Avoiding a quiet period at work, and what to do if there is a lull – here are our top tips for surviving the summer slump when you’re self-employed.
Chances are, the majority of us are acutely aware of the challenges of being a freelancer. Finding great clients with exciting work. Managing your time effectively. And, of course, having enough work to sustain us.
Experiencing a quiet period at work can be frustrating for most people. For freelancers, it can be downright anxiety-inducing.
Sustaining a healthy pipeline is one of the biggest stressors self-employed professionals face. So as summertime hits and clients are away, projects have ended and your unread emails read zero when you log on in the morning, that stress can peak. Big time.
If your quiet period is a little less 'planned summer vacation', and a little more 'unexpected downtime', we're here to help. From putting provisions in place to help avoid a quiet period, to making the most of a lull - here are a few actionable ways you can support yourself now, and in the future.
5 Tricks To Avoiding A Quiet Period
Not everything is in your control as a freelancer. That's a given. But there are a few things you can do to help reduce the chances of your pipeline drying up.
1. Organise a regular or semi-regular call with clients. Besides the fact this will improve your relationships and precision of work, it'll also enable you to pinpoint other ways of supporting your clients and adding value. Upselling is your best friend.
2. Take as many new meetings as possible. It doesn't need to be labelled as 'networking' but if there's one thing we've learnt, it's that you never know when a conversation could lead to something more. It could be weeks or months later, but worth it? Absolutely.
3. Sign up to The Work Crowd. The freelancer market is seriously heating up. With The Work Crowd platform you can gain access to hundreds of potential new clients, across a range of sectors. Projects can be short or long-term, one-off or ongoing, so you could find your next big opportunity. Plus, our team is there to support you every step of the way.
4. Review your pricing methods. Financial structures like hour and day rate, or even ad-hoc can be liberating (and lucrative), but they're not always a guaranteed income. Contracting clients on a project or monthly retainer will help you forecast more accurately for the road ahead.
5. Review your notice periods. And while we're talking contracts, it's a good idea to review yours. Many freelancers include a 4-week notice period into their contracts to give them a safety net should a client call it quits. Enough to keep you going until you find a new client.
5 Ways To Make The Most Of A Lull
As much time, effort and energy you spend on your venture, the fact is, it's not always possible to avoid a lull. So here's how to make that time truly valuable.
1. The magic word: marketing. You don't need to be an established limited company to promote who you are and what you do. Using your time to build your profile. Write blogs, engage across social channels, or even pitch to speak at a webinar and it could really pay off!
2. Go back to school. Speaking of developing your brand, why not develop your skills too? Clients are looking for increasingly diverse services, so staying relevant and broadening your skills could open new doors and introduce you to a new discipline you end up loving.
3. Catch up on the not-so-fun side. We wouldn't recommend doing it all summer, but setting aside some time for admin can help clear your head, and put you in good stead for when you are busier. Tackle your bookkeeping, review your tools and processes, update your portfolio…
4. Build your network. We cannot stress this enough: having a strong freelance network can change your career. Yes, it can provide relatable conversation, but a network can also introduce you to new clients, or open up the potential for collaboration.
5. Actually take a holiday. We know it isn't always an option, and seeing your workload deplete can be really demoralising. But just as unpredictably quiet it is now, it could soon become unpredictably busy!
If you can, now's the time to recharge, and get that much-needed, much-deserved R&R. If that's a change of scenery, fantastic. If it's staying at home in your garden, equally as fantastic. The important thing to remember is that you work hard, and before you know it, you'll be back at it. Why not spend time for yourself?
Accelerating Your Career - All Year Round
It isn’t only lulls in workload that can be a cause for anxiety for freelancers. And the summertime isn’t the only point of the year when things can feel uneasy.
That’s why we created The Ultimate Guide To Freelancing. Free of cost, the guide has been specially designed for self-employed pros looking to set up their freelance venture, expand after years in the business, or anywhere in between.
Learn how to determine your pricing strategy, build stronger client relationships, become a limited company, and take time for yourself as your own boss - plus much more. Download the guide for free today.