Freelancing in the Philippines: DARK SIDE EXPOSED (Part 1/2)

Language used: English

Freelancing has taken the Philippines by storm, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows! In this eye-opening episode, Margaret, a seasoned freelance Digital Marketing Strategist, reveals the dark side of freelancing in the country.

Discover the truth about freelancing in the Philippines. Don’t miss this essential guide to protecting yourself and thriving as a Filipino freelancer! πŸ”₯πŸ’ΌπŸ‡΅πŸ‡­

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[00:00:00] Hello, mga kababayan, welcome to another episode of Article and Design podcast. Where we teach freelancers and digital business owners, the straightforward, no BS way on how to grow your business. I’m your host Margaret, a freelance digital marketing strategist for over 10 years now. So this episode is special because this goes out to all “kababayans” or Filipinos in the Philippines.

[00:00:59] Uh, [00:01:00] which is one of the most prolific freelancers. Or a freelancing country or remote workers in the world. Before we start. I know many of you are listening and watching this podcast without subscribing to our channel. May I request to hit the subscribe button on YouTube, or if you’re listening on Spotify, apple podcasts, or wherever you consume your podcasts, please follow us. Give us a star and give us a review. Because in this way, guys, you are helping us create more valuable content for you.

[00:01:32] Disclaimer, I am not based in the Philippines as of the moment, but I am a Filipino. And I have a group of Filipinos who shared these facts about freelancing in the Philippines. And these are also some of my firsthand experiences while I was still in the Philippines. So today we’ll be talking about a hot topic.

[00:01:53] In the Filipino freelancing community. This topic was requested last year. And since we all know [00:02:00] last 2020. COVID happened. And then many Filipinos were laid off from their jobs. And freelancing has never been this popular. In the last three years.

[00:02:12] However, the sudden popularity of freelancing in the Philippines has led to more workplace abuses. And this episode, which is the episode part one. of two, of the dark side of freelancing in the Philippines. We will discuss the issues and concerns that freelancers face. Which is called the dark side as I’ve mentioned. And in the next part,

[00:02:34] Which is part 2, the episode after this.. So please stay tuned next week. I will share some advice and best practices. Firsthand experiences for aspiring freelancers or even the existing freelancers. Who continues to experience this and how to navigate this and protect yourself.

[00:02:54] Dark side number one. The lack of benefits for freelancers. First let’s [00:03:00] talk about the issue of benefits or the lack thereof for freelancers. Unlike remote workers who are entitled to benefits mandated by laws. Freelancers usually don’t have the same privileges, right? So there’s no work, no pain, no pay leave sick leaves, holiday pay, and sometimes even no overtime or bonuses. It really depends.

[00:03:22] But I, myself, as a hiring manager, I actually provide bonuses or, um, for example, if it’s your birthday or like holidays or Christmas, to our, our outsource workers.

[00:03:33] So it really depends. The problem is not everyone is lucky enough to earn high rate that compensates for the absence of these benefits. So not all freelancers are six figure earners. Or a six figure freelancer quote and quote as they claim, right. So many freelancers are aspiring or those that are beginner freelancers. They usually accept low paying jobs sometimes as low as $1 per hour. [00:04:00]

[00:04:00] Which is barely enough to make ends meet. These missing benefits can make freelancing a tough choice for many Filipinos, especially when they have to weigh the disadvantages or advantages of working from home against the financial insecurity that comes with freelancing. The challenge for freelancers is to negotiate. Uh, fair compensation that makes up for the absence of this benefit. And of course, to find clients who value their work in their time and how to do that. I’ll discuss more in this, on the part two. But in this episode, we’re going to discuss the dark sides.

[00:04:35] Right. So that’s dark side number one, which is the lack of benefits. Darkside number two is freelancers can be easily disposed of. All right. So I’m not just saying this, this happened many, many times and I know. I think one or two freelancers who were just disposed of.

[00:04:55] Last a month because they’re, cost-cutting. All right. So [00:05:00] another concern is the insecurity of being a freelancer. Imagine having a full-time client who suddenly ghosts, you, and they just realised, they just decided, Hey, we’re going to cut costs. We are going to, Fire you, we don’t have any budgets for you. So living you with no source of income back pay or any legal recourse for unjust termination, because what if you’re not employed or just.

