Monday, March 21, 2011

When Work is Slow

Let's the honest, the life of a freelancer is very unpredictable.  One week, work is extremely busy and job after job seem to appear.  The next week, nothing.  Tension and stress build.  You start to question why freelancing ever seemed like a good idea!

Calm down and take a deep breath.  This is the natural flow of the freelance lifestyle.  Just because you are not booked on a job that day or week does not mean you have nothing to do!  The "slow" times are an opportunity to brainstorm and plant seeds for your business and future job possibilities.

Get Organized.  Take a moment to organize.  After a busy streak, allow yourself the time to complete the post-job duties.  Do you have receipts lying around?  Unpaid or unsent invoices?  Did you write a thank-you note to clients from last month?  Update your database of co-workers or employers.  Update your resume.  Is your profile complete/updated with networking websites?  Are you missing any jobs due to laziness?

Brainstorm.  Take a few minutes to brainstorm about possible job or money making ideas.  How can you grow your business?  Is there a new stream of income you would like to try?  Any new ways to look for upcoming jobs?  All ideas are good ideas during brainstorming sessions.  Write them all down and decide which to pursue later.  This is also a good practice to complete with your contacts, mentors and industry friends if they are willing.

Development.  Hopefully, you are constantly learning.  Now is a great time to take a class, read a book or attend a seminar.  Do some research online.  Who else is doing what your doing?  Take notes from those who have come before you.  Know your competition and learn from their successes and mistakes.  Try to consume yourself in your industry of choice.  The more connected and informed you become, the more you will have to offer your next client.

As a freelancer, you must have a certain level of discipline to find enough work.  I call it the Random Day Job Routine, and you can learn more about it here.  Regardless, be thankful for the down time.  It allows you a chance to think, grow and develop your craft.  You'll be a better freelancer because of it!

No comments: