There is nothing more nerve-wracking than lean months as a freelancer. Not only do you start to believe the "it's not you, it's me," statement, but you start to open your wallet a bit more and not see much cash entering.
No need to panic. This is typical for each industry for freelancers. Holiday's require more work, summers taper off due to vacations, and different industries have different slow seasons. It's just part of the freelancers yearly circle of life. Luckily, you are not bound to your one job at an office, so you can actively seek other clients on smaller projects to temporarily fill the void for cash flow's sake.
What else can you do during lean months? Well, there are actually some pretty great ways to utilize the freed up time, below are some suggestions:
Compile all tax paperwork
You never know how daunting this task is until you do it last minute. As a freelancer, you need to do quarterly taxes, but also have things such as business expenses to keep track of, and have to keep pretty accurate notes of all your spending--down to that random meal you had at a Burger King (with receipt).
Taking the time to organize all paperwork into a folder and develop a strategy to immediately file any paperwork in said folder can save you a bunch of time when tax season rolls around.
Revamp your portfolio page or website
This may not apply to all freelancers, but for those who have a website or portfolio page, taking time to get it freshened up for when the season becomes busy again is a great way to keep your online persona and work up to date and readily available for potential clients.
Make a list of all new clips you have created since your last website upgrade, crunch stats if you need them to show how you have helped other clients, or compile your best new work to keep the website fresh and a timeline of how you have progressed in your work.
Get in touch with old clients
Work can get crazy and old clients may fall by the wayside, but may have also been great to work with. Now is the time to get the foot in the door with them again. They may have a project in their mind, but haven't reached out to you, so using free time to get their attention again and remind them of how much you enjoyed working with them could be a feather in your cap and a great way to gain more work with a great former client.
Get in touch with new clients
This is more of less about getting in touch with people you have met that you'd like to work with. Many freelancers have so many businesses cards from people they have met through networking, but have never reached out to them. This is the time to do so, and most likely the person on the other end hasn't forgotten you either--if the conversation was promising. Simply grab the business cards and skim through them and you will be able to remember those who you really enjoyed talking with that could be a great client to work with.
Organize your work space
This may seem basic, but as a freelancer who may have a home office, things can get a little crazy. When you are constantly working, you are not thinking of the pile of paper or the desk drawer filled with useless junk. Taking the free time you now have to dive in and clean can make a difference in how efficiently your office space can be. Create drawers and sections for specific paperwork, clean off the table for more space to use, get rid of anything that no longer serves a purpose and enjoy the clean work space so that your office and mind can be uncluttered.
These are simple suggestions on how to fill the lean time of freelancing with valuable work. What do you do when client work is slow? Let us know!
Socially Dedicated's team regularly contributes to our company blog. Check us out!
Socially Dedicated, a Philadelphia-based firm, provides marketing, content creation, public relations, business management consulting and social media management to small businesses. Check out our website or locate us on social media using the icons below.