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The earliest written roots of the word “freelance” come from the novel, “Ivanhoe”, by Sir Walter Scott. It was used to refer to lance-wielding mercenaries who would fight in exchange for payment.
Today, the word freelance pretty much retains its original meaning. But instead of getting paid for slaying the enemies of their employer, today’s freelancers get paid for doing specific types of work.
In this article, we’ll show you how to make money freelancing and where to find clients that are willing to pay for your services. We’ll also reveal some key stats like how much today’s Filipino freelancers earn and which industries and niches are popular right now. Lastly, we provide tips on how to get started freelancing along with how to manage tax-related duties.
So if you’re ready, let’s jump straight into everything you’ll need to know to start earning money as a freelancer.
What is Freelancing?
Freelancing is the act of doing paid work without necessarily being committed to a particular employer. It’s a contract-based setup, with you offering your skills and expertise as a service to several clients. You can take on as much work as you can depending on your load management.
Working freelance doesn’t necessarily mean working from home. There are freelancing professionals who are required to report on-site or at the office, depending on the nature of the job.
How Much Can You Earn From Freelancing?
It varies depending on the type of niche or service that you offer. A 2017 survey of 75 Pinoy freelancers revealed an average of Php39,000 per month income. From that total, half earned below Php30k and a good portion (above 20%) were grossing more than Php50k monthly.
For more data on the current salary rates of freelance jobs in the country today, you can check out Payscale and Indeed (which we used for reference on the salary estimates in our Remote Jobs article)
Pros & Cons of Freelancing
From having the ability to earn as much you want to being your own boss, there are plenty of advantages to taking the freelancing route.
However, it is not without its own set of inconveniences. Here are the pros and cons of doing freelance work.
Pros of Freelancing
You are your own boss.
You have the freedom to decide how, where, when, and for how many hours you’re going to work. It’s one of the best perks of working freelance.
Potential to earn a lot.
Freelancers are not tied to a certain job or employer which means there’s always the potential to earn more. Most freelancers typically juggle multiple projects at the same time simply because the flexibility of this setup allows them to.
This lets them go beyond what they can typically earn versus an employee-based setup where there’s only a single source of income.
Freelancing allows you to take on all sorts of tasks and projects that interest or challenge you.
If you have the skills for it, you can take on certain jobs and other related opportunities and get paid for it.
Choose your own clients and projects.
Aside from the highly-flexible setup, you also get to pick who you want to work with and the type of jobs you want to work on.
Choice of working from home.
Working from home has a long list of advantages, which is why more and more people are choosing to work remotely.
If you’re a freelancer, you’re not bound to a specific company or required to report to a certain office or location (unless your contract states it, which is rare).
Most Pinoy freelancers work from home or at co-working spaces and coffee shops, a refreshing change of pace especially if you’ve been working as an employee for a long time.
Expand your capabilities.
A freelancer is essentially a one-man army who does everything from self-promotion, getting new leads and pitching to them, invoicing, managing taxes, and everything else.
While this could sound daunting to some, it does provide the hidden benefit of expanding your knowledge and skills in these critical areas of running a business.
Some of which could prove useful to other aspects of your freelancing career or life.
Cons of Freelancing
You need to constantly look for clients to keep a steady stream of revenue.
In other words, there’s no “real” job security. However, note that a regular employee job isn’t 100% guaranteed forever either (you could still get laid off for certain reasons).
Experienced freelancers get around this con by making sure they always get new leads and work with multiple clients.
Cash flow can be inconsistent.
With a traditional employee setup, you can expect to receive your paycheck on certain dates of the month. Freelancers don’t have that kind of guarantee since you’ll only get paid if you have clients.
There might be times when getting clients can be difficult, and this could be a real challenge especially if you have a family that depends on your income.
Managing multiple clients at the same time can be difficult.
Having to deal with several clients and projects all at the same time requires discipline, patience, and effective time management, which can be tough to do at times.
It’s important to have an efficient workflow system to get around this so you won’t feel swamped.
No typical employee perks like paid time off, no maternity/paternity leave, health card, etc.,
Some contracts might be generous enough to offer those, but it’s very unlikely.
This means you have to make the necessary arrangements yourself to make sure you’re covered on these types of things (Pag-IBIG, SSS, etc.,), which can be an inconvenience and cost a significant portion of your income.
Output and productivity can take a hit when you lack the discipline.
This is an oft-overlooked aspect of freelancing. Your output and success depend heavily on your efficiency and effectiveness in doing the actual work.
Contrary to what some people think, freelancing is not an easy job. All the advantages and freedom it offers come at a price. And one of them is being disciplined and productive enough to make sure your clients are satisfied with your output.
Can feel lonely at times.
Yes, it can feel lonely sometimes. You’ll occasionally miss the daily banter with colleagues and the overall vibe of working with others.
50 High-Paying Freelance Jobs
If you’ve always wondered what type of service or job you can offer as a freelancer, look no further.
