Working from home used to be an idea that embellished movies and infomercials several years ago but, the digital expertise of the modern generation turned it into a norm. More and more people are becoming virtual workers with positions such as freelance writers and online assistants.
Before becoming a member of the “online or virtual world” bandwagon, please consider these things first:
Are You Prepared For The Financial Risks?
Given the opportunity to be your own boss comes the responsibility to be on top of your finances. Once you become a independent contractor, you expose yourself to the different forms of financial risks compared to an employee in the office setting. Freelancers and remote staff have to consider higher utility costs, connectivity costs, insurance costs, and so on.
You will have to look for ways to work around your budget and to eliminate unnecessary expenses. You may notice a spike on your Internet (PLDT) and utility bills (Meralco), especially if you barely leave your house. Thus, you must employ simple energy saving strategies such as limiting your air conditioning use and working at the brightest part of the house.
With freelancing and outsourcing, your income is less fixed or intermittent. This is one of the reasons why financial institutions are hesitant to lend you credit. I recommend getting a good grasp of your financial situation before committing to the virtual world. Can your savings cover your expenses in the first six months? That is the rule of thumb that many financial experts set.
Have You Cultivated Your Network?
I was one of the blessed few who started as a freelancer by chance. Before I kissed my full-time job goodbye, I was already accepting sponsorships on my blog. It was the time when I realized that my passion can turn into a viable career. What worked out in my favor may not work for you.
It is hard to make it thru the virtual industry on your own.
The core value of the Filipino people is “Kapwa”. This means that we value togetherness and the welfare of our fellowmen. This works well with the virtual world as it is important to socialize and build a network of people whom you can depend on.
Do you have friends who are knowledgeable about graphic design and SEO? Are you acquainted with financial advisors and accountants? There will be times when you need help from these people. Stay in touch with them and your previous co-workers and bosses.
Having a home office or your own workspace can give you one thing that you might be craving for – FREEDOM! As a virtual worker, you can build a working environment that you are most comfortable with. Include the essentials such as having a space free from distractions and a space filled with optimum Wi-Fi connectivity.
If it is impossible to create a conducive workspace at home due to the noisy children and the inescapable chores, consider getting a virtual office. Virtual office provides freelancers and small-business owners flexible business facilities at the fraction of the price its counterpart.
vOffice Philippines allows you to rent a space for your as low as PHP 750/month (for a limited time only)! It is located at the bustling cities of Manila (Bonifacio Global City) and Makati. Check the available addresses and plans at voffice.com.ph.
Are You Organized?
If you are disorganized and messy in all areas of your life then, freelancing may not be suited for you. Your potential clients need the assurance that you will get things done on or before the deadline. Otherwise, they will not hire you again.
It is also your duty to send the invoice on time. Cultivating financial stability is difficult if your payments have yet to arrive because you forgot to send them out. When this happens, your dependents will be affected too.
So if you do not have the patience to deal with the details of your task, it is best to shy away from freelancing.
Can You Manage Your Time?
Time management is a crucial skill to have if you are a virtual worker. Do you possess that skill?
Without a supervisor or a colleague that observes your every move, you can easily wheel away from what you are supposed to do. Your ultimate “enemy” is procrastination. There are so many pleasurable things that you can do such as streaming your favorite shows at iflix.com or commenting on your friends at Facebook. Not to mention, Pokemon Go is now available in the Philippines!
Defeat the urge to procrastinate by setting a fixed work schedule. Commit to this schedule at all times.
Can Your Heart Endure The “naysayers”?
Perhaps you are interested to take a route similar to mine as a freelance writer. I lost count of how many times the Gen. X people (born beyond 1965) told me to get a “real job” because working online is not a feasible and long lasting career.
Work is work! Being a virtual worker is a viable occupation. If what I am doing does not constitute for a “real job” then, how come I am able to pay my own expenses and life a comfortable life?
In fact, freelancing is more common than most people thinkthink! The leading countries in East Asia that engage in Elance and oDesk projects are Philippines and Indonesia. There are 1.3 million Filipino Elance and oDesk freelancers in the recent years alone. Can you imagine the volume of people today?
It takes time to reach the top of the chain much like any other office job. To fight for this, you must have a solid commitment and be able to filter out the negativity.
Being an online or virtual worker is not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you desire to be in charge of your own career path then, it may be a risk that is worth taking!