A Recap from #CoffeeBreakLive Makati Session

Last February, Freelancing Philippines hosted its first #CoffeeBreakLive session in four different locations.


From within the comforts of our home, we’ve decided to bring our quarterly Coffee Break sessions to coworking spaces within the Metro. In relation to this, Rhea Buenavista and I held the Makati event at Acceler8 Coworking. With us was Fervil Tripoli, an SEO specialist and one of our good friends in the industry.



Here are four takeaways from our #CoffeeBreakLive session in Makati:


Build a Safety Net First

Let’s face it, not everyone views freelancing as a stable job. In fact, freelancers divide their time between working for existing clients and looking for new one.


What if you reach a slow period in your freelancing career? A slow period is when there aren’t enough new clients coming in. This could mean there aren’t enough money to fund your household expenses.


Before you take a leap into freelancing, Rhea advises that you build your safety net first. How can you do that?


Step 1: Build an Emergency Fund

According to Fitz Villafuerte, “it’s best practice to have at least three months’ worth of your usual monthly expenses saved.” This allows you to have available cash for unexpected expenses. This is crucial when you don’t have new projects yet.


Step 2: Build Your Portfolio

One reason freelancers have slow period is because they don’t have enough content to showcase their work. Worse, they don’t have content to showcase at all.


If you’re new into freelancing, it’s advisable to you build your portfolio first. If you’re a writer, create a blog or an about.me page that allows you to link your posts from other websites. If you’re a designer or photographer, Behance is your friend. If you’re an SEO, you can use Medium or LinkedIn Pulse to share your case studies if you don’t have a website yet.


The key here is to collect as much projects as you can from your previous work—even from your corporate days. If you’re able to increase your past employer’s company revenue to 17 percent, you have to claim it and share how you did it.


Another thing to take note: Save up for website domain and hosting services. Move your portfolio to your official website once it’s up and ready.


It’s ideal to have your own piece of the Internet instead of renting a space from other web hosts.



Build Your Personal Brand

In line with building your portfolio is identifying what kind of a freelancer you will be.


For example, I label myself as a “content strategy superhero” because I am a content strategist. I help small businesses turn their content into a business asset. One of our community administrators, Floyd Buenavente, is an “SEO/SEM/E-commerce specialist” because he has over ten years of experience in online marketing.


What we’re trying to say is don’t be just another freelancer. If you’re a virtual assistant, what kind of a VA are you? Do you take executive assistant roles, editorial posts, or are you into accounting?


Consider how you’d like to introduce yourself when people ask you “What do you do?”



Know Your Potential Clients

Another reason freelancers fail at acquiring new clients is the way they target people.


Sure, Upwork allows you to look for freelance jobs much like how you’d look for a typical 8-to-5 job online. But, potential freelance clients are not looking for typical people who can do the job. If they are, they could’ve passed the task on to one of their employees instead of outsourcing it.


The distance makes constant supervision impermissible. Hence, it’s important that you have a great sense of accountability. Plus, your client’s needs can be specific.


They’re looking for an accountant. You are a freelance accountant. But do you know what QuickBooks is?


They’re looking for a digital marketing specialist. You are a digital marketing specialist. But do you know PPC?


They’re looking for a copywriter. You are a copywriter. But do you have experience in creating content for fashion and lifestyle websites?


Being a freelancer is not just about sending proposals. It’s also about knowing your potential clients, pointing out their specific needs, and figuring out how your skills can help them.



Bank on Your Skills

I’ve mentioned this before, but you should bank on your skills if you want to be a successful freelancer.


If you’re good at writing, build a freelancing career as a content writer. If you used to work as web developer, then be a freelance web developer.


Instead of choosing a different line of work, take advantage of what you know. Find time to upgrade your skills. And follow the natural transition of your career if you want to expand your horizon.



Are you ready to jumpstart your freelancing career?

Special thanks to our sponsors—Payoneer, goLance, Bo’s Coffee, and Acceler8 coworking—for making our #CoffeeBreakLive Makati a reality.


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