, you should remember that nothing of high value can be gotten in an instant (except for those people who were born in rich and wealthy families). Online freelancing is not a quick-rich scheme that promises instant cash. It is a risky career move that doesn’t only need hard-work but persistence, endurance, time, patience, and most of all resourcefulness.
Are you planning to go full time in online freelancing? Share your enthusiasm and fears below.
From here onwards, I will be featuring fellow freelancers who successfully created their own career path through online freelancing. Here, we would take a closer look on how they survive doing it on their own.
For the month of February, I’m featuring a friend who I personally know way back college days. This person is a very strong woman with a big heart and has great passion for her work. Above anything else, she loves her family, a doting mother to her two kids. She’s one of the very few people in my circle that I respect a lot.
This month’s featured freelancer is Jonalyn Jabinez. Learn more about her and how she got into online freelancing by reading the online interview below.
What get you started in freelancing?
Six years ago, someone left Craigslist open in my computer at the office. Whoever that was, I have to thank that person. I browsed through the site and I got interested about the ad that looked for VB programmer. Luckily, I got hired and since VB programming was still so fresh in my mind that time, the client was so impressed about the program I made. So he hired me for a part time position since I was still working from another company that time. As months went by, I noticed that my earnings with my home-based job was bigger than my full-time work. My client was so generous. He kept on giving me bonuses every now and then. He even bought me a desktop computer with a big LCD Samsung monitor. So with that, I resigned from my full-time job and started venturing into the freelancing world.
Describe Freelancing in 3 words.
Convenient. Traffic-free. Blessing
Are you fully satisfied with your freelancing career right now?
Yes, I am very satisfied because aside from providing my family’s wants and needs, I have time for them.
What are the main advantages in going freelance?
If you are just hardworking, you will earn more and that’s the main advantage in going freelance. You are traffic free, you don’t have to wake up two hours ahead of your work schedule because you can work even in your pajamas. You can still work even during out of towns as long as you will have your resources ready and handy.
What are its disadvantages?
Most of the clients would prefer you to work at their timezone. If you have technical issues with your computer and other gadgets, you have to fix it by yourself in order to make the work done. And if either your internet or electricity is down in the middle of the night and you don’t have any back up, you have to look for a way to finish what needs to be finished. A client may understand two to three times but sooner or later, they will think it’s an alibi.
What do you think is the main reason why only a few people last in freelancing?
Only a few people last in freelancing because they got bored. And most people also think that freelancing is easy. I have been working for almost seven years and it’s really not easy. You still have to work according to the agreed work schedule. Hard-work and perseverance are very important. Newbies also demand for higher pay which got them discouraged if their starting rate is not what they expect. In freelancing, you have to show what you got first and then name your price afterwards.
What advice can you give to those people who are planning to go freelance?
Just like working in a real office, freelancing also needs your hard-work, punctuality and commitment.
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.
- It provides room and board subsidy, laboratory exam, and professional fees for confinement of more than 24 hours.
- It also provides out-patient benefits
- It offers special benefit package like treatments for TB, SARS, H1N1 and other special illnesses.
- 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
- 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
- It allows flexibility by letting you choose your own hospital, clinic or doctor.
- It offers comprehensive coverage
- Medical benefits are extended even when you travel
- 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:
- Hospital confinement
- Out-patient care
- Preventive Health care
- Emergency Care
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- It does not require PhilHealth membership. They pay 100% of the eligible medical charges.
- Reimburses up to Php 1,000.00 of the prescribed medicines.
- Offers convenience because they are hospital-based.
- They do not require pre-enrollment medical examination.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
At a time when there are around 197 million people unemployed across the globe, there’s no doubt it can be incredibly difficult to find a job. This is highlighted even more by some of the latest figures from recruiters which estimate that upwards of 100 job seekers are now applying for a single vacancy.
So what can you do to make yourself stand out from the crowd and ensure you are picked ahead of numerous other candidates?
Get some experience
According to a study by High Fliers Research – a company investigating recruitment opportunities for university leavers – 36 per cent of jobs offered by employers in 2013 will be awarded to people who have already worked for them in some capacity.
As such, it is essential to get as much work experience as possible, even if this sometimes unfortunately means taking on unpaid work placements or internships. In addition to ensuring you already have one foot in the door at a certain workplace, this experience will help to develop key skills that employers look for – such as communication, organisation and trust, arguably three of the most important for a freelancer. You should also take this opportunity to demonstrate how punctual and eager to work you are, as these are aspects that will be looked upon favourably and give you the edge over applicants who are not currently in similar positions.
With the popularity of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook increasing drastically in recent years, people are putting more and more information about themselves on the internet. As a result, it has become common practice for employers to search an applicant’s name and find their social media profiles.
Therefore, it is vital you make sure they do not find anything that would put them off employing you. If you are applying for jobs in a certain sector, try to make posts that show your expertise in that area and shy away from making risky jokes or saying things that could be construed as offensive. In certain circumstances organisations have used the content on staff’s social media profiles as ammo for dismissal, which has then resulted in employment solicitors having to get involved to ensure this was legitimate. Unfortunately this is being seen more and more so it’s worth giving profiles a quick once over to make sure there’s nothing on there an employer could look unfavourably upon.
Think carefully about your application
Whereas job seekers once speculatively handed their CVs out to employers en masse, it is now quite common to see applicants copy and paste answers to online questionnaires and send the same resume to a number of different companies.
However, the need to tailor your application to the specific vacancy cannot be understated. This will really pay off in the long run and it is a far more effective use of your time to submit a handful of good, targeted applications than numerous identical ones.
As well ensuring your CV is specific to the particular role you are applying for, producing a cover letter that is unique to the company is also essential. You should look to make sure you make reference to the firm and why you want to work there, as well as highlighting the skills and experiences you possess that make you the ideal candidate.
Time spent researching the company will not be wasted, because you will need this information when it comes to the interview stage of the process. Simply looking at the firms’ websites for a few minutes will not provide you with the required insight, so investigate further to see if you can find out specific details relating to what they do, who they work with and who their competitors are. These are all details that will seriously impress a potential employer and the fact you have done the research shows you are keen to secure the job.
Photo above is used under Creative Commons License. Credit.