How freelancers are finding work and clients during the pandemic


  • Freelancers are used to swings in earnings and work, however a pandemic is a unique ball sport for holding onto clients.
  • To hold clients coming again, freelancers ought to take into consideration optimizing their work on-line, providing new companies, and finding different sources of income.
  • Home in on industries that want the most help proper now, resembling firms on the lookout for contract work, and look on totally different job boards.
  • Remind clients that you just’re right here for them and take into account versatile fee choices.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for extra tales.

Over the previous few weeks, I’ve swung between feeling very fortunate to be a contract author and panicking about what my future holds. 

On the one hand, we will not get laid off and lose all our work in a single fell swoop, and are typically accustomed to some ups and downs in our earnings. On the different hand, we have now no promise of continued work from any of our clients (who are additionally impacted by the pandemic) and aren’t normally supported as nicely by the buildings that assist the historically employed, like unemployment advantages or paid sick depart. Plus, in the event you’ve misplaced work, you have misplaced work — and that sucks. 

Abbey Woodcock Freelance Co op Oneida

Abbey Woodcock.

Abbey Woodcock


Abbey Woodcock, who runs a coworking area and freelance group, The Freelance Co-op, and has related with over 2,000 freelancers about their experiences since the pandemic began, stated that whereas the preliminary response was largely panic and worry, she’s now seeing the unbelievable resilience of the freelance group. 

“This week especially there’s this resolve where people are thinking, ‘Okay, I’m gonna figure out how to make this work and I’m going to buckle down and do it because this is not going away,'” she shared. 

So in the event you, like many, have moved into “figure it out” mode and are able to take motion, right here are some concepts for the way different freelancers are shifting ahead and staying employed.

1. Think about how you can do your work on-line

If you work in an that is all the time been fairly distant pleasant, like copywriting, digital advertising and marketing, or software program improvement, you most likely needn’t fear an excessive amount of about this. But in the event you’re in an that requires in-person work, like pictures, videography, or occasion planning, you may need to begin by pondering laborious about what companies you can nonetheless supply with none human contact. 

Laura Thompson photographer

Laura Thompson.

Derek Reed


For occasion, photographer Laura Thompson instantly put out a name to all her clients providing distant product pictures — and landed work due to it. 

“One of them was a brand new client I had reached out to cold and landed right before studios closed their doors,” she shared. “They shipped their products to me and through iMessage and screenshots of the shoot we were able to put together their next marketing campaign.” 

Event and portrait photographers throughout the nation have additionally began providing mini “front porch” household picture periods that they’ll do from six ft away, and occasion planners began shifting their experience to creating on-line experiences. Get inventive and take into consideration what may very well be doable to your explicit ability set.

2. Or pivot to supply new abilities

Of course, not each freelancer will be capable of transfer their most important moneymaker on-line — or, even when they’ll, not each service providing will probably be in demand proper now. So it is value pondering outdoors the field to establish different abilities you possibly can supply that individuals are presently in want of. 

One excellent spot to begin is to consider the digital abilities you have mastered in rising your individual enterprise which will assist different folks as they adapt to this new on-line world. 

If you constructed an ideal Squarespace web site for your self, are you able to assist different companies who are attempting to shortly shift on-line do the similar? If you are nice at your individual social media, are you able to assist different companies attempting to digitally have interaction on these channels? 

Candice Smith Tango.love

Candice Smith.

Candice Smith


For occasion, Candice Smith — who noticed a slowdown in gross sales for her intimacy wellness firm Tango.love — realized for her, the largest ability she might supply others proper now’s the PR and copywriting experience she’s gained from rising her firm. 

“Having obtained over 100 features in publications like Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Oprah Mag, NBC, Buzzfeed, and more in one year for my own business, I led with that offer — and am grateful that I have been able to secure clients nearly instantly,” she stated of launching her new PR consulting providing.

three. Remind everybody in your community what you do

Jay Clouse freelancing school

Jay Clouse.

Jay Clouse


“The best thing that I’ve been able to do (and have helped my freelance students to do) is reconnect and rekindle relationships with their advocates,” stated Jay Clouse of Freelancing School. “Advocates are people who are already predisposed to refer you — past clients, current clients, former coworkers, colleagues, friends, and family.”

You might attain out to them with a tried-and-true e-mail template sharing what you do (together with an replace on any new companies you have determined to supply), or you can simply ask to catch up. 

“Reconnect with them and ask a lot of questions: How are they doing? Where are they struggling? Inevitably, they will either bring up a problem you can help them with or ask how you are doing and how they can help. This is an invitation to share that you’re looking for freelance work,” Clouse defined.

four. Target the industries that want the work proper now

“What we’ve discovered from the freelancers still finding success is that many of them are temporarily pivoting the niche they work in to industries where companies are still marketing,” stated Woodcock. If you have misplaced clients in industries that are feeling the strain proper now, look to those that have truly needed to ramp up in the previous month, like on-line health firms or meal-prep and supply companies. 

