Wednesday, December 18, 2013

oDesk And Elance Merge: Happy Or Not?

oDesk announced their merge with Elance. Is this a good news for freelancers? Well, this could be exciting for most of the oDesk contractors I believe. But as for the Elance freelancers? I think they are quite disappointed or maybe anxious. The issue really boils down to price.

I understand if Elancers are little edgy on this venture. I read an interesting article on Why Freelancers Are Dismayed at Elance's Merger With Odesk. One freelancer even says to reconsider this self-distracting decision. Furthermore, oDesk is being viewed as a site that offers rock-bottom pricing without providing high quality freelancers with adequate opportunities to get paid more by distinguishing themselves for superior efforts.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Freelancing 101: Beginner's Guide for New Freelancers

Starting your freelance career could be difficult than what you've actually imagine. That's why it's very important to have a plan of action before leaving your day job or regular-paying job to become an independent contractor.

My suggestions for those who are unsure of their next career path but who are considering to start a freelance work is to test the water first. Moonlighting could be the perfect way to begin. You can hold on to your regular job, which is your primary source of income until such time you get the feel of it, you've build your portfolio or when your freelance career takes off.  However, if you are one heck of a risk-taker and very optimistic, then go ahead, leave your job and start your freelance career now.

The internet offers various freelance opportunities. You can create you own website and offer your freelance services online. You can also sign-up in freelance work marketplace sites that allow you to post your profile and services, provide platforms for getting freelance jobs, and assist in doing business transactions with employers/clients.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Work From Home Jobs for Filipino Freelancers

Several years ago, work from home jobs was unheard of. But now, many Filipinos are considering the option to work full-time at home. With stories of success from home-based freelancers who are making more money than working in the corporate office, a lot of Gen X and Y Pinoys are looking at freelance work as a potential career path. However, it can be a little challenging for fresh graduates though and scary for people who are used to working with bosses in an environment with lots of workers.

An article in ABS-CBN News reveals how a Filipina freelancer made P1.5-M in just a year in a freelance site, Elance. It's really quite inspiring. This only shows that financial success can also happen at home.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

10 Sites to Find Writing Jobs for Filipino Freelancers

You can find freelance writing jobs from the sites I've mentioned in my previous blog post. The problem is competition can be fierce on those larger sites and pricing can be a bit of an issue especially for budding writers who are are just starting out their freelance career. However, do not limit yourselves to those sites. You can find a lot of writing opportunities in the web. By simply Googling "freelance writing gigs" you'll be surprise to see so many search results. Just be a little cautious though.

During the first 6 months of my freelance career, most of the jobs I had was blogging, article writing, and web content writing. Writing projects were overflowing. The only issue I had  was the pay. Many employers pay so low especially to freelancers who are just starting out or have English as their secondary language. I felt so stressed because I felt that the work would like to turn me into a writing machine. Me and writing didn't really work out well so, I decided to go niche in research and marketing, which I loved.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Where to Find Freelance Jobs

Searching for freelancer or home-based job sites in the internet will give you a very long list of websites. It will surely take a lot of time to visit and review each one of those sites. It could be a little frustrating too especially to those who are just starting out.

Here are some of the things that freelancers should check before creating an account and start bidding on jobs:

1.  Review FAQs or guidelines. Reading can be boring but then this can help you make a sound judgment whether to create your profile or not. Find out important information such as tracking system, payment mode, payment guarantee, withdrawal method, and other features and tools of the site.

2.  Projects.  Some sites place their statistics including the number of projects currently available in their homepage. This gives you an idea how many clients the marketplace have. Browse the different projects or jobs that are available for you.

3.  Freelancers. Find out how many freelancers are in the site and get an idea of how much they are charging. This will give you a bird's eye view of your competition.

Be wary of sites that have ads. They are less reliable. I tend to shy away from those.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

From Moonlighting to Full-Time Freelancer

So, you want to be a freelancer but you are afraid to make a big leap out from the corporate world. You are afraid to lose your fixed monthly income and your benefits. And you are afraid that the freelance career would not be able to sustain your expenses.

It is alright to entertain those fear. Of course, making a decision that can create huge impact in our finances need to be weighed thoroughly. You need to put things into perspective before jumping into freelancing.

