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10 Recession Proof Habits for Art & Design Freelancers

Updated on May 14, 2012
Sketch I made pre-recession
Sketch I made pre-recession | Source

I decided to publish this hub right now, for the benefit of my fellow freelancers. We are here to stay doing an honest days job and it is in our best-interests as well as the industries we live in (which is global) to have people working in co-existence.

This lay as a draft in one of my writing pads and while in a waiting room last week, I typed it into my iPhone and send it to myself to keep it to publish as an article when I felt the time is right.

Today has become that day when I see that these tips I am sharing are becoming more and more vital to survive in a market that is dangerously volatile due to various factors.

"we the people must resist recession no matter how hard predators try to keep it that way". In the context of this hub, it is the Freelancer
"we the people must resist recession no matter how hard predators try to keep it that way". In the context of this hub, it is the Freelancer | Source

So here are my 10 points to get used to these tried and tested habits to prosper as a Freelancer in a market that could get rough if not careful.

We are slowly on our way up after the second dip in the recession in 2 years. Yet it is very vital that we independent art & creative practitioners adapt recession proof habits to sustain.

  1. Say "No" to partnerships and "Yes" to collaborations. One has hardly any time to be led by others ideas if waiting for it to get finalized eats away a chunk of your professional time.Your ideas and methods and talents is all you have and have control over. That is the only thing which is tangible because you can count on them to make your estimates and plan as convenient to you. Lookout for unwarranted partnerships which seem attractive in the beginning. Usually things which are too good to be true are not. So it looks good only till one realizes that one has been robbed off original ideas and a lot of free work or pro bono work which get ultimately owned by the self-proclaimed partner. Believe me! I've seen those too. If you have to embark on a partnership indulge in it with caution and legitimate paper-work, jotting out clear-cut agreements.
  2. Keep Overheads Low: Updating equipment is very important to keep with the times, but keep away from luxurious spends you could do without. The world cannot afford huge budgets and so do you.
  3. Minimize long-drawn meetings and keep emails short and crisp.
  4. Follow world politics and economics closely. I gauge the actions of my clients based upon economic and political climates of the various continents and how it may effect my job and my associates'. So their behavioral patterns do not usually leave me with ugly surprises. These clients who don't want to face you may never remain in touch with you. So it is important to understand that it has nothing to do with you, but it is almost definitely either that they don't want to show they have been gravely hit by the recession or they find they need only a limited or work which is not too high-end and don't mind compromising quality by jumping to a cheaper consultant or lesser skilled or experienced person. Of course many or all of them don't want to admit that because they want to put-up a proud face in the market to show that they are invincible. The important thing is that you don't feel disheartened by this. Just move on and do your own thing, keeping your focus by doing the same hard work. Just divert your energy towards more prospective markets. Do not waste energy on trying to make clients turn around. You could inform them of any added features to your services within the same feasible package but beyond that it is their call. Over-doing could only drive them away. For example it it difficult or impossible if a client wants to put you in the category of a commodity. By implying "Eh you...do the work at these terms or move out of the way, there's another anyway". If they want to perform acts like a lathe machine, so be it. You have better things to do. You have no time to waste because you need to get word out there about your design and exception skill-sets. For, you may miss your ideal fans while you sit and brood.
  5. Network Network Network! Come out of the closet leaving your fear of rejection sitting back there, behind you. That has no place in todays world. You need to get ahead and emerge, survive whatever the impediments maybe...tough people? the prejudiced? the rude, the cruel, the harsh... people and markets could have these traits...which is part and parcel of this business. Stay assertive, strong and you would definitely make it to that goal. You may pass the judgementals, the fear-generators, the myth injectors etc etc. but do what works for you in integrity. You have to be enough of a people-oriented person as you can be. Go for every related convention, conference, seminar, lecture or course you could afford to take or even select-parties. Stuff-up that business card box and work from there. Let the market know you exist.
  6. Blog about your line of business. Blog and get known to the world as an expert and reporter of your industry and expertise. Write articles and back-link them. Visit other blogs, articles, learn from them and don't forget to register your comments. It is like also appreciating them and at the same time getting you a back-link for your blogs. And in the bargain, you get seen.
  7. Stay true to your clients, job, profession and even your competitors. Business ethics is key! You don't want to get your professional reputation tarnished in any way. If anyone gets unreasonably nasty either to cover-up their mistake or just does like you for any irrational reason, do not run away like a puppy. Stay and assert yourself and spend quality time to clear your name because innocent people do get wrong judgements and punishments if they don't defend themselves and it is their responsibility to sanely protect their integrity. This done, just stay away and try to remain descrete with people who seem to behave irratic. Perhaps lose them or watch them (watch your back-I meand).This does not mean you confront them with nasty words. No. Just stay out of their way. Maintain a casual rapport but nothing more. This leads to my next advise.
  8. Never ever bad-mouth our associates but caution the community if there are people who are out to take undue advantage. It may seem so satisfying to do that but this would only reflect on you in a bad way and you never know where that reporting may travel and change into nasty rumors. You don't want things like this coming back to haunt you later. At the same time, you do have a responsibility to warn people.
  9. Hoot your own trumpet sufficiently loud :o) * Learn to promote yourself in the market on social networks and events.* Take care not to overdo it though. * But by doing this hooting be careful that you do not be seen as an egotist.... because after all that noise you must have something to show for, when your audience gather. So keep on it to do volumes of original work and then talk about it. So you have something to always offer on your table.
  10. Genuinely keep in touch with your associates - suppliers, clients and competitors and assist them if you have to in the spirit of market citizenship. Although there is need to be an assertiveness to the situation (mind you not aggressiveness) in case of a back-fire.

Remember in a harsh market such as todays, nothing happens according to the books. You are your own judge.

I hope these tips will turn out useful pointers as it has been in my business life.

All the best to you all to remain good citizens in this very challenging market.

Thank you very much for coming by.

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