Life as a freelancer or self-employed during the Covid-19 pandemic

Freelancers and self-employed individuals in Singapore navigate the COVID-19 pandemic with resilience, adapting to new ways of working and embracing digital transformation to meet the evolving needs of their clients.

Sharing by well-being practitioners in Singapore

What is the biggest challenge as a freelancer/self-employed person?

Fiona: “Consistency! Learning how to pace myself is a constant journey for me. Sometimes, I get burnout working too hard and realised that I am operating out of fear of not having enough. When it’s time to rest, I tend to fully indulge myself, yet the feeling of guilt creeps in for not manifesting more. There are some inner work I need to do for myself to find balance in my work,”

Alison: “Finding a balance between work & leisure or “me” time. Loss of income as gyms and studios capacities are restricted by the government regulations to curb the virus situation.”

Noel: “You do everything yourself. You decide what to teach, when to teach, where to teach, design the marketing materials, market your classes, settle the administration of making and collecting payments, check in on your participants, etc.”

DK: “The biggest challenge of being self-employed is that you are a one-man-show. Many people think that being your own boss means you have a lot of free time. But the truth is you need discipline and must constantly be on the lookout for opportunities and changes in your industry.

With a clear mindful outlook amidst the disruption, I understood that many people would meet a spectrum of challenges having to stay at home. Empathising with their emotional and mental needs, I discerned that a digital transformation was the way to reach out to them.

Of course, this came with its own set of challenges. Being a one-man-show meant I had to learn the nooks and crannies of the digital world and restructure the format of classes to keep my audience engaged. You really have to step up your facilitation skills and also make sure you don’t suffer from a zoom burnout (which I did, but have since learnt how to prevent it).”

Fiona Teo Yoga Teacher, Reiki and Energy Healer

What has changed for you since the pandemic? How do you choose to strive or pivot in these extreme times?

Fiona: “I have learned that I can work anywhere I want. I can take my practice online or in-person. I have learned to trust the flow of life even better. I watch how my role models manifest in their spiritual and mindful businesses through authentic connections. I remind myself to be honest, open and authentic in order to drive the right audience towards me. I see difficult times as part of the phases we go through in life. Trusting and knowing that “This Too Shall Pass”. I surrender and embrace whatever that is happening. I thrive in changes. I find changes exciting and fun. I get to play around with my identity, ideas and knowledge,” expressed by Fiona.

Alison: “Learning to be more open and go with the flow. Refining my skills to teach a more diversified group.”

Noel: “I find myself thriving during these times. People need healing/work more than ever. It is a record-breaking season for me.”

1) Most number of classes taught in a month

2) Most number of private sessions in a month

3) Most number of participants joining a class

4) Most number of countries participating in a class

DK: It’s really about anticipating and accepting change as it happens. You thrive, not strive. The first thing that I did was to meditate deeply into the suffering of people who were facing challenges caused by the lockdown and working-from-home. Everyone was living with uncertainty and fear of the unknown.

In order to contribute towards their mental well-being, I set up free mindfulness sessions online. I saw the overwhelming response and that pushed me to offer my signature ‘Cintamani Tantra Meditation’ online for free. I wasn’t thinking of it as a marketing strategy because it came purely from compassion. Isn’t this our role as teachers, coaches and wellness experts?

I didn’t want people to miss out on this powerful programme out of fear and concern:

1. fear of income loss that’s widely talked about during the early stage of the pandemic.

2. concern of them not being able to commit to all the sessions in the programme if they were to pay for it.

Therefore, I felt it was my responsibility to eliminate those worries for them. A lot of applications came in and the waiting list exploded! My business has grown ever since through word-of-mouth as participants share their tremendous positive transformation from my programme. Many of them have also continued to sign up for my regular classes and advanced programmes.

In retrospect, I focused on solutions for my clients and the pathways opened. In my line of work, it’s not just about asking what impact you want to make. But HOW you can set them in motion.”

Noel Tuan, Guide to Consciousness Akashic Records Educator/Kundalini Yoga Teacher

What do you think will be the lifestyle of a freelancer/self-employed in the near future?

Fiona: “I can see that more people are working from home, travelling to places they dream of and becoming a nomad. She views that the co-working space would be doing better in the future.”

Alison: “It might be tough. Freelancers may need to take up another job.”

Noel: “Same as it is now. Working fluidly in both the online/offline world.”

DK: “The terrain has changed, and is still changing. We do not know when Covid-19 will ever disappear. But what matters most is to concentrate the mind in the present moment and see what you can do best. This is the ‘new normal’ and we must embrace it.

To be successful in crisis, you have to be purpose-driven to identify the needs of your clients and the available channels that you can scale your work for the benefit of more people. Don’t be afraid to share your resources and help out the people in your network. Can you be the ‘essential’ that society needs now because it’s the only thing that thrives.

My philosophy is to always give generously and it will come back multifold. But in order to achieve that, you have to be passionate about the work that you are doing and take pride in it. Only then, you are able to present the best version of yourself and bring out the optimal performance in your work. Being your own boss is also about having fun and trusting in the service you provide for society, isn’t it?”

Hendrick ‘DK’, Founder of The Hermitage Zen

Meditation, spiritual teacher, and mindfulness expert

Why did you choose to rent a space to conduct your sessions? What were your criteria?

Fiona: “As an energy-conscious person, it is important for me to have good energy in the space that I conduct my healing sessions and workshops. I believe the owner’s energy is important as it can affect the space. I choose Mindful Space as Vernessa has got really good energy around her. The way she handles and manages her studio is really well done. It is physically, hygienically and energetically clean; the vibration in the space is positive”.

Alison: “I was looking for an accessible location that can conduct aerial yoga. Mindful Space fits the profile, clean and suitable for mind and body classes”. Equipped with a mirror and aerial hooks, it is 8 minutes walk from Newton MRT.

Noel: “As much as teaching online allows us to breach the gap of space, having a class face to face and with others enhances the sensory experience. Thus, I chose to rent a space to give the participants a choice of experience. My criteria for renting a space is that space needs to be comfortable, easily accessible and has a strong wi-fi connection. The biggest plus point is that the owner of the Mindful Space has been a joy to work with! She is very reasonable to converse with, helpful and does what she can to enhance the experience of using the space. Highly recommended!”

DK: “A minimalistic, hygienic, quiet and spacious environment. On top of that, it’s important for me to understand the mission and values of the people I work with. This is because ultimately, it’s the people that make up the energy of the space. You’ll regret it if you don’t check it out. Vernessa and team have done a tremendously great job in setting up the place!”

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