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Dealing With Downtime: Making the Most of Slow Periods

It’s summertime and the living is easy, except you don’t want it to be. As the rest of the Northern Hemisphere turns its thoughts to relaxing on the beach or camping in the woods, you want your freelance business to continue as usual or as close to usual as possible. Instead of panicking when business is slow, take the time to rethink your strategy. Use your downtime wisely so that you grow as a business and as a person.

Focus on Marketing

The best way to find new clients and more work is to market yourself. If you don’t have a website already, create one. You can also use the time to create profiles on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. Once you have a profile, look for people you have worked with in the past and reconnect with them.

Your online portfolio or website should present all the information a client might want to know about you. Create an “About” page that describes your history and what you do. Offer samples of your writing. Since your goal is to have people contact you with job offers, be sure to put your contact information in an easy-to-find spot on the website.

Slow periods are also a great time to revamp your profile at content services sites such as WriterAccess. You might have more work to add to your writing samples. In the time since your profile was approved, you may have learned a new skill or worked in a new niche. Add anything new and relevant to your profile.

Seek Out Referrals and Testimonials

Your freelance career depends on you not being afraid to ask for more work. One way to do this is to let your current clients know that you love referrals. If a client tells you that she loves your writing, thank her and use her compliment as an opportunity to ask if she knows anyone else who would benefit from your skills. In addition to referrals, ask former clients or editors you have worked with to say a few kind words about you. You can publish testimonials on your website so that potential clients will see that you have a good track record.

Continue Your Education

Don’t look at a slow period as a time of stress and worry. Look at it as a time to give your skills a boost. Sign up for a class at your local community college or a continuing education program so that you can learn a new writing skill, such as technical writing or writing for advertising. You may also want to try to learn something such as SEO or web design to make yourself more marketable as a writer.

Pitch Like Crazy

The freelance writer’s life can be a double-edged sword. You need to pitch to get new clients. But when work is flowing in, you often do not have the time to craft a well-thought-out pitch. Use slow periods to write the perfect pitch. Downtime is also a great time to reach out to a new, higher paying market, such as national magazines.

Amy F is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.

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