A Complete Guide to Combat Covid-19 Crisis as A Freelancer

As discussed by Upwork and Freelancers Union, freelancers from all around the world, including content writers, journalists and photographers contribute approximately $1 trillion to the world’s economy. But despite their big contribution, their careers and online jobs are considered as nothing greater than cute hobbies by policymakers. Their only concentration while making laws and legislations is towards people who have a permanent office job.

As every country is doing its best to halt the pandemic, federal and state governments from all around the world are discussing to sweep laws and legislation to help businesses, entrepreneurs, employees, and freelancers. But freelancers often question themselves, ‘what is in it for them?’

According to the president of Upwork and Freelancers Union, Rafael Espinal, freelancers are facing the most difficult time of the history due to COVID-19. He further points out that the government has failed to understand the contribution and the part freelancers play to help the population.

Just when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, many companies, enterprises, and organizations switched to remote working for ease. But about 57 million Americans, who have limited or no resources as the privileged ones are already feeling a financial burden on their shoulders. This includes freelancers such as part-time hires, gig workers, part-time contractors, project-based temporary employees, etc.

These people contribute and drive a large amount of money in US income but as traveling has been restricted, gatherings are banned and all future events have been put to a halt, these people have already started feeling the financial impact.

However, many companies have responded very well to this wave of chaos and pressure by hiring contract workers. Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google are hiring people on hourly wages despite their loss during the COVID-19 outbreak. However, it is not enough for self-employed workers.

But luckily there are some measures that they can consider and save themselves from financial circumstances while the COVID-19 outbreak lasts.

Strengthening the Rescheduling and Cancellation Policies in Projects

Unlike an office employee, a self-employed person does not have the privilege to talk to the human resources department if they face a problem in getting paid.

To combat the financial loss that usually occurs when clients refuse to pay, the best way is to strengthen the contract rescheduling and cancellation policies. Legal experts find it very important to have pre-defined clear policies on the contract signed by both parties.

According to the Legal Paige, canceling 30 days before the submission date is one of the industry standards that many of the clients seem to ignore.

However, there are some clauses that freelancers can add in each contract to protect their businesses. There are many unavoidable and unforeseeable events due to which freelancers fail to provide their services within the time frame.

These legal clauses could help them save their business as well as reputation:

Super Force
This clause gives you the excuse from performing services written in the contract outline due to unforeseeable and unavoidable events such as pandemics, epidemics, natural disasters, etc.

Safe Working Environment Clause
This clause protects the right of the freelancers to discontinue the services that they provide if the unsafe condition arises such as going out in an area that is affected by a contagious disease.

Failure of Companies to Perform Services
This clause enables the freelancers to clarify their excuse if they have failed to perform the promised services.

Preparing A Crisis Management Plan

It is very hard to maintain strong customer relationships in freelancing as clients have high expectations with you. By acknowledging and addressing the main issues at hand with your prospective clients, you can set clear expectations. This way, your customer relationships can be managed even in an undesirable situation.

To increase your chance of rescheduling services or avoiding cancellation, it is a good idea to put your customers at ease and show empathy towards them, especially at the time of a pandemic.

One way to do this is to get forward and come to a conclusion after discussing clients’ concerns. This would not only benefit you but your client as well. In short, it would be a win-win situation for both parties.

Proactive communication with your prospective clients shows your preparedness towards the COVID-19 pandemic and other unexpected situations that might come as a hindrance between you and your job.

To get prepared for these types of issues, freelancers can pre-add a FAQ session on their website along with a blog page that mostly discusses their business approach to combat the unexpected situation at the time of a pandemic.

Doing this for the future prepares the business owners for the questions from their clients.

Take Benefit from National Financial Aid

While the whole country is fighting the COVID-19 outbreak, the US government has announced a financial aid of $50 million to companies who have been affected by this pandemic. The Treasury Department is also putting off tax penalties and payment for businesses and entrepreneurs who have been negatively affected financially. This means that self-employed people can get paid sick leave.

New York City is qualifying small companies with fewer than 100 employees for no-interest loans. However, they have to show proof that their sales have been decreased since the corona outbreak. Other cities are offering a USD 6000 for businesses that have fewer than 5 employees. You can visit your region’s Small Business Administration and see if your company qualifies.

Enforce Retainer Payments

If a client wishes to cancel a contract even within the 30 days prior notice, they are still entitled to pay the non-refundable retainer payments. However, you need to phrase your contract according to your state’s rule. For instance, the word ‘deposit’ means that you would have to refund the amount.

Bring in Back-Up Support in Your Contract

Even if you are self-employed, you need to build networks with professionals to have your business running smoothly. You must identify one or more go-to industry specialists that bring your support if you face an unfortunate crisis.

Social communication platforms are great to build networks with other freelancers. However, you should mention it in every contract and aware of the possibility of bringing in back-support if anything goes out of track.

Overall Thoughts

The COVID-19 outbreak has had a greater impact on freelancers, small businesses and self-employed people. It is about time that they start taking these measures to keep the financial burden off their shoulders.

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