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Freelancing Perks and Other Things in Between

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I remember that as a young girl, I used to imagine myself in an office reviewing papers, signing them and piling them up. To be an office girl was my dream job. Being the youngest in the family, I am quite used to being along most of the time. Not that it bothered me in any way because that’s how I grew up. I spent most of my time reading and writing because I found solace in my books and a friend in my diaries. Years later, I would be that girl taking up Literature, writing for the university paper. Writing wasn’t always a serious task for me. I did not even see it as a task in the first place. However, when I got my first computer—an old Packard Bell sent as a gift from a relative abroad—I knew things had changed. I did study computer basics as a kid but I did not realize how fascinating it was until I got my very own. I couldn’t remember how I did it but I landed my first freelance job online at sixteen. That was the beginning of my freelance career and that was the end of my dream of working as an office girl.

My name is Ruth, a 26-year old woman from the Philippines. Just like my Southeast Asian neighbors, I speak more than one language. I speak Filipino, Cebuano and English (I am also trying to learn Spanish). I started freelancing at a very young age when I learned that people actually get paid to write. I wrote my very first paid article and earned eighteen dollars for it. I did not know how to get the money so I ordered a bag instead. The bag never came—the local post man said it must have been lost while it was being shipped from China. I found myself writing for different clients for the whole duration of my university years and paying for my own school fees and rent.

But I wasn’t always a freelancer. In the Philippines, especially when I first started working online, freelancing was not really an ideal job. My parents frowned upon it and said that it was an unreliable source of income. After graduation, I took a job and worked as an office girl. It had been once a dream of mine, after all. But something didn’t feel right. I honestly didn’t like office gossip and I hated the traffic. I guess one of the main reasons why I’m sticking with freelancing is because I have always intended to keep my circle small. I like being alone and I feel comfortable knowing that I do not have to interact with so many people.

Currently, I work as an Academic Writer for a top-notch online academic platform in the US. I have been working here for two years now and I intend to stay for a few more years. My job is very flexible (and the pay is good) so I thought of adding another job. I just got hired as a VA for a Malaysian tech company and so far, it’s been so good. The thing with freelancing is that opportunities are everywhere. I never really worried about finding clients because I knew that there would always be one out there who would need my services. Aside from being an Academic Writer and a Virtual Assistant, I also provide editing services from time to time. I think that freelancers like me should be grateful for websites that allow freelancers to post their services and find remote jobs with just a click. I find Upwork very helpful in terms of building a nice reputation as well as working without having to worry about protection.

I am proud to say that a hundred percent of my work is done remotely. With that being said, I manage to work and travel at the same time. Most importantly, the greatest thing about freelancing for me is that it gives me more time to spend with my family. My parents are in their 70s and I want to be with them as much as I can. A traditional job could not give me that luxury. Being self-employed for some time has led me to the realization that employees are as important as employers are. I feel greatly that my skills are properly acknowledged. I hope I don’t sound offensive but as a Filipino, I know for a fact that the pay for traditional jobs in my country is just not enough to feed a family. Some even resort to working overseas to aid this. In fact, I have worked as a teacher in Thailand hoping to earn more. However, knowing how much I could possibly earn from freelancing, I decided to go home and continue what I have started in the digital world. A universal basic income would indeed be beneficial to balance-out issues on living situations among workers around the world.

However, as good as it sounds, freelancing isn’t easy. One has to be pro-active and should be driven to be successful. As someone who earns by writing, I had to compile what I have written for my clients while making sure that I still write for personal reasons in my personal blog.

Freelancing is challenging because it changes your lifestyle and your perspective. Just like any other job, working as a freelancer is a continuous learning process. It seems as if things are changing daily in the online world. Things happen at a rapid speed. A smart freelancer knows that he has to keep up with these changes.

Also, it has always upset me how until now, some people still doubt the authenticity of virtual jobs. Some people still frown at the idea of people working in their pajamas. All these and more make freelancing difficult. Additionally, traditional jobs automatically set up insurances for their employees but in freelancing, you have to do it yourself. Being in my late twenties, I am starting to worry about my health and life insurances. I plan to acquire some good plans this year.

To be perfectly honest, I do not see myself working in a real, corporate office anymore. Although it has its ups and downs, I believe freelancing or working virtually is the direction we are all going towards in the years to come. Freelancing has given me the financial freedom as well as the professional growth I could not have gotten somewhere else. This and all the other perks it offers keep me motivated to work harder in this field.
Author: Ruth Cuizon