The earning potential of a freelancer or self employed is limitless, unlike being an employee. As a self employed person you determine how much you want to earn so long as you back it up with the work that will make that figure possible. In a 9 to 5 you’re only entitled to a fixed salary from month to month.
There are pros and cons for each career path, so it all depends on what matters to you. Working from home works for me and my family at the moment, and I don’t see that ever-changing. I enjoy my work and the flexibility it brings. Plus, I make more money every month than I did at my previous traditional 9 – 5 job.
Although being self employed is great, there are times when you face those dreaded quiet months where the inflow of projects or gigs is slow. This can pose a challenge in your life. However, if you’re prepared for those quiet months you’ll be unperturbed when those months knock at your door. Here are some quiet months survival methods for when you are struggling with new ideas to bring in money.
Survival Tip #1: Plan ahead
As much as planning for success is important, you should also factor in moments when things may not work according to plan. That’s where most self-employed miss it. They don’t expect that anything can go wrong, but that’s nearly impossible in real life.
Have a list of all the things you want to achieve next month and how you will make them happen. Now on another list write all the mishaps that could probably happen and how you would get over the problem.
This little exercise will give you a realistic perspective of your monthly goals as well as a road map out of possible things that may go wrong. The idea is not to focus on the negatives but rather help you make necessary improvements to smash your goals.
Survival Tip #2: Contact previous clients
Clients are the livewire of your business. So, if you’re having quiet months then you have a problem. The good news is that you don’t have to go very far before you can get clients.
One of the ways to get clients to patronize you is to reach out to your previous clients. Ask them if they have any projects you can help them with. Give them offers that will make them come back.
If they aren’t ready to hire you for the month, don’t stop there. Ask them if they know anyone who would need your service or product. You’d never know how many gigs can come out from just asking. Reach out to various corporations and see what happens.
Survival Tip #3: 10X your outreach
During those dry spells, you have to put yourself out there constantly and consistently so that more people can know about you and the products and services you offer. The more people know about what you do, the higher the chances that someone will buy from or hire you.
There are so many ways you can put yourself and your business out there. You can join meet-ups or other networking events and connect with people. Guest posting to showcase your expertise and attract your target audience is another great idea. You can help your target audience with problems or questions they have as a way to let people know what you can do. Pitch to companies or small businesses you can offer your services to.
Survival Tip #4: Promote on Social Media
Never estimate the power of social media. With the help of social media, you can be based in the UK, but still reach people as far as Detroit or from China. Ensure you always promote your business on social media. Make use of the social media platforms that work best for your kind of business and get the word out there.
These survival tips are tried and tested by me, and have worked beautifully for many years now.
How do you handle the quiet months in your business? Do you have any tried and tested tip to share with other self-employed persons? Please drop a comment in the comments box below.
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Used to be self employed: after the first year of accounts we divided profit by 52 weeks and use that as an average weekly wage.
Accounting for any additional monies on top of weekly wage earned would be put to one side, some saved and budgeted accordingly.
The first year with no accounts to go by was difficult
Thanks for the tip Carol. I can imagine the first year being difficult with no records.
Reaching out to past clients is such a smart idea! You might be just the person they need (again).
Yes it is. Thanks for reading.
Totally agree, planning ahead is so important! Great to pitch to companies as certain times of the year too for sure
Yes it is. Thanks for reading.
As a business owner, it’s so important to plan ahead. You can have a huge boost one month and you’re super busy and the next month you’re checking your email every five seconds.
Yes planning ahead does help. No 2 months are ever the same.
There are a lot of quiet moments for sure when you’re self-employed. I usually get the hang of when it’s going to be slow, since I’ve been doing this since 2006 and blogging since 2008 but sometimes you still have to plan ahead and save!
Yea planning ahead and saving helps.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you listed promoting on social media. It’s got to be THE biggest and best form of advertisement there is! Great post! Super informative!
Yes it is. Thank you.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you listed promoting on social media. Social media has got to the biggest and best form of advertisement that there is! Great list! Super informative.
I agree. Thanks Kristi.
I have written a similar article in my parenting blog. I, too, am a freelancer and there are really days or weeks where there is no job. But I have survived 16 years of being like this. And I like it even more now that I have kids.
I like it too. The pros outweigh the cons massively for me.
This is really great information. The quiet months are so hard it is always better to be as prepared as you can be.
You are so right. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Thanks for these survival tips. Being self-employed has its benefits: you’re your own boss; you can choose the work you want to do and the people you work with. But it does have its downfalls – you’re not on a payroll and keeping a steady flow of money coming in during quieter times can be tricky 🙂
Exactly. But the pros outweigh the cons for many of us. It is either feast or famine most times.
excellent post. It’s definitely a struggle for all free lancers or self employed people to go throught those quiet months! I’m always hesitant to contact previous clients, I do not want to bother anyone. How do you cope with that?
I contact previous clients that I have worked with. I hardly do this because I am always busy but when it gets really quiet, I reach out to them. I only keep contacting clients that respond to my emails though.
These are a great guide. this could be a bg help for others.
I agree Dana. Thanks.
This is such a great post! It’s always good to circle back with previous clients to see if they are planning any projects you can assist with!
Yes it is. Thanks for reading.
Planning ahead is a must! And when the project and money are at high volume, stash it for the future drought : ) (meaning don’t spend it all!)
Exactly. That is what I do. Thanks Eloise.
It’s really a privilege to work independently. But it also has own challenges. Thanks for the guiding tips.
Yes it does come with challenges but it is a privilege. Thanks Shilpa.
I would have to agree that planning is everything! We need to find a way to balance the busy with the quiet, the profitable with the sad slow months. Building marketing systems that aren’t so seasonal can also help with this.
I agree with all you have said. So true.
I love that you shared this. A friend of mine just started working with brands and she had this question, what do we do during the quiet months. Theses are great tips. Thank you!
Oh good. Thanks Fatima.
These are some great tips! Thanks so much for sharing. I enjoyed reading your take on it all. Yes, planning ahead is of utmost importance!
Thanks for reading Joy.
Great post. To be honest I don’t really get much quiet time as my work is varied. I tend to promote on social media when I am looking for paid work. It can be a bit hit and miss though.
Yea it can be. Thanks Melanie.
Great tips and loved the idea of contact past clients I think lots of people think of gigs as being one-off but they don’t have to be
Yes it does not have to be. Thanks Aine.
Very good tips. Freelancing has its pros and cons, but just as you said, there will be lean months. Reaching out to former clients sometimes help bring in new projects. You’ll never know if they just forgot your contact details and were waiting for you to touch base with them too.
Thanks. I always reach out to old clients when it becomes really quiet.
I don’t believe in pushing harder for your sales in your quiet period. There is a reason it is quiet. I believe in working ON your business, creating new content, working on your brand. If you have saved $ to carry you, the sales that do come in are a bonus but that quiet time is perfect for you to work on your business.
I get what you mean Sandra. But when money is tight, working on your business is the last thing on anyone’s mind.
Being a freelancer is awesome, but truly tough as well. You are your own boss means you own your time, works 3x harder, and more responsibility. But still rewarding if done the right way.
Yes Blair. A lot of work but very rewarding.
Wow .really useful tips…thanks..😄