Not all professionals get paid on a regular basis, freelancers get paid after completing a project. This is a challenging kind of work these times of the pandemic because there has been a decreased demand for them. So if you are a freelancer or are planning to be one, how can you survive?
Regardless of the situation, finding work is challenging. This becomes even more challenging during the pandemic as you also struggle to balance work and personal life. Aside from that, there is also the feeling of isolation that we all need to deal with. Like everyone else, you need to maintain your sanity and mental health in order to adapt to the new challenges.
So how do we really survive during the time of the pandemic? We have a few tips.
- Assess the situation. These transformational times require that we take a step back and look at what we are dealing with. Check your finances. How much have you saved? This way you can plan how much you can spend monthly and how long you need to secure a new project and get your next pay. Of course, if you assess that you will take long before this happens, you will need to adjust your spending. Check your operational costs for things you can minimize such as utilities, insurance, and others.
- Reach out to others. Reconnecting with your network is a great way to check for possible opportunities. Have a win-win mindset. If there are job opportunities and projects you cannot take on because it is out of your scope, refer these to people in your network. This way, they also have a greater chance of referring you to others in case your expertise is needed. It is also okay to build a support community. This could be a group on social media, an email group, a little club. You may think that you are in competition, but you will be surprised how sharing best practices can work for the better of everyone. Plus, this will help with maintaining your mental health and steering you away from your feeling of isolation. Talk about your challenges with others and perhaps healthily share suggestions with each other on how to address such.
- Innovate yourself. You may think that you have good enough experience, but identifying new ways of offering your service is not a bad idea. Are there new ways that you can add value to your services? An after-sales component perhaps? And of course, innovating yourself can also be about learning new skills. If you are a graphic artist specializing in digital drawings and logo, try another area such as photo editing or layout. You can also expand to learning video editing, writing, and many others. Now, remember, do not need to be great to start, but you do need to start something to become great.
- Always be ready showcase your skills. Always prepare a portfolio showcasing the different styles you have can work with. For example, if you are creating logos, show your potential client previous logos and concepts you have created for others. Do not make a sample logo using the same potential client’s information. Remember that some of them may only be fishing for ideas, which is not wrong, but you have to make sure that you also protect yourself. In your portfolio, create multiple approaches you have taken in previous project. For example, if you are a writer, your portfolio can include different articles you wrote for different industries. Showing the variety of what you can do definitely helps you secure the project.
- Secure your pay. Dealing with multiple clients mean you also deal with several payments (Hopefully). One problem for freelancers in the Philippines is that they get paid either really delayed, or in worse cases, not even get any payment at all. Some clients cancel the project after you have already put so much effort into it, then leave you without any payment. So how do you avoid these? First, you need to ensure that you have a documented agreement outlining the scope of the project. Then, document the payment scheme. Ideally, you have to get a 50% down payment before putting more effort into any project. If the client asks for a sample work, do not give a sample by doing exactly what they need just give them a portfolio. This ensures that if they like your artistry, they can make a decision to hire you.