Summer is almost upon us! Recent weeks have been pretty eventful, with the U.S. elections, easing of curfew and COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne and the state of Victoria, as well as the release of Australia’s Federal Budget for 2020-21. We are rejoicing with the people in Victoria!
In this issue of Australia Freelance Market News, we will be exploring the implications of the Federal Budget for freelancers and best networking tips for freelancers.
In addition, we will discuss the lasting changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, with regard to working from home and business marketing.
Following that, we will answer a question about why professional project brokers are not allowed to post requests on our platform. Last but not least, allow us to brighten up your day with our joke of the month of an engineer and a misconceiving manager.
Let us continue to support our freelancers in Australia throughout this crisis. I hope you enjoy reading this news and as always, I wish you success in business!
For Australians, by Australians, in Australia.
$98 billion grants are being allocated to the COVID-19 response and recovery in the 2020-21 Federal Budget, coupled with numerous incentives and concessions for businesses all over the country. The newest initiative is the JobMaker Plan, which has been allocated $74 billion to aid job creation and employment in Australia. This is in addition to the $299 billion in the government’s initial COVID-19 response.
Unfortunately, a significant group of people in Australia has once again fell through the cracks - freelancers and contractors. The corona crisis has severely impacted the number of gigs, projects or assignments that freelancers are obtaining, which in turn affects their income.
Moreover, with more people unemployed in the wake of the economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there is increased competition for less work, hence driving down the rates and income of freelancers tremendously in the past few months. With less work and smaller margin, freelancers are struggling financially with little aid from the government.
Freelancers who we interviewed recently commented that it has been increasingly harder to obtain jobs from popular freelance market platforms due to the boom in the number of freelancers registering and applying for work, while income per project has fallen drastically because of increased competition. A few freelancers even mentioned that some jobs gotten through other freelance market platforms barely covered the costs incurred by the freelancers, hence is not sustainable in the long term.
Australia Freelance Market eliminates the need for negotiation of rates, through our transparent model of displaying fixed hourly rates for each freelancer. We also ensure that freelancers are free to obtain recurring or repeated projects from each client at no additional cost. This means high quality work from our freelancers, in order to build a good working relationship with clients to increase the opportunities for recurring work.
While you might be the most talented freelancer in the world, if you just sit at home waiting for jobs to fall into your lap, instead of letting potential clients know of your existence and how skilled or experienced you are at work, you will most likely struggle to land jobs.
The really successful freelancers aren´t necessarily the ones with the most talent - they are the people who tell the world what they can do and get new customers. Ultimately, being a freelancer is, to a large extent, a ´people´s business´ - you get the best jobs through contacts from your own network. So if you want to advance your career as a freelancer, you should learn to network. Our 8 tips are definitely a good start:
Tip 1: Choose the right event
Especially at the beginning of your freelance career, many people make the following mistakes: You attend almost every virtual or physical event in the hope of acquiring customers for your own projects. The chance of finding exactly the customers who really suit you at events is not the same everywhere. Especially not if you mainly go where there are only colleagues who, like you, are on the hunt for customers. In order to get serious customers, it is better to choose an event where you meet people who are already where you want to be and also companies that have the money to hire you.
Tip 2: Don´t necessarily think of it as “networking”
If you impose on yourself before attending an event the idea that you absolutely have to network now, that can create a lot of pressure and make your appearance and connection with people appear to be forced. Instead, tell yourself that you are going to an event to get out of the house and socialize, or to get support from other freelancers. Ultimately, nobody wants to give someone an assignment who is practically begging for it.
Tip 3: Have a clear goal when networking
It might sound strange to set goals for networking, but this approach can be really helpful. Only when you know the direction that you are heading can you meet people who will help you along the way. These goals can be, for example, the search for a support network, a mentor or for further assignments. Remember to communicate your goals clearly too.
Tip 4: Stay in touch
To get the most out of networking, stay connected after exchanging contacts. It is best not to wait too long for this, but rather send a short message the next day in which you tie in with the conversation and, if necessary, arrange a first meeting (it can be a virtual meeting). These so-called follow-ups are often more effective than one would think - you will be remembered as a professional networker and thus show your counterpart that you mean business.
Tip 5: Work in a co-working space
In co-working spaces, one can meet many interesting people from different industries. By sharing an office with other freelancers, your network often grows by itself.
Tip 6: Keep in touch with former colleagues and customers
When you start freelance work, it is advisable to keep in touch with former employees. Your ex-colleagues already know you and your professional qualifications, which can be a great advantage for you. Invite your former colleagues to become part of your LinkedIn or other social and business network.
Tip 7: Be prepared for opportunities
You may be familiar with the saying, 'Happiness comes when preparation meets opportunity' - should you be given an opportunity to spend some time with someone who could make a positive difference to your career, it should not be missed. Always be clear about your goals and prepare a brief summary of what you are doing and why you are so good at it. Then, if you get the chance to impress someone, you can do that too.
