The global pandemic of Covid-19 left a visible mark on the world. From disrupting the economy to preventing physical social interaction, the coronavirus pandemic resulted in some drastic changes.
While businesses experienced mass layoffs and budget cuts, freelancers and self-employed workers also struggled to find work opportunities.
According to the UK Freelance Industry Statistics 2020, there are approximately two million freelancers in the United Kingdom. In fact, the UK economy is heavily influenced by these workers, as a contribution of £125 billion is made by the freelancing community.
However, the influence of the global pandemic has disrupted the industry. A vast majority of these individuals are struggling to find jobs, whereas others are working extra hours to accommodate the new demands.
In addition to the financial strain faced due to the pandemic, the freelance community is also struggling with psychological problems, such as anxiety and fear. This can be attributed to the uncertainty of the future, as well as the limited job opportunities available online.
However, if you are a freelancer, you can still find ways to augment your freelancing network and find novel ways to generate an income, even during the global pandemic.
The following guide discusses eight creative freelancing tips to help you secure a steady income.
Transparent communications with Clients
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted a vast majority of business. However, while some companies experienced a loss, the products and services of others were in-demand. For instance, from the beginning of the pandemic, the pharmaceutical industry, e-learning software programs and businesses that facilitate contactless technology, experienced a booming demand for their services.
Taking that into consideration, it can be stated that the jobs for the freelancing communities have not completely disappeared. In fact, it is further suggested that the demand for freelancers has experienced a rise during the pandemic.
Despite that, a majority of the freelancers are experiencing difficulties in finding work. This is because as the demands for remote workers has increased, a large chunk of the population has also made a switch to pursuing a career as a freelancer.
As a result, it is important to consider the rising competition when you are interacting with prospective clients.
Being transparent with the client is one of the considerations when interacting with your potential or existing clients. When you are in communication with the clients, make sure to keep a professional, empathetic and compassionate tone.
To do this, you can ask the client to schedule a video or phone call to clear up any additional concerns that they might have. During this session, you can also inquire about the demands that the client may have. While this may be a small gesture, it can reflect well on your professionalism as a freelance worker.
Moreover, taking this initiative would further enable you to execute the assigned task more proficiently. As there would be no confusion in the requirements of the client and you would better understand how to deliver the work, without worrying about revisions.
Another initiative that can be taken to stand out, is to work on your digital presence. To do this, consider the following:
Create a website for your services
Creating a website can be extremely beneficial for potential and existing clients. Your website must include a detailed explanation of the services you offer, as well as the rates you charge for the services. Having a website can increase your credibility, and make you a more reliable option in the eyes of the client. Additionally, with the convenience of getting all the relevant information, without having to contact you directly, prospective employers would be more attracted to your service.
On your website, it is also recommended to include a page or a section that informs the clients about the ways you are operating your business during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, if there is a change in the ways you operate, or if you have added an additional service, this page can be used to make the announcement.
When you are creating a website, make sure to add all your contact information or a live chatbot, so you can instantly respond to the client’s queries. Responsive customer service goes a long way in the freelancing network.
In the digital age, having a relevant, engaging and informative digital presence is crucial for every business and self-employed person. Therefore, it is essential to create a profile for yourself on various social media platforms.
However, in doing so, be sure to take the relevance into account. For instance, if you work as a freelance graphic designer, creating a profile on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn would be ideal. On the other hand, if you are working as an accounting consultant, having a page on Instagram may not align with the types of services you offer.
Parallel to the website, the social media pages should include information that is informative for the prospective clients. You can add details about your services, discount offers, and attach a link for them to visit your website. An active social media page can reflect the professionalism and the credibility of your services. It would benefit your potential clients if you have testimonials from your existing clients.
For freelancers, email marketing is only effective if you create email content while keeping your target audience in mind. Therefore, it is crucial to carry out comprehensive research on your audience before diving into email marketing. There are various types of emails that you can send to market your abilities. If you are choosing this option, take the following into account:
- Insightfulness: Instead of pitching your services to lure the client to your website, it is important to educate them about the type of services that you offer. Therefore, the insightful emails should include all the fundamentals regarding the service you offer. You can include your portfolio, rates and competitive advantages to get the client’s attention. Insightful emails can include welcome emails, introduction emails and educational emails.
