According to a study done by Texas-based finance firm Expensivity, Filipinos need to make 1 million pesos per year to be happy living in the Philippines. To have that much money, you need to earn around ₱100,000 per month.
You might be thinking that this is impossible to achieve without going abroad or starting a business. However, Remote Filipino Workers (or RFWs for short) can earn a 6 digit salary by taking advantage of earning in a foreign currency. That’s why many Filipinos have been looking to turn their online jobs into actual careers.
But even for the best remote Filipino workers, this amount is not achievable overnight. Like any career, you need to work hard and smart, but unlike traditional work, you won’t need to wait as long.
Every aspiring RFW’s path to success will be different but here are the general steps you ‘ll need to take in order to earn 6 digits from online jobs:
Step 1: Explore Online Jobs
Step 2: Get Hired by Communicating Your Value
Step 3: Make Your Online Job Lead to More Online Jobs
Step 4: Find Your Next Higher Paying Online Job
Step 5: Reaching Success as a Remote Filipino Worker
This guide will help you start your career as a remote Filipino worker with a bigger advantage than others.
Table of Contents
What Is a Remote Filipino Worker?
A Remote Filipino Worker or RFW is simply a Filipino living in the Philippines who works remotely for local or foreign companies through the use of the internet. However, many RFWs prefer working for foreign companies due to the higher pay.
RFWs have existed since the late 2000s and early 2010s when the internet in the Philippines improved enough to be used for remote work. Many more RFWs joined the trend when job platforms, such as Upwork (formerly oDesk), were established to protect remote workers from online scams.
But the biggest driver of the increase of RFWs was the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns in the Philippines in 2020. Based on a survey done by Qualtrics, as much as 58% of Filipinos would prefer the work-from-home setup compared to going to the office after this event.
Remote Filipino Workers (RFWs) vs Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)
Remote Filipino Workers (RFWs) are similar to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the sense that they both have the opportunity to earn more by receiving foreign currency as compensation.
They both have their pros and cons and it’s up to you to decide which is better for you.
- Both RFWs & OFWs can earn big in a foreign currency, however, OFWs typically have a higher cost of living.
- OFWs have the chance to travel and experience life in a country with better infrastructure, destinations, and general quality of life. Meanwhile, RFWs don’t have to leave their family behind and can still earn enough to travel to other countries for leisure.
- OFWs are subject to a strict evaluation process before they can get hired and receive their work visa. The whole process also takes a lot of time and money. RFWs need only apply online and once hired, they can start immediately.
- Unless you are a skilled worker, jobs for OFWs tend to be labor-intensive blue-collar work. For RFWs, there’s a larger variety of jobs available as long as they can be done online.
- If you are a skilled worker OFW, then you have to opportunity to apply as a permanent resident in another country. RFWs are still subject to the same daily frustrations of a developing country like the Philippines.
It’s up to you to decide which kind of lifestyle you prefer, the RFW or OFW one. However, there’s also nothing stopping you from experiencing both.
Since getting an opportunity as an OFW takes a while, you can use the time by becoming an RFW first. There are different online jobs for OFWs available that have enough flexibility for when you need to go abroad. You can even use the money you earn to fund your OFW application.
Who Are the Remote Filipino Workers?
There are currently 3 types of remote Filipino workers. These are:
1) Online Freelancers – these are self-employed Filipinos who are paid to finish short-term projects instead of being employed long-term in a single company. Online freelancers can work on multiple projects at the same time to increase their monthly income.
2) Remote Employees – these are Filipinos who are strictly employed in a remote work setup. They are not required to report to the office. Online employees usually prefer being employed by foreign companies, usually in the USA, Canada, Australia, or the UK, due to the higher pay.
3) Work from Home Office Workers – these are Filipinos who are working for local companies but have the option to work from home. They may be required to be physically present in the office for meetings or events.
Why Can RFWs Earn a 6 Digit Salary Monthly?
You might be surprised to learn that a 6 digit monthly salary in pesos is just the minimum wage in other countries. By taking advantage of the higher value of currencies, it’s not impossible for Remote Filipino Workers to make ₱100,000 a month (or ₱1M per year).
Let’s check how much the minimum wage of popular countries translates into Philippine pesos:
*Based on Feb 12, 2023 Exchange Rates. Minimum wage sources at the bottom of the article.
