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freelance writing research

How the Coronavirus Pandemic is Affecting Freelance Writers [RESEARCH]

You probably have several questions about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the freelance writing industry:

  • What are the implications of the coronavirus pandemic for freelance writers?
  • How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected freelance writers when it comes to getting jobs and/or getting paid?
  • More importantly, how are freelance writers feeling about what the future holds due to the coronavirus pandemic?

I have answers to the above questions and more!

To assess the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on freelance writers and the freelance writing industry in general, Writers in Charge surveyed its audience and came up with the following findings:

1. 71 percent of freelance writers have lost business due to the coronavirus pandemic.

freelance writing business lost to coronavirus

The freelance writing industry is apparently not spared from the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Writers in Charge data shows that a whopping 71 percent of freelance writers have lost business due to the COVID-19 pandemic; many writers have lost all their clients while others have seen business decline in some way.

  • 55.4 percent of freelance writers have seen business decline.
  • 15.7 percent of freelance writers have lost all of their clients as a result of COVID-19.

2. 28.9 percent of freelance writers have been unaffected — or have seen business grow — due to COVID-19.

While the impact of the coronavirus pandemic for freelance writers is significant, a good percentage of freelance writers have not seen any negative effect from the pandemic.

  • For 21.9 percent of freelance writers, business has remained stable since the pandemic began.
  • For 7 percent of freelance writers, business has actually increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. 58.7 percent of freelance writing projects have been postponed or cancelled due to COVID 19.

how coronavirus has affected freelance writing projects

Already-commissioned projects aren’t unaffected by the overwhelming effect of COVID-19. The majority of freelance writers have had their projects postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • For 38.6 percent of freelance writers, projects they were working on have been postponed due to COVID-19.
  • For 20.1 percent of freelance writers, projects they were working on have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

4. 41.2 percent of freelance writing projects remain unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 is not all bad news for freelance writing projects. According to data gathered from Writers in Charge’s survey, 41.2 percent of projects that were commissioned before COVID-19 were allowed to continue despite the pandemic.

5. 59.1 percent of freelance writers have seen client response stop or decline due to COVID-19.

clients response to freelance writers

Many freelance writers are no longer hearing from clients due to COVID-19, and many have seen responses from clients decline due to COVID-19.

  • For 27.1 percent of freelance writers, clients have completely stopped responding to messages.
  • For 32 percent of freelance writers, only a few clients have stopped responding to messages.

6. For 40.9 percent of freelance writers, COVID-19 hasn’t affected client response to their messages.

Not all freelance writers have had client responses suffer due to COVID-19. While the majority have seen client response stop or decline, a good percentage haven’t been affected.

  • 40.9 percent of freelance writers are still getting responses to their messages from clients.

7. Clients have refused to pay 48.8 percent of freelance writers due to COVID-19.

clients defaulting on payments due to coronavirus

While nobody could have anticipated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it hasn’t stopped some clients from using this to take advantage of freelance writers.

  • For 21.5 percent of freelance writers, most or all of their clients are refusing to pay them due to COVID-19.
  • For 27.3 percent of freelance writers, only some of their clients are refusing to pay them due to COVID-19.

8. Payments for the majority of freelance writers isn’t affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While it is only a tiny majority, it is still worth noting!

  • 51.2 percent of freelance writers have not had their payments affected in any way by the COVID-19 pandemic.

These freelance writers are still getting all the payments for their work regardless of the effect of the pandemic.

9. 79.9 percent of freelance writers have seen their income decline because of COVID-19.

how much freelance writing income lost to COVID-19

Majority of freelance writers have seen their income decline due to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • 24.2 percent of freelance writers have had their income decrease by 75 percent or more.
  • 14.5 percent of freelance writers have had their income decrease by 50 to 75 percent.
  • 14.2 percent of freelance writers have had their income decrease by 25 to 50 percent.
  • 13.1 percent of freelance writers have had their income decrease by 1 to 25 percent.

10. For 21.1 percent of freelance writers, income has either remained stable or increased due to COVID-19.

While the negative effect of this crisis has been significant for most freelance writers, it has been a boom for others. 21.1 percent of freelance writers have seen income remain stable or increase due to the pandemic:

  • 15.5 percent of freelance writers have seen their income remain stable and unaffected by the crisis.
  • 4.6 percent of freelance writers have seen their income increase due to the pandemic.

11. 37.4 percent of freelance writers are either fearful or uncertain about the future due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

how pandemic affects freelance writing prospects

The majority of freelance writers remain neutral about the long-term effects of the pandemic on their business, but a significant percentage are fearful:

  • 37.4 percent of freelance writers feel fearful and uncertain about the future because of COVID-19.
  • 43.3 percent of freelance writers feel neutral about the future because of COVID-19.
  • 19.3 percent of freelance writers feel even more confident about the future due to COVID-19.

12. The impact of COVID-19 is more pronounced for freelance writers due to most freelance writers only having a limited number of clients.

how many clients freelance writers have

Most freelance writers work with a limited number of clients, and this has resulted in COVID-19 having a lot more impact on them.

Specifically:

  • 41.5 percent of freelance writers have just 1 or 2 clients.
  • 39.2 percent of freelance writers have between 2 and 5 clients.
  • 11.9 percent of freelance writers have between 5 and 10 clients.
  • 7.5 percent of freelance writers have more than 10 clients.

13. The impact of COVID-19 is more pronounced for freelance writers since most freelance writers tend to be in industries where the impact of COVID-19 is a lot more serious.

Here’s a breakdown of the top industries most freelance writers work in:

  • 15 percent of freelance writers work in the health/wellness/medicine industry
  • 13.3 percent of freelance writers are in the marketing industry
  • 13.3 percent of freelance writers are in the tech industry
  • 10.1 percent of freelance writers are in the education industry
  • 5.8 percent of freelance writers are in the finance industry
  • 4.9 percent of freelance writers are in the travel industry
  • 3.2 percent of freelance writers are in the hospitality/transportation industry
  • 2.4 percent of freelance writers are in the agriculture industry
  • 2.2 percent of freelance writers are in the environment industry
  • 1.7 percent of freelance writers are in the real estate industry

While the health/wellness/medicine industry will do just fine, and even thrive, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when we combine the percentage of freelance writers working in other industries we can see that a lot more freelance writers are in industries where the impact of the pandemic is more severe.

The Infographic

You can also download the infographic containing the most important data from the survey below; feel free to use the infographic and data as you seem fit provided you link back to Writers in Charge.

coronavirus freelance writing infographic

Survey Methodology

To gather the data summarized above, Writers in Charge asked freelance writers a series of questions to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses. The survey was mainly promoted to readers and subscribers to the Writers in Charge blog consisting of a very diverse audience of freelance writers from over 180 countries.

A total of 632 freelance writers submitted responses, and based on survey data:

  • 51.5 percent of the freelance writers are male.
  • 48.5 percent of the freelance writers are female.
  • 31.1 percent have been freelance writers for less than a year.
  • 19.2 percent have been freelance writers for 1 to 2 years.
  • 20.9 percent have been freelance writers for 2 to 5 years.
  • 28.8 percent have been freelance writers for 5 or more years.