- Engagement: The next thing that you need to remain mindful of is keeping the email content engaging. The chances are, that if a person is reading your email, they are more likely looking for a solution to a problem being experienced. Taking that into account, your email content should be engaging, educational and informative for the reader. For instance, if you are providing freelance SEO services, be sure to discuss a few search engine optimisation strategies to demonstrate your authority over the subject matter. The emails sent in this category include educational emails regarding a specific topic, invitation to a free webinar, or a free eBook. This would invite the prospective client to visit your website and explore your services.
- Call to Action: Once you have engaged the readers, the subsequent step is to pitch them your services. In the engagement phase, the email content was directed at suggesting a solution for a specific problem. However, in the Call-to-Action phase, it is imperative to give an implication of how you can solve the problem for them. At this point, you need to inform the client about how and why you would be the right person to solve their problem.
- Follow-up emails: The follow-up emails are the final stage in email marketing. By this time, the client has either taken up your services, or they have lost interest in what you are selling. In the case of the former, a follow-up email is curated to show gratitude to the client for placing their trust in your service.
In addition to taking all the preceding steps, it is equally important to fulfil the promise you have made to your clients. The combination of providing an exceptional quality of work and marketing your skills can help you get more jobs during the pandemic.
Expand your Skillset
As a freelancer, you may have become accustomed to dealing with new challenges on a daily basis. However, the pandemic of COVID-19 has landed every person in an unknown territory.
In the unfortunate case that the pandemic has prevented you from getting the jobs that you relied on heavily, the next step is to expand your skill set, so you can be more marketable for a range of opportunities.
When you are offering freelancing services, you have the freedom to choose the type of work you wish to do. For instance, if you work as a freelance graphic designer, with additional skills and training, you can also get work as a web developer.
In order to expand your skill set, there are certain tips that you need to take into account.
Find a point of intersection
The key to building your freelancer’s resume is finding a point of connection between your skills. When you find two things that go together, and subsequently, hone your abilities, you would be able to offer an all-rounded service. For instance, if you are freelancing as a social media content writer, you can learn the art of graphic designing. This new skill would open up doors for job opportunities, such as social media management.
Learn the most in-demand services
Essentially, to get more jobs, you need to provide a service that is needed in the industry. You need to examine what is needed by the clients, as well as their customers, and improve your skills to cater to those requirements. For instance, the pandemic has encouraged several businesses to shift their businesses to a digital platform. Therefore, there may be an influx of clients who are in the search for a web developer. Taking that into account, you can take courses to refine or augment your abilities, while simultaneously sticking to your niche.
Revive your services
In order to thrive in the competitive freelance market, it is essential to come up with creative ways to package your services. Clients are more attracted to a service that provides them a package of solutions. Taking that into account, you can plan your next step forward.
Expand your Network
Although freelancing is a profession in which you can keep yourself at bay from physical social interaction, it does not mean that you need to isolate yourself.
Parallel to any other profession, freelancers can avail more opportunities with the power of networking.
It is extremely important for you to enlarge your network and find a place in the freelancing community. You can join groups on Facebook, or become a part of a community, such as the Creative Industries Federation, or The Hoxby Collective. LinkedIn as well as Quora are also ways to connect with fellow freelancers and discuss what’s new and upcoming in the industry.
Taking this initiative will introduce you to a profusion of individuals who are experiencing the same struggles as you. Additionally, the members of these groups can also provide solutions, and introduce you to numerous work opportunities.
In a global crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals have come together to help each other get through this difficult time.
To become an active member in these groups, make sure to communicate with the network, respond to queries, ask questions, and take webinars- if there are any. You can also establish business relationships with individuals in these groups, and schedule virtual meetings with prospective clients and freelancing colleagues.
Networking has always had always played a major role in marketing your business or skills. Considering this, it is crucial to expands your digital network and become a part of a freelancing community.
Review the Contracts
If you have been in the freelancing industry for a while, you may have become accustomed to signing long term contracts with the clients. However, in most cases, these contracts are derived with language that is mostly beneficial for the opposition party.
With that said, your client would still be legally bound to make payments and abide by the regulations of the retainer contracts, even during the pandemic. Considering this, if you have signed a contract with the client, and you are owed a payment, make sure to take a look at the document.
Additionally, if you are signing up with a new client, be sure to draw up a contract that guarantees protection. This document should clearly define the type of service you are offering, the amount of work that needs to be delivered, the terms of the payment, as well as the rates you are charging. In the unfortunate case that things go south and the client refuses to pay, the contract can safeguard your interests and enable you to take legal actions.
