Beat panic and invest in yourself.
Let’s face it: we all go through dry spells. Even those who’ll never admit to it. For some, they fall at the beginning of the year, when companies haven’t decided on marketing strategies. For others, things slow down in the summer months.
Let’s turn dry spells into opportunities
When telephone and email go silent, panic is set to kick in. With experience, you learn to take these moments more philosophically, as a respite from your busiest days, turning them into opportunities: to improve your skills, to clean up your computer which is about to explode into space, to put your accounting in shape. Or maybe, just to relax and enjoy the free about freelancing. But let’s see a few examples.
Invest in your ongoing professional development
Improve your knowledge of a specific industry, learn how to use new IT and admin tools, explore the possibility of specializing in a niche market, or take a course on how to overcome dry spells! Today there is virtually no end to online resources, webinars and free MOOC’s available, so find reputable resources and training companies and use this time productively.
Read, read, read
In a world steeped in information, it’s still easy to miss books, blogs, and sites that can help us learn new skills, improve existing ones, and spark new ideas. Take the opportunity to get up to speed with new trends in your profession and in your clients’ worlds, and better prepare yourself for what’s coming next.
(Re)assess your financial situation
Thanks to cloud-based software, comparing revenue and costs has never been easier. Beyond assessing the volume of work you’ve been doing, reevaluate your rates: is it time you increased them? Also examine your clients’ payment habits and decide whether the time has come to ditch those chronic late or non-payers.
Up your marketing game
If you’d like to expand in a certain area, or branch out altogether, do some research and identify new clients and contacts. Approach each one with a customized message or presentation and know that if it doesn’t pay today, it might tomorrow — or through a referral.
Have clients come to you
Update your website or blog if you have one, or consider using platforms with free, easily customizable templates and hosting if you still don’t have a web presence. Focus your marketing efforts on the social media platform that makes most sense for you, instead of being present on every one of them with little or no results, but also take the time to familiarize yourself with new platforms and trends. Posting testimonials from clients, participating in dedicated groups, and amplifying your voice will boost your reputation and help you connect with peers.
Cultivate the relationship with your peers
If they know who you are and what you do, they might contact you when they are in work overload, or they can refer you. Networking and words of mouth are still up there among the best ways to get jobs. Thanks to social media, this does not even mean you need to meet them in person, if you don’t feel up to it, but being open-minded, friendly, and helping out if you can, can go a long way.
Above all, stay positive
I hear you, I do. I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. It isn’t easy, when you’re faced with silence. But a pessimistic attitude can only trap us into a downward spiral. A dry spell isn’t easy, but it’s also not forever. Just don’t sit there and do nothing. That’s the only thing you shouldn’t do.
Marketing, self-promotion, sound accounting, and ongoing development will pay off in the end. Take these precautionary measures and get on track for the busy times — which will soon return.