Though uncertainty is nothing new for independent professionals who face the natural ebb and flow of freelance work, the business impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19)—and the pandemic’s indefinite timeline—are weighing heavily on full-timers and freelancers alike.
In fact, LinkedIn’s recent Workforce Confidence Index found that freelancers are just as shaken as the currently unemployed. And yet, because of their resilience, experience with remote working, and ability for personal reinvention, independents are uniquely positioned to weather the short-term impacts of the current crisis and control their own destinies in a post-pandemic future.
Here are ten things you can do now to stabilize your finances, find project opportunities, and grow your professional network.
- Get financial help if you need it. For the first time, independent workers qualify for federal unemployment. Further, a variety of organizations are also offering financial assistance to help freelancers and independent workers during this time. Find out what you may qualify for and apply.
- Focus on financial planning. Take a look at your budget and plan for the best- and worst-case scenarios in the coming months. Figure out which bills must be paid and what expenses can be trimmed.
- Update your LinkedIn profile. Do an audit of your professional profile to make sure it’s clear that you’re an independent worker available for project-based work (and that you can do the work remotely).
- Refresh your professional website (or start one). Make sure your contact information and overview of your services are current and easy to find. Publish your thought leadership and case studies on your website and share it on social media.
- Highlight your relevant skills. Do you have experience helping organizations with restructuring, turnarounds, crisis management, or other in-demand skills? Make sure your expertise in these areas is apparent on your résumé and your profiles on LinkedIn, Business Talent Group, and other platforms.
- Showcase your thought leadership. Look for opportunities to leverage your experience by appearing on podcasts, contributing to articles such as BTG Expert Q&As, writing up case studies from past projects, or publishing relevant articles on your website and LinkedIn.
- Stay engaged on social media. Use social media accounts to connect with other professionals in your industry and join in online conversations to stay involved and find new opportunities.
- Keep in touch with clients. If you have regular clients who might not be pursuing active projects right now, you don’t have to go radio silent. Share your original content or other helpful resources you find and communicate your willingness and availability to help if and when they need it.
- Update your skillset. Take advantage of current discounts and specials on professional development courses and workshops, like those offered by General Assembly.
- Get organized. Do you have outstanding invoices or outdated records? Take time to do an inventory and take care of any necessary administrative work that often gets pushed down on the list.
Navigating a new and constantly evolving reality is difficult for everyone, but independent professionals are characterized by their ability to pivot and tackle new challenges. By doing a few things now, you can start to adapt your business to the changing landscape both for the near term and for the future.
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