Is Covid the right time to become a freelancer?

Shahar Erez, co-founder and CEO of Stoke Talent believes the pandemic has opened up more opportunities for freelancers.

Covid-19 has led to massive changes in the way we work in the past few months, and freelancers have not fallen by the wayside. According to Shahar Erez, co-founder and CEO of Stoke Talent, there has never been a better time to think about joining the freelance community.

Erez set up Stoke as a flexible on-demand workplace platform that enables companies to hire, manage, and pay freelancers, or to change workforce. He has 15 years of engineering, product and marketing experience and has worked at companies such as HP and VMware.

Here he explains why freelancers may have an advantage over other types of workers as the pandemic progresses.

Shahar Erez is sitting in a modern office and smiling at the camera.

Shahar Erez. Image: Stoke Talent

Is the Freelance Market Tough Today? How was it affected by Covid?

Today’s job market is tough for everyone. For freelancers, it’s a little more than a “yes or no”. When the pandemic started, freelancers and self-employed were the first to get laid off, but also the first to get back on their feet and get their next job. According to Deloitte, the pandemic will have a structurally positive effect on the demand for freelancers. Gartner reports that 32 percent of employers are replacing full-time workers with flexible workforce, and CNBC reported a 25 percent increase in demand for freelancers.

Those who were freelance prior to the pandemic – who ran their own businesses or built their own reputations and networks – were trained to onboard quickly and create value for their clients. They are used to switching employers every few months or even weeks.

When traditional employees who had spent three to five years in the same place but were unemployed, it became much more difficult for them to get used to a quick job. Overall, the opportunity to embark on a freelance career and build a portfolio of employers and projects grows as companies constantly work remotely and struggle to predict future needs and skill requirements.

What are the greatest opportunities for freelancers right now?

Change is constant and the need for new skills in organizations is increasing. With everyone working remotely and with companies struggling to predict how things will turn out economically in the next few months, there are many opportunities for people to use their skills and add real value to a company in a short period of time.

Another important element is that it is very easy for people to acquire new knowledge-based skills. With online platforms like Coursera, MasterClass, Udemy, Pluralsight, and more, anyone can choose to take a trade, create value, and generate income.

There will always be change, but skill requirements change every few years. The skills that are still required are adaptability, curiosity, and learning. These are core virtues of knowledge workers and what freelancers need to be successful.

Now that we’ve got almost everything online, how can freelancers network effectively?

The first and most important question is: How do freelancers build their brand? When you have the right brand, you don’t have to worry as much about the network. Although there are nearly 700 freelance marketplaces online, virtually all research shows that the most popular way for freelancers to get great jobs is through testimonials and word of mouth.

When a freelancer wants to build a network, they should focus on building a great brand for themselves. To build a great brand, you need to focus on delivering high value and experience to those you work with. The more value and positive experiences you offer, the more references and recommendations you will get.

Of course it is always helpful to have public recognitions on relevant platforms – like online marketplaces, LinkedIn and dedicated platforms like GitHub, Dribbble, Behance etc and engagement and offer a great service. The rest will come by itself.

Should more people consider freelancing in this new, remote world, do you think?

Most people should work and think freelance even if they have a full-time job with a single employer. It’s important to constantly build your network and personal brand, act like you need to constantly acquire new skills, continuously improve your existing skills, and learn how to quickly add value to the companies you work with . Following these freelance habits will help people pursue future-proof and “pandemic-proof” careers.

Rather, many indicators suggest that freelance work will increase as demand increases. This has accelerated further amid the pandemic; We saw similar behavior during the 2008 crisis, and more is happening now.

Right now it’s a lot harder to find a full time job along with a remote job at a company that you want to work with. Self-employed [can] Giving you the freedom and flexibility to quickly find a job, try some organizations, and advance your career.

July 30, 2021