Sunday, December 27, 2015

Safavid: 2016 Planner Pick

I gotta admit, this year's Perfect Planner hunt wasn't as calculated as recent years'. This was as cliche as love at first sight.
Yeah. You read that right.

Here's how it went down.
After an hour of rifling through piles of 2016 hardbound schedulers, I was already in the grips of frustration. My yearly 'I'm gonna publish my own goddamn planner!' rant reared its evil head once again, until --BAM!-- this book stack in a dark corner caught my eye. I'm not being dramatic here. It was indeed a pretty dark corner hidden from the public eye. Why is that, National Bookstore?

Paperblanks planners were at a bottom shelf at a turn between the kids' reading nook and the arts supplies area (I think… if my failing memory doesn't fail me). What got me riveted with a gasp to the stack was this heavenly beauty. The cover was both gorgeous and almost ominous --which, to me, is an absolute win-win.

The embossed detail is simply NUTS! The cover info said that this planner is called SAFAVID --a book that employs the Persian filigree pattern from the Islamic Golden Age. Very, very beautiful in its bronze, copper, and gold ensemble.

I wanted it even before I could check out the inside, which is so unlikely of me. But it didn't let me down. In contrast to the flamboyance of its cover, the inner leaves were clean and clutter-free with ample border space for personal and professional side comments.

It's riddled with doodle pages in sustainable forest paper. That alone had me sold! And… TWO metallic ribbon bookmarks?! Dayum!

It also has a memento pouch which a hoarder like me can totally use. A detachable address book in copper is a good plus, especially for someone like me who gets lost on the road on a daily basis.

The book clocks at Php 1,103.00 which can be a bit pricey for a planner. But… just look at it! DAYUM!

Other designs in the hidden collection are just as breathtaking.

Check out Paperblanks Planners at National Bookstore today. Usher in 2016 with class and drama. I mean, why not!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The 4 Trip-Wires to Compensation

You worked your fingers to the bone and your brain to the last pulsing morsel knowing that you should be able to FINALLY bask in the fruits of your hard-earned labor. 
With a happy smile on your face, you bill your client. 
And then… the bomb dropped.

No matter how rushed the project is, it does not automatically translate to a rushed payment. Because your client's finance department has RULES. And these rules totally side-eye your contract. 

Alright, so your client agreed to your '50% downpayment upon initial presentation' deal and clearly signed off on it. But when collection time came, she went into complete panic because apparently, your cheque is still in the middle of a verrry long processing period. Can you do anything about it? Can she do anything about it? No. Because these are company rules which cannot be deterred even with the crudest hacksaw.

So you give in (because it's better to get paid late than never). With your thumbs gone raw from over-twiddling, the 90-day wait is up and you jump with complete and utter glee! Only to discover that the date on the cheque requires that you wait some more. You question your client on the postdated-ness and get another helpless reply. It's an in thing to release postdated checks nowadays. It's like saying 'Hey, I already paid you… NOT!' Company rules, company rules, company rules...

After that extended wait, you run off to your bank to get the cheque encashed. New issue, my friend. Easy money is still a dream as the cheque can only be deposited. Because that's the only kind of cheque your client's finance department releases. Per rules. Per engraved-in-stone rules.

And so you twiddle the remaining bones of your thumbs as you wait for another three days for your cheque to get cleared.

When it finally does, you withdraw your money. By this time, you're just way too emotionally exhausted to celebrate.

Is there a cure for this kind of business setback? Not much, I'm afraid. Company rules debunk your well-written (and SIGNED!) contract when 'There's really nothing we can do.' comes into the conversation. The only way you can prepare for such hurdles is to be in-the-know. Before accepting the project, dig deep into your client's company compensation rules. It's not enough to stick by your own terms and conditions for some negotiations. Your client is not always the voice of cheque releases either. But you can always grill her to find out what finance monster you're dealing with so you can prepare for it.

If you can handle the wait, then all is good --so long as you have this all written down and signed by 'the real person concerned' so that there will be no further trip-wires along the way.

Send reminders regularly. Some clients have a tendency to 'forget' processing your payment that you have to give them that extra nudge to get the ball rolling.

And don't put all your eggs in one particular client basket. Keep working on other projects just in case another client decides to drop a surprise billing bomb.

Well, that's all i can think of to keep yourself protected. Research will always be your shield. That and possibly getting some legal backbone support.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

5 Tips To Boost Your Immunity During The Holidays

Stress and I? We're like this -- *crosses pointy finger and middle finger tightly together to the point of pain* It doesn't matter if it's for work or for play. If I'm going to be planning it, I'm going to be stressing about it.  So now that the holiday is creeping in, you can just imagine my looming nervous breakdown which --more often than not-- leads to me getting sick all throughout the season.

Good thing I discovered an immunity booster that's guaranteed to make me healthier and stronger even as holiday stress tries to pull my natural defences down.
Fern-C isn't your run-of-the-mill Ascorbic Acid. It's a Sodium Ascorbate which means:
  • It's Vitamin C that doesn't cause stomach upsets.
  • It's a food additive that conserves the colour, taste, and nutrition in food.
  • It's an anti-oxidant that increases body resistance to infections and stress.
  • And, it's a daily dose of awesomeness that's inspired me to list down some valuable tips on how to be stress-free and sick-free this holiday. Watch!

