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  • Freelancing during economic recession

    By Danno

    Looming stock market crashes. Government bailouts. Rate cuts. Recessions. Depressions.  These are all words gladly being thrown around by the mainstream media of late. And we all know the mainstream press loves nothing more than selling us doom by the truck load.

    Recession got you bummed?Photo by lefthand.

    Recession got you bummed? Fear not, there is much you can do.

    I’m no economist, but it seems only natural that markets should correct themselves (level off and perhaps retract) after consecutive years of positive domestic and global growth. In any case, the situation is what it is. So what’s a freelancer to do amidst leaner and tougher economic times? The answer is: Be even more valuable to your clients.

    If you’ve been freelancing for any length of time, you’ll know that your cash flow probably looks like a volatile stock chart; spiking up and down, up and down. The nature of our game is one day we’re so busy we can barely keep up, the next it’s so quiet we can hear the wind whistling through the trees.

    Working on retainer is one way to smooth out cash flow volatility, yet during a recession, it’s even more important to focus on providing added value to your client base and help keep your income stream healthy.

    This isn’t about being some flakey networker that spams clients with fluff, it’s about doing your best to provide your clients with some real benefit from knowing you. The more genuinely valuable you are to your client base, the better off you’ll be.

    Now, I know customer service is something many freelancers aren’t fond of, but listen; when it comes to your clients, you want to be at the forefront of their minds, always. Lets take a look at some techniques that allow you to quickly and easily stay on their radar … and add value where possible.

    Ping your clients

    The no-brainer way is with a quick e-mail ping.

    “Hello Dave, Checking in to see how everything is going and whether I can help you with anything?”

    Article of interest

    While you are cruising the web, take note if you spot something that might be of value to a client.

    “Hello Dave, I came across this article on potential new regulations that could affect your entire industry and thought it might be of interest to you.”

    Add a link to the article. The more relevant the it is, the better.

    Refer and introduce

    Check your client base and see who might benefit who then make some quick introductions.

    “Hello Dave, I’d thought I would take a moment to introduce you a client of mine, John Citizen. John runs Crazy Potato Studios and has a great team of SEO experts that I think would be of benefit to you.  John, Dave works over at Better Buggy Whips Inc. and can service all your buggy whip needs.  I’ll let you guys connect and take it from here.”

    Naturally it’s preferable to connect two people whose offerings compliment each other but one beneficial “introducee” will do.

    Error check client websites and update

    Take a moment to scan client web sites for errors.  A good technique here is bug hunting for breaks in that ultimate nightmare of all professional web developers; Internet Explorer.  Cruise around your client’s websites and spot breaks and errors then notify them about it.

    “Hey Dave, I was doing some quality control on your site today and found that X was breaking on page Y in Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP.  Give me a shout if you want me to fix it for you.”

    Offer a little free time

    Ping select clients with a “Limited Time Offer” of free time (your time, that is).  For example:

    “Hello Dave, A quick note to let you know that as a valued client of mine, I am extending 2 hours of my time to you for free to use as you wish.  There are some conditions for this free time which are as follows:  You can use this free time towards any of my services.  This offer of free time expires exactly two weeks from today. My recommendation is to use that time taking care of X but again, you are free to use this time any way you wish.”

    This generates a ton of goodwill and you’ll find that more often than not your client will end up spending more than the hour or two you give away for free.

    Wrappin’ it up

    Ok so now you’ve got a few techniques you can roll out when the urge arises.  Remember, be of value to your clients and you’ll always stay busy and well paid.  If you have some techniques you use during slow times, let’s hear ’em!

    Be Sociable, Share!


    About the author

    Danno started freelancing in 1996. He is the co-founder and (ex) President of Graphics.net, owner of FeedIcons.com, EliteFreelancing.com, FastCharacters.com and SteelAndSnow.com. He digs wind, waves, guitars and circles. Follow Danno on Twitter.

    Comments on this article...

    • Blake:


      I’m so glad that you touched on this subject. It is something I am extremely aware of just starting out in my freelancing endeavor. It is a very real, and very scary realization in today’s world. Great posts and some great ideas. Thanks!


    • Jerry:

      Ha, this is something short and sweet. Marketer are often focusing in expanding market externally but forget about doing sales internally.

