4 Ways Freelancers Can Survive and Grow During COVID-19

survive COVID-19
Angelica Genilo
Written by Angelica Genilo

With the rise of COVID-19, the world has come to a halt. People’s livelihoods are affected everywhere. Employees are laid off and economies face shocking repercussions.

Over the years, freelancers have made significant contribution’s to the economy. In a 2019 study by Upwork and the Freelancers Union, freelancers contributed $1 trillion to the US economy alone. 

Despite their contributions, freelancers haven’t gone unscathed. According to Statista,  89.3% of freelancers in Italy experienced suspensions and cancellations of commissions in March, 2020.

While losing clients and work is tough, the best solution is to work to adapt to the changes. Whether you’re a freelance photographer, software developer, or writer, there are new opportunities out there for you. All it takes is a little perseverance and assertiveness. 

Sun Tzu once said, “in the midst of chaos, there is opportunity.”

Never has a quote been so true, and to survive this economic chaos, freelancers must find opportunities within it. So here are some tips to help you do that.

Review your finances

With the sudden loss of projects, your earnings for the year will change. You can’t expect next month’s income to compensate for this month because it might not. So you need to be financially prepared. 

Now is the time to review your finances.  Check your savings and account for upcoming bills and payments. Get a feel for your expenses and decide what payments can be postponed or canceled. Even freeing up an extra $15 can help out.

Another way to stay on top of your finances is to take advantage of available assistance programs.

If you find yourself short on income, contact your creditors and landlords immediately to ask for a temporary payment deferment. Although it may not be available for everyone in every situation, many organizations have eased their payment requirements temporarily to assist their customers through the pandemic.

Utilize Multiple Freelance Platforms

The internet opens new doors for opportunity. With onsite freelance work out of the question, it’s time to make use of digital freelance platforms to increase your client base. Here are some ways to do that:

Join freelance websites.

Create an account on one of the major freelance websites. Here’s a list of more than 100 industry-specific platforms that might be right for you. These platforms have clients who need help right now and are willing to pay for it.

Join Facebook groups

Another way to increase your client base is to join freelance-specific Facebook groups. Get in there and become part of the community. Some of the larger groups have job boards and do their best to connect clients and freelancers for paid work.

Promote yourself on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an ideal place to establish yourself as a professional and make new connections. Get active on the platform and make yourself available for work. You might find clients quickly come to you.

By using these or other freelance platforms, you can close the gap in income caused by COVID-19.

Broaden your freelance services

If your services require you to work onsite, it’s time to transition to new services. Evaluate your skills and work out what type of professional services you might offer from the comfort of your own home. 

Can you do video editing?

How about graphic design?

Could you offer customer support or work as a virtual assistant?

Most people have useful skills that clients need online. These might be skills you do as a hobby or they could be things you used to offer onsite. 

For now, take account of your skills and start to explore your options in the digital world.

Grow Professionally

With the lockdown in full swing, you probably have a lot of time in your hands. Aside from relaxing and spending time with loved ones, now is an excellent time to focus on professional growth.

The workforce has moved online and competition among freelancers can be pretty tough.

Learning from industry professionals is a good way to gain insight into your business and how to improve it. Take this time to seize the moment and learn new skills or get trained in certifications you’ve had your eye on.

With your enhanced skills you can offer new services which gives you more ways to make money.

So enjoy the time you have, and use it to grow professionally in your career. The investments you make in yourself now will pay off faster than you realize.

Above all else…Stay Positive

Despite the tragedy of COVID-19, it’s worth it to stay positive.

We live in tough times.

But negativity isn’t the answer. It isn’t how you rise, and bring your business and income back to its former glory.

To achieve and maintain progress, you can’t just wait for things to “get back to normal.” Instead, freelancers who want to survive COVID-19 and come out on top, must use this time to adapt. Find new opportunities, and continue to sprint toward your goals.

About the author

Angelica Genilo

Angelica Genilo

Angelica is a highly-driven and passionate freelance writer from the Philippines. She writes on all things tech, productivity, and culture. On the weekends, you can catch her watching old classic films or reading a good book.