When taking this strategy, do not be afraid to pitch firms who you suppose may be capable of use your help, even when they are not actively hiring freelancers. 

Lisa Lewis career coach

Lisa Lewis.

Lisa Lewis


“Now is actually a great time to be a freelancer, because many companies that are hesitant to extend full-time job offers may still need (and be able to afford) part-time support. Reaching out to companies that have frozen their hiring, or even companies that are currently hiring for full-time employees, and pitching a contract work agreement might be a win-win,” urged profession coach Lisa Lewis. This grasp checklist of what firms are nonetheless hiring (or not) may very well be a great place to begin for inspiration.

5. Look on unconventional job boards

If you are going to go outdoors your core community to seek for alternatives, skip over the conventional websites, which are fairly saturated proper now given the variety of of us who’ve been laid off. Instead, search for extra area of interest or community-oriented assets. 

Facebook teams are a well-liked possibility, the place you possibly can seek for industry-specific teams like Ad Buyers Job Board, and Binders Full of Writing Jobs or extra basic job posting teams like Dreamers // Doers: Jobs & Gigs. Some industries even have group Slack teams that would show worthwhile proper now. 

“I reached out to some Facebook and Slack groups, offering a free 45-minute call to discuss their PR needs and see whether I could be of service. Within minutes, across multiple social networks, I had scheduled over 15 discovery calls,” shared Smith. 

Tom Blake This Online World

Tom Blake.

Tom Blake


Some freelancers, like author and founding father of This Online World Tom Blake, additionally urged Reddit. “Reddit ForHire and Reddit HireAWriter are two communities I frequent. While the pay can truly be all over the map, it’s a great resource to have in your toolkit,” he shared. 

Finally, whereas many are cautious of freelance marketplaces, it may very well be one thing to attempt now as a complement. 

Amy Matos career strategist

Amy Matos.

Amy Matos


“I have had several invitations for jobs on Upwork since the crisis started,” shared marketing consultant and content material strategist Amy Matos.”If you use those sites, keep your profiles up to date. If you’re not on those sites, consider setting up a free profile because people who are new to hiring freelancers are probably going to turn to these sites first.”

6. Use this as a chance to launch new income streams

This downtime from consumer work is also a time to launch new income streams — particularly passive ones — that would aid you now in addition to in the future. Photographer Thompson shared she’s made the most cash during this time from launching on-demand printed merchandise from a few of her work. 

“People can order prints in various sizes, on t-shirts, pillows, mugs, and more, and they’re processed by Order a Print, which means I don’t have to worry about facilitating the prints myself and can focus on other ways to generate leads,” she stated. “I’m using social media to promote the store and so far I’ve seen a big uptick in traffic to my website.”

Have a web based class you have been desirous to launch? An book you have considered writing? Now may very well be the good time to work on placing it out to the world.

7. Offer lower-cost or versatile fee choices

Tiffany Dyba career coach

Tiffany Dyba.

Tiffany Dyba


While I fully agree with the Freelancers Union that coronavirus is not any excuse for consumer nonpayment, I additionally fully agree with profession coach Tiffany Dyba that it is a time to have plenty of empathy for what different folks are going by — particularly in the event you are inclined to work with different small companies which may be struggling proper now. 

Dyba shared that “offering discounts and being very flexible with potential clients has helped me,” so in the event you can afford to offer a small break in your pricing or arrange versatile fee plans proper now, it is value contemplating. 

If you do not need to decrease the costs to your customary work, suppose in the event you can supply a extra inexpensive package deal. 

“My typical services are high-ticket, one on one, done-for-you services,” shared content material strategist Matos. “Though I have still booked those jobs … I created, launched, and sold a lower-cost group membership to give clients who still need help but can’t put me on an expensive retainer some new options.” 

If you’ve the monetary padding, an alternative choice is to take this time with much less consumer work as a chance to work on all these long-term enterprise improvement initiatives — like updating your web site, pitching podcasts, or launching a weblog for content material advertising and marketing — so you possibly can actually come out forward when that is all by. 

Finally, in the event you’re actually having a tough time finding work proper now, it is value noting that the Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) prolonged unemployment advantages to freelancers and different self-employed of us for the first time ever. While the course of is difficult given the inflow of individuals submitting for unemployment, it’s a good useful resource to find out about for help if nothing else is panning out. (You are additionally entitled to paid sick depart and emergency household depart for the first time if coronavirus impacts your means to work.)

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