Those last minute deadlines are the worse! Before you go on that well-deserved Christmas vacation, work is going to suck you dry. And that's why you have to be more efficient in managing your time during the busiest schedule of the year. Set lead-times per project. If you get stuck in a rut, move on to the next. Focus. Cut down on distraction and procrastination. Working wiser is better than working harder. It lessens stress and gives you time to rest, too. No sickness happening in this department.

Ah, Christmas shopping… possibly the most stressful activity next to the final stretch at the Olympics. Especially if you plan to hit the mall in December. So what do you do? Get creative! You can buy one of the same thing for all your friends, and personalise them with a special touch. How about writing their names on lovely leather-bound journals with the sweetest flourishes of calligraphy? It's personal and emotional since it's part labor of love. There! Now you even have energy to spare.

Aside from stressing out about what to cook for Noche Buena, another thing that messes with your immune system is how unhealthy some party food can be. So why not divide the cooking responsibility among your relatives with an exciting 'healthy' theme. I'm sure Aunt Bea will be more than pleased to show off her excellent Veggie Fettucine, and Lola Puring will be more than pumped to share her Organic Embutido. No stress. All health.

If you're planning to buy more gadgets for your kids this season --hold that thought. Christmas is all about togetherness, love, family. Not being cooped up at home with the complete lack of verbal communication because everyone's busy with their new X-Box, their new iPhone 6, and their new Bose headphones. Instead of gadgets, get your buns moving for the family trip to the great outdoors! Explore places you've never been to together! Make better memories than scoring game levels. A little fresh air never hurt anyone. It only makes the family bond stronger and healthier.

Now, don't sell yourself short. If there's anyone who needs to take a bow for keeping the holiday (and the whole year) stress-and-sickness-free --it's you! So reward yourself with a little ME TIME. Postpone pesky incoming projects, reschedule meetings. And spend the last few days of the season sipping hot cocoa, reading a book… and yes, catching up on those much needed Zzzz's. The family and your clients will understand. After all, you'll need to recharge for the next onslaught of reality, right?

Do all these with Fern-C --and stress, cough, and colds won't make it into your guest list this Christmas.

Hey, now's the perfect time to get started!
Find out more about having a #StressFreeChristmas and a #HealthyHoliday at Fern-C's website, like Fern-C's Facebook page, and follow Fern-C on Twitter and Instagram.

#FernCSubokNa  #StressFreeChristmas #HealthyHoliday

*Photo edited from Fern-C Facebook page

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My Belkin Wishlist

These days, getting ahead of the game is all about connection, connection, connection. That's why you got your fancy laptop, your shmancy tablet. and your fancy shmancy cellphone. But what will you do IF your precious gadgets lose juice in the middle of the most unfavourable scenarios?
Me? I'd weep. I'd fall apart. I'd be a wet match in a cave. Being a Creative Consultant, I'm insanely dependent on my tools of the trade. I can't afford to miss a call.
So how do I avoid the dreaded Low Batt from ever happening? I get gadgets for my gadgets. I get Belkin.

Belkin is the end all and be all of charging and connectivity prowess. If you want your tech things spewing perpetual power, I've got an entire Belkin wishlist right here.

Like most freelance Energizer Bunnies, I multitask. I multitask like the wind! And wouldn't you know it --Belkin's Swivel Charger does the same. It has two connection ports so I can charge two devices at the same time --as fast as Lightning! And with its 90-degree swivel feature, it leaves me with another outlet for, say, my blowdryer. What an understanding piece of technology!

"I'm on the road." is no longer a reason for being undercharged with this set of badass babies. Small and compact, this system fits my dash like a glove. It has a 4-foot long Lightning to USB cable that powers up any of my gadgets in breathtaking speed. It syncs my devices seamlessly, too, while I zip through the highway.

You know how those tube-like cables tend to twist and get all knotty and knobby in your backpack? Oh, not this one. The Mixit Flat Lightning to USB cable is unbelievably flat, flexible, and easy to stash.  Mixit mixes and matches with all my power accessories for synching and file transferring. I am so gonna use this to my heart's content at  home, at work, on the road.

Now THIS is a lifesaver! Every now and then, my work finds me in location shoots in the middle of Godforsaken nowhere. If I can't be near an outlet anytime soon, the Mixit Powerpack 4000 will keep all my USB-enabled devices amped for the next 8-freaking-hours! And with 4000 mAh, this powerpack will stay charged for days from the last time I've plugged it in. What can I say? Whenever you need a quick boost, Mixit makes it happen.

Of course, i can't be too selfish. can I? This handsome piece of progress also makes it into my wishlist. And it's called a 'Rockstar' for good reason. The Road Rockstar is decked with 4 ports so I can charge my phone while hubby charges his phone while the the little boy charges his game and the bigger boy charges his music. WHEW! No surprises there because the Road Rockstar's 6-foot cable gives us the flexibility and the reach. It's perfect. You know what they say, 'The family that charges together, stays together.'. :P

There you have it --My Belkin Wishlist! No gadget of mine will ever go thirsty again!

If I have convinced you on the importance of perpetual power, then my job here is done. Now, it's your move. Head on to the Lazada site to check out more of Belkin's incredible products and put up your own wishlist.
If you want to be on top of your game, you got to keep your game on. On and on and on.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

RaketChick for #bloggys2015!

Stop working!


Drop everything and do the most relaxing thing: Casting your vote at the premiere blogging event of the year --the BLOGGYS 2015!

It may sound daunting but, unlike local politics, voting for an awesome blog is really easy.

