How COVID-19 Has Impacted the Gig Economy (and How Freelancers Can Pivot)

It’s hard to see any area of work and life that has been left untouched by COVID-19. This unprecedented pandemic has impacted industries and businesses of all sizes, and that includes the gig economy. In March, media like The New York Times predicted the erosion of the gig economy. However, many months later, the reality is that there has been an adverse impact, but there has also been a positive outcome.

As a freelancer, you have the opportunity to make changes that address this impact and continue to work on your own terms.


StartupNation exclusive discounts and savings on Dell products and accessories: Learn more here

The gig environment

If you are a gig worker, you may only be concerned with your segment of the economy. However, the gig economy is quite diverse, encompassing everything from Airbnb properties, driver gigs, and car rentals to freelance jobs like content writing, photography, graphic design, and developer projects. Also, delivery jobs, dog walking gigs, and errands and task-type roles. While some gig economy jobs require in-person work, many gig workers were already enjoying a remote or virtual environment before the pandemic.

Understanding the impact

Davide Proserpio, USC Marshall Assistant Professor of Marketing and Kenneth King Stonier Assistant Professor of Business Administration, recently undertook research to examine how the COVID-19 pandemic and business shutdown has affected the gig, or sharing, economy.

The research soon revealed noticeable trends in terms of the variance of impact from COVID-19. Those gig economy jobs that involve hospitality and greater contact (like those connected to companies like Airbnb, Lyft and Uber) took an immediate hit. While many tried to make immediate changes that would lower the risk of contact, such as masks, gloves, partitions and increased cleaning and sanitation, customers that regularly used these gig companies stayed away.


Related: How Freelancers Can Stay Afloat During Times of Crisis

A silver lining

Oddly enough, demand for other gig jobs went through the roof.

For example, content writers and developers were suddenly inundated with new projects as more companies had to rely on those experts accustomed to the virtual work environment. Software and content couldn’t be produced fast enough to address the new way companies had to work.

Additionally, with the mandate to shelter in place, other gig companies exploded. Companies like Postmates, GrubHub, Shipt, DoorDash, and Instacart couldn’t hire people fast enough to meet the instant demand.

Pivot to address opportunities

In early June, FlexJobs released a list of the highest growth jobs to date during the pandemic. Some of the jobs on the list require some specialized knowledge, like underwriters, mortgage specialists and real estate agents. Other flex jobs featured on the list, like interactive gaming, have grown by 70 percent between March and May 2020 due to the availability of more players stuck at home. With education moving online, there is also a call for more teachers, tutors and academic writing assistance. Other growing areas include call centers, accounting and finance, and mental health assistance.

Being aware of these trends can shape what you do going forward in terms of shifting your offerings. You may want to consider taking online courses or getting a certification in order to transition into these in-demand jobs, which will likely continue to increase during and after the pandemic.


Sign Up: Receive the StartupNation newsletter!

Other strategies

Along with working on your professional development and skills-building, there are other approaches to take as a gig worker during this time:

  • First, this is an opportune time to work on existing relationships and cultivate new ones that might eventually develop into revenue opportunities. You can build connections by working on your online networking and re-engaging with your existing contacts.
  • Second, put more effort into your marketing. Use this time to undertake email campaigns, explore social media and website advertisements, and expand your profiles on job marketplace sites.
  • Third, focus on more pitches. Look for different projects and pursue those jobs and clients you might not have approached previously.

Better positioned

In adding skills, cultivating more relationships, and trying new things, you may discover new career pathways that you enjoy. At the same time, you will also be better positioning yourself to be marketable and in-demand during future pandemics or unprecedented events.

The post How COVID-19 Has Impacted the Gig Economy (and How Freelancers Can Pivot) appeared first on StartupNation.

StartupNation

Nordic challenger bank Lunar launches business bank accounts for SMEs and freelancers

Danish challenger bank Lunar today opens a new business bank and paid-for account catering for small businesses and freelancers and taps Nordea’s former head of startup and growth to spearhead the offering.

