As a sole trader, you may have only just organised yourself to be able to work effectively in the new world, let alone be planning for when this crisis ends. But end it will and plan we must.
Covid-19 has undoubtedly caused many difficulties around the globe. The crisis we are in feels surreal and has certainly made many people feel detached from normality.
In difficult times such as these, we need to try and stay positive. As Xolo’s CEO, Allan Martinson, reminded solopreneurs in March; “never in history has one bad virus met humankind so well-equipped” and this is definitely a positive on which to focus.
The outpouring of responses that he received to his letter, was astonishing. It appears that many of our Xolo customers are exhibiting their entrepreneurial spirit and are fighting hard to ensure that the future remains bright.
However, planning for when the crisis ends must also be prioritised by freelancers who want to ensure that Covid-19 becomes just a minor blip in the history of their business.
What Government support is out there for sole traders and entrepreneurs? How can you emerge from this pandemic in a position of strength? We’ve looked at some of the best ways to prepare yourself and the opportunities that might arise.
If some of your freelance work has dried up and you have time on your hands, treat this period as the perfect opportunity to give your business a makeover.
Is your desktop a mess, your online filing system disorganised, or does your accounting system need an update? All these things that you don’t seem to have any time for normally are now crying out to be done. Not only will this make you feel productive and positive, but it will also free you up in the future when your days are full of client work again.
You’re basically giving your future self the gift of time – be sure to say thank you to yourself in six months!
To take this further, look into new services, apps and platforms that will help you freelance business to be more dynamic and efficient. Maybe you need a new banking partner (like Wise, Revolut or Starling), maybe a new online storage system, maybe it’s simply finding new ways of tracking your hours and staying on track.
Maybe this is the perfect time to transform the admin side of your business entirely. If the financial and administrative tasks are taking you away from the really important things, then it could be time to take action. Working with Xolo, for example, will mean you are provided with automated accounting, business bank account, digital invoices and annual reports – basically all the boring business bits that nobody warned you about before you went freelance!
Governments do not want their economies to collapse in the aftermath of coronavirus and many have recognised the importance of the gig economy. Make sure that you use every resource available to you and secure the financial support that is there. Take a look at our summaries of the government help packages in Estonia and in Germany, Spain, France and the UK.
Freelancers are known to be at the forefront of the industries in which they work. Free from the bonds of normal working routines they are flexible and able to stay ahead of the pack. According to a recent study, as much as 81% of freelancers are interested in continuous improvement.
Make sure that you do not get left behind and take this time to upskill your freelance business. There are a myriad of online courses, webinars and training programmes available – all of which can be conveniently done in the comfort of your own home.
By finding new skills and honing existing ones, you will be sure to impress your clients when you reconvene with them. You’ll be able to propose new projects, generate new streams of work and give yourself a pat on the back for staying professional and on-track during this extremely stressful time.
Take time to think about your current client base and search for ways to provide more. Most businesses who hire freelancers are open to new ideas from their remote workforce and will be happy to consider your proposals.
For example; if you are social media manager then maybe your clients need to expand their online networks and diversify, if you are a photographer, maybe you can offer some online training courses and if you are a copywriter, maybe your clients need some coronavirus-related content for their website.
If you have exhausted all possible avenues with your current clients, then now could be the ideal time to find new ones. Check out our ultimate list of freelance marketplaces for inspiration on where to go looking for this new revenue.
The importance of relationships and good collaboration has never been more apparent. At a time when we have been unceremoniously detached from our usual social and professional networks, we need to ensure that our relationships stay strong.
Reach out to your clients on a more regular basis to get a sense check of how they are feeling and reassure them that you are here to help. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone, so a friendly face and understanding ear will always be welcome.
Expand your digital world and find new contacts to support and others that you lean on yourself. Take time to post on your social networks to remind the world that you are here and that you are in business. And don’t forget to join the Freelance Xchange community to network with other like-minded solopreneurs from all over the world.
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