I have been working from home for almost three years.

As a mother, online home based jobs present the perfect opportunity for me to take care of my family and earn my wage as a professional.

What Makes Filipino Freelancers the Best at What they Do

There is an estimate of 1.5 Million freelancers in the Philippines, and the numbers are continuously growing. Freelancing websites such as Upwork and Guru make it easier for freelancers to find projects and connect with clients worry-free.

In the study by Freelancing.ph, most freelancers are located in the Greater Manila area. The highest population for freelancers belong to the 25-34-year-old age bracket, and mostly female. Most of these freelancers also have an average of three to four years experience in the industry. As shown below, a majority of freelancers are in the virtual assistance niche who acts as secretaries in the office set up.

Job Field - Freelancing.ph
Job Field Statistics as of 2016 from Freelancing.ph

But what makes Filipinos such awesome freelancers?

We asked both clients and freelancers and here are their top four answers.

Excellent command of the English language

Filipinos are very good in English because of the influence of the United States in our educational system.

After the end of the Spanish Regime in 1898, public education has been a concern for the United States colonial government in the Philippines. It was through education that the Americans were able to spread out their language and culture far and wide.

When the Americans established the education system in 1901, English became the medium of education. And it has stuck ever since. From education to law-making, to business and communication, English became the universal language that stitched it all together.

The Philippines also have many regional dialects from north to south, which contributed to the factions that divided it as a nation. But because of the strong influence of the media and the American education system that still exists today, English has become the Philippines secondary language embraced by all.

Strong Training from Business Process Outsourcing Industry 

I was in the BPO industry for five years before I shifted careers to be a freelancer. And I would say the foundations of my professional knowledge today was heavily built through the training that I’ve received from my previous posts.

I have handled jobs as an inbound sales rep for an American motors company, a technical rep for an ISP provider from Australia, an outbound telemarketer for an international Tech company, and all of them has taught me how to deal with different people with different cultural backgrounds. It also helped me understand different business processes and experienced how corporate management works.

The BPO industry has provided a lot of Filipinos with the skills and knowledge that they now use in freelancing. Just like me, most freelancers has had experiences in different lines of business where they have received training for a specific skillset.

Highly trainable, exceptionally skilled with strong communication skills, it’s easy to see why the Philippines have become one of the top choices for services business in the world.

Huge Consumers of Technology and Social Media 

Filipinos are huge users of social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat… you name it, we’ve got an account that goes with it!

In fact, Filipinos have created and broken records on social media. We have discovered an efficient and effective way of selling to our friends and family through Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels.

Most Filipinos are also up to date with the latest technology available. From mobile phones to the latest apps, we are often among the first to get access to units and parts available.

This exposure to social media and information makes Filipinos naturally adept in learning new technologies and concepts.

Creative, Efficient, Trustworthy and Awesome Work Ethics 

Filipinos are making waves across the globe with our creativity in different fields. From graphic design to music, to arts and crafts.

That is why a lot of Filipino Freelancers are in the creative business. We have writers, bloggers, digital artists, designers, photographers and even animators who are already making their names known.

But beyond the Filipino creativity and ingenuity, we Filipinos are trustworthy, efficient, and resourceful. We have awesome work ethics that elevates the quality of work we provide to our clients both in the local scene and abroad.

One client points out the risks of hiring remote workers in this interview created by Rea Yadao, a Filipino solopreneur, and Virtual Assistant.

Here she states how important trust is when it comes to remote teams. Freelancers get access to sensitive data, and if you aren’t careful, it might cause major issues with the success of your company.

Check out Rea’s interview with her client, Tracy Timberlake in the video below.

The Setbacks 

Lower rates

Key influencer Jason Dulay of Work at Home Pinoys conducted a survey where they got Filipino freelancers’ average rates per hour.

The results are surprising.

Average hourly rates Filipino Freelancers
Average Hourly Rates from wfhp.io

 

Here’s an average rate comparison for freelancers worldwide from HubStaff.com.

Freelancer rate comparisons

As you can see, there is a stark difference between the rates of freelancers in the Philippines and India compared to that of other countries.

If there is a setback to the growing freelancing industry in the Philippines, it would be the mindset we Filipinos have.

One of my clients once said that Filipino talents are among the best in the world. The problem is, we don’t have the “go-getter culture” the Westerners have.

It’s probably because of the culture of obedience that has been ingrained deep in our culture as former colonies.

Most Filipinos have difficulties in expressing their ideas and concerns to their employers in fear of being thought of as brash or straight forward. We also fear being judged by colleagues as a suckup. So we tend to keep our mouth shut, no matter how brilliant our ideas are.

There is also the concept of ‘hiya‘ or shame. We often feel as if we do not deserve to get the same rates as other countries because we are from a third world country. Some also settle for less because they think that no one will hire them if they charge too high.

The result? Great potential goes to waste because talents settle for less than what they deserve.

It’s a sad reality, and some clients are taking advantage of this mindset.

The Solution 

Local thought leaders and key influencers in the freelancing industry are trying to find ways to change this kind of mindset.

Today, freelancers get a lot of support from communities led by these key influencers. Online groups offer assistance, advice, and resources to help freelancers gain and master new skills.

Workshops and tutorials are now available, which freelancers can access during their free time.

Seasoned freelancers offer help to beginners through online consultations, mixers, and meet-ups. Some of them also offer free mentoring to help newbies achieve their success as freelancers.

The goal is to uplift the Filipino Freelancing community by learning more skills, achieving mastery, and specialized skills. This way, we can justify the rates that we offer to our clients, and at the same time offer additional value to our clients’ business.

As a Filipino freelancer, I believe that we still have a long way to go and a lot to learn to become the top freelancer of choice for clients.

Until then, we will push each other to be better at what we do.

Share your freelancing story below!

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Herlene Somook is a creative entrepreneur and freelance writer based in Manila, Philippines. A graduate of AB Psychology, she was a Kumon Reading teacher for five years before jumping ship to the Business Process Outsourcing Industry, where she gained experience in Inbound Sales, Technical Support, Outbound Services, Lead Generation and Marketing. Today, she spends her time as the Head Writer and Content Strategist for NextStep Hub. She loves reading bedtime stories to her toddler son.