Sunday December 6, 2020 By David Quintanilla
Latest Research for Web Designers December 2020

2020 has been an fascinating yr, to say the least. And though I’m positive lots of you may’t wait till the calendar flips forward to 2021, it doesn’t look as if we’re going to have the ability to say goodbye to 2020 so simply. Most of the modifications we’ve needed to make this yr at the moment are anticipated to stick with us — a least for the next yr.

The newest analysis offers us some hints about what’s to come back.

If you wish to begin making ready for 2021 now, then these experiences and surveys from organizations like 99designs, Upwork, Content material Advertising Institute, and McKinsey & Firm are a must-read:


1. 99designs Experiences on the Widespread Challenges Freelancers Confronted in 2020

I don’t need to make 99designs’s Design Without Borders 2020 report sound prefer it’s all doom-and-gloom. As a result of it’s not.

That stated, 2020 has been a tough yr and it could be irresponsible for me to not acknowledge the challenges that each one of us freelancers have encountered this yr. This report is among the few I’ve discovered that features information on the foremost challenges freelancers have handled this yr, together with:

  • 36% have struggled to keep up a gentle stream of labor or a steady shopper base;
  • 27% had shoppers who reduce their enterprise budgets and, consequently, their freelancers’ workloads;
  • 26% had at the least one undertaking cancelled or indefinitely paused;
  • 22% have been ghosted by at the least one shopper.
99designs survey reveals freelancer challenges in 2020

Past working extra hours and hustling to seek out new shoppers on a regular basis, what else can freelancers do to climate a enterprise disruptor like COVID-19? There are a variety of issues.

For starters, it could be actually useful to have a crisis management plan for your finances. It will even be helpful to refocus your efforts on discovering clients who pay for the value you provide and never for the hours you spend constructing web sites. Shoppers who see the worth in what you do will probably be much less more likely to ghost or drop you on the first signal of hassle.


2. Upwork’s Survey Reveals Academic Alternatives for Freelancers

Upwork commissioned Edelman Intelligence to place collectively its very first Freelance Forward survey. The objective of the following report was to make clear the state of freelancing, how the pandemic has modified it, and what we are able to anticipate sooner or later because of this.

One of many information units I feel internet designers ought to pay shut consideration to is that this:

Upwork Freelance Forward report - data on freelance hours distribution

In keeping with this survey, freelancers solely spend about 52% of their time on billable work.

Now, one of many the explanation why entrepreneurs and enterprise firms make a lot cash is as a result of duties are relegated to totally different staff members. As an illustration, if a design company proprietor is nice at constructing relationships with prospects, they’re going to spend time on gross sales calls and managing social media. The day-to-day admin duties would then get offloaded to digital assistants and billable undertaking work would go to designers, builders, writers, and so forth.

However as a freelancer, you don’t have the flexibility to delegate and scale whenever you’re working solo.

Fairly than burn your self out making an attempt to deal with all this stuff your self, the report suggests there’s one thing else you are able to do:

Upwork Freelance Forward -importance of different types of skills

Though freelancers acknowledge how essential soft skills and enterprise abilities are, the primary information set means that not sufficient consideration is likely to be paid to them.

What I counsel is that you simply check out the division of your work hours. When you’re spending lower than half of your time on billable work, it is likely to be a good suggestion to strengthen your non-design abilities. That method, issues like advertising and marketing, contract preparation, and shopper administration received’t devour a lot of your time sooner or later and you may invoice extra.


3. CMI’s Annual Report Reveals Worthwhile Alternatives for Net Designers

Content material Advertising Institute’s annual B2B Content Marketing Report is, as soon as once more, chock filled with helpful tidbits in regards to the state of content material advertising and marketing.

Whereas a whole lot of the info is concentrated round advertising and marketing organizations and the way they’ve pivoted in the course of the pandemic, I believed this bit of information can be actually useful for internet designers:

CMI Report - content marketing opportunities in 2021

For these of you who design B2B web sites, pay attention to the place these firms plan to spend money on 2021. If 2020 has been notably laborious on you, otherwise you merely need to develop your horizons, there are another alternatives price leaping into:

B2B Advertising Funding => Net Designer Alternative
Content material creation => Weblog graphic design, infographic design, and schema markup creation
Web site enhancements => Website redesign, web site audits
Content material distribution => Social media advert design, Google advert design, schema markup creation
Attending to know audiences higher => UX analysis, UX design
Buyer expertise => Chatbot/reside chat improvement, assist portal creation


4. McKinsey B2B Evaluation Suggests That Digital Is Right here to Keep

For these of you who’ve labored for a B2B gross sales group earlier than, you understand how essential in-person interactions are to them. It’s not as if they will simply promote their services or products on-line the way in which B2C ecommerce firms can. The important thing to B2B success is thru buyer (and associate) relationship constructing.

Previous to 2020, this meant plenty of in-person conferences, cellphone calls, and emails. However one thing has modified this yr, on each side of the fence.

This chart from McKinsey means that digital relationship constructing and customer support aren’t only a non permanent resolution for COVID-19. B2B decision-makers are coming round to the concept that is going to be their “subsequent regular” (as McKinsey refers to it).

McKinsey data on B2B shift towards digital in 2021

These new “go-to-market fashions” embody the next:

  1. Speak to prospects, prospects, and companions by way of video calls;
  2. Digital self-service choices for purchasers preferring the DIY technique.

As an online designer, you may assist your B2B shoppers degree up their efforts to realize this subsequent regular.

For starters, you may integrate scheduling into their websites. This’ll empower prospects to schedule video conferences (for demos, discovery calls, and so forth.) along with your shoppers’ gross sales groups.

One other factor you are able to do is construct out self-service components like reside chat or chatbots, FAQs pages, knowledgebases, and assist portals. As customers develop into extra assured with doing enterprise on-line, these self-service choices will make a world of distinction of their expertise with manufacturers.



I do know, I do know. 2020 sucked. However at the least we’ve got quantity of analysis and expertise that provides us a a lot clearer concept of what we’re getting ourselves into with the approaching yr. (Not less than, I hope so.)

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