What To Do When You’re In ‘Famine Mode’

In my last blog post, I listed a few things that freelancers should do when faced with a busy and full work schedule. But what about the flip side? As any freelancer can tell you, there’s feast, and then there’s famine. Here’s a list of what you should do when your projects have slowed down and you’re in between gigs.

  1. Keep on, keeping on: You’ve applied to a number of positions, you’ve networked with everyone, and you still aren’t getting any nibbles regarding new work. You’re starting to feel doubt and fear, followed by the persistent thoughts that maaaaaybe you shouldn’t have started freelancing in the first place. Here’s something you need to remember. You need to keep going. It can be difficult, but no one is going to change your fate except you. Buckle down and kick fear in the face by applying to more positions, by pitching to every publication that comes your way, and by networking for your next job. Don’t let doubt and fear creep into your thoughts.
  2. Phone a friend: Freelancing can be an isolating profession, just by its very nature. But even though you might write alone in a cabin without speaking to anyone for days on end, you can still reach out to your fellow freelancers and commiserate. Turn that negative feeling into something positive. Perhaps you can offer to edit a friend’s website or résumé and they can do the same for you. You can also work on pitches together or just be a shoulder to cry on.
  3. Update your portfolio: Speaking of your portfolio, is it even updated? Since you have some downtime, revise your portfolio to include some of your more recent projects. While you’re at it, update your website, print out some business cards, and reach out to former colleagues on LinkedIn.
  4. Learn a new skill: Have you always wanted to try a new social media platform or wrap your head around a new-to-you style of writing? See above: You have downtime, so roll up your sleeves and learn a new skill or two so you can stay competitive and marketable. Once you’ve learned that new skill and know it up, down, and sideways, then add it to your professional profiles and résumé.
  5. Remember your previous successes: Things might be bleak now, but they likely weren’t always that way. Make a list of some of the great things you’ve accomplished as a freelancer, then stick that list to your office door or make it your computer’s wallpaper. Did you write a wildly successful article or land a gig with a dream publication? Write that down as a reminder that you’ve been awesome before, and you will be awesome again.

The biggest thing you need to remember is that a lull in activity is just that — a lull. By looking ahead, you can likely find something. Good luck! No one every said freelancing was easy.

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