A freelance career in the creative arts
A freelance career in the creative arts

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3 Contingency planning

Also known as continuity planning, this is essentially about having a plan B that you can put into place if things go unexpectedly wrong.

A recent shared experience for all freelancers across the globe, has been the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. While this is just one example of ‘the unexpected’, it has been a useful catalyst for contingency planning ideas and suggestions. For example, Worknotes (no date) describes the following actions a freelancer could consider:

  • how you might use technology to work remotely
  • whether there are freelance communities you can join to access support and advice
  • taking out insurance to cover you if you fall ill
  • looking at where you can cut back on non-essential spending
  • setting up an emergency fund that you can use if your income stalls.

In the longer term, the author also suggests:

  • adding new services to your business
  • diversifying your income
  • not relying on a single client for most of your income
  • packing up services in a way that can be delivered remotely.

Bytestart (no date) explains how to write a continuity plan:

  • What could happen? Brainstorm the major things that could potentially devastate your business, e.g. illness, the loss of your home or premises, etc.
  • What are the immediate actions? If there’s anything you can do right away, like backing up your hard drive, do it now!
  • What will you do? Go through your brainstormed ideas, work out a plan for each problem and write it all down. Keep it simple and aim to review it regularly.
  • Who will you tell? Keep several copies of your plan in safe places and tell two or three trusted people about it.

As you found out in Week 2, resilience is a key skill for a freelancer, and the more resilient you are, the better you will be at acting on your contingency plan should the need arise.

Watch this short video of our creative freelancers from the weekly introductory videos talking about what resilience means to them and how they maintain it.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 5
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Video 5
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

While contingency planning may seem negative and uninspiring, using your creative skills to come up with solutions to potential problems may give you an advantage over other freelancers struggling with the same possibilities.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371