When you have a “9 to 5” job, what do you do on days that will be slow? If there is ice on the road or poor visibility from fog, do you just stay snuggled up in bed and not travel to work, because there’s a good chance that no one will be venturing to your store today? Of course not. You get up, take a shower, sludge your way to your frozen car, and go to work.
For years, I have stated that I treat my job as a freelancer as a business. Just because I don’t have fifty clients knocking on my virtual office door today doesn’t mean I’m not showing up to work. There are still many things that can be done, planned, and made better. If you’re not willing to work during your “downtime” at home, working from home will never quite become a real business for you.
Technology changes and laws change. A little slump in clients is the perfect time to go back over all of your contracts and see if anything needs to be updated or changed. Did you move? Did your hourly rates change? Perhaps you’ve added Bit Coins as a new acceptable payment type. All of those changes should be reflected in your contracts.
If you don’t have a marketing strategy, a little extra time on your hands is a perfect opportunity to create one. It should coincide with your business plan and be practical in application. Don’t spend $1,000 dollars on a customized website, if you can get by with using a template. Likewise, don’t spend 1,000 hours trying to implement a template, if you can spend $350 for someone to put it up today and be off and running tomorrow.
When was the last time you did any research on social media sites? New ones pop up all the time, and with them come different uses and strategies. It doesn’t take but a few Google or Bing searches to get your head wrapped around some great tips of optimization and creative ways to use them.
Okay, so maybe your doors don’t actually swing both ways, unless you live in an old western saloon. Still, the point is that you don’t have to wait for clients to come to you. Nearly everyone has an access point online, via e-mail, social media, or through a website’s contact form.
If you feel you can really benefit someone (you don’t want to just go around bugging people), they might appreciate finding out that you’re there and willing to help.
If you’re like me, any little slump in client contact will start making you doubt all of your skills. Is everyone else out there better at the same thing you’re doing? Maybe everyone has gotten so well educated that there is no longer a need for writers and editors. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
Take your mini-vacation from clients as a perfect opportunity to retrain and regroup. Public libraries still exist, there are countless free webinars out there these days, and bloggers all over the world would love for you to take time to gobble up all their little insider tips and tricks of the trade.
Regardless of what you decide to do with your free time, it’s important to remember that you want a business, you have to run a business. That means working during your work hours. So, bundle up and get out there.
Photo by dantada