Recession Tips For Web Designers

96 Comments

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  1. Vicky Yoman

    Totally agree. Also has to add – by serving worlwide public – there is a difference in budgets. Europe and the States provides still really competible pays (right now its 2013 springtime) but there are clients (difficult to name without getting into stereotype debates) so there are clients from Eastern countries regularly cutting the budget or setting a quality argument with no basis just to keep the last part of payment.

  2. Malarkey

    I needn’t say how important this article is – you already know that. Thanks Jeffrey. I think that it’s important for people to know that you ran Happy Cog from your home and did it while building a world-class business.

    I do want to say a huge thank-you to Drew and Brian for putting their personal time into making 24ways again this year (and to Tim Van Damme for the fantastic new design).

    How often do I stay up until midnight to read a web design blog the moment it’s published? For a whole month!

    Have a fantastic Christmas and a well-earned rest.

  3. Luke Dorny

    Well wrapped, Mr. Zeldman.
    Thanks for a wonderfully concise tip for all of us during this current era of “R”(ecession) & “D”(epression).

    And yes, thanks to everyone who contributed to 24ways this year. Great job. A great resource.

  4. Ryan Robertson

    Great article. I had no idea that you had initially run Happy Cog Studios from you apartment, which is amazing considering the quality of the work produced, and not to mention its success.

    I love the focus of your articles and talks: people. I think often times this sort of focus is lost in the computing world, which is a shame. Thank you for your many, many contributions toward making the web a better place to work!

  5. Johns Beharry

    Absolutely Fantastic, thanks soo much for providing these great articles, they’ve been quite informative and it’s great to get some advise from the industry’s best.

    I can’t believe it’s finally day 24 (Well a few hours until for me (GMT – 04:00).

    Thanks again and Happy Christmas

    Hoping to see you next year :)

  6. Adam Wiggall

    Thanks Jeffrey,

    You continue to be the best ambassador this industry could wish for. Your experience and willingness to share are second to none, and for that I thank you immensely.

    There is no doubt over the quality of your message, or the skill with which you write. Most enjoyable, and for me, they saved the best till last.

    Adam

  7. Steve Fleischer

    Excellent article. I too was surprised to hear that Happy Cog was run from a home office. Makes me feel a whole lot better about my business. It seems I already implement a lot of the things Jeffrey suggests – borne out of years of finding out what works for me and what doesn’t. Again, it is heartening to know I am on the right track.

    Thanks to all the 24 Ways team for informative articles of a consistently high quality. I appreciate your hard work. Thanks.

  8. antoine e butler sr

    This is subject many in and out of our industry are discussing. It’s nice to read tips specifically for us small or independent shops, rather than those with “bigger” concerns like how to make payroll.

    Great write up, it’s a nice reminder that I picked a great time to go indie. :)

  9. Kenny S.

    Long admirer of your work and blogging, Jeffrey. Although I do disagree with only one point in the article. Namely, the suggestion for contacting former agency clients of a job lost. While I do not run an agency myself, I would find that uneasy.

    As designers and developers, I believe we adhere to a certain code of ethics. I would not personally feel good about robbing clients from a place that gainfully employed me by suggesting I run a personal venture.

    No need to punish other designers and developers and put their jobs in jeopardy just because a business faced tough times and you were on the receiving end.

    That being said, you’re truly a leader in our field my friend. Keep the goodness coming.

  10. jen

    Thanks for the great words. Your example, through the books, the blogs, articles, and the manners of your employees, continually inspires me as a business-person and a human. It amazes me (although it shouldn’t) that Daniel Mall and Jason Santa Maria are so down-to-earth and generous with their knowledge. The way you guys are — that ‘s how we all ought to be. We wish others the best. Life’s too short to do otherwise (or too long to spend it otherwise!). As a freelancer, it seems so much easier to do it. In the corporate world, it went against the grain of the company culture. Ah… whew!

    Best to you (& you reading this)!
    j

  11. Dave Smay

    Great post. I definitely agree w/ you – especially your intro. You’re right – companies are looking to cut costs, and when you can show that your own work is on par w/ the more expensive agencies, it certainly makes for an easier time.

