Welcome back to a special edition of #FreelanceLife.
As the days get darker, the cold creeps in and it becomes acceptable to play Michael Buble again, it is common for some freelancers to experience a slower spell in these winter months. With that in mind, we asked some of our experienced freelancers to offer up their top tips on how they handle this time of year. Whether you are new to the freelance game or a seasoned professional, the following advice is something that applies to everyone, happy reading!
Marcus - Psychological woes
For me, the biggest challenge when dealing with a dry spell on the work front is psychological/emotional. Dealing with periods when nothing seems to be coming your way can really affect your self-esteem, and it can also be pretty scary, especially if you've got serious financial responsibilities to meet. But the good news is, your emotional state is the one thing you've got a degree of control over. So it's important to remind yourself that the dry spell will pass, and you will come through it okay, and it's got nothing to do with your ability or anything like that.
Take it from me – EVERYONE has rough patches (and not just during the winter months either). Without wishing to get too zen about it, If you can tough out those hard times and maintain a positive state of mind, then the good times will start rolling again.
Sanina - What to do with that free time
Two great things to do when Winter strikes:
1. Collect testimonials - contact past and existing clients to see if they'll give you a quote about their experience of working with you. People buy from people and there's nothing more powerful than them hearing from others when they're considering whether to choose your services or not.
2. Get blogging - create a war chest of blogs that contain 'evergreen' content so that when things do get busier, you're still able to keep your blog regularly updated.
Kitty - Get updated
Winter can be a quiet time for freelancers but don’t let it get you down! It’s important to remember that riding out both the quiet and busy periods is all part of freelancing and if you are quiet now you will be busier sooner or later.
If you are quiet, now is a good time to brush up on your skills. Maybe there are things in Photoshop that you have touched on briefly but would like to learn more of or maybe you have been looking for a moment to update your portfolio or website - now is the time! Learning new skills, researching trends and tackling any unfinished projects are all great ways of staying productive during the seasonal downtime.
Kevin - Keep learning
It comes with the nature of freelancing that there is no guaranteed work out there, so the first thing I would say is not to panic! This is what it can be like. Best practice is to try to save a little so you can have your bills and living expenses covered with a quiet month.
When the odd quiet spell comes along the best thing to do is to embrace it. When the bookings are flowing in you can very easily neglect your own work. So the quiet periods are kind of a blessing in disguise to me. Use the time to refine your website. Add some new blog posts or projects you’ve been working on and update your samples you send out as a PDF. With these updated, you then have a good excuse to get back in touch with your existing contacts and say ‘here is an updated portfolio for your records’ and get back to the top of their inbox.
Also, keep learning. Read that book you’ve been meaning to. The software we use is always developing too, so use the time to get up to speed with new features – or learn a totally new skill or piece of software. Make yourself even more of an asset and value to potential clients.
One thing is for sure, winter does indeed pass and work will always come around, but try to use this time to get some of the pesky admin side of things sorted.
We return to the usual format next time with designer Kitty's #FreelanceLife. It will be the last one of the year so don't miss it! Don't forget you can always catch up on Chapters 1 - 3 featuring Marcus, Tim and Sanina while you wait.
As always, if you want to get involved and share your #FreelanceLife, get in touch with us here.
See you next time,
FreelanceLife Team x