      Thanks, I enjoy reading your blog a lot.

    • Danno:

      Right on. Happy to hear you guys are liking it. Cheers.

    • Shawn:

      Another great article Danno. I like how you're constantly reminding me that providing great customer support is as important as designing great work. Keep it up!

    • echangwi:

      what do you guys think about offshore freelancing. free laptop computers

    • Free Food Samples:

      hiring you guys in the USA is costlier now than hiring philippino guys. How to find a cheaper us freelancer?

    • Free Food Samples:

      my comments are not sticking!!

    • dermapril:

      It's easier to keep a customer than to look for a new one. better support indeed.

    • food:

      great truth dermapril. It's even cheaper

    • biolabs skin creme:

      Yes I agree we should maintain a good relationship to the client especially during recession days..A good customer service is a plus.

    • richel8:

      Yes I agree we should maintain a good relationship to the client especially during recession days..A good customer service is a plus.
      resveratrol biolabs ultra

    • richel8:

      Yes I agree we should maintain a good relationship to the client especially during recession days..A good customer service is a plus.

    • Katzenfutter:

      Yes I agree, A good customer service is a plus.

    • Pascal:

      I agree too, very interesting arcticle!

    • xtcommerce :

      This is a nice article, thanks for this cool infoprm ations. You have done a great job.

    • seo:

      very interesting, thanks

    • Partnersuche:

      Freelancing is becoming really difficult here in germany because of the economic recession of the last months. I hope this crisis will end soon…

    • werbeagentur:

      Hi there, interesting article, but i think the worst period of the economic recession is ending soon. So let's hope the best.

    • Wendy:

      Another year ist almost over. Recession minimal period is reached. Hope it will soon go better with the economic situation and then hope the crisis is over :-)

    • Tisha:

      Great article, very interesting. Keep it up.



    • trauringe:

      Its good to see

    • AVUKAT Adwokat:

      thank you
      nice Adwokats

    • Alleinunterhalter:

      I agree, thanks for the nice article.

    • Sven:

      Very interesting article, great job. Thanks for sharing :)

    • BMI berechnen:

      Thx for this info…mayby its really hard

    • Strom Anbieter:

      yaeeh good information….but its hard for the people

    • Kredit:

      great stuff.

    • Strom Anbieter:

      you pointed it…freelancing in this reccession is hard work…we will see what time will tell in future

    • jones:

      What a scary thing :S…but thanks for the article.

    • Trauringe Eheringe:

      thank you for the great tips
      the wedding rings are very nice

    • christlove:

      Thanks, I enjoy reading your blog a lot.

    • volker:

      Ein Kompliment für diese tolle Seite.
      Eigentlich bin ich durch Zufall darauf gestoßen und dachte mir,
      einen netten Eintrag und viele Grüße zu hinterlassen.
      _____ \!!!///____
      ______( ô ô )_____
      Vielleicht schauen sie mal auf meiner Homepage vorbei!

    • Australien Rundreise:

      Great stuff. The best you can do during recessing is trying to keep your current customers as long as you can.

    • Schuhe:

      Great article. Thanks for sharing.

    • Geldanlage:

      Greatest ;)

    • Beamtenkredit:

      Yeah great ;)

    • Festgeld:

      Becoming a Freelancer ;)

    • Volker:

      Moin moin! Wirklich schöne Seite die ihr da habt.Bin schon ein paar mal auf eurer Seite gewesen und jetzt hab ich mir gedacht, ich schreib euch mal was nettes ins Gästebuch. Also echt toll was ihr hier gemacht habt. Macht weiter so. Ich würde ich mich über einen Gegenbesuch auf meiner Webseite "Urlaub auf Sylt oder an der Ostsee" sehr freuen.

    • Vermögensmanagement:

      Who was the Freelancer?

    • Real Estate:

      Freelancing was a problem for years ;)

    • Hotel Bayern:

      It's hard, but good worker will find a job even in the recession. Maybe in our hotel im Bayerischen Wald.

    • Haarentfernung:

      Thanks for sharing this great article.

    • plattformaufzug:

      than you.

    • trauringe:

      i also agree! Greetz and best wishes