The pandemic gave birth to The Great Reshuffle, also known as The Great Resignation and The Big Quit. The phrase "The Great Resignation" was initially used by psychologist Anthony Klotz to describe his prediction of a wave of resignation after the pandemic. The pandemic arguably is not over, but his predictions have come true with record-breaking resignations in April 2021, then July 2021, and August 2021 and 4.5 million job quits in March 2022. The US economy continues shifting, and US workers are finding better benefits, including attractive remote work options.
With the Big Quit also came a growth in freelancing. In 2021, 36% of the US workforce will be freelancers, and 58% of non-freelancers have considered freelancing in the future. Over 70% of non-freelancers are open to freelancing due to working more productively remotely. It's projected that by 2030, 50% of the US workforce will freelance, which was reflected by how 50% of Genz's participated in freelance work in 2020. Whether you're freelancing or considering freelancing, here are our tips for surviving and thriving during these times.
Keep up with your finances
Keep things cheap. It's a good idea to keep things cheap. Some might consider having the fancy home office to start; however, it's not the best first investment without an income. Consider working in coffee shops, where you may even network with other professionals, freelancers or not. There are also co-working spaces that can offer trials or daily passes to check out a new space.
Reassess your finances constantly. You'll learn about what projects brought you the most cash and what spending patterns are unnecessary for your overall success. Signing up for countless subscriptions for different tools may not be a great idea, especially if they are more of one-time use. You can also look at the energy and time you spent on different projects; an excellent paying project may have been a pain due to the time you spent on it. Think about what tasks you enjoy and which clients you have built a great relationship with.
Network and retain long term clients
Keep a relationship with other professionals in your field. As we mentioned, going to coffee shops could be a place where you can network and meet with like-minded people. There are Facebook groups online, and as in-person events return, networking events you can attend. Putting yourself out there and marketing yourself to other freelancers could lead you to become a better freelancer yourself, and you never know, even a referral to a client. Our research found that freelancers usually get all sorts of requests from clients. The classic "I need you to write, design, and create the marketing for this project." Networking is an opportunity as you can peer up with others that need someone with your skillset to finish a project.
Make every client interaction count. Your past and current clients are your best asset. They have networks of their own that can lead to a referral to you. Having great experiences with you also leads to more requests your way. It's a great idea to do your best to make the best of every client interaction. When they aren't requesting work from you, you can check in periodically to see how their business is doing or if your past work has impacted their business. At Buzzzy, we have seen great results in retaining our clients as we build trust with them.
Protect your time
Spend your time the same way you evaluate your money. Focus on the things that will generate the most income for you. This could mean working on your marketing and personal brand to find future clients. Make sure to charge the time you have meetings with clients, whether it's one-off meetings or feedback periods. Clients appreciate this level of detail, pushing them to be more efficient with your time because they know it costs them money. Try not to spend too much time on proposals or speculative work that leads to no cash. Many clients will be taken advantage of freelancers refusing to pay them and making them work for free in the long run. You should treat your talent as your business and charge what you are worth. For example, freelancers in Buzzzy don't need to write up proposals for every client. We handle the vetting upfront, so clients know they will pay for quality and experience, and freelancers don't waste their time.
Look after yourself
Avoid burnout. Remember that your health is what keeps you working. Even if this is challenging, you should schedule times to rest throughout your day. Create early morning routines that are required for you to start your day. It may help plan your lunches and log-off periods and communicate them to your clients. Make these times non-negotiable so that you can remain at your best. It can be challenging to remove yourself as it can be anxiety-inducing with many competing priorities, but be intentional during downtime periods. When you need a rest, chatting with another freelancer about your projects or reading a book related to precisely what you're working towards is useful. The point is to find time for yourself to keep your creativity flowing.
We hope these tips are helpful and allow you to thrive. We are committed to the freelance economy. At Buzzzy, we built a platform that makes it easy for top freelancers to work for themselves. We're always interested in connecting with other freelancers; if you want to learn more about us, fill out our sign-up form.
Image Source: Ketut Subiyanto