The following list covers some of the best high-paying and in-demand freelance jobs you can get right now.
- 3D Modelling – As a 3D Modeller, your primary job is to create characters, environments, items, etc., in three-dimension. They take specs and instructions from clients and use software to make 3D renderings of these for various applications.
- Content Strategist – They are responsible for the general direction of a company or website’s content. They develop, check, and edit content while working with writers or other freelancers.
- Web Development and Design – Mainly take care of how a website looks and functions. They use their expertise in HTML, CSS, Java, and other various coding languages to come up with an aesthetically pleasing and highly-functional website per the client’s specs.
- Transcriber – Their main job is to listen, interpret, and transcribe recorded dictations into text format.
- Voice Actor – They perform voice-overs to various characters (animation, TV shows, movies, video games, etc.,) or simply “narrate” information to audiences.
- Customer Service Support – They act as liaisons between the company and its customers. They answer questions, take orders, provide support, and other similar tasks.
- Graphic Designer – They use computers and software or traditional methods to create visual concepts for various niches (billboards, websites, logos, marketing materials, posters, etc.,)
- Human Resource Manager – They act as the link between company management and its employees. They oversee planning, coordination, and execution of different administrative functions in a company.
- Internet/Web Researcher – Using their online research skills, they scour the web for a variety of information that the client needs. These could range from general, info-type material to scholarly research and industry publications. Aside from being a good researcher, you must also know how to effectively and efficiently interpret the data.
- Game Developer – They use software to plan, design, and create games for use on various platforms like smartphones, game consoles, and computers. Game development teams cover everything from writing code to visual design, so there are plenty of specializations to choose from.
- Social Media Coordinator and Community Manager – The job is to plan, monitor, and execute a social media strategy that increases a brand’s popularity and awareness. It could include acting as a brand ambassador who participates in discussions and spreads the company’s reach to new and wider audiences.
- Marketing Consultant – The job is to help companies reach their marketing goals. This includes identifying and executing ways to better engage customers and usage of various tools to come up with a strategic marketing plan.
- Mobile App Developer – Writing, implementing, maintaining, and troubleshooting source code to develop apps for various mobile platforms is the main job.
- Social Video Marketer – You’ll use video to help promote and increase brand awareness. These videos may vary in length and format depending on the approach (promotional videos, profile videos, stories, ads, etc.,) will be posted on various social media networks on a regular basis
- Translator – They are experts in interpreting, comprehending, and translating messages from one language to another.
- Copywriter – Their goal is to write compelling text to persuade readers to engage with or buy the client’s products. They work for various outlets like TV, websites, mail, radio, email, newspapers, and more.
- SEO Specialist – Their job is to improve a website’s ranking in the various search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. They handle both on and off-page SEO to ensure that the content is optimized for relevancy and positive user-experience which are factors for better search rankings.
- Sales and Marketing Manager – They research and develop new strategies and opportunities to improve both the company’s sales and marketing methods.
- Illustrator – They create 2D images to be used for various media formats like magazines, websites, apps, books, and other similar fields.
- PR Consultant – They are the representatives of a company that provides the public with any information or issue that needs to be disclosed or addressed.
- Internet Security Specialist – Maintaining a secure environment for websites, apps, systems, and other similar platforms are what they specialize in. They monitor and track traffic, ensure all security patches and updates are installed, and keep the whole system protected against all kinds of threats.
- Architecture Services – These are typically freelancers or firms that provide all kinds of architectural services that include the following: design, preparation of related documents, feasibility studies, project management, among other things.
- Admin Support or Assistance – They handle administrative tasks to ensure smooth operations for the company. These tasks may include phone support, creating tickets and assigning them to the right person, serve as assistant to executives, data entry, calendar management, and all other similar items that the client might be in need of.
- Computer Programmer – They write and test the actual code that is used to build or run a program. They work hand in hand with software engineers and designers to bring to life actual software designs complete with all functionality. They also manage code and troubleshoot them to make sure it doesn’t have bugs or have any errors.
- Software Development – They identify, design, install, and test various software and programs to ensure that it meets the client’s specifications and needs.
- Legal Services Expert – They provide various support and services that involve legal matters. These could include preparing and maintaining documents, representing clients, and consulting with them.
- Recruitment Specialist – They are the ones who search, screen, interview, hire, and orient both potential and new employees for a company.
- Online Teacher – Prepares courses and lessons to teach to other individuals over the internet. It could be group or solo sessions depending on the job setup.
- Article and Blog Writing – They write and post content for websites. The goal is to come up with articles that are both engaging and informative to help boost a website’s presence and audience reach.
- Graphic Design – Graphic design covers a lot of disciplines and areas. However, it mainly refers to the use of visual imagery to convey both emotion and information. It could be used to promote or advertise products or simply for purely design purposes.
- Video Editors – They take care of everything that needs to shape raw video footage into one cohesive and properly edited video ready for broadcast.
