With COVID-19 shredding whole sectors of Britain’s economy, certainty and predictability have gone out the window. If you find yourself being either furloughed or sent to work from home, now is the time to seriously explore Freelancing as a viable option.
Business confidence is collapsing and unemployment and chronic underemployment are on the rise. Employers are looking to reduce their costs by either cutting jobs or adopting outsourcing more aggressively.
In many ways, this process was already underway before the pandemic hit. So, rather than panicking or bewailing your financial plight start thinking strategically. We are seeing a flush of new small businesses emerging, mostly run by home and promoted exclusively via social media.
Why Start A Freelancing Business In A Pandemic?
Regardless of what you call it, more and more people are looking to try to pick up some work on the side to get through this global pandemic and survive financially.
With so many companies looking to redefine what work gets done in house, however, starting a freelance business offers sound opportunities to survive in an economy that’s going to be slow to emerge from its economic trauma.
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Marketing, web design, cybersecurity, eCommerce, tech support and IT services, are all services primed for freelance agencies. Here are 5 compelling reasons why Freelance businesses are not just surviving, but thriving in the pandemic:
- Freelancing Makes Sense Financially
Freelancing makes sense for prospective clients and Freelancers themselves. In a volatile environment, where revenue flows are unstable and costs are eating away at many businesses, tapping into a wide base of Freelance talent makes plenty of sense. Converting fixed costs to variable costs in a downturn is business survival 101.
For Freelancers, the cost of setting up a business is low as are client acquisition costs. In many instances, all a Freelancer needs is a kitchen table, a laptop and a stable Wi-Fi connection.
In a networked world, it’s also increasingly easy for Freelancers to collaborate on projects collectively rather than flying solo. This opens up opportunities to bid successfully on larger value or more diverse projects.
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- It’s An Extension of the Gig Economy
The gig economy was on the rise before COVID-19 hit us like a tsunami. Before the pandemic outbreak, many employees were working at least part-time from home.
Starting a Freelance business can embrace any aspect of a business, product or service. From sewing masks in a home workshop to writing safety protocols or promoting takeaway dining menus.
The digital economy has removed many of the impediments to operating competitive Freelance businesses. And today’s productivity tools to enable Freelancers to manage their workloads are cheap and efficient.
In an era where limited physical interaction is a positive, Zoom conferencing and Skype calls are liberating a new generating of Freelance start-ups.
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Combining a strategic vision with a dash of creativity will point you in the right direction to build your Freelance business, whether that be an online retail storefront within Amazon, or services such as graphic design, content writing or fine-tuning a website’s Google performance.
- Creating Your Own Home Office
As business shutter their head offices and office towers stand empty and abandoned, the home office is enjoying its time in the sun.
Carving a home office out of a spare room or the garage is not a new phenomenon. What is new, is how technology has transformed a Freelancer’s ability to work, communicate and deliver a product or service from home.
If you’re in the media or marketing business, one of your first tasks as a Freelancer is to transfer your archives onto a digital format. Old videotape footage can provide fun segments or backdrops for a marketing or a content stream. Take advantage of the latest VHS to USB technology and bring your content archives to you on a USB stick.
Take the time to consider how you prefer to work and what common tools you’re likely to need within arm’s reach. Similarly, get your filing system sorted to minimize clutter and put in place a tracking system to monitor your Freelancer output and ensure you meet your deadlines.
Once you get past the laptop, mouse, monitor and printer shortlist, ask yourself do you need quick easy access to whiteboards, a cork pinboard or a reference library to do your work?
A good quality camera, microphones and headphone will set you up for success in your home office. Add in calendar tools and high-speed Wi-Fi and your productivity will flourish. These days you even have your choice of ergonomically sounds conventional or stand up desks!
- Manage Capital Investment In Your Freelance Business
They say, ‘To make money, you need to spend money.’ Up-front investment is going to be required if you’re starting a new freelance business. Beyond that, it’s mostly thoughtware unless you come up with a great idea you need investment behind to put into production.
Many industries are struggling to reinvent themselves like restaurants reorganizing their home delivery, takeaway or pre-packaged meals services. Surging demand for PPE and hygiene products has proven to be a boon for home workshops who differentiate using clever design and on-demand batch production.
- Develop New Relationships, Access Fresh Talent
The nature of business relationships in the Freelance space is noticeably different than in the traditional physical economy. In the gig economy, client turnover is inevitable. Freelancers quickly discover its okay to lose clients. Indeed, some client churn may be necessary as you revisit your pricing as your experience and reputation grow.
Starting a Freelance business provides Freelancers with an opportunity to learn new skills and explore latent, underutilised talents.
For clients, they enjoy that ability to access a pool of fresh, diverse talent that may bring with them new ideas and new skills than can breathe new life into a struggling business, while still delivering services at an affordable price.
For an economy ravaged by the financial blight of a pandemic, Freelancing is in many ways, a development of the gig economy. For Freelancers, it offers control and stability over their working life that is missing from the conventional economy. All you need is a strategic vision of where you want to go with your new Freelance business, an idea to set your startup on its way and a dash of inexpensive tech kit. Freelancing is a savvy way to survive and even thrive during a pandemic.