Let’s look at how you can be productive even when projects are sparse. These tips may even attract new clients.
1. Redefine your business plan. A plan created at the beginning of your freelancing career may not reflect how you work now. Take the time to re-evaluate what areas of expertise you have gained and pinpoint areas you wish to expand upon.
2. Organize and clean your office. This is a job we all put off but with piles of disorganized folders, papers and receipts crowding your work space it will not only slow us down but will also detract from being efficient. Clean up and admire your professionally looking space.
3. Update and refresh your portfolio and profiles. Check what information is ‘out there’ not only on social media but on your professional website(s). Is the information current? Do the links work? Can you improve any aspects of them? Can you add new testimonials, work experience or blog posts? This exercise is worth doing periodically but downtime gives you the perfect opportunity.
4. Update your professional head shot. Is the current one years old? Would a new client recognize you in a meeting? Hire a professional to take a series of new headshots for use on your social media and website.
5. Inventory and supplies. With time on your hands make a list of the supplies you have and those you constantly run out of. Then purchase the ones required and store away. No more frantic trips to the store because you have no supply of copier paper or printer ink.
6. Study and/or read. We all have piles of books waiting for our attention. Some professional others for pleasure. Use this time to read and learn for your business but also for relaxation.
7. Cold calls. Make a few cold calls to local businesses, they maybe unaware of you and your services. The worse that can happen is they say no. However, now they have your name and may call upon you at a later date. Also contact other freelancers or contacts to see if you can assist them when they are taking a vacation or have health issues.
8. Thank you notes. Write to anyone that has helped you with a project, given you a project or has referred you. These can be mailed or emailed. People remember a personalized thank you.
9. Touch base with former clients. There maybe a change of staff and your contact is no longer with the company or their requirements have changed. Either way it is good to keep your name in mind for future business.
10. Manage your network. As we are normally too busy to attend seminars, or even just go for coffee with former colleagues and absent friends. Make the effort to maintain your support group. There might be a project just waiting for the right word out there. Do all the members of your network know what you do? Make sure to inform them and offer to reciprocate.
11. Catch up on those chores. Work is always a great excuse for not doing personal chores, such as painting the spare room, household repairs or planting a flowerbed. Take the time to improve your environment it is satisfying.
12. Reschedule your time. Again work can be an excuse for not exercising. Make a schedule to include exercise during the week. It will benefit not only your physical being but also your mental one.
13. Break away. Get out of the house, your area or even your country. Enjoy total relaxation away from the constant ‘hamster wheel’ of work. It will recharge your mind and body.
Can you add to these tips?
What do you do with your downtime?