Sunday, May 24, 2009

Freelancing During the Economic Downturn by Jonathan Pincas

During the inevitable cost-cutting that a recession brings, there is a single piece of advice that is shouted louder than any other by business experts: don't reduce the publicity budget - increase it! The idea is that while other companies are shrinking their advertising to nothing, the clever companies are taking advantage and increasing market share.

I guess it should come as no surprise then, that the online freelance job portal has confirmed what we all suspected: in times of economic difficulty, the hottest jobs are in sales and marketing. The Elance Online Work Index for May 2009 shows demand for 'Sales' skills up 11 places and 'Marketing Strategy' up a whopping 19 places. Interestingly, companies are looking firmly to new and developing sales channels such as online marketing, blog content and social media to increase sales, with demand for skills in all these areas up significantly from previous indices.

Now also appears to be a great time to ditch the 9-5 with a flexible online career. Don't believe me? Here's what the experts have to say:

The demand for online work is growing across the board as businesses cope with tighter budgets and growing workloads. Marketing and IT departments are hiring online as a flexible alternative to adding full-time staff. In April, companies posted more than 25,000 new jobs on Elance, building on the 250,000 jobs and $100m worth of online work posted on Elance in the last 12 months.

The bottom line: in harsh economic conditions, your aim should always be to show how you can add immediate value and drive sales for any potential employer, whatever your field of expertise. If you're a creative writer, now may be the time to adapt your skills to writing sales copy or promotional material. If you're a programmer, switch to social media development and show companies how you can push modern sales channels. Effectively, every job is now, at least for a time, a sales job. Even better, as a Non-9-5'er, your flexibility and low overall cost to employers (those carpeted divider they use for cubicles in offices cost hundreds) makes you a more attractive candidate right now than a fully suited drone.

About the Author

Jonathan Pincas is creator of "Say No! to the Office" (, a collection of tools and inspiration for Non-9-to-5'ers. Not into the corporate thing? Visit the website for intelligent advice, discussion and tutorials on small business, entrepreneurship, modern working practices, home-working, freelancing, business technology and communications, productivity and personal development. Real worklife liberation - now at Say No! to the Office.