Editorial note: All Guest Post authors share their views and experiences, and do not represent Week of Saturdays.
Clients are postponing projects, gigs are getting canceled, calls aren’t getting returned. You can’t help but wonder where your next paycheck will come from. Welcome to freelancing in COVID-19 times.
Although the negative impact of coronavirus spares no one, the effect is more adverse for freelancers – particularly creative writers, speakers, and marketers. Clients are now more concerned with essential services than non-essentials and with the geometric rate of the virus spread becoming uncontrollable, no one can tell when life will go back to normal.
It is definitely easier to give up, cry about the world coming to an end and Netflix all day, but this is the time for you to become an innovative freelancer. Remember, there is always opportunity in every adversity, and this COVID-19 pandemic is no different.
As a freelancer, you need to adapt to these changing times. Adaptability and innovation will save you from COVID-19 poverty.
So, what are the best ways to protect your freelance income in the COVID-19 era? Here are 7 recommended tips.
Your first job is to stay safe. You cannot meet deadlines if you’re suffering from the virus. To avoid contracting COVID-19, consider the following precautions:
- Postpone outings
- Avoid crowds
- Avoid touching your face
- Use your sleeves to open doorknobs
- Disinfect common areas
- Clean your smartphone and computer regularly
- Stay at home for 14 days if you notice symptoms (being a freelancer, this should not be difficult to do)
Adjust your Services to Changing Times
Last week, I had a social media management job from a law firm postponed due to the current health crisis. Like any emotional being, I whined about how the virus is destroying everything. But then, I learnt a lesson from the setback: Marketing non-essentials (such as legal services) is not a lucrative niche at this time. Presently, it is more advisable to create content that will teach people new digital skills or improve their health.
If you find yourself losing income due to a cancellations during this COVID-19 period, don’t dwell on it. Instead innovate and adapt.
Analyse what your current and future clients might be looking for. With work increasingly becoming remote, ask yourself – how can my services be crafted to help clients in a virtual age? Times are changing and online is most likely the future of all events. Reconsider your services and make them as digital as possible.
Prepare a Crisis Communication Plan
Set clear-cut expectations that address the issues at hand to avoid sour relationships with clients. Agree on the mode of communication, including, how often, where and when.
You must be ready to show empathy if you want to put clients at ease. A great way to do so is to reach out and discuss their concerns. This proactiveness increases the chances of reaching a solution that favors both of you.
To manage future clients’ expectations, pre-create resources such as an FAQ, social media posts, emails, and blogs that demonstrate your preparedness for COVID-19 and any other unexpected events.
Create More Content and Monetise
More people are home than ever and they are all scrolling through various feeds. This is probably the best time for you to create a podcast, conduct interviews or share your work with a new audience.
You can create courses that can help people improve themselves. You’ll paid for helping them improve their skills and life. Websites that help you do this include Udemy or Teachable. While doing this, be authentic and relatable and focus on your experience.
Focus on the emotional and health needs of your clients
These are trying times. No matter your freelance niche, now is the time to create good emotional intelligence and wellness resources for your clients. The pandemic has many clients dealing with fear, stress, anxiety and loneliness. This is where you should add value.
Read up for more information in the emotional intelligence and wellness space. You can also seek partnership opportunities with health professionals such as counsellors. Offer to help them create better content to help more people during this difficult time.
Avoid hard-hit industries and focus on the winners
In every economic crisis, there are booming and losing industries. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Before chasing a new client, ask yourself: is this a booming or losing industry?
This can help you gauge if they will pay for your services.
Currently, companies in the travel, tourism, and events industries are facing hard times, so avoid focusing on them for now. Certainly they will get back on their feet when this is over and then you can start to pitch them fresh ideas.
Some of the booming industries in the COVID-19 era who may need your freelance services include:
- Medical research & testing companies
- Video-sharing and remote work enabling companies like Skype or Zoom
- Digital lending apps and small business lenders
If your freelance niche doesn’t suit the needs of any of these winning industries, try expanding your skillset. This leads us to the 7th tip.
Learn a New Skill
Due to the current lockdown across the world, you may be feeling “trapped” at home. On the bright note, this is the time to learn new skills that will make you more valuable to clients. Get online and improve a skill you’ve always wanted to. You can even gain new certifications.
You need to develop more skills to compete better in the aftermath of COVID-19. With people laid off from regular jobs, there may be an influx into the freelance space.
Note your current skills and enhance them to stand out and be able to charge better rates for your work.
I wish you all the best as you use these tips to protect your freelance business during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Has coronavirus affected your freelance income in any way? Share in the comments section.