- Data Entry Specialist – They input information from various sources (traditional and digital) into electronic format for later referencing and use. The goal is to ensure all data is encoded for both safekeeping and analysis.
- Audio Engineer – They mix, edit, and reproduce sound to ensure proper equalization and output. They work in both studio or live environments depending on the client’s needs.
- Video Production – What sets video producers apart from video editors is that their focus is on overseeing the production from start to finish. They provide the creative direction for the project, set the budget, manage scripts, work with actors, handle logistical stuff, and other related items.
- Photography – They use their creative and technical skills to capture images of people, events, places, food, wildlife, nature, and more.
- Logo Design and Illustration – They help clients and companies come up with a unique and distinct branding image for use on its various products. Graduates of graphic design degrees are usually the ones who are in this niche.
- Creative Design – They leverage their artistic vision and technical skills to provide clients and companies with the right marketing and advertising materials for their brand.
- ESL Teacher – They teach students new languages via an actual classroom setting or online.
- Virtual Assistant – They specialize in executing admin tasks and other specialized needs for clients.
- PPC Specialist – A Pay Per Click or PPC Specialist manages a client/company’s PPC campaigns to ensure better presence online. They perform keyword research, website optimization, conversion, track metrics, and other similar tasks.
- Accountant / Bookkeeper – They manage both recordkeeping and interpretation of financial records along with any finance-related items that a client or company needs to address.
- Ecommerce Specialist – They use their expertise and experience to help clients get better sales and conversions from their online stores.
- Quality Analyst – They are responsible for the planning, development, and testing of software to ensure it meets targets and standards.
- Editor-in-Chief – They manage both editors and writers to ensure publication runs along smoothly. They get to decide which articles to publish and manage the overall vision and theme of the publication.
- Webmaster – They are the go-to professionals of website owners looking to ensure that their websites are running smoothly and securely. They also provide technical support as needed.
- Makeup artist – They are masters of the use of make-up, beauty products and various methods to create desired visual results.
- Personal Fitness Trainer – They make custom fitness and wellness plans for individuals based on clients’ goals, physical needs, and skill level. They monitor progress and give physical and mental guidance to their students while also making sure they don’t get injured while training.
- Physical Therapist -They plan and facilitate rehabilitation programs to patients who have lost motor function due to accidents or certain illnesses.
- Handyman – They help with various tasks and maintenance duties for both homeowners and businesses.
- Delivery Services – Collects various goods and items and transports them to their recipient.
50 Best Freelance Sites & Platforms for Beginners and Professionals
With a job/niche/specialization in mind, the next question you’ll probably ask is:
“Where can I apply for freelance jobs?”
To help you with that, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best freelance sites and platforms you can check out to get freelance work. These include both general job sites and specialized ones (focusing on a certain niche or field).
- Upwork – Considered by many as the top job marketplace for freelance and remote work. They’ve been around for a long time and serve as one of the best places to check if you’re looking for legit freelance jobs.
- Onlinejobs – One of the first sites you should check out if you’re looking for freelance work. The variety and scope of job openings are decent and there are no fees to be paid as a contractor.
- Fiverr – This site started as a niche job site for tasks that pay $5. Over the years, they transformed into a more “formal” job marketplace and now boasts of services in over 300 categories.
- Freelancer – They offer jobs in over 1350 categories and compete with UpWork as one of the top online job marketplaces.
- RemoteStaff – RemoteStaff is a local company that offers home-based jobs for Filipinos across the country.
- Solidgigs – Their site says, “The best freelance jobs, hand-picked & delivered daily”. It’s a subscription-based model though so you have to shell out $19 per month after the initial $2, 30-day trial.
- Hubstaff – Aside from being one of the biggest digital marketing resources online, Hubstaff’s Talent page also serves as an online job marketplace that connects freelancers with clients.
- PeoplePerHour – With almost 3 million registered freelancers, this site is one of the biggest online job marketplaces to checkout for remote work.
- Gun.io – The site connects vetted freelancers with clients according to the project’s needs.
- Truelancer – Another general online job marketplace similar to Freelancer and UpWork albeit at a lower scope.
- We Work Remotely – It’s one of the largest remote work communities in the world with over 2.5 million monthly visitors.
- Craigslist – The job and gigs section of the local Craigslist page features plenty of remote and part-time jobs
- Guru – The site features a decent amount of open jobs for both solo freelancers and agencies.
- Outsourcely – Registration is free and lets you browse and apply to job posts easily. Clients can also view profiles per expertise and reach out and connect with you directly.
- Remotive – Currently offering jobs to programmers, designers, product managers, customer support, and sales & marketing specialists.
- Contena – Great site for freelance writers as it comes with training programs and even coaches to help you get up to speed and look for clients. It costs $40/month to be a member though (if paid using the annual rate)
- Credo – It’s a job site that focuses on digital marketers with expertise on stuff like: SEO, content writing, PPC, Social Media, and others.
- Skyword – The site connects high-level writers, graphic designers, videographers, photographers, and other creatives with popular brands looking for an effective marketing strategy through great storytelling.
