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What’s It Like to Be a Freelancer in the Middle of a Pandemic

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are now living in a world of uncertainty. While this isn’t the first time humanity is distraught by an incurable disease, having forced to stay home and have our actions controlled by others (and for the others) is something we’re not accustomed to. Even the biggest industries and the biggest names in the world are affected — forced to suspend operations — bringing the world economy into a halt. Freelancers, in particular, are not singled out. Just like the rest of the world, I, too, am struggling to keep up with this “new normal”. 

If you’ve seen my previous article, then you should already know that I’m from Baguio City. For a small city in the middle of the mountainous area of Luzon, the place gives more of a provincial vibe. My first job was as a customer service representative for a BPO company. I can still remember how cold and quiet early mornings were every after shift. Nearly no cars are on the road nor people walking the streets. Today, the same thing can be said but for a different reason. 

Also Read: Life in Baguio: 3 Since Lockdown

As a freelancer, my home is my office. I’ve been writing for at least three years now. I’m lucky to be still in the freelancing business even with this pandemic. But like what I’ve mentioned earlier, I, too, am affected. Not a couple of weeks has passed since the world caught storm, a client of mine has been forced to re-evaluate the future of our working relationship. Given the nature of freelancing, I’m already preparing for the worst — losing the client permanently. What’s more, it also served some sort of a wake-up call to me. What if my other clients do the same thing? Surely, they don’t want to spend for a freelancer when they have to take care of themselves, too. That thought continues to bother me as we spend more time at home than outside. But until that happens, I’m going to continue what I’m doing. And as much as I want to have a response plan, there’s only so much a freelancer can do in this pandemic. You might say that I can always try to apply for other jobs online. But like I’ve mentioned, employers won’t hire that easily especially in the situation we’re in. There’s also an influx of freelancers right now as employers let go of their employees due to expected lower sales.

A Canon camera and a Zhiyun Crane Gimbal

With that said, I want to share another side of freelancing — covering events as a photographer/videographer. 

Two quarters ago, I started working as a videographer. Whenever possible, my friend would ask me to cover weddings, birthdays, prenups, among others. It’s a freelance job which means work is never guaranteed, however, I joined during Christmas season — a popular time to get married. This means there’s a high demand for freelance photographers and videographers. Being the newbie that I am, It was a tough outing for me at first since I needed to balance my current work and this new one that I’m trying to pursue. And it never occurred to me that covering events requires waking up very early in the morning and finishing as late as midnight. This kind of setup required me to do work in advance and sometimes work during Sundays. Was it tiring? Definitely. But at the same time, it was fun, exciting, and fulfilling. For the past three years, I was always stuck in front of my computer. And videography gave me the chance to do something different, meet other people, and even have co-workers (If I may). However, that, too, was taken away from me due to this pandemic. 

Although I’m doing fine even if I’m not covering events anymore (at least until this pandemic ends) I’m worried about those who rely on this kind of business full time. With public gatherings strictly prohibited until September, I just can’t help but think how these people would survive for several months. Even if the quarantine rules are gradually lifted, people are less likely to hold major events in fear of the new coronavirus. Until the world develops a vaccine, I fear that this trend will continue.

Covering Miss Baguio 2019

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