Freelancing is an emerging trend in our working world. A lot of people turn to freelancing for a happier, healthier and more fulfilling overall working experience. It would seem that the main cause is the workplace stress. According to the American Institute of Stress, 65% of workers said that stress at the workplace had caused numerous difficulties in their lives, while 42% report that yelling and other types of verbal abuse is a constant at the workplace. Moreover, 25% of Americans view their job as the number one stressor in their lives.
While freelancing can solve some of these problems, it also brings others to the table, like always having to find new clients and the uncertainty that this process brings about. Add a worldwide social and economical crisis and being a freelancer might not sound that good anymore.
While most of our world is now getting a taste of what it’s like to be a freelancer working from home, creating your own schedule, trying to stay productive and motivated all the time without having a boss breathing down your neck, they’re not experiencing the dark side of freelancing: getting and keeping clients in a very unsettling social, political and economical environment.
Freelancing in USA in 2019
According to a study made by Upwork and the Freelancers Union, freelancers contribute to the economy with nearly $1 trillion. It looks and sounds huge, yes. However, difficult times are upon us and while the governments are discussing legislations that will help businesses and employees, freelancers might feel a little left out these days. Partly, this is because the government haven’t really figured out how to be helpful to the 57 million American freelancers.
So, yes, the next coming month and year will be tough for freelancers who depend on contract work. There will be one serious enemy that will influence both their business and their state of mind and motivation and that is uncertainty. However, no enemy is unbeatable.
How to Deal With Uncertainty as a Freelancer
Uncertainty is a long-standing enemy when you start freelancing and you probably know it already. It’s a freelancer’s personal Nemesis which you can fight by building an emergency fund, always adjusting your skillset, working on your planning skills and networking a lot. These are the key touchpoints we are going to discuss in the following. Dealing with uncertainty as a freelancer in a time of crisis can be daunting, but not impossible. Besides, you will get better at it.
Building a Reliable Emergency Fund
As a rule of thumb, 4 months’ worth of income in the bank should be a rather ok buffer in case things go south, like in these days. Of course, the more, the merrier and safer you would feel.
Feeling financially safe is a really important asset in times of crisis. Not fearing about making ends meet will help you better concentrate on your work and will substantially influence your performance. However, a 2018 GOBanking rates study has shown that 55% of Americans could not cover six months of living expenses in case they become unemployed. Moreover, 42% of Americans might not manage a sudden serious automobile repair.
This sounds crazy and most people don’t realize it. However, if you’ve been a freelancer for some time, you already know that an emergency fund is needed even if business is booming. 45% of freelancers don’t get paid on time and it might have happened to you, too. So, trust in your emergency fund and build on it while you have the chance and the money.
Adjust Your Skillset
You should have been doing this already. It’s really important to widen your are of services and expertise as much as possible so that, in time of needs, you can say yes to other complementary jobs.
Moreover, adjusting your skillset and thinking outside the box will help you get creative and find new ways to sell your craft when you can’t do it the normal way. For example, makeup artists are now posting tutorials on YouTube, yoga instructions are giving lessons on Instagram Story and, well, there are a thousand ways to sell your services and make yourself useful if you look for them.
Once you know you have that emergency fund there to back you up, you can get even more creative. Sometimes, difficult times help us give our best.
Connect With Your Network and Make Plans
If contracts don’t come in, it might be a good idea to invest in your business by investing in yourself. Look at how other people managed to weather the storms. Read more and perfect your craft!
Use the extra time to write your next year’s business plan. You might have never had the time to write a proper and complete business plan in the past and this might be your chance. Start by stating your goals and look for those first opportunities as soon as the crisis will end.
What is more, do not forget to keep your networking game on. Talk with other colleague freelancers, clients, share ideas, feelings, plans; make sure you stay in the game and never despair.
At the end of the day, you’re a freelancer, free-lancer!