Open Thread: Is The Economy Hurting Your Business?

This Monday I want to discuss something a little more serious. No matter what country you’ve been hiding in, chances are you’ve heard about the economic turmoil that’s plagued most of the world. Things have become very tough for a lot of people.

But what about us, as freelancers?

Freelancers are definitely better off in some ways — we can’t be fired, after all — but depending on the industry, we could be just as vulnerable as anyone else. It’s not easy to run a freelance business if clients aren’t buying…

How are you handling the economic changes? What effects have you seen in your business? Are you doing anything different as a result, or to prepare?

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Comments

  1. says

    Honestly, I haven’t seen any real changes in my business yet. In fact, if anything, business is growing.

    This may be in part because of my specialization in sustainability, and the fact that many other businesses are bleeding money and trying to staunch the flow with anything they can (like reducing waste! yay!). It may be, too, that I live in Los Angeles, where ‘The Industry’ does pretty well regardless of the overall economy (in fact, sometimes better, since movies and other entertaining distractions tend to do better in economies that warrant a little away time).

    Or it could just be that I’ve been lucky. I’d be curious to hear how things are going for people in other parts of the country and world. All you read about in the news are these alarmist predictions and headlines…I keep wondering if there is any meat to them.

  2. says

    My business has been helped just a bit by those with an entrepreneurial spirit who want to explore the world of online marketing through a new web site. Entrepreneurship may save us from the mess anyways.

  3. says

    Oddly enough, I’m getting more inquiries about business than not…and I’m staying busy with current work. But I’ve been on the offensive and marketing pretty hard. This has provided fruit.

  4. says

    I have a lot of work, but I have noticed the changes in my personal life. Groceries are ridiculous. So much so that I have reluctantly started using coupons again and have been searching for deals. Usually I would just hurry up and get it over with. Now I am cutting coupons, reading fliers and analyzing prices. Gas has gone down a little.

    I think as freelancers we are better off because our market is worldwide, not confined to one specific area. That’s a very good thing considering the American economy right now and for the future.

    I heard someone say the other day that we are in a depression we just don’t realize it. That reminds me of the book 1984 where everything seems fine, but it really isn’t.

    My fees are the same, but my personal expenses have taken a hit.

  5. says

    I have been a professional graphic and web designer since 2001 and have seen a few ups and downs over the years but last week I lost two decent sized clients due to the credit crunch, one company was Canadian and the other American.

    Both clients were about the same size but in different industries and they both basically told me the same thing, there advertising and marketing budget was the first thing to get cut.
    Ironically the other week I wrote an article on my blog called “Freelance Marketing Strategies during Economic Downturns” which gives an example of how to approach clients with more cost effective marketing and advertising campaigns, saving them money and proving your worth.

    Unfortunately (I think out of fear) they weren’t willing to listen to my advice or even interested in discussing any ideas or what options they had, they simply just gave up and quit.

    With even a small budget during times like these businesses can get a lot more bang for their buck, prices are going down for ads, designers and writers and if their competitors aren’t marketing much or even at all it isn’t really too difficult to get your brand recognized.

    I quickly realized that these two clients weren’t open to talk about how they fit into the world financial situation and work out a marketing plan that will at the very least show people they are confidant and still doing business during this downturn.

    I ended up parting ways with them both amicably letting them know that I was always available to them even if they just wanted to run something by me and that I will contact them again in six months to see how they are doing.

  6. says

    This turbulent market has affected my business tremendously. I’m a graphic designer that specializes in materials for publicly-traded companies via investor relations agencies. I currently work for 4-5 agencies and activity has come to meeting bare minimum required by SEC. While, I know that a down market is really a prime time for investor relations agencies to do more work; this economic situation is different from previous (ie dot com bust).

    So, I’m in the process of rebranding myself w/ new tools to reach out to new audiences that I hope will provide new income. Stay tuned. I’m launching November 1.

  7. says

    Obviously, The Economy scene going to effect every business in direct or indirect way. Then how can my business stay without getting affected. But the main think keeping me & my business alive is patient and faith.

  8. says

    I’ve ramped up my marketing efforts just in case, but I haven’t noticed a lack of opportunities for freelance writers. In fact, I’m usually juggling more work than I can handle. It helps that I do both copywriting and journalism, so I’m not tied to one client or publication.

  9. says

    The economy is going to affect any business someway or the other. Despite the bailout the situation stands grim. Our only hope is to improve our own services and wait

  10. says

    If anything, like many others, I’m seeing an increase in spending. Some of it came a few weeks before the financial storm, some are seeing it as a way to reinvest and/or diversify where they get their sales.

    I’ve also had one client decide to rework their admin section to improve their efficiency and get merge to external applications into their website so they only have to work with the website.

  11. says

    I was actually thinking about this topic this morning as I drove my children to school. We’re busier than we’ve ever been HOWEVER people are paying their invoices a lot more slowly. I typically have less than $1000/month in outstanding receivables and this month I have triple that and it’s been that way for the past two or three months. Not fun – I’ve actually hired a bookkeeper to handle the job. So while business is booming, I’ve been forced to juggle cash flow because people aren’t paying their invoices on time. They’re due upon receipt and I have one client who is three month’s behind.

  12. says

    Actually business has been good. Clients continue to need marketing material. I also think that many online based businesses are priced more competitively than brick and mortar businesses and that may play a role.

    One thing I like about threads like these is the opportunity it offers to discover other interesting people with complementary businesses to my own. After reading Colin Wright’s comment above I discovered his website greenlovesgold.com. We’ll have to talk some time about having you on my podcast – new urban mom (a podcast all about sustainable communities and the role we play in making/keeping them that way).

  13. Joy says

    I am starting a freelance business and had done research and found that the uptick for business is there. As Ivan says above. We have an opportunity to empathize with the current business owner and help them through this. That is the approach I am taking. Though, little green behind the ears in freelance. I have been doing writing, graphic design, web design, project management for 12 years. Overall this blog sounds positive.

  14. says

    The economy has made it more difficult for me to do business due to the fact that I rely on commercial loans to finance my projects.

    On the flip-side, my company sets up retirement accounts with high fixed returns in the neighborhood of 10-15%. Since the stock market is doing poorly I’m getting inundated with new clients. The commercial mortgage market’s credit crunch is hampering my ability to put my clients funds to work.

    Short answer yes, but in the long-run it is helping me build my book of business.

  15. nick says

    Its KILLING me. I have an arcade software company and usually toys/games are the first to get cut. Well im down well over 50% in oct and nov!

  16. TonyB says

    Hi Everyone,
    I have a carpet cleaning business in Houston,TX that was doing pretty good until the economy went bad, and with it my clientele. I have a website for the business but I dont
    know what I have to do the get it to show up in a search. Right now it’s somewhere in the yahoo/google netherworld (LOL).

    Is there someone on here that can give me some insight or know of anyone that coud give me insight on how I can get my local website on the front
    page of a Yahoo or Google search to increase my business without it costing me 5 or 10k $$$? If so please share with me.

    I thank you and my hungry over-eating children thank you.

    thanks,

  17. says

    Well I don’t run a studio nor a business per se, but I’ve heard from friends that it’s getting hard to get the fabulous final paycheck. When working with big clients (agencies, outsourcing, designing overseas, etc) they propose this three-month-paycheck contract with leads you to either overprice so you can cover the two months delay or to get stuck and find mote jobs to do, so I can say this crisis has come to change son contract forms which you might not be used or able to accept.

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