If you are a freelance writer or know anyone that does their work on a freelance basis, you will know that the profession is rather unpredictable. There are some days when you can barely take a coffee break and other days where you stare at your inbox for hours on end in the hope of some job opportunity.
This might scare the hell out of some people but I really prefer this unpredictable and surprising method of work. Of course I also get a bit tensed up when I know I only have work on until the end of the week, but something in me also trusts the process and the demand for writers in the freelance market.
The key to being successful in managing your freelance lifestyle is to not stop working when there isn’t work. If you are serious about developing your career and expanding your field of expertise, no day will just be a chill day.
Employed individuals will tell you that there are numerous days when they sit at work and do nothing. Just because business isn’t booming doesn’t mean that they are not going to go in to work that day. An engineer friend of mine regularly tells me that he uses the ‘downtime’ to update his CV or LinkdIn profile. This seems a lot more productive than Facebook-stalking or watching cat videos on Youtube.
So the next time you find yourself in a dry spell or draught period with regards to freelance work, try the following tips to stay productive:
Update Your Online Profiles
For us working individuals ‘Anneke had a nice day’ is just not cutting it as a Facebook status or Twitter update anymore. With all the social media platforms available every word you utter online is part of your personal branding. You can choose to keep some of these profiles personal and separate from your freelance career, but in the sphere of writing your online personality and writer’s profile goes hand in hand.
Try and keep these profiles up to date with skills and expertise, share relevant and trending information and focus on building positive relationships online. If you are struggling with making connections on social media platforms, read this article about Making Online Eye Contact.
Investigate Your Competition
Any business owner would tell you that they keep a close eye on their competition at all times. Competition instigates growth and it will urge you to progress. In the freelance community we are all very supportive of each others’ endeavors and there is nothing wrong with that, but maybe there is a reason why Peter is receiving twice the amount of jobs you are.
Have a look at the type of content they are posting on their blogs, the headings they use, the people they mention and if possible, the way in which they advertise their services. You can learn a lot by just watching others ‘do’, but try and turn what you learn into action.
Write Guest Posts in Advance
You might not have any clients at the moment, but this does not mean that work won’t come streaming in at a later stage. Use this time to write articles that are informative and relevant. This way you will help yourself out in a future stress situation. These articles can be tweaked and changed when the time is right, but there will come a time where you don’t have time to write, and these articles will be your saving grace.
If you don’t know what to write about, have a look at headlines and trending topics online and see what headlines are drawing attention. Try and do something similar. Don’t know where to look? Visit these sites for some inspiration: Fast Company, Mashable, TrendHunter.
Do Some Job Search
The days that you aren’t working you can envision yourself floating on the surface of a pond filled with opportunities. The fish are there to be caught, but someone has to be fishing. Don’t get too caught up on the Job Search process, believe me; this is possible. Problogger and FreelanceWritingGigs are all great sites to give a quick daily glance. Job searching will also give you the chance to practice pitching, and this might lead to you brainstorming even more writing ideas.
These are just a few ways in which you can stay busy on the days that you aren’t Try and stick to your ‘busy day’ routine. If working on your ‘off’ days seems totally alien, start out by just trying one of the above-mentioned tips.
Let me know if you have any other productive ideas? How do you stay busy during your jobless times?
Image Courtesy of EU Social.