This is my second attempt at becoming a full-time freelancer. Obviously, the first was a failure. The good thing is, I learned from my mistakes.
It was in 2015 when I first attempted to be a full-time freelancer. With a small amount of savings, I quit my job to travel around Southeast Asia and live in Bangkok for 5 months without any plans on how I could earn a stable income. I relied on my blog, which couldn’t give a steady stream of income just yet. The reason I failed was simple: I didn’t have a plan.
Fast forward to 2017. I quit my corporate job again, but this time, I was sure about what I wanted to do. I learned some skills and focused on my strengths that eventually provided me with a more stable income.
I realized that I still couldn’t consider my blog a stable source of income, so I worked on my interest in social media marketing.
Nature’s Eye resort was my first client. I’ve been working with the resort for two years now. I’m a self-taught social media practitioner. I don’t have any certification from any school for doing digital marketing.
The owner noticed a massive increase in the growth of their sales when I started to market the resort. The results gave me more confidence that I’m doing the right thing. Afterwards, I got three more clients. The income I’m getting from the work I do for them plus the earnings from my blog now give me more than what my previous employers paid me.
I decided to do this, because I could no longer see myself enduring the daily commute and staying in the office for, at times, more than nine hours. I have nothing against people working in the office. We all have a choice and we do what we think is best for us. If someday, you consider freelancing, here are some advantages and disadvantages.
You can follow your passion
Who says that following your passion will make you broke? I know a lot of people in this industry who are earning enough to have a good standard of living.
You don’t have to go broke doing passionate work. But you will go broke if you don’t handle your professional life with a strong plan.
If you are into arts, writing, photography, or other things, and people are stopping you from doing what you love because “there is no money in it,” prove them wrong. Show them that you can be one of the successful people who follow their passion.
You can create your own schedule
The best perk of freelancing is creating my own schedule and working wherever I want to. I see a lot of rants on Facebook from people working in Manila about the traffic situation.
Falling in line at a train station for an hour, riding on a bus for more than two hours, and squeezing in with other passengers. In other words, it’s a nightmare. And this is something I don’t want to experience again.
As a freelancer, I normally start working after I lunch. I can also work on my bed even without taking a shower yet. I normally stay here in Makati, or in Guimaras for a month or two then travel for another month somewhere.
I always tell my friends to invite me to travel anytime, anywhere, as long as there is internet connection.
You can feel the job security and grab endless opportunities
People are afraid to do freelance because of job security. Our thinking is our future is more secure with big companies and we are content with doing the same job for years and years and receiving our salary twice a month.
The truth is, you can create a contract with your clients to secure your job. and when I say endless opportunities, as long as you know how to manage your time, you can get as many clients as you want. But you need to make sure that you can deliver a complete output on time.
I now manage four clients and my blog, If there are opportunities for a writing gig, I also sign up. As long as you work smart and show your clients that you are worth it, they will never let you go.
If there are advantages as a freelancer, there are also some disadvantages.
No employer benefits
I think this is the biggest disadvantage of being a freelancer. Having a free health insurance card for me and my parents is the biggest perk that I lost when I stopped working in a corporate set up. I’m not sure if I can avail of one as a freelancer, but if I could, that would be too expensive.
I also don’t have 13th-month pay, separation and retirement pay, holiday pay and sick leave pay.
For other benefits like SSS, PAGIBIG, and Philhealth, though, I can voluntarily pay for them.
Distinguishing between work time and personal time
I can indeed handle my own time but sometimes I don’t realize that even if I start working early or late, I end up working for more than 10 hours. I also need to work when I’m on holiday with my family and friends. I need to check my emails from time to time and answer phone calls if necessary.
Realistically speaking, I don’t have a day off and even if I have the freedom to work anytime and anywhere, I need to work even during my personal time.
Sometimes it’s lonely to work from home alone
Whenever I’m here in Manila, I always just stay and work from home. As much as possible, I no longer go to a coffee shop to work. Imagine spending Php500 on a day out (Grab fare, coffee, pastries, etc.). It is more practical to work from home.
But sometimes, it gets boring. I usually start checking my emails at 11am then do my actual work at 1pm. From then on, there is not one single person I can talk to inside my apartment because all of my housemates go to work and come back home before 8pm.
I sometimes miss the usual office set up – talking/gossiping with your friends, having a meeting with your colleagues, after-office party. If you are going to choose this kind of career, make sure that you are ready getting isolated.
Going freelance isn’t easy, but once you’re there, the rewards speak for themselves. Are you looking for freedom from office work? Discover your skills and you might be suitable for doing a freelance job.