In April, the EFA Education program offered three free webinars for members with advice on handling the current crisis—Survival Tips; Preserving Mental Health; and Creative Ways to Find and Generate Income. Recordings of these webinars are available free to members (see the Member Benefits page for links).

Each webinar has tips, strategies, and approaches that can be used to deal with current challenges but aren’t focused solely on issues directly related to the pandemic. We all deal with challenging times in our businesses, whether it’s an individual problem, like a long-term client closing their doors, or a wider problem, like an economic downturn.

As Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, the presenter for the Survival Tips webinar, says, “The COVID-19 crisis is an important reminder that we have to be prepared for a crisis — large or small; individual or international — at all times. Try to have a savings cushion, several clients, and colleagues you can trust to help out if and when needed.”

In the middle of a crisis, she says, “The most important aspects of surviving professionally and personally during a crisis are to communicate clearly about the situation, continue to market your services, and take care of yourself — mentally, physically and emotionally. Connections through an organization like the EFA can be invaluable during challenging times.” Ruth’s webinar has many tips on how to take advantage of your EFA membership to help get through tough times.

Christina M. Frey, the presenter for the Preserving Mental Health webinar, emphasizes, “It’s normal to be concerned about your business during a crisis—and the inability to work at full capacity might be a source of worry. But productivity shouldn’t be the focus. You are your business’s greatest asset, and your health, including your mental health, is absolutely a business matter.” Her webinar focuses on ways to keep burnout at bay when you’re in the midst of a crisis.

And of course money matters are at the forefront of people’s minds during a situation like the current pandemic. Molly McCowan, the presenter for the Creative Ways to Find and Generate Income webinar, says, “If you need to prioritize your cash flow during a difficult time, focus on how you can be helpful to current or new clients. Offer a 10% discount if they pay in full for a package or service, and also offer a payment plan in case that better suits their needs—just be aware that payment plans extend credit that you may not have right now.”

If, like many members, you’re suddenly in the position of needing new clients right away, it can be hard to immediately identify how to find them. Molly says, “Think about ways to transfer the amazing knowledge and skills you have stored in your brain to people who would highly value it. Create a network of complementary professionals who can share leads (think graphic designers, copyright attorneys, illustrators, indexers, etc.). And don’t forget about your peers! They’re valuable both as referral sources and as potential clients. What’s one small thing you can teach someone who just started their freelance business?”

Her webinar contains advice on how to keep income flowing even when the economic outlook is gloomy.

In addition to these three webinars, the Education program is planning more free programming for members. In July, Ruth will be offering her Freelancing 101 webinar for free to members. Watch the Education catalog and the Member Benefits page for more information about upcoming free events.

Jennifer Lawler
Chairperson, Education
EFA Board of Governors