For many people, the holiday season means family gatherings, gift giving, exorbitant amounts of food, and decorations galore. But for freelance writers, the holidays usually bring with it the freelance writing holiday slump — both in their schedule and in their bank account.
The end of the year marks a lot of things for a lot of businesses. It means evaluating the tools and systems those businesses have been using through the year, cutting costs where they can, and (most importantly) wrapping up as many projects as they can before heading into the new year. And it's this third bit, wrapping up projects, that has many freelance writers facing that holiday slump.
This is because a lot of businesses also start putting off any new projects until the new year starts.
This is a good practice, and helps those businesses develop a good strategy for the new year. But if you happen to be a freelance writer, the lag in your schedule while you wait for the new year to start can be more than a little frustrating.
Here are five things you can do to get over the freelance writing holiday slump.
1. Take your cue from AT&T, and reach out and touch someone.
More specifically, reach out and touch your existing or past clients and see if you can help them with their year-end wrap up. This type of followup is good for a few reasons. First, there's a good chance that your past clients will take you up on that offer and send some work your way to be completed before the year ends. Second, even if your past client says there is nothing available at that time, you'll be flashing up on their radar — so when those new year plans and budgets kick in they'll remember you!
2. Strengthen your online platform.
When we're juggling multiple clients throughout the year, it's pretty easy to neglect our own platform for a while. But of course, you know as well as I do that having a strong online platform is what's going to continue drawing clients to you. The lag in our freelance schedule gives us the perfect chance to evaluate our online platforms, look for holes or weak spots, and take some time to strengthen them for the new year.
3. Do your own year-end wrap up.
When was the last time you balanced out all your books? How many projects do you have open that are still hanging? How many invoices have you sent out that you're still waiting payment for? Now is the time to wrap up all those loose ends. Start sending reminders to unpaid invoices and get that money into your account. Wrap up any old projects you have going (if you can) and send out those invoices right away (to get them in for this year). Make sure your ledgers are in place and anything that can be wrapped up is so you can start the new year with a clean slate.
4. Organize your portfolio.
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with strengthening your online platform. What better way to start off the new year than with a freshly updated portfolio? You've probably got several old projects that you finished over the year but were unable to take the time to get them entered into your portfolio. Now is the best time for that. This will also give you something fresh to send to your old clients while you are reaching out to them for follow up.
5. Start thinking about any awards or honors you'd like to be considered for.
Most award programs have their schedules and deadlines posted before the end of the year for the following year. Right now is the best time to start looking them up, creating a calendar of dates and deadlines for the awards you would like to be considered for, and get your submission schedule set up for the year. While this might now directly affect your revenue, we all know that having some of those awards tied to our website or freelance profile speaks volumes. And I don't know about you? But I constantly forget to apply for many of them until after I see the new announcements go out.
Being a freelance writer is fun and lucrative career, but the nature of the business means having to work through periodic slumps while the rest of the business world gets its budgets and finances together. These five steps should help you not only get over the freelance writing holiday slump without losing too much of your motivation, but also prepare for the next year!!
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