Freelancing: A thriving career path

You can work anywhere and anytime as long as you could meet the deadlines set by the client. I myself can go anywhere I want and bring my laptop with me for work

Freelancing, also known as the “gig economy”, has seen an upward trend, especially during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic where working at home has been mandatory to curb the spread of the disease.

The National Wages and Productivity Commission defined freelancing as a form of labor in digital platforms mainly through outsourcing.

Even before the pandemic, freelancing is already an emerging career in the country. In 2018, digital payment service Paypal reported that the Philippines has one of the largest number of freelance workers in every 22 countries, having 1.5 million freelancers.

Last August, international digital payment service Payoneer and the Philippines’ mobile payment service Gcash reported freelancer demographics across age groups, with 33 percent of freelancers comprised of young adults and teenagers 25 years old and below, 28 percent consists of Gen X-ers or aged between 42 and 67 years old, and 22 percent of millennials age 26 to 41 years old.

Indeed, freelancing has its charm, but it also has some challenges, as Kate Sarmiento would attest during her interview with the Daily Tribune.

Sarmiento is currently juggling between three overseas clients, devoting to hours during the day and four hours during night time.

Because her clients are based outside the country, she doesn’t need to go through everyday commute to work, nor does she have to endure fixed schedules. She explained that she could simply work at any place possible:

“You can work anywhere and anytime as long as you could meet the deadlines set by the client. I myself can go anywhere I want and bring my laptop with me for work,” Sarmiento explained.

Sarmiento recalled starting in the freelance industry in 2021 as a recommendation to her by a friend. Initially planning to work in the Business Process Outsourcing industry, she has since worked with about eight to ten clients. Even as she recently graduated with a degree in Broadcasting, Sarmiento continued her path in freelancing:

“When I first entered freelancing, I didn’t think that this would be my job eventually. I realized that the payments are okay, but I don’t want to romanticize this as there are also clients who unfortunately exploit workers,” she said.

Aside from potential abuse by clients, she also explained that freelancing might be a challenging option for people seeking stable income. She recalled having to endure a month of finding another good client after ending a contract with another client just last month.

Despite this, Sarmiento said that freelancing is just like any other career path that one could choose, as it also offers the same kind of experience and opportunities for workers. However, she reminded current and future freelancers to still give time for personal care and avoid exploiting one’s own skills and talents:

“Know your worth. Don’t let them exploit you. Be kind to yourself. Don’t exhaust yourself just to earn money. It’s fine to juggle multiple clients, but still give time to yourself to sleep and rest,” Sarmiento said.

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