Like I mentioned in my last post, August has been a pretty quiet month for me. I’ve been talking to a few other freelancers and it seems I’m not alone. My mentor (of sorts) warned me this might happen and said every August is the same for her. She thinks people are in ‘holiday-mode’ and not always thinking about business. And she wasn’t wrong. August has been a real struggle.
A few of my clients didn’t have the budget to continue and I also made a decision to let a client I was no longer comfortable working with go. When clients leave, I don’t normally have much trouble finding new ones. The great thing about social media is that most businesses need help with it. However, August has just been particularly quiet and filling the gaps is taking longer than I anticipated. It’s been one of the months where I’ve gone into my overdraft and had more time on my hands to freak out about it.
When I first thought about writing about my job, I decided I wanted to try show a more accurate depiction of freelance life if I could. There are many blogs out there that don’t really go into what some would say the ‘cons’ of working freelance, but that’s not in my interests. I want to be transparent and give a more balanced representation. So…with that in mind, here’s are some suggestions and some things I’ve been doing to try bounce back from a rough month.
Up your promotion
When I’m busy with work, I always slip on posting content or promoting myself. This is funny because this is exactly what people hire me to do! When things are a little quiet, I make a point of scheduling some tweets a couple of times a week. This can be anything from plugging your website or services, or simply a message to say you’re taking on new clients. It might not always get an immediate result (such as a lead), but a lot of people start to enquire or let you know they’re going to keep you in mind. I also find that past clients will quote tweet and help spread the word. I try to make a point of doing this for other creatives I’ve worked with too. So whatever happens, it’s engagement and a little bit of signal boosting at least.
Reach out to people
When I first started working freelance, I spent a lot of time reaching out to people until I had a decent-sized portfolio. This is another effective way to generate leads and again something I don’t make enough time for. When you have more time on your hands, I think this is a really good thing to do. You’re getting your name out there and you never know what it could lead to. In the past, I’ve have emailed people and they’ve ended up recommending me to others and so on. I also think it’s a great way to practice speaking highly of yourself and promoting yourself, something that can be tough for us anxious folk.
Reconnect with old clients
Another thing you can do is reach out to past clients to see how they’re getting on. A lot of my clients end up leaving because business isn’t going well or they simply no longer have the budget for social. It’s worth checking in with them and seeing if anything has changed. They might have a bigger budget now or a side project you can help with. It’s a good way to keep connections as well and sometimes it’s fun to just catch up! I recently started working with an old client from earlier this year and sometimes it’s nice to work in territory you’re familiar with again.
Take some time out
I have found it’s a lot harder to take time off as a freelancer and I think this is down to a number of reasons. The main one being since I am my own boss, there’s nobody to cover for me. Whenever I go on holiday, I spend two weeks working twice as hard just so I can take time off. Another reason is because there’s always something that can be done, this is a mentality I’m still trying to get out of. I don’t want to perpetuate the idea that you have to be busy all the time, but sometimes it does genuinely help with my anxiety. Keeping busy keeps my mind active, however sometimes non-work related distractions are more appropriate.
During this quieter period, I made a point of trying to relax more. It sounds silly, but I’m actually quite proud of myself for doing so! I find it incredibly hard to switch off, so this is great progress for me. I just practiced simple things like finishing up earlier, spending longer in the tub, watching more films and spending more time with my boyfriend. Self care that doesn’t require you spending money during these times is great.
Do other stuff
Quieter periods are a great time to do other things too. You could explore a new revenue, start a new side project, or just chill out I guess! I started cat-sitting for extra income and I also started writing for The Nopebook. In addition to that, I also started to make time to watch more movies. I think as a freelancer it’s important to try find things that make you happy. It’s also always a good thing if there are other ways you can make money too.
Photography by Kaye Ford