- 199Jobs – The site offers jobs in writing & editing, design, video, audio, admin support, and website-related tasks.
- Zeerk – They offer various micro-jobs ranging from as low as $3 up to $200.
- Toptal – TopTal prides itself in having the top 3% of freelancers. While this makes it a lot harder to become a member, becoming one let you have access to top dollar industry rates for your services.
- Design Crowd – The go-to place for freelancers who specialize in design for various formats.
- WorkHoppers – They don’t charge fees or require any commissions from freelancers. They will match you with a client depending on your location.
- Behance – The jobs section of this site caters to freelancers looking for design-type jobs.
- Working Not Working – They feature some of the world’s best creatives, from animators, typographers, graphic designers, music producers, and a whole lot more.
- Contently – Contently works with several high-end brands and uses their freelancer database to help them create projects for these clients.
- VA Networking – This site is for freelancers looking to get virtual assistant jobs.
- Morning Coffee Newsletter – The site has been around since 1997. It lets you sign up for their mailing list so you can receive job alerts and notifs for potential writing gigs.
- Kolabtree – It’s a niche job site for freelance researchers and scientists.
- Codeable – Perfect for web developers who specialize in WordPress. Create a profile and the site will connect you with prospective clients who are looking for someone with your skillset
- Freedom With Writing – Sign up with their newsletter and they will send you the latest job openings/freelance gigs for writers
- Dribbble – For graphic designers. You can upload your portfolio and prospective clients will contact you for potential work.
- MyOutDesk – This site is for freelancers looking to work as a virtual assistant in a full-time role.
- Blogging Pro – Great for content writers and copywriters looking for remote writing gigs
- Support Driven – The site lets you upload your resume and create a profile for employers looking to hire talent to view. You can also check out their job listings page to check who’s hiring.
- Virtual Vocations – Free to register and lets you browse through dozens of remote job listings
- ServiceScape – Job site for editors, translators, graphic designers, and writers.
- Designhill – You can sign up and participate in various graphic design contests (and get paid if yours get chosen) or work directly with clients
- Indeed – You could search job postings for both full-time and freelance positions. Offers a decent range and numbers of job search results from local employers.
- Envato Studio – They act as a middleman between clients and companies looking for talent in the creative space covering web development, video and animation, design and graphics, web content, mobile app development, and more.
- FlexJobs – Covers a wide variety of jobs, similar to Upwork and Freelancer.
- 99Designs – This is a jobsite for freelance creatives who are into graphic design that covers niches like: web, logo, product packaging and label, T-shirt, book cover, and more.
- Amazon Mechanical Turk – Mturks help in solving a range of data processing, analysis, and content moderation challenges from Amazon Requesters.
- Coroflot – Niche job site for designers in various fields and format.
- Boldly – Boldly is a premium subscription staffing company that provides various services to clients and companies.
- All Freelance Writing – The site curates various job postings targeting writers. No fee is required to join.
- CrowdSPRING – Job site for creatives. Niches include logo design, magazine, art and illustration, name and branding, web and mobile design, and others.
- Writer Access – Great for writers, editors, proofreaders, and other similar jobs. Membership is free.
- Media Bistro – The site offers a decent amount of freelance gigs and jobs but comes with a monthly membership fee.
- Damongo – Similar to Zeerk and early Fiverr in terms of jobs being offered. It features micro jobs with rates that starts at $5.
How to Start Freelancing in the Philippines
If you’re an aspiring freelancer, I bet the one question you want answered most is:
How exactly do I start freelancing?
Well, you’re in luck. Because in this section, we’ll show you some of the most important steps for beginning your freelancing journey.
1. Pick a niche.
It all starts with determining the type of service you can offer to clients. What type of jobs/tasks/stuff are you good at?
Can you possibly earn from those skills?
For example, if you have experience building websites, then you can offer web development services to clients who need someone to create a website for their business or personal blog.
If you know how to write, content writing or sales/email copywriting can be profitable niches. Virtual assistant jobs have been on the rise in the last couple of years, perfect for a support-type specialist who’s versed in managing multiple tasks.
These are just a few examples, but the most important thing to remember is it all begins with identifying your skillset and how you could leverage that expertise for freelancing services.
2. Ask yourself: “What’s my Goal?”.
Freelance work means different things to different people. Some do it as their main source of income, some do it as a side-hustle (extra money), or perhaps for gaining more skills and experience in a certain niche (while earning money at the same time).
This is important because this will set the metrics for your level of commitment and overall plan of action. Someone doing it as their full-time job will naturally be more into it (always on the lookout for new clients, treating it as a business, etc.,) versus someone doing it for building their portfolio while they study (or work) before jumping to it full-time a few years from now.
Think of this step as a way of setting your expectations on what you need to give and take from it all.
3. Build a solid online profile and portfolio.
Sometimes, a well-executed profile or impressive portfolio is all it takes to win a client over. It’s your personal marketing tool for promoting your services, so you absolutely have to make sure it will impress anyone looking at it.