  12. Dominik Stucky

    I always enjoy reading, discussing topics that cover how others in the field do their work and handle business. This article made me heave a sigh of relief. Thanks for that glimpse behind the curtain.

    Merry Christmas!

  13. Brian Warren

    Fantastic article Jeffrey. It certainly encourages me as a solo freelancer. I’ve only been working for myself for a few years. Often that that feels like a long time, but even more often I am reminded by how much I don’t know and how little I’ve seen.

    This article kindles a nice little flame and really encourages me to use this economic downturn to my advantage. Thanks so much!

  14. Elliot Jay Stocks

    @ Jeffrey: Like everyone else is saying, the fact that you ran HC out of your apartment struck a real chord with me. It just goes to show, eh?

    I’d like to second Andy’s comment above and say a massive thank you to Drew, Brian, and Tim: thanks for having us and well done on another (even better?) 24 Ways! :)

    Merry Christmas one and all!

  15. BoltClock

    Well-written! I’m not dabbling in career just yet, but whether there’s a recession or not (I’m sure it’ll blow over soon), your advice does apply and make tremendous sense.

    Have a safe and merry Christmas! And great job to all of the 24ways writers!

  16. Evan Meagher

    I’m sold on the notion that recessions can be the best times for entrepreneurs and “the little guy.” It gives you a time to buckle down, do work, and improve your skills. There’s no economic fumble that you can’t pick yourself up from with some hustle and networking.

    Good article. It’s nice to see some hope in a sea of pessimism.

  17. Greg Huntoon

    Always a fan, but I probably don’t say it enough Jeffrey. You’re a fantastic writer; pragmatic, and with enough verve to keep the eyes following along. I’m sure this article will serve as a nice guide to folks trying to figure out how to pay the bills through these tough times.

    Your comments about just dealing with the business end of things for designers is the most important point in here, in my opinion. Designers (and developers alike) need to harness their inner marketer and make things happen for themselves right now. There is still plenty of money to be had…you just have to show the gatekeeper why you should have access to it.

    Be convincing. Be persistent. Be well.

  18. Ben Spencer

    24ways… The Christmas gift that keeps on giving! An inspirational article Jeffrey, and I agree that it is very important to hear about your beginnings.

    If you just lost your job, email former agency clients with whom you worked closely to inform them of your freelance business and find out how they’re doing.

    This could be a tricky one. If you work in an agency in the UK, there is usually something in your contract which tells you that you can’t work with any of the agency’s clients for at least a year after you’ve left. Still, nothing wrong with saying hello I suppose!

  19. Steve Avery

    Wise words from a wise man.

    Thank you Mr Zeldman, sir. Not just for this post, but for you overall contribution to helping create a better web.

    I would also like to thank everyone involved in this years 24ways. You rock.

    \m/

    Looking forward to 24ways.org/2009/

    Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

  20. Andi Farr

    Thanks for a superb article. Today is my last day at my nice secure job – I’m leaving to relocate further north, and for the next few months at least, I’m going to be working freelance. Although I have a few projects already lined up which will see me through the near future, I have to admit that I’ve been getting more and more anxious about an economic climate that I will no longer be directly insulated from! This article has not just helped put me at ease about my new situation, but actually has me absolutely raring to go. Thanks for a very thoughtful Christmas present – it’s just what I wanted, and I will use it every day :)

    Merry Christmas to everyone, especially everyone that spent the time putting 24ways together this year. It’s been easily the best one yet, and I’m really grateful you all took the time and effort!

    Take care, Andi

  21. David Appleyard

    Thank you for a great read. It’s encouraging to hear someone write in a positive and enthusiastic manner about how freelance designers are able to weather the economic storm.

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the content and quality of 24 Ways this year and, whilst Christmas will no doubt be great, it’s a shame that it marks the end of this fascinating series.

  22. Harry Llewelyn

    Fantastic article as always, a good example of the high quality articles this year, congratulations Drew and Brian, you should be very proud of another successful year!

