Many people turned to freelance jobs as a way to generate income. Some did so for health, or freedom, or flexibility. Whatever their reasons, freelancers succeeded so well in their new lifestyles that they inspired millions more to start freelancing. Forbes even suggested that the gig economy would be the way of the future. And then the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) brought everything to an unexpected standstill.
As industries, schools, and public places close around the world, the world’s workforce is facing a grim future. There are ripple effects and consequences that we haven’t seen yet. Freelancers are, unfortunately, among those worst affected. Instead of the control, freedom, and flexibility, they are now left with questions such as:
- What if the rest of my clients cancel?
- Where can I find more work fast?
- What if no one is hiring?
- How long will this last?
Even though scientists and researchers are working around the clock to find answers, no one knows how long the outbreak might last. Or what the aftermath will bring. One thing is for sure: COVID-19 has disrupted the freedom, income security, and cashflow that freelancers had. And that’s going to last for a while.
Why Are Freelance Jobs So Badly Affected?
Some say that freelancers knew the risks when they started. For example, those who took freelance jobs knew that they wouldn’t have access to health insurance or paid sick leave. They also knew that they wouldn’t be eligible for government help. And to top that off, they had to take responsibility for everything, including how many hours they worked. In general, many people claim that freelancers don’t have any stability at all.
We don’t think it has to be that way, and we’ll explain more later. In the meantime, fear and social distancing have effectively destroyed many freelance careers. Photographers, performers, musicians, artists, tutors, and others with freelance jobs that relied on in-person interactions no longer have paying clients (most of them don’t consider freelancers’ services essential enough to continue during a time of crisis).
As a result, many freelancers are looking for work online. But there are problems here as well. As companies and businesses close their physical locations, more and more people who are out of jobs turn to online job sites like Freelancer or Upwork. So unless freelancers already have extensive portfolios, they’re getting started with a whole lot of competition.
6 Things to do if Your Freelance Job is Affected
Losing all your clients and suddenly finding yourself without any income stream can be scary. Perhaps you feel like the rug was pulled out from under you.
Because there is so much uncertainty in the world right now, it’s easy to panic and give in to worry. But if you can, try to stay as calm as possible. By remaining calm, you will give yourself the best chance to think through the dilemma you are facing and make decisions that set you up for a successful future.
You are not alone. Millions of people around the world are suffering at the moment. So to give you a head-start on others who lost freelance jobs, we want to provide you with some strategies. These tips and suggestions will help you move forward as quickly and painlessly as possible.
1. Maintain Existing Client Relationships
It’s natural to feel disappointed and betrayed when your clients cancel your services. But remember that they too are experiencing fear and shock. So if you can maintain your professional relationship with them, that will put you in good standing with them in the future. They will not only re-engage your services as soon as possible but also talk about you with their contacts.
See if there is a way you can add value to their lives and businesses. For example, ask yourself if there is a way you can help them transition online. Would they consider if you offered your services digitally rather than in person?
2. Get Client Testimonials
Even if your clients aren’t showing any sign of re-hiring you, consider reaching out to them as soon as you can to request client testimonials. As everything moves online, digital social proof is vital. So think of gathering testimonials and recommendations as the online version of word-of-mouth recommendations.
If you can, request video testimonials. Perhaps you can record a video call with your client over Zoom or Skype. If your client isn’t open to that idea, then consider audio or written testimonials. Regardless of which method you choose, remember to confirm that your client is comfortable sharing their details and recommendation before using it online.
Client testimonials will also help you build confidence and stay the course during all the uncertainty the economy is facing.
3. Build Your Digital Portfolio
No matter what your freelance job is, consider building a portfolio online. If you’re an artist or photographer, this might seem like a no-brainer. But what if your freelance job doesn’t easily allow you to have a portfolio online?
If you’re wondering how you can showcase your unique skillset, We suggest creating related content. For example, you can create videos or blog posts that showcase your expertise. Consider sharing valuable content at least every week, if not every day.
Provided you are consistent with your content creation, you will have a robust portfolio to show future clients. You’ll also have material to draw from if you decided to create your course.
4. Look outside your industry
If you find yourself with extra time on your hands, it might be a great time to consider how you can use your particular skill set outside your sector. For example, if you are a performance musician, find ways to teach your skills to others. Or perhaps you can consider freelance jobs in the content creation sector with background music.