There are plenty of free and paid services for setting up a personal website to showcase your portfolio.
This is especially crucial if you’re in graphic, video, artwork, or related niches as clients want to see actual stuff you made so they can decide if you have the talent and experience to handle the work they have for you.
4. Leverage Your Personal Network.
Most beginner freelancers would likely flock to online job sites to get their first couple of gigs.
While that’s completely fine, you should also try and “promote” your services via social media and LinkedIn networks. Perhaps you can do a quick post asking if anyone knows some who needs “help with (insert your specialty here)”.
Two things could happen if you end up with an offer:
- You could do it for free if you want to build your portfolio first
- You get a paid gig.
Either way, both give you experience and a solid idea of the type of stuff you will be doing in your chosen niche.
5. Pitch it perfectly.
Whether you started your journey joining job sites like UpWork or Freelancer or began by building an online portfolio and leveraged personal and professional connections to look for clients, it will always lead up to the “pitch”.
Simply put, it’s your one chance of scoring a client by making a quick and solid “presentation” about what you can do for them and their business.
And to be able to get their attention (and contract) you have to be both persuasive yet professional in how you position your services. Read the “Elevator Pitch” section on our Ultimate Checklist for Jobseeker’s Guide for tips on executing this properly for more effective results.
6. Do the best work you can.
It goes without saying that you should give your absolute best on each project.
Especially when you’re a novice freelancer trying to prove your worth and building upon valuable skills and experience. In other words, don’t wing it. It might be tempting at times to just simply do “average” work and get paid with less effort.
But remember, the quality of your work is what will separate you from the thousands of other freelancers doing the same job. This way, you can offer superior results and demand bigger pay.
7. Nurture Client Relationships.
As a freelancer, you’ll get to work with dozens of clients throughout the years. Some might be for quick gigs only, while others might be long-term projects that span for years.
In both cases, it’s your job to build a strong working relationship with every client you’ll work with. Why? Because not only will it increase the likelihood of them hiring you again, but they’ll also happily recommend you to others because you are awesome to work with.
8. Optimize your workflow.
Freelancers are both blessed and cursed with the flexibility bestowed upon them by the nature of their job.
Yes, you get to work whenever and wherever you want in most cases, but that also translates to a higher chance of procrastinating simply because you can (no boss looking over you, you’re working from home and there are lots of distractions, etc.,).
To deal with this, try to come up with a schedule that you can stick to and develop the discipline to do something productive every day to push your projects forward and make progress.
Optimizing your workflow includes getting the right equipment and environment to help you work more efficiently. It also involves the know-how in using various apps, programs, and devices to help you finish your tasks faster.
9. Always have the right mindset.
You have to be open-minded enough to try things that you think are impossible or beyond your reach. Have the courage to sign up for projects that you were afraid of doing simply because you think you don’t have “enough” skills for it.
10. Level Up Your Skills
Continuously look for ways to improve your craft and develop new skills. Sign up for free online courses.
“Branch out” to related fields and niches. In today’s ever-changing job marketplace, you’ll see “multi-hyphen” professionals who specialize in a variety of jobs and disciplines.
You don’t necessarily have to get an MBA or sign up for an expensive development program to get an advantage.
By simply keeping yourself knowledgeable and abreast of the current technologies and demands of the job, you’ll generate demand for your services and allow you to command better fees and prices.
And here’s a typical step-by-step workflow of a freelancer:
- Look for leads or open jobs in various networks or job market sites.
- Initiate contact by sending an email or cover letter (with a solid resume if applicable)
- If client is interested, correspond with them and ask what exactly they need.
- Come up with a proposal containing the solution along with your pricing and deliverables.
- The client approves the proposal and makes the contract.
- You proceed to do the work, making sure to meet the deliverables you promised in your proposal
- You send the work to the client, client provides feedback. In some cases, a couple of changes/modifications might be required to meet the client’s requests.
- The client pays you for your work.
- Use the feedback/experience gained from the project for your portfolio.
- Continue getting leads, marketing, and sending pitches to generate new contracts.
Best Tools for Filipino Freelancers
In all types of jobs, whether you are employed or working freelance, productivity is very important. If you are productive, you can get more done with less time.
There are many tools that can help improve your productivity as a freelancer. Let’s look at some of the best.
Best for: Graphic Design
Photoshop can try your patience at times, not to mention it can be costly. Try using Canva. You will not regret it. The online graphic design tool has drag-and-drop functionality and you can use it to create gorgeous graphics and documents, among others.
Canva was designed in a way that even non-designers can use it easily to make beautiful graphics for email, social media, and even a website. You do not need a design degree to use this tool.
Best for: Project Management
This visual project management tool has an intuitive design that is ideal for things like public product roadmaps and editorial calendars.
Trello uses lists, cards, and boards to organize and prioritize tasks and projects. If you’re stumped, you can search “free Trello templates” and find templates and inspiration for a wide variety of situations.
