How to adapt during an economic downturn

Ferret in the Snow

We live in interesting times. The worldwide financial downturns have led to a great deal of uncertainty for small business owners and independent contractors (freelancers), including designers. On the plus side, small operators are in a better position than their larger counterparts to adapt to changes in business conditions, even drastic ones.

In recent months there has been a wealth of advice and discussion on how to weather the economic storms, chiefly by working smarter and keeping abreast of new opportunities which may emerge as businesses tighten their belts and seek to outsource work instead of hiring new staff. Reassurances like this are very encouraging, and I am now adding my ideas on what to consider in adapting your business to the current climate.

Seek clients locally

If you have been marketing your services online, there’s a good chance you have considered (or may already be engaged in) doing business with clients in other countries. Depending on where you live, you may now be experiencing a major shift in the amount of money you can expect for your services, because of currency fluctuations. Step up your marketing to prospective clients at home, and you can eliminate this concern.

Be a safe bet

Another advantage to marketing your services locally is that you may find prospective clients consider you less of a risk because you are based close by. Make sure you live up to this by being reliable and producing your best work.

Passive income

Have you got a product, or an idea for a product, which you can sell via your website? If you are concerned that falling currency values could mean getting less money for the hours you put in, then maybe you should consider setting up a passive income stream.

What are you considering doing differently to see through troubled financial times?

More reading on this topic


  • How to adapt during an economic downturn

    October 28, 2008 at 6:59 am

    […] Original post:¬† How to adapt during an economic downturn […]

  • David Airey

    October 28, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Hi Tracey,

    Thankfully I’ve found my business hasn’t been affected much, which is perhaps because my clients come from many different countries. I keep my Pound Sterling rates the same, so it’s other currencies that may help or hinder clients. At present, those clients in the US are benefitting.

    ¬£1 used to convert to $2. Now it’s more like $1.50.

    As for the passive income idea, how I’d love a little more of that.

    David Airey’s last blog post … The Art of Looking Sideways

  • Rob Cubbon

    October 28, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Tracey,
    Great post for these uncertain times. Like David Airey above I’ve not been affected much which I find interesting. I remember the last downturn in 2001 (which wasn’t even a proper recession) and I had a very hard time then. I’m hoping that I’ll beat this recession with smart marketing on the local and international level. Time will tell. It looks as though it’s going to be a long haul.
    But let’s keep positive, hard work and determination will see us through!

  • Aaron Russell

    October 29, 2008 at 4:37 am

    Hi Tracey

    I wrote about this topic recently too. I’m relatively new to the world of freelancing so don’t have a lot to compare things against, but as far as I’m concerned business is good and I’m maintaining a positive attitude.

    However, a lot of the pundits are making very similar noises to each other – ie, that this is only just the start and its going to be long and bad – perhaps the worst ever.

    Fingers crossed we’ll come out the other end still with positive attitudes. 🙂

    Aaron Russell’s last blog post … Real men don‚Äôt drink and drive

  • Tracey Grady

    October 29, 2008 at 6:20 am

    It’s very encouraging to hear that you’re doing well, maintaining your rates as they are in Pounds Sterling and not feeling much impact. I hope it stays that way.

    Smart marketing is going to be very important, especially if we’re in for the long haul as you predict.

    Thanks for the link to your recent article on this topic, which in turn links to more useful material which I hadn’t seen before. Good to see you’re keeping positive and that your business is going well.

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