How to Be a Recession-Proof Freelancer

During the last recession, freelance writer Carol Tice grew her income from $60,000 a year to $100,000. “As the world crashed and burned around me, I quietly grew my freelance income 67 percent,” says Carol, a longtime freelance writer who’s authored 2 print books and 11 e-books. Carol’s newest e-book is The Recession-Proof Freelancer: A 12-Point Plan for Thriving in Hard Times (from a freelance writer who’s been there).

Carol started freelancing for the first time in the early 1990s. After working 12 years of staff-writing reporter jobs, she went back to freelancing in 2005.  Her business thrived, even after the longest recession since the Depression started in December 2007.

But by early 2008, Carol began to lose clients. “One by one, they changed their strategy, fired my editor, cut back their marketing, or simply closed their doors,” she says.

What Carol Did to Get High-Paying, Steady Clients

Carol vowed to be “an unstoppable force of nature” and to keep going until she achieved her goal of becoming a 6-figure freelancer. Aggressive marketing made her a recession-proof freelancer and a model for how other freelancers can thrive during the COVID-19 recession.

After trying different types of marketing, Carol found three strategies that worked best for her in getting high-paying clients:

  1. Sending well-researched email pitches to top-drawer publications and medium-to-large businesses
  2. Working her LinkedIn network to identify and attract good leads
  3. In-person networking

Instead of just replacing the clients she had lost, Carol looked for bigger, better clients and publications. And she focused on clients who could give her steady work, instead of one-off assignments. Her work since has included writing for national publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur and with Fortune 500 companies and other business clients, including American Express and CBS.

“There are always clients out there, if you’re willing to hunt for them,” says Carol.

Doing volume marketing was one action that helped Carol thrive. She also chose a specialty (or niche) that gives her many opportunities to work with high-paying publications and businesses that can give her steady work: business, finance, insurance, and other complex niches. And Carol tells her story in a compelling, client-focused way.

Make a Living Writing with Help from Carol

Along with her freelance writing business, Carol helps other freelancers learn how to break in, move up, and earn a full-time living as a freelance writer through her blog, Make a Living Writing, and Freelance Writers Den. Founded in 2008, the award-winning blog now has more than 1,200 posts. The Freelance Writers Den is a learning and support platform for freelance writers with 300+ hours of trainings and 24/7 forums for asking questions. So far, over 14,000 writers have been part of the Den.

The Recession-Proof Freelancer

In her free e-book, The Recession-Proof Freelancer, Carol shares her personal experiences and insights from helping thousands of other freelance writers grow their income.

“You can thrive as a freelancer, even in the worst of times,” says Carol. “If you’re motivated, you can sustain and even grow your freelance business, right now.” She describes The Recession-Proof Freelancer as:

“a fear-busting, confidence-building e-book that reveals exactly how I built a thriving freelance biz in the worst of times. The Recession-Proof Freelancer unpacks those life lessons, and gives you a simple system of key actions you need to take, to earn a freelance living in this uncertain moment.”

12 Traits of a Recession-Proof Freelancer

The simple system in The Recession-Proof Freelancer is based on 12 common traits or habits that Carol has seen in freelancers who earn well in bad times. If you develop these traits, then you too can create a recession-proof freelance business and thrive during the COVID-19 recession.

traits of recession-proof freelancer

“Once you learn how to be a successful freelancer during a recession, you can be a successful freelancer anytime,” says Carol. “The business discipline you develop in tough times will be with you when good times return—and you’ll have a huge leg up on competitors who struggled or took a break during the recession.”

The Recession-Proof Freelancer includes a downloadable PDF file of the 12 traits of recession-proof freelancers and links to three of Carol’s most popular handouts:

  • Find Your First Freelance Writing Client With These 7 Pitch Templates
  • 8 Ways to Get Editors’ Emails
  • 18 Free Resources for Finding Better Freelance Writing Clients

Also stay tuned for my upcoming book, The Fearless Freelancer: How to thrive in a recession, available in early summer.

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Learn More About Being a Recession-Proof Freelancer

Carol’s writer website
The Recession-Proof Freelancer: A 12-Point Plan for Thriving in Hard Times (from a freelance writer who’s been there), E-Book by Carol Tice. Download Now.
Make a Living Writing blog
Join Freelance Writers Den