Do you ever wonder what successful Filipino freelancers do on a day-to-day basis? How do they apply for work? How do they deal with clients? What are their habits?
Wonder no more! In this issue, I’m featuring some successful freelancers.
But before diving deeper, I want to tell you a little story.
Not so long ago, in a virtual world called Facebook, there was a digital marketing consultant who decided to create a community for learning, support, work opportunities and collaboration for Filipino freelancers. He named it Freelancers Hub Philippines.
And because he wanted interested Filipino freelancers can get the real-time conversation with others. So we can learn and share best practices., he created the Freelancers Hub Philippines Chatroom. There, top brass freelancers like Marvin De Leon, Ginger Palma-Arboleda, John R. Pagulayan, Nix Eniego and a host of others mingle with and provide free advice to anyone who needs it, newbie or not.
My, if you can read the conversations! I am so amazed at how these younger (because I am older, lol) people think! They can virtually talk about anything under the sun. They are all so bright, so full of ideas, yet so eager to learn.
So, like you, I wondered too. How do they think? How do they start their day? What are their habits?
I told them that I am writing a blog about the habits of successful Filipino freelancers… and guess what? They eagerly complied.
Habits of Successful Filipino Freelancers
Now, why do I consider these freelancers successful? Do they earn millions of dollars annually?
No. I say they are successful because they want to uplift the Filipino freelancing community as a whole – no strings attached. They give tips for free. They do podcasts, videos, to spread their values. Yes, some of them offer courses and get paid for it. I think it’s only fair, considering most of them have earned the right to do so and have the necessary skills and knowledge to teach other Filipino freelancers. And of course, they spend their valuable time and effort – time and effort that they could spend working on other things.
I consider them successful because they remain humble despite their achievements. They market themselves, yes, but they don’t brag.
So, without further ado, here are some successful online freelancers, in no particular order. They’ve unselfishly shared their habits and some tips too. Thank you, guys!!!!
Rey M. Baguio
- Be intentional. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed with a lot of things you can do. Make sure you have a clear idea why you do the things you do. In this way, every action you do is not a waste of time. Regret will be minimal, if not, avoided.
- Learn something new. The moment you stop learning, growth stops too. Learn from others. Not only from their mistakes but most especially from their successes.
- Acknowledge mistakes. Learn from them. You will fail more than you will succeed. I learned this the hard way. I am still learning more of this each day. Mistakes are not walls. They are your guide.
- Collaborate with the right people. You can succeed by your lonesome. But like food and wine; Success is best enjoyed with others who matter.
- Document your journey. This is another crucial aspect which I learned the hard way. Document your journey. You don’t want to realize you’ve been falling into the same pit over and over again just because you forget about them. Documenting your journey is your blueprint to your own success.Am sure there are more. But these things should give one a good start.
- Learn to prioritize. There is no limit to what you can do, but don’t do everything all at once.
- Learn something new everyday. Set aside time for learning — reading a book or an article, listening to a podcast, etc.
- Take chances on new projects. If you feel that you are ready to try something new, then maybe you are.
- Keep sane. Talk to people other than your clients. Meet them in person. Haha! Know what’s happening around. Read about current events!
- When stress gets to you, take time off to enjoy and relax even for just a few hours. A walk or a cup of coffee in a place where you don’t usually work will be good
Marvin De Leon
- They establish a morning routine. Successful businessmen, celebrities, and CEOs have their own morning rituals. If it works for them, it should work for us. (And it does work for me.)
- They invest in themselves first, so that others will invest in them. It could be in the form of premium courses, workshops, coaching, mentorship, books, podcasts, etc.
- They build a body of work that establishes their authority and attracts potential clients. The body of work can be in the form of blogs, vlogs, books, articles, podcasts or all of them.
- Never take an offer that presents multiple red flags, no matter how expensive the deal is. More often than not, you end up losing money.
- Always have a side project that you enjoy to avoid burnout and to keep the creative juices going.
- Be resourceful! Ask your fellow freelancers for help or new info because they’re on the same boat as you.
- Delegate and outsource unnecessary tasks. Sharing the wealth around will allow you to focus on bigger and more important tasks.
- When in doubt, pray. There’s nothing a solid prayer can’t fix.
Althea Maefe Sagayno
- Be passionate. About what you do and especially about yourself. When you are passionate about you, you value your time and the quality of your work. Not because you want to impress others, but because that’s just you.
- Learn. A person that says he has nothing left to learn is stupid.
- Humility. Be humble enough to admit mistakes, be humble enough to admit you need help even from those you think don’t need any help from.
- Enjoy life. Be happy about where you are, what you do and what you have.
- Take everything like a challenge and not like a sentence.
- Be kind to others but first be kind to yourself.
- Welcome all forms of criticisms! Not just the positive ones. Do not nitpick. It’s a form of learning.
- Always look back to where you were and remember how far you’ve come so you won’t make the same mistakes and keep yourself grounded.
- Be with people that lift you up, people that challenge you, people that inspire you to be better and set higher goals.
