As a freelancer, whether as a photographer, artist, or writer, you are going to experience slow seasons. This is especially true if you have bigger clients (big companies usually have a lull in production/budget during set times of the year) or if you work in a seasonal type of career (i.e. wedding photographers will have more work in the spring months than in the winter months).
While this is a natural flow of work and life, it can be hard to not discouraged if your anticipated paycheck is nearly cut in half. For freelance writing, slow seasons are during the winter holidays and during the summer. Some of your clients might not have any content needs, but more realistically, many clients are out on vacation or busy with planning for the next months to have work for you.
So what do you do to survive a freelance slow season?
1. Contact All Past Clients
Throughout your career as a freelance writer, you probably have built up several contacts and past clients. Contact all of the ones you wouldn’t mind working with again (read: don’t contact jerk clients) and just ask if they need you for anything. This email doesn’t need to be long or contain a sales pitch. It should look something like this:
How are you? I loved writing your web copy earlier this year, and was just reaching out to see if you needed any more writing done?
Thanks so much for your time, and I hope you are enjoying your summer.”
You never know who will have a quick or on-off assignment for you. In my experience, many businesses or clients need writing done but don’t always know who to ask or where to find a writer. Your email to them can end up saving them a lot of time and money.
2. Change Up Your Services
I don’t usually recommend straying from your niche except for when you are in a slow season. Try changing up what you offer and seeking out new clients. Here are a few things you can offer to a wide audience:
- Revisions/content refresh – Most bloggers and companies already have amazing content, but it is outdated. Offer to clean it up and spruce it up enough so their content can continue doing well on Google.
- Editing – Many people just need a pair of fresh eyes to check over content and catch mistakes. You can offer your services to authors, bloggers, and companies.
- Web copy- Can you dazzle with your words? Offer businesses copywriting so that they can attract more customers.
- Email magnet creation – Lead magnets are all the rage, but business owners are already stretched on time. Offer to create an ebook or email course for them to use. Expect to do this ghostwritten, since it will better benefit the owner.
- Email newsletters – Offer to create stimulating email copy for business owners that will engage their email list.
You never know, you might find your new writing niche. If you need any of these services, feel free to contact me.
3. Focus on Passive Income
While I did all three of these tips this summer, I have focused on this tip the most. This tip can be difficult to implement because there isn’t a promised paycheck at the end of the road. For me, I wrote my fourth Blondie McGhee book in June, and I have book five due this week.
So far, my Blondie McGhee 4 book has made me $80 in the past 24 days. This doesn’t add a lot to my income this month, but the potential income it can generate is worth it. My Blondie books sell on their own with very little, if any, help from me. When I first started, I was make $100 a month passively. Now, I am making about $400 a month passively, with the holiday months earning 3-4 times the amount.
Not all passive income projects will be a guaranteed paycheck, but if you create something you love, I know you wil be blessed by it. I love creating the Blondie McGhee series, and I am just blown away and thankful that books sell each month. Here are some passive income goals you can work on:
- Build up your site
- Write that ebook/book that you’ve been wanting to write
- Create the ecourse you wanted
- Make videos for Youtube or for a video series
- Create sales funnels or lead magnets
Don’t Forget to Tighten Your Budget Too
One more thing I want to point out about slow freelance months is that you might have to tighten your budget strings. I try to make a game out of this. I try to get super creative with pantry and freezer items so that I can prolong a trip to the store. I cut back all of out eating out and unneeded shopping trips. I also look for all my unused gift cards or cash out all of my credit card rewards to make a tight month a little more doable. Yes, it can be stressful, but just try to have fun with it. Think of it as a mini budget bootcamp and create small, doable challenges for yourself.
See also: Save $10,000 This Year
Do you have slow seasons in your line of work or freelancing? Let me know how you handle it in the comments.