Welcome to the fourth report in my Forbes series: the freelance revolution during the pandemic. The big news: we’ve begun to see light at the end of the COVID 19 tunnel. China reported no new cases, a first! Cases in New York City, where I live, are slowly receding. Nations around the world are providing critical financial support to companies, employees and freelancers; this morning there were reports that the US Congress is supporting additional financial stimulus. The news optimistically reported progress in other countries as well: Austria and the Czech Republic will begin to allow some stores to reopen, and Denmark may soon reopen schools.  

The question posed to thought leaders and freelance marketplace CEO’s this round: What is your platform doing or planning to do (financially, operationally, developmentally, or other support) to help the freelancers on your platform or in your community make it through this difficult period?

Here’s how freelance platform leaders around the world described their efforts to support freelancers in these perilous times:

Stephanie Nadi Olson, CEO of We Are Rosie (US), “Marketing and advertising are going through a seismic shift. Whether laid off or feeling isolated, we’ve now opened our community to anyone in marketing and advertising seeking connection and community. We’ve also formalized CMO offerings like managing remote marketing teams and designing distributed marketing teams for long term success. Our new consulting services helps our talent put their expertise to work.” 

Bryan Chan, CEO of The Night Market (Singapore), “Our team is ramping up efforts to secure more projects for our freelancers. And, we’re helping our freelancers to improve their portfolios and resumes. This will help us to attract work and prepare our freelancers for the demand to come post-COVID.”

Anthony Beilin, CEO of Collective Benefits (UK), “We’ve accelerated our direct to consumer beta programme to give freelancers access to our benefits and protections like sick pay. We’ve also teamed up with the UK fintech and freelancer community to lobby for clearer and faster freelance income support.”

Gene Zaino, Executive Chairman of MBO Partners (US), “Once the CARES Act became law, we launched caresforindependents.com with detailed information, tools, and calculators on benefit programs. We’ve hosted a webinar for several thousand freelancers on CARES and are working with industry and government on the CARES rollout.”

Terry Madavo, CEO of Sapientis HR (South Africa), “Traditional methods of selling consulting work are on indefinite pause and we are going the extra mile to connect freelancers and clients.  We share information on opportunities and in-demand skills, and aggressively market our freelancers. We will collaborate with other platforms to ensure as many freelancers as possible have work. Finally, we are on a drive to educate clients on the benefits of freelancing and remote work as the new normal in Africa.”

Ben Huffman, CEO of Contra (US), “Contra launched a paid Ambassador Program for freelance community members who’ve lost work to COVID 19. We’ve engaged 10 Ambassadors to help our platform build out – writing content, giving UX feedback and testing features – and will expand the program shortly. Contra also only hires from within our own community in solidarity with our members.” 

Marc Ibrahim, CEO of Ashghali (Lebanon), “Helping our professionals make it through this difficult period is our top priority. The platform is free of charge during this pandemic. We’re also encouraging our professionals to provide services remotely by building the right tools to help them do so.”

Will Fournier, CEO of AceUp (US), “At AceUp, we are supporting our coaching community by training them to increase client engagement and retention, and connecting with them regularly to offer support and reduce the isolation or anxiety many feel. We are providing 250 hours of free coaching to COVID 19 related health professionals and potential clients for which our coaches are fully compensated; this expresses our values and provide some financial assistance. We are also continuously looking for additional ways to help our coaches.”

Rishon Blumberg, Co-founder of 10xManagement and 10xAscend (US), “We’re firing on all cylinders, doing everything we can, to help customers see the benefits of working with our amazing remote talent. We are also trying to give our freelancers a voice in our articles. We are in this together and working tirelessly to help our talent and customers.”

Alexandre Maximen, Co-founder of Apy (Canada), “Getapy is participating in multiple ways (Canada and US) to fight COVID 19. We are modifying the platform to help people work from home.  And, we have added a free tier (fully featured) to help companies face the extra challenge of remote workers.”

Emma El Karout of One Circle HR (Mideast and Africa), “We went live just as the global impact of coronavirus became apparent. We planned to follow client complimentary access with paid memberships, but decided to hard code that approach for all freelancers, as part of our changed business model. To encourage more client projects, we will channel 50% of earnings to the WHO solidarity response Fund. We’ve had virtual roundtable discussions with our freelancers to virtually connect with clients. And, we are working to vastly reduce insurance premiums for our freelancers.”

