“Stay at home” is over, and we are simply loving the park picnics, backyard barbeques and Friday 5-a-side, even if it does mean braving the odd April shower. We’re still a few months away from lockdown being over for good, but following the government’s road map we are starting to get our first taste of freedom and boy, is it sweet. At the start of this week, we’ve seen some big leaps in lockdown easing, including the opening of non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality, gyms, personal care and attractions like theme parks and museums. Weddings will also be allowed to up the number of guests from 6 to 15. This will mean that several industries that have been in hibernation can spring into life once again.
This is great news for freelancers, and we don’t just mean because you can finally get a haircut and ride Nemesis again. If your industry and business have been affected by lockdown, reopening should mean that you’ll start to see an uplift in work. Or it may mean that the time has come for you to switch from working from home and heading back to the office (though the official guidance is still that if you can work from home, you should continue to do so). Whatever your plans, it’s all about being there ready to grasp the new opportunities that are going to arise in the next few months. In this blog, we take a look at some of the ways that freelancers can prepare for the end of lockdown.
Get back in touch with clients
Now’s a good time to contact clients that you’ve worked for before and touch base with them. As the economy starts to open up, they may be setting up new projects or expecting a surge in demand. Have a chat with them about what’s on their horizon, and you may be able to get a couple of jobs booked in. Similarly, if you had any clients who cancelled work due to coronavirus, drop them a quick line to see if they want to resume any engagements or need an extra hand with anything that’s coming up.
Take necessary precautions
If you need to head into a client’s office, site or back onto premises such as a studio, make sure you’re prepared for the new routines of commuting in COVID times! You’ll need to make sure you’ve got hand sanitiser and a mask with you for public transport, and of course, be aware that working practices might have changed to allow for social distancing. Our article on “How to stay COVID-safe working as a freelancer” has more tips if you need them.
Claim financial support
If your finances have taken a hit in this lockdown, make some time this week to check if you’re eligible for any money from government support schemes. Most have strict deadlines, so make sure you don’t miss them. The main source of support for freelancers is the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). We’ve rounded up the essential info on this and other sources of financial help for the self-employed in a handy blog.
Update your availability
Make sure that all clients – old, new and potential – know if you have availability coming up. You can shout out on your socials, update your website and outline it in a blog. Give people an easy way to get in touch with you and highlight your specialist services and skills. Reopening may mean that many businesses are faced with unanticipated need and they’ll be looking for people who can take on projects at short notice and with fast turnaround times. If you’re free for work, make sure this is obvious when people look you up.
Get your business insurance sorted
If you haven’t already, make sure that you’ve got proper business insurance set up. When you’re working as a freelancer, you’re liable to claims from clients if a project doesn’t go as planned. Having business insurance protects you against financial risk, but it also makes you a more desirable hire to clients who see that their interests are protected too. Insurance also reassures hiring businesses that they are dealing with a professional who takes their work seriously. Many of our freelancers make use of Dinghy’s unique flexibility and pop their policy on pause when they’re not working. If the enquiries are starting to flow again, make sure you unpause your Dinghy policy so that it’s protecting you and is ready to go as you start working. Similarly, if you’ve had your public liability insurance on hold because you’ve been working from home, and you start to head out and about again, make sure you switch it back on so you’re covered in the event of an accident. Freelancers getting back to work after lockdown can get a quote for business insurance in just a few minutes from the Dinghy website.