Last Updated: Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Quick Guide for Filipinos: How to Start Your Freelance Writing Career from Scratch

When I started out my freelance writing career, I learned everything by my own. Way back in 2012, I didn't even know that online writing jobs existed.

I quit my job as a nurse, and enrolled in a language center to study the Japanese language, so that I may be able to apply as a nurse in Japan, my favorite country next to my homeland.

However, I was getting impatient. The language class would never start until there were enough people enrolled. I was unemployed for several months. Unemployed and getting older. I was already 22 years old back then.

Out of the blue, I thought that maybe, there were online writing jobs. I googled it, and I was right. There were only a few guides about freelance writing on the internet, and I was at a loss.

I think I was able to fully set up what I need to start writing for the web within 4 months. From getting a bank account to applying to online writing jobs.

It took me months before I could start because I was not that much acquainted with the web. I only use the internet for researching and copying homework from Wikipedia when I was a college student.

But today, you can easily start your freelance writing career since there are a lot of online guides.

When I started my freelance writing career, these were the steps that I took:

1. Get an RCBC Visa card.

2. Create a Paypal account.

3. Link RCBC Visa to Paypal.

4. Prepare a resume.

5. Apply to online writing jobs.

6. Send a school-type essay and a poem as a writing sample.

Now, if you follow what I previously did, you're off to a very rocky start, and would have minimal chances of landing clients.

As I learned freelance writing on my own, I realized that I should have taken this approach instead right from the start:

1. Get a Visa card such as Unionbank EON.

Instead of RCBC or any other Visa cards, get this one instead. When you link your EON card to Paypal, you'll only have to pay a 50-peso fee for every money withdrawn that is less than 7,000 pesos. Also, the money would be reflected in your EON account within 2 business days.

Compared to RCBC, it will charge you 150 pesos as withdrawal fee, and the money would be reflected within 7-14 days. Plus, it has the possibility that your money would not reflect in your account at all.

It happened to me. I withdrew money from Paypal, but it didn't reflect in my RCBC card. I called and email Paypal several times, and visited the bank back and forth for almost 2 months. Nothing happened. I didn't get my hard-earned money.

2. Create a Paypal account.

Set up a personal Paypal account. It's easy. Just follow Paypal's instructions.

3. Link Unionbank EON card to Paypal.

It's easier to link your Visa card nowadays. Before, you have to email your bank first to get the activation code for Paypal, and their reply would take about 1-2 weeks.

But today, you'll only have to look at your bank statement online to get the code. Once you get the code, it will be activated within 24 hours.

Again, it's easy to link your EON card to Paypal. Just follow Paypal's on-screen instructions.

4. Create three or more writing samples, and they should be published online with your name or byline.

Instead of busying yourself perfecting your resume, do this first. Most clients today don't care about your resume. What's more important to them is to see how you write.

But don't just write any personal essay and poem just like what I did. Your writing samples should be in the form of web content or blogs.

If you want to write about pets, look for pet websites that are accepting guest posts. Remember, your writing samples should be published online with your name or byline.

Most clients today are looking for published writing samples, and sometimes, they don't want you sending them Word documents or PDF files because they are being careful on downloading any attachments. Or maybe they are thinking that you just grabbed any article on the web, saved it in a Word document, and claimed it as yours.

But with writing samples published online with your byline, it proves that you are really its author. Also, it portrays an impression that you are really fit for writing for the web, since other website owners approved your writing or guest posts.

5. Create a presence online through having a freelance writing website and social media profiles.

Despite starting my freelance writing career in 2012, it was only in 2015 that I decided to put up this freelance writing website.

I just noticed that whenever I reach out to new prospects, more and more clients want to see your personal website. It became a requirement to most clients.

Also, clients today want to see your social media profiles for authenticity checks, or they simply want to hire a freelance writer with some online influence.

You see, with so many freelance writers today, your online presence also counts. There are several writers who write well, but they end up not landing the job because they don't have any online presence.

Clients today just don't want you to write; they also want you to share your written articles for them in your social media profiles for a higher reach.

6. Prepare a cover letter and resume.

Just highlight any important information that would be relevant to your application. Say, if you are applying to be a pet blogger, include in your cover letter and resume your interests about pets.

Make it short. 1-2 pages is already enough.

7. Start sending applications.

If you are a part of Filipino freelancing communities, "experts" would often advice you to look for jobs at Upwork or However, I think that these places are not the best places to look for freelance writing jobs, since most clients there are only willing to pay $2-$5 per 500-words. But they are great platforms for those who are looking for homebased call center jobs and virtual assistant jobs.

Visit Elna Cain's blog to learn where to find better paying clients.


Some freelance writing experts will tell you that you should just take action and search for clients; that it is only okay to send them whatever writing samples you have such as an essay or reflection paper you have written during your university days. However, with a lot of freelance writers on the rise, samples like these just won't make the cut. There are a lot of freelance writers who prepared writing samples that are truly relevant to their target niche.

For example, you really want to write for a particular website, but you screwed up because you sent your not-so relevant writing sample. Sure, you could try again if the client allows you so. However, there are some clients who will say straight at your face not to ever apply again.

Hence, I would suggest to really prepare your published writing samples first, before you start sending applications.