Tip 8: Give speeches and conduct workshops
Prove your authority and professional competence by giving lectures and workshops on topics that you can master as if you were asleep. This is the best way to gradually build up a positive reputation as an expert in your field and thereby increase your chances of attracting new customers. When you are starting out in this aspect, it can be worthwhile to speak or conduct workshops for free to build up your reputation and network.
As a result of the corona pandemic, teleworking has become indispensable. A recent Gartner survey found that three quarters of all CFOs (Chief Financial Officers) and finance leaders believe that at least 5% of previously on-site employees will continue to telework after COVID-19. In fact, a quarter of them would be permanently moving at least 20% of their previously on-site employees to work remotely from home.
While CFOs have long been faced with the responsibility of reducing costs for companies, it took a global pandemic to wake the world up to the possibility and benefits of working remotely in the long-term. After initial reservations about remote work, companies around the world have been embracing the idea of having employees work from home in the long run, through the use of technology which is constantly advancing and evolving.
McKinsey gives the example of a pharmaceutical company with around 10,000 sales representatives: In February it switched from on-site work to practically 100% remote working. With the end of the corona restrictions, one could expect remote working to disappear again. However, the company is now planning to permanently introduce a 30% online work model with only 70% on-site in order to take advantage of the newly developed online skills of its sales force.
While many workers learned through trial and error or resorted to spontaneous training methods in the early stages of the crisis, remote working is likely to become an ongoing task for those responsible for training. For example, sales teams can use video conferencing to effectively manage customer relationships in remote locations.
Organizations are now increasingly developing their skills online as executives now systematically search for the best ways to digitally manage teams. This transition is often easier for long-term employees who have established relationships and know their role than for new employees who have yet to get to know the company without informal office interactions.
After the companies return to the ´normal way of working´, additional collaboration tools and a new work culture will be available. Individual companies are already creating new locations for collaboration in suburban centers and reducing the size of the central offices in order to reduce commuting times for employees. This also affects the recruiting process as entrepreneurs look for remote work skills such as the ability to be self-motivated and strong time management.
The current challenges will cause employees to think about whether they want to work from home in the future. Research by Gartner shows that up to 80% also want to work from home.
The benefits of having more employees work from home include a possible reduction in overhead costs for physical office space, increase in productivity and efficiency, reduced stress for employees, as well as better work-life balance, due to the elimination of the need for commute and traffic, hence making time for work and personal life.
The current corona crisis will permanently change the way marketing works in companies. At the Digital Marketing Day 0720 of the German Institute for Marketing, participants were asked about various post-corona theses. We present you with the theses that received the highest approval ratings.
95% believe that the demands on the speed of work, decision-making and flexibility are increasing: Due to the changing circumstances, many companies have had to and are still having to adapt and reinvent themselves. For this reason, the demands on the speed and flexibility of various work processes is likely to increase.
94% suspect that social media will stay: Social media is currently booming. Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms have now become central platforms on which companies can market themselves. The majority are certain that this will continue to be the case. In the present moment, the hustle and bustle around well-known social media platforms is increasing once again.
93% assume that digital competition will intensify: As digitization increases, digital competition is also likely to intensify. This is good news for users as increased competition usually means more and better choices at more competitive prices.
93% expect more innovations and new business models: If one assumes that competition will increase, then companies are likely to get more involved than ever in order to gain competitive advantages through new innovations and business models.
92% believe that brands and companies need to be more careful: The corona crisis caught numerous companies unprepared. As a result, some of them have had to undergo severe setbacks. In the future, companies will be better prepared and be more careful in the event of unexpected situations.
84% expect the marketing budget to become more digital: Even before the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a growing marketing budget for digital measures. The majority of respondents are convinced that this will only increase with the current situation.
83% expect agile principles to become normal: Companies have had to adapt quickly in this unprecedented global situation. Marketing was not excluded from this either.
77% see that digitization remains a trend: Over time, the possibilities of the digital world are ever-increasing and evolving. In the current times of the corona pandemic, many companies are being forced to develop further in the area of digitization.
In the past, freelancers have complained about introductions with professional project brokers. Less than 10% of their inquiries lead to a project, which is well below our success rate of 37%. Many project brokers are also in the habit of negotiating for lower hourly rates in order to increase their own profit margin. Since the freelancers pay the introduction fee with us, most of them do not want an introduction to other project brokers and subcontractors.
Having said that, project brokers who are genuinely interested in an introduction with a freelancer at Australia Freelance Market can, however, bear the introduction fee in place of the freelancer. The introduction fee is two hourly freelancer rates plus GST.
The management of a company has had a flagpole erected in front of the company building and is very proud of it. However, nobody knows how tall this flagpole is, which would be useful for the press release. The managers find ways to measure the height of the flagpole with a yardstick, but none of the managers get all the way to the top. Even a table with a chair on which a manager has climbed is not enough.
The freelance engineer comes by, unhooks the flagpole, puts it on the meadow, measures, says: ´The flagpole is exactly 7.58 meters long´ and leaves.
As soon as he has left, a misconceiving manager says: “That is so typical for an engineer! We want to know how HIGH the pole is and he tells us how LONG it is instead! Such a person could never get promoted to management level with us.”
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