This worldwide economic downturn is bringing us to our knees with no clear path to move us forward.
Despite the business closures and people losing jobs, an industry shows potential in sustaining our troubled economy. The online freelancing job marketplace Upwork reported that companies are maintaining business continuity with the help of the gig economy. The report states that 50% of younger generation managers are more likely to hire freelancers to fulfil expertise.
By 2028, independent contractors like freelancers, flexible talent and temps will fulfil 24% of the departmental headcount. Sounds favorable to the gig economy, right?
But how can freelancers stay productive during this slow time in the economy?
Take advantage of the growing demand for independent contractors
Businesses will cut back on costs. Some might resort to business closure and retrenchment while others will find ways to keep their business afloat. Matt Barrie, a chief executive of Freelancer.com, admits a shaky Q1 for its Sydney based firm but claims that the firm is expecting to recover from the downturn. What we do as the economy prepares for recovery is totally up to us. Take advantage of the growing demand to fulfil skill gaps brought by layoffs. Start by signing a free account to any online job marketplace.
Upscaling your skills during your downtime
Work opportunities are slowly drying up. News reports of different businesses closing down are the indicators that our economy is slowing down. The only silver lining to this worrisome situation is the compassionate industry leaders who are willing to share free resources to encourage personal and professional growth. On top of my list for skill improvement is SkillShare. With its two months of free premium subscription, I’m able to refresh my skills in SEO and Digital Marketing. There are also other lessons and workshops. I enjoy learning how to create art using watercolor, which comes handy now that I’m homeschooling. The only thing that I hope they could include soon is an online certification for completed lessons.
“SkillShare is an online learning community for people who want to learn from educational videos.”
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Give, Give, Give and then Ask
One of the known advocates of the “Give, Give, Give, and the Ask” strategy is Gary Vaynerchuk, an online personality who rose to fame when he started a YouTube channel speaking about wine. He even wrote a book dedicated to this strategy which tells us to provide value first before selling to our customers. So, while we are all experiencing a downturn, we can still shake things up by giving value first. An example would be to share valuable content with your customers instead of asking them to buy a product from you. Do this consistently so that when things normalize again, you will be on top of mind.
Pivot to other in-demand opportunities
Earlier this year, I was training to become a financial advisor, but since news of the pandemic started making headlines, I had to cancel my application. With rules on social distancing and travel restrictions, people are choosing to stay home if they could. However, this pandemic poses a threat to everyone’s livelihood. Fortunately, some jobs thrive well despite these restrictions like online English teaching platforms. When I did my research, I discovered a lot of online teaching opportunities for both native and near-native English speakers. It’s a lucrative side-hustle for those who have a passion for teaching! If teaching isn’t for you, not a problem. There are countless things you can sell online, and social groups are doing an active role to support these small ventures. So, think of what you can offer, what you can make and start rallying your social connections to try your product.
Demonstrate your ability to work remotely
Working remotely is not for everyone. Facebook’s survey showed about 50% of employees prefer to work in the office. And while the company claims an increase in productivity, other matters like homeschooling and household management are concerns that others are facing. In this situation wherein employers are looking to fulfil skill gaps someone who can work remotely efficiently is a bonus. Highlight any experience you have in working remotely or mention your work-from-home process during your interview. Ultimately, a client or an employer must feel confident that your onboarding will be smooth with minimal supervision.
Offer flexible payment scheme to meet the demands of a tough economy
Times are tough, and the only way for us to survive is by helping each other. So, during this time of uncertainty, businesses are trying to stay afloat with their dwindling resources. Some companies froze salary allocation for months instead of laying off their employees. Some are announcing pay cuts until things normalize again. Others resorted to cancelling projects or closing their businesses altogether. The best way to help uplift one another is by providing flexibility in collecting payment from our clients. Offer discounted rates for those who will pay on time or accept instalment plans to those who couldn’t settle their payments just yet.
I’ve always said you don’t want to be a unicorn, you want to be a cockroach, and this business thrives in this sort of environment.
Matt Barrie, Chief Executive – Freelancer.com
I pulled this quote from an article because for the longest time everyone wants to be the unicorn. But in this situation, though they’re known for being disgusting, the cockroach is taking the lead.
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