    I must echo Kenny and Ben’s concerns though, I personally would hope that if I was to ever be put in the position where I lost my job, I would remain on good enough terms with the company to not do that..

  23. Matthias Edler-Golla

    WOW, what a great article as a finale! Jeffrey is one of the best authors I know writing about web design…

    24ways did a fantastic job (again) in bringing all those interesting articles together – thank you so much!

    I am looking forward to next december.

  24. Drew McLellan

    I personally would hope that if I was to ever be put in the position where I lost my job, I would remain on good enough terms with the company to not do that..

    I think it very much depends on circumstances, and I’m sure we’d each be able to make the appropriate call based on those.

    In a situation where you’ve lost your job because the entire company has failed, your employer’s old clients would suddenly be without a designer and may well be very pleased to hear from you. Continuity can count for a lot in design.

  25. Ray Drainville

    A good article with a subject that should be important to any web development company: listen to your clients. Jeffrey’s right, clients love to tell you of their problems—this is a great ‘in’ for anyone paying attention.

  26. Jeffrey Zeldman

    Thanks, everyone, for the wonderful comments. Thank you, Drew, for including me, and thanks Drew, Brian, and Tim for the fantastic resource. Truly an amazing 24 days of content. Thanks to all this year’s writers.

    I personally would hope that if I was to ever be put in the position where I lost my job, I would remain on good enough terms with the company to not do that..

    What Drew said: it depends on the circumstances.

    If the agency that laid you off has an ongoing business relationship with the client (i.e. is still finishing a project for the client, or enjoys a monthly retainer-based consulting relationship with the client), then you wouldn’t want to approach that client, except perhaps to wish them happy holidays. (Should the client notice your signature file and offer you freelance work, you may not be in a position to accept.)

    On the other hand, if the agency that laid you off was but one vendor that served the client, and the agency is no longer an active vendor for that client, and if you weren’t under a contract that restricts your ability to work for former clients of your former agency … then again, I advise you to simply wish the client happy holidays or write to ask how they’re doing. And if the client happens to offer you freelance work — or if that email leads to a series of pleasant email exchanges over the months ahead, which eventually leads to the client offering freelance work — you may be in a position to accept.

  27. Anne

    Truly great advice. Your point about the recession forcing business owners to take a new look at small companies for their web projects rings true, for me at least. I’m a freelance entrepreneur, having started my own business this year. I’ve been kept busy consistently with new clients interested in my services. I’m a new reader of your blog and am now checking on all your updates.

  28. Brian Artka

    The perfect present to find under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. Thanks Jeffrey, this article is spot on inspirational and excellent. Thanks for the info on Athletics as well, I am intrigued by this way of working together, I think its most likely the future of alot of creatives. I recently watched your AIGA GAIN presentation (I wasn’t able to make the SXSW one, were they the same?) You told the crowd straight up about understanding web design. I hope they got it.

    As Adam had stated in one of the comments, you really do continue to be the best ambassador this industry could wish for. Forget “landmark” web designs, this industry has landmark individuals who continue to inspire, create, and innovate. Don’t stop.

  29. Joen

    Delicious article. Apt, consice and with very specific advice.

    I have recently (1 year ago) gone freelance myself, after having been in the business for 7 years. I’ve learned step by step how much of this advice is spot on; actually listening to the client and talking straight to them seems to generate an air of confidence which is decidedly different than meetings were back in my age of fixed income.

    Two additional tips I’ve learned:

    - Use the phone a lot. Text is a terrible way to communicate, and if you can’t meet the client face to face, calling them to clear up misunderstandings or new developments is a surefire way to let clients feel in the loop, not to mention actually getting responses more quickly.

    - Be prepared to lose an assignment. Despite the recession, one shouldn’t do whatever it takes to get a project. Be brutally honest to yourself and your client. Say no to a project which is out of your scope or area of interest. Say no if the price to work ratio is imbalanced. It’s just good business.