Lunar is a Danish challenger bank established in 2015 and on a mission to change banking for the better. Using its neat tools and sleek card, users can save, spend, invest, get loans and insurance under its roof. Earlier this year, they launched their offering for teenagers. So far, the fintech has more than 175,000 users in the Nordics, offices in Aarhus, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo and has built it team to a comfortable +150 employees. In August 2019 it obtained a banking license and in April this year, during the pandemic lockdown, it raised an €20 million additional Series B funding, bringing the round as a whole to €46 million.

Today they are launching a business bank account, which include a paid-for business account. A Premium business tier will be added in the coming months.

In a comment founder and CEO Ken Villum Klausen said: “There is a huge appetite for business accounts, and our ambition is to move up in segments fast. Charging an annual fee will give us the opportunity to invest in more power features, explore own business loans and cater for larger companies as well.

The business product will be one of the big revenue streams in Lunar and we’ve given early access to 2,000 users and close to 90% has been monthly active users and willing to pay the subscription upfront.”

Lunar has staffed up for the new offering and hired Jacob Faber as Head of Lunar Business. He joins from Nordea Business banking where he served as Head of Startup and Growth. Lunar also made several new AML hires to cater for the new segment.

The Nordics has not seen the intense business banking competition known from larger markets. According to the European Commission’s SBA fact sheet there are 1.5 million SME’s across Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

Jacob Faber, Head of Lunar Business, said: “Compared to the larger European economies it is a small market, but the Nordics is also one of the world’s most profitable banking markets. There are high entry barriers to get a business account like sign-up fees, 6-10 weeks approval time to get an account and high costs related to the small entrepreneur segment.

No doubt we will see more competition, but for now the defensive Nordic infrastructure requires a Business account that can be easily connected to the public payments setup. That’s why offering national accounts is inevitable to get a strong presence in the local markets.”

Lunar’s business account will initially launch in Denmark and thereafter be adapted to all Nordic markets.

EU-Startups

[Honeybook in Forbes] Three Cheers For Event Industry Freelancers! Adapting To A New Normal

How have events professionals fared during COVID 19? According to Honeybook, Covid-19 rapidly and severely impacted the freelance economy. By the end of March 2020, service providers in the events industry were only transacting at only 50% of February 2020 levels. Then it stopped all together.

Read more here.

The post [Honeybook in Forbes] Three Cheers For Event Industry Freelancers! Adapting To A New Normal appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

Willa secures $3M from EQT Ventures to let freelancers get paid immediately

Willa, the Sweden and U.S.-based fintech that wants to help freelancers request payment and get paid immediately for a fee, has raised $ 3 million in funding. The company’s founders are former early members of Spotify’s growth team and also created influencer marketing platform Relatable.

Leading the seed round is EQT Ventures. Also participating is ex-Atomico partner Mattias Ljungman’s Moonfire Ventures, Nordic Makers, Michael Hansen and Johan Lorenzen. Willa says the injection of cash will enable it to launch “Willa Pay,” an app that promises to remove the paperwork required when billing corporations for freelance work and comes with a payment process that claims to make it easier to collect payments.

One you’ve completed a job, you use the Willa Pay app to enter the details of the work, how much you are supposed to get paid, and who you did the job for. Willa Pay then contacts the corporation and issues the paperwork.

If you wish to get paid earlier than a corporation’s standard terms, which is often anything from 30-90 days, for a small fee Willa will pay you directly. The idea is that freelancers gain more predictable income, and can pay their bills on time and protect their credit score.

“The payment process between freelancers and corporations is completely broken,” says co-founder and CEO Kristofer Sommestad. “It’s built for the old world, by people of the old world. Both freelancers and corporations are suffering a lot from this. At least half of freelancers experience problems getting paid, while a third of payments are late. The result? Credit scores decline”.