Some freelancers never made it to their second year. In my earlier post on Read the Mind of an Independent Contractor, I've mentioned that new freelancers are most likely to accept traditional employment. Among the reasons I've heard why these people leave their freelance jobs are:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fitness for Freelancers

by Maxime Rieman 


As a freelancer, it’s easy to find yourself spending hours and hours in a sedentary position. Without being forced to get up to travel to work or even to visit co-workers around the office, you might spend hours seated in the same position. This lack of movement is terrible for your health. According to recent studies, sitting all day may be worse than smoking, places you at a higher risk for cancer and heart disease and can shave up to seven years off your life.

Needless to say, with all these risks and dangers it’s important to make sure you’re not sitting around everyday. Of course the freelance life doesn’t always allow for a gym membership, often due to financial or time constraints. Luckily there are many ways to fit affordable, timely exercise into your freelance schedule.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Health and Wellness for Techie Lifestyle

Technology makes our life easier. No doubt about that. However, it makes us live in a sedentary lifestyle.

As a virtual assistant/researcher, I typically spend 8-12 hours a day in front of the computer screen. This strain my eyes and wears my body. I sometimes feel pain on my back and on my arms and hands. Apparently, this scenario is usual for many of us whether you are a home-based freelancer or your working in an office. This techie lifestyle has its downside and your body feels that through time. It will get worse if you are not doing something about it.

To de-stress my eyes and body for a bit, I usually do something else every 2-hours. I do simple things from just resting my eyes and look away from my computer, do some house chores, stretching, and walking. Unfortunately, this method is not enough.

I got a chance to watch a recorded Google+ Hangout by Mashable discussing about the fitness, health, wellness, and lifestyle for techie people. I learned a lot from this 35-minute video. It actually made me conscious on what I do everyday. You may watch it here:





Let me highlight some of the important things I've learned from the video:

  • Sitting down all day is eventually going to wear your body down.
  • Sit a little, move a little more.
  • Try standing up between workings hours like every 20-30 minutes. If not, work standing.
  • Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and focus your eyes 20 feet away.
  • Do some deskercise like stretching.
  • Download habit-forming app like Lift.do. (Unfortunately, this app is only available for iPhone but you can certainly save the website on your Android.)
  • Use some tracking device to buzz you when you are inactive. (I just use a free Android Smart Alarm, set it every 20 minutes so I can do a little stretching.) 
  • Habit-forming is better than calorie-counting apps. Calorie-counting apps tend to have a short-term impact.
  • You can get some helpful resources for health and wellness at Greatist, a useful website for the young, savvy, and social.
  • Make healthy options every day. And keep adding over time.

I hope this post helps you. Feel free to share it to your friends.





Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Google Your Name: Managing Your Online Reputation

Googling your name is great way of finding out your internet visibility. While others don't want their names to be Google-able, which is okay; business owners, entrepreneurs, marketers, bloggers and independent contractors/freelancers would love to have their names found in Google.

A lot people in this information age typically do their search of services and products online before doing their purchases. HR and recruitment officer also do their Google and web search to find fresh talents to join their company or for some investigating purposes.

It has been my hobby to sometimes Google my name. I am happy to find out that majority of the searches from the first page down to page ten pertains to me. In that case, my social media effort has been helping me a lot. I see my blog, social networking profiles, blogs, and pictures. It enables me to see who in the web mentions my name and uses my creative common photos.

If you found out that you are not searchable but you wanted to get found by your prospect customers/clients/contacts online, I suggest you ramp up your social media presence and, if you blog, do a little tweaking and improvement on your SEO efforts.

Googling your name will also show you if your name has been dragged into something you don't like. Just yesterday, I found out that my name appeared in a Penis Enhancement site. I'm certain I don't need penis enhancement. I immediately contacted the web master and asked to remove my name. He immediately responded and informed me that my name was removed quickly. What's showing up on my search was a Google cache of their old web page. I'm not sure how that happened in the first place but I was glad I did my Googling.

Google provides helpful information on how to manage your online reputation. One helpful tool that I found is the Me on the Web feature of your Google Dashboard. It "help you keep an eye on what’s out there about you" by getting web alerts everyday, every week, or even as soon as it happens.

http://caryle.blogspot.com/


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sage One: Simplifying Accounting and Business Processes

Time is valuable for freelancers, solopreneurs and entrepreneurs who are juggling several tasks. Most of these people have their hands tied to numerous things making the essential stuff less their focus. Instead of strategizing to make their business more profitable and to focus on business operation, they spent more time in documenting their finances and paper works, which shouldn't be the case.

