There were three overriding news stories in July: it was hot, football wasn’t coming home after all, and lockdown ended. Southgate’s boys did us all proud by getting to the final of the European Championships, but lost out to Italy in that cruellest of tie-breakers; the penalty shootout. Freelancers quickly shifted from football fans to electric fans as a record-breaking heatwave hit the UK. Meanwhile, most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions in England were lifted, despite climbing cases and an escalating “pingdemic” of people being asked to self-isolate. With so much going on, how is a freelancer supposed to keep up? And in this heat too! Don’t worry, Dinghy’s got your back. Here is the freelancer’s guide to the news from July.
Lockdown is over
With himself, his Chancellor, the Health Secretary and an estimated 1.7 million other Brits all stuck in isolation, it’s fair to say that Freedom Day didn’t go off exactly as Boris Johnson planned. England’s decision to lift lockdown was not without controversy, but the UK is still making good progress in vaccinating adults, over 88% of whom have now had their first dose. Lockdown easing means that many freelancers will see work start to pick up as we start to move closer to pre-pandemic economic activity. We’ve put together a guide on how freelancers can make the most of lockdown lifting. The good news is that if you work in the wedding industry, hospitality, tourism or as part of the night-time economy, now is your time to shine. In the spotlight on the blog this month were our wedding photographers, and we looked at how they can prepare for what is likely to be a very busy summer.
The lifting of restrictions also means that you are now no longer required to work from home. While some freelancers probably aren’t in a hurry to climb on rush-hour public transport, it does mean that things like meeting clients and collaborators face-to-face is now an option. Businesses still do have health and safety obligations despite the easing, so you may find many clients stick with measures like masks and hand sanitiser for some time to come. If you have any employees, you’ll need to risk-assess the situation in the light of the new conditions and see what measures (if any) you want to take. Even if it’s just you, risk assessing any work trips and workspaces can be a useful exercise – and may be a good reminder to you to purchase a public liability insurance policy for your freelance business.
Get your admin done
Hopefully, you’ve booked some time off this summer, so July is a good time to get some of the more fiddly and procedural jobs ticked off your list, either before you go away on hols or to get things reset for the beginning of the new school term in September, when everyone is back in work and the focus shifts to projects once again. If you have any outstanding invoices, particularly if they are still hanging over from the 20/21 tax year, now is the time to ramp up the chasing. This month we published a useful step-by-step guide on what freelancers can do if a client is ignoring your invoice – go have a look and get paid!
If you’re experiencing a summer lull (which again is quite common in the freelance calendar as everybody goes on holiday) now is also a good time to start to line up jobs ready for the autumn months. Getting in contact with old clients – particularly ones that you worked with before the coronavirus crisis hit – can be a good way to drum up some business. On the blog, we looked at five ways freelancers can win back old clients. Another admin trick we learnt about this month was the Monday morning meeting. Read our article to find out why we think you should sit yourself down for coffee and pastries at the start of your week.
Things are heating up
We hate to state the obvious but…it’s been really hot. Record-breakingly hot. So hot that the Met Office put out their first-ever extreme heat warning for the UK. Now, pardon us for saying, but coming off the back of a plague and in the same month as the sea was literally on fire, is it just us or are the vibes getting a little bit too apocalyptic around here? Scientists have linked extreme weather events like heatwaves and flash floods (as we’ve seen in Germany and Belgium this month) to the effects of climate change. It makes sense then for us all to play our part in the solution – we discussed some simple ways that freelancers can go greener on our Earth Day blog back in April.
There are a few things you can do to make working through a heatwave more bearable. Make sure you drink lots of water and slap on the suncream if you’re out during the day. If you need to exercise outdoors or do any jobs outside, try and keep them to early mornings or evenings when there’s less direct sunlight and the temperature drops a little bit. Keep your curtains closed in the day to keep the house cool, and sleep with your windows open at night. If you have a fan, use it. Some people also swear by frozen water bottles or bowls of ice in front of an electric fan to create your own DIY air con. And hey, if you want to sit in the paddling pool and slurp an ice pop while you work, we’re not judging. Call it the perks of being freelance!
Remember if you’re taking a summer holiday this year, one of Dinghy’s unique features is that you can switch your cover on to lite mode while you’re not working, saving yourself money. It’s just one of the ways that we cater to the flexibility of freelance life. If you’ve not sorted your business insurance for the summer yet, pop along to the Dinghy website for a quick quote.