October 2019: Optional, But Not Required
The hiring season for designers, creators, and marketers are beginning to come to a close this month; the overall job market has gone stagnant as I have only been able to submit a resume or two over the past couple of weeks. To bide my time well for the next 3-4 months while the market for design jobs remains non-existent, I’m coming up with some options.
We are beginning to enter the holiday season, and it seems it’s coming in full swing earlier and earlier each year. After Labor Day, it’s Halloween that begins to invade the store shelves and the costume stores begin opening up at your local vacant Toys’R’Us. Then something caught my eye when I was picking up some essentials from a local Wal-Mart; Christmas was beginning to overtake five entire aisles of merchandise, and the garden center was making way for the mass of lit tree displays.
I was in absolute dread. Not because the holidays were coming up, but because the holiday season was beginning to take shape earlier this year. As a designer, I should have been rejoicing at this particular moment because it told me that business would be picking up, but I wasn’t. The little extras that I picked up and tossed eagerly into my basket went right back on the shelf. I had the realization that it was time to give up until next year and would plan to get a head start in January/February next year.
Right now, I’m still getting the same job alerts for positions that I have submitted for weeks ago, so I have turned off all alerts and put my resume on hold with career sites to put out some focus techniques. Instead of looking for a job over a time that is deathly slow, I am going to fill the void with some ideas that I have stumbled upon:
Become a Contributor
I have discovered a few sites that allow contributors to make some extra cash on the side by producing designs, icons, fonts, and other design-related resources. I have developed a bunch of resources over the past ten years that have helped me through my processes and designs. Although it’s hard to push people to download or purchase a package of resources, it does have a great payout, and a little extra cash on the side would help me with those pesky car repairs for instance. It’s not a bad idea.
Freelance Very Part-Time
I could attempt to freelance a little more on the side and pull out all of the stops at a discounted rate to get back in the game again. I have seen a bit of hope through sites like Fivvr and UpWork, and there are a few other sites that could help in the process, however, I want to simplify the number of resources that I am using to find work, just like I did when looking for a job.
These sites can get a little pricey, especially sites that require credits to bid on certain kinds of work. It’s great to get some sort of exposure from these sites, but I would be working against an international community of designers, which in itself, can be superfluously saturated by anyone that can use photoshop and call themselves a designer. Although I am an introvert (and anti-social), I would much rather meet potential clients face-to-face rather than chatting with someone on the other side of the world about logo design.
Taking to Social Media
I am still in contact with a few of my former clients and usually, the word can be spread. I again am an introvert and social media is just scroll bate to me. I only use Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn as my vehicles for posting social media content. Behance has just been a place to post work but has not really allowed me to snag up an additional client or two. I despise getting onto social media due to how addictive and distracting it can be. I keep the apps in a folder on my phone so that I can’t just tap on it and waste countless hours scrolling through videos, ads, and people's weird and eccentric lives.
Word of Mouth
My endeavors as a freelance designer have worked in the past with the most simple of techniques. The old tried and true strategy of just a simple business card, a handshake, and a 30-second elevator monologue has usually put me on the right path to gaining some clients in the past. It’s probably the most successful as they see you as you really are, not what a website thinks you are. It’s more personal, and talking to one person is better than talking to an entire board room of executives any day.
Okay, I have pretty much given up and abandoned all hope of getting a job over the next few months or so. With the holiday season going into full swing with Christmas music battering our eardrums to death for another season to be jolly, I’m not going to give up completely. I’m just going to take a switchback that will allow me to get around this obstacle and hope that next year will be a little bit better than this year, and be prepared to go all out next year.