This reality makes application like Sage One heaven-sent as it relieves us from the unnecessary burden of recording our expenses and income. It simplifies process and it makes file and document-sharing easy.




WHAT IS SAGE ONE?

Sage One is a new SaaS (Software as a Service) that targets to assist small business owners, independent contractors/freelancers, home-based business owners, solo entrepreneurs in running their business management processes and improve their overall business performance.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How to Become a Virtual Assistant (VA)

photo credit: www.swagberryjamaica.com
Virtual assistant or VA provides remote administrative, technical and creative services. They are typically
freelancers or independent contractors.

Becoming a virtual assistant is one way for stay-at-home moms and the unemployed to earn. It also becomes a career path for many gen X and Y who enjoy location-independent work and flexible time.

Web Presence

You can find numerous work marketplace for virtual assistants. oDesk, Freelancer, Elance, and PeoplePerHour are just some of the sites where you can post your resume and find virtual assistant jobs.

Aside from having your presence in those work marketplace, you can also find virtual assistant jobs through forums and online communities. Some VA create their own business website where they offer their services.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Positive Thinking or Gut Feeling?: A Story About Winning a 3D2N Stay in Crown Regency/Club Ultima

In today's very toxic world, we need things that keep us sane. It could be our faith in God, our principles in life, our ambitions or goals, and our loved ones. Whatever these things are, they determine our attitude towards life and on how we perceive situations. No matter how crazy or how tough things become, it is our attitude and belief that keeps us mentally and emotionally stable. We can be emotional sometimes because of the things that make us sad. That's okay, that's how we are built. We are created with emotions--we laugh, we smile, we get excited, we cry, and we get angry.

Lately, I've experience a tide of emotions. Work and business excites me but in a certain aspect of my personal life, I feel sad. However, I am not the kind of person who speaks easily and verbalize depressing things. I always believe that there are so many tormenting things in this world and verbalizing them make them worse. I would rather intentionally uplift myself with other good things that makes me happy.

Couple of weeks ago, I signed a raffle ticket from Crown Regency. Winners will enjoy a free 3-day, 2-night stay at Crown Regency either in Davao or in Cebu.

For some reason, I feel I am going to win. If there is such thing as luck, I would say that I am not lucky when it comes to raffle ticket (and maybe, love life? hahaha!). But, just for that moment, I had a very strong feeling that they are going to pick me. It was so strong that I was already imagining what it feels like.

One happy person
Last Wednesday, I got a phone call from Crown Regency. The guy on the other line was confirming some information and was asking me about my job. The funny thing he said, "You are happily married," and asked me to "bring your spouse to the dinner". Wait, wait, wait! "I am SINGLE and AVAILABLE!" He was so apologetic. Well, he should be. Anyway, to cut the story, I won!

I got the confirmation letter from the Crown Regency/Club Ultima yesterday. Yehey!

The reason why Crown Regency is doing this is to promote Club Ultima. It's a very enticing club membership that let's you experience a 5-star stay with their amazing facilities in the Philippines and their affiliated hotels in different parts of the world. They were offering a VIP program to the winning tickets.

Crown Regency Cebu, here I come!




Sunday, May 12, 2013

Learning Time Management Part III: Planning Your Day

Photo credit: brightsourceit.com
We love spontaneity and surprises but if it hurts our schedule, we better rethink. For independent contractors that are juggling several responsibilities, we have to  set daily goals and manage our time properly. By having goals everyday, we become more productive and feel more fulfilled for accomplishing certain tasks at the end of the day.

Motivational speaker Brian Tracy in his The Power of Self-discipline audio, mentioned that every minute spent in planning saves 10 minutes of execution. If you don't plan, he says, you are simply reacting to what's happening. It also shows that you are less in control of what's going on.


The habit of planning your day ahead, say before you jump to bed, gives you a good night sleep. It gives you less worry of the things you need to do. This practice helps me a lot because it gives me less time trying to think what I am supposed to do. You can write your to-do list on your spiral notebook or simply save it in your mobile phone calendar like I do.

The to-do list should include all of the tasks you need to do, which could include doing your morning exercise, taking your meals, sending emails, and replying to phone calls.

