We are living in some pretty weird times. The last two years have been so bizarre that weirdness has become our new normal. From a global pandemic and public health emergency that forced us to hit pause, to the ramifications of a world on hold for too long.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our very unwelcome guest, the 2022 recession.
For those of us who remember the Great Recession, this is bringing back bad memories of coming of age in a time when news headlines were constantly bleak at best, and the job market was virtually non-existent.
This recession isn’t like the 2008 one, however. We are living in different times, where anything is available on demand, and the internet is the great connector. Instead of being limited to local, in-office jobs, creatives have an advantage now in 2022 that we didn’t have in 2008.
If you want to learn more about the best recession proof jobs no matter where you live, then keep reading. We’ve got your bases covered.
A quick history lesson.
For those of you who may not remember the great recession, here is a quick history lesson to help you understand what is happening right now.
Recessions and economic downturns are all vastly different, but two things remain the same: job insecurity and fear. Typically, when we are in a period of recession, companies begin making cuts, people lose their jobs, and an uncertain economic future stokes so much fear that many people stop spending money and stimulating the economy.
Here is the Great Recession of 2008, simplified by Investopedia:
The 2008 financial crisis began with cheap credit and lax lending standards that fueled a housing bubble. When the bubble burst, the banks were left holding trillions of dollars of worthless investments in subprime mortgages. The Great Recession that followed cost many their jobs, their savings, and their homes.
The big difference between this recession and 2008 is that this recession is a direct result of the pandemic. Because people were in lockdown, many companies ceased production. When the world woke back up again, unprecedented demand caused major shortages and supply chain interruptions.
Many blue collar workers found other, better paying jobs, and so the labor shortage began.
About the labor shortage: You may be thinking that job insecurity and a labor shortage is an oxymoron, and you would be right. The thing to remember here is that shortages are mostly happening in blue collar positions like truck driving, funeral home workers, retail, utility workers, and food service positions, for example.
What this means for creatives.
Unfortunately for creatives, there are more of us than there are available jobs and our job prospects look vastly different. When the economy tanks, our jobs tend to be part of that initial wave of cuts.
There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though. If companies were smart about their recession strategies, then they would know that historically, it’s the companies that funnel budget into their marketing and advertising efforts that come out stronger in the end.
What do companies need for these initiatives? Creatives. A lot of creatives.
It isn’t until businesses make those cuts that they realize, “Oops! Shouldn’t have gotten rid of Becca the designer because now, our ads don’t look very good...Uh-oh, our SEO is tanking. Probably should have kept Sam, the copywriter.”
Creative teams are dispensable until they’re all gone. Only then does the company realize how much value we bring to the table.
While, yes, your in-house job may be in jeopardy, you will still be in demand. It’s just going to look a little bit different.
Recession proof careers for creatives.
Let’s play with that worst case scenario. Let’s say that you were let go from your kushy in-house job today (knock on wood). Once the shock abates, what is the first thing that you should do?
Assuming your portfolio is updated with all of the work that you did with your previous employer, the first thing that you should do is immediately update your Linkedin profile and make sure that it reflects your new availability as a freelance creative.
Why should you do this first? Think of all of those companies that fired their creative teams. Those companies will absolutely be looking for freelance creatives. In an economic recession, companies do not want to commit to paying a full salary or benefits to one employee.
Most will likely start looking for freelancers the moment they realize that design and copywriting are full-time professions for a reason. Freelancing helps ensure that you remain recession resistant. It can provide job security in a time when there is no security virtually anywhere else.
The challenge with freelancing as a creative is that while you will absolutely be in high demand, other creatives in the industry will be doing the exact same thing that you are.
This is why it’s so important that you ‘specialize’ or take a targeted approach. Clients won’t fall into your lap the moment you update your Linkedin. There is some elbow grease involved, but it’ll be worth it in the long run, and ensure that these tough times won’t be so tough for you.
Before you begin sourcing clients, check out creative communities like Designity that can provide consistency and security by assigning you projects without the mess of the freelance marketplace.
<div class="c-blog_comp-cta cc-component-2"><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-left"><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-left-wrap"><img src="https://global-uploads.webflow.com/61cdf3c5e0b8155f19e0105b/63695243d096983691046ac3_Potential-Creative.png" loading="lazy" alt="" class="c-blog_comp-cta-left-img"></div></div><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-right cc-dark"><div class="c-blog_comp-content"><div class="c-text-wrapper cc-mb-32"><div class="c-title-4 cc-bold"><strong>Like to work as a freelancer with consistent income?</strong></div></div><div class="c-text-wrapper"><div class="c-text-2">Designity's collaborative model is designed to give you all of the perks of being a freelancer without the income instability.<br></div></div></div><div class="c-blog_comp-wrapper"><a href="http://designity.com/creatives" target="_blank" class="c-button w-button"><strong>Join Our Creative Community</strong></a></div></div></div>
Sales and marketing tips for freelancers.
The beauty of starting a freelance career is that you can work as much or as little as you want and it’s a fully remote job that you can do from anywhere with WiFi.
There is no screening process aside from what potential clients require, you can answer as many job postings as your heart desires, and you can work part time, full time, or quarter time.
Here are some sales and marketing tips to get you started. If you like this portion of the blog, be sure to leave a comment; maybe we’ll expand on this in a more detailed, full-length article.
Create a portfolio: Gone are the days when full-length websites were necessary for creating a stellar portfolio. Check out sites like Behance and Adobe Portfolio. Another option is to use your social media as a portfolio.
No matter your skill level, you should always have something that you can show potential clients.
Identify your ideal client: Just like marketers, freelancers should chisel out who their ideal clients are. For example, a graphic designer would likely work with marketers. Depending on the size of the company, this person might be the CMO, VP of Marketing, or director of marketing.
Take a targeted approach: As a freelancer, it’s always better to specialize in a specific industry or service. The most lucrative ones are typically healthcare, financial services, and SaaS to name a few.
Make a list of your ideal clients and the people that you need to reach out to. Connect with all of them on Linkedin with a simple connection request message. Try to avoid messaging them the moment they connect with you or they’re going to assume that you’re spam and never open your message.
Don’t forget to follow up: This is critical. Most deals don’t happen in that first message. You need to follow up, but not too soon. Wait at least five days before sending that first follow up message.
Everything is going to be okay.
A freelance career may not be what you had in mind when you decided to take a creative career path. Unlike police officers, bus drivers, or grocery store workers, creatives can work remotely and on their own terms if they choose to.
Whether you’re a project manager, copywriter, or a graphic designer, there’s a company out there that is looking for someone just like you.
So, take a deep breath.
We may be in a recession, but everything is going to be okay.