It’s a new year and, perhaps, a new day for some of us, as far as finding clients and projects in the current economy. Local and national turbulence in the workplace may mean that more companies use more outside resources for their creative efforts, or use their current consultants more than in the past, but also may mean that we have more competition from former in-house staffers whose only option is to go out on their own (then again, there’s a whole new pool of employees and subcontractors out there for AdHub members whose companies are growing).
If the new year is starting out a bit on the bleak side, here are some ideas for coping with the current economic climate.
- Contact all your past and current clients and employers with a note to say “happy new year”— and that you’re available for new assignments and look forward to renewing/continuing connections with them. Sometimes even current clients have to be reminded that we’re here and available. Sometimes that kind of note reaches a client just as the need for our services arises; never discount serendipity!
- Try craigslist.com, elance.com, guru.com, etc. There might not be a lot of high-paying jobs there, but you might find enough to keep you going for the moment. And don’t let the bidding environment scare you off—I know of at least one book-production colleague who has found well-paying gigs through these outlets by not giving in to the “lowest bid gets the job” mentality.
- Get out there—go to meetings of the Chamber of Commerce and professional organizations, including ones whose memberships include or are predominantly prospective clients, rather than other consultants. It isn’t enough—although it’s important—to network with peers; you also have to network with people who might hire you.
- Update your résumé, promotional brochure if you have one, and website. If you don’t have a website, use your downtime to create one. Consider starting a blog, so your name is out there.
- Commit to being visible in online discussion lists and groups where colleagues (and prospective clients) can get a better idea of who you are, what your skill level is and what you do, so colleagues know who you are and feel comfortable with referring, hiring or subcontracting to you.
- Assess your skills and see if there are any new ones you can offer to clients. Take any downtime to learn new skills or programs, and hone your existing skills. See if you need to upgrade equipment, add to your staff, etc. Look at any downtime as a time to renew and revamp.
- See if you have any hobbies that could translate into short-term income; I know of colleagues who make and sell jewelry, bread, clothes—nothing directly relevant to their businesses, but an income stream (and creative release) nonetheless. Consider setting up an eBay account or using Craigslist to sell household goods you don’t need or use.
- Join LinkedIn and Facebook, and put together a detailed, business-oriented profile for your LinkedIn page. Add that URL to your sigline and make it a live link from your website.
- If you have any extra money, consider investing it into joining an organization that offers job-finding resources.
- Grit your teeth and do cold queries. They’re a challenge, but they often work.
Here’s to a successful year for AdHub and its participants!
Ruth E. Thaler-Carter is a successful freelance writer/editor and long-time queen of networking, known for her involvement in professional associations in St. Louis, DC, Baltimore and Rochester. She can be reached at Ruth@writerruth.com, www.writerruth.com or www.communication-central.com.
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