FIRST, choose the blog with a niche. The unique one that cuts across the clutter. Like, say, a Freelancing Survival Guide Blog. Heck, not many blogs are like that! Well, except

SECOND, choose the blog that educates, engages, and empowers readers. The one that isn't just there for show, but to genuinely help people by giving tips and tidbits for self-improvement in the middle of self-employment. Like, say,

THIRD, choose the blog that's fun! Off the top of my head, maybe one that actually has a zany comic character that represents a badass freelancer who goes about shooting monsters with her vast collection of Nerf Guns! Oh, kinda like

Easy-peasy, huh? I can make it even easier for you. Just click on THIS, scroll down, and then all you have to do is pencil in a checkmark on… oh, I dunno… raketchick.blogspot. com maybe?

And with that, I may have already pressed my luck. Haha! I'll just park it here for now, and leave you to your inner musings before you get to that relaxing task of voting. While you're at it, I'll even sing you a lullaby to calm you down…

RaketChick, baby
Vote for this blog
When your vote goes
I'll give you a huuuuug…


*music and sfx are all from iMovie's soundbank.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Just Between Us Freelancers

If you're on the inside looking out, you'd think these independent creative workers roaming the outskirts of your precious industry must all be wild, desperate humanoids who stab backs and feed on each others' young.

You'd be surprised because we're not like that. Well, most of the time.
Freelancers actually have good relationships with their like-minded peers. People who are supposed to be our arch nemesis are also our valuable allies. I guess our flexibility has mellowed us down into a fun, friendly community.

A great way to illustrate is through a pitch...

1. We Compete and Cuddle.
In contrast to the corporate culture, we don't jump into a business pitch thinking that a pay increase, a promotion, or an award on a mantel is on the line. We think of a pitch as a chance to catch up with old industry friends who have also gone Indie. Wiping them off the face of the business is only an extra perk.

2. We Connect and Contribute.
Freelancers are big on networking and sharing --from new gadget options to project leads. We're not so competitive that we go greedy. When our plate is full and another project comes in, the first thing we do is refer a colleague who's usually our professional rival whom we know can do epic work on the job.

3. We Co-work and Collab.
Freelancers don't always work alone. When projects are big, we get together and form a dream team. Now this kind of dynamic does not always happen in the corporate world. An ad agency working with another ad agency is just unheard of. Well, not in the crazy world that is Freelancing.

4. We Coffee and Cope.
Only Freelancers get what Freelancers are going through. And so, at the end of a gruelling day, we get together for coffee and rant about life. We cry and then we laugh. And then we live to compete with each other another day. It's routine. And we love it.

5. We Conform to the Code.
We do not dip into the client pool of a co-Indie's unless invited to. No snakes in the grass here. It's an unspoken rule and an unwritten code that every member of the free work force knows about and abides by. Whoever won the biz owns that shizz.

6. We Collect and Celebrate
Come payday (which isn't your regular, run-of-the-mill payday), we party up our spoils with people who know how hard it was to get that production cost approved. Usually, with partners who will easily be our competitors at the next pitch. Usually, over squid balls, barbecue, Kropek, and beer.

Freelancing is hard. We do bare our claws when needed. But we also keep in mind that we are still a small, tight little bunch that would rather co-exist than battle it out with fists. I guess freedom does give you a different perspective on things. Not everything has to be a war.
If you yourself have been on the inside looking out, and are now on the outside looking in, you'll know what I mean.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Perfect Home with Property24: A Dream Sequence

I'm probably the youngest home dreamer that ever walked this planet. While kids my age dreamed about rainbow unicorns and Prince Charming, I was sitting on our porch thinking "Someday, I'm gonna live in the most rockin' house ever!"

Back then, my choices relied largely on Location, location, location. But as I grew older, and my needs grew by the ton, my options for dream housing have also gone broader. Whittling that down to a fine selection, I have Property24 to thank.

Property24 is a home-hunting site that's incredibly beefed up with the best listings there is! For example…

I'm a workaholic freelance writer. Which means I'll need to be at the heart of the action at all times to get more work done. What fits the bill? The Proscenium. A swanky condo situated right smack in Rockwell. Since most of my business transactions happen in the Central Business District, I can easily jump from one meeting to another and even have time for coffee in between.

I'm also big on socialising because it opens the gates for networking. Yup, that's how much of a workaholic I am. So if I were to dream, I'd do the Bruce Wayne thing and own a luxurious property in Tagaytay Highlands. With its many rooms embraced with a backdrop of woods and nature, Aspenhills is perfect!

Of course, most days I'd like my me time as well. And that's where this exclusive beachfront paradise in Aklan comes in. Palm Ville sits alone in this private, sandy stretch where I can whip out my J.K. Rowling persona and write bestselling novels. Uh-huh. Who doesn't dream to be that mysterious writer who culls inspiration from the balcony of her very own beach house?

I can't be a workaholic forever though. There would be times when all I want to do is escape. And, really, the best escape for me is to drop everything work-related and be with family. If we lived in a beach resort, even better! Tambuli Resort in Maribago, Cebu has spacious 2-bedroom condos that give the comforts of home plus the amenities of a seaside haven.

Okay, okay… if that dream sequence is too much of a tall order, there's always this quaint, Zen Asian-inspired beauty in McKinley Hill, Taguig. Sure, it doesn't have the resort amenities, the exclusive beach, the hustle and bustle of city life, and the opulence of a mansion in the middle of the woods. But it has peace, a breezy aura, and it's in the neighbourhood of fun, health-loving people. A dreamy place I'd like my kids to grow up in.

