2020’s been a rollercoaster year for many startups.

The large majority have been severely impacted by the pandemic. They’ve had to to readjust their company structures to keep overheads low, all the while trying to ensure that output stays high.

For some, this has meant reducing team sizes and finding alternatives to full-time staff. For others, it’s meant pivoting their offerings in order to reach new customers to generate new sources of income.

There’s been no one-size-fits-all solution to help startups navigate this woeful year.

For this week’s article, we spoke to two founders - Rosalind Shimmen of The Influencer's Diary and Emma Goode of 24 fingers. Both gave us strong insights into the way in which the pandemic has impacted their startups and in particular, their company structure.


When Rosalind and Emma launched their businesses in 2018 and 2014 respectively, they did so alone. To help grow their businesses, however, both founders quickly began onboarding freelancers.

Rosalind began hiring freelance bloggers to write blog posts about her influencer events, while Emma took on a range of freelancers across various disciplines to help her scale her business. 

“We work with freelancers across the UK, Europe and Asia, across admin, design and editorial functions. Freelancers offer us skills that would be cost-prohibitive for me to have on a full-time basis,” Emma said. 

Both founders reached out to freelancers when starting out due to the niche expertise, quality of work and flexibility that freelancers offer them.

“I realised very quickly that I needed more help. Freelancers were the ideal choice for me, as I was able to benefit from both the flexibility and specific skills they offered, without over-committing myself to fixed wages at the start of my business journey,” Emma explained.

In a similar fashion, Rosalind said “I prefer working with freelancers as I feel the quality of work is always delivered to a high standard. They are the experts in their field.”

Lady working at desk
And then the pandemic hit

In a year of successive lockdowns and limiting restrictions the pandemic impacted the structures of both businesses in different ways. 

In Rosalind’s case, the pandemic had a major effect on The Influencer's Diary. 

"Lockdown didn't just adjust my team structure, it adjusted my whole business!,” explained Rosalind.

With in-person brand events (a major part of Rosalind's business) put on hold since March, Rosalind was forced to pivot her platform in order to survive Covid.

She diversified her offerings by introducing new, subscription based features on her app such as "The Directory", which gives influencers access to a database full of brand and PR contacts. 

Unfortunately, the lack of brand events this year has meant that Rosalind hasn't been able to offer her regular freelancers the same level of work as she did prior to the pandemic. 

“Sadly I have been unable to give as much work to my freelancers as usual, but hopefully this will all change within the coming months,” she explained. 

Emma is one of the few founders whose businesses have grown since March. She launched a second business and continues to lean on freelancers to help her scale up. 

“We’ve actually grown through lockdown – we’ve launched another business and in turn, have increased the resource level provided by our freelancer base,” Emma told us.

Looking ahead

Both Emma and Roslaind intend to continue using freelancers as part of their workforce moving forward. 

Rosalind was adamant that she’ll continue hiring freelancers over full-time staff for the foreseeable future.

“I can't imagine changing my business and hiring full-time employees, just watching my husband manage his staff confirms that sometimes having full time staff is a full-time job in itself. I would always choose to hire a freelancer, an expert in their field, it’s a lot less stress,” she explained. 

In a similar manner, Emma of 24 fingers, will also continue using freelancers to help her scale her businesses as she believes that quality freelancers can add real value.

“24 fingers is very much about celebrating the fact that each individual has unique strengths – hence the fingerprint in the logo – and working with freelancers gives me wider experience, wider knowledge which can only be a good thing – it’s a win win for us.”


There isn’t a handbook for startups on how to weather this dreadful pandemic. 

Many have had to alter different elements of their company structures in order to survive.

We’re in awe of the startups on this platform who’ve taken risks to save their businesses this year, who’ve devised creative and strategic approaches to pivot and grow their businesses.

At a time when things have seemed rather dreary, you’ve provided us with hope and inspiration. 

We look forward to following your business journeys in 2021. 

To submit your business for a complementary consultation with a Freelance Growth Specialist, click here.