Sommestad says Willa Pay solves this problem by “re-engineering” the payment process. “We’re creating it from scratch with the new freelance economy in mind. And we’re starting with freelancers’ biggest problem: getting paid, on time, every time. As a freelancer, using the Willa Pay app is a faster, simpler and better way of requesting payment for your work”.

To help with Willa Pay’s launch, Sommestad says the product’s first 10,000 users will be influencers, averaging a 100,000-plus following. “They are brilliant creators, the world’s best product marketeers and suffering as much as anyone from the payment problems,” he tells me. “This is, by the way, a brilliant distribution move from the Spotify growth playbook”.

Meanwhile, on the question of competitors, the Willa CEO says financial services are typically built by massive companies like PayPal and Intuit, along with many startups “building shiny tools or launching yet-another challenger bank”.

“But none of them are solving the core problem for freelancers… That’s what we do at Willa. We’re focusing on solving the biggest problem, for the people that suffer the most”.

Startups – TechCrunch

Lili Raises $10M for its All-in-One Banking App for Freelancers to Manage Both Work and Personal Finance

With more than 60 million freelancers in the US and the belief that an increasing number of businesses will rely on freelance workers in the post-pandemic era, shares of Upwork rose a staggering 49.3% in May. Lili is the banking and financial services app that helps freelancers better manage their work and personal finances. work and personal accounts in one centralized platform, AlleyWatch caught up with serial entrepreneur Lilac Bar David to learn more about how Lili is playing a role in shaping the future of work, the company’s recent funding round, and how the app saves freelancers up to 60 hours and $ 1.7K per annum.
AlleyWatch

Best Calendar Apps for Freelancers on the Go

If you are a freelancer, then you know the challenge of working in many different places. It used to be that there weren’t many tools that were easy to take with you. Now, you are free to work wherever without losing that ability to stay on task and on time. Helping you along are these best calendar apps for freelancers.

What Makes These the Best Calendar Apps For Freelancers

Here are our best calendar apps for freelancers to help them work more productively:

  • Calendar for smart scheduling, integration with a wide range of apps, and meeting transcriptions
  • Fantastical 2 for its machine learning and natural language processing that delivers smart scheduling
  • Vantage Calendar for its ease of use and visual representation of meetings and events
  • Cal for its simple interface and powerful search functionality
  • Google Calendar for its cloud functionality and wide-ranging use and features
  • Awesome Calendar for automatic synch with iPhone calendars, to-do list development, and diary 
  • Calendars 5 for its numerous calendar, event, and task views
  • Week Calendar for its multiple versions to suit freelancers who use iOS devices, iPads and iPhones, Android devices and a Web platform.
  • Pocket Informant for its ability to work as a virtual assistant to cover your calendar, tasks, projects, notes, and contacts
  • Peek Calendar for its human-directed user interfaces and glimpse feature
  • Tiny Calendar for its syncing between platforms to stay updated on events listed in Google Calendars
  • Calvetica for its speed, efficiency, multiple views and sync capability with Google, Exchange, and other calendars
  • MiCal for its support of eight languages and funtionality

Calendar App

Calendar

Calendar is made for iOS, Android, and Web access through its cloud-based platform that provides access from anywhere. This dynamic calendar app for freelancers and other small business owners offers a free sign-up process and simple process to get started.

The easy-to-use and navigate app includes machine learning so the app learns your schedule, contacts, and daily tasks. From there, it can handle the tedious work of scheduling and organizing meetings, events, and projects. Real-time information and integration with other apps like Lyft allow you to focus on the meeting rather than how to get there. By analyzing your historical calendar data, the calendar app can help you prioritize what you need to get done in a more productive way. This makes this the ideal time management tool to add to your freelance business.

Fantastical Guide

Fantastical Guide

Fantastical 2

Fantastical 2 is a calendar app does cost a small fee to download. However, it is a small price to pay for such a comprehensive calendar tool. It is made for both iOS and Android users as well as Mac computer.