I can add so much more to this wish list. But now, it's your turn. See all your dream houses come to life at Property24 today. I have. And it's like being a kid again getting all the goodies she wants at Christmas morn.
Hey, a girl can dream! is the fastest growing property portal in the Philippines.  They provide an effective online platform for leading Real Estate Developers, Agencies and Brokers that allows them to showcase their property listings to a wider audience of qualified prospective Buyers.
#PerfectHome  #Property24  #Property24PH

Thursday, September 3, 2015

I want Exotic. And make it OpenSnap Snappy!

"Uh, what do you want for OT dinner?"

"Uh, I dunno. You?"

"Uh, I dunno either. You?"


Sounds familiar? When you burn the midnight oil as regularly as I do, chances are, your brain would be too fried to make a sane decision on sustenance. At one point, every kind of food seems the same. At one point, you find yourself asking, "Isn't there anything more exhilarating, more exotic, to re-animate my mind, my body, my soul, my taste buds?"

OpenSnap says there is!

OpenSnap is the Ultimate Photo Dining Guide that virtually takes you to every restaurant in the metro according to your distinct whim. With just a few taps on this app, I found the exotic food treasure trove that is Nicholas Restaurant. In Pasay. Who knew?! This was the best, quickest food place discovery I've ever made and I didn't even have to go out of town!

Completely unassuming, Nicholas Restaurant has the snap-worthy, spice-up-your-dindin Tinapang Usa.

The photogenic, yummygenic Tinapang Baboy Ramo.

The picture perfect and perfectly enticing Adobong Buwaya

And to cap the night, there's the camera-ready Kapeng Civet --ready to fuel me for the rest of my insane working hours.

Nothing re-energises quite like stimulating food and amazing discoveries in a snap. The next time I get another totally different craving, you'll definitely find me OpenSnapping! You should, too!

For more restaurants and food finds, download OpenSnap app from App Store or Google Play.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

8 Reasons Why A Freelancer Needs A Dog

I was watching Riddick for the 100th time on HBO last weekend, and it got me thinking…
"My freelancing existence makes me kinda like Vin Diesel's crafty character. I'm a creative warrior. A strategic hero. Hear me roar!"
"Damn it, I need a dingo!"

Ok, not really. But it does help a lot of freelancers --most especially, the workaholic ones cooped up in their home offices-- to have dogs.
Yeah, yeah, that iguana in your fish tank gives you so much character, but nothing says support system quite like man's best friend.
How so, you ask?

When you've got flexibility, it's so difficult to discipline yourself into getting work started at the proper time. Snuggling in that lovely bed without thinking of a timesheet is glorious! But… it's just your luck that your dog doesn't come with a snooze button. So after a series of noisy yaps, sloppy licks, and unrelenting blanket-pulling, you're up and raring to go. Real professional-like. Throw that alarm clock away, why don't you?

Dogs have that contagious joy-joy attitude. When they're perky (and they almost always are), you find yourself getting perky. Yes, that huge mug of coffee in your hands help with the perk meter. But all those positive vibes running through your system on a Monday morning, that's all dog-induced.

Speaking of contagious joy-joy, have you ever had a Skype meeting with your dog popping its adorable head into the frame making your client go "Aww… what a cutie!"? No? Give it a try. It lightens up the mood fast. Taking your dog to your casual coffee shop business meetings has the same positive effect.

With acute sensitivity, a dog can also tell when you're in the zone and would want some serious me time. He won't bug you about that squeaky garage door you need to fix or last night's dishes you need to wash. Instead, he'll get out of your way, go out into the yard, and chase birds until it's feeding time.

Had a hard day out? Your dog won't mouth off about how you've just jeopardised your whole career with your bad judgment. On the contrary, he will happily woof your welcome and tackle-hug you to the ground --giddily implying that you're still awesome and that everything will be okay. Instant ego booster! Your dog is an in-house pep rally you cannot do without.

Of course, when you've done great, your dog is also there for that well-meaning hug and that tub of Haagen Dazs you have saved up in your freezer. Extreme enthusiasm guaranteed!

If you've been sitting in front of your laptop far too long, your dog will let you know, too. He will slobber it up on your lap with a ball or his leash between his teeth, telling you in not so many words that you need to stretch those legs and experience the beauty of fresh. clean air at the park. And this time, he's not taking no for an answer.

And when it's time to go back to the grind, your dog will stay curled up at your feet way beyond bedtime. Telling you with his calm breathing that he won't leave you despite your irrational masochistic ways.

I know what you're thinking. You can get the same kind of companionship from a quality human being, right? True. But in a barren wasteland that is your home office with nothing but dunes of deadlines outlining the horizon, a dog is what you need. You need that raw, unshakeable, crazy-primal loyalty.
To quote Riddick, "Gotta find that animal side again."

A dog, Freelancer. Fetch one.

Monday, August 3, 2015

RaketChick on Freelancers Union!

Well, look who's moving up in the world!
Moi is officially a contributor to the biggest community of freelancers in the free world: Freelancers Union.
Never heard of it? What rock have you been living under?

Anyhoo, Freelancers Union is a federation for the new workforce. In layman's terms, it's the independent worker's haven. It believes that all workers should have the freedom to build meaningful, connected, and independent lives --backed by a system of mutual and public support. This is brilliant news for those who live in the U.S. because Freelancers Union offers ways to acquire benefits such as Medical and Retirement despite being unemployed. It provides valuable Resources for Discounts, Contract-crafting, and that mind-boggling thing called Taxes. Neat, huh?

