“I’m a freelancer and I never stop working.”
If you believed the word of every freelancer online, you’d think they’re packed out with work, all day, every day until the end of time.
Frankly, it’s just not true.
Sure, loads of people have stuff to do, but there’ll be times when work dries up and they’re sat humming some random tune to a song they hate.
And I know this because I’ve been there.
I had months and months of non-stop work, and just like that it’s dried up, hell, some deserts aren’t as dry as my inbox right now.
I could have panicked, but what would have been the point?
It’s what’s known as ‘feast or famine’.
So, if your business is going through the same, here’s some stuff for you to do when you’ve less work on than a VHS factory (and those bad boys haven’t been made since 2015).
Loads of stuff to try when you have no work.
If you’re stuck in a complete work famine, here are a few things for you to try:
One. Have a lie-in
Up at 7 am every day and at your desk by 7:30 like me?
Hit the snooze button on your alarm.
It’s unlikely anyone other than a vampire will have contacted you since you checked your email on your phone when you went for a wee at 3 am.
Give yourself a break, get a bit more shut-eye and get up when the business world is awake.
Two. Cold pitch 10-20 clients a day
Okay, you seriously need some work, so search online businesses or agencies you could work with or for.
I like setting myself a limit of around 20.
Because it takes longer than you expect, especially when you’re tailoring them to the individual.
Three. Post stuff your target audience will love on your Blog and LinkedIn
Nothing to do?
Time to show your ideal clients what you’re made of.
If you’ve no work on, jot down some ideas and put them into action on LinkedIn and your Blog page.
You need people to see who you are, what you do and why you’re the person they need.
So, show them with informative posts that’ll blow their socks off.
Four. Contact previous clients and ask if they need anything done
Past clients loved you, right?
Well, no harm in dropping them an email or calling them to see if they need your expertise again.
Five. See if there are networking events locally
When you’re quiet, there’s no better time to find networking events you can’t go to when you’re busy. If you’re chronically shy, remind yourself it only takes one conversation with the right person and you could land a bloody amazing client.
Have a stiff one and get out there (just don’t have too many and drive).
Six. Change the way you market your business
Are your tried and tested methods not working?
Well, why not mix it up?
For some inspiration, check out my article: Why I Changed The Way I Was Marketing My Business.
Seven. Check out a co-working space
If you live in a reasonably sized town or city, co-working spaces are growing by the week – and they don’t have to cost the earth.
Some co-working spaces run ‘free‘ days, or you can ‘pay as you go‘ for a decent price.
Co-working spaces are great for finding other freelancers to collaborate with – and you don’t have to commit to working there every day, especially if you’re a hermit, like me.
Eight. Go and work from a cafe
Staring at the same wall all day won’t help, in fact, it can drain your creativity – so go and work in a local cafe.
Pick one with:
Great coffee, and
Your wallet might not get bigger, but your waistline and productivity will.
Just a simple change of environment can give you a boost and get you motivated to keep pitching for work when you’d usually be flagging at home.
Nine. Tell everyone on social media you’ve bog all to do
If you’re a freelancer and you message me asking for advice, this is one of the first things I’ll tell you to do.
And when I do, more often than not, the reply will be:
“Ah, I’m not sure about that.”
I do it all the time, I did it last week, in fact, and it landed me a job worth £200.
Because others in your profession are snowed under and need to outsource.
Does it look desperate?
Well, if an extra £200 is desperate, then I’m all for it.
Whenever I mention to my network that I’m having a quiet time, amazing writers I know will either ask if I can take some work off them or they’ll say they’ve had a query for a job that’s not their cup of tea and they put my name forward for it.
Announcing you have no work on doesn’t make you a failure, it’s the perfect opportunity to see if businesses need my services or one of my peers needs a helping hand.
The answer is no.
Ten. Stick some films on
I’m not kidding.
It doesn’t mean you don’t care about running your business and it doesn’t make you lazy because you can pitch and search and apply until the cows come home, but you’ll drive yourself bonkers refreshing your inbox every five minutes.
Hell, the other week I was so quiet and had done everything I could I watched:
- The Fellowship of the Ring
- The Two Towers, and
- The Return of the King
On consecutive days.
And I’m talking about the extended versions here and considering the extended edition of The Return of the King is around 4-hours long, that meant for a quite relaxing Friday afternoon.
Keep your laptop on beside you in case something drops in but give yourself a break and enjoy a film or three.
Eleven. Take the day off
Sometimes you have to throw your hands up and admit it just ain’t happening.
So, take the day off.
You went freelance to work the hours you want.
More than likely you’ll be due a break with all the evenings and weekends you’ve done when you’ve been snowed under anyway, so mark it down to ‘feast or famine‘ and unplug completely.
- Go for a walk
- Jump in the car and go for a drive
- Find a country pub and eat a massive pie for lunch
You tend to find when you don’t bother working for a day there’s a query waiting for you when you get home.
Twelve. Ignore everything I’ve just said and do what you want
Got better ideas?
Go ahead and do them.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you make the most of the free time.
Pitch. Blog. Walk the dog.
Give yourself a break and try and not let it get you down.
Until next time,