Being freelance in the current health climate – lets get practical.

It all feels a fair bit crazy out there right?

I’m seeing fellow photographers worried about cancellations and the implications this has on our businesses. Most of us, I’m sure you’ll agree, are making a living not a fortune so don’t have a huge or regular cash flow to rely on.

As a freelance photographer you’re very likely to need to be with people to do your actual job – weddings, babies, events, these all involve contact with other humans! Postponed dates are inevitably going to happen and the next few months will be looking a bit stark. So what can we do?

Firstly, let’s not panic, let’s take action.  Here are some practical suggestions to consider:

Talk to your clients now

Take some pro-active action, reach out to your clients and email your upcoming bookings. They will be appreciative of you taking the lead in an uncertain time.  Open the discussion for rescheduling, discuss their contingency plans and yours. Agree to update each other if things change.

Read authoritative sources rather than eye-grabbing headlines

If all the chatter on social media is increasing your worry, take a step back and only engage with official sources. The NHS website for health guidance and Gov.uk will be being updated with the official stance here in the UK. Don’t panic but get clear on action you can take.

What to do financially if you get ill

Access to universal credit will be made more readily available to the self-employed.

Up to 14 days sick pay is to be made available by government for businesses with under 250 staff (which includes anyone registered as a limited company, although unlikely to cover sole-traders) under emergency legislation during the outbreak.

Income protection should provide cover if you contract the virus and cannot work, however, insurance is unlikely to cover not being able to work due to if you need to care for someone else, or if contracts are being cancelled outside of your control.

If you’re not able to work but have work to be done – read your contracts, understand what your obligations to clients are if you can’t work, and discuss what might need to happen in this situation.

If you have insurance, read your policies and understand what cover and protection you have in place if you’re not able to work.  Indemnity insurance may cover you if your clients have an issue with you not being able to deliver your work.

Support other freelancers and stay connected

Reach out in your online community, you’re probably in a few Facebook groups right? You might find some practical advice or even just some light relief from those that really understand what you’re all going through.

If you’re worried about not being able to work, create small pods of people you trust that could step in. Find other photographers and come to an agreement on how to work together and substitute for each other. Even if that’s not needed, buddy-ing up with others when you’re isolated helps lessen the worries!

And remember, its physical distancing we’re doing; NOT cutting ourselves off – make calls, send texts, share funny posts!

You may also find some helpful bits from these groups:

Doing it for the kids, a Facebook support group for freelance parents

Mental health support for freelancers from Leapers

Looking forward, the bigger picture

Take this as an opportunity to look ahead to the future generally and look at what you can put in place should you not be able to go out to work, regardless of the reason.

This could be an ideal time to finally get stuck into that ‘to-do’ list for your business! Had fleeting thoughts about setting up an online workshop, offering mentoring? Heard some bits about passive income but not had time to focus in on it?

Now is a great time to take some steps towards using your photography skills and knowledge in an online way!

If you’d like to find out more start here