The holidays are an exciting time for corporate folks — extended time off, holiday parties, and end-of-year bonuses.
For freelancers, not so much.
Work can dry up, wreaking havoc on their finances. Or, it could go the other way — freelancers are overloaded with work, causing them to miss out on holiday fun.
But the holiday season doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking. With the right preparation and mindset, it can serve as a key reset period to gear you up for a fantastic following year. Below, we’re sharing five tips to get through the holidays and come out better on the other side.
The holiday season is fickle — either your clients will need a lot of last-minute help or have zero work to throw your way.
With that in mind, consider talking to your clients about their holiday needs far in advance. You’ll gain a good sense of where they’re headed at the end of the year and better prepare on your end, blocking off time in your schedule for the things they need to get done or proposing new projects that will give them a headstart in the coming new year and fill your schedule.
Another way to tackle this challenge is to do some extra work in the summer and fall. That way, you’ll have a solid nest egg come November/December, just in case things start to slow down.
Larger companies tend to have their creative needs taken care of early — many even solidify their holiday go-to-market strategy by June.
Smaller firms, on the other hand, may not plan as far ahead and often have trailing creative needs that you can help them with. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those smaller clients during the holidays. Casually bring up your services to local mom-and-pop shops, coffee or wine bars, and even the public library. Even a simple logo design for a small organization can turn into a larger rebrand project down the road.
The word “networking” gets a bad rap, but putting yourself out there can do a world of good for your business. And during the holidays, there are plenty of opportunities for you to practice.
If a friend or partner asks to take you to their work holiday party, go for it. Seek out meetups in your city. You never know who you might meet there who could be in dire need of your services.
You could also email a holiday card to all of your clients and prospective customers. Along with best wishes for the holidays, include your portfolio and let them know you’re available for work. To stay top of mind, you could publish a series of posts on LinkedIn, each showcasing a different project you completed that year, with a call to action to book a year-end project.
Reframe slow seasons as opportunities to focus on your business. Use the time to update your portfolio, spruce up your resume, and make sure your samples are good to go come January.
You can also leverage this time to learn new skills and software. Finally enroll in that Adobe class you’ve been wanting to take, freshen up your skills with free webinars, or listen to podcasts or Ted Talks that have just been sitting in your queue. You could even do some spec projects.
Using the time to your advantage will make you a more appealing freelancer in the new year, helping you hit the ground running.
The end of the year is a natural time for rest and reflection, and freelancers deserve that more than anyone. Freelancing is a hard job with lots of ups and downs, so pat yourself on the back for a job well done. List out and celebrate your accomplishments. Create a mood board if that helps energize you for the year ahead. And set concrete goals for next year.
Don’t let the holidays scare you. By planning ahead, networking, and using downtime wisely, you’re in a prime position to have your best new year yet.
And if you need help finding new clients, we’re happy to assist. Get in touch with one of our expert recruiters at The Planet Group who can help market your unique skills to the right people at the right time.
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