It’s been a deeply uncertain year for everyone, but there are some who have been hit harder than most. There were plenty of freelancers who have had to take a dip in their earnings, because of the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic. And at this stage, we’ll have to be aware that things aren’t going to go back to normal anytime soon.
A vaccine will come, but we might have to wait for a while. It’s reasonable to say that freelancers should be preparing themselves for this “new normal” business to remain the same, for at least another six months. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It’s a different thing, but worse? Nope. Not if you take the right steps, and move towards a different way of working. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at some useful tips that’ll help you to not just survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but to thrive during it.
Recognise the Opportunity
In a crisis, there’s an opportunity. That’s always been the case in the past, and it’s just as true now. One of the best things to think about it is the new working environment, and how you adapt to it. This will, of course, be dependent on the industry that you work in and things like that, but regardless of what your job is, you’ll find that there’s a new future being crafted right now. Can you make yourself a part of it? A good place to look is at trade magazines and websites that deal with your industry news. They’ll say a lot about the changes that’ll be taking place for the future.
Revamp Your Website
Most people spend time, money, and energy on making their website look great. However, it’s not as if it’s going to look the part forever. Standards change. What was cutting edge a few years ago might be a little behind the times now. If your business has dropped off a little, use the time to give your website a little TLC. This could involve improving the design of the site, or adding more of your projects. If you’re not sure what to change, then take a look at a list of essentials that every business should have. Do you have all of them? If not, then you’ll know what to add. One area where people fall down is with their contact information. This is more important than most freelancers realise: have you listed your social media accounts, phone number, email address, and physical business address?
You know that you’re capable of excellent work. After all, you’ve done it before. But the people who don’t know anything about your business won’t be as certain of your quality. One recommended way to push more business your way is to get testimonials and reviews from your happy clients. Studies have shown that people treat a recommendation from a stranger almost as much as they do a close friend or family member. So take a look at asking past clients for a review, and put it on your website. One of the benefits of the coronavirus pandemic is that it has made everyone a lot more willing to help others out, so you’ll probably find that people are happy to provide a testimonial if you just ask.
Boost Your Skill Set
You’re going to have a lot of skills as a freelancer. But you’re not going to have all of them. One of the best ways to protect yourself for the future is to invest in yourself. You can do this in many ways, but one of the best methods is to take a course. That’ll ensure that you’re leaving the coronavirus pandemic with more skills than when you went into it. And ultimately, that can only boost your career. Is there a particular area in which you don’t feel quite as strong, or where you lack confidence? Then go into training mode. Once you’ve brushed up on your skills, you’ll find that you’re much more confident — and that alone can be enough to push more business your way.
Search for New Work
Some freelancers have found themselves in something of an unusual position. Whereas they normally have a steady stream of work, now they don’t — things may have dried up somewhat. This can be a little disconcerting to people who have not had to worry about where their next project was coming from. However, it’s important to remember that just because not as much work is flowing your way as it used to, that doesn’t mean that there’s no work around. It just means that you may have to hustle a little more. One good life lesson to keep in mind is that if you’ve done something once before, then you can do it again. There’ll have been times when you had no clients. How did you get them? Now’s the time to bring out the skills that have served you well in the past, and begin looking for work.
And linked to that, we’ll recommend that you have a little bit of humility. Sometimes, people build up a career, and never want to step down. But you have to play the hand that you’ve been dealt. If you don’t have as much work as you would like, then take a look at accepting jobs that are below your experience level. So long as they’re not occupying all of your time, they will be beneficial — especially if they make paying your bills all the more straightforward. There’ll be times when you’re able to charge the big bucks, but for now, a rate that’s 20% below what you normally ask for you would be reasonable, given the circumstances that we’re in.
For some freelancers, the issue isn’t that they don’t have enough work. It’s that they’re not getting paid for the work that they’ve done. Most freelancers know that getting clients to pay can be a challenge. But if it’s beginning to impact your finances, as it might during these exceptional times, then it’s important to take steps to correct the issue. One of the best ways to do this is to use an invoice payment app. This doesn’t just allow you to stay on top of your invoices but also enables you to get paid quicker, because you’ll be able to offer your clients a range of payment methods. Sometimes, you just have to make things as easy as possible for your clients, if you want to get paid — and by having the right tools, you’ll be able to do just that.
Figure Out Working Environment
It’s likely that your working schedule has changed somewhat during the coronavirus pandemic. Even if you’re a freelancer who could always workfrom home, you were probably working in a cafe or coworking space. If you’re going to continue working to the highest standard possible, then it’s important to figure out a new space for you to work. You won’t work as well if you’re just sitting on the couch, for example. Could you set up an office at your house? Doing so will put you into the right frame of mind when you need to get down to work. You’ll be able to get into a productive state.
Manage Mental Health
It’ll be understandable if you’re not feeling quite on top of the world at the moment. There’s a lot of people struggling with the mental health impacts of the pandemic. While it’s fine to experience sadness or anxiety in small doses, if things are more severe to the point where they’re influencing your outlook on life and your ability to work, then it’ll be important to take steps to improve things. There are plenty of things you can do that’ll push your state of mind in the right direction. Even if you do feel mentally well, it’s recommended that you do these things anyway, since it’ll help to further bolster your state of mind, and prevent you from falling into any negativity.
Connect With Others
Finally, you can use this time to improve your networking skills. The more people you have in your professional life, the more likely it is that you’ll find more work. There are other advantages too. You don’t only have to network with potential clients, but also with fellow professionals. During tough times, it’s always a good idea to reach out and get support from people who are going through the same thing.
As we’ve shown, it’s not as if you just have to roll over and accept the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. There are things you can do that’ll ensure that you’re able to make it through unscathed. Indeed, if you incorporate all of the tips from above, and also have a pinch of luck, then you might just find that you’re able to come out the other side in a better position than you were before all of this mess started.