Unlike in the past, where one had to save up for a home through a traditional nine-to-five job, Filipinos can now do the same via freelancing. Yet freelancing for Filipinos who are used to the cubicle is an alien concept, and sometimes, would be a disappointing venture for them simply because it does not earn as much as they would want to, nor give the kind of job and benefits protection they enjoy in the corporate world.

However, freelancing can be a fruitful career if you allow it to be. ZipMatch spoke with Evan Tan, the regional director of Southeast Asia for Freelancer.com, one of the biggest freelancing platforms in the world. Tan shared his tips on how freelancers can turn their home offices into productive workspaces.

Success in freelancing, just like a career, does not happen in an instant. It needs work, patience, and chances for you to prove yourself, but the rewards after are enormous — the projects start pouring in.

Tan shared that working from home can be difficult, as there are no specific hours or a boss to look over your shoulder. Tan advised,

While working for home has it charms (with the kitchen, the television, or even the bedroom at arm’s length), it’s important for freelancers to dedicate a space just for working — whether a work desk or a work room.

Tan emphasized that this approach helps freelancers be in the right state of mind and more productive on the job. Just as it’s important to have a designated workspace at your home, Tan also recommended having a set working schedule.

Be a creature of habit and set certain break and work hours — switch the television off, don’t have guests over during those hours, avoid doing errands while working on a project.

According to Tan, this practice helps moderate the luxury of time you have as a freelancer, especially as you can take a break at anytime. In addition to having a set workplace and schedule, Tan suggested having all the tools you will need within easy reach. This includes a whiteboard or corkboard to lay out ideas; post-its or a notebook to jot down notes; a calculator, if your project involves number crunching; and a timer to help you enforce the life hack known as the two-minute rule.

Tan also suggested not overlooking small tweaks you can make to your home office, such as getting a plant. Studies show that having plants around helps people work better — not only will a plant cheer up the space, but it will also increase your memory retention and improve overall productivity.

Yet none of these changes matter if you don’t have the right mindset when it comes to freelancing. According to Tan, one must think of freelancing as an actual career.

Even if you’re just planning on doing it part-time or full-time, looking at it long term in terms of what you are passionate on will not only help you focus more, but also work a lot harder, even if it’s on a per project basis.

This attitude is beneficial because Tan has seen many freelancers leverage their freelancing careers in order to buy their homes.

We’ve seen it time and time again how our freelancers use their earnings to provide for their family — to send their kids to school, to start a business, and to buy a home. Being your own boss and being in full control allows you to tackle more projects and earning more — aside from those with full-time jobs.

Yet Tan likes to remind Filipinos considering freelancing as a route to home ownership that it’s not a get rich quick scheme. For the Filipinos who do take the time to take their freelancing career seriously, the rewards, particularly as they relate to the possibility of home ownership, are enormous.

Having another source of income can help a lot of Filipinos finance their dreams of homeownership. For people who have day jobs, they can easily augment their income by taking on projects via Freelancer.com and fund their dream home project.

Tan continued,

The point we’re really trying to drive home, so to speak, is that we all have the opportunity to work on your passions and seize your dreams through online freelancing and Freelancer.com. You have the chance to take charge of your life through online freelancing. No matter where you come from, you can start building the life that you want for you and your family now.

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  • One of equally important things is not to focus solely on money. The key to becoming a successful freelancer or a successful person in general is to pay more attention to expanding your knowledge and skills. Money IS an important part, but achieving goals you’ve set for yourself is the main thing.