Freelancing in a Recession: Roundup of Tips

  • “Are things going to be okay?”
  • “I need new clients, like now.”
  • “Should I re-positioning, adjusting my service offerings?”
  • “Should I lower my prices?”

March 20, 2020 – Here’s a roundup of articles, a twitter thread and a podcast I found this week answering those questions. Good luck!

“You Are Going to Be Spectacular”

Blair Enns, from Win Without Pitching, wrote a piece titled:

Three Steps to Surviving and Thriving in a Crisis

  • The answer is No, you are not going to be okay. You are going to be spectacular. (Note: that’s because Blair teaches agencies how to make a difference to their clients, and these times are when this approach pays off.)
  • It’s a fantastic time to be leading, to lean on what you’ve been teaching and to offer a calm presence.
  • Innovate on payment terms to build trust and help your clients smooth out the next few months. Offer discounts on advance payments.
  • Be open to new business models, explore adjacencies.
  • Get cheap credit.

Forget Adjusting Your Business, Get a Client This Week

Robert Williams of Folyo wrote this one-tip-per-day plan for kicking ass this next week:

How to Get High-Paying Web Design Clients Fast – Like This Week

  1. Email past clients right away
  2. DM someone on that Slack community who posts a freelancer contract opportunity
  3. Follow-up on old job applications by sending a thoughtful email
  4. Referrals: ask some, give some too
  5. On LinkedIn, email people who post RFPs

Developers: Learn in Public

Swyx (hot site design!) spells out the impact to developers in this piece:

The Coronavirus Recession and What it Means for Developers

  • Freelance developers can expect to see clients taking longer to respond, get beaten magically by more competitive offers or have shorter contracts
  • Learn in Public: write, publish, start a newsletter. You’ll learn faster.
  • Companies will be weary to try new tech, favouring the tried and true.
  • As a finance guy turned developer, he explains why recession “risks are real”.

In 2008, Amy Hoy had LOTS of Work by Executing What CEOs Loved

Amy Hoy, from Stacking the Bricks, shared this on twitter:

Thread from Amy Hoy About Her Lessons from the 2008-2009 Recession

  • She was neither the most dispensable nor the highest-priced
  • She executed what CEOs loved
  • To do great in a downturn, be an investment, not an expense
  • Run lean too, and you’ll do great

The Best Path Forward Is to Help Your Clients

Jonathan Stark and Rochelle Moulton have this podcast called “The Business of Authority”. This episode is great:

Dealing With Chaos – (Overcast)

  • Take whatever you do, what you’re good at, and apply it to this new reality. The other option is to close down, only think about yourself.
  • You might as well help your clients move forward, even if there’s no obvious way to get paid doing it.
  • How would you want your audience to act? Help lead your group in that direction, to demonstrate how to act.
  • Just do the next right thing (– Frozen 2)
  • You’ve got a service business, so serve.

That’s it. Stay safe (and sharp).

(Found other good ones for the list? Send me a quick email with those links and I’ll pass them on.)


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