January 30, 2019

6 Ways to deal with that lull in your freelancing career

man frustrated because of lull in freelance projects

Quitting your full-time job and embracing freelancing as a career option isn’t an easy decision to make. However, if well thought through, it can become the most rewarding way of getting ahead in your career.

With the freedom to choose what freelance projects to take up and when, having more time to pursue personal interests and hobbies, wasting zero time in daily commutes, and having to ask no one before taking a vacation, the advantages are countless.

However, not everything about freelancing is as idyllic as it looks. You need to hustle and work hard to ensure a steady flow of work – and ergo, money. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might find yourself in a situation where the flow of assignments has dried up.

As a freelancer, it is critical to anticipate this phase and manage your finances well to avoid anxiety. But what’s important is to also keep fruitfully busy during such interim periods.

Here are a few ways to feel productive during a slow phase during your freelance career:

1. Scout for more work

Feeling anxious and negative during a work-related dry spell is natural. It’s best, however, to stop yourself from going down that spiral.

Make at least 2-3 concrete efforts daily to find more freelance projects. Get in touch with old clients, prospective clients, friends, and ex-colleagues.

Also, express that you are looking for more assignments across your social media accounts. You just might be surprised at who responds with a solid lead!

Also read: A freelancer’s guide to writing effective proposals

2. Update your portfolio

A carefully created portfolio can work wonders in bagging you more freelance projects.

Freelancers tend to procrastinate on this job, putting it away as a chore to do when they have more time. What better time, then, when you have a respite from work?

An updated portfolio gives clients an insight into all the latest work you have been doing, increasing your chances of bagging work sooner.

3. Take up a course

Use your newfound free time to pursue a new course or brush up on your professional skills.

For instance, content writers could perhaps take up an online course on understanding SEO better or learn how to write and make infographics. Similarly, freelance designers could probably learn the basics of HTML and coding.

Having a holistic skill set makes you a desirable freelancer and will help you charge more for your services.

4. Get organised

Review your work scenario. Take a look at your financial goals and how far you have come, follow up on pending payments, finish invoicing, figure out taxes, organise your work computer by ridding it of all clutter, transfer important files to your drive. You will thank yourself for this ‘spring cleaning’ spree when you get back to steady freelance projects.

5. Pursue a hobby

People in full-time jobs wish they could make more time for a hobby or a sport. You, however, are in a better position to fulfil this wish, especially during a slow period in your freelancing life.

Take up a gym membership, rekindle your love for reading, learn a musical instrument or language, or whatever else it is you have been meaning to do! This will also help keep negative thoughts at bay.

6. Tackle loneliness

A large part of choosing to freelance is the ensuing isolation and lack of social interaction. You might not notice this when you are busy, but the loneliness can get taxing when you are going through a lean period in the assignments.

Do make it a point to step out and get fresh air every day. Spend some time in cafes even if it means reading a book, or meet friends and family as often as possible. Keep yourself active and fruitfully occupied with human interaction thrown in from time to time.

Summing up

There may be times when freelance projects dry up, and the financial situation might seem tight. This is a very normal phase in every freelancer’s life. You might also feel like throwing in the towel and finding a full-time job. Don’t be hasty! Patience, proper planning of finances, and a positive outlook will help you sail over the tough times till your next gig comes in.