  30. Jeff Allen

    <p>Excellent article Jeffrey! </p>

    <p>You mention pricing within Industry norms here:<br />
    &#8220;Removing the overhead associated with payroll means more of the budget stays in your pocket, enabling you to price your projects competitively, while still within industry norms. (Underpricing is uncool, and clients who knowingly choose below-market-rate vendors tend not to treat those vendors with respect.)&#8221;</p>

    <p>So how do you go about ascertaining just what the &#8220;industry norm&#8221; is? I&#8217;ve seen sites that list their rates as anywhere from $500 to $5K a website, so knowing what the industry norm is gets a little complicated. Have you got any specific advice on developing a pricing guideline / strategy?</p>

  31. Tim

    In a recent episode of TWIT Jason Calacanis said this is the best time to invest in yourself. Adding to your skills or improving your skill level will prepare you for when the economy improves.

  32. AP

    So much of this rings true, especially the part about clients being like unhappy spouses, they just want someone to listen.

    If you can do that for them, you will be richly rewarded with their trust, which can pay huge dividends as the project unfolds. And also once it’s completed, in the form of referrals.

    Thanks to everyone who put this advent calendar together, it’s been an invaluable read every day.

  33. Eric Baldoni

    A very encouraging read! About 5 years ago I left my job as an Art Director and started freelancing. It’s been a series of learning experiences, and I totally agree with the “web design is a people business” statement. Business itself is a people business, and the most valuable thing I have learned is networking results in landing me the most jobs. I get approximately 99% of all my gigs from friends in the industry. Try to send work to others who have skills you might not possess, the favors will come back. We all wear many hats in this industry, but some fit better than others. I love working on my own, in collaboration with other specialists, and this is definitely the direction we are all headed in recession or not.

  34. Ivy Clark

    Thanks for another great article. I think it’s ok to touch base with an ex-client from a previous agency, as long as you’re not pushing aggressively for new work.

    Companies usually have a good idea of who they want to outsource their work to anyway – large, complicated enterprise system, go for big system integraters; large to mid-size developments, look for agencies; smaller, more piece-mill work, get a freelancer. I don’t think freelancers compete directly against agencies, unless the agencies don’t offer much value in the first place.

  35. Brent

    My wife and I run a two person web design firm out of our apartment and I can tell you from experience that everything said here is great advice, I’d also mention that once you start getting more clients, start getting interns, that was a big help for us.

    ps. when did 24Ways get a re-design, it looks great. Keep up the good work guys!

    brent
    @
    mimoymima.com

  36. Billee D.

    Thanks Jeffrey for an article that hits close to home. Being lean in our current economy is almost as important as being green.

    I have always prided myself on the “smallness” of my company. With myself and never more than two other partners on most projects I have been met with both ridicule and with open arms. That whole agility thing that gets bandied around so much today is really a marketing spin on small, talented, and well-organized shops who deliver quality work almost under the radar. Being small and (ahem) “agile” has helped numerous organizations including everyone’s favorite nimble poster child 37signals.

    I have been working in this same manner for years myself and I too started out in my apartment. I have a small basement office now, but I am still working out of my home. It keep costs down and allows me the freedom to run downstairs in the night if I have a sudden flash of inspiration.

    Once again you have nailed it in a timely and topical fashion. I just want to say thanks and happy holidays!

  37. prisca

    What a wonderful final article – your writing is always a joy to read and inspiring as ever, Jeffrey.
    I’d also like to say thanks to Drew and Brian for another amazing 24ways — and Tim for the new design. I was another one who could not resist to read every new article at midnight :-)
    Thanks to you and all your authors for the brilliant articles – wishing you all the very best for 2009!

  38. Chris W.

    I fully agree with being lean. I work for a company with 60,000+ employees and I run my own design company of 1 person, me. There’s a big difference in both cost and how quickly you can turn things around for a client.

    It’s nice to answer to just one person, the client. And usually the clients I take on respect my opinion enough to accept what I recommend unless it conflicts with a business rule or need.

    The overhead is low on a very small company, especially if you listen to your clients/potential clients and are extremely good at what you do. Charge what you’re worth and don’t act desperate for the business. Deliver solid proposals and follow up with the client to review and answer questions.

