Freelancing during the pandemic is indeed entering uncharted territory.
Well, here’s a peek.
Budget cuts, very late payment, more rejection, retrospective rate reduction, impromptu project cancellations, lay-offs and pay-cut etc, are just some of the not-so-pleasant occurrences ushered in by the pandemic.
Of the truth, we are living in unprecedented times and most of us -freelancers- are navigating uncharted waters.
In March 2020, the Covid virus hit us with a rude shock and I must say no one was prepared for the changes that were to come.
As the virus spread through several cities and continents there became the need to categorize it as a Pandemic. And that’s when things began to change- not for good though.
Initially, the future didn’t look bleak for those of us freelancing during the pandemic because we worked from the convenience of our homes.
But, as the virus and its effect lingered on amongst us, things started to look grim.
Some of what happened next were things I would have sworn only happened in movies- apocalyptic movies as a matter of fact.
It seemed as though we were now living in the zombie era.
Here are some of what we experienced:
- Lockdown: Literally, the world had to shut down. Schools, churches, offices, cinemas, bars, clubs, restaurants all closed or moved online.
- Quarantine: If you are suspected to have come in close contact with an infected person and as such been exposed to COVID-19, then you will have to isolate yourself for at least 14 days.
- Masking: If you had to go out, then you had to use a nose mask.
- Sanitization: Sanitizers became the new body spray.
- Social distancing: Whenever out, you were made to remain 6 feet apart from the next person.
- Food and supplies shortage: First, it was toilet tissue, I really don’t know what that was about. And then other food items became expensive with a drop in quality especially cow meat.
- Unemployment: Nobody was seeking for new recruits. But, thankful to the digital age and the ability to be freelancing during the pandemic. With unemployment and layoffs, the number of new freelancers surged.
- Loss of job: Some businesses had to lay off their workers.
- Pay-cut: Salaries were slashed up to half or more.
- Loss of income: Some workers didn’t receive a penny during the months that businesses/organisations were shut down.
- Disappearance of gigs: People who survived on gigs such as musicians, actors and freelancers were not left out of the madness.
Many of us thought the virus and all its shenanigans would fizzle away in a matter of weeks.
But, boy, were we wrong.
Months after the cities began to close, my income took a nosedive.
Is this the end of my career?
As a freelance content writer of over 3 years, I have had my own share of highs and lows when it came to finding jobs.
It’s quite difficult to get used to the rhythm between lucrative months where I banked a good number of assignments and fallow periods when I won’t even have clients contact me.
This is especially because I am coming from a 9-to-5 with very regular income.
However, this out-of-work experience hit differently.
I haven’t been this out of work for this long since I started freelance writing.
Like many Nigerians and people all over the world, my income kept going downhill.
As my work load began to evaporate, I began looking for other avenues to make good use of my time.
Since I wasn’t freelancing during the pandemic, I had a lot of time in my hands but I couldn’t waste it just because I had no clients to write for.
Therefore, I began taking online tests, courses. I began honing some other creative skills which I already began learning at the beginning of the year.
Some of which are video production, website design and Facebook and Instagram marketing.
I also started looking for other blogs to read, online courses to take and I also started curating my own online class tailored for new and aspiring freelance writers.
For me as a mom writer and creator, freelancing during the pandemic and even creating content hasn’t been particularly easy.
I must say balancing my time has been quite tasking.
As I mentioned earlier schools weren’t in session for obvious reasons and this means I spend all day with my boys- without a nanny or house help.
If you are a mom and especially mom of boy, you know what that means- work-productivity down the drain.
Making out time to learn and create became more like rocket science.
If you aren’t been called out every 5 seconds then you are either hushing them, changing diapers or one of those numerous mummy duties.
However, with the ease of things as regards lockdown and the spread of the virus coupled with the new year kicking in and all the restrategizing going on from the stables business owners, writing jobs have started to pick up again.
Although not yet as lucrative as before, at least we see light at the other end of the tunnel.
We are in the month of December and we hear there’s a second wave of the virus with new strain.
Many cities especially in the US and UK have begun to go on lockdown again.
Nigeria recently started to implement its own shut down as well.
Check the World Health Organisation for more information on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
We truly don’t know what this means for 2021.
But, it’s not looking pretty either. There’s this sense of helplessness that we are all caught in this painful time and nowhere to run to.
As you may already know, freelancing is uncertain when it comes to income flow and then freelancing during the pandemic…
As a freelancer, this certainly calls for more effective financial discipline if you want to live a happy freelance lifestyle.
But, do you know what’s beautiful about freelancing during the pandemic?
It’s not like you got laid off work and have to start from the ground up.
With freelancing, you already have a foundation going and only have to keep building once the world returns to normal or close.
Freelancing during the pandemic ushered in lots of unique challenges and I must say opportunities too(at least for some persons).
Tell me one unique challenge that you experienced as a result of the pandemic.
How are you managing to stay afloat as regards jobs, income and expenses.
Also, did you hear about and join the freelance community during the pandemic.
Let’s talk more in the comments.