And it doesn't stop there. In the spirit of Networking, Freelancers Union also opens up social venues like the Hives Groups where community members can share resumes, contacts, project leads, inspirational tidbits… damn, even pet photos! Its Spark Events truly creates a spark as freelancers get together in one massive learning summit with experts talking about the ins and out of profitable independence and anything and everything under the freelancing sun.

Sounds incredible so far? Oh, it gets better. Because even if you don't live in the States, you still get to pick up on these learnings from the community website. And, you get to share your own nuggets of awesomeness, too. Like I did. Heeee…

Click on the photo for the blog
So if you're a freelancer in need of like-minded peers to connect with and learn from, then this is your family. I've been a member for over a year now and, yep, it's a keeper!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Make Your Own Luck

For the record, I'm not a huge fan of Facebook quizzes (and, for the record, I am a well-versed hater of Facebook game requests --just sayin').  But a friend sent me the Can We Write A Poem About You? app on Facebook and, being a struggling poet myself, I was intrigued.

I half-heartedly went through the motions of the quiz knowing fully well that I'd still get a cheesy prose no matter how off-kilter I dropped answers on each and every question.

Well, surprise, surprise… I got this!

I'm sure Tom, Dick, and Harry got this little bit of poetry, too. The mysterious Jon D.B. wouldn't have gone off the handle in individualising each and every sestina he churned for the app, would he?

But still, this piece is pretty spot-on. It's pretty much a Freelancer's battle cry. And for that reason alone, I give FB and Jon D.B. a heartfelt thumbs up.
Especially for the magnificence that is the second verse. Damn.

You can take the quiz yourself (if you're into this kind of thing).

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Hanging Games

The roller coaster ride that is freelancing would be so much fun if it weren't for those hanging games. You know that? The roller coaster is moving at the speed of light threatening to zap the life out of you when suddenly… it stops! Right on top of the loop. Upside down. Lights out.
So now you feel the blood going up your brain and your limbs are going numb. And this gets you wondering… "Will I ever live through this?"

Same thing with the freelancer roller coaster ride. You don't mind the vomit-inducing loop d' loops, the  neck-breaking slaloms, and the death-defying drops. You're used to those kinds of things. As long as they're done fast and virtually painless. But some people aren't that giddy to give you that satisfaction. Some people you work with have a thing for those hanging games --especially when you're at the receiving end. On top of the loop. Upside down. Lights out.

So what do you do? Not stick around moping, that's for sure.

Hanging Scenario 1:
YOU: "I would like to get feedback on the cost estimate I sent."
THEM: "Client is still reviewing it. We'll get back to you."
This sounds like a 50/50. Even if the project feels like a big one, better not put all your eggs in this single basket. If it's just the CE you've dropped, that's no skin off your back. So just go off and look for other projects to fill in the gap. Even if they already gave you a timetable, you're not to take that to heart unless the CE is signed. No CE, no work, no commitment.

Hanging Scenario 2:
YOU: "I would like to get an update on the project…"
THEM: "It's postponed."
HEARTBREAKER! You've already done so much!
When the initial emotional meltdown has died down, time to review your contract. Are you up for a Discontinuance Fee? We're you smart enough to get a downpayment before you started working? Time to be vigilant in earning your output. Time to be steadfast in protecting your shared ideas, too. Your client should be aware that they cannot use a smidgen of your semi-killed thoughts.
A postponement also means it's just a pause. The project can play again. So make sure you follow up every now and then.

Hanging Scenario 3:
YOU: "I would like to follow up on my cheque."
THEM: "Uhm… it's not ready yet."
Now THIS is serious. The worst of all hanging games --planned or unplanned-- happen at collection time. Your client suddenly goes out of the country. Your cheque is missing signatories. There's a bizarre need to re-negotiate your cost right after the project is done. Stand firm, Freelancer. Hold on to your signed contract like your life depended on it --because it does. And follow up like you mean business --because you do. Remember though to be persistent but not prissy. Be polite. Stay polite. You're not getting anything out of a pissed client. Especially when the delay isn't his fault. Well, not entirely, that is.

The hanging game isn't the norm. More often than not, the freelancing ride is pretty smooth with all the tosses and turns you've learned to live with and love. But when you do come to a stop, don't just hang in there and pray that things work out. Do something. Anything stuck can be moved with a little bolt-loosening and push.
So much like a roller coaster.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Reblog: The Coffeeholic Expose

I don't usually reblog, but this is important. This is coffee. This is Sparta!

I, apparently, flip-flop between being controlling and laid back. I'm schitzo like dat.
What does your coffee say about you?

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Heads up, people. It's mindset-changing time. :)

I know and you know how annoying it is when people belittle freelancers. Getting shortchanged by abusive clients, being looked down on by agency-based industry peers. Yeah, that comes with the territory and you learn to roll with it.
But what really irks me to hell and back is when a freelancer himself belittles everything about freelancing. WTF, right?! Downscaling doesn't mean gaining a shorter vision on things. In fact, when you're alone, you should be able to see the big picture better.
And here is where I will start jostling your mind back to sanity.

It kills me every time a building receptionist asks, "What company are you from?" --and you almost always automatically blurt out, "I'm just a freelancer."
Okay, the first thing you do when you decide to join the freelancing brigade is to respect yourself. You're not a bit player in this industry… unless you want to be. Just like people in big agencies, you sell the same thing: BIG IDEAS. So what makes you a lesser life form?