  39. Chris Bartow

    Web design is a rescission friendly business. When things get bad for other businesses, they want to do more work to generate business so many look at the Internet to market their business more.

    For the last 6 months my business continues to grow, while old clients call asking how they can do more online to gain more business because things are slow.

    Also, look to government organizations to build web sites for. Schools, towns and utilities are still spending and are usually great clients to have in your portfolio.

    Do great things, add value, be easy/quick to contact and you will always be able to get business.

  40. Ben

    Very nice, concise, and accurate.

    Another important point: networking, networking, networking. Lots of effort, eventual reward. Tiring, but eventually, hopefully, pays off.

  41. Thomas | Santhos

    Good article! It’s funny to hear you also started from you appartment and that your cliënts didn’t care when they found out about your ‘secret’. Love that sentence! It exactly how it feels to me causeI’m also working from my home. It feels like a secret. But indeed, I don’t think my clients mind at all… they care about good work. As long as you can offer that I think no one really cares about where their website is being made!

  42. littleoldme

    Actually, this is how I started in the last boom-bust cycle. I was repairing computers with nothing more than a multi-tool knife in my pocket and know-how in my head.

    Clients were from an employer who closed shop and left town that I approached. I was 19 then. 11 years on, Ive picked up hardware experience, programming, web dev but finally went back to school this year to really polish up – in time for the next wave.

  43. Milan Phan

    This article is gold; thank you for sharing your insight. The part that brightened my day was when you pointed out that times like these makes quality work more valuable. Creating opportunities during this recession is exactly what people need to hear!

    I look forward to reading the rest of these articles… starting now.

  44. Susan Jackman

    I think you have an excellent point about overhead. I was working for a marketing company that could no longer afford their overhead. I started my web design business just when everyone was starting to admit that the economy was getting bad and it’s been great so far. With no overhead and a virtual team I can do fantastic work and make enough money for myself, while still being able to offer the clients an affordable price. The fact that you started your business from your home is truly encouraging! Thanks.

  45. Tony

    It’s OK to be a little nervous in front of clients. Assuming clients are human beings, they know it’s difficult to give presentations, especially when a lot is at stake.

    Ideally, we can be relaxed and confident in tough situations. Key word: ideally.

  46. Jason Tselentis

    Just a shout out here: this is one of the better designed blogs I have seen in years. I absolutely love it. The theme, design, function, menu, and ‘layers’ are killer. Keep up the good work.

  47. s o

    Im struggling to get a business off the ground your article gives me a bit of hope now the recession is becoming more real.

  48. Liam Fitzgerald

    Excellent article from a universally respected designer. It’s good to see a positive but realistic take on the current economic climate instead of the inescapable doom and gloom coming out of “Big” media.

  49. Susan Rust

    I love it when web designers talk business, makes me feel less like a geek…On our side, we’ve really beefed up our Drupal expertise, eCommerce and SEO integration. It’s been painful and rewarding. If anyone’s going to DrupalCon in March, drop me a line — Let’s do a latte or beer. I deeply admire your website filled with great content, cool layout and community – here you are doing all the right things for great marketing, seo and esprit-de-corps. Wow.

  50. Scott

    Very good article. Things are tough right now. I’ve never been this slow in the 3 years we’ve been in business. I don’t have to say how scary it is. But by keeping lean and following the things you said in your article hopefully we will make it through. Best of luck to us!

  51. nivedano

    Excellent article. I too was surprised to hear that Happy Cog was run from a home office. Makes me feel a whole lot better about my business. It seems I already implement a lot of the things Jeffrey suggests – borne out of years of finding out what works for me and what doesn’t. Again, it is heartening to know I am on the right track.

  52. Russell JVM Gutierrez

    Great article. It’s good to know that a lot of people echo the same sentiments, specially during these times.

    Can’t say enough about cutting overhead costs and being more efficient with your time, interacting with clients and following up potential leads. Working freelance has forced me to really fine tune my organizational and time management skills (getting things one and all that— it seems my life is being run by plain old index cards now!).

    Ditto on the creative collective. We have put together a great international team based in both Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, something I would have never considered before while working for a conventional company.

