Whether your work is seasonal or you’ve just wrapped a big project, every freelancer experiences slow periods when work is scarce.
Rather than sink into the doldrums, try one of these ways to fill your time wisely:
1. Build your network
Now’s your chance to go to events, seminars and meetups you might have otherwise missed. It’s not about fishing for clients; it’s about making the most of your professional community. Fellow members of an association or social group can offer support in good times and bad, and you might feel energized just by talking with other self-employed people. Remember to take a few business cards along in case an opportunity for work or collaboration appears.
Don’t worry about restricting yourself to outings tied to your business. Take this chance to catch up with friends over coffee, too. If a museum exhibit or guided nature walk will boost your outlook, take advantage of the time to explore.
2. Improve your skills
Could your portfolio use an update? Can you pick up a skill that will make you more valuable to future clients? Slow periods provide an opportunity to learn something new, like a software program, language or business skill. Take a deep dive into YouTube tutorials, try a Lynda online course or crack the books in person at a local community college.
Now is also the time to update your website and social media profiles or get chatting in LinkedIn groups. Remember that if you learn something new that will be an asset to your freelance work, your online brand should reflect that. Be proud of what you’re adding to your resume!
3. Stash away some blog posts
Write now to avoid those “sorry I’ve been quiet here, I’ve been so busy” posts. No one likes to read them! Offer your favorite reads of the week, show off your latest project (even if it’s pro bono) or post a video to feature what you learned from following the step above.
Your blog posts don’t have to be strictly about business, either. Take a trip recently? Post a few photos from the road and announce that you’re ready to get back to work. Clients may be drawn to you because of your extracurricular interests or personality, so don’t be afraid to give your readers small peeks into your personal life.
4. Organize your work and your life
From your computer desktop to your digital photos to your receipts and tax info—even your closet. Having these areas squared away will make life a little easier when the work starts rolling in again.
Don’t feel pressured to face every cluttered area at once; remember that small improvements can make a big difference in simplifying your daily life.