Try to be open to possibilities you might not have considered before. Whether it’s a different industry or a different niche or even an unusual application of your skill, give it a try. This way you will also be expanding your knowledge base and add more experience to your growing portfolio.
5. Don’t Isolate: Support Each Other
If you are usually a social person, being stuck indoors all day every day can be jarring. Don’t remain isolated. Many virtual groups have emerged to support those with freelance jobs since COVID-19. Join as many of these groups as you can. Offer value and, if the occasion calls for it, your services in these groups.
Not only will you be able to form new connections and meet other freelancers, but you’ll also be able to remain engaged and active with your skill. If you need services yourself, consider hiring other freelancers to support each other.
6. Learn a New Skill That Pays
It might not seem obvious, but you could use any free time you have to pivot and learn a new skill. It could be related to what you’re doing now, or it could be completely different. It’s totally up to you. Whatever you choose, try to learn something that allows you to take on paying gigs online as soon as possible.
While many people panic and do activities that don’t benefit them in the long run, you’ll be stacking skills, refining your existing knowledge, and becoming an expert. You’ll also position yourself as the go-to person for your dream clients.
The Good News: Not All Freelance Jobs Are Created Equal
The good news is that there is a lot of demand for online work at the moment. According to Flexjobs, administrative clerks, program assistance, accounting clears, virtual assistance, and online teachers are in high demand. Most of these jobs can be done with access to a computer, internet, and phone.
A lot of companies also need tech and computer savvy freelancers. The Financial Times mentioned that there were roughly 15,852 tech jobs in California alone as tech companies move to keep pace as many businesses transition to online and remote work.
Freelance Jobs That Will Stand the Test of Time
Social distancing and self-quarantine measures have moved the jobs from the physical marketplace to the digital. If you have computer software skills, you should easily be able to find a job as businesses desperately transition online. But what if you can’t tell the difference between coding and ports?
Some of the most lucrative jobs you can do remotely are Consulting, Copywriting, Content Writing, and High-ticket closing.
Consultants, or experts, can give specific advice to groups of people. If you have advanced, specialized skills, you can help other individuals and businesses by sharing your knowledge and information. Consulting is vast – it can be business consulting, web design consulting, marketing consulting.
As long as you are an expert in your chosen field, you’ll be able to work from anywhere in the world using social media and online education platforms.
As long as people are buying, companies and entrepreneurs will be selling. And for that, they need copywriters. Copywriters create messages that sell, including advertisements, video sales letters, landing pages, and taglines. Good copywriters also have well-developed research, problem-solving, strategizing, and wordsmithing skills.
Since documents and projects are so easy to share online these days (Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and others), copywriters can work from anywhere in the world.
While content writers can be copywriters, they are the ones who typically produce blog posts, eBooks, podcast scripts, and other material that makes up the bulk of a website. Content writers are essential as they engage and nurture leads and clients. They also help craft messages that are true to the business or entrepreneur.
Just like copywriters, content writers can work from anywhere in the world.
While consultants, copywriters, and content writers can give advice and craft messages that attract and sell, their involvement alone won’t sell high-ticket items. As the vast majority of the population is trapped at home and concerned about their level of income, high ticket closers are essential in qualifying and connecting the right leads with the right product.
High-ticket closers can not only work from anywhere in the world, but they can often do so using just a phone.
Consulting, copywriting, content writing, and high-ticket closing are skills that can be developed in a relatively short period. With the right course and guidance, you could even take on freelance jobs in these areas in weeks.
Start Freelancing the Right Way
Whether you have lost freelance jobs or if you are entirely new to freelancing, it can be daunting to get started. After all, how will you know whether or not you are heading in the right direction? How can you be sure that the freelance skill you chose will sustain you through these trying economic times?
We have helped thousands of people transition from full time 9-to-5 jobs to freelancing. Over the years, we’ve noticed that they have very similar questions to the ones that you might be having right now. To help answer those, and to help you find the best way to get started as a freelancer, we’ve put together a short digital video course where you can discover all of Dan Lok’s freelancing secrets.
When you implement these freelancing secrets, you’ll be able to secure freelance jobs that won’t be impacted by fluctuations in the market.