The calendar app delivers some of the most advanced technology. This includes a natural language parser as well as synch support for Google, iCloud, iPhone Calendar, and Facebook. Dayticker is one of its best features because it lets you see appointments through an easy user interface. Just one note is that if you plan on using it on your iPad, you will need to pay for another download of the calendar app to use it there in addition to your other device.

Vantage Calendar App

Vantage

Vantage is a visual calendar app for iOS devices (iPhone an iPad) that is easy to use, has an integrated to-do list, and simple interface. It has a bird’s eye view that provides a new perspective on how to look at your calendar. Then, events are grouped in a stack format to show you how much is planned for each day. Just click on an item in the stack to learn more about that event.

To designate different events and to-do items, you can use various colors and stickers. Then, those cues will be displayed anywhere that particular event or task shows up on your calendar to quickly identify them. Additionally, Vantage syncs with various other tools you most likely already use as a freelancer, such as Facebook, iCloud, Google, and Exchange. Lastly, you can customize the colors and themes to show your personal style through your calendar.

Cal

Cal is a free calendar app developed by Any.do, a task manager app popular among freelancers. Some of the unique features include a simple and clean interface that shows you a clear daily view of what you need to achieve as well as powerful search functionality that provides feedback based on even the most vague information.

For example, if you let it know you need to do your taxes, it will send reminders about an upcoming day that taxes are due. Other things you ask deliver suggested apps that hep you achieve that purpose. However, those apps are typically affiliate apps, which means they have been paid to suggest those apps to you. While that is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s important to keep that in mind. Another great feature is that when you plan an invite, the app can help you find a place to host that event based on the people invited and theme.

Google Calendar Guide

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is most often the default calendar of freelancers because it comes with their Gmail and Google account. However, there is so much that can be done with this calendar app. The cloud functionality means that you can access it from any device you use where you can sign into your Google account. That means it is available for the Web, iOS, and Android.

The Schedule View feature makes your calendar come to life with an easy-to-read format that tells you exactly what you need to accomplish each day. Also, it does some of the work for you because when you get an email that involves any type of reservation related to an event, Google Calendar will automatically add it to your personal calendar. Syncing your Google Calendar is simple. Other features include flairs that represent certain types of activities as well as machine learning capability that provides a way for the app to start learning your routine so it can suggest and mange calendar activity.

Awesome Calendar

Awesome Calendar is a calendar app that does come at a cost, but it delivers a host of valuable tools and features that make it a good investment for any freelancer. Some of the main features include automatic synch with iPhone calendars, to-do list development, a diary with the ability to embed visuals, weather, event alarms, and holiday listings for 35 countries.

It’s great for organizing your work as a freelancer and your life simultaneously. So many of the features also customizable by color, font, stickers, and more so you can make the calendar your own.

Calendars 5

Calendars 5 is made for the iPhone and iPad to help improve how freelancers and other business downers use their calendars. it offers easy task management, event management, synch, and scheduling functionality. This low-priced calendar app also inlaces natural language input.

That means users can type in something that they want to do and the app will parse the information, create an event around what you want to do, and invite the person mentioned in the input. Although it doesn’t work with Google Maps, it does provide map compatibility with Apple Maps.

Week Calendar and Cally

Week Calendar offers its Week Calendar and Cally apps for freelancers that use iOS devices. While the Week Calendar app is only for iPads and iPhones, the Cally app also works with Android devices and offers a Web platform.

The Week Calendar  works with other calendars so you can use them altogether within this app, such as Google Calendar, Exchange Calendar, and iCloud Calendar. Cally makes it easy to choose dates and locations for group events, invite participants, and receive notifications on progress. Both offer an intuitive experience for the user.

Pocket Informant

Pocket Informant helps freelancers stay on top of their work and personal lives all within one app. It works as a virtual assistant to cover your calendar, tasks, projects, notes, and contacts. The calendar app is available for iOS, Android, and Mac. There are so many functions that it may seem overwhelming at first until you start using the calendar app on a daily basis and understand how its Getting Things Done (GTD) integration really works to keep you organized, reduce tedious work, and eliminate repetitive tasks.

