Marketing for Small Businesses

4 Ways A Freelancer Can Keep Busy During the Summer Months

As summer progresses, sometimes the workload of a freelancer can begin slowing down. Client’s needs change (i.e., fewer projects) and more people are on vacation. Whatever the reason, a freelancer may find they’re in need of extra projects to pay those pesky bills that keep coming.

My dad taught high school for over 30 years. In that time, more than once he heard, “It must be nice having the summer off.” And while there were certainly perks of having extra free time, what people seemed to forget is, if you’re not working, you’re not getting paid. So, either my dad had to work out a schedule with the payroll department so he would still get some money during the summer months, or he had to work another job. Usually, he did both.

So, what can a freelance writer do to keep work coming during the summer months? Here are four tips:

  1.    Revise Your Rates

This isn’t an uncommon practice. A DJ friend usually does this during the winter months, which tends to be her slower season. She still gets to do what she loves (and get paid) and the happy couple gets the stellar services of someone who normally would have been out of their budget. Because let’s face it. People love getting a deal. One option is to bundle services (e.g., blog and social media posts) and offer them at a reduced, flat rate. Another idea is a ‘Buy X and gets X free!’ offer. Just be clear in your wording that what you’re offering is a special deal. Use phrases such as ‘Limited-Time Offer’ or ‘Special Summer Savings’ so potential clients know upfront that not only are they getting a deal, but that should they choose to continue using your services, the prices may increase down the line. Hopefully, by that point, you have ‘wowed’ them with your creative genius and the bump in pay will be justified and uncontested.

  1.    Add New Services

Is there a service you’re not currently offering because you haven’t been able to devote time to researching how much to charge or what clientele to market to? Summer is the perfect time to test out an idea. For me, I’d like to take on more editing and proofreading jobs, but never seem to have the proper time to devote to large-scale projects (i.e., books). So, adding these type of services during the summer months is ideal for me. For you, maybe it’s expanding on something you currently offer, such as social media. If your wheelhouse has been primarily Facebook and Twitter, research what’s involved in adding Instagram and Pinterest into the mix. Your business expands when you’re willing to try new things, which leads us right into the next tip.

  1.    Sharpen Your Skills

As creatives, we should always be looking to increase our skill set so that we’re able to deliver our absolute best work to our clients. So, if there’s a type of writing (e.g., medical, scholar, blogging, etc.) you’ve been wanting to cut your teeth on, look for classes to take or groups to join. Even reading a book on the subject written by a noted expert in the field can get you going in the right direction. One skill you should take the time to learn is SEO (search engine optimization). If you’re unfamiliar with the term, SEO simply means the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. The idea is if your copy contains the right words, the higher it should rank in search results, and therefore be seen by more people. And being able to offer the ability to have your client’s product be seen by more people is a good thing. To learn more about SEO, check out Copyblogger, Matt Cutts, Moz, and Neil Patel.

  1.  Create a Calendar

This is especially a good idea if you blog (or want to start blogging) on a regular basis. Head over to your local office supply store and get a desk calendar. One that has lots of space to write. This is what you’ll use to plot out your posts – what they’ll be about, how long they’ll be, when they’ll be published, etc. Sticking to a schedule not only helps grow your readership, but it also keeps you writing on a regular basis; especially when things are slow. Take time to think about your topics and how they relate to your brand and your current client base. Try to tie-in your business blog and clients wherever you can. Cross posting is another great way to boost your visibility. And remember to work ahead and have a few posts already written for when your schedule gets a little more hectic.

One final suggestion… relax! We all need downtime and sometimes stepping away from work for a few hours or a few days can refresh your soul and re-energize your mind. Think of summer as a chance to get non-work related things done so that when your workload picks back up in the fall, you’re not trying to find time to fit everything into 24 hours.
Share in the comments how you have kept busy during the summer months.  

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