A New Normal? A surge in local business support.
As a Freelancer, I work from home and have done so for a very long time. So when Covid-19 reared its ugly and weird shaped head and forced many people to work from home, I was like... ok, so carry on as usual then? Saying that though, it's all great working from home but what if I have no work to be able to do that? I was concerned how I would survive in this strange new world we found ourselves in.
Over the last 10 years, I have lost business to websites like Fiverr or Canva, or even just an overseas freelancer due to the fact ‘it can be done cheaper’. You know, yeah, it can always be done cheaper, but at what cost? I’ll talk about that later. (*calm breaths*) So with that in mind, I assumed that I had slim to none chance of new business over the course of April and May 2020 and even further into the future. But you know that they say about ASSuming?
Strangely, I have had a surge of business in the last couple of weeks. We are in a Pandemic, businesses have closed their doors, staff have been stood down and morale is low. My clients have been those who have been effected the most greatly, the are small to medium businesses (SME) like pubs and gyms. I’ve been thinking to myself what the heck is going on? Why in the bloody hell am I busy? I noticed that my clients are using this time to work on projects they have been putting on the back-burner and have been dreaming up new and creative ways to drum up business. Which is amazing and downright inspiring. Pat on the back, you know who you are!
But it’s the new clients that I am intrigued about. In many of the introductory emails and phone calls they say something along the lines of, ‘I really want to support someone local, so I chose you’. Whaaaaat?! This isn’t something that people would normally say to me. Usually it is like 'I was referred to you by so and so'. It occurred to me that the Rona, although an unimaginable plague to the world, may be starting to offer the dull shimmering of a silver lining.
What if, now just indulge me for a second, the Rona is sparking a change in the way we think about local business and the impact it has on our economy? Now I am no expert, I am just calling it as I see it, but from what I see, the change is happening. People are so PROUD to say, 'I supported local' more than ever. Which is a bloody beautiful thing.
I reached out to my peers and asked them.. say you started a new business, has the Rona made you feel MORE passionate about choosing a local designer, even if it means you may have to pay more? The majority answered yes. NOW more than ever, it has become a badge of honour in our society to say ‘I used a local business’. The responses were from parents, students, business owners across all genders and races and they have said that, this Virus, has changed their view on their community and local business and how our contribution can make a big difference.
‘100% I would go local. Seeing how hard hit all small businesses have been since Covid-19 has come about I feel it’s more important than ever to support our local businesses’ Samantha, mother of 3
‘I’ve always gone local where I can! And probably will even more so now. Love supporting local businesses.’ Emma, Mother and Lawyer
‘Mate, I would use you again in a heartbeat. Local, easy communication and don’t wack some ridiculous price tag on your work. So to answer your question... I would go local.’ Wayne, Gym Owner
Back to my first paragraph, in the design industry. (I already feel my face burning as I type this). You can always get it cheaper, but you are most likely getting a sub-standard result with a frustrating communication barrier.
I tried it once, yep, me. I figured, I better try it for myself before I totally harp on about how inferior the result was. I wanted to have all the facts. I thought surely there are some amazing designers out there, that are just hiding away in the dark murky depths of the internet, waiting to be found. So, I sourced a designer overseas to design a logo, his portfolio was fantastic, what could go wrong? (sigh) I tell you. What a painful process. Never. Again. Will. I. Subject. Myself. To. That. Torture. So yes, the exercise showed me that you can get it cheaper, but it will cost you your time and most likely some of your sanity. Choosing local means that, yes, you are supporting the economy, but more than likely you will be much happier with the result. I know sometimes it is just not viable to choose local for new businesses due to the cash-flow, but if we collectively make a change, perhaps it will start to become more affordable across the board? Just a thought. :-)
Any who, I digress. I am so bloody proud of my peers and the country I live in. We pull together in the hard times, and my first hand experience tells me that 'times are a changin’! Will we go back to normal? Or will there be a NEW normal? What do you think?
I'd love to hear your take on this!
Good job Perth, Good job Australia. Love your work.