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The Ultimate Newbie Guide to Freelancing

April 19, 2017
by Holly Ocaya 
Holly started freelance writing in 2010. As someone who has not graduated from college, she is living proof that you don't need a degree, education, or experience to be a good freelancer. Nowadays, Holly provides support for aspiring freelancers and works on her own writing endeavors.

“How?”

“Paano po?”

“Details please?”

These are the questions you probably have in your head.

Believe me; you are not alone.

These are the same questions we get in Work-at-Home-Pinoys (WAHP) FB group. Every. Single. Time.

So, let’s answer this one question once and for all:

How do I get started to work online?

[Note: As with all our blog articles, this post is in English. I know that it would make it easier to understand if this were in Filipino but since you’ll mostly be working with foreign clients when you start freelancing, you better get used to English now.]

Let’s begin:

Getting started is extremely easy. In fact, there are just 3 REAL steps to start working from home.

  1. Create an Online profile.
  2. Apply for jobs.
  3. Do your best work.

There you have it – plain and simple.

That’s really all you need to do to start working from home.

Of course, in order to complete those steps above, you will need to look some things up on Google, read some blog posts, or ask questions in WAHP but that’s manageable if you know how to use the resources around you.

Think of it as learning how to cook. When you think about it, all you have to do is gather ingredients, prepare (wash/peel/slice), cook (fry/boil/steam), season (salt/pepper/spices), and serve.

However, you’ll learn to cook better if you Google recipes, read cookbooks, and observe other people cook.

You’ll even become better as you practice and cook at least 5 dishes because by then, you would’ve already discovered techniques and best practices.

The same goes for online jobs- you learn by doing.

It’s true that there are only 3 steps, but you have to START DOING something to get results.

It might sound scary, but it really isn’t as there are LOTS of free resources available on the internet, if you only know where to look.

But if you’re lazy to do a Google search, you can get started by:

1. Watching WFHR’s 5 -day free course: freevacourse.com 

(You must enter your email address because they’ll email one short video lesson every day for 5 days.)

2. Download and read this very helpful PDF Guide: Top 25 Questions New Freelancers Ask 

EVERYTHING you need to know is already there!

But to make the 3-Step Process EXTRA easier, I’ve outlined the recipe just for you. The links to my favorite articles are already there so, really, all you need to do now is TAKE ACTION!

A Closer Look at the 3-Step Process

  1. Create an online profile.

a. We recommend starting with Upwork because it’s currently the largest platform.

Here’s the detailed guide on how to create a profile: https://vabootcamp.ph/how-to-create-an-upwork-profile/

Your online profile is where clients will see you. They make their decisions of whether they would hire you or not based on how your profile appears.

Therefore, make it look good - put a lot MORE effort into it than how much you do on your Facebook profile.

b. Add portfolio items, certifications, badges, etc.

Including these things on your profile shows clients what you have done.

c. Take skill tests to prove your proficiency.

d. Set-up how you want to get paid.

This is very important since we all want to get paid, right? There are many options to receive payments, but my favorite is:

Paypal: https://www.paypal.com/ph/webapps/mpp/account-selection

  1. Apply for jobs.

a. Write winning cover letters.

A cover letter is also known as your ‘application letter.’ This is where you convince the clients why they should hire you, or at least, invite you for an interview.

Here are useful articles on how to do so:

Guide: https://vabootcamp.ph/ultimate-guide-to-writing-better-cover-letters/

Best Practice: https://vabootcamp.ph/6-cover-letter-templates-from-a-top-earning-seo/

b. Ace the interviews.

If you followed the articles above, you'd find yourself preparing for an interview in no time.

While you get excited and nervous at the same time, watch Jason Dulay’s informative video on how to handle it excellently: https://vabootcamp.ph/handle-client-interviews/

c. Make good follow-ups.

Sometimes, clients get so busy they forget to update you on your job application. If the client has remained silent for at least a week, you can check on them by making a follow-up.

Here’s how Anna Soriano does it: https://vabootcamp.ph/following-up-with-clients-on-upwork-job-invites/

  1. Do your best work.

If you’ve reached this step, then congratulations! You just got yourself a job! All your efforts in charming clients just paid off.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Great freelancers continue to charm and impress their clients by providing them high-quality work.

Why? It’s because there’s no better way to be a successful freelancer than to:

a. Build your online credibility by earning 5-star ratings. This rating will get reflected in your online profile and attracts many other clients.

b. Build lasting relationships. If you impress your clients enough that they don’t want to let go of you, then you just got yourself a long-term income source! They might even refer you to their friends and bring you MORE income.

4. Repeat.

Don’t just stop with Upwork. Create online profiles in other freelancing platforms and repeat the steps above.

The more entries you have, the more chances of winning online.

Here’s an article about the other freelancing platforms: https://vabootcamp.ph/find-online-jobs/

And here are some other places to look (not mentioned in the article):

https://www.guru.com/

https://199jobs.com/

https://talent.hubstaff.com/

https://99designs.com/

https://www.peopleperhour.com/

Revising our little chart to include the important points above, it now looks like this:

There it is, the complete, easy-to-follow guide on how to get started working online.

Now, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get started!


Wait, why are you still here? Perhaps you have some lingering questions or concerns in your head. Here are the most common ones and our responses to them:

“I have no skills to write in my profile.”

Are you sure? If you are reading this blog post, that means you know how to use a computer and browse the internet. That should also mean that you know how to type, right?

Therefore, you already have the basic skills needed to work online!

