Working Your Way to A Freelance Life

February 9, 2018 7:00 pm by Katrina Castaneda

Becoming a freelancer can be liberating and scary at the same time. If you feel like giving up that 9 to 5 day job and finally embracing your creative side, here are some information from 4 freelancers coming from different industries to prep you (plus give you the courage) on how to successfully commit to a freelancing career.

Name: Kay Isabedra

Age: 29

Freelance Food, Prop& Event Stylist

Average income per month P45,000-70,000

I started my freelance career back in 2013 as a food & prop stylist. I came from the advertising industry as a Senior Project/Account Manager for a multinational advertising firm. I worked 24/7, got burned out, so I decided to leave the corporate world to figure out what I really want to do with my professional life. I’ve been doing different kinds of creative activities -dancing, photography, accessory making, and I discovered the creative side of Instagram. I started following foreign accounts that are very much into photography, prop styling and everything in between. I started posting random flat lay stuff on Instagram until an editor from a publishing company noticed my portfolio and she gave me my very first magazine feature.


I recently put up Gathered Creative Co., an event styling company that specializes in personal and custom event styling. Projects are starting to pick up, and we’re targeting the company to expand its team by the 2nd qtr. of 2018. I love that in my line of work, I get to meet a lot of creative people who share the same passion and who understand the value of what I do. Together with other creatives, we get to fully express ourselves in whatever channel/avenue we desire, we get to create our own world.

TIP: Market yourself and utilize social media to spread word about your work.

Finding clients and new projects is always the hardest. But if you always put 200% of yourself into your creative work, people are going to start to ask you for help. Don’t mind your competition. Always practice everyday to further hone your craft and always be on the lookout for open doors and opportunities – regardless of it being big or small. You’ll find yourself doubting your abilities from time to time, but if you believe in what you do 100%, people will also do the same.


Name: Elaine

Age: 37

Freelance Makeup Artist/Hairstylist 

Average income per month-P30,000-50,000

I started as a makeup artist back in 2005, covering events like fashion shows. In 2006, I started freelancing as a professional makeup artist. I still see myself in this industry many years from now since this is my dream job. Here in the Philippines though, there is no choice but to go freelance unless you want to work in a beauty counter or salon.


I like that I have a flexible time and income, plus no wardrobe restrictions or uniform. I am definitely my own boss. But I also worry about having no fixed salary and benefits plus the hassle of travel and logistics going to and from shoots and events.

TIP: Think really hard about taking the plunge. We just make it look easy or glamorous but it’s really not.


Name: Maita de Jesus

Age: 34 

Freelance writer, editor, content creator at MMP de Jesus Writing Services 

Average income per month – P30,000 – P80,000

I became a freelance writer back in November 2015. Prior to that, when I started in the magazine industry back in 2006, I had the knack of accepting all the assignments from other magazines that came my way, as long as it fit my schedule and didn’t interfere with the main magazine that I was employed in. I wrote about everything, from computers to cover stories of celebrities. 

I was thinking about going into freelancing ever since I gave birth back in March 2014, but being a single mom, I felt I needed a stable income and stuck to it. But concerns with upper management and my desire to spend more time with my daughter made me take the leap into freelancing. The day after I left my job for good, my daughter was hospitalized with pneumonia and was in the hospital for five days. That’s when my faith in freelancing really strengthened–I knew that it was the right decision for me, because if I was still tied down to a full time job, I wouldn’t have been able to take time off work to take care of my daughter. 

working0your-way-to-a-freelance-lifeAs a freelancer, I get to maximize my time. Being a single mom with no yaya, my day revolves around my daughter. I try to be more disciplined and not spend too much time on social media –I can spend hours doing so! I get to fix my schedule according to how I would want the day to go, pacing out the work, and setting deadlines accordingly. I avoid extra expenses and time wasters. I hang out in coffee shops to work only when I super need to, otherwise, I work at home or in my daughter’s school while I wait for her dismissal time. I avoid the commute and traffic spent going to and from an office, and I don’t have to eat out or spend money on clothes.

Freelance writing is a service-oriented business, no output means no pay. 

You always have to be on, everyday. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network. I was lucky enough to have been able to establish connections in PR and in media, so when I left, I simply sent a text to them about my new status as a freelancer, and that I was available for projects. I just sporadically post my articles on Facebook–that’s all that I’ve been able to do regarding “marketing”. Throw your hat in the ring and let all else work out. 

TIP: State your rates.

Filipinos are naturally shy to talk about money. Don’t sell yourself short just to get clients–it will make you resentful over the work you need to create. Also, I’ve learned that if you’re not upfront about your payments, you’ll never get what you deserve. There are a lot of clients out there that are willing to pay what you’re asking for. I chose to register my business with the BIR so that I can work with big companies. When you register, it shows that you’re not a fly by night writer. It shows that I committed to the business. I’m still getting used to issuing receipts and paying taxes. I wish there was another way though!

Detach yourself from your work. Anyone in the “creative” field would say that their work is sometimes very personal to them, or is a reflection of themselves. After almost more than a decade of being a writer and editor, I’ve learned to not take offense over criticism, and to overall know that my work stands by itself, and so do I. I am not that article, so if it gets bashed or ripped to pieces they’re not ripping ME apart. It is their opinion. At the end of the day, work is work. You give it your best shot, and if it all turns out great, wonderful. But if they don’t, you learn from it, and live to write another day.


Name: Mariane Castillo

Age: 28 years old

Freelance Interior Designer

Average income per month (30,000-50,000)

I used to work as a visual merchandiser for a big company. I experienced working 24/7 and not getting the amount of salary I believed I worked hard for. I have a degree in Interior Design, so I decided to take the board exam and start my freelance life as an Interior Designer. My goal is to grow the construction company that my family built two years ago.


I am earning 4-6 times more compared to my salary when I was just an employee. But the responsibilities are all on me. I work up to the weekends. Even money management can be overwhelming since I was used to having a fixed monthly salary.

TIP: Make sure you have saved enough money to live for a year because you will need that in your first few months. If you don’t have enough gigs/projects for the month, use your free time to create and build your portfolio. Lastly, you’ll never know who can help you because they could be your possible client or supplier so be nice to everyone you meet.


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