Freelance Work in a Crazy Economy

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Originally uploaded by speartoons

Still looking for that million dollar contract? Aren't we all. If only there was a design and illustration clause to the Federal stimulus package.

The other day a friend at the gym was looking at disgust at his mp3 player. He said, "There's nothing but bad news. I'm going to stop listening to anything related to business."

It can be tough out there to get work. But don't panic. A designer can still find work out there. Here are some things you can do to keep the freelance fires burning.

  1. Keep a positive attitude. I know. Easier said than done, right? But I've seen it work time and again. I've seen designer who have had the same lousy amount of business. The one with a positive attitude recovers much more quickly than the one who is convince his world is coming to an end. We always find what we're looking for, whether we realize we're chasing it or not.
  2. Call up old clients. It's okay to see what they're up to. If you had a good experience with them before, it just may take some reconnecting to remind them you are still out there. Email them, call them, take them out for lunch. You never know. You may be surprised and they'll reward you with a new project and pay for your lunch too. (But be sure you are prepared to pay for it. Don't be a weasel, after all!)
  3. Keep working even if you have no work. Momentum is everything in this business. If you don't get your favorite kind of work for a month, you can't afford to go rusty. Keep doing what you love. Build up your portfolio. Work on that plumb design or illustration project you've never had time for. Eventually the pay will come again.
We're all in this together. Keep looking up!

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