- Offer the service that you love doing the most. If you don’t know what it is, find it so you won’t burn out. Creativity also comes if you love what you do. You have to have passion in what you do or don’t do it at all.
- Morning prayer to help you in the day to come and evening prayer to give thanks. This may sound too religious for some but this keeps our sanity, focus and hope that we’re doing what we’re supposed to do. It gives us more strength in times of troubles as well.
- Plan your day at least 15 to 20 minutes to prioritize tasks that you’re supposed to do. Top 3 and others may follow as 2nd priority tasks. We can be very busy but having a mindset of those top 3 tasks will help keep you focused.
- Take 30 minutes of your time to relax and be with yourself. It can be in a coffee break or before going to sleep. Ideas happen when you’re relaxed and mostly alone.
- Establish routines. If you don’t have one, start now. Routines keep you on your track on a daily basis. Even if you’re busy, you can find a way to work on those routines.
- Don’t look at other people’s success as getting ahead of a race. We have our own time to shine. Be happy for them and make a better version of yourself everyday by learning and doing what you can.
- Live by your mission, vision and core values. If you don’t have one, create one. This will be your road map to getting to wherever you want to go.My two cents.
John R. Pagulayan
- They are not afraid to hear ‘NO’ and say ‘NO — no matter how much money is involved.
- They have a routine.
- They put aside 3 – 5 hours in a week learning and improving their craft.
- They know how important it is to build a list of prospects.
- They work on their mindset.
- They mind their own business, not someone else’s success.
- They use their core values as their business compass.
- They network — A LOT.
- They double up on things they are good at and outsource the ones they aren’t.
- They GIVE, GIVE, and GIVE.
- Keep a to-do list. Writing down your daily tasks allows you to start your day with a clear head. Not to mention that it conditions your brain to work.
- Bank on your skills. What makes people successful is doing things they’re really good at. As what Aamir Khan said on ‘3 Idiots,’ “Pursue for excellence, success will chase you. Pants down.”
- Upgrade your skills. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean that’s the end of it. Times change, technologies upgrade, human evolves; so should your skills.
- Invest on the right tools and equipment. Aside from skills, you also have to invest on the right tools and equipment. After all, you can’t work properly if you don’t have the gizmos that can help you finish today’s tasks.
- Always have an open communication with your client. This isn’t just about letting them know that there will be delays or that you’ll miss your deadline. It’s also about knowing and understanding their goals, making them feel that you’re involved with pursuing their endeavour.
- Document your processes. Whether you’re working with just one client or a handful of them, it’s important to know how things go. At the very least, document how you do stuff. That way, you can review where you’re lacking or pin point where the bottleneck is. A documented process tantamout to efficiency.
- Surround yourself with good people. The best way to learn and be innovative is to surround yourself with good people who are generous enough to share their knowledge. Success is not about what you were able to achieve, but on how many people you were able to help.
- Learn when to disconnect. Disconnecting yourself from work doesn’t necessarily mean drinking a glass of pina colada on the beach. It’s also about leaving your online space and finding time to interact with real, live people.
- Always love what you do. This one’s a no-brainer. You cannot function and work well if you don’t love what you do. Pursue what you’re passionate about.
- Be grateful for your blessings. Be grateful to God, be grateful to people.
- Be generous. Share without any hidden agenda. Share your time, talent and treasure.
- Be humble always. Never think of yourself better than others.
- Be open to learning. Set aside time to regularly study. And always try to learn from people.
- Be self aware. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Build on your strengths and ask help from others on your weaknesses. Or outsource.
- Be open to ask and receive help. You can never do everything by yourself. By giving people the opportunity to help you, you give them the opportunity to be generous and keep the cycle of giving running.
- Be authentic. Do not pretend to be someone you are not. Sometimes our vulnerability can be our strength when we are brave enough to admit it.
- Be a person with integrity. Always do the right thing. This includes keeping your promises, paying taxes, buying licensed software and honoring contracts.
- Believe in yourself. You are always capable of doing more things than you think you can.
- Be a person of action. Nothing will happen in your life if you just keep on thinking what you will do. Take risks, take action. If you fail at least you know what doesn’t work
- Create long term and short term goals. Write it down in detail as much as possible. Your short term goals should be in relation to your long term goal. These little goals are the steps that will eventually help you achieve your long term goal. What I do is I usually create a yearly, monthly and weekly goal.
- Always check up on yourself to make sure you’re on the right track. With too many information and shiny objects out there, it’s easy to get distracted from achieving your main purpose or your main goal. I usually do a Monthly Quick Summary of what I have accomplished and what I can do better.
- Don’t be too hard on Yourself. You’re never going to be perfect and you’ll never achieve everything you set out to do perfectly either. So don’t focus on the failure but focus on how you can do better next time.
- Know your strengths and cultivate it. There’s no point in trying to do something you know you’re not good at just so you can say you can do “everything”. Focus on your strengths instead of trying to be the Jack of all Trades
- Take a Break. We often celebrate people who say they work a lot, or are busy with work and improving their business and what not, but taking a break is just as important. Sometimes we need to step back and take the time to connect with our “inner self” or God or whatever you believe in. Taking a break also gives us the chance to check ourselves and figure out if we are still doing the things that make us fell fulfilled or if we are just going through the motions of working or running a business.
