With the COVID-19 rife, and having the potential to span several months, adept entrepreneurs, as well as skilled freelancers, are taking advantage of the ongoing trend to work from home (WPH) Even though most businesses offer remote services before now, a complete telework environment is no easy feat for a full-blown business unit compared to standalone freelancers.
Whereas the former is entirely new to the system, the latter is already well-versed with rendering their services from home; therefore, they are looking for more ways to exploit and evolve the current course of service provision to the next level.
And as most government economies – such as the UK and Singapore, are offering more earnings to freelancers throughout the pandemic, teleworking is not a bad idea at this time. By any chance, this happens to be the best time to work remotely.
In this discourse, I would pinpoint the potential pitfalls to lookouts for, in addition to remedies and possible workarounds to maintain a persistent working relationship between you – as a freelancer, and your clientele.
That said, if you are a freelancer, already exposed to the idea of working remotely or a business looking to extend your services through teleworking amidst an era of global pestilence, then this guide is a must READ!
The Current State of the Freelance Economy
According to expert predictions, Europe accounts for 35.5% of the freelancing community, including a reasonable number from the US working population – that amasses over $1 trillion annually in the US alone. Another notable source highlights that almost 30 million freelancers are long term oriented.
While the combination of the top-tier freelancing platforms – Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer, incorporates 73% of freelancers, others find jobs through social media networks, referrals, and business-oriented networking sites such as LinkedIn.
Given the statistics, the competitive nature of the freelancing niche becomes very obvious. Hence to thrive on in this free-enterprise market, it is expected of freelancers to be at their A-game.
More so, the freelance space is a next-generation paradigm shift from the conventional way of rendering professional services with a broader outreach. And as such, Millennials predominates this niche. Hence, if you fall under these demographics, then things are going to be a lot easier for you.
If otherwise, do not panic. Below are some tips and tricks to keep you ahead of the game amidst the current economic recession.
Expand Your Horizon
Due to the current situation, most people are resulting in more remote services such as remote schools and learning institutions, etc., which is the best time for freelancers to expand their serviceability and outreach.
Expanding your serviceability could be done in several ways such as; learning new skills, creating multiple job exposure channels as well as signing up for more than one freelancing platform such as Upwork and Fiverr.
You could also try other business-oriented networking platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook Groups to increase your project acquisition scope.
In order not to get swamped by the growing number of freelancers in the space and to maintain a more than average visibility level, you would need to find a sustainable way of scoring freelance jobs. The idea here is not to rely on a single freelancing platform; neither do you have to rely only on freelancing platforms. Thus, by being able to harness and leverage your presence on other business networking platforms, you can create a personal brand as a freelancer that steadily brings in clients – and profits.
Reset Your Price Point
Because consistency and constant communication are critical, it more than essential to build a healthy relationship with a client on a fair and reasonable price over time. As opposed to bidding for a one-time gig that comes with a huge payment.
For example, most people would first contract a freelancer for a $5 gig that spans multiple hours to several weeks or months – which could eventually amount to a little over a thousand dollars in gross income, rather than offer $100 for a single job.
This methodology does not only improve a freelancer-to-client relationship, but it also guarantees a steady income stream. Thus, creating an avenue for other opportunities from clients such as payment for certifications, constant tips and bonuses, introduction to other clients, and also helping freelancers succeed in more ways than the traditional business procedure.
Find the Most Profitable Fields
Pro freelancers are also adroit researchers. Searching is a freelancer’s best tool; hence as a freelancer, you never stop learning. You should always be on the lookout for the trending fields with higher paychecks, as well as go the extra mile – enroll for an online course if the need be, just to acquire these new skill sets.
Keep in mind that it is never too late to learn that skill you had always wanted to develop. Notably, a diversified freelancer is a well-paid freelancer.
Also, while searching for trending and more profitable fields to leverage on, it is important to make a list of those areas of work that are closer to what you already know. Be sure to select only the gigs that you feel most enthusiastic about learning. By so, you avoid being a jack of all trade as you only focus on things you are already versed in.
Use the “FSF Strategy”
Since self-employed entrepreneurs cannot afford a human resource department to handle the financial loss that results from a client’s cancellation order. Jurists recommends the specification of a clearly defined cancellation and rescheduling policy in the business owner’s (freelancer’s) contracts. Considering that the industry standard duration within which a client can cancel or reschedule and forfeit, only the retainer is 30 days before the event. Through this, freelancers are protected by the FSF clause – Slated to protect freelancers if they cannot perform services less than 30 days prior, due to unavoidable circumstances. The FSB clause comprises of the;
– Force Majeure Clause: which is a French term for “superior force,” which is a clause that pardons a freelancer from performing an outlined service as a result of unforeseen events such as an epidemic.
– Safe Working Environment Clause: This clause retains the power to terminate any service in the event of precarious circumstances such as a working environment being affected with a plague.
– Failure of Company to Perform Services Clause: Is a clause that clarifies the procedure should you not be able to perform your services.
Repackage and Rescale
As a multifaceted freelancer, your number one goal should be to efficiently showcase your wide range of skills and abilities to your customers. You do not want to get prospective customers caught up between the myriad of services you offer. Neither would you want them to find it challenging to understand what is needed, subsequently struggling to formulate an order. The trick here is to package and organize your services into multiple tiers and categories.
For instance, if you offer services in more than one web development technology/framework, it is best to have a separate gig for every one of them rather than have all packed into a single gig. That way, a client looking to contract your service for a specific technology could easily navigate to the intended, in no time. The processes described above helps freelancers increase their profit margin as well as convert a valid number of prospective clients into actual customers.