How To Survive The Pandemic As A Freelancer

By Mel Sim

Things are about to get tougher…

Everyone is complaining about not getting anything done as they #WFH, and you’re wondering what’s the big fuss – you do it every single day as a freelancer! The real issue though for freelancers is how to maintain a steady income… as if things weren’t unpredictable before Covid-19, now it’s about to get even more unpredictable. And it doesn’t help when you read headlines like “Up to 1m Malaysians could face unemployment” because if the ones who up till now are still gainfully employed are worried about their future, what will it be like for a freelancer like you who doesn’t have a steady paycheck to rely on and depend on consistent flow of work to stay afloat?

The reality is things will get tough (if they haven’t already) – freelancer or not. You may find your services not so popular anymore (ouch). But thankfully, because you’re a freelancer and most freelancers have a do-or-die attitude, you can come out of this tough times a little scratched, beaten but OK.

Here are some ideas on how you can keep your freelancing going:

#1 Think out of the box
Now’s a good time to be creative and tap into other skills you might have. If you’ve been offering website design services, maybe you can start thinking of offering online classes. Or if you’re a freelance writer, you could sign up to teach teenagers how to hone their writing skills or the art of creative writing. It’s all about taking what you already know and seeing how you can diversify from there to create another opportunity that might sell. There are also many online sites like Udemy that allow you to sell your expertise.

#2 “Apply” for jobs
Here’s a tip on how I expand my client list: I scour the job listing for roles like editor, copywriter and writer, and send in a short but effective email with my freelance resume and work samples as a way of offering my services as a freelancer. Some companies have actually gotten in touch to engage my services. It’s all about getting your name out there and you never know who might be looking for someone with your skills. Think of it as online networking!

#3 Catch up on your marketing
Sucks to have extra free time because that means you don’t have work, and so no income. But on the positive side, if you find yourself with some free hours, then why not focus on yourself? Clean up your freelancer profiles, set up that personal website you’ve been wanting to do but been too busy, continue your blogging (it’s a great way to get noticed)… you get the idea. You never know what you do now will lead to bigger things in the future!

#4 Go global
The beauty of being a freelancer? You are not limited to just your location. And with the internet, it is now much easier to research and reach out to new markets. So think of broadening your horizons as it could open a whole new world of opportunities. There are many websites out there that could link you to potential new clients. I’ve done work for clients in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Brunei.

#5 Finally, work on that big project you’ve always wanted
Always wanted to start a side arts & craft business? Love the idea of selling your sourdough bread at a market? Been meaning to sit down and write that children’s book? Now’s a great time to focus on your other passions. Less work may actually be the blessing in disguise you’re actually looking for!

Photo by Ferenc Horvath on Unsplash

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