Long Live The Freelancer

Written & Edited By
Fazrah LR Heryanda

Photo Cover
Photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

What it’s like to be a freelancer? A flexible work when we can wake up all we want? Or having a relentless day because no boss is ordering around? Whatever freelancer myth that has been floating around, the workload pretty much the same-or with some cases can be worst than people who go to the office from 9 AM to 5 PM. With the prediction that freelancer phenomenon will outnumber conventional salaried employees in the next decades, it doesn’t come as a surprise that people started having surge interest in freelancing projects, from designing, sketching, photography, videography, writing, to marketing. The used to phrase ‘what can you gain from a mere job like writer or designer’ now becomes the most profitable skill that everyone wishes to own. But, here’s the harsh truth: freelancing job tends to be a short-lived due to the fierce competition and freelancer needs to survive by ongoing upskilling.

Being good at writing is not enough. A copywriter is required to have a vast knowledge of marketing. Upskilling can be a key enabler from copywriting to learning digital marketing that will add more value for the client and open up to a higher fee and job variety. It also applied to a photographer or videographer. People can come back for the sake of aesthetic feed or portfolio, but the content with a compelling narrative will attract more people to stay. Abdul Razzaq, a Surabaya-based videographer who has been handling several projects, from Universitas Airlangga to Mitsubishi video, also expressing the same way. “I am somewhat anxious because, as a freelancer, I have to be ready to struggle with uncertainty. So, I find upskilling that something I need to do”. Therefore, the concept of upskilling is to bring creativity forward. The research of Adam Green, director of the Georgetown Laboratory for Relational Cognition and president-elect of the Society for the Neuroscience of Creative, shows that when people try to think more creatively, they will exercise the brain muscle. The result is clear, and creativity means pushing ourselves to continuous learning. In other words, the freelancer can’t afford to be satisfied with one skill.

Photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels

Today, with the global pandemic, COVID-19 outbreak, there are tons of canceled or postponed projects, and it takes a toll on freelancers. Apparently, it leads to another problem when the existed legal protection is doing the bare minimum while freelancers being overworked without social security, health, and work safety protection. Now, what’s a necessary action that freelancers should take is considering additional legal clauses for the contract, such as Force Majeure when epidemics, pandemics, or natural disaster happened. The working comprehension shouldn’t focus only on offering skill and service but also on creating a better working experience for each party. Moreover, the campaign of #socialdistancing and #WFH (Work From Home) to flatten the curve of COVID-19, managed to make people realize that they are taking their work for granted and the importance of upskilling which freelancer has been trained for.

No effort towards establishing a career path is wasted. Upskilling, in a way, can take the lead of a career path to meet the industry’s future demands. But, as easy as it might appear, there’s up and down in every profession, including for freelancing jobs. Remember that the grass is always greener on the other side. Try to know the risk because handling multiple projects is more susceptible to stress, and at the same time, you need to go to great lengths in ensuring financial security.