aims to hit 1M users in the Philippines in 2015

MANILA — is aiming to reach a million Filipino users this year as the online platform gears up to give more users career alternatives to the traditional nine-to-five office-based work.

In a celebration last night to mark the milestone of reaching 14 million users worldwide, Freelancer regional director for Southeast Asia Evan Tan told they are also aiming to reach the one-million Philippine milestone, up from the present 650,000 — by year-end.

Freelancer is an online platform where freelancers can shop around for available jobs posted by various contractors, where assignments can range from being a virtual assistant to writing assignments, doing graphic design, and making presentations among many others.

“We are marketing ourselves more this year,” Tan said.

Even as the year-on-year growth of users slowed down a bit last year since the platform launched in 2007, Tan said they are revving up their marketing strategies this year through government partnerships.

“Right now we are developing the outline for the freelancing course for TESDA,” Tan said.

Initially, Tan said the courses center on virtual assistance and game development and are slated to be available by March

But amid the growing interest in online freelancing, Tan admitted they are primarily hamstrung by issues in Internet infrastructure.

“That is the biggest deterrent,” Tan said. “Users might be able to sign up, but if they have a spotty Internet connection, they might not be able to take up projects.”

The Department of Science and Technology – ICT Office is also helping promote online freelancing as an employment option especially in the provinces in its outreach program dubbed “rural impact sourcing.” Unlike traditional office work, freelancers tout the benefits of a work-anywhere online job as being liberated from the usual costs and stress brought about by transportation and inflexible work hours among others.

“We’re rapidly seeing a shift in the future of the workplace — people are no longer confined in offices — the entire world is now our workplace. We have more control over the projects we take, as well as have our own time in our hands.” Tan said.