Another day, another handful of shit hits the fan. Welcome to life in 2020. Earlier this week I wrote about how the pandemic has impacted my finances in the space of a few days, so today I thought I’d share the changes I’ve made in response to this.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. I know there are people worse off than me in this situation. I haven’t yet lost my main source of income, and I have a mortgage with a major bank who will likely be able to offer mortgage holidays if necessary. But, I still think it’s important to share this information and be open about how I’m handling this crisis.
Loss of Freelance Clients
When you’re a freelancer, regular clients are kinda like your bread and butter. When you get clients who want to engage you for retainer work, you’ve hit the jackpot and get to enjoy a smidge of certainty that the freelance lifestyle otherwise deprives you of. What I’ve learned this week, though, is that when a global pandemic happens, retainer work is your worst nightmare. That’s because every single cancellation is not only a once-off fee, but income you’d reasonably forecasted for the future.
Anyway, as I waved goodbye (for now) to a couple of clients this week, my attentions turned to my other clients. How could I help them get though this time? A simple mention that you’ve got extra capacity at the moment can make all the difference – and for me, it did. I was able to get an extra article under my belt, all because I offered up additional availability. As the old saying goes, don’t ask, don’t get.
Aside from that, I’ve decided to offer free email copy for small businesses wanting to send out an email to their clients/customers about their response to COVID-19. I know some are struggling to articulate exactly what they want to say, so I thought I’d whip up some email content for free. To me, every word I write is career experience – paid or unpaid. So if it helps a business and keeps me typing during this downtime, then it’s good with me.
DM me on Instagram or email me at hello@thebrokegeneration for more info if you’d like to get some free copy.
Loss of Pet Sitting Work
This has been the hardest hit area of my life at the moment. Almost every single booking has cancelled – unsurprisingly – but with the peak Easter season coming up, its a big hit to my finances.
With this, I’ve taken the time to be extra kind to my clients. They feel bad for cancelling, and they’re also dealing with the stress of their trips being up in the air. Client nurturing has been my focus on this side. Depending on how long this downtime continues, I might even consider ramping up my marketing materials, getting some posters printed and preparing to get back out there when normality resumes.
Loss of Blog/IG Sponsorships
As I said in my last post, I didn’t have anything concrete that was cancelled in this regard, but I have had leads drop off and conversations about potential partnerships halted.
My response to this has been content. I’m focusing on producing content that’s helpful to you guys right now, and serving you as best I can with my blogs and Instagram posts. My energy has mostly been going into blogs, so I can deliver longer-form messages and – for the sake of transparency – get my blog traffic up at the same time. Instagram has been a focus for a long time, but I’m all eyes on the blog for Q2.
Part of that involved getting new photos done, too, so I’m working with fresh content while I pump out all these extra words for you to indulge in.
Overall Spending Habits
This one’s a tough one, because while it’s important to preserve your financial position at a time like this, it’s also critical that we support small businesses where we can – and stay sane in the process. I’m naturally spending a bit less with social events cancelled and not taking public transport to work, and balancing that out with buying coffees from my favourite shops when I can, and trying to shop at IGAs and smaller stores rather than the major supermarkets, which costs a bit more but does more good.
Tickets and Refunds
I’ve got some money tied up in tickets for events – especially with my new year’s resolution of doing more stuff this year! Arghh! With this, it’s a balancing act between keeping your ticket to support the event and attending on the rescheduled date, and taking care of your own finances. I’ve done a mix of the two, carefully assessing how likely it is that I’ll be able to attend the new date, and what the value of the ticket could mean in terms of my finances at this point.
I’m attending my pilates studio less than I was, due to social distancing. It’s a reformer studio, so naturally you are pretty far apart from others in the class, and there’s never more than 8 in one class – so I am attending a couple of classes here and there. My membership isn’t freezable as it’s within the first 3 months lock-in period, so again, it’s balancing the $64 a week fee with attending a safe amount.
I love the studio so much that I’m happy to keep paying to get them through this time. If you pay for a fitness studio, consider ‘future you’ as well as the studio. I don’t want my studio to go under. I want to return to my sessions when normality resumes, so paying my fee through this shit show is something worth doing. If I do at-home pilates workouts instead, I’m no worse off than I would’ve been had this virus never existed.
We’re in the process of refinancing our mortgage with our broker, to reduce our monthly outgoings. When we bought our property 2 and a half years ago we locked 80% of our loan at 3.99%, which was low at the time. We’re now able to lock in at 2.29%, and get a refinance bonus that’ll cover the cost of breaking our fixed term early. For our monthly repayments, we’ll be saving upward of $200 a month with this change.
I’m going to create more content around refinancing as we go through it, because it’s something you can use to slash thousands off your overall mortgage costs when done correctly.
How are you changing things up to accomodate for the Coronavirus-fuelled downturn? Tell me on Instagram.