I hesitated to write this article as I don’t want to seem like I have any answers. I don’t. No one does. All I can do is speak from my own experience. And today I wanted to write about practical steps you can take to support freelancers during COVID-19.
We all need to look for ways to be kinder to one another during this outbreak. We all need to do our bit to help flatten the curve. I already work from home, so I haven’t had to change much in my working day. But I’m also listening to advice from the WHO by practising social distancing. I miss my friends and I’m sad that all of my plans for the months ahead have slowly crumbled.
And I’m bored.
That’s about all I can manage to feel at this time.
But as a freelance writer, I’m also worried about how COVID-19 will impact my clients, as this will have a direct impact on my earnings. So it got me thinking about how companies can support their freelancers during this time. Because you’d better believe your freelancers are ready and waiting to help you in any way they can.
Pay your invoices
I cannot stress enough how important this step is. When you get an invoice, ignore the payment date and just pay it. If cash flow is tight at the moment, don’t just ignore invoices until the freelancer is forced to feel shitty about chasing it. Keep your freelancers in the loop and let them know when they can expect to be paid. I’m currently waiting on 2 outstanding invoices, and the stress is slowly consuming my soul. Don’t be the client that freelancers have to complain about on social media!
Give them plenty of notice
If you’ve booked work and you decide to put the project on hold due to the outbreak, give your freelancer as much notice as possible. I can’t speak for other freelancers, but the way I work is to block out time for confirmed projects. This means that all subsequent enquiries will be offered the next available spot in my diary. If a project is pulled at short notice, I’m left with empty time in my schedule. And I end up writing a blog post. Like this. See what I did there?
Keep them in the loop
A quick email update to let your freelancers know that it’s business as usual or to expect a downturn in work is all it takes. As soon as you know what’s going on, relay this information to your freelancers. We hate being the last to know!
Refer them to your friends and family
If your business is slowing down and you’re putting projects on the back burner, consider offering referrals to other business owners. Now more than ever, freelancers need your kind words and introductions. We promise we won’t ditch you if you refer us to another company!
Show some empathy if a freelancer falls ill
If you’re able to continue with business as usual but your freelancer falls ill, try to be understanding during this difficult time. Maybe it is just a cold. But that’s beside the point. Remember that your freelancer might not have a financial safety net and will likely lose income while they are recovering. And they’ll have the added stress of worrying about passing it on to others. Try not to immediately move on to the next freelancer the first chance you get. And if you have to, try to complete steps 1-4 of this guide first.
That’s all I have for today, I’m sure other ideas will come to me. If you’re a freelance writer struggling to find work, can I suggest you sign up to this freelance writing newsletter from Sian Meades? It’s a treasure trove of excellent opportunities.