How to find freelance work during the coronavirus crisis
COVID-19 has hit us all hard. When lockdowns started around the world our immediate focus will have been on family and friends, but now that things are slowly easing we turn our attention back to work. As freelancers, some of us had the ability to work from home and this will have helped. Unfortunately for many of us the future is now very uncertain. Work we may have had lined up has been cancelled, ongoing contracts reduced and potential clients putting the brakes on.
Times are certainly not easy at the minute, but here are some tips on how to find freelance work during the coronavirus crisis.
Update your presence
As freelancers we often spend so much time focusing on our clients that we forget to keep on top of our online presence. Our website and social pages quickly fall out of date. More often than not, word of mouth and referrals keep our pipeline full, so as-long as we have a website, it doesn't matter if it's slightly out of date. Right?
Wrong. Impressing potential clients is a very important part of getting new work. Now that you may have more downtime during COVID-19 it is a perfect time to redesign your portfolio. Make sure your best and most recent work is available for potential clients to see. You could also start re-engaging with your social pages audience.
Having an awesome portfolio is only going to help your chances of getting work in such uncertain times.
Reach out to previous clients
Not only is now a good time for you to be updating your website, but any business around the world will benefit from an updated presence. Many clients you have worked with previously may be using the time to consider updating how they appear online.
Now is the perfect time to reach back out to them and see if they have any projects they need done. If you haven't worked with a client in a while they may have you on the back of their mind and be looking online again for a new freelancer to do the work. Make sure you are the first person they think of by getting back in touch.
You could even go a step further and email clients who you think need your services to update their presence. Are you a web developer with an old client who has a really outdated website? Why not reach out and suggest how a new website could really help them get sales during such a difficult time.
All your previous clients are an untapped resource of potential work. As the old saying goes, "if you don't ask, you don't get".
Try freelance job boards
I know what you are saying. Freelance job boards have cons. Most are a race to the bottom when it comes to pricing and most take a cut of your earnings. However, they have one massive benefit. They have an abundance of people looking for work.
Finding ways to tap into this while not working for peanuts is a fine art. One of the best methods is to only apply for projects which are super specific to your niche. Having examples of your previous work that is exactly like the project a client wants done will almost guarantee you get the job. Another way is to write a very detailed proposal outlining each step you will take to complete the work. As someone who has hired on freelancing job boards before, the amount of copy and paste proposals you receive which have nothing to do with the job itself is surprising. Simply taking the time to write a detailed proposal will put you in-front of most.
For all the cons freelance job boards have, during these uncertain times they are a great way to find new clients. If your pipeline has completely dried up, then you have a good chance of finding work on them. Most of my long standing retainer clients I work with to this day, all came from a freelance job board. Food for thought.
Offer coronavirus specific services
Coming out of lockdown the world looks very different and nearly every business will have a set of guidelines they now need to follow. Adapting your services to be able to assist businesses with these guidelines will help you get projects.
For example, if you are a graphic designer you could create a "Coronavirus Shop Package" which would include social distancing floor stickers, protective screen stickers, wall posters with safety prompts and even a "Please wash your hands" sign all in the shops branding.
This could be an easily marketable and in demand service that you could then offer to your clients and local businesses.
What your freelancing niche is will dictate how you could create a COVID-19 solution but most sectors will have some way in which they can adapt to create an in-demand service.
If your work pipeline is looking pretty empty, know that you are in the same boat as pretty much every other freelancer during this crisis. Unfortunately lockdown and world events have effected us all.
You have to look at the positive of this situation however. Not only does this give you a bit more time to spend with family but it allows you to learn a new skill. What you may have lost in client work you have gained in time. Using this time wisely to learn and expand your core freelancing services will help you in the long term.
Learning a new software, new technique or new process which aligns with your freelancing business will either allow you to offer your client more services, or open your business up to more clients.
Don't know what you should learn? Have you ever had a project come your way that you turned down because you didn't know how to do it? Learn what is was that you couldn't do! Has a client ever asked if you could do a service, and you couldn't? Learn that!