As you can see, the minimum wage in certain states in popular remote work countries may be even higher than 6 digits per month.
In fact, you only need to aim for at least 11 .50 USD/hr to reach the 6-digit salary for a 40-hour workweek. (*PHP Conversion Rate: PHP 54.82 based on Feb 13, 2023 data)
Of course, the reason these foreign companies outsource work is because they want to save money on wages. So, most of the time you’ll find rates much lower than ₱100,000 a month, especially for entry-level jobs.
It’s okay to start at a lower rate but in order to earn 6 digits monthly you can’t be complacent. You need a clear roadmap of the steps you need to take for every stage of the Remote Filipino Worker journey.
5-Stage Guide for Earning a 6 Digit Salary as an RFW
There’s no single path to success as an RFW. Each person may have a different starting point, but everyone has the chance to earn a 6 digit salary monthly.
Of course, success doesn’t happen overnight. This roadmap is divided into the different stages that you might find yourself in.
The whole process can get overwhelming, so each stage will have links to the different guides on this website. This will help you navigate your journey as a Remote Filipino Worker step-by-step.
Stage 1: Explore Online Jobs
In this stage, you are taking just the initial steps on your online career. Everyone has to start somewhere and people without experience will most likely start at the beginning. If you do have experience due to previous work, you can set your sights higher.
Your goal in this stage is to find out what value you can deliver to clients or employers. So, exploring available opportunities is the first thing you have to do.
a) Check what clients and employers are looking for
You should visit job platforms, such as Onlinejobs.ph and Upwork, and see what kinds of online jobs are available. If you already have a job in mind, you should see what kinds of qualifications they want. The information you get here will be useful when you want to write your resume or build your portfolio.
Check out the links below for information about the different places you can find online jobs:
- Best Virtual Assistant Companies to Work for in the Philippines
- Onlinejobs.ph vs Upwork: A Filipino Freelancer’s POV & Guide
- Avoid Scams: How to Find Legit Jobs on Onlinejobs.ph
- How To Find Remote Jobs on Reddit: 8 Step Guide
- Best Facebook Groups for Online Job Seekers Philippines
- 4 Options for Work From Home With No Interview Required
- Best Online Jobs for Students in the Philippines
- Best Online Jobs Without a Laptop or Desktop (Just Mobile)
b) Join a community for RFWs
There are a lot of “unknowns” on the path to becoming a successful RFW. But you don’t have to do it alone.
There are many communities available for RFWs, such as r/buhaydigital on Reddit or Online Filipino Freelancers on Facebook. Joining these groups will help you learn from what others are doing to become successful.
c) Find out What You Can Offer That People Are Willing to Pay for
Remember, your goal here is just to find out what kind of job you can do well and will also pay enough for your short-term goals.
Set your sights on that job as your target. This will be your niche.
You should also know your value so you don’t accept jobs that pay too low. At the very least, you should aim for online jobs with a beginner rate of around ₱25,000-40,000 per month for full-time work.
To get hired for these jobs, you need to be able to communicate properly what you can do for potential clients and employers. As early as the exploration stage, you need to evaluate your skills and determine what you can or cannot offer.
As you’re working to reach your short-term goal, make sure to work with the mindset that you are working towards a bigger goal, even if you don’t know what exactly that is yet. So, keep your skills updated based on the latest trends in the industry.
d) Learn What You Are Lacking and Upskill
Whether you’re just starting out or are trying to get a higher-paying job, you always have something you need to work on to get hired.
Find out what clients value highly in your profession. Meaning, clients are willing to pay more for it. Here are some ideas you can try for your research:
- You can find out what skills you need to improve by reading job posts.
- You can also find out what clients are willing to pay by joining online communities for their business. For example, if you are a writer you can join blogger or publishing communities.
- Be open-minded about learning skills outside your profession but give better value to your clients. For example, marketing and branding concepts aren’t something normally learned by graphic designers, but those designers with marketing and branding skills are paid higher.
After doing your research, you’ll now see what skills and qualities employers prioritize. It could be technical skills, like SEO or coding, or it could be soft skills, like communication and persuasion.
You can try to learn these skills and qualities from free YouTube videos and education courses. Or you could go the paid course route. But what’s important is that you can apply what you’ve learned in real life.