What about your educational background? Did you study accounting, fine arts, or marketing?

How about your previous work experiences? Did you use AutoCAD, Photoshop, or Excel in your previous jobs?

Even though they were offline experiences, you can definitely add those skills online.

What about your hobbies? Do you like drawing, writing, Googling, Facebooking, etc.?

You do have skills! But what YOU do with them is up to YOU.

You can either:

a. Use your typing skills to try data entry jobs, your accounting experience for bookkeeping jobs, and so on

or

b. Utilize them to learn advanced skills. You can use your basic Facebook knowledge to learn Facebook Ads or enhance your admin skills to become a Virtual Assistant.

In this modern age, having less (or no) skills is no longer an issue – you can always learn them online!

There are many possibilities and many resources out there. Use them.

(If you want detailed videos with step-by-step instructions as well as tutorials on the basic skills, check out our VA Bootcamp HERE)

“I am not good in English.”

If you have understood everything that you read in this article, then your English is good. Sometimes, this becomes more of a confidence issue than a skill issue.

Most online jobs don’t require that freelancers have a native level of English. If you can speak, understand, and execute instructions in English, then you can do most jobs.

However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do anything to improve your English. Since it’s only our second language, we all have to make efforts to enhance it. You can do so by reading more English books, watching more English shows, listening to podcasts, etc. OR you can take our FREE English Course HERE.

Until then, the jobs that you can apply to will be limited. You’ll have to stay away from jobs that require English proficiency such as writing, call handling, chat support, etc.

“I am a high school graduate, is this still possible for me?”

Very possible. In fact, you’re reading an article written by a freelance writer who has no college diploma. And I know lots of successful freelancers who are just like us, as well.

Just like everything else in life, your success depends on your will and “diskarte.” Whether you want your situation to be an obstacle or a stepping stone to creating your own success story, I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

“I am not techie.”

               (see “I have no skills to write in my profile.”)

“I have no previous online experience, is there anything for entry-level?”

Most jobs don’t really require previous experience as long as you can prove that you can do the work. Here is where your portfolio comes in.

Your portfolio shows your clients what you can do before you even talk to them, so create an attractive portfolio. You may upload anything relevant to your skills such as the article you’ve written, a link to your blog, anime’s you’ve drawn, videos you’ve edited, etc.

“I have no money.”

This statement really confuses me. First of all, you don’t need to pay anyone to get hired. Any client who requires you to pay for software, or security deposit, or whatever is only trying to scam you.

If you meant that you have no money for online courses, you are not obligated to enroll. You can definitely apply for online jobs without enrolling.

You can find lots of free resources on this site, but we also offer premium courses for those who want more in-depth, step-by-step tutorials. You don't need to enroll in them if you don't want to, but the option is there for you if you want.

“I have no laptop.”

We don’t recommend looking for online jobs using a phone or a tablet. You’d need either a desktop or a laptop with at least 2 Mbps of internet connection.

We’ve heard of successful freelancers in WAHP who used to borrow a relative’s laptop or bought a second-hand computer, or even those who started freelancing in an internet café until they could earn and save up for their own.

I’m NOT suggesting that you do the same. I just want to highlight that if you badly want to do something, you’ll find ways. Otherwise, you find excuses.

We have listed budget laptops that cost less than P15,000 here: https://vabootcamp.ph/guide-budget-laptops-p12000-work/ If you're really serious about freelancing, you can cut down on unnecessary expenses and start saving up for a computer.

Again, your success in life depends on your will and “diskarte.” Whether you want your situation to be an obstacle or a stepping stone to creating your own success story, I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

“I really don’t know how.”

If you still don’t know how to start after reading this post, watching the free course, and checking all the links included here, then I guess working online isn’t for you.

“Can you just give me work?”

Versions:

“If I enroll in a WFHR course, will you guarantee a job?”

“I want to work from home and earn lots of money, but I’m too lazy to make an effort.”

The short answer is NO!

The longer answer is NO WAY!

Online work is still WORK. You MUST work hard and take it seriously to get results.

If you’re thinking that working from home means you’ll be spending more time in your bed/couch than doing actual work, then you are mistaken.

Working from home is not for the lazy or for the weak-hearted. If you can’t deal with continuous learning, endless research, constant reading, and extensive job hunts, then please stay with your current office job and long commute – believe me, that’s a lot easier.

There you have it, the simple process to follow and the answers to any concerns you may have. Go and get started. NOW!

Still have concerns we haven't answered? Ask them in the comments below.

by Holly Ocaya 
Holly started freelance writing in 2010. As someone who has not graduated from college, she is living proof that you don't need a degree, education, or experience to be a good freelancer. Nowadays, Holly provides support for aspiring freelancers and works on her own writing endeavors.

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12 comments on “The Ultimate Newbie Guide to Freelancing”

  1. Very inspiring and informative. This will be a big help for those aspirant VA like me. Thanks for the info...

  2. Appreciate too much and overload with the info.very helpful for someone like me who plan to work at home soon.

    God bless.

  3. very helpful,inspiring and informative.
    need to take action now after reading this article.
    thank u so much ?

  4. I don't know what to fill in website... Wow thank you sir, I really want to work with home base with so much ifs, and now I was enlightened with your tutorial. I hope one day I was hired and gain money in home base while I was here in my small photo shop business. Thank a lot again.

  5. thank you very much sir for the encouragement,appreciated too much..i try my best to gained a lot of knowledge and overcome my shyness..

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