How to maximize your time when work isn’t coming in.
No matter how successful of a freelancer you are, you’re likely to experience periods of quietness. The Yin of working overtime late into the evening every day and the Yang of not having any projects at all.
Here’s what to do to keep yourself afloat as a freelancer.
Written by yours truly, Workezy.
Review your craft
During these times of eerie quietness, you gain a golden opportunity to self-review. In a life where we are constantly busy, a day or a week or so off is a privilege – if used correctly. Like a Lady of the Night, you are constantly bunny-hopping from one client to another once the project is finished.
It’s difficult to properly analyze how you did, what you could improve on. You can never properly know, nor master, your craft when you don’t take time to reflect on it. All the best freelancers do.
The combination of vague questions and introspective answers is an ally here. Look at how you’ve been doing over the last 6 months or a year – or any timeframe you wish, really. Ask yourself these questions:
What have you achieved?
Where was most of your effort spent?
What tasks were unproductive?
What did you find satisfying?
Analyzing your work and finding your strengths and weaknesses gives you a great foundation to place innovation in effect. Change your process, automate or outsource time-consuming tasks, utilize new resources, improve management. There are a wealth of ways to further your freelancing once you have properly analyzed how you perform.
Prepare for future work
Under the hopeful guise that you will get work soon, being prepared for it will be refreshing. What kind of work do you do as a freelancer? If you are a graphic designer, work on different logos until you find a new style or theme you like, that you can then adapt to upcoming clients.
Preparing also means brushing up on skills. If you’re a photographer, learning new trends in the market will help you build your brand whilst preparing you for potential requests from upcoming clients. Learn how to use new apps or tools, anything to innovate your freelancing to keep you competitive.
Build your brand
This is a quick tip, in which you can go about doing this however you want.
You may not think of yourself as a “brand person”. But everybody has a brand, and this is imperative for freelancers. Take a look at your LinkedIn profile, your Twitter, any profiles you have on any freelancer platforms like Workezy.com. Give them a new coat of paint. Look at refining them. Your online presence is everything.
Busy times with work will lead to an increase in revenue, but it also increases the mess of your craft. Take time to organize your files, your folders. Archive stuff you don’t or won’t need. Set out any useful resources that you may need soon. Sift through old emails and delete what you don’t need. Take time to clear up the “machine” so that you can operate cleaner when work picks up again.
I go into much more depth on managing your time and resources as a freelancer here: Essential Project Management Skills for Freelancers
Increasing visibility for yourself helps make yourself stand out in your field. Networking is key to a freelancer’s success and longevity. Get to know other freelancers in your field, collaborate, and contribute. Network with your client’s acquaintances, ask them if they need work done. The more visible and pro-active you are, the more your reputation builds. Not only will this help you pick work back up easier, but you will wield more power as an individual in your field.
It doesn’t have to be all work, networking can be as simple as just going out for lunch with old acquaintances or new clients.
You can read more about professional relationships and networking here: Relationship Management for Freelancers
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