Freelancers, you have three months until the end of the year. Actually, you have a little less than that since it’s Sept. 20. But…red alert: you need to start planning on how you’ll handle the money lag for the holidays before you get there.
Unless you’re a minimalist or just treat the holidays like every other day, no one wants to eat ramen noodles or choose the holidays as an “intermittent fasting day” (because you don’t have anything to eat). So, here’s what you can do now.
Update Your Freelancing Profile & Portfolio
Don’t wait to do this. Take your best recent projects and add them to your freelancing portfolio on Upwork, your website, or whatever you use to host your portfolio. Hi pot, meet kettle. I really need to update mine. I haven’t experienced holiday dry spell in years. With that said, this piece of advice I am giving you about updating your portfolio is exactly what I did when I was riding the holiday struggle bus.
You also need to review your Upwork profile, Fiverr profile, etc., if you rely on a freelancing platform. You can find some of my best tips here.
Think About What Your Current Clients Could Need That You Offer
Have your clients mentioned to you that they had an interest in specific projects that they wanted to complete at some point? Now is the time to bring it up! Sometimes they forget or there are other priorities. The lull of the end of the year can be a great time to work on those other projects. Don’t be a chicken – bring it up! They know you. They trust you. Remind them.
If they never brought up specific projects they’d like to complete, that’s fine. What do you offer that could benefit them? Offer it and to entice them, you could even offer a small discount. Don’t think of it as giving away something. Think of it as filling your schedule for the end of the year.
Do You Have Clients Off of Upwork? Offer Referral Discounts!
If you are a freelancer and you build your business outside of Upwork like I do, I have a game changer for you. Contact your very best clients…I mean the ones who are easygoing, you enjoy working with, and who pay you well…and offer them a 10 to 15% discount on their next active invoice for each successful referral you receive from them.
If they’re truly happy with your service(s) that you provide, they already want to refer you to others who need what you do. So offering this referral discount sweetens the pot.
Set Aside Time Every Day for Holiday Business Building
Do not wait until the last minute to begin looking for work. This is the worst possible thing you can do. You need to spend at least one hour every day working toward filling your schedule for the end of the year. Many industries tend to slow down in December (if not November). So, if you don’t start looking for projects now that will fill your schedule and keep it filled through at least January, you could be very, very uncomfortable and give up on what you’re doing before you give what you’re doing a fair shake (especially if you have no savings to see you through).
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Jobs You Wouldn’t Normally Take During the Holidays
Save your money as you work and take additional projects. If things continue to look lean, don’t be afraid to take freelance projects that are short-term that you normally wouldn’t take. You’re a business. It’s a temporary moment. This is a learning curve that we go through. I went through it, too. You’ll be fine. It is not a reflection on you if it happens to you.