[00:05:24] Uh, an outsourced worker and independent contractor. All right. This can put full-time freelancers at the very high risk., especially those who has families.

[00:05:33] And Darkside number three. Building your portfolio as a cover for free service.

[00:05:39] All right. All right. So. I’ve seen these a couple of times. . And, uh, my stand and this is very firm. So next we have this issue of building our portfolio. Being used as an excuse for unpaid work. There are a lot of freelance courses who are teaching you these. So some companies or clients take advantage of aspiring [00:06:00] freelancers by offering them internships.

[00:06:02] Or these opportunities that you can work for us and make this as your portfolio. So claiming that the experience will be valuable for building their portfolio. Or probably if you work for us for free. We can decide if we’re going to hire you or something, right. So there’s nothing wrong with that, but that will be, we’ll discuss that in the next episode

[00:06:23] how to navigate that properly. But if you just look at this on a perspective that it is a cover for free services services that you’re offering. And then that’s wrong. So you’re actually spending time, effort, money, et cetera. For unpaid work. Right. So however, this so-called internships. Say for example, often, come with heavy workloads and minimal or no compensation. I talked with a specific freelancer in Makati in Makati Philippines. Who has a firsthand experience with regards to this? So here they were promised a job once they enroll in the course. So they [00:07:00] enrolled in a specific course, package academy whathaveyous.

[00:07:03] But then again, after they finish a course, There were told that, Hey, you need to work 300 hours as an intern to be given a chance. Okay. “quote and quote” chance. To be hired. All right. So it’s not yet an assurance. It’s a chance.

[00:07:21] And this 300 hours are unpaid.

[00:07:25] Tell me, if this is not bullshit. This is clearly a bullshit offer. All right. So here are some points to consider. Number one. Exploitative internships. So some employers use the guise of internships to get free or cheap labour. These internships may require freelancers to work. On projects that should be done by, um, paid employees in some companies, but without the proper compensation or in some cases they don’t pay you.

[00:07:54] All right. So number two, you have to consider also that when you work for free, You’re devalue, [00:08:00] devaluing your work. So by accepting unpaid or underpaid internships, freelancers may contribute to the devaluation. Of your work. So this could lead to a race to the bottom, which we can see it’s happening.

[00:08:14] So where clients also expects. Freelancers to work for a very low rate or even for free, especially in the Philippines. Number three is time and effort investment. So you have to also consider this one before you build your portfolio for free. So freelancers should be mindful of the time and effort. You put into unpaid or underpaid internships or work? Cause it’s essential to weigh the potential benefits.

[00:08:42] against, the sacrifices you were making in terms of time, energy, and potential income from paid projects. All right. So there’s a lot of nuances that could be discussed here. Uh, but we were, we’ll discuss that next time. And the next episode, what I’m trying to share this episode is just the dark sides.

[00:08:59] All [00:09:00] right. Remember, I’m not like closing my doors a hundred percent. Um, this one, uh, you’ll know my, my stand on this in the next episode on how you’re going to do with this, but. In general. I really, really don’t suggest to work for free, but there’s a work around here. There’s a work around. Okay.

[00:09:19] Darkside number four is cash grab seminars. Or webinars. Hmm. This is really, really ubiquitous or prolific in the Philippines. I’ve seen. A lot of like ads. When I turn on my location to the Philippines and turn on the ads, I’ve seen a lot of ads, free webinars earn six-figure free, whatever, whatever.

[00:09:45] We earned already seven figures, we are 8 figure freelancers and we’re going to teach you how to do it. Just attend this webinar for free. Okay. Let’s discuss, let’s deconstruct that cash grab seminars or webinars. So we’ve seen this, we’ve seen the [00:10:00] surge.

[00:10:00] In this seminars or webinars that promises high earnings with minimal effort, but the truth is guys, this so called gurus are just making money from the seminars or webinars themselves. I’m not saying all of them, I’m saying some of them.

[00:10:18] You know what I mentioned in my weekly newsletter, I’m sending a A&D Letters every Sunday, which by the way, if you’re not yet subscribe. Just go to or click the link in this description. So you can receive my A&D letters every Sunday.

