A year had passed, and here we are, still under some form of quarantine. You are now fully aware of how lifestyle disruption takes a toll mentally and emotionally. Once cozy, your home felt like a prison. Even going out to do errands is accompanied by trepidation. Can you imagine how much worse it gets to lose your freelance job?
When Pres. Duterte locked down the entire Metro Manila back in March – no one thought it would drag on for long. We hoped that the extreme measure would stop the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, hope turned to dismay and angst. Still, we are thankful for the opportunity to work at home. Who knew then that the entire National Capital Region and other provinces are back on lockdown a year into the pandemic.
Although staying indoor feels safer, it is impossible to be impervious to the pandemic. A report published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) paints a bleak picture of the economy. The annual gross domestic product (GDP) will decline by 8.3% (“World Economic Outlook, October 2020: A Long and Difficult Ascent”). Sadly, millions of our compatriots have lost their jobs. We freelancers may also lose our jobs as most of our clients are also facing the same crisis.
Outside the country, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus) had devastated many economies (“Global Economy to Expand by 4% in 2021; Vaccine Deployment and Investment Key to Sustaining the Recovery”). Businesses in Europe and the United States are struggling. Some closed down for good, while others are laying off workers. It is only natural to empathize with the “poorest of the poor” suffering from unthinkable misfortune.
What if it is you who got laid off by your client?
I suppose reality hits you with unimaginable force after the initial shock wears off.
What to Do After Losing Your Freelance Job
Hoping for the best is better than wallowing in self-pity, but it is not good enough. Of course, you can turn this unfortunate situation into an opportunity. All you need to do is change the way you think and do things. Later, you will realize that losing your online freelance job is a blessing in disguise.
Be a Loser
Hoping, wishing, and dreaming are good but only to a degree. Unless you act on it, they are nothing more than misguided desire. Stop bitching. Refuse to succumb to the pressure. If you need the income, do something positive and productive.
Which one are you?
- You feel frustrated after going through hundreds of job postings without getting hired. Some writing gigs are doable, but the client either wants you as a slave or opted to hire someone else. Already feeling anxious, were you on the verge of giving up? The resentment builds up after every rejection. Did you find yourself spending more time on Facebook bitching about everything?
- Beggars can’t be choosers. Did you accept a low-paying freelance job out of desperation? As if that is not bad enough, your new client wants you to do a billion tasks. For the time being, it puts food on the table and pays for rentals and utilities.
I hope you are neither.
Be a Winner
Focus on your needs and the people who depend on you, and stay on track.
Knowing how and where to find information is one of the essential skills of freelancers. If you use that to your advantage, it will not take long to land a new client. You may have lost your freelance job, but a new client can put you back on track.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted online freelance opportunities. Nonetheless, each one of us desires to receive better compensation. If better-paying clients are ignoring you, then it is time to assess yourself.
Remember how limited you were the first time you looked for an online writing job?
Did you spend time upgrading your skills?
If you did, you should have more choices – even under these extraordinary circumstances. There may be fewer job postings, but your expanded skill set should make you more qualified. From content mill articles, you may have gained experience writing long-form content. Perhaps you also learned to do other things, such as email marketing, posting on social media, or working as a VA.
Because of necessity, after losing your online job, try not to spend all your time looking for a new gig. Instead, pace yourself, balancing searching for a new job with investing in your future.
A freelance writer, for example, can take these steps:
- Make a weekly schedule.
- Commit a specific number of hours for job hunting (and working) and learning.
- Add skills related to writing web content to make yourself an attractive generalist.
- Learn and become an expert in your niche because specialized skills pay more.
Take Advantage of the Pandemic to Get Better Opportunities
In the old days, bowling centers hired pin spotters tasked to set pins. Progress led to machines taking over that job. For the pinsetter, having his source of livelihood yanked away is a bitter pill to swallow. His loss, though, was an opportunity. New jobs building those automatic mechanical devices became available for other people.
Throughout history, jobs have come and go. In England, people used to hire knocker-ups to serve as human alarm clocks. The phone calls you make today no longer pass through switchboard operators. As new industries emerged, new jobs became available. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide, for example, work in the technology sector and related fields. This industry did not exist a few decades ago.
COVID-19 pandemic is horrific. It is also the catalyst for a shift in the way companies do business and how consumers spend money (“COVID-19 and E-Commerce: Findings from a Survey of Online Consumers in 9 Countries”). Sure, you lost your job today, but the last thing you want to happen is to find yourself unable to adapt to the changes.
Even as a new freelancer with not much experience, there are plenty of jobs available. It is up to you to adapt to the changing times. Instead of earning pennies, you could put yourself in a position to deserve higher pay rates.
The client who ditched you may bow out of the game. But there are plenty of other entities jumping into the e-commerce bandwagon. Quarantine measures are making more people shop online. Hence, companies and entrepreneurs are scrambling to have a cyberspace presence (Perez). There is no doubt that online freelancing jobs will always be available.
Pandemic Gives You Time to Level Up
The reasonable expectation is that there will be more home-based jobs. Some of these are concessions made by companies to their employees during quarantine. Others, like us online freelancers, live and breathe in cyberspace. Keep in mind, though, that there is no guarantee the virus would not infect anyone staying home.
During this crisis, shopping online is looking more like a ridiculous craze. Even old-school holdouts have no choice but to get online or close up their business for good. As more companies put up websites, the demand for IT experts increased. They also realize the importance of providing valuable information.
A website may have fancy designs and captivating photos. But its heart and soul remain the content – and that is what we do.
How much should clients pay you?
You cannot expect a family driver to receive the same rate as a professional race car driver. In other words, your pay rate is proportionate to what you bring to the table. If you want to earn more money, put in the time to self-educate and level up. There is no better time than today to begin. The pandemic may have kept us inside the house. However, it cannot stop us from investing in our future.
“COVID-19 and E-Commerce: Findings from a Survey of Online Consumers in 9 Countries.” United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Oct. 2020. Accessed 26 Apr. 2021.
“Global Economy to Expand by 4% in 2021; Vaccine Deployment and Investment Key to Sustaining the Recovery.” The World Bank, 5 Jan. 2021. Accessed 26 Apr. 2021.
“World Economic Outlook, October 2020: A Long and Difficult Ascent.” International Monetary Fund, Oct. 2020. Accessed 26 Apr. 2021.
Perez, Sarah. “COVID-19 Pandemic Accelerated Shift to E-Commerce by 5 Years, New Report Says.” TechCrunch, 24 Aug. 2020. Accessed 26 Apr. 2021.