Leslie Garçon, Co-founder of Weem (France), “To support our freelancers through this difficult period, we currently provide free individual coaching thanks to the coaches in our community. We offer weekly webinars by expert members on various topics (ex. digital strategy, lean supply chain, crisis communication). We support freelancers financially through partnerships providing short-term credit. We are actively marketing and still creating project opportunities.”

Jeffrey Moss, CEO of Parker-Dewey (US), “Since the freelancers on our platform are exclusively college students and recent grads, we are working closely with companies to help them take summer internship programs on-line. While an in-person summer internship is best, a remote, project-based experience is preferable to cancellation.”

Alex Hirst, Co-CEO of Hoxby (UK), “We found some members of our community have less capacity now (caring remotely for children or the elderly), others have more. This helped us to implement a crisis buddy initiative whereby each member of the community benefits from the support of another. We’ve also helped those just now working remotely via our #remoteagainstcoronavirus information sharing campaign, and hosted a free wellbeing initiatives week covering everything from time management, workstyle, cooking, painting, mindfulness, yoga, and career coaching.” 

Niclas Thelander, CEO of Outsized (Sweden), “First, we are working with clients to actively generate demand, doing all we can to get clients to hire our freelancers. Secondly, we are putting together practical resources to help full-time freelancers win more projects and be paid a fair price. We are amending this with COVID 19 insights developed with corporate partners. This will help our community understand how to adapt and approach clients in this new environment.”

Jeff Tennery, CEO of Moonlighting (US), “We just broke news of a partnership where we are helping thousands of teachers displaced by COVID 19 to launch their own online tutoring business. Moonlighting, in partnership with Kelly, is working to help thousands of displaced teachers, launch their own on-line tutoring business, using our free business tools and access to our marketplace.”

Mac Mabidilala, CEO of Pengo Insight (South Africa), “We are a knowledge marketplace company focused on Sub Saharan Africa. Because of COVID 19, we are accelerating the introduction of new digital features and platforms to create more remote opportunities for our freelance experts: through tailored paid surveys as well as a remote work project platform where clients can recruit for specific projects.”

Mansur Ziganshin, CEO of Pochmak (US). “Pochmak connects investors, consultants and corporates to industry experts for short term projects.  Our priority is providing projects that keep our experts busy with work. We are also donating 25% of profit to COVID 19 charities. At the same time, all experts are fully paid their rate for all projects.”

Mathias Linnemann, Co-founder of Worksome (UK and Denmark), “This is a challenging time for freelancers and we’ve brought in more remote projects to support work from home. We’ve waived our payment fee and process freelancers’ payments immediately because every penny counts now.  We’re providing coaching support and advice on how to deal with the uncertainties. We are also reminding people that demand for freelancers will soon increase. We already see it happening.”

Gali Arnon, CMO of Fiverr (Israel), “We were the first company to pledge our support for the Freelance Relief fund, to raise financial assistance to freelancers. We set up a resource center where our community can find news and tools, training, and a 24/7 help desk. We have opened new categories on the platform for freelance work. In the U.S. we offer free telehealth evaluations for COVID 19.  We have more initiatives going live such as a breakdown of the stimulus bill.”

Alok Alström, CEO of AppJobs (Sweden), “We’ve focused on maximizing remote economic opportunities for our freelancers. This effort has been ongoing for four weeks now and we are seeing results, which is important because over half the people joining AppJobs have lost their source of income. We created the AppJobs Covid-19 Resource Center to point our members to areas of economic opportunity. And, we are building an AppJobs Top-up Program that financially rewards members who help other members through our platform.”

Chandrika Pasrichi, CEO of Flexing It (India), “We’ve already put in place knowledge sharing to help freelancers use this time to upskill, strengthen networks, and identify new areas of opportunity; supporting our small business clients and freelancers through pro-bono and paid consulting assignments; and, we are developing a detailed playbook to help clients utilize freelance talent better, provide support through timely payments, performance bonuses etc.”

Viva la Revolution!