Freelancers, a recession is coming! When we hear the word 'recession' our immediate tendency is to panic and start preparing for the worst. Cut back on spending, batten down the hatches, and hunker down until it's all over. It's a perfectly logical position to take. Every newspaper, blog article, Tweet and media outlet constantly reminding us of it's devastating impact. Whilst this is true (minus the hyperbola) for so many businesses and employees who will sadly feel the effects of an economic downturn, for freelancers it's an entirely different story.

How likely is it that we experience a recession in 2023? Well, economists have been forecasting a recession for much of 2022, and many predicted it would land early 2023. We don't know if this will come to fruition, whether the recession will be deep or shallow, or how long or short it will be, but the general consensus amongst leading economists is that the economy will enter a period of contraction.

The Spike in New Freelancers In a Recession

Historically, when a recession hits, we see a significant increase in the number of freelancers entering the market. Many skilled workers lose their jobs and look to freelancing as a stop-gap or, sometimes, as a permanent switch. Workers consider freelancing work during a recession to prepare for potential financial instability, and to take advantage of the numerous possibilities it provides.

In a stable economic climate that would signal bad news for established freelancers as supply increases whilst demand declines, however, not so in a recession. 

Freelancing in Recession 2023

Why Are Freelancer In High Demand During a Recession?

During a recession, companies often prioritise cost-effectiveness and look for freelancers to fill the skill gaps. Their focus moves to stabilising the business rather than growth. Demand for freelancers rises and the self-employed community are presented with an abundance of opportunities left by full-timers no longer with the company. 

Another major difference that we have not experienced in previous recessions, is the new-found confidence companies have when it comes to working with freelance talent. The pandemic forced companies to experiment with remote working and blended workforce models. The need to adapt during unprecedented times has left a legacy and now businesses are more open to the idea of integrating freelancers into their framework. 

How to Position You Freelance Services in a Recession

To improve success as a freelancer during a recession, clearly express how your services benefit the business and propose the benefits of hiring a freelancer to companies. Widen your scope and offer services that can fill the gap left by a full-time employee. Show that you understand the big-picture of a company's goals and objectives. Rather than positioning your services as a function eg: "I'm a Graphic Designer that can design visual assets", focus on the outcomes of your services "I have experience collaborating with teams to ensure marketing goals at met".

To sum up, if and when a recession hits, try not to get swept up in the hysteria, news articles and panic. Reach out to existing clients and keep an eye out for companies cutting staff so you can contact them with your services. Reposition your services to be more outcome focused and cognisant of a company's greater aims. 

Photo: Diva Plavalaguna and Andrea Piacquadio