For everyone in the content creation industry, sure enough, your income comes from affiliate marketing, advertisement, online courses, or traffic, and your revenue is practically zero because of the current situation. Sadly, you cannot file for unemployment benefits or small business assistance from the state. But we are not the only ones suffering from the lack of traffic and income, direct sales representatives, wellness coaches, tarot readers are also having a rough time during social-distancing. To put it simply: every freelancer in the United States who has a 1099 or is a sole proprietor of an LLC is not considered an employee and cannot file for unemployment benefits.
I know it is not time to get political. Still, I’m concerned that millions of freelancers will not be able to have some sort of unemployment benefits or support due to a lack of a “formal employment form.”
Freelancers, Small Business Owners, and Gigs.
Let me share some numbers with you:
- Etsy has over 2.5 million sellers and over 44.2 million buyers making up to $3.93 billion gross merchandise sales in 2018, from which 95% run their business from their own home.
- The Mommy blogging industry is expected to grow to a $10 billion industry by 2020, (I wrote about it before).
- The Virtual Assistant market size was valued at USD 2.39 billion in 2018 we are still considered a gig economy who does not have access to any benefit from the federal government in these times of crisis.
- The housekeeping industry is expected to reach $74.1 million by 2022.
It is alarming that freelancers, small business owners (like Etsy shop owners) and everyone with a 1099 form including bloggers, nannies, pet sitters, and others cannot have access to good health insurance, retirement savings, or unemployment protection.
Two years ago, Josh Silverman, the CEO of Etsy wrote about the “gig economy.” A term, I don’t really like because “a gig” is the musicians’ slang for having a performance, more like a fluke or not-recurrent event, rather than a way of working.
We do not have gigs, we have a job that contributes to the economy.
It is alarming the number of posts in Facebook groups of working moms, direct sales representatives, bloggers, virtual assistants, self-employed, and side-hustlers who are literally crying for help.
The impacts of the coronavirus are cutting more than $20 trillion in the United States economy, closing venues, canceling concerts, and shuttering bars, boutiques, restaurants among other stores.
How are they going to pay their bills? Buy food? How?
U.S. Federal Assistance on its way
Meanwhile, the post-pandemic economy is taking shape, the United States Congress is working on a package that could help everyone, including those in the freelancer sector.
- Taxpayer assistance
- one-time cash payments ($1,200 to most American adults and $500 to most children)
- Create a $500 billion lending program for companies, states, and cities/
- $367 billion lending program to help small companies deal with payroll problems.
- Bolster the unemployment insurance system,
- $150 billion directly into U.S. hospitals.
I hope the bill gets approved soon so people can get some relief in these circumstances.
In the meantime, let’s keep working, blogging, adapting our brand and preparing for the post-pandemic economy because many business practices will change, allowing the adoption of remote options to become widespread, thus boosting online services like accounting, health, wellness, training, and education.