The Highs and Lows of a Freelancer

I chose writing as my job.  As a writer, I experienced getting paid for clients’ requests such as blog posts, press releases, product descriptions, SEO articles, product reviews, etc. I also tried writing entertainment feature articles.

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I started in the BPO industry. Although it helped me transitioned from my college years to have a career-oriented mindset, I noticed I cannot cope up with the demands of that set-up. The hardest for me was to brave the traffic jams from Rizal to U.N. Avenue, Manila.

I resigned after almost a year.

As I was looking for a new job, my friend/former officemate from my first job asked if I want to try writing for their site. I applied and luckily, I passed their timed trial test. It became my first freelance job and since then I never got back to a corporate setting. I found my right pacing in freelance. However, it has pros and cons. Let me share those with you based on my personal experiences.

Advantages

The flexibility of time. This is what I benefit most from the freelance setup, especially as a writer. Finishing tasks before in an 8-hour shift and 5 days a week made me feel ‘word vomit’ as I don’t produce consistent quality of my outputs. It is not surprising I have more rejected or ‘needs revision’ written works before in my first two jobs.

In my freelance tasks, I can work at any time of the day for as long as I submit them all before the deadline. I usually finish the hardest ones so I can assess the remaining time I have. Also, I don’t need to file for a leave because I can request my clients to not give me any tasks for the day or a week if I go to be somewhere else. I tell it to them through a chat or email.

Working from home. Nothing beats the feeling of a stress-free worker because never did I worry again about traffic. I worked before as early as 6 AM to finish earlier and nap in the afternoon. I was able to help more in managing our home and running errands without compromising my time for my freelance tasks. My 2-3 hour commute time before becomes more productive with this setting.

Higher possible income. In a freelance job arrangement, I get paid for the number of outputs I can write. I experienced getting more than twice in my income compared to my previous corporate jobs. Companies from all over the world hire different writers and I just need to look for their postings. Since I am a freelancer, I tried having two jobs before wherein I write five entertainment feature articles in the morning, and I finish technical contents in the afternoon.

Some works were credited to my name. Unlike in my corporate jobs wherein all the tasks are outsourced to us, our names are not credited to those outputs. With some of my freelance jobs before, I saw my name in the by-line of the articles or blog posts I submitted. Of course, it helped boost my confidence because my written works were appreciated in that extent.

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Develops more skills. I got to know more people through my freelance jobs rather than my former corporate jobs. In this way, I developed more skills because each boss has different needs for the job and personalities. I remembered the time I don’t know how to write an entertainment feature article. My editor helped me but I have to learn quickly and adjust since her hands are full with her own daily tasks.

I learned to communicate too based on the level of comprehension and cultural background of my clients. Some clients are still learning English as their foreign language and others are so proficient in English, they notice in my emails or chats that my tone is different from how a native speaker should be. I still have a lot more to learn and more skills to improve. I am glad I got chances to do so in my freelance experiences.

Disadvantages

No benefits like SSS, Pag-ibig, and Philhealth. Freelancers like me are on our own. Most of us do not have a contract with our clients or middleman and even if we do, the majority of them doesn’t offer benefits similar to an office-based job.

We don’t have contributions to SSS, Pag-ibig, and Philhealth unless we apply for the voluntary contribution, which I did. Just visit the nearest branch office and ask how to do the voluntary contribution. On days I don’t work because I have to be somewhere or I got sick,  I don’t get paid for a vacation or sick leave. I don’t have a health card and 13th month bonus too. I just have to remind myself to write more to make up for those lost benefits.

Working on holidays. Oh yes, I experienced working on my revisions or added tasks requested by clients on the early morning of Christmas and even on Holy Week. Since some of my writing tasks came from foreign clients, their set of holidays is different to ours. It feels heavy working on holidays but I got used to it. After all, this is part of the freelance arrangement.

Inconsistent loads of tasks. It is the most challenging and stressful cons of freelancing. At times, I got so many writing tasks that I have to refuse to others because I cannot accomplish them all. On the down side, there were weeks I waited for more clients’ request and I end up waiting for nothing. Again, my income as a freelancer depends on the number of outputs I produce so this bothers me sometimes. This is why all freelancers try different jobs and do not limit themselves to one skill. Some friends already suggested I try to venture out with my other interests aside from writing to explore more opportunities in the freelance world.

Read Also: ‘Buhay Raket’: How to Study and Work at The Same Time

For me, the pros will always outweigh the cons about freelancing. I see myself staying in this career but I am more than willing to try out new freelance jobs for as long as it is related to my interests and I can deliver according to its demands.

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Rosella Jane “RJ” T. Vargas is a Christian by faith. She graduated from PUP-Manila with a degree in AB English. She is a freelance writer and an aspiring public speaker. 

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