How do self-employed Filipinos earn dollars at home?

Filipino freelancers now have the chance to earn more than P300 or $8.30 an hour at home. country manager Ron Cirujano said this is now possible through the website, which now links freelance professionals to a variety of jobs available in many countries., a privately-held company with headquarters in Mountain View, California and Oslo, Norway that provides a global platform for online jobs. The company earns commissions from jobs completed by freelancers enrolled in the platform. “In many ways, you can say that all jobs that can be performed remotely are to be found on,” said Cirujano. He said Filipino freelancers earned an average of $8.30 per hour in 2012. “For experienced freelancers, the average hourly rate would be significantly higher,” he said, explaining that new freelancers tend to lower their hourly rates when bidding for jobs. As the new Elance country manager, Cirujano focuses on raising awareness and knowledge of online freelancing and Elance in Filipino talent communities. He works closely with Elance’s international teams in developing and executing marketing programs, trainings and workshops for Filipino freelancers. Globally, Elance links over 500,000 businesses and 2.3 million freelancers in more than 170 countries. Elance’s talent pool includes software engineers, application developers and web and graphic designers, copywriters, market researchers, data scientists, social media marketers, customer service agents and other business professionals. In 2012, more than 1 million freelance jobs are completed through Elance. The company earns through an 8.75-percent service fee for every job completed. The Philippines has one of the largest talent pool of freelancers that use Elance. It ranks fourth in terms of users with 95,490 and ninth in terms of freelancers’ earnings with $7.7 million or over P313 million. Cirujano said among the most popular services offered by Filipino freelancers are in the areas of information technology and programming, design and multimedia, writing and translation as well as administrative support. He said hourly rates received by Filipino freelancers vary, from $6.4 for administrative support, $7.9 for management and finance, $8.7 for sales and marketing and $8.9 for writing and translation to as high as $12 for graphic design and art, $12.2 for architecture and engineering and $14.4 for IT and programming. “The overall average hourly rate for all categories was $8.3. It is also worth to notice that the average hourly rates are deflated by the fact that there were so many first-time hired freelancers from Philippines last year. First time hired freelancers very often use low price (hourly rates) to win their first job,” he says. Asked of his advice to make sure Filipino freelancers will have sustained earnings, he says it is important that freelancers ensure the quality of their work. Other important factors, he said, are responsiveness, professionalism, expertise, adherence to schedule and delivery of services. He said it is better to “over-deliver” than to “over-promise.” “A freelancer should really focus on an expertise and carve his or her own niche,” he added. Cirujano said Elance Philippines is in the forefront of promoting freelance work in the country. “We promote the freelancing lifestyle by creating events and engaging the local freelancers,” he says. The company conducts summits and workshops that celebrate the freelancing lifestyle and serve as an opportunity for the local freelancers to meet their fellow freelancers, exchange lessons as well as best practices. “Almost every week, we have themed trainings and workshops for our freelancers and these events are designed to empower the freelancers,” he said. Elance has recently hosted Online Freelancing Tax 101, a workshop about tax laws in the Philippines. Freelancers and other self-employed individuals are also required to pay their taxes. Cirujano says as of end-March 2013, some 95,490 Filipinos have registered as freelancers on Elance, including 12,218 who signed up in the first quarter alone. “Some 4,642 jobs were awarded to Filipino freelancers in the first quarter 2013,” he said. He said the Philippines is viewed as a prime destination for freelancers because of its skilled and hardworking workforce, technologically savvy population and accelerating entrepreneurial communities. A survey conducted by Elance shows that 59.2 percent of Filipino freelancers are female and 55.4 percent are 32 years old or younger. Nearly two-thirds of 67.7 percent have college degrees. Their primary skill sets are research, writing and content and online marketing. The survey show that freelancers love the idea of having control over their own schedule, enjoy the idea of working wherever they please, and have the opportunity to pursue their passion. The platform also provides opportunities to those with full-time jobs to augment their income and to those that lost their jobs to find new ones. Results of the survey show that 40.8 percent of Filipino freelancers started having a full-time job with freelance work on the side while 20.8 percent pursued freelance after being laid off. 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