Some freelancers spend their time chasing trends and turn in assignments that aren’t as timely as they could be. Other freelancers have learned how to spot trends and can turn in assignments that are ahead of the trend and can highlight coming trends.
Whether your business is graphic design or you’re trying to author a regular column, trend-spotting is a must-have skill to stay relevant in your field. If you generally chase trends, these tips can help you learn to spot trends instead.
1. Listen to the people around you. What are people concerned about? Often people will talk about what is important to them before you start seeing it in magazines or on the news. Pay attention to what they’re saying and tap into trends, whether it has to do with interior design, computers, the economy, etc., based on what you hear. Going to conferences in your industry and networking with other participants can also serve as an indicator as to what trends are coming.
2. Watch the news for regional trendspotting. If you work with businesses and individuals in other parts of your state or out of state, watching the news for their area can put you in touch with the trends in their region. When listening to reports about economics and stocks, instead of ignoring them or only worrying about what they mean to you and your future, pay attention to them as indicators of current trends.
3. Study demographics. Are Baby Boomers moving into your area? Knowing the demographics of your town can help you determine how to change your business to cater to the changing population.
4. Use search engines on the Internet. Search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, have an automatic fill-in for popular searches. For example, typing “trend-spotting” in Google brought up an option to search for “trend-spotting software programs for business.” A similar search in Yahoo brought up “trend-spotting reports.” Additionally, Google Trends lists hot trends in searches for the day. Henley Chiu, a programmer in New York City, recommends Google Trends and Google Insight.
5. Use software developed for spotting trends. Easy Freeware has freeware available that has been developed for spotting trends in sales, stocks, etc. There appears to be software available for predicting fashion trends as well. A search on Google provided a list of various software programs for spotting trends.
Being current and spotting trends can help freelancers expand their businesses and remain viable in a changing economy. Be careful about using the news to spot trends. By the time something is on the news or in magazines, the trend is in full swing and you could find yourself among the freelancers or chase trends instead of spotting them