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Strategies for Combating Dry Spells in Freelance Work

Image by Casper File, BA Illustration
  • Written byby Careers and Employability
  • Published date 24 May 2023
Image by Casper File, BA Illustration
Image by Casper File, BA Illustration

Having dry spells in work is normal when you're a freelancer, there are natural quiet periods in the year for different sectors such as the summertime and around the winter holidays, but there are ways to combat and/or avoid them in work to avoid drops in your income.

Freelance Week 2023 is approaching 12-16 June, join us for workshops, talks and networking opportunities.

How to make the most of busy periods

While things are going well and you're busy it can be tempting to just focus on the present moment tasks, but when you are a freelancer, creating leads for future work is important all year round.

  • Post on social media and Linkedin - about all the exciting work you are doing and how people can get involved
  • Continue to network - even when you're busy so you can share what you are currently up to and why people should work with you in the future
  • Increase your rates! - You're busy which means you're in demand and can afford to maybe increase your rates if you haven’t for a while. You should do it once a year anyway and the best time is when you're in demand
  • Save as much as you can - during periods of consistent work

How to avoid dry spells in work

  • Plan for the dry spell - Try to predict when your next dry spell will hit and plan what action to take in that break in income – good alternatives also include temp work and to allow yourself a break with a holiday
  • Keep good clients - Be friendly and helpful to well-paying supportive clients, that way they will recommend you to others and come back for more work
  • Be creative - Brainstorm side projects, new initiatives or partnerships you can start
  • Network - Reach out to former clients, industry colleagues, course peers and networking circles to actively engage with them
  • Keep promoting yourself - Utilise social media and Linkedin as a resource to market your services and bring in new clients, write articles, showcase your skills and the services you offer

How to survive dry spells in work

Financially surviving

  • Consider whether you can increase rates with existing clients, there might be one that you haven’t increased for some time
  • Reduce Expenses - temporarily freeze subscriptions to reduce financial stress
  • Consider getting temp jobs, especially during predicted lulls, some sectors are quiet during the summer so this can be a good time to have temporary work to supplement your income – ArtsTemps is a great option for UAL Students and Alumni

How to keep yourself motivated

  • Collect reviews and testimonials from previous clients – this will help keep you motivated and see the value of your work as well as help to attract future work
  • Upskill and investigate training for further development to support the services you offer
  • Do service exchanges to keep staying active and collecting reviews and work to add to your portfolio and LinkedIn feed – you can do these with friends or peers too
  • Network in your sector, be active on social media and Linkedin, UAL also has great alumnigroups
  • Allow yourself to enjoy some of the downtime and take a break!

Join us for workshops, talks and networking opportunities tailored to freelance career journey during Freelance Week 2023 – Book on to sessions now!