Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Article - Ready to jump into freelancing?

From content sharing of inquirer.net and MoneySense

Ready to jump into freelancing?

By Lynda C. Corpuz
Last updated 09:36am (Mla time) 08/27/2007

After a decade of solid, corporate public relations experience, Gwendolyn Cariño, 35, decided to be a freelance publicist and corporate counsel. “I wanted to continue my PR practice and, at the same time, be a hands-on mother to my now seven-year-old daughter, Sabine,” she says.

In many cases, working from home can be a far more rewarding experience than working in an office. For instance, Gwen, who charges either on a retainer or per project basis, earns twice or thrice more than what she was getting from doing corporate PR work. She shares her advice in setting up and operating a business from home:

Set up your home office. After registering as a single proprietor, Gwen spent about P20,000 to convert a small area in their house as her office. She already had an office table and personal computer but she purchased a fax machine, a CD burner, office supplies, and a small air-conditioner. She subscribed to an Internet service provider and set aside a separate budget for electricity.

Outsource non-crucial tasks. Gwen does practically everything and only gets additional manpower when she needs help in writing. For logistics, a regular messenger distributes press releases, publications, and documents to clients.

Set a strict schedule for work. Gwen usually works from seven in the morning until noon when Sabine is in school and from 3 to 6 p.m. when her daughter is done with her homework and has taken a nap. She schedules a day or two per week for meetings or press lunches.

‘Fess up. You have to be professional at all times when dealing with customers. But there may be some people who consider someone working from home as less than professional. So it might be a good idea to make that clear from the start and get the issue out of the way. One time, when Gwen was talking to a client on the phone, her daughter picked up the extension and said, “Mommy, can you wash me please after I make poo-poo?” “My client laughed! But then, I was not ashamed of it since they knew my set-up from the very start and they still opted to work with me,” Gwen shares.

Strike the right balance. Working from home gives you an excellent opportunity to achieve work-life balance. But don’t let “life” outweigh “work.” Gwen’s family understands her work and respects the time she has to give it. “In the same manner, I also respect their presence and their time. I work as if in the office, within office hours, and give them the attention they need when they are home,” she says.

(From the March-April 2007 issue of MoneySense, the country’s first and only personal finance magazine. Visit www.moneysense.com.ph for more.)
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