Allan and I have a friend who is a talented designer. Over the past few years his freelance business has done well. He’s made a solid living even though he hasn’t marketed himself. By “marketed himself” I mean his potential clients have no way to find him and even in the design community hasn’t heard of him. During the past years’ economic bubble this wasn’t a problem because somehow the design projects always found their way to him. Now that the economy has tightened it’s belt his workload has all but dried up, leaving him scrambling for full time or freelance work.
Last week he came to Allan and asked for some work. Unfortunately we currently do not have any projects in the design phase. So Allan suggested using his down time and going into a few popular open source projects and making them beautiful. He argued that he doesn’t have time because he’s spending all his time “trying to get paid”.
This is highly flawed thinking. If you have no work then you have plenty of time. At the very least you should be able to find 2-3 hours a day to contribute to an open source project. Most new business comes from referrals, so becoming the hero of a bunch of developers will likely lead to those developers mentioning your name when they have the chance. This is a great way to get some fairly easy exposure.
Side Note: I might argue that once you have no work that marketing yourself is a bit late and we should all be taking time everyday to network ourselves in some form or fashion.
If you wanted it to build a product you’d find a way to get time to work on it. If you really wanted to start that new hobby you’d sacrifice something to find the time and money to do it.
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