Comes the following day, review your to-do list and set your priorities. Brian Tracy suggests that you assign A, B, C, D, and E to each of the tasks you have written. A, B, and C categorize the tasks. D stands for Delegate which are tasks you can assign to someone else. And, E stands for Eliminate.

As much as possible, don't do the tasks marked or listed as B if you are not done with A. And do not start tasks on C if you are not done with B.

By doing these simple things, you will be surprise that there are many things you can accomplish in a day. It makes you feel happier and fulfilling. It makes you feel you are in control and disciplined.


Do you find this short post helpful? Please share this to your friends. Thank you!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Qwikwire: Marketplace and Payment Service for Freelancers

Freelancers need services and tools that make us work efficiently so we can focus more on what we really do best: provide quality service to our clients. Qwikwire can assist and facilitate us freelancers in the buying and selling of our digital goods and services, which makes our life a lot easier. The site provides storage, transmission, and payment service. Here is an invitation from Qwikwire CEO and co-founder Ray Refundo:


Hello freelancers,

I am Ray Refundo , CEO and co-founder of Qwikwire. Qwikwire is a marketplace and payment service founded in Silicon Valley, CA. We’re happy to announce the launching of our beta this coming May. We are looking for 500 people who use marketplaces like oDesk and Elance to become beta testers.

You don’t need a bank account or credit card to get started. You only need access to the internet. This service will open oDesk and Elance to more people. It takes minutes to set up an account and get your money, you simply pick-up cash from one of our partners (banks and pawnshops like BDO and Cebuana) by giving them your transaction code and showing 2 valid IDs.

Just register your name and email to this link: http://www.qwikwire.com/signup/signmeup

Here are some details:
  • When you sign-up, you get credited 10 fee-free transactions (worth $60-$72) whether you become a beta tester or not.
  • When you successfully refer someone, you will get another fee-free transaction.
  • During the 3-4 month beta period, testers will pay no fee for transactions.
  • Being a beta tester does not require you to do any more additional work other than using Qwikwire to receive your payments and reporting problems if there is one.

Beta testers will receive additional benefits like future discounts, coupons, or even travel to the United States to help the team fix the issues that come up.

The goal of the test period is to figure out what problems may arise when we do a full launch of the product this year. Here’s the catch; beta testers will have to answer a 5 simple multiple choice survey questions every two weeks. Those who have issues can also directly chat or Skype with our team.

Cheers!

Ray

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Declining an Invitation to an Interview in oDesk

Declining an invitation to an interview in oDesk feels like refusing an opportunity.  As an independent
contractor who values his/her business, we know the importance of job offer from a potential client. We hate to turn it down especially when the project perfectly matches your skills and you know you can deliver it well. On top of that, you know you will be earning more and you know that working with that client would look good in your profile.

I hate to say this, but like other busy contractors I learn to decline opportunities even job offers from existing
clients whom I have worked with in the past. We simply can not take many projects and risk the quality of our service. So, really, we have to say no sometimes.

Before, I used to ignore invitations until clients close the job or withdraw their invitation. But that is not a good practice. The best way of declining an invitation to interview, which is not new to most of us but it is something we should be reminded of, is to courteously email the potential client. Take note, declining an invitation to interview today doesn't mean you would not have the opportunity to work with him/her again. Consider them "potential clients", which could translate as your future clients. The mere fact they have offered you an interview, they see you as a potential candidate, an important part of their team, and most of all, they have noticed your profile among the heaps of profile in oDesk.

Let them know that you are currently tied up with some projects but you would be happy to consider working with them in the future, if given that opportunity and if your schedule permits. Indicate the time frame in which you will be working on your current project. Most importantly, tell them to re-connect with you after that period in case their project is still open or if they have other jobs, which you are qualified.

This little courtesy of emailing them back will do you good. They might message you in the future and get another chance for an interview.

Any suggestions or additional ideas? Feel free to leave your comments.










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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Two Years In Freelancing And Counting

It is my second year anniversary as an independent contractor. Yey!

