…on freelancing in the age of #Covid-19
We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 54.
I am my own boss
Wayne Wallace, McLean, #Virginia
I am my own boss. I make my own hours. Freedom!
These and other lies do NOT describe the life of the freelancer, self-employed, or small business owner. The reality is much more like having a job without the security or any level of certainty.
The idea of being my own boss was certainly appealing. What I quickly learned is that I no longer had a boss; I had many. I am now answerable to every customer, every employee, every vendor. If I don’t do my job, people and bills don’t get paid. Healthcare benefits, cell phones, computers, all need to be paid for, set up, maintained, and occasionally replaced. I am now answering to everyone, rather than just one boss.
It is true, I make my own hours. Unfortunately, for most freelancers, that means 24-hour workdays. We are never “off.” Gigs take more time because we NEED the work product to be as good as it can be. There’s no buck to pass if quality is less than 100%. If we’re not working on a project, we’re chasing the next one. And if we’re not doing that, our thoughts are consumed with the next gig, where it will come from, what we should be doing right now instead of going out to dinner, watching a child’s school performance, or enjoying a vacation. (A note on vacations: you will work during them; family will not be happy.)
But there is freedom. That part is not a lie. We chose this career path, even if unwittingly. We can be as successful and as free as we chose to be (provided we’re willing to put in the work). While the burden of success is on us, as freelancers/self-employed, small business owner, so is the reward.
Haikus in Confinement
Hadi Madwar, #Montreal, #Canada
As a freelancer
I am at a loss for words
So I wrote haikus
I am so fed up
Acting like it’s all so fun
When it’s clearly not
What’s cookin’ tonight?
Omelette with cheese and mushrooms
Why not, who cares, lol
Good evening Netflix
Here’s to another binge fest
Films though, not junk
Let’s take out the trash
I love being so tidy
And I miss the stairs!
But is it raining?
Or is the neighbour bowling?
Well, at least it’s noise!
The other neighbour
Is venting, venting, venting
About zoom meetings
Here’s an idea
Why don’t I do some yoga
To burn that pound cake
That’s so authentic!
Someone baked a whole grain loaf
Like everyone else
Oh Trump said something!
He said what, something stupid?
This is getting old
If I look into the mirror
And stay two big steps away
Is that far enough?
I am waiting for
My prince charming to tell me
That lockdown is done
This is not a dream
This is not a quarantine
This is a nightmare
Doing just nothing
Seems easy enough a task
When you haven’t tried.
For a limited time only!
RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain
Want to be a freelancer? No problem! This week we’re offering our Freelancing for Morons course for only $9.99!!! This is a SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLAR VALUE and it’s yours for under ten bucks IF YOU ACT NOW. But wait! There’s more!
You see these promoted scams – er, ads – every day, all over social media. IMO, the folks running these ads are taking advantage of other people’s misfortunes, and hopes for future success. They promise you riches in weeks! minutes! You know those people who say they started making a six-figure income after reading a book or following a particular method? They’re lying.
The reality is, it takes A LOT of hard work to be a successful freelancer or entrepreneur. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.
I’ll help you get started, and I won’t charge you.
Go back to basics. If you want/need to start freelancing, figure out your top three to five skills or services. The three to five things you do really, really well. Now go through your contacts and send them all an email that you are offering those skills on a freelance basis. Build a website using free templates. Get on social media and let everyone know you’re available to provide those services. Figure out your target market(s) and collect contact info, then use it. Update your LinkedIn profile and search for relevant work there. Join freelance sites and job boards if you like, but do not join the race to the bottom on bids. Let your friends and family know what you’re doing so they can help you spread the word. Believe in yourself and your skills.
I’ve heard of too many people who get on freelance sites and provide work for free, just to get a good rating. That is nonsense! Or folks who will write content for $1 per 1,000 words – that is racing to the bottom. If you value yourself, your skills, your education, don’t go there. Instead, keep networking and trying.
Stay confident but avoid self-aggrandizement. Be realistic. Price your services fairly, even competitively. It takes a while to land the most difficult contract: the first one. After that, it gets easier, especially if you do a good job, focus on delivering a quality product, and follow up with the client to make sure they’re happy with your work.
Good luck! And seriously, if I can be helpful, I will. No charge, no books, and no time limit.
We can adapt
Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia
“In this unprecedented time…” We hear those words a lot. Everyone has had to experience a shift in their daily routines and work process.
We see many manufacturing industries turning to making medical gowns and ventilators. But these are the big boys. What happens to the sole proprietor? To those who have lost jobs? We have seen the closures of many businesses that have been forced to throw in the towel in defeat.
However, I would like to focus on the positive for a moment. I am impressed at how quickly small businesses have adapted to the “new normal” of not operating from a brick-and-mortar location.
I know a boutique clothing owner in Fairfax, VA, who took to social media like wildfire. She posted on Facebook and blasted emails to try to keep her business afloat. There were videos of her and the new collections to entice customers to purchase online. A form of digital catalog, but with a personal touch. She also began selling stylish face masks that were selling like hotcakes.
This is one of many resilient small business owners who have had to adapt to the situation in order to survive.
There has also been a growth in nonprofit organizations trying to help local businesses. My nephew in Vermont has developed a business called Local Maverick to unite these nonprofit organizations and local businesses so they can support each other.
In my opinion, support groups are essential for entrepreneurs who need to quickly adapt to a changing world. A solid support group to help you through the transition. Change is difficult, and if entrepreneurs cannot modify their strategies, they will fall behind.
The future of many businesses is on the line, but what this pandemic has shown us is how creative and flexible people are. Hopefully, we will all come through this with more resilience and the courage to take chances.
Thank you for reading our blog! We welcome all feedback.