There’s some debate over whether we’re currently in a recession. Economists in the US say as of 2021 we’re “technically” out of a recession. But the impact of 2020 is far from over (and in places like Australia, economists are saying the recession will be “long and lingering.”)
Here’s the thing: freelancing in a recession is actually a huge opportunity (and it’s a huge opportunity outside of a recession, but that’s not our focus today!).
I made six figures as a freelancer for the first time in 2008. Yes, right in the middle of the Great Recession. I had just made the leap away from my full-time job into full-time freelancing.
Why was that such a prosperous time for me? During that period, many employees were, sadly, put out in the cold. Companies were laying people off all over the country. But here’s the key:
While companies were laying off staff, they were hiring freelancers to help them keep making money and keep their business in the black.
I will never make any income guarantees, because you need to act on the steps in the Freelance Success Framework to make freelancing work for you.
And I’m also not telling you a recession isn’t cause for concern.
Instead, I am telling you that there are two things you need—especially when the economy trending downward:
First, you need a skill that will boost business and help companies earn more money. In tough economic times, businesses jettison anything that doesn’t directly pull in revenue. All available resources will go to tasks, teams, and divisions that improve the bottom line.
Second, you need to be able to turn that skill into something you can do as a freelancer. The good news is that there are so many skills that can be transitioned into a freelance career. You simply need to be prepared to shift into the role if necessary.
I’m not advocating that you quit your job right away! But if you want to make yourself recession-proof, you need to hone the right kinds of skills and develop effective systems to find and market yourself to clients.
Even if you never choose to freelance full-time, it’s worth it to invest your energy into developing a side hustle. Having something in your back pocket to bring in income—in the good times and the bad—will give you balance and security no matter what.
Recessions can be scary times. And in no way am I promising you a walk in the park.
But nonetheless, you can protect yourself from financial threats. Freelancing is a great example of the phrase, “Better to have it and not need it, than need it than not have it!”
I hit six-figures in the middle of the Great Recession, and that is not a coincidence.
I had the right skills and solid systems in place. And those two things allowed me to turn a terrible situation into a huge opportunity.
The future is unpredictable. But I am a bit more optimistic than many. It’s prudent to build up some form of freelancing to make sure you’ll be okay—no matter what happens.
Your Turn! Have you weathered a recession with your freelance business and how did you do it?