Unless you have built up an impenetrable force in your freelance business of amazing clients and other income streams, you will likely have some lulls in your biz. Times when you can't seem to land new clients or the clients you were working with just seem to have dried up. What do you do during that time? Well, there are a couple of things you can do when your freelance business is slow, and today I wanted to share ten things you can do.
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1. Create Stellar Content For Your Site
Creating content on your website is an excellent thing to do when your freelance business is slow. Content creation will get your name out there if you promote your content enough. Take some time today to plan out some stellar content for your website.
Don't go with cheesy articles like, "5 Reasons You Should Hire Me As A Freelancer," instead shoot for helpful.
You won't rank in search engines or be taken seriously if your web presence consists of a million articles about your process and why people should hire you.
Instead, think about who your ideal audience is and what they need help with. If you can provide some stellar content to help them tackle those issues, you can create content that will get you noticed.
If you don't currently have a website up and running, I have the perfect article for you: A Simple Step-By-Step Guide To Build Your Beautiful Freelance Website In A Week.
2. Guest Post For A Few Other Sites
When freelance business is slow, the worst thing you can do is stay in your bubble. You need to get yourself out there and share your freelance skills with the world.
Instead of holding up in your little space on the internet, reach out to a few other bloggers who talk about what you write about. For example, if you write a lot of business articles as a freelance writer, reach out to other sites to contribute business articles to their blog.
Do your research when you reach out to guest post for other sites. Don't go with the first few sites you see.
Look at their engagement. Who is engaging with their content? Does their content work with the audience you are trying to reach?
Find out their domain authority. How likely are they to get found by Google and other search engines? You can find this out by using Moz's free site explorer tool.
See what their most popular posts are. What is getting clicks and shares on their site? You can find this out by using BuzzSumo.
You never want to make a quick decision to submit any guest post. Take your time and make the best choice for your website and your time. When you take the time to pick the perfect site and topic, you can maximize the impact of any guest post you decide to do.
Leverage the guest posts that you publish. Find a way to get those readers on your mailing list. A great way to do that is by creating a landing page for those guest post readers. If you let them visit your website or a particular blog post on your site, they could get easily distracted. Instead, make them a specific freebie offer they can't refuse by creating a detailed checklist, ebook, or email course related to your guest post subject. This will get more readers on your email list so you can nurture them and introduce them to your services.
3. Create Sample Projects
When your freelance business is slow, one thing you can do is create your sample projects. This can be a great way to expand to a new area of your freelance business.
For example, if you want to create ebooks for other people, you need to have an example of an ebook that you have created. Take some time while business is slow to develop some simple example ebooks.
The same can be said of anything you may want to expand to such as whitepapers, case studies, short-form articles, long-form articles, infographics, web development, and anything in between.
If you want to switch to a new niche, creating sample projects is the perfect way to make the switch.
If you want to accomplish a new task as a freelancer, you may not find clients who are willing to take the leap for you, BUT if you have a few sample projects to show them, you may be able to get the new clients you seek.
4. Upgrade Your Skillset
Now that your freelance business has hit a lull, it's time to upgrade your skillset!
This doesn't necessarily mean that you find new skills, it could mean that you uplevel the skills you already claim.
For example, if one of your skills is Adobe Photoshop, you can always learn more about the software. Maybe you want to learn how to edit pictures quicker in Photoshop, or you want to learn how to use another element of Photoshop (for example, how to create patterns in Photoshop.)
Think about how you can take your skills to the next level with courses, books, and by practicing the craft. If you only have an entry-level understanding of a skill, you should be trying to upgrade your knowledge of that skill so you can charge premium prices for it.
5. Send Some Cold Pitches
Don't wait for clients to come to you! When your freelance business is slow, you can always reach out to new clients yourself.
Here is some advice on sending out cold pitches:
Do Your Research
You should never send a cold pitch without doing some research on the company. Understand the company and how you can fit into the companies goals. You want to be an asset to the company, not just some random person wanting to get paid.
