There’s no denying the impact that the coronavirus has had on freelancer fortunes over the last year. Many have struggled; not being able to rely on employee benefits such as furlough or sick pay. The number of opportunities has dwindled as businesses have focused on survival, rather than growth and development. The Centre for Economic Performance closed 2020 with a report revealing a widespread dip in freelance incomes and potential return to full-time employment.
Still, it would be wrong to say that the freelancing outlook is bleak. With the number of vaccinations rising by the day and the lockdown easing roadmap well on track there’s good reason for optimism among the freelance community. Those able to see beyond the impacts of the pandemic will realise that the outlook is bright for flexible, adaptable, and resilient freelance workers.
Read on as we share our recommendations for freelancers in the post-pandemic world.
It makes sense to spend time focusing on what you do best as a freelancer. This might mean building upon the success enjoyed in your academic studies. You might have the ability to write persuasive web content or create characterful designs. It’s worth reflecting on such skills and considering the ways that they could be marketed to prospective clients.
The decision of whether to specialise or generalise will be key to the development of your freelance career. If you’re just starting out then you may decide that the generalist approach is best; offering a wide variety of services and taking on whichever projects are presented by prospective clients. Alternatively, you could differentiate yourself from the competition; limiting your range of services and the business connections that you build. In which case, you would be well advised to focus those markets that have grown in spite and because of the pandemic.
Here are some examples of high-growth markets:
You may decide that the time is right for major change; making the most of freelancing flexibility in the wake of the pandemic. The prospect of round-the-clock sunshine and tax exemptions may even prompt you to consider a move to the UAE; an increasingly popular freelancing location ranked as one of the safest places in the world for virus prevalence. With 95% of national enterprises being start-ups and SME’s, you can be assured of a broad pool of prospective freelance clients in the UAE.
The marketing of your freelance services will be essential if you are to ensure the continuous supply of work following the pandemic. You should post high-quality content in the places that are most likely to be visited by your prospective clients. Time and money may be allocated to the development of your digital presence; building a website with featured blogs to highlight your knowledge and expertise. You might also consider sending out a regular newsletter to ensure that your freelance services stay front-of-mind.
Asides from the active marketing of your services, it would be a good idea to register with freelance job websites, such as the Work Crowd. Take the time to fill out your profile, highlighting your professional experiences and the value that you can add. Make it a habit to check in for details of suitable opportunities.
You might well have struggled to maintain your professional network due to the stresses and strains of the pandemic. However, it’s worth making a renewed effort to connect with the people who could make a difference to your freelance success through 2021 and beyond. Reach out to people who you’ve worked with previously, letting them know of your availability for freelance work.
You can continue to expand your network, with a range of events being arranged by the Work Crowd. The #freelancefriday event is currently held on a virtual basis on the last Friday of each month. And the Work Crowd are partnering with the PRCA to hold a panel event focusing on the rise of the independent consultant and the benefits of collaborating on the 13th of April.
There’s only so much time during the working week. If you want to stay focused on what you do best and avoid freelance burnout then you could outsource some of the workload. You may call upon a virtual assistant for support in the completion of essential admin tasks and an accountant for the management of your business taxes. The outsourcing of such tasks is likely to give you a greater sense of freedom, making for improved productivity and business results.
If there’s one consolation to be taken from the challenges of the last year it’s that we’ve been through them together. You can be sure that the sense of community and support will continue as we emerge into the post-pandemic world. We expect to see the continued rise of collaboration; with freelancers coming together in the formation of cross-functional teams. And the Work Crowd will continue to provide help and support as you build your thriving freelance business.