The one-button navigation is one of the best features for anyone working on the go. Also, triggers identify a keyword or attribute found in an event or task. Then, the triggers create the new event from the template you’ve designed. That reduces the work of putting together an agenda outline when scheduling a team meeting.

Peek Calendar

Peek Calendar is a low-cost app for iOS that has one of the beautiful and human-directed user interfaces available in a calendar tool.  Offering easy input to add items to your calendar, this calendar app can give you a “peek” at what your day is like rather than having to scroll through a lot of information to get to what you need to know.

One unique feature is the shading gesture, which helps you see what you need by darkening part of the screen rather than struggle due to the glare of the sun.

Tiny Calendar

Tiny Calendar is a free Google Calendar app that works for freelancers that use Android devices. It enables syncing between platforms to stay updated on events listed in Google Calendars. It improves upon what Google Calendar can do, including adding responsiveness, reliability, and accessibility.

You get multiple ways to view an even and your tasks. The calendar tool even works offline so you can add and manage it without an Internet connection. Other features include invitations, recurring events, intuitive gestures and calendar customization.

Calvetica

Calvetica is a fast, efficient calendar app that can be downloaded for a very low price. Available for the iPhone or iPad, this calendar app has multiple views to see how events and tasks overlap or involve multiple says. It syncs with Google, Exchange, and other calendars.

Cool features include attendee management, map integration to find events quickly, intuitive gestures, and customization for colors and calendar fears. There are alarms and alerts, time zone support, a 24-hour format, and responsive customer support. The developers of this calendar app regularly update it with new features and improved functionality.

miCal

MiCal is an iOS calendar app that offers a treasure trove of features that a freelancer would love. First, it supports eight languages, which is beneficial for those working with clients in various parts of the world. They will be able to enter their information in their native language for greater convenience.

There are eight different views to look at your calendar as well as task, schedule, and birthday reminders. You can quickly create new events by describing thanks to the natural language input feature. Additionally, it integrates with iCloud, Outlook, Facebook Events, Exchange, and Google Calendar.

Best Calendar Apps for Freelancers on the Go was originally published on Calendar by .

The post Best Calendar Apps for Freelancers on the Go appeared first on KillerStartups.

KillerStartups

How Freelancers Can Stay Afloat During the COVID-19 Crisis

Freelancers may have mastered working at home, but that doesn’t mean they have it easy right now. In a crisis like COVID-19, independent contractors are often the first to be cut.

Although most freelancers are eligible for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, the PPP can’t make up for lost work. And those who do receive loans through the program will eventually need to pay them back, raising the bar for future revenue.

By all means, explore the aid programs available to you. But don’t ignore all the other ways you can work on yourself and your business in the meantime.

What can you do if client work is thin? Make the best of a bad economy by:


StartupNation exclusive discounts and savings on Dell products and accessories: Learn more here

Streamlining operations

As a freelancer, you already know that what constitutes “work” is so much more than just the services or products that you provide. Take this time to strengthen your operations.

Whatever your line of work, you have to communicate with clients and vendors. You have to track your time, create and send invoices, keep records and crunch numbers.

Why waste time on tedious tasks? A study by work operating system monday.com found that 38 percent of workers could save five or more hours per week by using automation tools, while 16 percent said they could save at least 10 hours per week.

There are automation opportunities everywhere, including:

  • Invoicing and billing: Getting paid for your work shouldn’t take more work. If you use Quickbooks, you can set up recurring invoicing. There’s also an accounts payable automation option that can keep billing off your back.
  • Email follow-ups: Why write dozens of “just checking in” emails yourself when a computer could do it for you? Email automation tools can be configured to send a follow-up message after a number of days without a response.
  • Social media management: You’ll still have to create the content yourself, but software like Hootsuite can help you schedule posts across platforms days in advance. Batching your social media work means it won’t be a daily headache.
  • Appointment scheduling: Sending six emails to schedule a single meeting doesn’t make sense. Gmail, Outlook, and other digital calendars let you schedule appointments with a click. Consider integrations, features, and user interfaces when choosing an online calendar for your freelancing work.

