Lots of freelancers hate having to call up people on the phone and asking if they’ve got any work for them. If only there was a...
4 benefits of ‘dry time’ as a freelancerStijn Schutyser
Summertime is traditionally a period of ‘dry time’ for a lot of freelancers. That’s okay: a lot of people are on vacation and there’s usually just less work overall. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use this dry time to your advantage. We’ve already written a post about what you can do when you’re out of work. In this blog post though, let’s look at dry time in a positive way and discuss its 4 benefits.
1. Dry time can push you and your business further
Dry time means less income and more pressure to ask around for work in your network. You might feel a bit ashamed for asking for work, but you really shouldn’t. You’re just letting people know your skills are available to them.
There are a couple of ways you can ask for work. The simplest way is to just contact some of your (previous) clients and tell them that you’re open for new work. You might also ask them to recommend you if they spot an opportunity in your field of work.
Another approach you can try is asking your network (clients, colleagues, partners, …) if they have any info or recommendations on who to check out to score a new gig. Don’t forget to check out groups on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, either!
You can also make dry time ‘you time’. If your business has predictable slow periods (post-holidays, post-taxes, post-wedding season, postschool year), prepare a financial cushion during your busy time so you can take that down time for rest and personal development: your vacation, a class, or anything you want. Planned dry time keeps it from being so dry.
2. Work can come from anywhere
In our blog post about how to build a balanced freelance portfolio, we talked about clients on four levels:
- major clients that provide a regular source of income,
- new prospects a.k.a. growth investments for your business,
- opportunistic gigs that fill time or income gaps,
- and new ventures and growth for long-term future income.
Dry time reminds you that work can come from clients on any of these four levels. Level 3 deserves some extra attention during dry time, since that level holds the opportunistic one-shots and long shots that fill time or income gaps. You’ll usually find work like this from online job boards and professional association job boards listings.
Alternatively, dry time may prove to be the perfect opportunity for you to reach out to some of your ‘colder’ contacts again, or contacts that have ‘cooled’ over the last period. Remind yourself that during dry time, work can come from anywhere, so don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone.
3. Tend to your portfolio
Being struck with some dry time puts a lot of freelancers with their two feet back on earth. Suddenly, there’s the realization they haven’t really thought about a long-term plan yet. Hitting a slow time may make you think more about planning, strategy, and diversifying your client list.
Treat your dry time work days like any other, but this time your portfolio is the project: touch base with former clients and potential long-term customers, prospect, do some cold-calling, seek referrals, follow up with new contacts, go to events where you can network, and checking job boards and work exchanges. You can also do pro bono or volunteer work. It feels great, and you’ll find new friends, connections, and community.
4. Re-evaluate the market and your business model
Have you been working all the levels of your portfolio and still no gigs coming in, or too few? A prolonged dry time may point to market changes. Perhaps the demand is changing, and you need to add new skills to your bag of tricks? Maybe you need to seek clients in a broader range of businesses, or make alliances to expand your offerings?
Perhaps the gaps in your work are the result of a business model that’s not optimal yet. Are you delivering the right amount of value for the right price? Research where your fees fall on the spectrum for your profession and check whether your daily rate is still up-to-date with your current spending.
Dry time sucks, but why not see some of its benefits as well? The good news is that you can use dry time to work on yourself and your business, your client list and re-evaluating the market you’re in and your business model.
Still, it’s best to avoid dry time as much as possible. We might have got you covered there! Check out all our available opportunities for exciting projects and the right challenge for you!