Throughout 2020, millions of people lost their jobs around the world. Some may have only lost them temporarily. While, others lost them forever. Gig workers, freelancers, and self-employed contract workers are among those the most heavily hit.
Since freelancers typically work on a contract-to-contract or individual gig basis, they lost many contracts or gigs that would have otherwise paid the bills. Now, they find themselves struggling and relying on bail-out loans, special pandemic unemployment assistance PUA, and creativity.
Creativity is possibly what drives freelancers to keep going on a good day. So, why should it be any different now that the industry all around them has shut down! Even while many employers opened up at least on limited hours, freelancers have still been left to fend for themselves. The only other option is giving up on their dreams to find a stable, lower paying hourly job working for an employer. For a life-long freelancer, giving up the flexibility and walking away from the dream they have built is not an option.
Before the pandemic hit, freelance employment was expected to grow significantly in the coming years. Once the pandemic lifts, it is very likely that freelancers will once again start booming. So, why give up now? Instead, many are discovering new ways to cope and rewrite their job descriptions. As long as there is enough funds coming in to stay afloat, this is a perfect time to spend the time learning new skills or improve those skills that they already have.
A mystery that surrounds most freelancers is their ability to stay positive no matter what comes their way. They also tend to have a passion for their career and the skills to do it. A challenge like a pandemic shutting the world’s economies down is typically nothing but a challenge to be conquered in the eyes of a freelancer. That is, of course, after they work through the shock of realizing there is no work. They know that this is not the end, but rather it is a time to reinvent how they do things.
A Canadian study asked 87 freelancers about their job search during the COVID-19 pandemic. Questions included inquiries about career resources, passion, skill level, relationships, expertise, and confidence levels. The results showed that passion was the most powerful resource for freelancers. This passion is what drives them to keep their head up with the confidence and motivation needed to keep going.
Interestingly enough, relationships and colleagues were not the top influence to most freelancers who were asked. This may be because freelancers have an independent drive that challenges them to go against the flow, and during hard times conversations can easily switch to negative hopelessness which freelancers seem to instinctively know will bring them down if they listen.
Passion and skills are the best resources for freelancers. While freelancers tend to have that inner drive that causes them to seek out opportunities on their own, if government programs want to focus their efforts on helping freelancers, the focus should be on helping them stay hopeful, confident, and proactive in their endeavors of finding work.
Programs need to be focused on helping freelancers develop their skills and to enhance their passions. This can be done through online educational videos. Of course, many freelancers have already discovered online courses and skill development videos online during their pandemic down time. So, any help that is offered to give a freelancer a boost needs to also cover expenses to keep them afloat while they invest even more time in learning new skills and honing the skills they already have.