Coronavirus is affecting millions of freelancers across the world, and if you fall in to the category of being unable to claim self-employment benefits to help you, I really feel your pain as I’m in that boat too. The virus is claiming lives, businesses and the ability to go to a pub garden, which if you’re a Brit – is a serious matter.
Unfortunately, a lot of freelancers in the UK are unable to claim the same level of relief that full-time employees can, and that includes furlough. So, navigating through Covid-19 feels a bit foggy and scary for a lot of us as there isn’t much to help us financially.
During times like these, it’s important to still try to win business and provide solutions during the current crisis, and I wanted to share some things I’ve been doing to ensure that I’m being productive at home and making the most of a difficult situation.
Companies are still hiring freelancers
If you are a specialist writer and your niche has felt a significant hit due to Covid-19, there will still be businesses who are considered ‘key’ who will need help. Whether that is producing Covid-19 related content, or supporting a few hours a week on other smaller tasks, it’s time to look outside of your niche and see what other work is available. This also includes working with clients outside of the UK (if you don’t already) who haven’t been hit as hard economically.
Offering staggered payment options for clients
I know for a lot of people out there it may not be financially possible to offer staggered payment plans, but if you can, it might help you hold on to your clients a little bit longer. You keep a client, the client still has your expertise, and they will always remember that gesture of goodwill.
And by this, I don’t mean cold calling or sending a chain of e-mails pushing your services. Instead, consulting clients on what they may need through an introductory call ensures that you are still building relationships for the future, whilst also advising someone on the type of content that they may need. A lot of companies are ramping up their online presence due to the level of traffic from remote workers, so utilising this traffic is a must.
Free or discounted resources
If winning new work is proving to be extremely difficult, I’ve found that by sending prospects and current/old clients free resources such as articles I’ve written, articles I’ve seen online and podcasts are a friendly way of saying ‘I’m here’ whilst still passively helping them. If you want to share guides or ebooks for a small fee (let’s say £5-£10) it’s a good way to add a stream of income, and people are more incentivised to spend their money on a guide if their budget doesn’t allow your day rate. They are still helping the freelance community out, whilst also getting a chunk of information that will benefit them.
Finally, the whole idea of this blog is that this is a time to suggest solutions, and if it means reducing your rate for a new sector or staggering payments for a client – so be it.
Whatever you can do that is positive and enables you to still do your work to some degree should be seen as a win, and hopefully the government will bring in more support for freelancers over the coming weeks.