What to do in between freelancing jobs
I wouldn’t trade being a freelancer for anything but I have to say there are moments when I am in between freelancing jobs and I find myself panicking that I’ll never see another client again.
Can you relate?
Out of desperation, I find my mind wandering to weird and whacky places as I stare out of the window and yearn for some office water-cooler banter.
To bypass the slippery road towards a pity party for one, here are my tips on how I stay sane during the moments where I am convinced I will never get another freelance project again.
What to do with your time in between freelancing jobs
The first thing to remember is that everyone goes through times when they are not working. Even those people who do not work as self-employed have periods in their life when they find themselves out of work – even successful people.
How you manage your time when you don’t have client work to keep you occupied will determine how quickly you find new projects. It is key to remain focused so you don’t slip into a TV binge-athon.
Here are my seven tips on how to be productive when you are not working.
1. Make a daily a list of things to accomplish
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you haven’t achieved anything at the end of the day. I’m a huge advocate of outlining my goals for the quarter and breaking these down into actionable steps. Even if you don’t feel like you’re progressing your goals due to a lack of client work, you should still ‘show up’ at your desk each morning and work through your daily tasks.
Writing these down the night before can help you feel focused the minute you sit down. Daily to-dos can be related to being proactive about finding new projects or it can be as mundane as taking out the bins.
2. Have daily social interactions
Being in your own head can lead to hours of mindless Facebook scrolling. It may also amplify whatever negative feelings you are having at that moment.
Meeting up with people, whether it’s a person who might be a new lead for work, a person that could be a potential collaborator or someone who is going through the same thing as you can open you up to new opportunities.
Schedule in some time to have a phone call, meet up with some fellow local freelancers or attend a talk or an event.
3. Get inspired
When the core of what you do focuses on creativity, not working can feel a little like someone has turned off the tap. To make sure your creative juices continue to flow, surround yourself with inspiring sources.
I’ll usually have a podcast to listen to or a book that’s taken my eye on my list. This is a way for me to continue to feel energised and inspired when I otherwise would be feeling lethargic and unmotivated. You may want to head to a gallery, watch YouTube tutorials, take an art class – whatever it takes to jumpstart your creativity.
4. Update your portfolio
In between jobs is the perfect chance to make tweaks to your website, plan out social media content or look for guest post opportunities to flesh out your portfolio and raise your domain authority.
You could try writing a few new blog posts, review your rates or other documents like terms and conditions, contracts or client briefs.
5. Update your skills
If you’ve got some spare hours in your day then why not put them to good use by sharpening up your skills. If there is an area where you feel like your knowledge is lacking or you’d like to learn more, now is the time to dedicate to some study.
I try to leave the house and get some fresh air regardless of whether I’m busy with client work or not. I take a walk each day and I find that it helps me immeasurably to get away from my desk. I usually stick on a podcast and relish in the physical activity. I feel sluggish both mentally and physically if I’m stuck indoors all day.
Another bonus is that exercise gives you time to think, which may mean you’re at your most creative when you hit the streets. I’ve certainly returned home brimming with ideas following a good blast of sunshine and wind.
7. Relax and recharge
Sometimes life isn’t always about hurtling between one activity and another. If you find yourself in a period of downtime, then perhaps it’s the perfect chance to unplug for a few days and recharge those batteries. Read a book. Spend time with your family. Do whatever you like to relax and enjoy a well deserved break before the madness kicks in again.
How to stay focused in-between client work
Do you go through periods where client work is patchy? (C’mon, we can be honest here). If I asked for a show of hands I would be pretty confident that the majority can relate.
Staying focused in between your freelance contracts can be hard, but I think it’s achievable. How you manage your time in these periods may make the difference between stagnation or progression of your business. I also believe that is may exacerbate the feelings of loneliness that many freelancers experience.
How do you tackle those days or weeks when work is slow?
I’d love to hear your suggestions on how you stay positive, productive and continue to excel in your business.
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