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Turn Your Side Hustle Into A Full-Time Money-Making Gig

Learn from the men who left the corporate life to pursue what they're truly passionate about
by Ginyn Noble | Mar 5, 2017
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Pinoys have always been creative and resourceful—and it shows when it comes to all the ways they earn additional cash.

Millennials, for example, have forged this love affair with “side hustles” or gigs done on top of their day jobs. If your job description and monthly salary just don’t fulfill your goals or needs (and wants), it just makes sense to freelance on the side. Some Pinoys, though, have found that full-time freelancing is now a great alternative to having traditional jobs.

After years in human resource management and development, plus career coaching experience, Edwin Ebreo, founder and president of ExeQserve Corporation (an HR Consulting company), notes that it all boils down to self development. “I think the most important thing to do is to continually get better at your craft. I started my training and HR consulting work as a sideline. Part of my income went to buying books or attending training that will help me learn more about the work that I do and get better at it. Soon enough, the demand increased that I had to do it full time. Now, I continue to learn so that my full time work won't turn back into a part-time gig.”

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Aside from honing your skills through training and studying, Ed also recommends you build a personal brand. “I started blogging about HR topics and career coaching in 2005. I participated in HR community gatherings as a resource person to get the word out there that I am available for service. Social media and blogging helped a lot.”

If you’re considering the same thing (or just looking for that one final push to leave that corporate life you loathe), here are some tips to turn your side hustles into full-time moneymakers from guys who took that leap.

Go digital.

The internet and social media are vital to your future endeavors. Going digital not only lets you earn from online jobs, but it also helps you advertise your services, widen your network, and connect with clients. 

Archie Mariano says burnout from his full-time job in a publishing company pushed him to go freelancing. “I felt that what I was doing back then was not sustainable and that the goals that I had in mind were incompatible with my then-full-time job," he says. "I wanted to travel and to take education units so I could teach. I couldn't do either because I had to be in an office or do shoots five days a week. A former officemate asked me if I was interested in earning extra bucks during weekends. Since I was already thinking of leaving, I gave it a shot. Almost two years later, I still think that that was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made in my life.”

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Now, he’s a content editor for a global voting platform app.

Archie typically works around four to eight hours a day, depending on the assignments he receives and accepts through Upwork. He monitors sports events, does copywriting, and goes on video call conferences with people across the globe. “I learned—and am still learning—a great deal while working with them,” says Archie. “I met a lot of people from different countries and fields. Also, I finished taking education units, completed two online courses thru Coursera, and made crucial headway in clearing the books I’ve written on my to-read list.”

Read books, travel, study, find love. The choice is yours, take advantage of your freedom to expand your mind, build new contacts, and improve yourself.”

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Know your forte—and your range of skills.

It’s all about passion and drive. And, of course, flexibility too. EJ David, director of Okay Fight Creatives, knows this all too well.

“Being a freelancer means you're everything and everyone—from the help to the CEO," he says. "A typical day starts with communicating with clients. After making sure that everything is in order, I go back to working and editing until the project is finished. If there are shoots in the next few days, I book suppliers for cameras and other stuff needed for the shoot while editing to save time, and prepare storyboards or shot lists and do couch time for the shoots.”

Growing your clientele usually starts with your close acquaintances. “I went to an art school, and it was very common there to do work for people that have creative needs. Some of them are just friends that need posters for their projects, family members that need photos for their startup businesses, and the like. Through word of mouth, your name will find its way to people who need your set of specialties.”

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“You have to have courage, more than passion. Taking the leap to the uncertainty of not having the security of a paycheck on the 15th and 30th of the month takes balls.”

Nurture your connections.

Without them, sustaining an unsalaried lifestyle can be a challenge. This is exactly what freelance photographer Charles Rodulfo has realized over the years—particularly from his stint as associate art director for StyleBible (now “I got to meet socialites and celebrities and I established my first connections through that.”

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As he took on non-publishing projects on the side like photography for events and small clothing brands, he expanded his network. Charles also came up with CharlieShotMe, the brand name he’s been using for two years now.

Lucky for him, he still had connections with brands he previously worked with. “They regularly contact me to do basic requirements for their ads or to cover their events. I specialize in producing content for brands during their events and campaigns that influencers can use for their social media accounts.