    Keep the great articles coming!

  53. Faisal Khan

    I recently patched a new client and while I was reading your article, I was just stopping-thinking-smiling-reading-stopping-thinking-smiling – and the loop goes on.

    Your words were exactly the situation in every minute detail of my chronicle.

    You rock man!

  54. adela

    Great article!
    It would be nice to hear some tips on how to acquire good quality clients when freelancing from your home. I find that clients generally shy away from freelancers, and prefer larger agencies because they inspire more trust..

  55. Josh

    Thanks for the good advice, I’m just stepping into freelance as my only source of income, and I can definitely make use of your tips on getting gigs. I think being flexible and listening to what potential clients want is the first step, but actually letting the client know that your flexible and care about what they have to say is absolutely essential.

  56. Justin Sainton

    I particularly appreciated the note about the importance of knowing how much you don’t know. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients walk away impressed only to walk back with pen in hand because of the questions I asked, not the answers I gave. Good point, Zeldman.

  57. Livio Kujur

    Inspired me, we are planning for a place for our own design company as we operate from home… but this article has really helped to think again. Great article and thanks for sharing… always Zeldman’s fan since i started my career as wen designer back in 1997

  58. Matt Clarke

    Thanks for the 24 days, what a cheery thought by helping fellow web designers to escape the crunch, thanks indeed. Will look forward to next years tips but in the meantime will continue to follow you on your happycog. Thanks, Matt.

  59. Fight Recession

    This is a nice article. It certainly gives web designers some info on how to fight this recession.

    It’s about time to join hands together to show our support as we do a herculean job to end this global recession. As an admin of our forum FightAgainstRecession.com (http://www.fightagainstrecession.com), we keep ourselves updated on current news on recession and we gather opinions, views, and solutions suggested by the community members to benefit us all.

    I hope you can join us too together with your friends. It’s the least we can do as internet users to be of service to the people. Any suggestion and opinion from you and your friends will definitely be of great help.

  60. GavinS

    Really neat idea for a site! I have flicked through a few of the ‘calendar’ entries for 2008 and there’s some good stuff in there. Need time to digest more of the info. Looking forward to 2009’s offering.

  61. Ian Alexander Wood

    Great article. It’s nice to see someone putting a positive spin on the current economic climate, I’ve had my fill of the doom and gloom. I agree that web industries are a good place to be in a recession, other bricks and mortar enterprises are hit far worse. I was running a recording studio until quite recently and the spiralling rent costs and decreasing booking effectively closed our doors for us within a 3 month period. Freelancing as a web professional might require a bit more initiative, but it’s the area of my skill-set that has held up to the new economic conditions.

  62. Kieren @ eBook Covers

    Well this article sure got my attention.. It’s sure true that clients appreciate it if you’re ready to listen and understand their design needs/problems.. I’ve been trying to focus on making this a priority in my little minisite and ecover design service and it is sure noticed and appreciated by new clients and old- It makes sure they always come back to you for business too.

    I thought your closing comment that “if we intend not to fish our next meal out of a neighbor’s garbage can” we will find it worth our while to heed the points mentioned as very blunt. Although not entirely true- this illustrated the reality of business survival in these hard times- and the potential consequences should we choose not to lift our games.

  63. Ryan v.

    Even during this extremely tough times I’ve had a hard time comparing the web business to other business’s. Friends left and right are losing their jobs, all while I’m struggling to keep up with all the work we are actually getting! Lol crazy indeed. Let’s all just hope it keeps going in this direction. The web boom is upon us!

    Ryan v

  64. Vancouver web design

    This is a tremendous article, it’s very simple things you are suggesting but they have a huge impact on keeping yourself rolling in web design through the tough times.

    Personally, our biggest strength over the last few months has been striving to create near-instant gratification for our clients. Making sure every point of contact is reciprocated immediately with updated information and every question or request is treated as if it is the most important thing going on. It can often require some sweat and frustration but the payoff is huge.

