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A freelancer's guide to coping with financial uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic
20 July 2020
The current pandemic has brought about the conversation around the differences between working classes and how each section is managing. This includes talking about relief funds for small business owners and deferred salaries for full-time employees. But, as a freelancer, you have to have your own back during a crisis like the coronavirus. First priority should be to secure your and your family’s health expenses through an affordable health insurance plan. The Corona Kavach family floater plan is an affordable way to insure your family’s health with coverage up to Rs 5 lakh.
Coming back to dealing with professional emergencies, even during normal circumstances, your income as a freelancer is not as consistent and certain as others. But with the global health crisis, this downside of freelancing is even worse.
Few Ways to Cope-Up with Financial Uncertainty during the Covid-19 Pandemic-
1. Review your finances
Whether you're someone who budgets religiously and tracks all your expenses or someone who has never known or followed the basics of personal finance, now is the time to take a minute to review your finances. Having quick access to a pool of funds is the need of the hour, and hence, your emergency fund can be a source of solace right now. If you already have an emergency fund, why not focus on increasing it because liquidity is essential during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It's also important to review all your expenses and bring down your discretionary spends as much as you can. Now is not the time to buy a new phone or go crazy shopping online. Another thing to remember is not to panic sell all your investments. In fact, investing in SIP and digital gold could do you good at a time like this. And finally, definitely try to stay away from taking on any new debt. When it comes to new investments, purchase a comprehensive health insurance plan if you don’t have one already. Another option is to top-up your health insurance plan with a specific product like the Corona Kavach family floater or individual health insurance plan which is affordable and offers coverage up to Rs 5 lakhs.
2. Optimise your skillset
As a freelancer, you probably have always had a knack for being very nifty and creative. Now is undoubtedly the time to further tap on to that. With the Covid-19 pandemic, the lifestyles, needs and problems of people around the world have changed drastically and quite unexpectedly. Hence, understanding how the pandemic is affecting your clients and what you could do to help them out would be a smart move.
For instance, if you've been writing for a local bakery, helping them put out a newsletter about all the precautions they are taking during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure everyone's safety is something you could explore. You could also offer to take on their social media handles, since social media marketing may be more helpful in connecting and engaging with their customers right now. While this is just an idea, you can easily adapt your skillset to your industry's requirements at the moment and make it a win-win for all!
3. Upskill yourself and plan ahead
If you have been on the internet any time since the quarantine began, it's fairly evident that from students to entrepreneurs, everyone is trying to learn something new and add to their knowledge! This can also apply for professional skills and would be a great asset for any freelancer. However, before signing up for an online course, workshop, etc. you should think strategically about what skills would be complementary to your existing skills.
For instance, if you're a tutor, then learning how to make and edit videos may be something you should learn since the future of education is digital as has been proven by the pandemic. You can also use this time to build on the skills you already have.
Pro-tip: In addition to online courses, make use of books, videos, webinars, and more. Also, think about how to market your skill and ensure it furthers your professional journey.
4. Connect within your network
It has been proven time and again that nothing brings people together more than facing the same problem. Any issues you're facing as a freelancer right now, other freelancers in your industry are too. So, take the time to talk with them – whether that's your LinkedIn network or that WhatsApp group for freelancers that you're a part of.
By connecting within your network, you will understand how others are handling the situation, and you may get some helpful ideas and suggestions. You may also get an insight into how they are planning to thrive in the 'new normal' that everyone is anticipating once the lockdown is lifted. Most importantly, they may introduce you to new clients and projects. Also, just having someone you can vent to who ultimately relates to your problem is pretty cathartic in itself!
5. Talk to your clients and employers
Being proactive at a time like this can go a long way. Reach out to your clients and employers – just schedule a call to discuss what's going on. Understanding what issues they are facing, what vision they have and what they are expecting. This can really help you maintain and further build your relationship with them.
Moreover, it will also give you a chance to honestly discuss your side. Discussing and re-negotiating terms considering the current times is definitely required now. You want to make sure that they can pay you and pay you on time, and if not, understand how they are going to tackle the payments.
Worrying yourself sick is not going to help – financially or health-wise. You can follow basic social distancing, and masking protocols to secure your health, while a product like Corona Kavach health - will ensure your finances are secured.
Hence, just make strategic moves and keep your cool. After all, only in rare cases will you end up in a tough situation if you have already taken care of things at your end. With that being said, good luck, and we hope the above tips help you gain a new perspective on your job in these times.