Register Now for StartupNation’s Webinar: How to Make a Living as a Freelancer

Highlighting digital services

Some freelancers, like writers and web developers, are already used to working online. But if you’re an independent salesperson, a craftsperson, or a consultant, your clients may not know how you can help them from afar.

Think about how best to showcase your digital skills. Show, don’t tell. Although you could send an email to clients saying, “I can show you how to improve your social media presence,” prove it to them through your work. Add or swap in case studies on your website that demonstrate your online abilities.

If you typically perform your services remotely, treat it as a differentiating factor. Marketing yourself as an experienced remote worker may give you an edge when looking for new clients. Remember, a good portion of the workforce is still getting used to working from home.

Tending to your network

If you’ve been in the freelancing world for a while, you know the importance of growing and maintaining a strong network. Chances are, you get a good portion of your business through personal connections.

You may be stuck inside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your connections strong. To get started:

  • Reach out to past and current clients: Ask how they’re coping in this new economy. Be genuine, and help if you can. If they don’t have any work for you at the moment, be understanding.
  • Ask for introductions: One of the hard lessons many freelancers learn in their first year is that all introductions have value, even if that value isn’t immediately obvious. Treat every intro as a chance to get to know someone, not merely a chance to make money.
  • Leverage social media: Use this time to spruce up your social profiles. If you’re an independent distributor or influencer, Facebook or Instagram may be your best bets. Look to LinkedIn first if you provide professional services. Don’t just toot your own horn all the time. Start conversations, give advice and ask for recommendations. Give people a reason to remember you.

Sign Up: Receive the StartupNation newsletter!

Professional development

If doing business isn’t an option, spend your time learning how to do what you do better. Professional development is the perfect task for a slow afternoon.

Take a broad approach, and consider:

  • Learning a new skill: If you’re a web designer, you probably get requests all the time to tweak code. Why not learn the basics of Java, HTML, or another in-demand programming language?
  • Earning a certification: Certifications show that you’re continuing to grow in your field, and many of them can be earned online. Adding an inbound marketing certification from HubSpot can up your game as a marketer. The American Association of Inside Sales Professionals offers a series of sales certifications that cost less than $ 1,000 each.
  • Reading industry content: Every corner of the market is changing right now. Take an afternoon to check out thought leadership content in your space. If you’re a freelance marketer or writer, Steve Olenski of The CMO Whisperer has written “well over 5,000” articles on advertising and branding best practices.
  • Attending virtual conferences: Although most in-person conferences have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, you can find plenty of them online. In many cases, they feature the same speakers and workshops as they normally would at a fraction of the price. Plus, you won’t have to worry about travel costs.

Freelancing is full of ups and downs. Don’t let the lean times throw you. Rather than fret about lost business, take the opportunity to make yourself more valuable and efficient. That way, when the good times do return, you’ll be all the more able to enjoy them.

The post How Freelancers Can Stay Afloat During the COVID-19 Crisis appeared first on StartupNation.

StartupNation

Hiring freelancers for MVP?

Has anyone used UpWork or other freelancing websites very early in their startup experience? I wonder if hiring someone there to build a bare bones MVP is a good idea… what pitfalls should I avoid?

Should I be worried about them potentially stealing the code? What is the risk of under quoting and then running over budget? How easy is the communication, especially as we iterate the MVP?

If you have any such experience would love to hear from you!

submitted by /u/qrsty
[link] [comments]
Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Experiences hiring freelancers or technical research + writing

I need some technical content that requires researching and writing, and I was wondering if anyone has had dipped their boots in this puddle that may have any words of wisdom.

One thing that I will do for certain is describing the tone and length of the writings. But that's all I can think of for now.

submitted by /u/MidnightSailing
[link] [comments]
Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!