Freelancer working in the forest on her laptop doing gig work

With the looming recession, there is a financial panic. Full-time employees are at risk of losing their current employment, and some may even be looking for a side hustle to earn a little extra cash.

On the other hand, there are gig workers who are concerned about losing clients to new competitors as more people turn to gig work. Currently, 50% of gig workers already live paycheck-to-paycheck, which is not only financially risky but highly stressful.

So, whether you’re new to gig working or not, we’ve compiled some tips on how to gig work during a recession.

Upfront payments/deposits

Upfront payments are crucial for gig workers during a recession. As it is, a large percentage of these workers do not get paid for their work on time. A report found that late paying customers owe at least $50,000 to nearly 60% of freelance workers.

Requiring a deposit of at least 50% will protect you and your financial position. This solution will increase the likelihood that you’ll get paid the full amount, as they have already committed to you. It also ensures that if they don’t pay you, you at least get partial reimbursement for your time and effort, rather than nothing.

To freelance during the recession, you need COMMITMENT. It’s important to book clients in advance, and have your books filled out weeks or months in advance, with upfront payments already collected. This keeps you financially comfortable while also ensuring you have work lined up once you’ve finished your current assignment.

Platforms such as Trustio can help with your upfront payments and help reduce the hassle of invoicing. These types of solutions permit you to add in upfront payments, requiring clients to pay a deposit for your services. Once the service is complete, the payment is released and sent directly to the service provider’s bank account. It provides safety to the customer and eliminates your risk of being paid late or not at all.

Cancellation and return policy

To protect yourself it is important to have a cancellation and return policy. For instance, if a client cancels 30-days before the expected start date, you get to keep the deposit. It makes it less likely that they pull out because they have already paid. It also gives you enough time to fill their slot and find another client. Additionally, if they cancel less before the project end date, you can ensure that you get paid for everything you have done up to the point of cancellation.

Moreover, there needs to be a clause that protects you from events such as a pandemic, war, famine, death from a person close to you, severe illness, etc. This ensures that you’re not liable for work that you’ve not been able to complete because of any of the above.

Have an active client base

Whether you’re an experienced freelancer or are dipping your toes, having an active client base during a recession is vital. Managing your cash flow comes from having customers that return to you, due to the sense of trust that is fostered in your interactions with them.

Therefore, it’s important to communicate and update clients regularly. Show them that you’re dependable and willing to put in the effort to communicate and build a relationship with them. A benefit to having a strong and active client base is not only that they may hire you for more work but they could also refer you to other potential customers. This allows you to build out your client base and find new customers, who could likewise become reliable clients.

Diversify your skill set

This is a good way to make you more compelling to clients. The truth is that, during the recession, more people will turn to gig work to protect their finances, so you need to make yourself stand out to possible clients. Diversifying your skill set is one method to increase your attractiveness. If you are wanting to develop your current skill set or looking to learn something new – now is the time to do it, before the influx of fresh gig workers overwhelms the market.

Final thoughts

A recession can be a daunting time, it always brings some form of transformation to the world of work. With the rising cost of living, more people will look to gig work to diversify their income. In a market overwhelmed with competitors, you need to stand out and secure your work. To help you get ahead of other gig workers, and protect yourself and your finances, you need to diversify your skillset, require upfront payments, and put cancellation policies in place.

Turning to gig work is a good option for anyone looking to earn extra income during the recession, but it is important to recognize that there will be more competition for contracts. This means that you will have to work harder to make yourself more attractive to potential clients and protect yourself from those who might take advantage of your position.

Chloe Mumford

Chloe Mumford


Chloe Mumford is a content writer and researcher for USTECH SOLUTIONS. After completing her BSc in Sociology, Chloe transitioned over into the workforce management industry with an interest in driving value from contingent workforce programs. She writes about contingent workforce management, Total Talent Management, the Future of Work, Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace, as well as the potential of talent technology. She can be reached via LinkedIn.