It’s a truth universally acknowledged (by freelancers, anyway) that slow periods come and go. The very nature of working for yourself means that you will have quiet times and busy times. While each of these offer their challenges, slow periods can be particularly difficult. The insecurity feels excruciating. Unfortunately, I recently went through this trial. Here’s how I dealt with it and used it to my advantage.
I still worked nine-to-five
When you work for yourself and things slow down, there’s a temptation to take a break, and wait for clients to come back to you. While that may work for some people, it was not going to work for me. Instead, I scheduled my time just as I would if I was working at full capacity. That meant planning out each day, and including activities that would push my work life forward. Having this level of organization helped me stay focused and busy.
I refreshed my portfolio
Of course, every freelance writer needs a great portfolio if they want to get the right gigs. That’s a given. However, when I’m at my busiest, I can let this slip. Finding the time to curate my portfolio is difficult, especially when I’ve committed to a whole range of things. For that reason, when things slowed down, I knew what I had to do. I dedicated an entire day to working on my portfolio, and ensuring that it was up to date.
I researched new publications
Whenever I’m busy, I tend to rely on the same clients and publications. It’s only natural. When you have a whole load of work, the last thing you can be bothered to do is get out there and start looking for new opportunities. However, we should always look out for new publications and places we can pitch. I took a little time to research new, up-and-coming publications, and see whether they were looking for writers. This extra level of detail helped me expand my client base, and seek out new areas of interest.
I got out there and networked
Networking – it’s never been my strong suit. Standing in a room full of ‘professionals,’ and having to sell your services is my version of hell on earth. Despite this fact, I know that connections can often turn into ongoing work. So, I finally got out there and made some. I attended a couple of local events (there are weekly networking sessions in my area!), and spoke to everyone I could. While I had to put up with a few awkward conversations, I met a wealth of interesting business owners who may use my services in the future.
I worked on my website
I’d always put off having my own website. Sure, having a shop window is a smart move but it’s costly and takes time. During my slow period, though, I had time, and figured I should invest in myself. So, I started making my website, featuring my services, portfolio, and more. It wasn’t easy but it made me feel productive and will help bring in business.
All freelancers have their ups and downs – it really is feast or famine! If you want to succeed, you need to ensure that you can handle that. Making the most of your downtime, and using it to progress professionally is the only way to go. Thankfully, my slow period is well and truly over. It was the work I put in during it that made that happen! What’s more, I know that, when things start to trail off again, I’ll know how to handle it.
- How to Stay Motivated with Your Writing, and Stay in the Black! By Jennifer Brown Banks
- I Get Referral Clients All The Time! Here’s How! – by Hailey Hudson
- WRITERS: When The Going Gets Tough, Sell Short Stories! – by Rachel Carrington
- 8 Great Ways to Jog Your Memory for Creative Non-fiction Writing! by Julie Guirgis
- Don’t Overlook “Free” Publications as a Source of Paid Writing Opportunities!! by Matt Roberts
Charlotte Grainger is a freelance writer based in Sheffield, UK. Her work has been seen in Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest, and more. When she’s not working on articles, you can find her Netflix-binging.
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