Five things to do when the work dries up

The last month has brought me a challenge that, until now, I’d not had to deal with in my freelance business. Several jobs that were booked with regular, reliable clients were cancelled meaning that my work and financial planning were laid to waste.

As I mentioned recently, my business has undergone a significant transformation. While writing remains an important part of what i do, I’ve been working at many events either providing coverage or facilitating workshops or moderating panel discussions and roundtables.
I really enjoy the work as it requires I apply not just knowledge but the experience I gained while working in the corporate sector. In addition, it pays quite well.
Recently, I had about eight days of speaking and event coverage work teed up. Some of it had been booked months in advance. However, in the space of a couple of emails, the jobs were canceled due to circumstances outside my control. To rub salt into the wound, I had passed some work on to someone else and shuffled some other clients around.
All of this has given me a moment to reflect and consider what I should do with the time I now have available. I can’t manufacture the money I’ve missed out on. But I can make use of the time.
1. Update blogs, social media and marketing materials
I’m going to use the time I’ve been given to review my LinkedIn profile and to update my company website. I’ll also plan out the next few blog posts for Totally Freelance and my fitness blog Run and Lift
2. Work my network
Given I’ve been reasonably busy, I haven’t put the time I’d usually allocate into networking and broadening my professional contacts. There are a number of people I should follow up with as potential clients. They might not all bear fruit instantly but I like to spread things out so that the loss of any one client or job doesn’t cripple me.
3. Catch up on some administration
One of my least favourite tasks is business administration. Tasks like accounts, monthly tax statements and filing are things I really loathe. So, I’m going to set a day aside to catch up and get myself as far ahead as possible.
4. Tidy up my workspace
I recently downsized my desk from a three meter behemoth from an open plan office to a slick Linnmon/Adils combination from IKEA. It’s a lot smaller than what I had but It’s more practical and gives my room a lot more space. However, like all workspaces, bits and pieces have accumulated and make life a little harder.
So, I’m going to allocate some time to tidying my desk.
5. Take some chill time
The last 15 months or so have been personally very challenging so I’m seeing this as a message that I need to take a step back and chill out. I like running but I’ve let me strength training slide recently so I’m going to put some time into looking after my mind, body and spirit.
What do you do when things are quiet?

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