Having been a freelancer for over a decade now and must say I am quite comfortable working from home. Yes, there are days when I get the urge to escape and those are times when I head out to a café or friend’s place to work in peace.

The past few weeks of #Lockdown have been different, but not really very different. Some noticeable differences, more on the personal front are,

  • Am living with 3 senior citizens as against the one am usually living with [I live with grandma, but now mom & dad are also here].
  • A lot more housework than earlier, and so more time spent in sorting those out before I can escape to my room to hit work mode.
  • The number of projects am working on remain pretty much the same, except for a small one going on a break cos their business is hit big time cos of the Lockdown.
  • We have been cooking all meals, being careful not to waste or use too many veggies/masala etc and rationing the stock.
  • Making sure only one member is stepping out to do shopping, atleast we are trying to…
  • Weirdly everyone seems to be getting along.. There have been no major verbal battles or exchanges… Well, too soon to tell, but still it’s a good start…
  • We have gotten into a rhythm of doing things- taking turns cooking, cleaning, etc… but there is the underlying worry of what is happening in the world, when will this lockdown end, when will life as we knew it resume..

A few things you could do on the personal front during these bleak days [well, thats how some refer to it]

  • Hobby/Passion – If you have always wanted to learn something new, it is the time to do so now… Be it a new language, or art/craft, or get started on a project that you have been meaning to get around to but did not have time/mind space. I spend half an hour everyday doing Origami or Decoupage.. Experimenting~ And have also been toying with the idea of going back to Duo lingo to keep my Spanish alive..
  • Cook/Bake – For some it is therapeutic, for others its daunting and for some of us it is fun..  I love love experimenting with new recipes/ ingredients. So the past few weeks I have tried out a few new recipes, baked a carrot cake, made cookies for the 1st time and hopefully will be making stove top pizza today/tomorrow .. Most recipes I find thanks to the people I follow on Instagram/blogs..
  • Reading – Have always been one of those who believed in spending least amount of time online, on the screen and that continues. Now I find that am reading a lot more.. Currently reading 3 books + a cookery book and each one is of a different genre. To know what kind of books am into, follow me on Goodreads or Instagram. Pick up that one book you have been meaning to read, or one that your friend gifted you.

Infact , there are several sites giving you books for free now

Here are 2,780+ free ebooks and 100 free audiobooks that are sorted into lists by topic. Please feel free to share this list – stay home and stay safe. I will be uploading new lists as I am able to on more topics. Feel free to share this list with folks looking for free online resources from books

Juggernaut app

Kindle Unlimited also has one month free subscription

ACK Comics app – We’re giving everyone FREE ACCESS to both our Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha comic apps for an entire month! Get a FREE one month subscription to our entire catalogue till March 31st, 2020!

Storyrtel – again free 1 month subscription to audio books

Seagull books – https://www.seagullbooks.org/- Giving you access to download pdfs of a small selection of books.

  • Clean & Purge – No no, am not asking you go all Mary Kondo on your wardrobe, but this is a good time to clean your cupboard, find those tops hidden in the back, pull out stuff you havent worn in a while, try on those pants that were ill-fitting and then keep them or put them in a bag to give away once the lockdown ends.  It would also help you plan your daily wear once you get back to your routine… The same needs to be done for other parts of the home- kitchen, bathroom, even the attic… Remember that backpack/blender/diary etc etc you thought you would use, but you haven’t yet? how about gifting to a friend or giving it away to someone who might use it.

While all this is going on at home, on the professional front, things have been good, and that is what is keeping me sane and busy. Otherwise, I would be restless and driving myself up the wall, with time on my hands and nothing concrete to do.

Anyways, this post is about things you can do while you have some time on your hands and if you are a freelancer. Having been stuck at home and seeing clients press the pause button, it does seem like there is no light at the end of this tunnel, but hopefully it will shine bright once again… {I had done a post earlier about working from home, read it here ]

Until then,

  • Take stock of what your key skills are and make plans for the days ahead. I work with 1-2 clients who are on a retainer basis, while others are project to project. See if you can get more work from the smaller clients, and send them a mailer with a list of things you can do for them, besides what you are currently engaged for. For ex, if you are doing content work, let them know you can digital media marketing.. For all you know, they might have been looking for someone and it makes sense to have one person handle it all.
  • Read up and stay updated on various tools and platforms available across freelance categories, esp the ones you are into. This will help you reach out to newer companies/start ups.
  • Update your online profile – Linkedin, other platforms and get that website done. Infact, I had slacked off for nearly a decade and finally got my site sorted and am glad I did. It looks professional, and I am happy I have a website to share with prospective clients. [Psst… It is aartikrishnakumar.com, do check and share feedback/comments]
  • Scout the Internet for projects and part time roles that come up- fivr, angellist, linkedin, facebook, anywhere … Infact, recently was introduced to a site called Go Zeal at an event – it is a platform exclusively for women seeking jobs/projects. They are just kicking off, but might be a good idea to create a profile there.
  • Similarly, have a PDF or a page on the website that showcases past work, and samples. It would be easy to zip across whenever you are making a pitch.
  • Write down a few sample pitches and have them ready to be sent out when you do see a requirement. Have them in different formats, language, and for different sectors that you work in.
  • Get the hang of task based sites like Trello, Workzone, Proofhub, Podio or Paymo -they will help you plan your work and create a schedule that lets you complete all tasks within the deadlines and not get lost.
  • Invoices- I am one of those who will send out invoices a month or more after completion of a project, it will remain in my mind but I wont send it out. Create a workflow that helps you sort this out. Use Quickbooks or any other app/website that allows you to send out invoices automatically, and without much delay.
  • Clean out your computer- sort out all work files , old projects, new ones, proposals and other documents. Create folders and keep them organised, it will help you save time when you need to find a document.
  • Make a copy of your Identification documents– Aadhar, PAN Card, Passport, etc.. When signing on with a new client, if they require any of these, you should be able to send it out within minutes and not be looking for an Internet café or someone with a scanner. Time is money, remember~
  • For contracts & NDA – have a set of sample documents ready, incase client wants a reference. Or if you can, put together a document based on your past projects & experiences, covering all bases.

Above all, remember, this too shall pass.. Yes it is a phase, a frustrating one at that, but then we all have our ups & downs… Don’t lose heart, and don’t give up, do what makes you happppppy ~ And it is perfectly alright to not want to do anything, to just chill, binge watch your favourite movie or shows… 

Let me know if there are any other points to be included, will update… And am happy to answer any queries you might have on freelancing/ working from home/ getting new projects…