How can copywriters work through a recession?

Leif Kendall


We hate to be doom-mongers, but some economists suspect that a recession is on the horizon:

So what can you do to safeguard your work and ensure you can successfully work through a recession – should one arrive?

Before we consider some tips for getting through an economic rough-patch, it’s worth remembering that periods of economic growth tend to last 5-7 years. Then you get a period of decline. So whether brexit causes a recession in the near future or not, we can say with certainty that there will be another recession one day.


1: Don’t panic

When people say ‘recession’ we tend to worry, and quite rightly. But I suspect that we worry more than we should, and imagine that the entire country will grind to a halt. Remember that a recession just means negative economic growth for two or more quarters. That’s 6 months or more during which economic output falls rather than rises.

While overall economic activity is not rising, there will still be a great deal of buying, selling and trading taking place. There may be fewer new clients or job opportunities, but businesses will continue to trade, and they will still need copywriters to help them sell, persuade and communicate.

2: Hedge your bets

Recessions put pressure on many businesses, particularly the weak and vulnerable. Recessions are often a time for the re-ordering of the business world, as companies compete for the cash of wary shoppers.

During a recession it’s especially important to consider that your clients (or employer) may be struggling to stay afloat. Remember that struggling businesses don’t always make it clear that they’re under threat. Everything may look calm on the surface, but behind the scenes the cash is drying up and the directors are fighting to keep the business going, and you might have no idea.

If a recession hits, it’s more important than ever to remain ready to find work.

Imagine your employer went bust. How ready are you to find another job? Is your CV up-to-date? Have you maintained and developed current skills that other employers will want?

Imagine your best client vanishes – without paying your outstanding invoices. What would you do? How many other contacts or clients do you have lined up? How strong is your network? Is your website bringing you leads? How many other avenues do you have for finding work?

Now is a great time to make yourself super-employable.

3: Trust no-one

As I suggested above, recessions tend to produce a few surprises. Seemingly healthy businesses disappear overnight.

So don’t wait to get paid. Don’t offer generous credit terms. Don’t take risks. Don’t be “nice”.

Be professional.

Get paid.

4: Have faith

Recessions tend to excite the pessimists, who enjoy a chance to mope and plod and foretell the end of the world.

But a recession is not an apocalypse.

It’s not the end of the world.

Instead of fearing a possible recession, think about how you can make yourself a better copywriter. Make yourself more findable. Get to know your peers. Start networking. Publish the blog posts that are cluttering up your draft folder.

A possible recession is not a good reason to retreat or to give up on copywriting.

A possible recession is a great reason to ramp-up your efforts, to work harder, and smarter, and do everything you can to work through the rough patch.

Have you got any tips to help copywriters work through a recession? Leave a comment below.

(image credit: thanks to Gordon Joly for the image of Woolworths)

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