Stage 2: Get Hired by Communicating Your Value
After your initial research in Stage 1, the next step on your journey to earn 6 digits monthly is to actually get hired. This is one of the biggest hurdles that hopeful RFWs face.
To get hired, you need to change your mindset about applying. Getting hired is not about just you. It’s about matching the needs and requirements of the employer or client.
Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring party. Would you work with someone who you cannot be sure will deliver results?
That’s why, how you communicate yourself is one of the most important things you need to learn. Even if you have all of the skills necessary to land a high-paying job, if you can’t properly communicate what you can do, then you won’t get hired.
Your goal in this stage is to create or update whatever proof you can show that you really do deliver value to your potential employers and clients.
a) Update Your Resume
Your resume is one of the main things that employers or clients look at to determine if you are right for the job. For online jobs, you need to highlight how you can actually achieve results as opposed to just listing down your job experience and educational attainment.
For a detailed guide on how to do this, please see:
b) Create or Update Your Portfolio
In the world of online jobs, results speak louder than words.
A portfolio is very important, especially for jobs like content writing, graphic design, and video editing. Even for professions like virtual assistants, you’ll get a positive impression if you can show off what it’s like to work with you through a well-done video resume.
Make a portfolio that is customized according to your target employer or client’s needs. This will help you land the job with a higher chance of success.
Also, you should remember that a portfolio is something that you can also build while you are already working. Make it a habit to update it regularly so you are ready for the next job opportunity.
c) Optimize Your Online Profile
Put your best foot forward. Whether you are using your own website, a social media account, or a job platform, each of them has a different way to maximize how you can showcase yourself on your online profile. Remember that it’s not so much about you but what value you can deliver.
For guides to optimizing your profile on different platforms, please see the links below:
d) Get Hired
Getting an online job is a matching game and not a lottery. You need to put more effort into reading each job post carefully rather than sending out as many applications as you can.
All the research and preparation you’ve done will help you customize your application for the specific requirements of the job. This will also increase your chances of getting hired.
Note that knowledge of the nuances of each platform will also help you get hired. Check out the guides below for more details:
e) Not Ready to Go Full-Time? Online Part-Time Jobs Are Available
Not everyone is ready to go all-in on an online job. You might have concerns about the long-time viability or stability of online work. You could also be working full-time at an office and just want to do part-time on the side.
If so, you can test the waters first and try out an online job part-time. There are different kinds of opportunities available for you to earn online.
See the guides below for more information on how to do online part-time work:
Stage 3: Make Your Online Job Lead to More Online Jobs
Once you get hired for an online job, you should already have the mindset of preparing for your next one. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to be distracted from properly doing your job. In fact, by excelling in your current job, you are already paving the way for your next one.
a) Do Your Job Well & Build Your Network
Word of mouth is a very strong method for getting new clients. According to a study by PeakFreelance.com, 42% of freelance writers found high-paying clients through referrals. While this study might be limited to writers, it won’t be surprising if the results are true for other jobs as well.
So, not only do you need to do your job well, but you also have to make an effort on the social side of it. Because online jobs are mostly done online, it’s also your responsibility to build trust and rapport with your bosses, peers, and clients.
b) Continue Building Your Skills & Portfolio
Part of doing your job properly is also participating in training and honing your skills. If there’s an opportunity, try to take on any challenges that may come up at work.
It might not be something that will immediately get you a raise, but whatever you make in your current job will also result in a stronger portfolio that you can use for finding your next one.
c) Develop Your Personal Branding
Upskilling is important, but it’s equally important to communicate your skills and experience properly. The thing you need to remember is that it’s not about you, but it’s about what benefits the client can get from hiring you.
You can do this by developing your personal branding. Personal branding is clearly and consistently communicating what you stand for, or rather what clients will benefit from if they hire you.
There are tons of personal branding resources available for free on YouTube, Reddit, and other websites. Pick the approach the best fits your personality to make it more natural for you to use a technique for growing your online career.
d) Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor
In the hustle and bustle, people may forget that they aren’t working for the sake of working. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and use your time off to actually relax and unwind.
The downtime will help you assess your current situation and what you can do next on your path to earn 6 digits monthly. Use a portion of what you earn to invest in your well-being, your hobbies, and your life.
