How is the economic downturn affecting you? Is work slow lately? Do you find yourself with more free time then you used too? This is the perfect time to go start a new project.
Downturns and lulls are the perfect time to invest in yourself. Have you always wanted to learn that new piece of software or have you wanted to work on that photo project you have had in your head for years? Now is the time. Invest in yourself and learn something new. Then, when things pick back up, you will have new marketable skills and a great new piece to show of in your portfolio.