Complete Freelancer Guide: How to Start Freelancing in the Philippines in 2020

Find all you need to know and learn to start working as a freelancer.

It’s clear that every fresh graduate or people who haven’t exercise their skills for a long time will probably find it difficult to start freelancing especially when nobody is there to guide. And even people that have experienced in the corporate world will have some hesitation and stifle if they won’t find a comprehensive guide on starting a freelance.

A ubiquitous guide about freelancing, circulating the web overwhelms you on which one to read that surely gets you to success.

This guide will clear your path, straight until you find your first online job. I know you’re now hyped up to learn and let’s get on it.

Is Freelancing right for me?

What is freelancing? 

Freelancing is earned by working as a freelance or independent contractor. You work alone at home, in a cafe, or anywhere with different clients depending on how much you can carry and manage your time.

How much do freelancers make?

Freelancing is not a walk in the park. You really need to be prepared first before jumping into it.
– Asher Ben Alpay – Powered By Pen Founder

Working in a corporate company often an irksome as you’re obliged to wake up earlier, hit the traffic, and having a boss that screams at you. If you’re tired of that daily grind, working as a freelancer offers magnificent benefits that most employers just can’t compete with.

Your earning depends on the type of work, skills,  and how many clients you are working for. For example, you’ll start a job of $2.00 per hour and work 40 hours a week. By that, you can get a total of $80 in a week then multiply it by 4 weeks and you have $320 in a month, then multiply it by P50.00 and you’ve got a total of P16, 000.00 pesos. How about if you do $5 in one of your clients and $7 in other clients? See? You can really snag gobs of money in freelancing.

filipino writers

Is working freelance stable?

As of Upwork second Workforce report,  a combination of 2019 and 2020 survey, recognizes the trend of hiring managerial roles remotely of about 1, 500 in the US. Most companies nowadays have remote workers. The remote workforce is globally a rise.  

Well, it’s a “No work No Pay” system. Unlike in working for a corporate company or in government offices where you can have your leave with pay. Usually, it would be an hourly job, fixed-rate, and or per project job. So, every hour or day will be calculated for your pay on an hourly and fixed rate. And for the per project, you can ask for upfront or down payment before you’ll start the project or have it the full payment after. I don’t prefer a per-project basis as your main source of income unless a side project only.

What if your client suddenly ended your contract? Then you’ll lose your job. My strategy is to have at least 2 clients at the same time, one is the main source and the other as backup. It’s really up to you. You can have more than two if you can handle it.

Top freelancing jobs:

  • Web development
  • Programming and Software development
  • Content writing
  • Translation
  • Video editors
  • Internet Marketers
  • Data Security Specialist
  • Virtual Assistant
  • WordPress designer
  • Social Media Manager

Source: Software Suggest


Know your Skills

The secret weapon in doing online work is your skills and not the diploma or medals you’ve acquired in school. Even me when I got started working online, I don’t have any degree. Before my I.T. diploma, I have already been doing freelance for 7 years.

I believe each one of us has skills or hidden talent, and you have to unleash those. Occasionally, we find it hard figuring out what we’re good at. You can ask your family and your friends about your strength and passion they see in you. Or think of something that you like to do while you’re in school. Skills like drawing, writing, gaming, calculations, photography, voice-over, guitar playing, video editing, audio mixing, social media, bookkeeping, etc..

And you start to ponder, ‘drawing!’. Are there any jobs related to drawing? Yes, there are. Don’t stop there, try searching that job in Google-like ‘drawing jobs online’ and you’ll get a huge listing.

drawing jobs online

And here’s a tip for you. If you know how to draw by hand then it’s good but you need to update a bit and learn basic Adobe photoshop for 2 weeks straight. Click here to navigate our guide. For others that need help in determining their skills, please send us an email or visit our Facebook page and ask us through messenger. 

Except for Google, here’s a list of sites you can start searching for job posts based on your skills. 


Is English required?

Jobs like writing, virtual assistant, English teaching, customer support, marketing, social media, and email support are some of the types of work that need fluency in English. But for design and I.T. jobs, it is not required. As long as you can communicate with your client is good enough.

Though fluency is not that required in design and I.T., you still have to review in your spare time as it will be your edge towards other applicants.


Do I have to buy a computer? What equipment should I use?

Back in the days when I started working online, I did not own any laptop and or a computer at all. While at work, I used my time researching Upwork (formerly known as Elance-oDesk) and learning Upwork through our computer shop and in an internet cafe. I didn’t even resign when I’ve got my first Upwork job, not until it reached to 3 jobs. 

Skills like writing, social media, research, data encoder, and other administrative work, at first you don’t have to buy a computer but use your cellphone or in a cafe while building your portfolio. For skills like graphic design, programming, and others that require software might need a personal computer. 

When buying a PC or laptop, I would recommend buying a core i3 processor or higher because you’ll just end up blaming yourself if your PC is too slow for the job. You’ll also need a headset for interviews (noise-canceling) and any form of communication later on. Nowadays, there’s a USB headset type in the market, which is better compared to 3.55mm jack, but it’s up to you to decide. 


How to receive your payment or salary?

