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Summary:

So how is all this playing out for you? Are you staying busy? Has the current economic news got you more worried than ever about your ability to continue as a web worker? Or have you found ways to turn the economic weakness to your advantage, by offering lower-cost services to your clients?

If you’ve been paying the slightest bit of attention to the news recently, you know that the US economy is, by some accounts, in dire shape. With the failure of high-profile firms, the rescue of others, and a $700 billion bailout wending its way through Congress, it’s understandable that many are feeling jittery about the future. An era of contracting credit and a tighter job market don’t seem like much fun.

At WWD, though, we’re focused on our own little niche of the economy: the web worker. Here, the picture may be slightly brighter. But there are several forces that affect us directly when things get tight:

  • Web workers can end up being viewed as easily-trimmed jobs, especially if they’re not in the office to exercise political clout.
  • But contractors may be in a good position, because contracting work out is often cheaper than hiring more full-time employees.
  • Tighter budgets may get more companies to consider telecommuting, as a way to save money on office space.

So how is all this playing out for you? Are you staying busy? Has the current economic news got you more worried than ever about your ability to continue as a web worker? Or have you found ways to turn the economic weakness to your advantage, by offering lower-cost services to your clients?

  1. I’m actually getting more work as a contract web developer.

    In the last 6 weeks, I’ve worked with one client who has been doing some redesigns and sales on his web site to increase sales as they have slowed, and I’m working with another company to develop their site into an e-commerce site to make up for the loss of revenue of people coming to them. I also have worked on several smaller sites who are once again trying to invest in their sites to regain profitability and/or start something new in this down time.

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  2. I’m a contractor that does a fair amount of moonlighting. Over the past 8 months, I’ve been asked by more people than ever for website help. I’m not even promoting myself anymore and I get several referrals a week. It could be that my network has reached a critical mass, but still, I might be ditching contractor work for good if I land another 2 or 3 solid clients.

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  3. Same here… ever since the economy has gone sour I have wa-ay more work coming in.

    And with online advertising still beating the pants off of trad. advertising when it comes to ROI. I don’t really see this trend stopping anytime soon.

    Also it seems like right about now is the “refresh” time for all of those websites built back in 99-02. Those clients who in the past took a pass because “their nephew can build a website for $100 bucks!” – now their lame flash intro-ed brochure-ware site doesn’t seem to be doing anything for them.

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  4. I don’t do web design, but I have definitely been getting more requests to do work as an independent contractor. I’ve seen a few places shed jobs and ask me to pick up the slack. Business is pretty good. I’m using this upswing to brace for the potential drop-off in the future based on the economy.

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  5. I’m seeing more work coming in but I can’t tell if that’s because all that networking I’ve done is finally paying off or if it’s the economy. On the other hand, my husband (who was laid off last year, thus my switch to full-time freelancing) started job hunting and had a harder time finding work than he has in the past. Certainly businesses are cinching their belts.

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  6. As an independent contractor it’s never been busier. Sure, I haven’t been promoting myself for quite a while due to a good network of referrals and great clients, but I’ve had a ton of referrals coming in the last six months. I keep expecting a possible slowdown, but I sure don’t see it. I really think that this economic downturn is really just limited to some very specific parts of the economy.

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  7. My company is getting beat up with the slow economy. People are less likely to fork over $8,000 for our small biz consulting.

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  8. Iā€™m actually getting more work as a contract web developer.

    Agreed. In fact, this has been a record year for us here at Cogeian Systems – we’ve billed more hours and turned out more custom software in 2008 than in any other year.

    2007 was a slump year for us. Perhaps we were just ahead of our time? :)

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  9. I agree that “Traditional” businesses are starting to see less and less actual business. But I think that is partialy their own fault. With the increase in companies using affiliate marketers and online sales they have cut out several middle people.

    No more need to send items to store shelves. They send them directly to the customer. Stores then have less inventory so they need less employee’s.

    As for those of us who work on or with the web it is good times if your in the right nich.

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  10. We have a small print shop. Revenues are down as office budgets are trimmed. We have a consistent workload, but the faucet stream is slowly turning off.

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