What do you DO when you stop selling?

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As a freelancer you are going to have peaks and troughs in sales. That’s inevitable because trends come and go and sometimes your hand is more last week’s news rather than front page news.

I’ve been in this industry for many years and as an in-house designer you get to grips with this pattern and by being surrounded by many different styles of design can easily identify what IS selling, and therefore work out why you’re not.

REMEMBER… it’s not because you have suddenly become a rubbish designer or lost your edge, it’s simply because this season, your particular style isn’t that ‘trendy’ and you need to find a new edge to make it so again. That’s the funny thing about design and probably the reason we’re all drawn to it…it’s ever-changing.

This is the beauty of our industry but also the problem with it. You start selling…and selling well. The sales are rolling in, you have commission enquiries galore, taking on everything, business never looked better, and then…STOP! Literally crickets!

The reason that happens is because one season your hand, that signature niche that you’ve developed is HOT HOT HOT! You’ve really grasped on to a trend and stuck your teeth in, but the thing is you need to keep moving with it.


I’m not here to tell you that I have built a design business that is foolproof.

The key to riding these waves of peaks and troughs as a freelancer is to keep going

Shop reports.

Although you might not be able to see what is selling in-house. You are able to see what the high-street is being filled with. Go and do shop reports and see if you can identify the trend that is HOT.

Your twist.

Now you know what is trending, you need to think how you can put your twist on it. Never forget you’re style, but re-appropriate it to suit the trend.

Re-visit what you were selling this time last year.

Maybe it’s as simple as you have your colour wrong, your season wrong or your client base wrong. Looking back is a good indicator to push forward.


When you’re selling well it’s easy to pigeon hole yourself. If you keep pushing your creativity to do something different every month you will have a larger toolbelt of ideas to draw from in this time. What you need to be doing once your sales are starting to dip is to test different things…fingers in pies, pushing YOUR style in different directions to find the new YOU! This is key to do BEFORE the sales hit 0!

Back to Basics.

This is a great time to go back to basics and produce a ‘new’ take on something timeless. This way you aren’t wasting time and money creating ‘willy-nilly’ (what a phrase) designs that if they’re not sold will soon become old and redundant.

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