If it wasn’t clear before, it is stark now set in stone. The future is remote working, and freelance is a huge part of that. Whether you’re a seasoned freelancer or the pandemic catalyzed your shift, you’re in the right place for the future of the workplace. When the pandemic first hit, most people expected it would blow over in a couple of weeks, months at most, and they’d be back to their daily work life.
Fast forward close to two years, and the pandemic still looms. Besides the health risk that the pandemic poses, adjusting to a new way of life has been challenging for most. Remote working took a bit of getting used to, but now, it is here to stay. Over the course of the coronavirus, new platforms have come up to facilitate remote working and freelancing.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic waylaid plans for millions of people around the globe, people have had to fend for themselves, with economies shut down. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and we now see a rise in the number of people going the freelance way. Remote working has shown the world that it is possible to reset their career goals and sharpen their focus in a new environment.
Impact of Coronavirus on freelancers
You can’t deny that if you were a freelancer before, you have struggled during the pandemic. First, due to the shrinking opportunities and next, the saturation in the market as more people who lost their employee benefits turned to freelance. Since most people have mainly focused on survival, the freelance industry has been slow, leading to a glaring dip in income.
However, the freelance industry isn’t on its last legs. As a matter of fact, this industry is expected to experience a boom as more people opt to go the freelance way instead of going back to full-time employment. Now that people have tasted remote working, thousands are not ready to get back to their commutes and 9 to 5 jobs.
With the slow return to ‘normal’ as vaccinations continue, freelancers can now catch a break and begin to earn a bit more. Thanks to remote working, the freelance community has witnessed a rise in platforms and technologies geared towards facilitating freelance work.
The resilient, adaptable, and flexible freelance workers will be able to permeate the new and ever-changing community.
Living at work
A common downside of freelancing is the lack of work-life balance. Many have described it as living at work. This was coined mostly by the people who’ve been transitioning to working from home. The majority of them found it hard to separate their work and personal time. This is one of the struggles that freelancers have been dealing with for a long time. However, now that work-life balance has become a discussion, more people realize how imbalanced theirs is.
Not to pin this on all freelancers, because some have developed a very balanced work and life balance, but this is an important factor to consider even post-pandemic. Being a freelancer means that you get to set your time, work hours, and time for your personal responsibilities. Since freelancers live and work from their homes, lines get blurred very fast. In that kind of structure, it is important to have a clearly defined schedule.
Creating a work structure for freelancers
Freelancing means that you need to create your own structure. Depending on how you go about it, it can make your work easier or worsen it. The fitting scenario is that you have a healthy work structure that fosters productivity and creativity.
Of course, it is no easy fit. You need to:
- Create a schedule
And stick to it!
You need a daily schedule to guide your work and also map out your work hours from your personal time. Since you have the freedom to set your hours, you can decide to work two hours a day or create your schedule around mornings or afternoons. Creating a schedule is the easy part; sticking to it is a whole other story.
To ensure that you stick to this plan, consider the following:
- Your most productive time: Are you a night owl or a morning person? Do you work better working long hours or breaking down your work time?
- Are any of your tasks tied to a particular time of day? Like meetings, for instance
- Priority tasks: Which tasks should get completed first and which ones will take longer
Addressing these issues will help you design a schedule that is tailored to your strengths.
- Have a dedicated workspace
Your work atmosphere can make or break your concentration in your work. To ensure that you are 100% present during your work hours, it is important to carve out a work area; it could be a home office or a dedicated desk in one corner of your house.
Having an office or work area basically tricks your brain into switching from any other thoughts and focusing on your work. This is quite difficult if you’re working in your living room (right in front of your tv) or on the kitchen/dining table (the fridge is right there). This workspace also helps you separate your personal life, especially if you have a family or people around you. Once you step into the work area, they need to respect your work time.
Ergonomic furniture is a great addition to your workspace to boost your productivity and energy. Consider using a height-adjustable standing desk such as the Flexispot Comhar all-in-one standing desk that combines technology and function in an elegant desk design. For an office chair, the Flexispot sit2Go 2-in-1 fitness chair is perfect. You get to stay active while you work and get in your workout. If you’re not looking to change up your existing furniture, look at available accessories like desk converters to make your workspace comfortable and productive.
Please note that working from a corner of your home might prove challenging since there are many distractions. But you can bring in a bit of nature into your space. Potted plants and natural light make a work area more calming and inviting.
- Minimize distractions
We’ve got to be honest here, it is impossible to eliminate all distractions, but you can avoid some of them while you’re working. The biggest distraction for most freelancers and workers today is digital distractions. Most people are pulled to spend hours scrolling on their social media (one more cat video before getting back to work, and you’re stuck there for hours).
It is good to ensure that you have turned off notifications on your phone when you're working. Decide that you will only spend time online during your breaks (though this is another slippery slope, you might never get back to work).
Another distraction you should work on is the people around you. If you live alone, then you’re safe from this form of distraction. You know that conversations can spark from anything. You might be around people who keep engaging you in conversation or people who are engaged in conversation near you. This is why we mentioned the importance of having a dedicated work area.
Tips for freelancers’ post-pandemic
- Focus on your strengths
You know your strengths better than anyone and focusing on them is the best way to grow as a freelancer. Build on these strengths and focus on your niche area of work. However, the decision lies solely with you whether you want to specialize your services or generalize. All in all, choose the path that will further your freelance career. However, whatever you do, remember that technology is here to stay, and the digital realm is filled with a lot of opportunities for your growth.
2. Market your work
You need to sell your services by marketing yourself to potential clients. Thanks to digitalization, you can use various platforms for marketing your work to a wider client pool. One of the stablest ways to make it in the post-pandemic world is to ensure you post high-quality content. Defining your target audience and tailoring content to them and your brand will help you put your services out there.
3. Build a network
As a freelancer, your network is very important. Post pandemic, it is crucial that you make efforts to build and connect with people who could help you further your freelance career. Professional networks involve people you’ve worked with, people in the same industry as you, and even people in other fields. Remember to continue to expand your network by partnering with others and being part of freelance groups and communities.
4. Take advantage of available platforms
During the pandemic, the work landscape shifted quite a bit. As a result, many digital platforms have been created to facilitate remote working. Freelancers can take advantage of these platforms to look for work opportunities, build their network, and market their services.
5. You might need to outsource
Freelancers experience burnout too. Therefore, it is okay to outsource from time to time to ease your workload. Outsourcing doesn’t exactly mean that you need to hire people. You can use a virtual assistant to help with the completion of your tasks. However, outsourcing tasks such as management of your taxes can help you stay focused on your work.
The freelancing community has been a great support for freelancers amid the pandemic. Though the post-pandemic world will have some differences, freelancers are quite adaptable and flexible; you’ll fit right in the new world. One of the things you can look forward to is increased collaboration among freelancers.