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On the art of freelancing

Filipino freelancers love the idea of having control over their own schedule.
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If you have a day job, freelancing can help you earn extra money to start a business or save up for something special. On the other hand, while full-time freelancers enjoy the freedom of dictating their own schedules, staying competitive and managing your money on a per project basis can be challenging.


So it is no surprise then that freelancing is popular in the country. Marketplace data by leading online freelance platform Elance show that Filipinos are blazing the trail in online freelance work, with an 89 percent increase in new registrations representing 1,456 freelancers hired in the first quarter of 2013. Over 95,000 Filipino freelancers are registered on Elance, specializing in administrative support, information technology (IT) and programming, and writing and translation, among others.


The Philippines is one of the biggest markets for freelancers in the Elance platform, and ranked fourth in number of users and ninth in terms of earnings. Filipino freelancers earn an average hourly rate of US$8.3 (or an average of P342.00 at current values). IT and programming professionals are paid an hourly rate of US$14.4, the highest among Filipino freelancers on Elance.



“The progress in the Philippines is above the overall growth Elance is experiencing,” says Kjetil Olsen, Elance’s vice president for Europe. “In fact, with the potential for even greater growth as companies continue to embrace online freelance work, the future is indeed bright for Filipino talents and local economy alike.” More than 500,000 businesses and 2.3 million freelancers use Elance in over 170 countries.


A report issued by Elance, entitled “The State of Filipino Freelance Market, indicates that the country is a prime destination for freelancers because of factors as a skilled and hardworking workforce, technologically savvy population, and accelerating entrepreneurial communities, to name a few. The report includes marketplace data from Elance and the results of a survey that was conducted in September 2012 among 120 selected Filipino freelancers registered on Elance.


Majority of respondents were female (59.2 percent), aged 32 and below (55.4 percent), and with a bachelor’s degree (67.7 percent). According to those surveyed, their primary skill sets are research (50.4 percent), writing and content (43.4 percent) and online marketing (31.8 percent).



Freedom and opportunity


Filipino freelancers love the idea of having control over their own schedule (76.9 percent), working wherever they please (74.8 percent), and having the opportunity to pursue their passions (71.2 percent). As a result, most users feel happier (67.7 percent) and more productive with their time (88.5 percent).


Most Filipino freelancers started having a full-time job with freelance work on the side (40.8 percent), while others pursued freelance after being laid off (20.8 percent). Freelance work is a viable alternative or addition to an office job. Over 56 percent freelance full-time or as much as they can, and almost a quarter say they spend between 11 and 20 hours every week working on freelance jobs; 20 percent say they spend more than 40 hours a week on freelance work.

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