SURVIVING THE CRISIS – TIPS FOR FREELANCERS DURING THE PANDEMIC
Surviving the Crisis
Tips for Freelancers during the Pandemic.
Latest since the second lockdown in Victoria, it has become abundantly clear, there is neither a quick fix nor a fast come back from this crisis. The economy is to its knees, and many contractors and freelancers were the first ones to lose their jobs. Planned projects are postponed or even cancelled. For some freelancers, this sudden situation came as a shock. Income, all those contractors where counting on was grounded to an abrupt hold. The ideal life of a freelancer who can choose the clients and the hours he works became a controversy.
Are there new opportunities for freelancers?
Not only are there new opportunities, some professions even benefited from the crisis. For example, there is a noticeable increase in demand in the field of marketing, i.e. communication and content creation. Companies, often at the brink of existence, and must act in this area. To do so, they need qualified specialists. The pandemic may take liberties and contracts from freelancers, but it cannot take their unique expertise.
Another way where freelancers can get their foot in the door, once the lockdown is lifted and Australia slowly recovers, is to look at companies which must rethink their organisational structure. Perhaps there will be a trend towards promoting leaner business units and continue working with freelancers as external partners. The financial and corporate advantages are well known too. Already today, many IT providers or even advertising agencies have implemented structures mentioned above.
What options do I have as a freelancer?
The magic word for freelancers around the world is simple: Act now! Experienced freelancers are well familiar with the situation. Between projects, there is always a period of rest. While this phase of rest seems to be forced upon us, it is simultaneously the time to act.
If you never freelanced before, do not despair. There is always something you can do. A particular skill only you can offer, a craft somebody else needs.
Currently, many of us are unsure, how work life will be; whether the company we worked for still exits or will shut its doors for good as soon as the government supplements stop. We need to take this "economic break" for self-reflection.
Here are a few questions which will help you to get started:
- What are my unique skills? Do not forget your hobbies. Necessity is the mother of all inventions. Who knows, maybe you have a hobby you can sell. There is nothing more satisfying than earning money with something you would do, even if no one would pay you.
- How can I sell my skills?
- How will I stay in contact with former clients?
- If you start from scratch, how will you build a new client base?
- Do I have the right marketing skills, or will I need to hire someone?
- What is my hourly rate?
- Which contractors correspond to my skills?
- Do I have to adjust my skills in any way to attract more clients?
- What goals do I have?
- What do I want to achieve in X years?
Use the time for acquisition: Now, it is time to search for clients proactively.
- Make a list of potential clients (especially companies that are currently looking for talented professionals).
- Maybe you will create a digital business card with a website about your skills. Update all your social media profiles.
- Contact former clients and "check out" the situation.
With a little creativity, you will find ways to tackle sales hurdles. – One thing is for sure, while you might feel overwhelmed having to find work, sitting at home, waiting for what else the economic crisis will throw at you, does not help the situation. The opposite will occur. Stagnation over a more extended period will make you weaker, maybe even dejected.
Take your future into your own hands now. The time is favourable for those who can rethink their pathway. The crisis belongs to those who are willing to think outside the box and go the extra mile!
Tips for freelancers to make the project search easier.
One of the biggest challenges for freelancers is to find work on projects. This is especially true for freelancers who are taking this path for the first time. If you want to survive in the market, you will inevitably have to face this task. At the beginning of a freelancer's career, project acquisition can be slow. It is not uncommon that new freelancers take on projects which are not very much fun, maybe even underpaid, but at least they generate income and references.
The easiest way to get projects is to discuss your plans with your former employer. Or, even take another step back and contact your previous employers. They know your qualities. Another source is former colleagues who may have worked for another company.
Also, if you cannot get work from previous employers or colleagues, they can give you references as soon as you find employment. A somewhat "brazen" approach is to contact the competitors of your previous clients or employers. Your expertise is in demand by the competition just as well. However, whether you want to start your business this way, of course, is up to you.
Job- and Freelance Platforms.
If you cannot find work through previous contacts, there is still another option: Job search platforms. Those platforms have become popular over the last ten years or so. Even if the job is not advertised as a freelancer project, companies are often happy to find someone for the task at short notice. Project-based employment is also an attractive alternative for some companies for cost reasons. Besides, the company can continue to recruit during this time, but the work does not stop.
The drawback of those platforms is that they take a certain percentage as commission to use their service. However, if you factor that into your hourly rate, you can start building your own company from scratch. On your chosen platform you will also meet other people who can help you with parts of your business you might not be familiar. I am thinking of things like marketing, building a website, bookkeeping, or doing your tax return.
If you can deliver your service online, freelance platforms give you the advantage to build an international clientele. A more significant target group upscales your business and income.
I am working as a freelancer for the last seven years. While the economy worldwide crashed, and people had to stay at home almost overnight, not much has changed for me. From my own experience, I know, freelancing works. Maybe not for every profession, but I am sure you too will find a niche where you fit. The trick to success is to be willing to work when your clients are online!
Use this time for acquisition: Now, it is time to search for clients proactively!
Make a list of potential clients.(especially companies that are currently looking for talented professionals).
Maybe you will create a digital business card with a website about your skills. Update all your social media profiles.
Contact former clients and "check out" the situation.