"Eh, that one's a no-brainer. I only do this for the money anyway." 
This. THIS kind of shiitake attitude is what ruins the good name of every independent creative in the land. Sure, sure… we need to survive. But your passion for your craft shouldn't go down the drain for it. Just in case you didn't know, any little project you get is a prospective foot-in-the-door. It beefs up your portfolio. It opens up more opportunities in the future. But if you keep thinking small and aiming for a one-trick-pony career, then I don't see you understanding this.

When you're freelance, you can't really tap the big suppliers you used to due to, well, usually budget constraints. With this setback, you're all "I don't wanna work with small establishments!" 
Okay, back up. Remember that Avis ad? We're no. 2 so we try harder? That's what you've been doing --trying harder-- which means that's what small suppliers do, too. They'll pull more stops to get the job done just like you do.
Now if you find a supplier that matches your kind of determination, ambition, and hard work, you two can actually work wonders together. Heck, you might even grow together!

Back in the day, you join pitches and make it a habit to ask who you're pitching against. And then laugh all the way to town when you find out that you're competing with unknowns.
"Was he a Creative Director?! Never heard! Hahaha! *snort*"
That is not the mindset you should have as a freelancer. This playing field does not tell you who's the big shot and who isn't. Everyone has the capability to shine even without a gigantic agency name under one's belt. It's a free-for-all. So instead of getting all cozy in your laurels, you should still push for number one.
If you've won a pitch against a full-blown agency as a freelancer, you'll know what I mean.

To recap: As a freelancer, you're allowed to make mountains out of molehills. Because you're allowed to think big. Because you see the big picture. Because you foresee a huge-ass future.
So did I sway you back into the light? Hope so. Because this post was mighty big of me. Hehe...

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Creative Consultant vs the Drama Llama

So you got an awesome Consultancy gig. Great schedule. Great pay.
But... godawful drama!

Not that this is anything new to you. You've been involved in workplace drama and even orchestrated quite a few in the past when you were still corporate. However, if drama is the reason why you left the 9-to-5-and-then-some grind, then you don't need this extra excitement in your life.

With that, here are some basic tricks to survive your unwanted comeback to workplace theatrics.

1. Put your spotlight… on yourself.
So some disgruntled employees let you in on the office secret that the company sucks and they are in dire need of a saviour. You. Okay, remember… You were contracted for one reason. To be awesome and to stay awesome. So do just that. As they say in Gone Girl, "Everything else is background noise."

2. Be a moving picture.
So the team you're tasked to work with is the prick collective. So don't drop your other jobs. When you move a lot, drama won't stick to you. Don't make one agency your one and only world. Be too busy that you won't have the time to wallow in other people's petty problems.

3. Never audition. 
So this and that told you that the guy who signs your checks steals from the company. Be an ear. Never a mouth. Listen to what the In-house drama crew has to say just so you know what to look out for (just in case). But be very objective. Do not give your opinion. Do not outperform your boundaries.

4. Play the part.
So the agency boss tells you that you can shoot down everyone's work except his son-in-law's. Ooohkaay… sure. Play the politics as much as you can without endangering your output and the team's. Devise a middle ground that makes both parties happy. This is tricky shit so you have to know if you're up to it.

5. Stay in character.
So someone from the inside is attacking you head-on. This can be a guy whose glorious position you've endangered by your swashbuckling presence and performance. IG-NORE. You get to piss him off more by playing it cool. Let him muck up on his own.

6. Do not be a Drama Queen.
So the attack has gone too far? Mr. Insecure is going the desperate, underhanded route of ruining you? Bite back the smart way. Don't get all emotional that it will put you in a bad light. Document everything, put everything in black and white. It's better to outbitch with brains than brawn.

So you can't stand the drama anymore? Bail out! Jump ship! Move on and burn that drama bridge! Remember that you're first and foremost a freelancer. A Creative Nomad. You'll survive wherever fate takes you. And opportunities never run out because you make them happen. But… leave with grace. Make sure you've been too awesome that you will be missed. While the offending party will be dissed for it.

And that's how you kill the llama. Of course, the drama is never the same wherever you go. But it will find you one way or the other. The trick is to handle it with poise, smarts, and indifference. You're free. So why box yourself in a tiny puppet stage?

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Cost of Costing

To us freelancers, costing is the scariest thing.
You experience head trauma while these questions plague your brain: "What if I charge too high and lose the project to someone else?" and "What if I charge too low and end up earning a mole hill for my mountain of output?"
Unfortunately, there really isn't a standard as to how you should charge when you're an independent Creative. But you do need to charge competitively. The trick is to research, ask around, get in touch with like-minded/like-careered folks and juice their minds. After that, everything else is pretty much nego and gut feel. In other words… dude, you're on your own.

Some clients will ask for your rate card. When the initial panic dies down, give them one. A rate card marks professionalism. I have a rate card that pretty much reflects the research I mentioned up there. But like me, these costs are pretty flexible. Anything can be negotiated, anything can change --depending on so many project factors.

Since we're on the topic of research, it will do you good to research on your client, too. Typically, if it's a big client, aim high. If it's a smaller, newbie client, aim low. Reasonably on both counts, of course. Now, if it's a straight-out low-budget project, make your sleuth work tell you if this project can lead to more projects in the future. If so, then be more lenient with the numbers and treat this project as a foot-in-the-door.

YES! Us freelancers aren't money-hungry snakes in the grass after all. We do free work, too. Especially if it's for a good cause AND if it means putting your name and skills out there. Advocacies make good opportunities for your creativity and good heart to shine. So grab one, have fun, fatten up that portfolio!
Needless to say, if a certain client just wants to get a freebie for no apparent reason --then walk on, my friend. Walk on.

