The pandemic life has drastically influenced the way we live, work, and spend our free time. For freelancers, this period has been especially challenging, with many support schemes offered to the salaried and not being extended to those who go their own way.
The halt to normal life has affected everyone from Latin brides to graphic designers. No one has escaped the reaches of the pandemic - except for those instances when off-grid people found out about it in the weirdest way possible.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the ways online freelance workers can keep themselves running in tip-top condition.
Maintain the work-life balance
Online freelancing has been gradually increasing in popularity for years now. Digital nomads, remote work, and countless entrepreneurs have now shaped the class of workers doing their business from home - or Dubai, which is one of the top exotic places to consider for freelance.
What working from home has taught freelancers is that it can mean big improvements in the quality of their life if the proper balance is kept. More time with family, more sleep, better eating habits, the chance to get some chores done, or popping out for fresh air. Some of these activities are impossible in the structured environment of an office.
Keep track of the work cycles
The 2020 Oxford Internet Institute studies showed that the usual pattern, or cycle, of work was disrupted by the pandemic. In a usual year, the demand for online freelance work drops during Christmas and New Year, then climbs back up to a plateau in May, and then holds stable until the year-end holiday period.
2020, however, showed a deep decline in the Online Labour Index during March.
What this means is that if you’re a freelancer, you probably take up some part-time or offline work, which might cause a decline in your performance results. The OII is a useful research institute for online freelancers looking to get a broader picture of their working method and trying to remain productive during uncertain times.
Personal connections and relationships can be difficult to maintain in the best of times, and digital freelance work can often require working extra hours in order to satisfy clients. With everyone reducing the amount of time they spend outside, however, it’s easier to meet up online.
Schedule some regular Zoom parties with friends after work, or if the rules allow, go for a proper meet-up and get together. With vaccine rollouts going at a decent speed, there’s a chance you might be able to forgo the distancing all together and hug it out with your loved ones.
If the work is going slow and you’re financially secure, it could be a good time to consider opting for outsourcing. You’re not just being your own boss, but you’re becoming someone else’s boss too, for instance, looking for anybody to assist you in writing. The best way to do this is to break down your existing tasks and see which are suitable for an assistant to tackle. You can find workers, and enjoy payment protection, on a variety of established platforms like Upwork, PeoplePerHour, Toptal, and even Facebook Groups - although the latter can lack protections afforded by other sites.
As a freelancer, you need to keep abreast of the latest developments in your area, whether that’s a new code library, design style, or marketing suite. We’re not saying you need to know it inside out, but you should demonstrate commercial awareness for your own personal development, and to win more clients.
The decision to be a specialist or a generalist is a tough one. At the start of your freelance career, it is likely you took the generalist approach. With work becoming less scarce in the pandemic, you need to make a decision again. What do you do in your downtime? It would be wise to take the opportunity to improve your skills and level up in some regard. This could be coding, learning or improving on another language, or it could be learning about a new type of high-growth market.
Hopefully, this article has challenged some of your preconceived beliefs about what successful online freelancing looks like. Personal connections can always turn into professional ones, so make sure you don’t stop socializing completely during this tricky time. After all, freelancing requires grit and determination, so go out and win those clients, even during the times of the pandemic.