If you haven’t felt it, good for you but the economy is going down and expected to stay down at least until 2019 (hopefully not longer than that).

Companies are either closing down or tightening their pockets, in turn, it means lesser jobs to go around and more retrenchment.

As an expatriate in Kuala Lumpur, it is evident as many of my expat friends here are recalled back to their home countries, one being the poor exchange rates of ringgit and the other being, headquarters no longer able to afford to extend expatriate benefits to their top management. Every employee is watching the market closely, not risking their positions for now. Instead of jumping to the new job when the right opportunity arises, many questions whether they are able to last until their probation period.

It might be a good news for a freelancer as clients who are tightening their pockets, will rather hire a freelancer than to get someone permanent that will cost more and require more commitment. On the other hand, it also means that many unemployed will turn to freelancing now. You will have much more competition now. So as a freelancer, how are you going to stay employable during this economic recession? Tried and tested tips for you!


Staying on Top of Your Game

If you are already an existing freelancer, great for you as you have your headstart in the game like I do. It is how you need to stay on top of your game to remain competitive and strong against the newcomers. Keep your long term clients very close while you court your new clients. I have plenty of new clients during this downturn but I have even more existing clients who have been with me since the start of my freelancing journey (through my pregnancy and motherhood) that allows me to be top rated freelancer among my peers.

Best Customer Service Ever

Providing tip top customer service is a necessity right now. Whether it is your availability to accept more jobs, easy communication or you are reachable 24/7, it is how much you are committed to your clients that allow you to be different from others. You may even need to think up of unique ways to go the extra mile to provide the surprise and delight to your customers to allow them not only remember you but to want to work with you on their next project.


Group Together

Freelancers ahoy! You may be a competitor but being a freelancer is lonely. Getting in touch with other freelancers in the same field will allow you to learn tips and tricks from the trades, even share grievances so you’ll never feel so alone. Being friendly with other freelancers will create opportunities as well. I remembered when I was pregnant, I couldn’t take on new projects coming in my way, approaching trusted alliances are one way to make sure that my clients hire great freelancers to take on what I couldn’t do, in turn, my clients are appreciative of my gestures and will want to work with me once I am available.

Working Beyond The Platform

You may get your clients through 3rd party platform but don’t solely depend on them. Explore different avenues like through your ex-classmates or your old colleagues and even in the blogosphere to get you other lucrative jobs in the market. That is how I got some of my clients, through recommendations and word of mouth.

Keep your long term clients very close while you court your new clients.

Just make sure you work doubly hard for this kind of clients as they usually will bring you, even more, work within their companies.



The market won’t stay the same, economy won’t stay down forever so why will you not change for the better? No clients but have free time? Make sure that free time is put into good use. Go online for free upgrades of your skill set, whether it is to improve your grammar or it is to read more about a new industry, you will benefit when you have a client requesting to tap on your new skills. I did my free online course with Wharton on viral marketing content so I open up new opportunities for myself. I recently started reading financial and property investment books so I can write on those niches too.

When Times Get Tough

You don’t give up. You can take a break and say it is too tough. Go on a short holiday, refresh your mind, work on your own personal life. Then come back to battle on another new day, rejuvenate and ready to conquer the freelancing world.

If you find my tips useful, do pay it forward by sharing this post out. Let’s help anyone who wants to be a freelancer a successful one, after all, sharing is caring in MiddleMe!

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10 replies on “Freelancer’s Survival Guide to Economy Downturn

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