Last week, I wrote about why January is such a slow time for freelancers. From tax return season to customers tightening the reins on their spending, there are many reasons why the beginning of the year is often the hardest time for the self-employed.
So I thought I’d give some advice for fellow freelancers who are twiddling their thumbs and don’t know what to do with the long stretch of day ahead of them. Hopefully, I’ll inspire myself too!
- Take stock of your stock
I always feel guilty about not writing enough content for my blog, not keeping on top of my website or Facebook page and not interacting enough on Twitter when I’m going through busy periods. So it’s a good idea to use this time wisely and update all your online profiles.
As copywriters, we bang on about the importance of social media and websites as marketing tools, but are the first to neglect our own channels when the work piles on. That’s why quiet times are great at stocking up on your web content, making sure it is optimised and relevant, and really getting into online networking. It all goes to helping to get your name out there for the next big project.
- Do your admin
It’s no coincidence that the quietest month of the year is also when tax returns are due. Not only are your clients’ finances tied up by the looming tax bill, but you also need the time to submit your own return.
With the deadline being January 31st for online submissions, it’s wise to spend the month making note of any expenses, sorting out your accounts, and doing your financial admin.
Even the simplest job, like registering for HMRC self-assessment or checking your National Insurance contributions can end up taking hours, so instead of panicking about it, use the spare time wisely and sort this out now.
If invoices are late, chase them up. And update your spreadsheets, invoicing systems, contracts, stock emails or filing systems (including your computer documents) while you’re at it.
Come springtime when you have lots more work, you’ll be pleased you have a much more efficient strategy at organising your invoices, contracts, bills and documents to keep your admin in order.
- Improve your skills
There’s always an opportunity to improve your skillset, so take advantage of the quiet time by signing up to webinars, doing online courses and going to classes. You might want to specialise in a certain area, learn about the latest Google algorithm changes that will affect your SEO strategy, or boost your skills in a different expertise, such as web design or proofreading.
Having up-to-date skills is very appealing for future clients, so it definitely worth investing in, even if you simply read books on your field of expertise to keep your knowledge relevant.
- Network, network, network
There is no better time to network than now, as most freelancers are in the same quiet boat. Whether you attend events, go to conferences, or simply chat with peers online, it will all help towards spreading your name.
I never realised how important who you know is in freelancing, but having contacts is crucial for work, so don’t let your networking slip during this downtime.
- Find new clients
It’s easy to get complacent with the clients you have, and you’ll probably wait it out until they offer you more work again. But it’s always worth finding more.
Unfortunately, as a freelancer you cannot rely on constant work from anyone and the turnover of clients is much higher than you might think. Therefore, pitching and sending out letters of introduction are integral at getting more work in the future.
While it’s difficult to do this when you’re swamped with work, this is the perfect time to make more contacts.
- Take a break
If you’re not tied down by school holidays, enjoy your freelance famine and take a break. There will be other times of the year when work has picked up and you’ll naturally feel guilty for having a week away. But this is not one of them.
To really enjoy a relaxing trip, book your holiday for January and you won’t need to check your emails every few minutes or have to turn down work.
What’s more, a much-needed break will recharge you, giving you motivation and energy to be better at your job once things pick up again in a few weeks.
For help with your content marketing campaign, give Natasha Al-Atassi Copywriting Services a call on 07774002599 or email us. We can help transform your website, blog, social media or promotional literature.
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