So, you’ve gone freelance.
Jobs are coming in and you’re booked for months of assignments. All seems well and rosy, your rent and bills are paid and you can even afford a holiday abroad. Some days are so busy that you find yourself wondering if you can even take on more work.
Then the inevitable happens. As the end of your current gig draws near, you start feeling anxious about where you will find your next work.
You’re not alone. For many freelancers, dry spells are common and can be extremely nerve-wracking. Freelance work isn’t guaranteed and to ensure that you always have work on the horizon, you really can’t get complacent. You need to be proactive and be on a constant lookout for opportunities to live and fight another day.
Here’s what you can do when freelance work is drying up.
When gig work starts to ebb, even the most confident freelancers can experience self-doubts. Instead of burrowing deeper into the rabbit hole by going into panic mode, take this time to evaluate what went wrong. Ask your clients for honest feedback. Find out from your sources why you aren’t getting referrals like before. A self-check is always wise to identify the problem. Get help and support. Find other freelancers from groups or online forums and communities, they may have valuable advice for you from their past experiences.
This is also the time to review your current financial situation. How long can you sustain without work? Can you cut back on unnecessary expenses in the meantime? What avenues can get you new work? Do you need to upskill? Questions like these help you think about how you can move forward in your game plan.
Spring cleaning your business is a chance to hit that reset button on your gig career. Now’s the time to pay attention to all the tasks that you had put off when you were busy. Sort out your accounting, taxation, invoices, and bill your clients. When all these administrative tasks are resolved, you’ll be in a better state of mind to plan your next move.
Add your most recent achievements and gig work experience to your resume. Update your profile on LinkedIn and other work marketplaces to stand out from your competition. An outdated profile will most definitely be overlooked by hirers and what you need right now is a spotlight on your professional achievements. Most importantly, are you making it clear on your profile that you are available and actively looking for work? Remember, a clear call to action will determine if you get work (and pay) or none.
All businesses need a review now and then. As a freelancer, your business is YOU. That makes it even more important to evaluate your business model to determine if it needs any changes. Are you undercharging for your services? Are your services still relevant or do you need upskilling in some areas? Perhaps coaching can help in some aspects of your business. Can you utilize a subscription model to scale your business?
Do clients want something else other than what you are currently offering? Is there an opportunity to partner with someone else for a synergistic offering? For instance, a marketeer could join forces with a developer and a designer to provide companies with branding, web design & development, and SEO services. Take a look at your previous and current gigs, are they all project-based? Are there ways to get your clients on a retainer?
This needs no introduction. Networking is a means to stay visible so that you are seen by the right people. Building the right connections works wonders for your business. If your immediate circle is maxed out, expand your network. Connect with other freelancers or remote workers, talent agencies, and recruiters through events or on social media. The more people you know, the more opportunities you will find.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to secure work is to get in touch with past clients. Furthermore, reaching out to them requires less time and effort than chasing new clients. It’s much easier to sell your offerings to people who have worked with you, are happy with your work, and trust you. Who knows? Your services may just be what they need when you touch base with them. And even if they don’t, reconnecting with ex-clients puts you back on their minds if something does come up. Take the opportunity to ask them if they are willing to recommend you to others. Don’t be afraid to ask! Pride can’t feed hunger. You’re not begging, you are offering something of value that someone else may need.
Think about what you are currently offering in your business. Say you are a web designer. Can you teach your skills? This might be the time to create relevant content such as tutorials on designing SEO-friendly websites/ tips and tricks for an e-commerce website design etc. Perhaps you can run virtual classes and invite participants to sell their best web design submissions to you for a minimal cost (rights included). You could then fine-tune the designs, partner with a web developer, and market them as affordable, ready-to-use templates for start-up companies. For all you know, this might spin off into a new stream of income.
Sometimes, a dry spell can give you the time to re-evaluate your business, re-purpose your offering, and even spur creative thinking on how to get your mojo back. To keep the work coming, feeling sorry for yourself does nothing for your esteem and your pocket. Take action instead. The cure to getting through this challenging period is to take actionable steps to prevent your freelance work from drying out.
You might be interested to find out more about us. We are a remote-friendly gig company that connects top talents with great companies. Chat with us if you are currently experiencing dry spells in your freelance journey.
It’s about rethinking traditional employment archetypes. Can we progress from an economy built on full time employment habitually enslaved by unemployment fears, to one where individuals have greater autonomy and are self motivated to do work that inspires them? And as a result, benefit the economy as a whole?
You can’t own full time employees. But you can build a winning team with talent management companies. As businesses demand more, external talents are emerging as the sure forerunners of an agile workforce. At Chance Upon, we partner businesses to get a head start over competition by creating collaborative work between companies and the right talents.