I can only think of two kinds of freelancers – part-timers and full-timers. While individual needs vary, we all have the same core needs. Although the site focuses on content writing, it still applies to all sorts of jobs such as VA. Before, I have written about the difficulty of keeping the good writers. Here, I would like to take a closer look at the needs of Filipino freelancers.
At the end of this post, what I want like to achieve are the following:
1. Freelancers know what they are getting into by taking writing and other online jobs. Freelancing has a trade-off which may or may not matter. Regardless, it is better to know than to plunge into the unknown only to have regrets later.
2. Clients have a better understanding of the needs of Filipino freelancers. Hence, they are able to compensate. Doing so results in a longer working relationship with people they like.
Freelancing Trade-Offs for Filipinos
In essence, there are three reasons why Filipinos work online.
1. The most common reason is to have a part-time home-based job. For example, moms who have to stay home to take care of their children. Unable to work in an office, working online becomes an opportunity to earn with the spare time they have.
2. Some people have stable jobs but would like to augment their income. As such, they market their skills and take on part-time online jobs.
3. The affordable salary by the standards of the clients is better than the local wages. Hence, Filipinos see working online as a better option.
Letting Go of Benefits
Working online is a life-altering decision. It can be fun and stimulating as well as challenging and frustrating. Likewise, it has benefits as well as disadvantages.
As much as freelancing is an opportunity, there is also a trade-off.
Such trade-offs may or may not matter depending on individual situation. Under the labor code and special laws, here are the mandatory benefits and provisions.
In the national capital region, the base salary is 512 pesos as of September 14, 2017. Besides wage, the others are:
- 13th-Month Pay
- Overtime Pay
- Night Shift Differential
- Special Non-Working Day (if worked)
- Regular Holiday Pay (if worked)
- Service Intensive Leave
- Maternity Leave
- Paternity Leave
- Parental Leave for Solo Parents
- Leave for victims of Anti-Violence Against Women Law (Republic Act 9262)
- Special Leave for Women
Besides the premiums and benefits, companies also subsidize a part of the following:
- Social Security System Contribution (based on salary)
- Pag-IBIG Contribution (based on salary)
- PhilHealth Contribution (based on salary)
Some people complain about the salary deductions to SSS, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth. Hence, they proclaim how the lack of deduction is one of the benefits of freelancing. I have nothing to say to these people.
For part-timers, it may not matter since working on the side often does not come with benefits. But the same cannot be said of full-timers. Filipino freelancers are leaving those premiums and safety net behind once they go full-time.
For some, losing the benefits may seem like a small price to pay. Often, they view the convenience of working from home a fair trade-off. Still, they have to do the math and make sure their online income is on par or exceeds traditional jobs. At the same time, they need to continue contributing to government services.
Compensating the Filipino Freelancers
Depending on the needs of clients, they either look for writers to work part-time or full-time. Almost all will not bother to talk about benefits, let alone even try to understand the labor code. If I have to pick one disadvantage of freelancing, then the lack of benefits is on top of my list.
Some people lament the fact that people are accepting low pay rates. In their view, that is one of the reasons why many clients offer peanuts. To be clear, that is the same sentiment shared by freelancers in other nations.
I want to believe that many start-ups cannot afford higher pay rates. As such, they have no choice but to work with the ones who lack experience or skills to deserve better pay rates. Unfortunately, there are also many clients who try to pick fruits from seeds.
Online freelancers are not stocks where one buy cheap and expect a huge return.
Clients at the very least should understand Filipino freelancers. Once they hire one, the content writer uses the tools of the trade for writing, and these things cost money. Not to mention, the ability to create content is a valuable skill.
Again, it depends on the needs.
As far as I know, the existing laws do not cover cross-border online freelancing. At best, it is likely murky. For that reason, it is up to the clients to decide how to best compensate the writers.
In the blog community, I advocated excellence regardless if one is in for the money or otherwise. I also preach the same standard of excellence in the Filipino freelance community.
Filipino writers should not demand higher pay rates. Instead, they should strive to be better hence deserving better pay rates. Because the fact of the matter is that most clients do not care. About the only time they do is when they are unwilling to let go of people whom they deem as valuable.
While looking for excellent writers is difficult, it is also hard to look for great clients. The best that freelancers can do is to prepare themselves for the right opportunity. After all, it is better to be ready and qualified when the opportunity presents itself.
Online freelancing, like life itself, is a journey where obstacles and hindrances await. A match made in heaven, though, is possible and within reach. To attract the clients they want, all the Filipino freelancers have to do is to strive for excellence.
At the same time, let me say that the same standard of excellence applies to clients as well. For them to work with the best Filipino freelancers, they do have to address the needs.