Its drag-and-drop functionality allows for easy tracking of a project’s status. At a glance, you can already see what’s in progress and what needs to be started.
If you have other people work with you, there are some great features on Trello that are handy for team collaboration. The tool can help everyone stay organized together.
Best for: Team communication
This messaging app has become almost as commonplace as email. It is similar to a chatroom that is shared among the members of one organization.
Slack has “channels” that help organize internal and client communication, and it can sync with third-party apps that are commonly used, such as Google Drive and Google Calendar. Slack is available for both Android and Apple mobile devices and both Windows and Mac computers.
You can also use a desktop web browser to access Slack’s website, which has the same functionalities as the app.
Best for: Time Tracking
This time tracking tool comes with a simple design yet powerful functionality. It may look like other timesheets but it comes with a timer and allows you to track by project as well as by task for a more detailed report.
You can make several projects to track to the minute the amount of time you spend on client work or personal projects.
With excellent reporting capability, Harvest also lets you create and send invoices.
Best for: Password Management
If forgetting your password is something that you have to deal with often, then you should definitely consider this tool. Why struggle with going through the tedious process of resetting your password when you can use 1Password?
This password management tool remembers your passwords across platforms and sites and securely stores them. A freelancer can have different email addresses for various clients, and 1Password makes sure that they never forget their login details again.
Say goodbye to the pen and paper. There is a risk of misplacing that note anyway.
Best for: Online Writing Assistant
Everyone makes mistakes in writing, even professional writers, so Grammarly can be quite useful.
This online writing assistant reviews grammar, spelling, punctuation, clarity, delivery and engagement mistakes. It also suggests appropriate replacements for mistakes that it locates and allows its users to customize their tone, style, and context-specific language.
Its paid subscriptions may be a bit on the costly side and the service is not available offline, but Grammarly’s ease of use and support for various platforms make it worth the cost.
Grammarly has native desktop clients for Windows and macOS, web browser extensions, and an add-in in Microsoft Office (on both Windows and Mac and platforms). Grammarly also offers a mobile keyboard app for Android and iOS users.
Best for: Saving Important Articles
As a freelancer, you might have noticed that life can become pretty hectic. Sometimes, you take a break and check your phone to catch up on what’s happening around the world or some industry buzz.
However, you may have ended up only skimming the articles because you don’t have enough time to read them. Of course you would like to read the articles, so rather than forgetting about them, you can save the amazing research articles to Pocket.
It is an app that lets you save articles, links, and videos so you can get back to them later. Pocket is available both as a desktop and a mobile app.
Best for: Note-Taking And Bookmarking
Notion helps creative individuals organize the many ideas that they have and the tasks they have to do. It also helps in storing cool articles, GIFs, and ads online for inspiration.
The tool is generally used for note taking, content planning, business documentation, swipe files and to-do lists. Notion lets you create your own layouts as well as a toolkit to get your work done. The workspace provides a beautiful clean space for you to write in and allows you to build your personal wiki.
You can do more things with Notion, like capturing your workflows and recording everything by creating databases and spreadsheets. It works across different platforms, such as on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Web.
Best for: Collaboration Tools
This all-in-one platform includes several popular freelance apps, such as Gmail and Google Docs.
Formerly called G Suite, Google Workspace is a productivity toolkit from Google that brings all the G Suite tools (Gmail, Drive, Docs, Calendar, Slides, Meet, Keep, Sites, Currents, Forms, and Sheets) together under one neat and tidy umbrella.
It is more than just a simple rebrand. Google Workspace introduces new productivity measures. It promises a whole new identity, a well-integrated user experience, and tailored solutions for various sectors.
Best for: Word Processor
Google Docs allows you to create text documents and edit them using your web browser. You don’t need any special software.
What’s more, multiple people can work on the same document simultaneously and you can see the changes as they are being made. All changes are saved automatically, as well. There is also a mobile app that you can use on Android and iOS phones.
Google Docs has add-ons that let you expand functionality and add other features. With Google Docs, you can write reports, make joint project proposals, and record meeting notes, among many others.
Best for: Spreadsheet
You can create contact lists and download them as CSV files with Google Sheets. Collaborative, smart, and secure, Google Sheets can make sending and uploading lists to a marketing automation software easier to do.
It has AI features that you can tap into for the right insights when you are making meaningful business decisions. Its online architecture lets you collaborate with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Google Sheets is compatible with external systems, such as Microsoft Office. This means working with several data sources won’t be a problem.
With Sheets being built on top of the infrastructure of Google, you get freedom to create and at the same time, your information is kept secure.
Best for: Presentation Tool
If you are thinking of creating and presenting a professional pitch deck, try using Google Slides. Aside from the fact that it is free for people with a Google account, it allows you to build presentations in your web browser without any special software.
With Google Slides, making project presentations and training modules with other people is easier as you can all work on the slides at the same time and you can all see the changes.
The changes are also automatically saved. With Google Slides, you can import and export slideshows from and to other presentation software tools.
