There are many Australians who have been made redundant under COVID and the bushfires before them. It’s difficult to watch so many people have such a hard time.
In response to seeing so many Australians lose their job in August of 2020 The Freelance Jungle pitched an ambitious project to joint funding program run by Facebook Australia and Good2Give.
In December 2020, right before Christmas, we received the best news ever. The grant was approved! Having the backing of two great organisations to create something to help people transition to owning their own business through freelancing is a pretty special feeling.
Now, we’re in the building stages and it’s pretty exciting.
If you’ve been made redundant under COVID, due to the bushfires or through 2020’s economic downturn, we want to help you transition to freelancing.
Here’s where you can find out more and sign up for updates as our transition to freelancing project unfolds.
About the program itself
The project pitch was pretty simple:
We want to create a specific series of webinars and educational opportunities to help people recover from redundancy and move onto freelancing. I want to normalise the idea of freelancing as a perfectly reasonable way to move forward post COVID-19. This is especially true for the hard-hit arts and education (university) scenes.
Having experienced redundancy over a decade earlier and starting freelancing during the GFC, I was keenly aware that both the practical and the emotional side of losing your job in such circumstances can have on a person. I wanted to make things easier if I could for other people going through the same thing.
Our aim is to draw on the wealth of knowledge within the Freelance Jungle to make your transition to freelancing so much easier.
Freelancing means increased choice and flexibility
Freelancing gives you the opportunity to be in charge of what you do. What we’ve found with the Freelance Jungle is that freelancing creates flexibility the traditional employment model overlooks.
Through surveying Freelance Jungle members, we’ve found that freelancing provides:
· Working parents the flexibility they often don’t find in traditional work environments
· The ability to escape toxic work environments and bullying
· The possibility of reinventing your career to better suit your skills
· Freedom to work the hours that suit your lifestyle and allow for things such as study, travel, side projects, creative ventures and more
· A safe harbour for people who may have faced exclusion in the workplace in the past through race, sexuality, belief system, age and more
· Opportunities for workers who want to live and work regionally, no matter the size or make up of the town
· Continuity for people who change cities regularly due to their partner’s work (e.g., military, diplomacy etc)
· A better option when managing chronic illness, disabilities and/or mental health conditions
· Life after redundancy – including individual redundancies and when ailing industries face major changes and impacts (e.g., journalism, hospitality, the arts)
By moving towards freelancing, you will be able to spend more time with the people you care about. You can stretch yourself and do meaningful work on your terms. And even experience that work life balance you often hear so much about but have a tough time uncovering in the traditional workplace setting.
Our aim is to make the transition to freelancing easier
Most freelancers have a tough 12 to 24 months. We make mistakes, we undercharge, we often suck at client management. But we also have an awful lot of fun doing what we do.
The Freelance Jungle prides itself on being that place you can go to share the highs and lows of freelancing. All while receiving quality advice from people who know the pitfalls of freelancing inside and out.
By receiving the grant to help people made redundant under COVID and by the bushfire impacts and subsequent economic downturn, we’re being given the opportunity to create something long lasting from that collected wisdom.
In broad strokes, the program we’re designing is aiming to:
1. Consolidate early-stage freelancer tips and make it accessible through video classes, blogs, workshops and more
2. Create a welcoming space for those who are curious about freelancing but hesitate to put themselves out there in the landscape through fear of not knowing enough or unfairly comparing your current journey with someone else well down the road
3. Give later stage freelancers who need a new challenge something to aspire to through mentoring, educating and being the guides into the wonderful world of Australian freelancing
4. Proactively manage how new freelancers start your journey via the right advice (instead of guess work)
5. Reduce the negative outcomes like being taken advantage of, low ball rates, being ripped off, bullying, client aggression, peer aggression etc by providing that buddy to help with off-the-cuff advice
6. Inspire you to take control of your career and make it your own in a way that maybe you haven’t experienced before.
All while normalising freelancing as a viable, prosperous and valid career choice.
Right now, we’re busy with marshalling freelancers who want to mentor the next generation become the best freelancer they can be. The program is being designed by freelancers for freelancers. That way, you can get a direct line on the knowledge we’ve collected as an industry.
In the meantime, we also want to find the future freelancers that need us. We want to let you know you are not alone. And that help is on the way. We’d love you to register with us so that we know who you are and what works for you.
Tell us about you and what you did before – and/or what you want to do in the future!
Are you the kind of person we can help? If you’ve been made redundant under COVID or the bushfires (or pushed out the door or fired) and you’re curious about freelancing, fill in the questionnaire and let’s see where you land!
Loosely, we’re looking for people who has had a change in employment circumstances in 2020. Examples of these changes in circumstance include:
· Have been made redundant under COVID
· Lost their job due to bushfire or COVID impacts
· Faced a reduction in money, conditions and/or viable workplace due to COVID, bushfires or subsequent economic downturn
And who have a desire to investigate freelancing as a viable alternative to other more traditional options.
Want an idea of what freelancers do for a living?
You can find a lot of literature and blogs about the standard freelance occupations. For example, there are a lot of freelancers who sell content and communications and copy services. The industry has web designers, graphic designers, photographers and web developers as popular choices. Virtual assistants, project managers, events managers, translators, social media managers, community managers, business coaches and public relations professionals are also popular. Many a film, theatre or festival worker (on the stage and behind it) is considered freelance.
But there is a wide field, too. In the 2019 State of Australian Freelancing report we produced, we found 120 different occupations. That included everyone from freelance psychologists, product managers, lawyers, digital and advertising agency professionals and more.
And a lot start out in entirely different careers to where freelancing takes them.
Curious to see if freelancing is for you?
You’re welcome to join the Freelance Jungle Facebook group and take a look around. You can also sign up for our website newsletter. Oh, and if you want details on the redundancy under COVID program as it comes into being, please take two minutes answer this short questionnaire.
Together, we can change the future of work in Australia for the better.
To find out more about Good2Give, please head to https://good2give.ngo/