Self Employed? 5 tips for what to do when it all goes quiet...
1. Take a BIG step back.
Yeah, you didn’t get a new client today or yesterday, or the day before… but think about all the jobs you have landed, the clients you have connected with and how much your business has grown since you started. What you are doing takes a lot of bravery, I like to remind myself how awesome I'm doing (even during my quiet spells), some find it really difficult to give themselves credit, why? Show yourself some self love and gratitude. Also think back to your favourite jobs/projects and ask yourself - How did that client find out about me? What self promotion was I doing back then that seemed to work? I am aware that every business goes through dry spells but it’s good to recognise what works and what doesn’t.
2. Don’t lie.
If someone asks you how your business is doing, it's okay to tell them that things are running slowly at the moment. Lying to people by telling them you’ve never been busier just adds pressure to yourself and pushes those away who genuinely care and want to help. Telling people that you're super busy might put them off asking you for work and being honest could encourage them to spread the word about your services.
Many find this difficult as they believe telling the truth could come across weak, however, I believe it says the opposite. More people need to understand the ups and downs of being self employed and if you stick through the hard times it proves how much you love what you do. By admitting that things are a little quiet but highlighting what you are doing to market yourself and how you are using this time positively reveals your inner strength, focus and commitment to your business.
3. Do as much as you can in the day - and then take a break.
There’s only so many ‘hire me’ emails one person can send without wanting to pull their hair out. (Yes, I understand that self promotion is a lot more than sending emails). Go for walk, get outside, have some fun. I know this is very, very difficult to do when all you can think about is finding your next job but take advantage of the free time while you have it. I’m not saying sit outside all day drinking cocktails (which would be awesome) but it's important to breathe in some fresh air and take yourself away from your screen, this will reduce your stress and in turn allow you to think more clearly.
4. It’s ok to ask for advice.
I’m very lucky to have some very close freelance friends, so it means we go through our ups and downs together. We share work, recommend one another and rant whenever we need to - knowing that at some stage they have probably experienced the same thing too. I also thought, hey - why don’t I ask some other freelance designers what they do when they are struggling to find work? I have emailed around 10-20 different freelance designers all over the UK and have gathered up some great advice. At first I felt a little vulnerable but I thought, if putting myself out there helps my business in any way then it’ll be worth it, and it was! Really think carefully about who you can reach out to for advice, some will encourage you and some won't, yes you might feel a little exposed, but when you choose to commit to yourself and your business try to not let your pride get in the way. How you use the advice your given and how you react to negative comments can say a lot about how you feel about your own business.
5. Think about what you could do differently.
Is your current branding doing your business justice and communicating positively to your current and potential customers? Do you have a clear focus on your target market and your dream client? Is there a demand for what you are offering in your current location or do you need to market yourself further afield? When everything goes quiet for me I like to re-evaluate things and remind myself of my business goals. I also like to take the free time to learn as much as I can about freelancing and business via courses (highly recommend doing Paul Jarvis’ Creative Class) and think about the different ways I can connect with potential clients.
What do you do when it all goes quiet? Comment below, I'd love to know!
Thanks for reading!
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