How To Get The Most Out Of The Slow Season
There's a trend I've noticed throughout chatter on social media lately and that's that a lot of freelancers are in their "slow season." While this phenomenon can vary from field to field, person to person and for some of the lucky few, not be a concern at all, for most of us it does happen. For me, it's usually around the holidays. For others, it's the summer. No matter when it happens for you, the best thing you can do is be prepared for it and don't let it get you down. It's just the name of the freelance game and if you find yourself in a slump, here are a few ways to get the most out of your slow season.
Learn A New Skill
Professional development is something we freelancers have to hold ourselves accountable for. Use the slow season to learn a new skill via an online class or even summer courses at a local university. For videographers it may be learning a new editing platform or getting your drone pilot's license. For copywriters, taking a class to learn better SEO/SEM writing habits. Whatever your trade, there's always something to learn and who knows? What you learn during your slow season may be what secures you your next client.
Research New Business
It's my personal belief that 25% of your time as a freelancer should always be spent on networking and new business so that you hopefully never run into a slow season. If you do experience a slump in business, use this time to research and outreach to clients you see a potential working with. Identify a need for your services, find the right person to contact and secure an introductory call.
If you want guidance on creating an effective pitch letter, download our freelancer starter kit.
Work For Fun
When was the last time you used your skills for fun? Chances are you started freelancing in your field because it's something you're not only good at, but you enjoy doing. Be your own client for a change and use your slow season to work on something that makes you happy.
Personal Brand Development
Chances are you've spent so much time working with your clients lately that you haven't updated your LinkedIn in a year or created those case studies you wanted to show off on your website or any other you-related task that's been pushed to the bottom of your to-do list. Spend your down time to grow your personal brand. Maybe this is a social media refresh or researching potential speaking opportunities or going to a local networking event. Whatever it is, do it!
We should always be side hustling and if you're short for cash during your slow season, this is the time to do it. Mine is going through my closet and selling things on Poshmark. For others, it might be hitting up yard sales and flipping things on eBay (thanks, Gary Vee), signing up as an Uber and Lyft driver or selling personal designs on Society6 and Etsy. There are so many ways to make extra cash these days and what's great about most of these is that they can be done on your own schedule so once your slow season picks back up, you can keep the side hustle going.
I can't speak for everyone but when it comes to me and the freelancers I know, we are not the best at putting ourselves first. Use your slow season to work on YOU. Get a massage, read a book, spend your mornings meditating, go for a hike, do whatever makes you happy and helps clear your mind. This can also be a good time to look at the year ahead and start setting goals so you're better prepared if a slow season happens to you again (because it will).