Freelancers are known for being well prepared to work remotely, but working from home during a global pandemic is not business as usual.
Given this, and the fact that significant cutbacks across most fields have sorely affected the freelancing sector, many freelancers have concerns about the future and viability of their businesses. Already, thirty-two percent of freelancers have experienced a decrease in demand for their offerings.
We can’t assure you that the next few months will be easy, but freelancers can implement many work hacks to help them weather the corona pandemic storm. In this write-up, we’ll go through five tips for freelancers to help them survive the COVID-19 effects.
Here are our top five tips for freelancing in a time of pandemic:
- Catch up on admin tasks
- Revise your strategy
- Get your tech in check
- Check-in with your past and current clients
- Prioritize your well-being
1. Catch up on admin tasks
First things first: Take this time to attend to the tasks that have piled up over the last few months or weeks. Administrative chores are among the main drawbacks of freelancing (I think we all should agree on this), but once these are out of the way, you can focus on future-proofing your work against the effects of corona pandemic.
Here are some hacks you might need to take care of immediately:
Smoke out outstanding invoices
It’s time to get strict with clients who haven’t cleared your past-due invoices. Set explicit payment terms and set a date when late fees will be charged (if you haven’t already).
Check-in with your accounts
Whether you employ someone or use accounting software to maintain your bookkeeping, take some time to look over your accounts. Have you tracked and logged all of your finances? Are you filing your quarterly taxes? Have you processed your billable hours? Do you have any recurring costs for services or products you don’t presently need?
Back up your work
An assignment we’re all guilty of sidelining, backing up your job is a mandatory activity that should be undertaken frequently. Uploading all your work to the cloud assures you won’t lose anything should your hard drive or computer system failure.
Start effectively managing your tasks: Project organizing tools can be especially useful for freelancers who need to organize and plan their administrative tasks. In specific, tools that offer Kanban boards are excellent for visualizing workflow and scheduling, organizing, and setting reminders for administrative tasks.
2. Revise your strategy
Depending on your sector, demand for freelance work might have decreased drastically. Freelancers whose work is done exclusively online may have kept their heads above water (in fact, many have seen a spike in demand as budgets diminish and offices close), while those with positions that involve interaction with the public have almost certainly hit a roadblock.
If the latter pertains to you, it’s time to begin thinking about how you can shift your business strategy to cater to the “new normal.” We’ve seen personal trainers switching to Zoom in hordes to direct online classes, while small bars and restaurants have focused their efforts on delivery and take-out service.
While there may not be a one-size-fits-all plan for every freelance position currently, there’s definitely room to change your business strategy.That might include relaxing in your niche and taking on more generalized work, taking a business online where it makes sense, or launching a “coupon” system whereby clients can pay you for future work now and receive a price cut.
3. Get your tech in check
As a freelancer, you likely use an array of tech tools to help you run your enterprise, including project management tools, accounting software, and email marketing software. All this tech can form a considerable part of your freelance business expenses. This is an excellent time to revisit the platforms and tools you’re using to operate your freelance business.
Most platforms have issued special offers and reduced their subscription rates in response to the pandemic, so it’s worth getting in touch with a sales representative to see how you might be able to minimize your software costs.
Moreover, you can look into remote tools that provide free variants. Think about what technology is essential to you right now. For instance, if your work has pivoted and you frequently meet clients online, you’ll need a reliable video conferencing tool that suits your budget without compromising desired features.
4. Check in with your past and current clients
Part of freelancing is the prospect of sales and knowing how to be a good salesperson. If you’re uneasy with this aspect of freelancing, now’s the time to sharpen your skills. Some of your clients may have reduced work to offer you, and some may not have any work at all.
However, even if they’re not searching for the kind of work you typically perform for them, they might still have a gap you could fulfill. With the current staff on leave and a high number of layoffs, many businesses and industries will have umpteen opportunities for freelancers.
Ask your current clients whether their requirements have changed. In the same vein, reach out to old clients. For instance, maybe you worked on menu graphics for small food joints, and with the recent significant changes in the service industry, thanks to the COVID-19, these are no longer sought after.
However, you could offer to make graphics for their websites or social media platforms.Prepare a pitch beforehand that precisely lays out what talents you have (beyond the ones they already are aware of), state your rates, and make sure your portfolio is up to date.
5. Prioritize your well-being
You can’t produce great work if you’re not looking after yourself. It goes without saying that this period will go down in history as among the most damaging and disruptive to the economy and people’s lives. So it’s crucial that, whatever your circumstances, you prioritize your well-being and health.
We’re more digitally connected than ever to family, friends, and work, but it’s essential to take some time to unwind. If you can, put your laptop, phone, and other devices away for some time every day, and take a stroll outside.
Again, if you can, schedule some time that’s exclusively for you, and fill that time with an activity that can help you unwind and relax.Start giving yourself some time, and you’ll be far more able to stay focused at work and better positioned to come up with a work plan that suits your business and home life.
Adapting to changes and being flexible is a critical part of freelance life, but there’s no denying that things are currently more stringent than they’ve ever been. However, these tips will help get you started and motivate you to work out how to pivot your freelance career to maximize your business and suit current circumstances.