AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Freelancing Badassery with Karen Ferry-Fernandez

[M]eet the bad ass freelancer behind RaketChick, Karen Ferry-Fernandez. Karen has been an indie professional for over a decade now. She perpetually screeches the battlecry, ‘Ah leche! Ginusto mo ‘yan? Pwes, galingan mo!’

Her newest release with Anvil Publishing, Whatda! Anong Petsa Na?! A Freelancer’s Survival Guide and Sanity Planner is loaded with literature for independent business savvy, with specially-designed charts and fields to empower the control freak in you.

Let’s get to know more of RaketChick, and her planner, as she answers our pressing questions:

Q: What inspired you to create WHATDA! ANONG PETSA NA?! A Freelancer’s Survival and Sanity Planner?

I run a RaketChick blog that documents how I manage to maintain my sanity in this crazy world of freelancing. When fellow freelancers started sending me messages asking for advise, that’s when I decided that a freelancing survival guide is in order.  That and the fact that I can’t seem to find a planner that suits my freelancing needs.

Q: What makes your planner different from other planners?

I realize that a huge chunk of freelancing concerns stem from the fact that flexibility is something that’s difficult to control. So, this planner is specifically designed for the freelancer who would like to enjoy the badassery of taking control of their work and life. This planner also comes with RaketChick –a character that best represents the kind of attitude and smarts a freelancer should have.

Q: How did you customize the planner especially for freelancers?

It’s loaded with goodies that freelancers don’t normally find in a regular planner. Like, a yearly mission map, a budget and project tracker, a monthly goal checker, full-page Raketips, and comic pages that will surely remind freelancers that even if what they do is hard work, hard work can be fun.

Q: How did you create and conceptualize RaketChick? What does she stand for?

The moment I decided I’d be a freelancer, I knew I had to change my mindset and attitude about the way I work. I created RaketChick because I knew from then on, I needed to be tougher, smarter, stronger. Basically, a freelance warrior. RaketChick became my familiar, my spirit animal, the Iron Man to my Tony Stark. She’s pretty much my personal metaphor for freelancing badassery.

Q: In your book, you said that, “while flexibility is indeed a gift, it can easily morph into a monster of your own creation.” How do you deal with this on a daily basis?

It’s not easy. It requires a lot of discipline. I have to make sure that what I do leads to profit after all. The be-your-own-boss thinking shouldn’t translate to me having freedom to do whatever I want. I have to keep reminding myself that I left my corporate life not to go on vacation, but to run my own business. Therefore, like any other boss, I need to be professional, credible, and consistent. You become a hot commodity only if you do great, solid work all the time. That motivates me like nothing else can.

Q: What made you decide to leave your job and pursue an independent career?

I was an Executive Creative Director for an ad agency when I realized that I missed a couple of things: One, I missed writing. I’ve been doing very little of it since my scope of work then was mainly supervising. Two, with the long hours at work, I also missed spending time with my family. So, pursuing an independent career meant having more time to do what I’m really passionate about and being with those I love the most.

That and the fact that I’ve always been a control freak. I needed to be hands-on with my life.

Q: How has 10 years of freelancing change your life so far? Do you have any regrets?

Some months would be the best of my career. And then there’d be one month that’s the absolute worst. Like any business, it has its ups and downs. It’s pretty exciting. I learn a lot with every challenge freelancing throws at me. It makes me smarter and stronger. In fact, with some good strategizing, I’ve found stability in the middle of all this flexibility. All on my own. So yeah, no regrets.

Q: What challenges have you faced as a freelancer? How have you overcome these challenges?

Oh, wow! Where do I even start? There’s discrimination, project drought, non-payments, bad partners, evil clients. I haven’t experienced those in a long while, but they were pretty rampant when I was just starting out. I learned from those challenges and got better at management and negotiations. I have a knack for twisting tragedies into opportunities.

Q: As a freelancer, how do you keep up with trends? How do you hone your skills?

I make sure that I never tire of learning. Exposure is always a good thing. I’m always online for the latest trends. I attend seminars and workshops for professional development. I explore other talents I may have to expand my skill set. I meet up with like-minded peeps just so we can share discoveries in creative entrepreneurship. I read books, watch movies, take long walks. The inspiration to improve and stay relevant is everywhere as long as you’re open to it.

Q: You’re goth. How did your style evolve? Do you shock people when you go to meetings or when you meet clients?

Well, I’m not like hardcore goth. I just like dark clothes, dark eyeliner, clunky boots and funky jewelry. Some clients find that odd. But I think a lot of clients are used to creative people wearing black anyway. I think they’re more shocked with the ever-changing color of my hair.

Q: How do you stay true to yourself and let your personality shine through?

I say what I feel. I don’t sugarcoat. I also share what I know. I’m never selfish. I think the best way to stay true to myself is to be consistent. If you’ve always been known to be bad ass, and you believe you are bad ass, you can’t just jump ship and go spineless.

Q: What is your advice to freelancers and employees wanting to try their luck at freelancing?

Kick ass.

If you’re already a freelancer, get up and slay. You left the corporate life not to go on vacation, but to run your own business like a badass boss.

If you haven’t decided yet, be reminded that freelancing demands a change in mindset, a change in attitude, a change in lifestyle. So before taking the dive, you should be sure you’re bad ass enough to do just that. Oh, and never dive unarmed. I firmly believe that you should have a few years of corporate experience before you jump into the freelancing arena.

Q: You’re next book is 7 Stages of… Good Grief! Freelancer Na Ko?! Can you tell us more about it?

7 STAGES OF… GOOD GRIEF! FREELANCER NA ‘KO?! highlights the 7 stages you go through in your journey transitioning from an employee to a freelancer. It’s a travel guide and a guaranteed emotional roller coaster ride.


Whatda! Anong Petsa Na?! A Freelancer’s Survival and Sanity Planner is available for only P395 at National Book Store and Powerbooks Store branches, and online at Click here to buy online: