The current job climate is pretty terrible. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, we’ve noticed a lot of Linktree users adding new projects, GoFundMe causes, Patreon accounts and more. Creative industries have been hit hard.
As a product that creatives use to amplify their work, grow their audiences and find new collaborators, we wanted to better understand how that’s impacted our community.
Joblessness is rising
Coronavirus has disrupted a lot of industries. In many countries, businesses deemed ‘non-essential’ have been forced to close their doors. Unless you work at a supermarket, hospital, or flexible digi-based company (more on that later), chances are you’re pretty worried about your career situation.
And why wouldn’t you be? Nearly 10 million people filed for unemployment in the last two weeks of March alone. And that’s just 14 days. The full scope of the pandemic is even more unbelievable.
To give you some idea, Forbes recently compiled a list of major companies who have had to significantly cut back their staff in the past month. The list is staggeringly long. And the Art/Culture industry is a huge chunk of it.
Depending on your situation, there is a chance you’ll have to change things up if you’re going to wait out the pandemic comfortably. And that’s pretty difficult as..
Behavior is changing
The world has figured out what happens when outside isn’t an option. And honestly, it’s lucky we’ve reached such a level of technological advancement. This recent piece from The New York Times summarizes it nicely: We’re using computers more and phones less. We’re connecting via video chat. We’re finding new innovative ways to do our jobs from home. We’re consuming news differently. We’re playing esports instead of regular sports.
People are being forced to change their product when they don’t even know if people will still buy it. But there are glimmers of hope.
In many ways, people are being forced to change their product when they don’t even know if people will still buy it. But there are glimmers of hope.
Some businesses are adapting
The fashion industry is a great example. Once upon a time, labels would pay models to show off their clothes. Now, they’re experimenting with loungewear, models are becoming influencers from home and CGI models have become a socially-responsible option.
It’s happening in entertainment, too. Performers are live streaming. Party-goers are video conferencing. Major celebrities are keeping up with their fans via podcasts. And honestly, it’s a far cry from what people are used to.
Even businesses that benefited from more people at home have had to make major changes. Zoom had to beef up its data centers to handle all the new traffic. Pinterest is shifting the way it communicates. Here at Linktree, we changed our internal culture from one that plans comms months in ahead, to one that brainstorms daily.
This is because our audience is mostly freelancers and side-hustlers who link off to multiple places.
It’s way more difficult for you guys now
Sure, it’s great that big businesses are changing their focus, switching to online platforms and finding easier ways to get their product to you. But if you work for yourself or you were let go from your main gig, you now have to deal with a flooded market and a decreasing client list. We reached out to creators within our Linktree community to find out more.
Jon Bailey (also known as @EpicVoiceGuy), is a professional voice actor probably best known for Honest Trailers. We asked him how things were going as a voice artist and impressionist during the pandemic. He said this:
“Several of my regular voiceover sessions have been cancelled and/or postponed because they can’t be together to make what I would be promoting. I already worked from home most of the time but now I’m home 24/7 having to homeschool a 12 year old and three teenagers, one of which is Autistic and Mom and I aren’t trained special needs educators.”
“It’s been difficult balancing my career and helping the kids at the same time. Having to provide for 6 people was a challenge before this. I have had to get extra creative and think outside the box to keep working and stay busy enough to keep our minds off the bleak news.”
And Jon isn’t the only creative facing a tough situation.
“My work has been affected a ton. Being a person that works in live events as a musician, FOH and monitor engineer, with all live shows being cancelled there has not been much work” said musician Nate Testa.
A Linktree user who’d prefer to stay anonymous, has seen the situation from the front line. “I work at NYCs best rated hospital as an X-ray tech. My job has completely been affected by COVID-19 and the weaknesses of my department have been exposed before I took my 7 day (soon to be 14 day) mandatory leave. I take chest X-rays. I did about 30 before catching symptoms. So now I will work on my music and add lyrics while I can breathe ok for now.”
There are limitations, even for digitally-native content creators, like podcaster Mike Joachim.“Work is slow and I can’t travel for my podcast, so revenues and downloads are down which has me really worried. I have anxiety about my career and the future of everything and I’ve definitely been quiet around the house, but my wife has been supportive.
The biggest personal change is learning how to not drive her nuts while she too is working. All while trying to keep my podcast listeners happy and listening while there’s no sports (we are Indycar based).” We hear you Mike!
But there are certain creators who have a different view of things, like Montserrat Vargas, a self-described ‘craftivist’. “To be honest, I feel very privileged that I can work from home. My practice is art, and I do embroideries and workshops where I teach to embroider, but more than that, to learn to be alone with our thoughts, and do something with our hands.
“I am an introvert, and what I really miss is having a sense of safety while you walk in the streets. Right now, getting out to walk our dog gives me a lot of anxiety, and is challenging. So isolation hasn’t been that tough because I am aware that there are other people, and around the world the situation is more difficult. I am extremely grateful for what I have.”
She’s been able to be innovative within the current climate. “I sell my products through Etsy and I offer workshops in an independent bookstore. In the past weeks, I’ve been creating Embroidery Kits to sell, since I found myself with all this material. So I am adapting to the current situation. I’ve seen my friends and other companies do the same”.
If you’re making products that require a production line, like the team at Lush4Lush, there are some unavoidable risks. “It’s just hard to maintain (business) without putting yourself in jeopardy by being in contact with your workers. So we are doing our best to keep working from a distance… keeping workers, machinery and the site safe”.
There are also the obvious cancellations that creators who were booked into IRL events are now facing, like German beauty influencer, David Lovric. “The beauty convention (where I should be the moderator for the main stage) got cancelled. All of my TV projects got rescheduled. I lost all the income I had planned for the next three months. Luckily in Germany we can get money that we don’t have to pay back to survive this crisis.”
What’s ringing true for everyone we spoke with is not only a sense of anxiety and uncertainty about the road ahead, but also a gratitude for the safe spaces we’re confined to and the moment we have to innovate. We’ll continue to showcase how this community responds in the coming months.
To help where we can, we’re launching our webinar series, Linktree Live. You can rewatch our first session, Brand Marketing in Tough Times, here – we shared tips on how to keep content rolling at small businesses in the current climate.
Register for the next two webinars or suggest a topic right here. We’re in this together.