The COVID-19 crisis has upended the worldwide economy and just about every industry. With millions of people suddenly jobless and forced to find new ways to make a living, the gig economy is booming.
Digital platform-driven gig work has been steadily on the rise for several years but a global pandemic necessitating community quarantines and country-wide lockdowns has brought it to a new level.
Freelancing platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com have reported exponential growth in their employer and employee bases since March. Employers have had to quickly adjust to work-from-home setups and freelancers have had to pivot into niches they didn’t quite expect.
Freelancing can sometimes be wildly unpredictable but many have found their feet in an unstable world.
Here are some ways to thrive as a freelancer in 2020:
- Stay flexible
Freelancing even pre-pandemic has always been very unpredictable and the most successful freelancers have a well-developed skill: pivoting.
When one revenue stream dries up, there is always another. If you’re not getting work in your current niche, then dip your toes into a tangentially related one.
Maybe you’re a freelance event photographer or a travel writer – you can’t really do much of either right now. But with a lightbox and some white craft paper, you can be a product photographer connecting with clients from your own home. With some Skillshare or Udemy courses, your writing experience can lead you to a digital marketing gig. There are many different ways to use your existing skills. Think outside the box.
- Utilize your free time wisely
We are no longer going out to eat at restaurants, watching movies, or going to concerts. It seems we have much more free time in our hands, and we should be using it wisely.
Maybe you have admin tasks that you’ve been neglecting. Maybe you want to set aside an hour or two a day to upskill through online courses and training. Maybe you’ve been thinking about reaching out to your freelance network to check in and say hi. Maybe you want to do a bit more than just brainstorming on a new revenue stream you’ve thought up. Maybe you want to look forward to the new year and want to plan for what’s ahead. Time is a gift, and it’s best to make the most of it.
- Take care of yourself
As a freelancer, you are fully betting on yourself and your skill. You are the one driving your income; you are your own machine powering your small factory. You need periods of rest, regular maintenance, and you should never push yourself to do more than you are capable of.
There is pressure to be productive at all hours every single day, #TheGrind, no time for downtime. The truth is, no one can live like that for very long. Burnout is a very real thing and it can be a reason for long-term loss of productivity and income.
Pace yourself. Put the utmost focus on the work you’re doing, but realize that you have needs, too. And you will only be able to give your best effort to your clients if you are at 100%.