The ensuing chaos of the financial crisis has bankrupted banks, left entire industries in disrepair, and millions of workers without a job. The creative and freelancing sectors have been hit particularly hard, as companies dramatically downsize their marketing and advertising budgets. The forecasts for freelancers themselves have been mixed. Blogs and articles have been reporting that as businesses lay-off or slow down their hiring of permanent employees, there is thus an increase in freelance opportunities, but intuitively this also means that there are more freelancers out there competing with each other for the increasingly scarce work.
Here are some tips for designers, art directors and freelancers on how to improve their prospects, and on the best ways to ensure that you, and your work, survive the crisis:
1. Minimize your costs. Competing in costs isn’t reserved for huge corporations like Wal-Mart. Now, more than ever, minimizing costs is essential to economic survival, and it also makes you more attractive to employers.
2. Make the crisis work for you. So things are dire? Capitalize on the increased competition of supply industries. Look into discount art supplies and discount printing stores for your own self-promotion and so that you can offer the best quotes to potential employers.
3. Moonlight whatever work you have with whatever you can get. At the moment, most freelancers are taking everything they can handle and more. Even if you are employed on a steady corporate project, you should keep freelancing, or even work at a casual job to stay afloat – this is especially true if you have your own company.
4. Diversify. Apply for things you wouldn’t normally apply for. You increase your chances of employment, and gain experience towards your next application.
5. Be patient, but persistent. As the famous saying goes: “This too, shall pass.” So, if you can, try to remain positive and pro-active in your search for work. Check with previous employers for gigs, or go on-site directly to quiz potential employers on what they need, and explain what you can offer. Remember–It never hurts to ask.
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