  65. Reimar

    Thanks for this great article!
    Maybe another aspect could be to perform the own tools or operations. Or to go on holiday … In this times it’s 100% stress-free :-)

  66. Leen Meer

    Looking back at about six months of crisis, I do have to say life as a freelance designers and developers isn’t as bad I thought it would be after losing my company job. There’s indeed a big demand for freelancers who can deliver a good quality / price web design.

  67. Nathan Ridley

    It’s interesting because even in a recession, really good designers are hard to come by. We’re trying to hire someone good at the moment for a huge bunch of internally-owned projects and products and it’s not an easy thing, I can tell you that much. Therefore I’d say get really, really good and you’ll be fighting off the work rather than than wondering why you can’t find any.

  68. Chary KPR

    Very useful and timing article from Jeffrey!

    in this recession moment every webdesigner must be proactive and be motive..

    Thanks to 24ways for such article!!!

  69. Karel Zeman

    This recession period effects lot of web designer. In a few months I feel that I didn’t get much work as I get in good times. Heard to manage my and my family expenses.
    In this gloomy and heard time I do one thing, that I didn’t loose heart and keep my thinking positive. Always looking for inspiration articles, work like you. To handle this challenging time I change my price, lower your overhead and constantly communicating with my clients to keep in touch with them.
    Bad times are hard on overweight companies and over-leveraged start-ups, but can be kind to freelancers and small agencies.

  70. Larry

    Good article. However, I do agree with some of the other comments about contacting your former employer’s clients. You definitely need to be careful about that as it could land you in some trouble. By the way, I love the tabbed interface design you’ve got here.

  71. Bryant Smith

    I think the best piece of advice you gave is for new freelancers to actually be up front about what they don’t know. Too many freelancers claim they can do it all alone, I was in the category at one time before realizing that I could do much better bring on actual experts in those fields and focusing on what I am best at.

    The best advice I can give to new freelancers is to market yourself like a mad man, get your name out there big in the beginning and then once you have a decent client base, you can relax a little more and actually focus on your work.

  72. Zachary Daily

    Thanks for the information. I really appreciate your practical writing nature and business savvy. Humble is in right now and it definitely takes you further than the over extravagant plushness that doesn’t effect the end result you produce, just the budget the client pays.

    Keep up the good work!

  73. Clayton Shumway

    Can’t agree more with your first tip – “do good work”. Seems simple, but look at Apple. They can charge premium prices but people still line up for the latest ipod/iphone/imac because they are great products with outstanding reliability and customer support.

  74. Khuram Iqbal

    I believe this recession has come to teach us how can we organize ourselves, accumulate our energies and restart with great power.

    Though I am not a designer, but i am in this industry for last 4 years running a small company. Before 2009, i had 4 designers working with me, but recession made us to fire 3 of them. As there was no work.

    But then i re-accumulate, and today just after 1 year, i have 7 professionals in my team. And I am financially more stronger. As many of people left the industry and it provided us a room to work though on low prices but now my clients are growing up again, I am getting more and more work.

  75. Azhar Kamar

    Great article. Got into these kind of situations before and we all know how sucky it is. Thanks for the wonderful advice.

    …and, nice site design. ;-)

  76. James Grandy

    I believe the trend is upwards in 2013. We are already seeing the increase in small business investment from the major banks in Canada, and the US. When small businesses are increase, this is a sign of an upward incline in the overall ecomony.

  77. John Locke

    Reading this again after a couple of years. Funny how things speak to you in different ways depending on where you stand at the moment. I feel better knowing one of the biggest agencies in our industry was run out of your apartment long past the time people would have thought. The advice in this article is still wildly relevant five Decembers later. I needed to read it today. Happy Holidays, Jeffrey.

  78. Sam Corneloup

    Thanks for the article, my wife and I run a small web design business, and with all thats been going on it certainly can be helpful just to hear what others are doing. Actually the best part of a good blog is the comments people leave, anyway we will be back for more

  79. Sebastian

    Yeah, 2008 was the year of “recession tips” in every field. I was suffering from a financial market recession back then, now we are in the middle of a SEO recession :) At least web designers should live more stable lives, or am I wrong?

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