Freelancing? Here’s how to keep your income stable during the pandemic


by Yael Grauer May 7, 2020
No matter who it is, it’s hard not to panic in the midst of massive change. This is what you need to do to feel stable in the storm.

Your freelance career was buzzing and COVID-19 happened. Suddenly, some regular customer work ran out. Then he began to hear about layoffs and licenses in various newsrooms across the country.

Having the right mindset is a big part of freelancing, but it’s hard not to panic amid massive change. This is what you need to do to feel stable in the storm.

Do inventory

First, open up your billing software (I use Wave, which is free) and make a list of the places you’ve launched in the last year or two.

Below, find out which places you’ve written for have cut their independent budget, at least temporarily. You can contact other freelancers on those sites, if you have a relationship, or ping your assignment editor. But you can also cross-reference your list with the list of Study Hall media support network publications that have slashed independent budgets during COVID-19.

After you’ve figured out where hypocrisy launch, make a list of the places where can Tone: the ones you haven’t crossed off your list. Scroll down the list of Study Hall locations that are still being ordered to see if any of the sites you want to write for are listed. (You can check sites like Who Pays Writers to make sure the payment is worth it.)

Different pitch

Clearly, you will need to spend more time sending LOIs and releases. But you will also want to achieve different types of projects. It can be difficult to get a regular column when publishers are less likely to commit to one, but three-part series may be within reach. Look for longer contracts, monthly withholdings, or anything that seems steady and stable

Diversify your income streams

Now may not be the best time to try to acquire a new set of skills, but you can certainly take advantage of the one you already have. Try adding a few new sources of income doing the work you’ve done in the past, whether it’s editing, managing social media accounts, designing jobs, or something else entirely.

Now is also a good time to re-market your information product, re-run the online course, or even launch a new marketing push for that book you wrote and earn royalties.

Be persistent

Think of your first year of freelance work when you sent out five releases and five follow-up emails each week. Use that same energy and focus. You may need to block a little time each week (or even every day) just to market and acquire new jobs.

Find and provide support

Take advantage of tips, tricks, and information from webinars, newsletters, or forums you have access to. Look for professional groups like SABEW or ASBPE, unions like IWW FJU and NWU, or groups like Study Hall and Freelance Success.

Being part of a freelance community is incredibly helpful both in reaching out to people when they need help, and in supporting others who need it, too.