The pandemic forced millions of Americans out of their jobs. In the past year, freelancing site Upwork said that more than two million Americans started to do freelance work. That’s an increase that pushed the proportion of the workforce that does freelance to 36%. In 2019, out of the 57 million Americans who do freelance work, 60% was because of choice and not a necessity. That number will change because of the pandemic. Now more than ever, legitimate and good-paying clients are important to freelancers.
The problem is that it’s not easy to find legitimate clients on the internet. While millions are turning to freelance, millions are also competing for the same job market. Freelancing has become a means for survival, which means that even though there are plenty of clients offering legitimate jobs on the internet, there is also a lot of competition for these projects. How can you be above that? How can you make clients choose you above your competitors?
Find New Skills, Hone Existing Ones
When was the last time you did freelance work? Is this the first time you will do freelancing? Although there are a lot of opportunities in freelancing, the market is quite saturated with professionals. This means that your skills may not be enough to persuade clients to choose you. The solution to this is simple. You have to learn new skills and hone the ones that you have. To separate yourself from the rest of the freelancers in the market, you’ve got to offer something that they cannot.
But learning new skills amid a pandemic is easier said than done. You have to find the right environment for it. To do that, you have to prepare yourself and your home. You’re going to learn virtually. Are you sure you are in the right environment to absorb new learning? Check your home office.
Sometimes, it’s the simplest thing that can affect your learning curve. When was the last time you had an air duct cleaning? Do you know that poor indoor air quality can affect your work and studies? If you’re having a hard time concentrating on your work, it might be because your room is too stuffy.
Go Back to Basics
Perhaps, in the last years, you’ve ignored some clients because you were so busy with your “stable employment.” That’s forgiven. You are bound to feel comfortable when you are earning a stable weekly income. However, you might want to use this time to reach out to these old clients again. Maybe they have more projects now than before. Can you take these off their hands again? They know your skills and capacity. You have a much better chance of getting hired again by your old clients.
Don’t be shy about sending an email to your former clients. Keep in touch with them sothat they’ll always think about your work. Even if they don’t hire you now, it’s good to build this connection with them.
Determine the Market’s Needs
The pandemic put many businesses in limbo. There are new demands in the market right now, such as social media management, online delivery services, appointment management, health care, copywriting, content management, and digital marketing. How are you going to fit into these new demands? Figure out your role in this entirely new market of freelance work. The more skills you can offer in line with these demands, the more employable you will be as a freelancer.
Be Flexible, Accept Multiple Clients
More than 46% of freelancers started freelancing because of the flexibility that it offers. Don’t get tied down to one contract. If you want to serve two clients at once, you should be free to do so. The more clients you can work for, the bigger your capacity to earn more. Even if one client cannot pay you what you’re used to receiving from your previous employer, you might be able to hit the same amount if you work for multiple projects.
Be very clear about that in your contract. Don’t allow your clients to tie you down. The advantage of working as a freelancer is the possibility of multiple sources of income. If your client cannot accept that, then it’s not the right project for you.
Millions more are going to look for freelance opportunities in the future. You’re going to have to compete with them, too. Make sure to place yourself above your competitors. Add to your skills. Reach out to old clients. Be as flexible as you can be. With the economy in recession, these things will help you survive and even thrive during these extraordinary times.