It is inevitable that some months will be quieter than others if you are a freelancer. This is very common no matter what area of freelancing you work in. Freelancing by its very nature is unpredictable.
So when these dry spells do come up, you should be prepared. There are a number of different things you can do during these quiet periods and it’s always best to do something productive. It’s even better if what you choose to do can benefit the business. So have a think before you head straight for Netflix and take a look at the ideas below.
Don’t stop working
Just because things are quiet doesn’t mean you should let work slide. You may not have much work to do for your clients but there is always something else to do. Meanwhile, you should continue actively searching for work. You should do this anyway, even when you’re fully booked so you can try to avoid quieter periods in the future.
Develop your skills
Take some time to learn a new skill or take an online course. Perhaps you could do with brushing up on certain skills or learn how to use a new piece of software. If it will help you in your business, then so much the better. It is important for freelancers in particular to keep developing skills so that you can offer more valuable services to your clients and therefore be able to charge more. You can also claim back tax paid on educational materials if it is seen as an investment in the business.
Work on your marketing plan
This could actually be the reason why you are having a quiet month. Maybe your marketing needs work. However, this is something that you should be on the forefront of every freelancers mind. You should have a website and social media accounts at the very least. These should also be kept up to date and used regularly in order for them to actually help your business.
Network with other linked businesses, build up relationships with clients. Perhaps you could set up a blog if you haven’t already. A blog can help you show your knowledge and expertise in your industry and appear more trustworthy in the eyes of potential clients.
You could always submit guest blogs on relevant blogs you follow or for non-profit organisations. This can help raise your profile and keep your mind from going idle while you wait for the work to come in. If you’re a writer, you might be doing this anyway for a fee but even some established freelance writers will occasionally do a post for no charge if the subject or organisation is important to them. If you do this as a one-off, make sure they are aware of that and don’t get into the habit of taking up your time with non-paying gigs.
Change your rates
This won’t necessarily get you more work, but increasing your rates is going to help the dry spells sting you a little less. Some clients may even see your higher rates as a sign that you are more experienced or simply better at what you do than your competitors. There will always be clients who want the cheapest they can get, but these are generally the clients you should avoid.
Take a holiday
At the risk of contradicting the first point in this article, you might find dry spells a good time to take some time off. With many businesses there are busy and quieter periods during the year. These may coincide with public holidays depending on what services you offer. If you know that this is typical and not down to a fault with the business or marketing, then a holiday may be in order. We all need time off, even if you work at home (despite the common assumption that you’re off work anyway). You will come back to work refreshed and ready for when business naturally begins to pick up again.
How do you deal with the quiet months? Do they fill you with dread or are they a good breathing space? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.