For guides on receiving online payments without fail, please see the links below:
Stage 4: Find Your Next Higher Paying Job
In this stage, it’s time to use what you learned from your current job to get a higher-paying one. Getting to ₱100,000 a month (or ₱1M yearly) immediately is very daunting to think about, so it’s a good idea to break down that goal into smaller milestones instead.
a) Set Your Next Milestone
Your next milestone is the next job in your career that has a higher salary range. Usually, this requires a new set of skills and larger responsibilities compared to your current job.
It’s really hard to plot the steps you need to take and to track your progress if you have a big goal. That’s why you need to create smaller milestones first that you will aim to reach one by one.
To illustrate, let’s start by putting an actual number to our long-term goal which is a 6-digit salary.
The table below outlines the minimum hourly rate in USD that you should aim for to reach the 6-digit salary goal in PHP depending on the number of hours you are willing to work per week.
Hourly Rate (USD)
Hours per Week
Salary per Month (USD)
Salary per Month (PHP)*
*PHP Conversion Rate: PHP 54.82 based on Feb 13, 2023 data.
Let’s say you are willing to work 40 hours a week to reach your end goal. In this scenario, you need to aim for at least 11.50 USD/hr to reach the 6-digit salary for a 40-hour workweek.
Now, let’s break that down into steps:
Hourly Rate (USD)
Salary per Month (USD)
Salary per Month (PHP)*
*PHP Conversion Rate: PHP 54.82 based on Feb 13, 2023 data.
As illustrated in the table above, by aiming to incrementally increase your hourly rate by just 2.5 USD/hr, you can reach the 6-digit salary goal in a few milestones. Not only that, but it makes a big goal of 11.5 USD/hr seem much more achievable.
If you have a different end goal hourly rate in mind, you can do the same method of breaking it down into smaller milestones.
b) Explore, Update & Get Hired… Again
Now that you have broken down your goal, you need to find out what you need to do to reach the next milestone. You can do that by doing a bit of digging in job platforms such as Onlinejobs.ph and Upwork.
To earn 6 digits monthly, you need to keep repeating stages 1 to 4 on this guide while setting higher goals each time. It might take a few job hops and salary jumps, but this is an unavoidable part of your journey to success.
Here’s a sample upskilling journey for a writer (based on different writer openings in Onlinejobs.ph):
Hourly Rate (USD)
Beginner Portfolio – as long as strong English skills can be shown through previously written articles
Additional Skills – Editing, Proofreading and Publishing on a WordPress Website
Additional Skill – Copywriting. Does copywriting not just for blogs but also social media, printed media, websites, and more.
Expert Copywriting – must show proof of successful copy by showing data that writing actually persuaded a client’s customers to do the intended action
The milestone table above is an example from the October 2022 job posts in OLJ. It’s not a strict guide by any means since different employers may have different requirements. But it does help create actionable steps for yourself.
Now, make your own milestone table according to your chosen profession. Guided by the requirements you’ve learned per milestone; you now have to upskill or build your portfolio based on these requirements. You can do it step-by-step or at the same time but just be careful that you do not become overwhelmed.
c) Use What You’ve Learned to Ask for More
It’s common in Filipino culture to just be happy with what they are given, and not ask for more. But that’s an outdated belief that is keeping you overworked and underpaid.
Getting to the next milestone is not something you wait for, but it’s something that requires your action. There are at least 3 methods you can try:
- Ask for More from Your Current Client. As you build up your skills, you can ask your client for more pay in return for more responsibilities. It’s easier to negotiate if you have a stronger portfolio under your belt.
- Find a New Client That’s Willing to Pay More. Sometimes, you just have a client that is not willing to pay you more. In those cases, you should probably look for a new client.
- Juggle Multiple Clients. Sometimes high-paying clients may not have enough work hours available for you. You can look for multiple clients to supplement the missing work hours.
Once you’ve reached your next milestone, repeat the stages until you reach your long-term goal.
But just because you’ve reached your long-term goal does not mean you can take it easy. Make sure to prepare for the common pitfalls that people fall for when pursuing a career online.
These scenarios happen a lot to beginner freelancers because they still think of themselves as an employee, and not an owner of a business.