Come With Some Ideas
You don't have to give them an entire 10-point presentation on why they should hire you. You also don't want to give them a million ideas they can implement without you. Instead, you want to offer a few pieces of advice within your freelance niche. Give them something to hold on to that makes them remember you and feel confident hiring you.
Maybe you noticed some typos in their blog posts, that their graphics need some serious updating, or that their page is loading slow. Only offer advice concerning what you do for a living though. So a copywriter might mention typos, a graphic designer might mention outdated graphics, and a web developer might mention slow website load times.
Be Ready To Negotiate And Teach
The company may not place a premium on specific aspects of their site right now. Maybe it's because they don't have the money, or it may be because they didn't know it was an issue to begin with.
There is a good chance that you will have to teach your potential clients about parts of their website.
Now, you MUST positively do this. Don't try to sell clients services they don't need! Come to potential clients with the help they need to succeed, not just help you want to sell them.
6. Reach Out To Past Clients
Your past clients may have work for you to do, they may have just forgotten how great of a freelancer you were. Instead of waiting, ask. The worst they can say is no or not right now. Get in front of them by sending out a quick email to let them know that you are open for more work.
Remind them of who you are and what you did for them. Alert them of all the skills you offer as a freelancer. Maybe they asked you to write a short-form article for them, but you are also really talented with emails, long-form articles, white papers, etc.
Get together a nice succinct list of the niches you help and what you can do for them. They may not have any work for you, but they may love your work, and they may be able to refer you to a friend.
You should make reaching out to past clients a quarterly activity, even when you have built a steady flow of clients. Taking a few hours each quarter to review past clients and reach out to them is a great activity that will increase your likelihood of picking up long-term clients.
7. Activate Your Social (Media) Network
The next thing you should do when your freelance business is slow is activate your social network.
You likely have tons of people you can look to for guidance and referrals during this tough time in your freelance business.
Use that brief list of niches and services you created in task #6 for your social media network. When they know what you have to offer, they may be able to help you by hiring you, or they may know someone who can hire you.
Be sure that you are sharing your services on your social media feeds as well. Reaching out to people directly is a great idea, but you also want to reach out to people as a whole just in case you forget to ask someone who could end up helping you.
Lastly, you should spend some time expanding your network during this time as well. Take time daily to comment on posts, like what people are saying, and of course, following people and inviting people to follow you. Spend some more time creating amazing social media content that attracts new people to your network as well.
8. Attend Local Events & Conferences
The internet is a great place to build up your freelance business, but you should always be willing to get out of your comfort zone. If your freelance business is slow, you may need to switch things up and attend local events or conferences.
If you aren't sure where to find events, I encourage you to use Facebook to find local events or use the site Meetup.
Don't forget about conferences as well. If you can afford to attend a conference, they can be a life-changing experience for your business. Conferences give you a chance to network with a ton of people and grow your experience in your niche. If you can find a relevant conference to attend, I encourage you to do just that.
9. Switch Up Your Space
When freelance business is slow, it's the perfect time to change up your space and make it more creatively inspiring.
You may want to switch up your space and rent a coworking space, or changing the layout of your home office.
Investing in the space where you create is a great way to center yourself and get back into producing freelance work.
Make sure that you make smart financial decisions when you switch up your space, though. You want an area you can afford to keep up, even when your freelance business is slow.
If you have no money, find small ways to switch your space up: a piece of decor, moving your furniture around to make it easier to access, putting in a houseplant, etc.
10. Give Yourself A Pep Talk
Last, but not least, when freelance business is slow, give yourself a pep talk.
You are a brilliant freelancer, and everyone has their season.
If things are slow for you now, it's not a personal attack against you. You should never become stagnant, work towards your dreams every day, but you should also realize that slow seasons are okay.
During these tough times, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you got this!
Conclusion: You Can Still Work Hard Even Though Freelance Business Is Slow
Having a slow time in your business is no excuse. I am confident that you can still rock as a freelancer even when clients aren't knocking down your door.
I am confident that if you work hard, hustle, and work on your freelance business that things will pick up for you.
Don't give up during these slow times, because often that means a breakthrough is right around the corner.