Google Slides also has professional presentation features like formatting slides and importing images and videos, and it offers many different templates from Google and third-party vendors.
Best for: Time Management and Scheduling
We recommend using Google Calendar for times when you feel like sending a calendar link is too impersonal.
This tool is useful for setting internal meetings with collaborators and syncing with long-time clients that have provided you with a company Gmail.
The feature “Find a Time” comes in handy when you are trying to work around the schedule of a team member. It helps you make sure that you won’t waste their time or yours.
Best for: Note-Taking
This sticky notes app works well on both desktop and mobile. As a matter of fact, the desktop app is located on the sidebar of Google Docs and Gmail, so it is easy to stash text and images in for future emails and blogs, among others.
With Google Keep, you can capture ideas using your voice, put images on notes, and check off tasks on your to-do list.
The notes and lists that you create using the app can also be shared with others, who can be collaborators as well. What’s more, Keep synchs across all of your devices, so you can access your notes and lists anywhere you go.
Best for: Cloud-Based Storage
Is your device running out of space? Or maybe you simply want to backup your files. Google Drive allows you to upload and save different file types (photos,documents, audio, and videos) to the “cloud” or Google servers.
It is designed to work with Google seamlessly, and it is integrated with Google’s cloud-native apps, including Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and more.
By default, a Google account comes with free storage space of 15 GB across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos, but you can pay to upgrade to a Google One account for more space.
One of the great features of Google Drive is its capability to do a comprehensive search. It can recognize text and images even in scanned documents, which makes searching for files much easier.
Best for: Email
This free email service by Google is like other email services in many ways. It allows you to send and receive emails, make an address book, block spam, and do other email tasks.
Moreover, this email platform has more unique features, such as the conversation view. With this feature, the emails that you send back and forth with a particular person (or people) are grouped together by default.
This helps in keeping your inbox organized. Another cool feature is the built-in chat, where you can send an instant message instead of an email.
Note: You can also get custom & professional email addresses for your freelance business via Google Workspace (that starts at $4.20 per month).
Best for: Invoicing & Online Payments
No one really wants to wear the collections officer hat. However, you don’t have to do it often. With PayPal, your clients can easily pay you.
You can also link your credit card to your PayPal account. The service also offers businesses different solutions for their daily operations, including payment portals for in-person and online transactions, credit and financing options, and business management solutions.
PayPal provides a form of payment that does not require both the payor and payee to disclose bank account or credit card numbers so online purchases can be safer.
Best for: Video Messaging
Unlike Zoom, FaceTime, or Google Meet, this video messaging app is one-way. After recording yourself and your screen, you can send the video to others through a shareable link.
Loom is similar to Snapchat, but is more focused on professional use and sharing on-screen recording. With this screen-recording Chrome extension, you can easily create tutorials, which you can then give a descriptive name and send to your clients. Loom supports various platforms.
It has Chrome extensions, a website, desktop apps for Windows and Mac, and mobile apps for Android and iOS. However, each app offers different features.
Best for: Customer Relationship Management
If a simple freelancer CRM is what you are looking for, then look no further. Airtable offers a database-style setup and several views to choose from, such as gallery view and calendar view.
In addition, they have a free CRM template that you can use to get started.
This makes the online platform easy to use. With Airtable, you can create and share relational databases. Aside from the user interface being simple, colorful, and friendly, it allows anyone to create a database in minutes.
Storing, organizing, and collaborating on information about things like product inventories, employee directories, and even apartment hunting is made easy when you use Airtable.
No need to learn what SQL means, let alone scripting.
Best for: Time Management
Freelancers love Toggl’s simplicity, reports, filters, and generous free plan. The tool offers a simple solution for tracking time and it comes with all the features needed to track projects.
It also helps in increasing productivity and getting things done on time.
With Toggl, you can track work hours, billable hours or personal projects. You can also use it to measure your own productivity. The app is suitable for both individuals and teams.
Best for: Social Media
Batching your work is a really efficient way to work. This means that you complete one task within minutes or a few hours. Freelancers run the show and are usually responsible for creating and posting their social media posts.
Rather than doing this on the fly, it is better to dedicate a couple of hours when the week starts for writing, creating, and scheduling social media posts.
You will soon notice that your following and engagement are growing even if you are not giving them your constant attention.
You can schedule your social media posts and track analytics by using Sprout Social. The tool has a preview feature and really good analytics reporting.
It also offers functionality for social listening, giving you an idea of the pulse on your industry.
The following are a couple of things to consider when you’re ready to begin your path as a freelancer.
What’s the best way to get paid?
- Hourly – You track your hours and get paid for the logged total based on your per-hour rate.
- Pros – Clear and transparent, you get paid in accordance to the number of hours you spent working
- Cons – Too granular, won’t allow you to leverage your skills to accomplish more work and get paid more
- Per Project – You set the price you’ll get paid with for the completion of the entire project.
