While the world comes to terms with accepting work-from-home as an alternative, home as a place of business is not a new concept for freelancers and those reliant on the gig economy. But the disruption caused by the outbreak of COVID19 is.
In less than a few weeks of reaching the India shores, the corona virus pandemic has brought the economy to a standstill. Several projects have either been put on hold, deferred indefinitely, or shelved in light of the uncertainty given the crisis. These measures are bound to add a strain on the finances of freelancers with little or no fixed stream of income in the upcoming months.
Several experts predict the economic impact of a 21-day lock down could last until the first half of the next financial year for enterprises across sectors. Given the unprecedented nature of an outbreak of this scale globally, it is anyone’s guess on when things would return to normal if they ever do.
Given the circumstances, here are five things freelancers can do to survive this crisis effectively:
1. Minimize discretionary expenses: First and foremost, get control of your finances. Take a realistic look at your income in the upcoming months and revisit your budgets accordingly. Prioritize your expenses to only what is absolutely essential and minimize discretionary expenses that can be avoided. This could be mean reconsidering co-working space leases, reducing your overheads, and any other fixed cost involved in your craft.
This simple step can give you visibility on how long you can sustain if the situation continues. You can then try to address the deficit in income by seeking new assignments.
2. Strengthen existing networks: Stay motivated to execute the current projects to the best of your abilities. Use the additional time to activate and strengthen your network. Plan to reach out to former and present clients and engage in a conversation to identify new projects on the anvil.
Proactively ask for referrals and use word-of-mouth to widen your network and seek new assignments.
3. Up-skill yourself: Utilize the idle time to rebuild and up-skill yourself. Several excellent resources across LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Udemy, and SlideShare are offering courses for free. Additionally, many professionals are using social media platforms to share skills over live sessions and online workshops.
Take advantage of this lean period and equip yourself with sought after skill-sets that will help to take your services to the next level, when the crisis is over.
4. Use this time to fulfill wish list projects: Write that authored piece in LinkedIn or Medium, edit those photographs and videos, start that YouTube channel you have been planning to for ages. Often managing day to day operations, we find less time to do things that are important for building ourselves as a brand in the long run.
The pandemic could be the perfect excuse to get cracking on every bucket list project you tucked away for when you had time.
5. Plan ahead for the future: It is not all grim and dark. The pandemic could open up some opportunities that you would never have considered. While some clients are disrupted with the pandemic, there could be other industries that continue to thrive despite the external scenario. Take your lessons from the crisis and plan ahead for a better future.
Keep an eye out for white spaces that could be created by unprecedented crisis situations like this. Identify alternative income sources and diversify them to be better prepared in case of calamities.
It is natural to have anxiety about the uncertainty the corona virus outbreak has caused in the market. But remember you are not in this alone. As the world is coming to terms with the new normal today, use this time to reset, reconnect with loved ones, rejuvenate, and come back stronger.