As independent consultants and freelancers, you consciously chose to leave corporate and weather the storms and sunshine alone. While it was bright and sunny, work came in by the truckloads, and all was rosy. But as the dust gathered, the skies became dark and gloomy, and projects have become tougher to come by.
Businesses are now cutting back, cutting down, and going into survival mode. No one has any clarity when we will go back to being normal, or at least to a “new normal.”
In these uncertain times, we wanted to share insights on 3 topics we thought were not being paid attention to, as much as they should. Money, mental well-being, and client servicing.
Tips for Freelancers to Survive the Covid-19 :
For freelancers/independent consultants, this is a period of grave concern as the businesses and economy tumble. Financial wellness and literacy is not something we are adept with. Yet, when catastrophe strikes, the first thing we think about is finances.
There are loads of reading materials and resources out there, but we wanted to focus on 3 main aspects of financial literacy(1).
We’ve all heard this concept at some point in our life, but never really cared to implement it. Are you one of them?Currently, as we move into the survival phase, very few of us can forecast the money coming in this year. An even little percentage will be able to plan it for the upcoming months.
b. Credit-debt cycle trap
If you own a credit card, your initial priority should be to clear off that card. Interest rates on credit cards are extremely pricey and will keep accumulating on. With the corona outbreak not slowing down, and uncertainty about earnings, don’t let last month’s expenses hurt your financial stature today and in the future.
Tip: When you’re budgeting, keep this money aside first and clear it off.
Moreover, stop spending on the card until you’re confident you can pay it off without further interest.
c. Emergency Fund
Remember, we had discussed savings at the beginning? Now, there are 2 two types of savings – the ‘can be dipped into,’ and the ‘cannot be dipped into.’ This is the second kind. This segment is mainly created to function as a buffer. Just like savings, you build this with patience and time.
2. Mental Health
In these dark and gloomy days, it is effortless to feel burnt out. You are worried about your future, the well-being and safety of your loved ones, and you are bombarded with news related to the Corona pandemic.
Stress is not something everyone handles with finesse. For a few, the anxiety and stress that follows are exhausting. Therefore, just as we manage all other aspects of our lives, mental health needs to be given its due time and space.
a. Disconnecting from media outlets/technology
With the Coronavirus news being omnipresent, we turn — from Whatsapp to Facebook till Linkedin — it gets daunting and overwhelming.
The negative (the more) information you consume, the heavier it will weigh on you. Therefore, it is vital to distract and disconnect yourself. In the instance that you notice, you’re beginning to have anxiety or fear, shut off all technology, close your eyes for 15 minutes, and say affirmations to yourself.
b. Realizing things that are in your control and those that aren’t
when things are normal, the lines between these are not that blurry, and therefore, it really does not cause you much stress. The world around us was as perfect as we expected it to be. Right now, that is not the case. We are dealing with work-family-life-responsibilities-friends-duties-virtual social life, and the list can go on!
c. Setting boundaries
This is one of the most underestimated tools, but perhaps the most critical for mental well-being. When you mark your own boundaries, you take charge of the task/day and get the better of it on your terms.
Particularly now, with no face-to-face interactions and the lockdown, it is challenging for someone to know, for instance, ask for a review of something or when to call you. Since you are working independently/ a freelancer, you have to set these boundaries for yourself, or you’ll see your time/day slipping by slowly.
d. Building a support group
A mastermind group or a support group is a setting wherein you find individuals in the same condition as you, and you agree to communicate regularly. When you are feeling low, you want to check-in, or when you require assistance.
You’ll find many such groups on Telegram/ Whatsapp, and now, more than ever, it is essential to be a part of these groups.
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3. Client Servicing
You’re probably wondering why individuals don’t discuss this often adequately. It might be that either they haven’t crossed that barrier yet, or are hustling to make the freelance/business/consultancy’ work’.
This crisis has affected almost all the industries; few exceptions would be Networking, EdTech, HealthTech, Skill Development, InsurTech, and so on. If you see that your clients are either canceling or cutting back contracts, we have a piece of advice for you:
a. Re Engage with old connections
Reengaging with old links could mean an of things:
Reaching out to:
- The individuals you worked with in the past.
- The connections who’ve transformed into friends but you haven’t chatted in forever.
- The people who you think might need more hands-on-deck because their industry is flourishing.
- The people you did not work with but had discussions with in the past.
- The contacts who were hiring people in your sector before the COVID-19 pandemic.
b. Start exploring other countries for work
This might sound somewhat stupid or confusing, but not every nation is as affected as ours. If you have been in the know of the news, you’d know.
This means that opportunities in other nations do exist. This presents a rare opportunity to you as the currency exchange rates are favorable currently, and it could just be your first international client.
This post’s goal is to learn managing these three critical aspects and possibly serve as inspiration for you and give you the power to weather this storm.