Creative folks: how are you coping with unsuccessful job hunting and/or the struggle in finding freelance clients at the moment?

I found it particularly difficult these past few weeks to find work.
I keep applying to jobs and contact people that might be interested but I keep on being rejected. I know it's part of the process but I find it very unmotivating.

Do you guys have any tips to overcome this feeling?
Thanks in advance!


  • Hello Manon, I think everyones struggling to navigate this world at the moment, it can be difficult and unrelenting at times anyway, but the pandemic has definitely put a stop too many peoples careers and plans so you are not alone in feeling this way. The best way to stay motivated is too do some things you enjoy. There is nothing wrong with taking some time to look at some nice design work, read a book, watch a film, go for a walk, as inspiration and motivation can come from anywhere and strike at any time and doesn’t hit or feel the same to any one person. It is a very tough industry and you’re right, rejection is part of it but that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s easy to say but you must try not to take any knock back personally. There are so many reasons why companies go with certain people and loads of them are nothing to do with the designer at all unfortunately. I found that I would have a couple of days or a day of sending out loads of emails and contacting people and then leave it a few days and then do the same again. There are loads of jobs coming through all the time so I am sure you will find it will start to pick up soon. As others have said, this time of year is notorious for being quiet anyway and everyone is still trying to get back on their feet after one of the most odd years in most of our lifetimes. I actually had to pass on a rather big freelance job recently, not sure if It would be right for you but if you’re interested let me know your email / website and I will gladly forward on your details. Hope this helps Many thanks
  • Hi Manon,
    Having been in a similar situation myself as a freelancer, I am doing the following which seems to be helping:
    - Volunteering is a good way into companies too. A friend of mine volunteered to edit scripts for a film festival in September last year and she impressed them so much they have now given her a full time job at a fabulous salary.
    - Look at enhancing your skills by doing some short training or courses, which will give you an edge on other candidates and give you something interesting to do.
    - Send your cv to companies you would like to work for, whether they are advertising jobs or not.
    - Look at trade exchanges. People don't have surplus money at the moment so if you offer your services in return for them providing you with something you need. For example, if there is a course you want to do and they want some design work then offer to trade exchange.
    - be patient with yourself and the situation by understanding that it's not a relfection on you it is merely the current climate.
    I hope these help :)
  • It's really such a difficult time for so many reasons. Covid, February, winter, snow, people's mood and fatigue of lockdowns. Everyone I know is struggling in some ways. Yet, there is work out there, business continues but there is also more competition.

    Try and be patient. Try and be positive and hopeful. Optimism is so powerful. Keep doing what you're doing, chipping awaya little every day Eventually something will stick.

    Writers tell me that they write every day. Most of the time they reject what has been written - but once in a while the muse visits and some pearls come out of them. It's the same with this. Just keep turning up and the right job/freelance gig will reveal itself.

    Until then, be kind to yourself. Reward yourself for all the hard work and remember 'this shall pass too'.
  • Be patient and committed. Remember it’s a journey to find the right opportunity and not a race. You need to have a unwavering positive mind set to get to where you want to go.
  • @Mandie Johnson Thank you so much Mandie for taking the time to write this message. It means a lot! I've written down your advice. Thanks again!
  • @June Mineyama-Smithson Hi June, thank you very much for the brillant idea - I'll look into the free mentorship!
  • Hi Manon,

    I completely understand your pain and frustration with this... I think the best way forward is to be very kind to yourself during this time of reaching out for new work, when there is even more competition than usual.

    I find it helps to keep a list each day of all that you have achieved, always remembering that every positive connection you make is one step forward. This is true because even when a person or a company don't respond, it doesn't always mean they haven't acknowledged your call out (most often they are simply too busy at that time), and it's often worth trying a follow up call out to companies you are very keen to work with.

    Also, you will gain awareness of those who do respond to you and they could be the best people to keep in regular contact with, and send little updates of your latest work from time to time.

    Ensure to allow yourself moments of inspiration each day, to help retain your enthusiasm and remind yourself regularly of your achievements (no matter how small).

    Never give up the faith, you will get there, eventually you will make contact with the best person/company for you to work with.

    I hope this helps.

    Wishing you lots of luck.
  • @George Bushaway ✍️ create ✍️ beautiful ✍️ mess
    Amazing advice, thanks George!
  • @Jay Epega Thanks Jay for your message, I'll follow your advice about going to free webinars!
  • @ɐɹoᗡ ɐuu∀ ˥ Hi Lanna, this is very true! Thanks for your message!
  • Carve out time not just for applying or chasing leads.
    Carve out time for learning, like the webinars and skill courses others have suggest.
    BUT more importantly start a project, start with a design and start making mistakes part of your routine behaviour. That's what motivates me to keep trying out something I don't know until I know it enough to make a a mess of it then I learn from picking out the bits of knowledge from that beautiful mess.
  • Keep going with your search and look at alternative skills you have, you could be missing an opportunity to move into a different area of work. Also look to take part in free webinars as it's a good way to network for new contacts and business. Wish you all the best.

  • Hi Manon,

    On the top of the already given good advices I would highlight your motivcation or non motivation comes from a chemical balance / inbalance in your body. To keep up the lights I would recommend also keep your body in a happy place with execrise, healthy food etc. and all the struggles will feel more easy. I know it seems unrelated but most of the pain in your head.
  • @Alessia Marone Thanks so much for your valuable advice!
  • I’m making a lot of time to focus on myself and projects I want to work on which keeps me in a good headspace and a good energy flow in general. When I apply for anything I do it thoroughly and with unsuccessful applications I remind myself that things are tough for everyone right now, that I’m not alone and that I still have my own projects to work on and grow.

    Then I just focus on what I am able to do with as much appreciation as possible because I wasn’t always in the position to be able to work on my own projects in this way, so even though things are hectic right now there’s always that anchor there that I’ve made the time to create for myself.

    I really hope this helps and to anyone who if feeling discouraged right now, please remember that things will eventually get better, just do what you can with what you have and be gentle with yourself.
  • @Manon Prost I agree, in a way, anything to keep yourself busy and then you have the plus of having a load of fresh work for your portfolio when you do apply for a job.
  • @Taleb Kabbara Oh wow, thanks so much Taled for this powerful advice! I'd love to see this spreadsheet, here's my email: prost.manon(at) Thank you very much again for your message, really appreciate it!
  • @Taleb Kabbara love the organisation and the upsell! So much better than majority of other professionals who just spam you with job offer/their reel.
  • Hi,

    I stopped applying to jobs years ago.

    Most job ads receive 700+ applications.

    I no longer look for companies that are hiring.

    What i do is i scour the internet for opportunities based on needs of people.

    I have created a super filtered spreadsheet (dashboard) to show me content on the internet posted by people that are based on problems or needs within my industry.

    Someone on the internet (social media + forums) posted a question asking for how to do something.

    In my dictionary, this is an opportunity for a project. That’s a potential client for me.

    I jump in (just like I am doing here) and propose a partial solution.

    If they are interested and want to explore more we jump into private messages to discuss.

    Then from private messages into email and from email into a phone call until a deal is made.

    This spreadsheet saves hundreds of hours of time for me because i no longer search, i just scroll through the sections in the spreadsheet and jump directly to the posts that matter (opportunity).

    If you are interested in this spreadsheet i can create one for your field or industry and save you hours of your time.

    Let me know.
  • @Lana Abu Risheh Thanks so much Lana for your message, I totally agree!

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