Now here is where feelings come in. If it's a lousy project but the client is good, a discount or a free AOB wouldn't hurt. If it's an amazing project but the client is an ass, then no. Everything gets paid in sync with the awesomeness of your performance. It all boils down to Creative-Client relationships. If it's the kind that's worth keeping, then charge in a way that would make the client believe you're worth keeping, too.
Crucial note: Perks do not mean selling yourself short. It means selling yourself right, with an extra.

Before diving into that CE document, know anything and everything about the project. If it's going to be crazy-ass work horse extensive with a deadline that's not humanly possible --then think really haaaaard if you even want to work on this. If it's going to kill you more than you usually kill yourself, call the client and courteously back away. Being freelance means being smart. Not desperate.

With that, I need to remind you that no matter how you cost, always --and I mean ALWAYS-- work with the same passion it takes when working for millions. As a freelancer, your reputation is more important than anything in the world. It's what gets you glorious word-of-mouth, future projects, and heftier pay. So do your best and cost accordingly.

Good luck!

And now I leave you to discuss this among yourself.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Caffeine-Fuelled Post

This is what happens when I have a lot of time to kill at Starbucks, my official office space and zoning out haven.

If you want to catch more of my demented doodles, drop by my IG. It's where my pen goes to bleed. :P

Wait! Did you learn anything from this post aside from the fact that I just did a blatant plugging?
Yes, there is a moral lesson here. Productivity happens even in the most mundane situations as long as you have coffee and inspiration.
Whew! Nice save. :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The 10 To-Dos When You Get THE CALL

Once in a while, fate throws you a monkey wrench that will completely rock and near capsize your game. I get that once or twice a year. I call it… the lure of the full time job.
It has good timing, too. Just when you're neck deep in freelancing shit (read: lots of work, delayed checks).  Just when you're right at the cusp of questioning the validity of your chosen field. Do I really want this kind of instability? Do I really crave for this kind of excitement? Is stress and panic really my fuck buddies?
In the middle of this existential self-berating, the phone rings --flashing an unfamiliar number. And there it is. A call from your past. A huge agency is asking you to come back to the fold. So...

1. Be open-minded
Hear the agency out. If there's one distinct trait a freelancer has, it's the ability to be open to every opportunity. And that's what this is --an opportunity. So just this once, shut your eyes, bite that lip, take a deep breath, and shed that I'm My Own Boss shtick.

2. Go to the Interview
This is a way for you to see how the industry sees you after so long. This is a way to re-evaluate your performance. This also lets you know your market value. Go to the interview armed with curiosity. You're not a cat. This won't kill you.

3. Seriously Weight Things Option 1
In the middle of your chat, look deep down. Do you have residual hangups about agency life? Have you developed a deep loathing for authority and time sheets? That's what you have to think about before you dive right back in. If you feel nauseous just thinking about this… end this chat now!

4. Seriously Weigh Things Option 2
Ooohkaay… this looks like a good deal. Let's go with it!
But, say, you already have a steady stable of clients and regular work coming from production houses and a consultancy gig with another agency… is taking on a full time job going to kill you? If so...

5. Call for a Compromise
If you can't sacrifice a morsel of your existing solo enterprise, then why not go for a compromise?
Ugh… the rhyming. I just had to. 
Who knows --maybe the agency is actually fine with you onboard part time? As a consultant? As a full time offsite employee? As an on-call semi-regular personnel? So many possibilities.

6. Name your Moolah
Never sell yourself short. Never go through that nasty 'I'm just a freelancer' kinda thing. This is back to big business! If you've been out of the industry loop for too long, don't just send your compensation sheet blind. Research. Ask old friends how much is the position you're being called for rating nowadays. Check websites for rates, too.

7. Black and White it
I cannot stress this enough. Whatever it is you agree on, document it and have it signed. An agency should draft their own contract but I've had experiences wherein I had to do the paperwork. Either way, make sure, the paper exists.


9. Attitude Check
Woohoo! First day! Keep in mind that you've just checked into the big house. Come on time. Come dressed in proper office attire (No jammies for you! Wahaha!). Come prepared to brainstorm. Come ready to fill those hours. Oh, you know the drill.

10. Easy way out
This should probably come in before number 7, but when penning your contract, it's best to agree on some kind of test run period or a not-entirely-binding arrangement. Just so when the freedom bug bites you again, you can easily bail out.

Bottomline: If you're not as jaded as number 3, then keep your doors and windows open. Hey, you might just like coming back, right? You can't knock it until you've re-tried it.
Lure. Bite. Reel 'em in. (That works both ways, by the way.)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Raketista's 10-Step Guide to Break Time

Yes, your workaholic take on freelancing is commendable. BUT there is such a thing as taking a break.
Say what now?
Whoa, whoa, whoa… don't panic. Breaks happen and they don't have to be catastrophic. The freelancing world will still spin without you in it for a few beats. And believe me, jumping back in will be as easy as pie. So instead of staring off into that black abyss of 'What if I miss a project when I'm gone?!', why don't you take the step-by-step run-through below and come out refreshed and raring to go… hmm?

1. Maxi or Mini
What kind of break are you going for? Are you thinking of exploring the Alps for a month? Or just ducking into a nearby secluded island for a short and sweet R&R? Of course, your budget plays a huge role in this valuable piece of decision-making. But other than that, decide according to your need. Being a freelancer, there's really no set vacation time for you. No summer holiday or Christmas holiday. So you can easily plan pocket breaks in between work loads without a hitch.

