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Freelance famine feels awful.
After an epic month, my fledgling freelance business has once again slowed. This high-low cycle is often called the Feast or Famine cycle. It’s unfortunately, fairly common in freelancing.
But, we can’t let slow periods slow us down or make us quit.
While it can be hard to stay motivated during these times, we can be purposeful with our actions. We can move forward, continue to solidify our foundation, and ensure we come out of the freelance famine cycle stronger than ever.
Here Are 15 Specific Actions to Survive Freelance Famine
Doing something to fight back against the famine helps. Action helps us move forward, and reminds us to keep going.
1. Up Your Pitching Game
If you don’t pitch, you won’t see your famine period end. So jump on some job boards, scour Craigslist, or cold pitch startups in your niche.
However you pitch–just do it! Get your name out there. Try.
I notice that when business is slower, I’m more likely to pitch for jobs I’m not 100% excited about. I don’t wait for the “perfect” gig to come along–I pitch for a variety.
Some of my favorite gigs have been ones I pitched even though I normally wouldn’t. You never know where an opportunity will take you!
2. Learn a New Skill
It’s hard to take time to learn new things when you’re slammed with work. Take some time during your freelancing slow periods to learn something.
What will it be? Perhaps one of these skills catches your interest:
- Getting a grasp on HTML
- Using Canva (or similar) program to improve your blog images
- Learning more about a particular social media site
- Writing in a different voice
Decide what you want to learn, and go for it!
3. Take a Class
Some skills you can easily learn on your own. Others it helps to learn directly from others who are further along the freelance journey.
Use this slow time to take a class. Remember if you don’t invest in yourself, no one else will. It’s important to keep learning!
4. Update Your Website
Is your “About” page up to date?
How about your “Hire Me?” page?
Take a look at your website through the eyes of potential clients, and update anything that needs it.
5. Create a Product
Have you always dreamed of writing an eBook? Do you have a freebie product up on your site? Are you ready to create a course of your own?
Use your famine times to create a product that’ll eventually bring you profit. This action step also has the benefit of helping to slow your famine cycle in the future!
6. Increase Your Outreach
Take time to comment on other blogs in your niche. Reach out to other bloggers and share some social media loving.
Outreach takes time, but it’s essential. If you’re currently in a slow freelancing period, you’ll have extra time to invest in outreach.
7. Attend a Networking Event
This one terrifies me–I’ve never been big on social gatherings. But, I swallowed my fear and signed up to attend a local women in business expo at the end of April.
Networking helps build connections–and those are important as a business owner!
Does your local Chamber of Commerce host any networking events? It’s worth checking out to see. But don’t stop at checking out. Sign up before you lose your nerve.
8. Continue to Post on Your Blog
An updated blog helps to establish yourself as an expert in your niche. It also provides additional samples to send out with your pitches.
Write for yourself. Post on your blog. Do it regularly.
That means you might need to make yourself a content calendar, and keep a list of blog post ideas. That way you always have something to write about!
9. Narrow Your Niche
Do you have a niche for your freelance business? I’m learning the importance of one! This amazing (free) workbook helped me a lot.
I discovered I have a couple of niches I really enjoy, so I’m working on creating separate sites for them to improve the effectiveness of my hire me pages. They’re currently all sort of tied together on this site, and it’s a bit convoluted. I’ll be taking care of that during the rest of the month!
10. Improve Your Old Blog Posts
Many blog posts can use some updating. Can you update the picture? Or add a keyword for SEO purposes?
Go through your old posts and give them a facelift. Then promote them across your social media channels if they’re still relevant.
11. Read a Book
How to Do It All: The Revolutionary Plan to Create a Full, Meaningful Life – While Only Occasionally Wanting to Poke Your Eyes Out With a Sharpie by Linda Formichelli
Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt
The Timesheet Trap: Hourly Rates Kill Consulting Businesses by Anthony English
Money Making Mom by Crystal Paine
What books are on your “to-read” list?
12. Make Plans to Add Video to Your Site
I’ve been evaluating my site, figuring out the best way to add video. I ‘know’ video is the way of the future, and I need to get on board. But I haven’t yet taken the plunge.
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it. Plans are in the works, scripts are being written. It’s going to happen!
13. Ask Your Current Clients for Referrals
If you have current clients who are satisfied with your work, ask them for a referral. Word of mouth referrals are a great way to grow your business!
14. Catch Up On Your Paperwork
Are your profit and loss statements up to date? Have you scanned all the receipts you need to ensure you have them when tax time rolls around again?
Do you have any invoices to send?
Use your extra time to catch up on paperwork.
15. Enjoy Extra Time with Your Family
Extra time means you have more to spend with your family or friends. Go on a picnic to the park. Read an extra story or three. Cuddle and watch a TV show. Host a game night.
Freelancing can certainly cut in on family time when we’re in the feast cycle so make up for it during your slow times.
What tips do you have for surviving freelance famine?