Leaving the corporate world two years ago was among the greatest accomplishment I made in my life considering that majority of the people I knew finds comfort and are pretty successful working in a corporation. Certain things do not work for everyone. Sometimes, you really have to know what you really want, pursue your desire and learn to let go of the things that are not working and helping you as a person.  There came to a point in my life that waking up and going to work did not make sense. I was just like a working dummy or zombie.  I simply could not bear that feeling. I needed a radical change.  And I did.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Technology Dependence

Have you experience spending a day or two, or perhaps a weekend, without an internet connection, cellular network, and electricity?  Don't you just feel so uneasy? Someone could be contacting you any moment. It could be your job or a business opportunity that is trying to reach you out while you are out in a far-flung location unreachable even by radio station and civilization. If you've experienced that, you'll realize the value of technology even the simplest like a can opener.

We are technology-dependent generation. We use technology for our business, jobs, communication, healthcare, transportation, and entertainment. Many of the things that we need in a day-to-day basis were non-existent centuries ago yet people survive. Now, spending a day without a cellular network feels like the end of the world. That is so true especially if you are a virtual assistant or  freelancer whose work or business depend so much on the internet. 

So, where does this thought came from? Last weekend, I got a slight opportunity to wander in an off the beaten path. It was a sudden deviation from my usual work schedule and routine. I was expecting an earlier return to home unfortunately, that didn't materialize.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Learning Time Management Part II: Learning To Say No

Time management is goal-setting in a day-to-day basis. It's a basic skill that every working adults should practice yet most of us fail to do.

In my quest of easing my issues with managing time, I tried to seek help from well-known authors and mentors. I get acquainted with several free resources I downloaded from 4shared and videos from Youtube.

One of the videos I've watched was an inspiring commencement speech by Neil Gaiman University of the Arts Class. He shared his experience as a writer and a freelancer. Though it was a speech of personal success, a motivation to use the creative mind, he mentioned something about responding to emails, which is certainly something we can personally relate to. Gaiman said: " There was a day when I looked up and realised that I had become someone who professionally replied to email, and who wrote as a hobby. I started answering fewer emails, and was relieved to find I was writing much more."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Learning Time Management - Part I

Time management is a valuable skill that every freelancer and career-oriented person should learn. We probably know the concept but it takes a lot of effort to implement it and to consistently make it work.

Since mid-October, I've been relentlessly pounding my fingers on the keyboard, straining my eyes in front of the computer, and suffering from less sleep and almost no social and love life. I have to work 50-60 hours every week for a couple of online projects and, at the same time, work on some business. Came the holiday, which kind of slowed me down a bit; hence, I have to come back with a vengeance to make up for the losses. I am pretty sure that freelancers reading this post can relate to what I am saying.

When you are a freelancer and typically work on a per-hour projects, you can't avoid putting a dollar value of your hours. Every idle time, is a time wasted. 

Time management made me survive. With my background in production planning and in sales, I somehow know how to write my activities for the day. Yeah, somehow...because honestly, I am not pretty good at it. 

Typically, what I do is write my activities for the next day and the hours I need to spend for each of those activities. Here comes the problem. Comes the next day, I receive some surprise phone calls, email inquiry or some friendly message. Depending on my personal assessment on its urgency, I may answer back immediately but sometimes I need to get back to them. However, there are times that accommodating some of those emails or other unplanned activities can take more of my time. And before I knew it, it has taken a lot of my energy and hours. With this scenario, I know that what I really need to learn is to prioritize my activities and let go of the distractions. And that may mean turning off the phone and setting a schedule for reading and responding to emails.

This post is a sort of an introduction. In the second part about Learning Time Management Skill, I will be sharing to you what I've learned from my experience and the best practices and advice from well-known authors and public figures.

Til the next.



Friday, January 4, 2013

To The Readers and Followers of Soliloquy:

Thank you for being part of my 2012. Join me for another productive and exciting journey this 2013.

It was an amazing journey--it was a year of de-cluttering, rearranging and prioritizing. I am glad to say that after years of blogging, it was only in 2012 that it reached PR2 and a Global reach of 0.000014%. Hmm, not bad really.
 
The year didn't went easy for my career and my personal life. In fact, it was filled with challenges, which was actually a good thing. When you are challenged that is where you find the strength and the courage you never thought you have. And you see the beauty of it all when you feel victorious after surpassing a difficult feat. It's the experience and the lesson that should make us feel victorious; the outcome is just the icing of the cake.

Let's have a positive outlook and a kick-ass attitude. Most of the time, its the attitude that helps us survive and even bring us where we wanted to be.

Cheers!
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