How to Freelance 101: 6 Ways to Avoid a Summer Freelance Slowdown
Summertime and the living is easy, as the song goes. But what if you’re a contract, and "easy" means a slowdown in your freelance work and income?
If you’re a freelancer and need to keep your income steady, summer isn’t necessarily the best time for you to take a vacation or shorten your work hours. Keep hustling, and you’ll survive a summer freelance slowdown even if you may not be completely able to avoid it.
1. Offer New Services
A great way to retain clients (and hopefully get new ones) is to widen the range of services you offer. If you work in a service business like coaching or training, you can offer a bonus session to clients. If you work online, offer a deeper range of editing, writing, or social media work.
By expanding the range of services you offer, you can keep current clients on your roster, even during a summer freelance slowdown.
If you’ve been writing for a blog site, let them know that you also work as a social media manager. They may hire you to do social media when the writing slows down, which is a great extra way to make money over the summer.
2. Increase and Improve Your Social Media Presence
Social media is a necessary evil when you’re busy. If your summer freelance work slows down for you, increase your presence there to drum up new clients. Focus on creating high-quality content for all your streams.
On Instagram, take the time to build a stockpile of bright, clear photos that you can use when you get busy. Delete any photos that don’t fit the theme of your profile or that are low quality. On Facebook, interact with other pages you want to work with and share their content. On Twitter, clean out old accounts that don’t fit your niche and follow – even start interacting with – people you want to work with.
Stepping up your presence on social media means that people might see your content before you even reach out. Build your brand in your down time to bring in new clients.
3. Update Your Website
Keeping a website up-to-date can be a challenge. So, got a case of summer freelance slowdown? Take the time go back through your website, blog, or portfolio to showcase your more recent work. Update old or broken links in blog posts. You can write new content for your own site that shows the brands and companies you’ve collaborated with and showcases your new skills.
A website is often the first place clients get a chance to “meet” you.
As such, you want it to be easy to navigate, look catchy, and show proof of your own reliability. Make sure that it’s easy to find the “Work With Me” tab, too!
4. Offer a Summer Discount or Sale
One way to keep clients altogether is to offer a discount on your services. You may not bring as much as usual, but if you still need to make money over the summer, discounts can keep you on people’s radars.
You can create new bundle packages of all your services and offer that at a discount to existing clients. Sales pitches are also a great way to attract people who have been on the fence about hiring you. You can post your discounted prices for all to see, or just for your email list or social media followers.
5. Pitch New Clients
Summer is a great time to think about your dream client. What kind of people or companies do you want to be working with?
With the slower pace of summer freelance work, take time to craft excellent pitches and send them to your dream clients.
Freelancers should always be pitching. You need to keep clients coming in, and working with new people gives you the chance to expand your portfolio and build your brand.
Pitch to new places all summer long. Look ahead to fall and winter holidays or events and pitch stories on those topics. Take as much work as possible out of it for editors, and you’ll increase your odds.
6. Get Organized and Ready for the Fall
Let’s face it: New Year’s resolutions on work/life balance or staying organized are usually long dead by summer. If you have more time on your hands in the summer, use it to prepare for a busy fall, when all those pitches you worked on come through.
Chuck anything that was bothering you in the winter and spring. Clean out your work area; organize your papers, finances, and receipts; and tidy up your online life. Try out new organization systems with your down time to see if they work for you.
That way, when your freelance work picks up again, you’ll be ready to do the best job possible. You’ll have everything in place to simply create.
Hopefully your finances won’t take a hit this summer. If you do find yourself with time on hand, use it to invest in yourself and get in the best position to make more money in the fall. Polish your resume, learn a new skill, and make this summer one of your most productive ones.