[00:10:35] I digress. So going back, I sort of mentioned this so called gurus are just making money from the webinars themselves. All right. So these events or webinars are often marketed as opportunities.

[00:10:49] To learn the secrets of let’s say earning six, figure incomes through freelancing. However many of these webinars are designed. To make money for the [00:11:00] organisers, not to provide valuable education for the attendees or aspiring freelancers. Right again, I’m not saying all. There are like some or most of these webinars. I could name a few, have legit webinars actually, but we’re talking about this dark sides here. Here are some red flags to watch out for this cash grab webinars. So number one UNREALISTIC PROMISES.

[00:11:25] So be wary of seminars that make exaggerated claims. And with how much money you can make. Or how quickly you can achieve success. Like in six days, seven days. Gosh. All right. Seven days. Freelancing like any other career takes time, effort and dedication. All right. Um, As we all know. Right. So you can’t just be a millionaire in seven days. Of course.

[00:11:52] Yes, you can probably spruce up your portfolio in seven days or build your website, but that’s halfway and that’s not even halfway. [00:12:00] That’s just one part of it. One of the many moving parts that you’ll do the problem with these freelance coaches they’re not being transparent. That is just part and parcel of the many, many things that you need to do.

[00:12:13] All right. So number two is high pressure sales tactics, some organisers use high-pressure sales tactics to get attendees. To sign up for expensive courses and materials. So they argue that this is persuasive marketing. Margaret We’re only using persuasive marketing. This is why we’re putting some pressure.

[00:12:33] So be cautious of anyone who tries to put pressure on you into making a purchase without giving you time to research and make an informed decision. Right. Cause right off the bat, you know? Exactly. Um, what they are after.. Number three is the lack of transparency. If a webinar organiser, isn’t willing to provide clear information about their [00:13:00] background credentials or the content of their courses, or even if they showed you something it’s very unclear.

[00:13:07] All right. of their like probably history. It could be a sign that they’re more interested in making money than in helping you succeed as a freelancer. So you have to check their background and even their profiles. So if they call themselves a designer, check their designs. I, I think I’ve seen one of the many freelance coaches

[00:13:29] who call themselves, call themselves a designer but when I tried to search. the profile online. Oh my God. It’s. It’s like.

[00:13:42] Hey, it’s like not being done by professional designer. All right. So probably she, or he just spruced out something on Canva and put it there as her portfolio. But actually she’s not a designer. He’s not designer.

[00:13:56] If they argue, they know what they’re doing, they should have [00:14:00] footprints online. That you can check. All right.

[00:14:04] So these are four of the many dark sides of freelancing in the Philippines. Or in the Filipinos, in the Philippines. So in part two, I’ll give you the best practices on how to avoid this and how to navigate this, how to, uh, find a workaround in building your portfolio.

[00:14:24] And without falling trap to these DARK VADERS. All right. Or to these like, um, leechers or fake gurus again, to recap the four dark sides that we discussed in this episode, our number one. The lack of benefits for Filipino freelancers. Number two freelancers can be easily disposed of.

[00:14:44] Number three is building your portfolio as a cover for free service. And number four is cash grab seminars, or webinars or workshops.

[00:14:53] That’s it for today’s episode guys. I hope you found our discussion insightful and helpful. Check out part two next [00:15:00] week. Please stay tuned. Cause I’ll discuss with you. I’ll share with you the best practices on how to navigate this. And again, many of you are listening or watching this podcast. without subscribing to our channel, may I request to hit that subscribe button. If you’re watching this on YouTube, or if you’re listening on Spotify, apple podcasts, or wherever you consume your podcasts, please give us a follow.

[00:15:23] Give us a review. Because in this way, you are helping us create more valuable content for you. And if you want to go to the next level, guys, just check out our courses and resources. And rest assured we are not fake gurus and we are practitioners. All right. So if you have any thoughts or experiences you’d like to share about this topic, about the dark side.

[00:15:46] Uh, freelancing in the Philippines. If you’re a Filipino and you have an issue, uh, we, the freelancing you have firsthand experience, please let me know. Hit me up. All right. Please feel free to reach out. If you have a story to tell, email me at [00:16:00] and I’ll reply to you personally.

[00:16:03] So until next time, this is Margaret. Take care and happy freelancing mga kababayan! See you in the next episode. Bye.

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