Stage 5: Success for a Remote Filipino Worker
Success looks different for each individual. You can define success as earning enough money so you can travel every month. You could also define success as earning just enough while also having time to spend with your family. Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine what success looks like.
Whatever success means for you, treat online work like it’s your own business. You are responsible for its profitability and how it grows.
Here are some mindsets you need to change as you transition from an employee to an online business owner:
- The ‘employee mindset’ is to have only one job or client. However, if that job finishes or just disappears, then all of your income is gone. The ‘business mindset’ is to have multiple jobs or clients so that even if one disappears you never lose all of your income flow.
- The ‘employee mindset’ is to never price higher than the common market rate. By doing this, you are not only devaluing your time but also forcing yourself to compete with others offering low rates. The ‘business mindset’ is to solve an actual client problem and charge higher rates that clients would actually be happy to pay for.
- The ’employee mindset’ is to just take orders and never proactively communicate with your employer or client. They will appreciate it if they know that you will tell them honestly about any concerns you have about a task. Sometimes the success of a project relies on you actively communicating so they can make adjustments on their side as well.
- The ‘employee mindset’ is to look only for clients or jobs on dedicated job websites such as Upwork or Onlinejobs.ph. Not only does this severely limit your scope but it also means you are always competing with people trapped in the same mindset. The ‘business mindset’ is to promote yourself in the communities that your potential clients frequent and reach out to them directly.
- The ’employee mindset’ is to become complacent. Never stop improving and looking for more opportunities. It’s very tempting to stand still when you find a comfortable job. However, that’s one of the reasons why many RFWs never reach the 6 digit salary goal.
Frequently Asked Questions
i) How can I work from home without a degree?
Many online jobs, especially those from foreign clients, don’t care about a degree. They prioritize results over everything. So, as long as you have a strong portfolio that shows what you can do for these clients, then you have an excellent chance of landing that work-from-home job.
Of course, you can’t be complacent just because you’ve landed the job. Online jobs are still a very competitive space. You need to continue learning and honing your skills so you can land more jobs in the future.
As you improve, you’ll eventually have the opportunity to work with high-paying clients. These clients will help you make 1 million pesos annually much more easily.
ii) What is the highest paying work from home job?
You might not be surprised to learn that jobs related to the IT (Information Technology) field are among the highest paying in the Philippines and abroad. This is because tech companies can pretty much operate anywhere so they can earn globally. That’s why they are willing to invest in tech people – experts who are in charge of making their products the best that they can be.
However, this doesn’t mean RFWs in different professions won’t have the same opportunities. In fact, you can take advantage of the fact that these companies are hiring talent from everywhere.
Even tech companies need SEO writers and sales agents to push their products. They also need HR and virtual assistants for their daily operations. As long as you look for it, there is an opportunity for you to work with these high-paying companies.
iii) How much money do you need to retire comfortably in the Philippines?
To retire comfortably in the Philippines, you should be earning ₱50,000 to ₱100,000 a month in passive income to match the cost of living in the country.
According to e-commerce company iPrice, the average cost of living in Manila, Philippines is ₱50,798 per month. This includes rent. Without rent, the average cost of living in Manila is ₱28,800 per month. This should be much cheaper if you live frugally or plan to retire in the provinces.
That’s why, as a remote Filipino worker, you shouldn’t let your savings stagnate. You should be earning passive income through banks or investments.
Digital banks, such as Tonik, have savings accounts where you can earn as much as 6% per annum. By having ₱10M in a savings account like this, you can earn around ₱600,000 annually or around ₱50,000 monthly.
Of course, you shouldn’t put all your money in one place. You can also look into other investments such as real estate, stocks, and bonds. But, please do get advice from financial advisors so you don’t lose money instead.
Who knows what the cost of living will be in 20 or 30 years? So, try to save as much as you can and let your money work for you.
1) Minimum Wage USA. United States Department of Labor (2022) https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/minimum-wage/state
2) Minimum Wage Canada. Ontario Canada Government Website (2022) https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standards-act-0/minimum-wage
3) Minimum Wage United Kingdom. United Kingdom Government Website (2022) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-national-minimum-wage-in-2022
4) Minimum Wage Australia. Fair Work Ombudsman Australian Government (2022) https://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay-and-wages/minimum-wages