2. The Draught.
Let's be honest. Sometimes the onslaught of work comes in like the devil on speed. Then, vanishes into thin air for weeks. Instead of using this work-less Draught as an avenue for panic, use it for that break you've been putting off for, like, forever. The Draught is there so you can rest. It's destiny.

3. Spread da word
I know you need the escape, but never go MIA. Finish all your pending work and don't accept incoming attacks. Say no humbly. And do write a letter to all your existing clients. Remember that a vacation is important, but so are relationships.

4. Peak Schedules, Shmeak Smedules.
Sure, everyone's going on vacation during the usual calendar holidays. But you're not bound by that. So why not take a holiday off-season? Being freelance means being twice practical than the normal working individual. You choose off-peak seasons because it's cheaper that way and the place is guaranteed less populated. Woo-zah!

5. Spend like a boss
If you think getting a cheaper deal on a vacation spot isn't enough, why not use your influential muscle. You have a client who owns a resort? Strike him a deal for a weekender. You a blogger? Offer your blogging services for a resort exdeal. The possibilities are endless when you're a crafty vacationer.

6. Go Wifi-less
Gasp! Did I just ask you to live in the Dark Ages??? Calm down, cowboy. This is bearable if you're only planning a short break. The key is not to think about work. I'm betting my left arm that the minute you get a whiff of an internet connection, the first thing you'd be doing is checking your emails. Don't. Please. Stop.

7. Better yet, Go Tech-less
OH, THE PAIN! Pfft. Man up. It's not gonna be the end of the world, and it's not gonna take forever. You just need to connect with nature, inner peace, soul search, and all that. And that ain't working while you're busting a Black Ops on the PSVita.
Ok, ok… you can keep your phone for emergency purposes. Geez.

8. Break Buddies
This is crucial. You want to spend this relaxing moment with people who won't talk shop with you. Family's a good bet --if you can stand them. Or friends who don't care what you do for a living or if you botched up your last deadline.

9. Creativity, Re-channeled
You've always used your creativity for work. Let's re-channel for now. On your trip, bring a sketch pad or a journal and a bunch of pens. Sketch a view or write a story inspired by those flying seagulls overhead. Inspiration and creativity don't end just because you're taking a break. Using this power for a different kind of good is most welcome.

Ok, stop thinking about work that will literally drown you when you get back, or the lack of work thereof. Concentrate on sipping that darn coconut juice off its natural fruit and scoping that hunk in the upsetting pair of beach shorts.

That's it. Take a break, recuperate, and recharge. You deserve it. And yes, work will still be there when you come home. As Madonna promised, YOU CAN ALWAYS DIE ANOTHER DAY.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Creativity Entrepreneurship Summit: NAILED IT!

This amazing quote is just one of the empowering tidbits I picked up from last weekend's Creative Entrepreneurship Summit.
Speaking of empowerment, that's just one of the three goodies you come home with if you managed to attend this event. The other two are education and entertainment.

The Creative Entreprenurship Summit is the brainchild of Writer's Block, and I'm hoping it's the first of many other summit babies. I've been to a whole lot of these kinds of events that they've become cookie cutter in nature. But Writer's Block's version offered so much more.

First, it's a tight group, making the ambience cozier and more personal.
Second, the presentation format started with speakers sharing their journeys from the ground up. So you get inspired rather than lectured.
Fourth, the speakers were a dynamic bunch. Great choice!
And lastly, each speaker has a gem of knowledge to share.

From the Writer's Block duo themselves, Ana Santos and Nikka Sarthou-Lainez-- The idea of changing your mindset. You cannot make a business by thinking small. get out of your sideline mentality and think big. Think entrepreneurship.

From social media strategist, Ross Juan --Getting your business going doesn't mean sitting solo in front of your laptop. You have to do social networking online and offline to build collaborations and build business. Earn your social butterfly degree!

From Anton Diaz, founder of --It's all about sharing your experiences. When blogging, change your tone. Instead of being a critic, take the readers on an experiential trip along with your own. This warm approach has earned the site a following that's…well, awesome.

From RJ Ledesma, lifestyle columnist, author and host --Diversify. Don't just stick to one talent if you know you've got loads. Excel and earn awards from each talent, too. That's how you boost your ego and motivation, and your asking talent fee, too.

From Darlyn Tee, Founder of Bell de Jour Planner --Really, really invest on consumer insight. Send out surveys to know what your public wants. Involve your target market in your planning process. And come up with a product that stays true to its brand while gaining more fans (aka buyers).

From Josh Villanueva, YouTube Content Creator --Be consistent. Don't just be a one hit wonder. Be a fabulous watch every episode. And be just as consistent when you upload. This way, viewers will know when to catch you and follow you. More hits, more moolah.

From Mina Esguerra, self-published author --Do not wait for opportunity to knock. Make that opportunity happen for yourself! And while the ideas are still there, keep writing, churning, and publishing. Make your books earn for you years even when you've gone old and grey.

From Vince Golangco, Founder of --If Content is King, then Social Media is your Royal Red Carpet. Be share-able! Get yourself seen on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and more. The more 'liked' you are, the more like-able your wallet size.

You see, the Creative Emtrepreneurship summit went up on stage not just as a motivator, but an enabler.
I expect more of these, Writer's Block. Because this first was a jam-packed win!