The Minnesota unemployment rate increased to 5.8 percent in July 2008 according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Minnesota unemployment hasn't been this high since the mid-80s -- 1986 to be exact. This pushes the Minnesota unemployment rate a little above the national unemployment rate, with no signs of relief in sight.
MN Unemployment: What Can Freelance Writers Learn from a Troubled Economy Like This?
1. Diversify: According to the article, Jobs slump is state's worst since '83 in the August 14, 2008, edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Construction and manufacturing accounted for more than half the July job losses."
If you're a freelance writer, the lesson to be learned from the MN Unemployment crisis is to diversify. While having a primary niche is advised by many freelance writing experts (moi!), diversifying your writing into other complementary niches can never hurt.
For example, if your primary niche is business and finance, some complementary niches would be real estate (eg, mortgages, debt consolidation), insurance (insurance for small business owners), loans (how to get SBA loans, etc.).
Niche Writing Tip: Try to choose complementary niches where if your primary niche is "off," the complementary niche will naturally be "on." For a personal finance writer, for example, when writing gigs for IPO offerings dry up because the market is tanking, the likelihood that assignments for debt consolidation will be up because everyone is trying to cut back and/or save money.
2. Reach Broad: The second lesson the Minnesota unemployment rate crisis teaches freelance writers is to reach beyond your borders, ie, develop a clientele out of your geographic range. The article mentioned above states, "The jobs report was the latest sign of a struggling Minnesota economy [italics added].
If you're a freelance writer living in Minnesota, the Minnesota unemployment rate would probably affect your business as many industries cut back. The health of the economy is built on the domino effect. One hit from one sector of the economy can push others into a tailspin.
To avoid this, reach broad for your clients. The internet makes it easy to solicit writing assignments from practically any corner of the globe. Websites like Constant-Content, AssociatedContent and Helium have assignments from many different publishers.
3. Live Within Your Means: As mentioned in Point 2 just above, a breakdown in one sector of the of the economy can push others into a tailspin. The article referenced throughout states that the downturn can be traced to increasing home foreclosure rates, declining home values and rising bankruptcy filings.
What does this add up to? Many who are not living within their means. When home values are high, homeowners refinance, pulling valuable equity out of their homes.
When home values fall and what you owe on your house is greater than its market value, then guess what -- there's nothing to fall back on. A house with no equity, rising interest rates (which equal higher mortgage payments), job loss, no savings, etc.
This MN unemployment rate crisis highlights perfectly what can happen when you don't live within your means. Especially as a freelance writer (who's income may be good, but inconsistent), living well below your means (25-40%) is critical to continuing in a career you love.
If the MN unemployment rate debacle teaches freelance writers nothing else, it's that you have control over your financial future. Following the guidelines here will keep you out of the MN unemployment line -- and any other unemployment line as well.
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