The Philippines has the most freelancers in Southeast Asia and ranked 4th in Freelancer.com’s list, behind India, the US, and Pakistan. Payoneer has also released their Global Gig-Economy Index: Q2 2019, and the Philippines ranks 6th in year over year revenue growth.
Back in 2017, Forbes predicted that more than 50% of the world’s work will be freelance by 2027. We’re two years into that decade, and that seems to be the trend, with various industries and high paying jobs open for your freelancing, even lawyering!
Filipinos love freelancing. There’s an estimate of almost 2 million Filipino freelancers as of 2018, and that number will only grow as platforms like Payoneer, Transferwise, PayPal, Freelancer and Upwork continue to innovate and make freelancing easy.
If you’re a Filipino, and you don’t freelance yourself (yet), you probably have acquaintances or friends who freelance, and we’d bet their work is in one of the following fields. These are the top 10 freelance jobs in the Philippines.
1. Software Engineer/Programmer
Software engineering is one of the highest-paying online freelance jobs today. Companies are outsourcing because it’s simply more cost-effective than hiring an in-house software engineer.
Also includes game and app development and testing.
2. Web Designer / Web developer
Technically a branch of programming, but website designers and developers are in a league of their own. Filipino web devs are particularly liked for their fluency in English. In this job, easy communication is essential as much as coding skills.
If you have a good eye and above average know-how for WordPress, Shopify, Magento, UX, skills in photo editing, image manipulation, and programming languages, you can earn big right at home, based on your portfolio, experience, and flexibility with programming languages — if you’re starting out you may need to settle for an hourly rate much lower to secure work, to build up clients and a work history online.
All businesses have websites (or they should!) and they naturally want to be visible on search results. SEO specialists do just that, implementing white hat, off-page and on-page techniques to improve a site’s visibility and ranking on search results.
This involves expertise with tools and platforms, so it pays well.
4. Virtual Assistant (VA)
Business owners all over the world hire virtual assistants for short and long term contracts. Filipinos are often hired for the job because of the neutral English accent (for voice tasks).
You need to be knowledgeable of software and platform basics and have good communication skills. You usually handle administrative and project management tasks that include files and contracts management, email management, calendar management, preparing reports, spreadsheets, and other presentations.
The rate depends on the skills and experience level. Not bad considering you avoid the daily traffic and expense of the metro! More experienced VAs may have more clients and earn more!
5. Customer Service/Customer Support
Essential for all businesses, customer-facing admin is a huge branch of VA work that has evolved into its own niche. You’d need experience with ticketing systems like Zendesk and Freshdesk, and the labels and folders of Gmail, to start.
You either reply to client/prospect inquiries via ticket/email, Facebook chat, social media comments (on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram), or on Amazon. You’d also moderate and respond to reviews.
Day shift for Filipinos is usually night shift for the US and the UK timezones so it works so well in improving your client’s responsiveness if your client is after 24 hour support.
Many clients also prefer working in their timezone, usually companies with “working hours only” services, so Filipino night owls love it.
Hourly rates vary depending on the scope of the work, your communication skills, and platform experience.
6. Content Writer
Businesses, big and small, often don’t have staff for their website and social media content.
You may also see jobs as a ghostwriter for ebooks, both fiction and non-fiction. Coaches and other industry experts need the ebooks for customer trust and lead generation. If you can adapt style and tone to your client’s voice, brand, and target audiences, you’d be in high demand.
Rates vary according to the content you produce. Seasoned writers charge higher. You can set fixed rates for every type of content.
7. Graphic design
Another niche where Filipino artistry and communication skills shine.
You work on logos, labels, illustrations, t-shirts, brochures, and other company materials, not to mention website and social media graphics.
Already a plus if you’re a Photoshop expert, but even better if you can also use CorelDRAW and other emerging software and online tools.
Always display your best work for an impressive portfolio. Rates range from $5 for small jobs (Fiverr is a great place to start) to $50-$100 and up for more comprehensive design packages.
8. Social media specialist
Often a branch of VA work, but it can go on its own, and many freelancers or former VAs specialize on social media. This can mean handling one Facebook page, or four! Or more commonly, Twitter and Instagram in addition to Facebook. Some freelancers also work exclusively with LinkedIn.
Familiarity with social media tools and platforms is a must. Rates vary depending on your experience and track record in improving engagement and network size.
Combo with writing: If you can write professional and/or witty captions, replies and comments, you’d command higher rates, as opposed to only curating and scheduling posts.
Combo with graphic design: Another rate booster is if you can also create/edit videos and images.
9. Digital Marketing/Advertising
Most of the above jobs are involved in digital marketing (writing, social media, graphic design, SEO) but the term digital marketing applies to setting up and monitoring ads, retargeting campaigns, and reports on results and spending.
You’d need excellent knowledge of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ads, Google Ads, among others. Hourly rates depend on your skills and track record.
10. English tutoring
You may have friends or acquaintances who teach Korean or Japanese kids to speak English! This is a popular job for Pinoys, with flexible work between 2 to 6 hours a day, and “normal” hours since our time zone overlaps with Japan and South Korea.
Qualifications include a bachelor’s degree and passing a test.
Filipino freelancers rock
Freelancing in the Philippines is flourishing. Coworking spaces are already established in Makati and BGC, with more new spaces in Quezon City and even the suburbs. When PLDT fails you, these workspaces are a godsend. Day pass or membership includes unlimited coffee or discount vouchers for milk tea!
I’m really thankful that those who have come before us (well, only slightly ahead of us– they’re still alive and freelancing!) have established a good reputation for Filipino freelancers.
Being well-known can come at the cost of some agencies seeking us out and preying on first-time freelancers. We need to protect each other by accepting jobs at good rates only.
Know your worth and charge that. Look at other freelancer profiles so you can set a competitive rate, and join any of the Pinoy freelancing communities for more tips and techniques on freelancing.