To create a contract, you can review the templates available online. However, if you wish to create a professional document, you can hire the services of a lawyer, who has previous experiences with creating freelancing contracts.
Evaluate your Budget
The pandemic has compelled all types of workers to revaluate their financial decisions. However, for freelancers, the uncertainty of the future can exert an additional push for revaluating the budget.
If you have been receiving fewer jobs, it is crucial to review your monthly budget plan and cut the unnecessary spending. You can examine all your business transactions and unsubscribe to the products or services that you may no longer need or use.
Additionally, you can consider the more affordable options for the services that you use. For instance, instead of paying for a streaming service, you can choose to download the movies or TV series that are available for free. Similarly, you can review your monthly expenses, and find other areas to cut the cost.
Take the following tips into consideration to reduce your monthly expenses:
- Track your spending habits. The more aware you become about where your money goes, the more you are able to reduce the unnecessary expenses
- Create a budget that suits you. There are different types of budgeting techniques, such as envelope budgeting, zero-based budgeting and 50/30/20 budget
- Get a roommate or consider downsizing. You can also consider renting a room to reduce the housing expenses
- Cook your meals at home. Use coupons and discount codes while grocery shopping
- Rely on cash where possible. It is much easier to spend less, when you are employing a tangible method of making a payment
Set long-term Goals
Even if you are currently struggling to make ends meet, it is still important to consider the future of your career. Therefore, it is essential to make a list of long-term goals for your freelancing career.
For most freelancers, these goals include converting their operations into a large-scale company. However, you can create your own individual roadmap, which may include the following ideas:
- Increasing the number of resources to grow your business
- Hosting workshops, training courses or events
- Adding new clients to increase your workload
- Finding new ways to generate additional income
- Creating resources for potential clients, as well as other freelancers in the niche
- Collaborating with other freelancers to create a start-up
Create an Emergency Fund
Due to the uncertainty of the situation, it is also recommended to create an emergency fund. An emergency fund is a form of savings that is created for the sole purpose of supporting yourself in the unfortunate case of an emergency, which may result in a permanent or temporary loss of income. This fund includes enough money to help you get through a period of at least six months.
To create an emergency fund, it is important to consider your monthly earnings, as well as your monthly spending. Based on these amounts, you can allocate a specific share of your monthly revenue to the fund.
Although creating an emergency fund with a limited income may be difficult, it is extremely important to have a cushion to fall back on. Therefore, when you are devising your monthly budget, make sure to add this category.
The emergency fund can be created in a traditional manner – by stashing cash in a safe, or you can open a separate savings account at a bank of your choice. The latter option is more convenient, as it would prevent you from accessing the money immediately in the case of a ‘non-emergency’ need. Additionally, several banks also offer an automated payment system, which directly sends the money to the savings account, on the specified date. This way, you would be able to make monthly transfers, without having to make much effort.
Start your Passion Project
As the name suggests, a passion project refers to work that you are intrinsically motivated to partake in. This may be writing a book, starting a podcast, painting or graphic designing. Any type of work that you genuinely enjoy doing can be counted as a passion project.
Due to the heavy influx of work, most freelancers are unable to find the time to pursue their passion projects. However, the global pandemic is the perfect time to start your own venture.
Typically, passion projects fall into two categories. Either they involve a project that is part of your field, or it includes the type of work that you do not do professionally. For instance, if you are working as a freelance graphic designer, and your goal is to write and publish your own book, you would fall in the latter category.
In the case that your passion project does not align with the work that you normally do, you can still monetise it in the long run. Taking the previous example into account, you may use your writing abilities as a way to build and diversify your freelancing portfolio. With a published book, you can explore new jobs as a freelance ghost writer, copywriter or content writer.
The primary purpose of a passion project is to do something productive with your free time, so it can be used later for the purpose of monetisation.
Finding work as a freelancer, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, may be difficult, but not impossible. To increase your chances of success, you can promote your services on various digital platforms, upgrade your skills, expand your network and speak to potential clients. Additionally, in order to protect your financial interest, you must also review your contracts, create an emergency fund and set goals for the long run.
The aforementioned is a complete guide for freelancers, who wish to enhance grow in the field during the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow the preceding tips and make this difficult time a bit simpler and productive for yourself!