Surviving Covid-19 As A Freelancer

As Covid-19 forces businesses into lockdown, the knock-on effect has been disastrous for freelancers across all industries, leaving many people in financial difficulties. Photographers, writers, bloggers, beauticians, business coaches, events planners, and other service providers, to name but a few, have all found their diaries empty in a matter of just a few days. Without the chance to prepare for what is an unknown period of unemployment, many freelancers don’t have financial resources to fall back on - so how can we survive? 

For some freelancers, there may be the ability to diversify their skillset or offering in order to remain in business throughout this difficult time. On a basic level, this could mean taking your business online if it allows you to, or by offering other skills that are still demanded by employers. Diversification, of course, is not an option for everyone, and if we all take one lesson from this pandemic it may be to try and have some form of other skill to fall back on should this ever happen again. 

Government help 
At present, government help for freelancers is severely lacking, causing many of us to turn to payday loans as a way to make ends meet as we await further guidance. Currently, the government is contributing up to 80% of the wages for full-time employees, but this privilege does not extend to those who are working as contractors or on a freelance basis. There are currently talks about how the government can match this initiative in the freelance sector, but as and when this may materialize is still unknown. In the meantime, at present, Universal Credit is the only way for freelancers to access money that may help to subsidise their loss of earnings, but with many hoops to jump through this may still not be of much help to many of us within the sector. All that being said, it’s important to try and make use of government help wherever we can - be that in the form of Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay or Council Tax Relief. Keep an eye out on the GOV.UK website for more information. 

Cutting costs and surviving on savings
As income begins to dwindle and help does not seem to be on the horizon it is vital that we make drastic alterations to our lifestyles and spending habits in order to help the money and life savings we do have to go further. Stricter social distancing guidelines should be making it easier for us to stay indoors and to restrict our spending, but there are a few other things we can do to help make our money go further: 

Be transparent 
Don’t hide your head in the sand, be transparent with what you have to work with and this will make it easier to make it last longer 

Talks are currently in place with mortgage providers about a mortgage repayment holiday. The hope is that landlords will pass this good-will onto their tenants in the form of rent-holidays. Hope or not, it is worth speaking to your landlord about the changes in your situation as you may be able to skip rental repayments for a few months which will help you cut back on a significant expense. 

Live frugally 
Finally, it’s obvious, but now is the time to live as frugally as possible. Eat cheaply, cut back on all unnecessary subscriptions and spending and stretch every £1 as far as it will go. 

There’s no doubt about it, Covid-19 is going to be a very difficult time for us freelancers, but we will come out and grow our businesses again on the other side of this. Try to remain positive, stay in contact with friends and family for support and keep an eye out on the GOV.UK website as new initiatives unfold. 

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