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Resourceful Designer podcast: Offering tips, tricks and advice for starting and growing your graphic or web design business.

Will your design business survive the 2020 Pandemic?

Are you worried your graphic or web design business won’t survive this 2020 pandemic? With so many clients forced to temporarily close their doors due to social distancing, it’s no wonder designers around the globe are lacking for work.

We’re living in an unprecedented time, and people are reacting and being affected in different ways.

As a home-based designer, isolation is part of daily life. We chose this lifestyle for ourselves. And the longer this pandemic goes on, the more evident it becomes that this lifestyle isn’t for everyone.

Many people are not taking well to being cooped up. Others are embracing this new way of working and may decide it’s something you want to continue doing once life gets back to normal. Only time will tell, and only you can make that decision for yourself.

But there’s a difference between voluntarily working alone and being forced to stay at home day in, day out. For many, the isolation is too much. And unfortunately, the typical remedy for isolation of getting out and being amongst other people is not a solution right now. Even for someone like me, who is used to staying home, it feels strange.

But like all things in life, this too shall pass.

I heard a great quote today.

“In order to appreciate a beautiful sunrise, you first have to live through the darkness.”

Stay strong and stay the course. You’ll get through this.

But what about your design business?

Is your design business suffering right now because of the coronavirus? Are your clients and projects drying up?

Over the past week, I’ve seen designers at both ends of the spectrum. Some are busier now than ever, while others are desperate for work. How are you going to weather this storm?

State of the world today.

Around the globe, almost all businesses except for essential services are shut down. And with so many companies temporarily closed, it’s no wonder work is drying up for graphic and web designers.

Government aid packages created to help businesses affected by COVID-19 may not be enough. Many of the businesses forced to close due to the coronavirus will never reopen. Financially, this is the nail in their coffin. Without money coming in, there’s only so long a business can hang on. No matter how much aid is offered.

I know this sounds grim, but I assure you, there is a silver lining to this.

Back in 2008, when the last big recession hit, almost all businesses suffered. Many of them forced to close, except for designers. in 2008-09, design businesses saw a boom.

How can that be?

When businesses shut down, their employees start looking for jobs elsewhere. But when multiple companies in the same industry shut down, there are not enough available jobs for the number of people searching for work. This leads to a large number of those people deciding to start their own business.

I saw this myself in 2008, especially in the trades field. Layed off electricians, plumbers and construction workers started their own business. Other people started businesses based on their areas of expertise, their hobbies, or other skills they had.

All of these people needed a logo, a website, and other branded material to get their business started, and designers everywhere saw an increase in work. I anticipate the same thing will happen once this pandemic has passed.

With the inevitability of businesses closing, many of their employees will decide to start their own business, and they can use your help.

Pivot your design business.

To take advantage of this influx of new entrepreneurs, you may have to pivot the way you do things.

1) Forget about niching.

I’ve talked before about the importance of finding a niche for your design business but now is not the time. Right now, you should focus all your efforts on getting as many new clients as you can, regardless of niche.

2) Focus locally.

These new business people are not seasoned entrepreneurs. They don’t know about the various resources available to them online and abroad. They don’t know about Fiverr or 99designs. What they do know is they need help, and when someone needs help, the first place they look is close to home.

And that’s why you should be focusing all your marketing effort locally.

  • Create landing pages on your website to attract these new clients. Focus on local SEO and speak to them in a way that shows you understand what they’re going through.
  • Use locally targetted online ads to attract clients. Google AdWords, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn all offer the ability to create ads targeted to your local area.
  • Increase your social media presence and post local content. Use popular local hashtags in your posts.
  • Join your Chamber of Commerce and other local business groups. You may not be able to meet people in person right now, but there are still benefits and exposure to be gained by being a member.
  • List your design business in Google My Business.

You can also contact your local business center and let them know you’re available to help anyone who is starting a new business.

Do whatever it takes to get your name out in your local market.

3) Review your prices.

Raise your prices, raise your prices, raise your prices. So many people who talk in the design space are continually encouraging you to increase your rates. I usually agree with that 100%. I’m always saying that whatever you’re currently charging for your design services, you’re worth more than that.

However, now’s not a good time to raise your prices.

In fact, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, If your design business is suffering right now because of the pandemic, this may be a time to offer discounted pricing.

I usually discourage discounts because I believe that discounts lower the value of the service you provide. But these are not regular times.

Perhaps you could offer a discount to clients who are starting a new business.


I’m not a fan of design packages, but you may want to create special packages for new business owners. Try anything it takes to get clients on board. And once the world gets back to normal, your design business can get back to normal. Hopefully, with all the new clients you picked because of the crisis.

This will pass.

You will get through this. You may need to pivot your design business to weather the storm, but you will get through this. And if you’re lucky, you may look back and say, 2020 was your best year to date.

Remember that quote I said earlier.

“In order to appreciate a beautiful sunrise, you first have to live through the darkness.”

Good luck.

What are you doing for your business to survive the pandemic?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Resource of the week Your local library.

Have you checked what services your local library offers lately? Many libraries offer free subscriptions to learning platforms such as Lynda.com or Skillshare.com. You can also download audiobooks and eBooks free of charge.

Libraries have come a long way since the days of only carrying books. It might be time for you to get or renew your library card and check them out.

Contact me

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I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

My Voice-Over Guy.

Resourceful Designer podcast intros are performed by the amazing Wayne Henderson of MediaVoiceOvers.com. Wayne is available to help you with any voice-over work you require.