Job marketplace like Upwork has its own payment method. I recommend opening up a bank account like Landbank of the Philippines, Union Bank, and Bank of the Philippine Islands(BPI) and linked it up in the Upwork Payment method section. It has lesser fees compare to Payoneer and Paypal. But for some instance, you sign up for a Paypal account as other clients prefer payment using Paypal

Is it guaranteed that my work will get paid? 

Working in Upwork is a great place to start because it has its work recording application that will track your work time and you’ll get paid every recorded hour. Your client in Upwork is obliged to it. But sometimes the client will get out of Upwork because of its fees and might offer you working outside and use Paypal as a payment method. 


How to write a cover letter?

Is it a cover letter or a resume?

Arguably, prepare both a cover letter and a resume. Most sites like Upwork and used a cover letter for sending your short bio or proposal. You can attach the resume in your profile and sometimes the client will ask before the interview.

How to write a cover letter that attracts the client? See the example below.

Just a tip; don’t apply to jobs you know you can’t deliver. Make it in mind that in applying, you are solving the client’s problem.

In your subject, include the title of the position you’re applying for.

Example: Applying for Social Media Manager

If you know the name of the client or the hiring person, include it in your Greeting section.

Example: Hello Gary

If you don’t know the name, you can say.

Example: Dear Hiring Manager or Respected Recruiter

In the body section; your introduction will entail that you have an interest in the job post and have relevant skills or experience. If you have experience or an internship relevant in the job description, then include a few lines. And include links or images of your portfolio.


I read with interest your posting for Webmaster/Web developer for WordPress B2B website. I highly recommend myself for the position as I have the skills and experience you are seeking and would make a valuable addition to your company.

I possess ten years of experience in the WordPress Design, Graphics, and SEO field. Most recently, my responsibilities as a Frontend WordPress Designer at Hostpapa match the qualifications you are seeking. Plus, I am well versed in ELementor, Beaver, and Visual Composer builder. Please see my top portfolio below.

In conclusion, state the importance of why you’re a good fit in the position. And finally, include your availability for interview and work if you’ll get hired.


I’d love to hear more about what would make this project a success for you, and explore if we’d be a good fit to work together. Please invite me for an interview. I am available 40 hours per week and can be reached online on Skype, Monday through Sunday at GMT+8.


Build Your Portfolio

Your portfolio is one asset that will push you closer to the client’s attention. It will represent your skills and will show your capability to handle projects at hand. 

How to build your portfolio?

Depending on what skills you have. You can find some companies that need an internship or find some site where you can host your crafts. Find our internship program here. 

Here are some sites that help you build your portfolio.

  • – It’s a blogging platform that hosts your articles and other media. 
  • Social media like Facebook – You can create a page of any category you like and start sharing good stuff. If you can prove that your page has a good reputation with thousands of like then it might give you an opportunity to a Social Media managerial position.
  • Behance – is for graphic artists’ portfolio hub. 
  • Portfoliobox – Sign up for a free version. Same as WordPress, this platform lets you create a site to host your creations.
  • Journo Portfolio – A portfolio hub for journalists and writers.

Share or create a portfolio with diversity and stunning. Your portfolio should stand-out as nowadays, freelancing competition is very stiff. Ask 10 people or your friends to give some comments or rate your work. 

 For graphic designers, try joining and submit your design to any design contest posted. There you have a chance of winning with pay and can add a boost to your portfolio.


How to know if the Client isn't scam?

All right, it’s your first time, so be very careful. In Upwork, you won’t be a scam if you work for an hourly job because it’s recorded, and the client agreed to it. See that you add a ‘memo’ every time you start and don’t work or open up your personal social media while working. 

What if I have an offer from another job site?

Be wise if somebody will give you a work offer without a tracking device. It’s essential to check thoroughly the client’s background. Here are some tips below to follow:

  • Ask the client’s personal information like name and address.
  • Review client’s business information like the website and social media – the most business owner has Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profile.
  • Google the client’s name and see if there are bad reviews you can find in the results. 
  • Ask for a small upfront amount like $10 but be polite in your proposal.
    • Example: Hi Jim, since it’s my first time working outside a platform with no tracking app. Is it okay to ask for an upfront? Any amount will like $10 is much appreciated. 
    • Or.  Hi Jim, since it’s my first time working outside a platform with no tracking app. Is it okay to ask for an initial payment after the 3 days work and next payment right after every 2 weeks?

If the client’s information and reputation are good upon your research and the client will agree to your proposal, then it’s good to go. But, even though the client agreed on paying you after the 3 days work, it’s not a guarantee yet but at least you only work for a short period.

While working on the offer, continue applying for other jobs and follow up on those who responded to your letter. From there, you have more options on where to proceed working. 


How to charge or give rate estimate to clients project?

Sometimes it’s the hardest work for a freelancer on how to charge for a service or setting a rate in the profile. For newbies, don’t rate too much high as clients prefer on with experience. $2-3 per hour is a good foundation, then upgrade your rate after you’re confident to charge based on your experience and skills. 

You can search for other freelancers profile, look for the rate, availability, and experience. 

Your Next Step - Review your Skills or Join our Internship Program

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