Despite times being hard and cashflow often tight, there are definitely solutions and small changes you can make to maintain a healthy business even in this time of great uncertainty. As a freelancer myself, I have experienced first-hand the effects of Coronavirus on businesses (with clients scaling back projects to closing up shop entirely) but this also equips me with advice to help you out. Here is my advice to 4 questions you might be asking yourself in lockdown:
1. Is this the end for my business?
No, this does not have to be the end for your business as long as you put in the work to adapt to your market, finding your client’s needs (which may have drastically changed) and attempting to meet them as best possible.
2. Should I adjust my rates?
This is a complicated question and ultimately I would always recommend researching this and making the best choice for your business. However, I think it is important to remember that, whilst our jobs are digital, meaning we may not experience the same disruption of environment as an office workers, the cost of running our operation typically varies greatly and the typical deductions remain (e.g. tax, software, utilities etc). Maintaining your rates would thus ensure a level of security in this unpredictable economic climate. Hopefully, especially if you have a long-standing working relationship, clients will recognise and respect this but
3. How should I deal with a change in income?
Again, this is a complicated question and, also, an immensely personal one. We all have different lifestyles and financial circumstances; the starting point should be calculating the minimum income you need to meet essential bills and purchases and analysing the state of your savings.
Small lifestyle changes might be easy to make, like cutting out daily coffee trips or the weekly takeaway but definitely use money saving sites for tips, financial hacks and more comprehensive advice. Also, review your business expenses, including outgoings like subscriptions to stock libraries or third party applications, consider whether Adobe or Affinity design apps are worth the money and think about moving your website to a cheaper platform (like from WordPress to Webflow).
Finally, consider investigating if you’re applicable for support from the government through schemes like the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and make the most of these to keep your business afloat.
4. What can I do to help my business in this time of great uncertainty?
The increased time many of us have found ourselves with actually creates the perfect opportunity to enhance your business. Why not try to learn a new skill to add to your services or upsell to your client? Scope out new markets where design is a niche (using this lack of competition to your advantage). Collaborate with other skilled creatives to build something brilliant using your combined strengths. Share your expertise from design services to SEO services to teaching photoshop properly. Where possible, rebrand and reposition your business (take a look at my previous article for marketing ideas to consider).
It is all about learning and reinventing yourself as a freelancer, and persevering through this challenging and unsettling time. For more advice or if you’re looking for help reinventing or enhancing your business, please do not hesitate to contact me!