As a freelancer, do you also know the summer slump? All customers are on holiday and the turnover melts away. In this article I would like to show you how I use such periods of low order to work on a future increase in turnover. Here are my personal measures:
1. Update your own portfolio
Often many new projects have accumulated in the course of a year. Sometimes even well-known customers are involved. It is worth communicating this. A motto says: “Who was there decides who goes”. Great references are often a sound quality feature for new customers. That’s why I regularly update my portfolio in order to be able to acquire new customers. The summer slump offers the perfect opportunity.
2. Collect customer opinions
Customer opinions are also closely linked to the portfolio. Good customer opinions not only serve to increase sales of Amazon products or hotel reservations. I try to actively demand customer opinions from my clients at the end of a project. No marketing text written by me can even begin to generate the persuasive power of an authentic customer opinion. In order to increase this authenticity, I ask my clients to enter their customer opinions directly into the corresponding rating portals, for example in GoogleMyBusiness.
3. Update curriculum vitae
While I’m updating my portfolio, I’m also looking at what changes have occurred in my resume. Sounds trite and like a 9th grade application tip, but many jobs I’ve gotten because clients have found something very special in my resume. To my surprise, these were entries that had only minor intersections with my work as a designer. For example, an entry about a workshop in a company led me to a lecturer position at the university and then to other seminars.
4. Increase in turnover through entries in databases and directories
There are databases and directories for almost every industry. Often the registration is free. In phases of low order I try to place my entries in such databases and link my website. By registering and placing a link you are easier to find via search engines. A good findability in search engines leads to new orders and finally also to an increase in turnover. In the past I was often surprised what results I could achieve with a simple entry in a business directory. Especially if the databases offer regional search criteria for the searchers.
5. Share expertise
As a freelancer, you are an expert in a very special subject area. It is worth sharing this knowledge with others. Be it via your own blog, e-mail newsletter, podcasts, YouTube videos or other social media channels. Even if at the beginning a lot of effort is opposed to a manageable financial turnover, this measure can be worthwhile to increase sales. If I have the time, I write a few blog posts in advance and publish them at a later time. This can result in much more.
6. Publish guest contributions
If you don’t want your own blog right away, there are many sites and blogs that allow you to publish guest posts. Also in this form, expert knowledge can be shared and a link to your own page can be placed. However, making your services easier to find on the Internet is only one positive effect. In the past, this has resulted in great cooperation with the operators of the sites where I have placed the guest contributions. In my opinion, good cooperations are the best way to increase your own sales in the long term.
7. Help in forums
I also use forums to help people with my experiences. In the course of time I have noticed that some self-employed people do not understand or use the function of forums properly. They place a link to their service and then never contact me again. From my point of view, forums are more for building relationships with the members. For this purpose it is necessary to be active in forums regularly. Only after a longer phase of getting to know each other, orders or cooperations can be created. My strategy is therefore to be active in a few forums instead of posting in many forums only from time to time.
8. Apply for project work
Fortunately, I have had so many assignments in recent years that I did not have to actively apply for them. Especially in the start-up phase, however, it can make sense to bridge phases of low order with jobs as a freelancer, e.g. in an agency for a specific project. There are some agencies that are desperately looking for experts to implement larger projects.
This has two advantages: You are financially secured for several months and in the end you may be able to place a project with a well-known customer in your own portfolio. This makes it easier to acquire new orders later.
9. Making better use of existing work
If I have not guaranteed exclusive use to clients from past assignments, I try to use the work as efficiently as possible. Photographs and illustrations are then uploaded to the appropriate image portals and offered for download. In this way I can generate additional monthly income by selling the pictures. Of course it takes some time to find the corresponding works on the hard disk, convert them into the required formats and upload them. A weak summer slump is the best opportunity for this.
10. Check savings possibilities
This tip does not lead to an increase in sales, but I often use the summer slump to control my expenses in detail. Often there are good savings opportunities, such as better conditions for internet and telephone, insurance or similar. Personally, as a designer, for example, I have found a good alternative to my design software and can thus save over 700 EUR a year without any loss of quality in my work. This saving also means that I can get by with less turnover without having to restrict my lifestyle.
In my opinion, phases of low order are no reason to immediately fall into depression and question one’s entire independence. There are so many possibilities to use this time productively and to set the course for a successful future. I hope that I could give you some suggestions with this article. Maybe you also have a few things that you can do during this time to further expand your freelance work. I would be pleased if you share them with me in the comments. I wish you continued success!