“If you love what you do, it will never feel like work. You will never think about money, but it will come. There would be trials and hardships, but it will be worth it."

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Wedding videographer Jolo Siscar, managing director of Sky Infinity Studios, believes it's always good business to nurture your relationships with clients, especially if you've known each other for so long. “After graduating, I immediately started my own video studio. All of my clients were from referrals of my friends and schoolmates. I came to a point where I wanted to take the bigger risk in competing in the industry where the bigger reward is waiting.”

And the monetary compensation, free travel, and buffets from the best caterers in the country are among Jolo’s rewards. “Aside from that, I get to know my clients better, which also helps me in showing their stories through the videos,” he adds.

“Give dignity and respect the industry. Do not lower your rates just for the clients to book.  
Be price-competitive, but be mindful to keep the value your work deserves.”

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Hone your discipline and work ethic.

Essentially, you become your own supervisor, so you have to be responsible to be compensated well and respected in your field.

Film critic-turned-filmmaker Dodo Dayao, who wrote and directed Violator (2014) and If You Leave (2016), shares, “Fortunately, with the writing I often do, watching films, reading books, and going online counts as ‘research.’ I’m not being facetious about it. Or self-deprecating. This is vital to any creative person, throwing as many chunks as you can into that soup in your head so you’d have more to sift through for juice.”

He adds, “Discipline is also vital. Never undervalue a work ethic no matter how many breaks you take if only because when you work from home, you can. It’s when the 'To-Do' gets a little daunting that I tend to collapse into myself and forget about everything else but the writing.”

Dodo also cautions, “Remember, though, that freelancing also means you don’t have to work if you don’t feel like it. And that the power to say ‘no’ can be frightening to a lot of people. Fair warning. There will be dry spells. Don’t panic. Dry spells don’t necessarily last.”

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“As for the corporate stuff, take care of all your leads. You’re not just writing for them, you’re servicing them. But all that legwork pays off in dividends that go beyond the money: a regular gig, decent clients you can actually be friends with, a pleasant work environment.”

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Keep your eyes on the prize.

Is it a life where you’re the boss? One where you get to travel for free? Remember your goal, and work hard for it. Take it from Mark Kenneth Iverson Calog, Chief Executive Officer, and Rhamric Peñola Simpron, Chief Operations Officer, of Air You Go Travels Experience, a travel company composed of almost 100 agents catering to the inquiries and concerns of a huge clientele nationwide.

Rhamric goes by Henry Ford’s words: "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't—you're right," and Mark shares this belief. They started out with a mere 30-peso capital—the prepaid load they used to sell Palawan tour packages online through Facebook. This happened while they were both call center agents in major BPO companies. Eventually, the business grew, they both resigned, and used their passion for travel as fuel for their business.

“Turn your passion into something worthwhile. Make time and keep it a priority."

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Have work-life balance.

No matter what industry you’re in or what career you pursue, make sure you don’t overwork nor take too many breaks. And having that work-life balance can be easier if you’re doing things you enjoy in the first place.

Take it from Chuck Araneta, sports anchor/analyst for PBA Rush on Cignal and 92.3 NewsFM, reporter for Sports5ph on YouTube and Facebook, and writer for He also hosts podcasts for From The Stands (with Carlo Pamintuan and Polo Bustamante), weddings, and corporate events—all on top of being a full-time husband and dad.

Chuck had worked in the marketing division of one of the top media networks in the country for eight years. Then, he moved to one of the top telecommunications companies and stayed for eight months before deciding to resign and pursue his passion in sports—specifically basketball. “I felt if I didn't do it now, I never will. I've had this dream since college, and I set it aside first because I wanted to focus on building my career and eventually, my family. With my wife's support, the decision to go into sportscasting was made!”

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Of course, there will be sacrifices, but the payoff is worth it. “It's not all fun and games. There will be weekends that you'll have to give up meeting with friends or family, because sports are heavily featured during the weekends. There will be birthday parties, get-togethers and vacations you'll have to say no to. [But you have to] keep working and be passionate. It's not enough to want to be a sportscaster or a sports writer. You've got to pursue excellence in whatever you do.”

“Stay humble no matter what. The industry is so small, if you rub someone the wrong way because of a bad attitude, it's tough to recover from that.”

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