- Pros – You get paid once you provide the deliverables, regardless of the time spent and methods to finish the work
- Cons – If you realize you spent more time than you initially estimated and ended up taking less versus a per-hour arrangement.
- Retainer – You guarantee a certain number of projects completed or work hours per month at a specified rate for a predetermined amount of time. Typically pays you in advance.
- Pros – You get paid consistently (and in advance) for a certain period of time for a certain number of tasks/projects accomplished
- Cons – Levels of work could vary and you end up juggling more tasks than you expect
What’s the “right” rate for your services?
There’s no clear-cut rule regarding how much a freelancer should get paid in his or her own field.
Each individual will have different considerations for pricing but if you want to get a rough benchmark of how much a certain job pays (min-max) then you can check job marketplaces, forums, FB groups. Read or ask around.
The important thing to remember when it comes to pricing your services as a freelancer: there is no formula.
There are multiple factors at play here.
One is the client’s budget. How much are they willing to pay?
Second is how much value are you providing this client? If you wrote a sales letter, for example, that brought them $5,000 in sales — do you think the $100 payment you received sounds reasonable?
Lastly, your own consideration on how much your time, effort and skill is worth.
Look at the whole thing at a value perspective so you can justify your price. Don’t be afraid to demand compensation that’s beyond your comfort zone if you think you’re providing the client enough value for your work.
Contrary to what some freelancers think, it’s not a race to the bottom of the price bucket. Sure, you can offer the lowest rates and outbid others with your cheap rates. But is that what you really want to do in the long run?
Work for remuneration that barely makes ends meet? To be chosen not because you’re good at what you do — but because you’re the cheapest “commodity” among the bunch?
Should you start a blog?
A blog serves as a portfolio and marketing tool for you to show your expertise in your chosen field.
For example, a graphic artist could build a personal site that displays his latest artwork along with previous designs that clients used. A virtual assistant can write about her knowledge and experience in using various apps and programs that a good number of clients require. A game developer can post demos and beta programs of some of the games he has created or provided to clients.
It’s all about having a platform to showcase what you can do and have done to get eyeballs (and inquiries) to your services. This is crucial as a freelancer because it helps generate a steady flow of potential leads with various clients.
Recommended Guide: How to Start a Blog in 20 minutes
Freelancing & Taxes in the Philippines
Regardless if you’ll be doing it part-time or full-time, at an office or at home, and whether you’re working with local or foreign clients, you need to pay income tax as a freelancer.
In the Philippines, freelancers are considered as self-employed or mixed-income earners. The National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) categorizes freelancers as Professional or Business Owner/Sole Proprietor.
To register with the BIR as a freelancer, you have to complete the necessary BIR forms to get your Tax Identification Number.
Requirements for Self-Employed and Mixed-Income Individuals:
- Filled-up BIR Form 1901
- Photocopy of Mayor’s Permit, or duly received Application for Business Permit if still on process
- Occupational Tax Receipt or Professional Tax Receipt
- Professional Regulation Commission ID (if applicable)
- Contract or Company Certificate of Employment
- NSO Birth Certificate
- Marriage Contract (if applicable)
Other documents which may include the following, if applicable:
- DTI Certificate of Registration for Business Name
- Contract of Lease
- Proof of registration/permit to operate from economic development authorities
- Franchise agreement
- Sworn statement of capital
- Working permit for non-resident
- Waiver of husband to claim additional exemption
- NSO Birth Certificate of declared dependents
After preparing all the necessary documents, the next step is to apply for an RDO transfer if you were previously employed. This is accomplished using BIR Form 1905. Once the RDO transfer is complete, visit your new RDO and register as a tax-paying freelancer (self-employed or mixed-income category) using form 1901.
TIN Application Procedure for Freelancers (Self-Employed)
- Accomplish BIR Form 1901 and 1906 and submit the same together with the documentary requirements with the New Business Registrant Counter of the RDO having jurisdiction over the place where the head office and branch, respectively.
- Pay the Annual Registration Fee (P500.00) at the New Business Registrant Counter in the BIR Office.
- Pay Documentary Stamp Tax (DST) (loose DST / BIR Form 2000* for DST on Contract of Lease, etc). Present proofs of payment.
- The RDO shall then issue the Certificate of Registration (Form 2303) together with the “Ask for Receipt” notice, Authority to Print.
- Attend the taxpayer’s initial briefing to be conducted by the RDO concerned for new registrants in order to apprise them of their rights and duties/responsibilities.
Alternatively, freelancers who want a more automated approach to filing their taxes can opt to use a service like Taxumo. It lets you skip the manual (and time-consuming) process of tax filing with a few easy steps. You can read more about it here.
Over To You
Freelancing opens up various possibilities and advantages that a traditional employee setup doesn’t have. And while it comes with its own set of cons, there’s no denying the fact that you can make a considerable amount of money from it whether you do it full-time or on the side.
Hope you find this guide useful. If you have any freelancing questions, tips, insights, or stories to share, please let us know in the comments section below.