- Learn learn learn. I guess this goes without saying since most of us here (I believe) are learners. Learning new skills that will help you become better at what you do to have an edge above the others.
- Connect with people who are better than you and learn from them. Instead of treating them as a competition, connect with them and learn from them instead. Like I always say, there is no competition, only collaboration.
- Help others grow. Sometimes we are too focused on our own growth that we forget to help out those who are in need. Remember, you were also a novice before so pay it forward and help a brother (sister) out.
- Meditate. This for me is by far one of the most important things that I do. With ADHD, and a lot of distractions online and offline, meditating helps me not only to gain focus on what I set out to do, but it also helps me get centered and grounded so my mind, body and soul is clear and at ease.
- Less is more. Follow 80-20 rule. Successful entrepreneurs focus on their strengths.
- Amidst fears and doubts, they show up.
- They do small things consistently.
- They try not to be perfect, but to be better everyday.
- They build and have awesome relationships with their clients, suppliers, partners and staff.
Vernard Alexis Luz
1. Read at least 5-10 pages of a book daily, before I start my work. (doing good so far)
2. Writing habit or just pushing out content. (habit not yet established)
3. Always go to meetups and show up. (already doing this one as well)
4. Follow up warm clients. (system still not in place)
Don’t take yourself too seriously. – when prospects who takes too long to decide, my mind’s telling me that I priced too high, I’m not worth it, etc. – I made a video (or an article) and nobody watched past 10 seconds (nobody read it). it feels like shit. but once you get over that feeling and actually take things into perspective, you’ll understand why that happened (your mistakes) and you should just continue and learn as you go. We’re not as great as we think we are. And that’s okay. Learn to laugh at yourself. You made a mistake? Be proud of yourself because you had courage. Success is just a patience game. Stick to the game long enough and your success is inevitable.
Here’s my thought on this. Not all of them are well-formed habits yet, work in progress pa.
1. Plan your day. Don’t try to put too many action items in your list. I try to follow the “If you had one thing that absolutely needed to be done today and the rest would be fine, what is it?” Then maybe a few more items.
2. Read/Watch/Learn something new every day. Physically, because the brain is a muscle, and like any other muscle, it will atrophy from lack of use.
3. Teach and share everything you know. This goes well with the first habit I mentioned. Not only are you able to provide value for others, the lessons you learned are reinforced more strongly in your long-term memory, and it makes you a true expert in that field over time, literally. You’re also building authority by sharing.
4. Don’t. Multi. Task. Beware the evils of Context Switching. It takes me a while to get my brain fully into a task or into creative flow (ex. video editing, writing an email, planning content) and trying to do other things at once isn’t effective. Feeling ko lang before that I could do everything, lol. It’s the time lost due to having too many projects running at once that makes our day unproductive. You only end up feeling busy, but you didn’t move forward at all.
5. Develop your prospects/quotes/follow-ups in a system that promotes HUSTLE. In other words, classify your actions according to the proximity of getting paid. ( Ex. Aimless FB wall scrolling vs. FB Mastermind groups sharing and discussions = which one is nearer to bringing in revenue? ) Arguably both will not yield cash upfront (unless you’re @John the Legend), but the second choice is a stepping stone to bringing in revenue, (by way of potential clients, JVs, etc) therefore I would do it more than just scroll down aimlessly.
- Always underpromise and overdeliver.
- Let your clients know of any delays immediately. More often than not, they are very understanding.
- Always have cloud backups for your work. You never know when your hard drive gives out. Learned that the hard way.
- Turn over complete files – including native (.psd, .ai, .indd, etc) to your client and make sure if it’s a visual file like .PSD, layers are properly arranged, grouped and labeled.
- Provide a manual for the end user for reference (be it the client or his future/other designers)
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. You, yourself know what you can and can’t do. Focus on your strengths and improve on your weaknesses as you grow.
- Avoid negative Self Talk. It hurts when other people pull you down but it is much hurtful if you doubt on yourself. If others can do it, you can too!
- Never stop learning. Everyday you will encounter tasks that aren’t familiar to do but that’s the beauty of freelancing. You learn A LOT! You learn from other freelancers and you learn from your clients as well.
Christian Melanie Lee
1. You must have a long term and short term goal. Focus on the project that you are doing for the client. Gumagawa ako ng social media calendar for every project na ginagawa ko.
2. There are times na I need to relax for hours before doing something serious. Lagi nga nila sinasabi na boring ang pagiging freelancer. Enjoy ko lang every project na hinandle ko local and foreign clients.
3. Pag madami na akong ginagawa, delegate ko lang sya sa iba para less distraction. 4. Once a week
4. Once a week ako nagunwind once nastress na ako sa ginagawa ko. I always see to it that I did my part in every project na handle ko
So there you have it! 15 freelancers – majority of them have already established themselves in their chosen niches. Some are climbing the ladder. And it won’t take long, given their attitude towards life and determination to succeed.
How would you like to be one of them?