How to make the most of the quiet January period as a freelancer

As the New Year begins, freelancers should make the most of this month’s empty work calendar to prepare for a successful year ahead.

January is a always a quiet time for freelance work. Everyone is catching up after the Christmas break and companies are still considering their plans for the New Year.

So, faced with an empty diary, how can you make the most of this downtime as a freelancer, keep yourself busy and use the time to improve your prospects for the coming year?

Work on your own brand

When bookings are thin on the ground, take advantage of this time to work on your own marketing and build your online presence.  

Update your FreelanceDiary Profile – and shout about it on social media, tagging us so we can include you as one of Featured Freelancers in our newsletter.

Upload your work to your Portfolio to show potential clients, at a glance, the projects you have worked on.

Do your tax return

We’re sure you’ve been putting this off for months, but you can’t put it off any longer. The deadline for getting your tax return back to HMRC is this month.

Take a day to sit down with your accounts and receipts and get this job done and out of the way. The deadline is midnight on 31 January 2018.

Take some time to reflect

Reflect on your key learnings of the past year. What were the high points of your freelance work, and when were you less successful?

It helps to put your thoughts on paper, so use these reflections to publish a blog to LinkedIn Pulse. LinkedIn is a great way to boost your social media presence and connect with prospective new employers. 

Plan for the next year – professionally and personally

What are your goals for the coming year? What do you want to achieve by this time next year? Take time to map out your ambitions and use this to formulate a plan for how you’re going to achieve them.

Make sure to include holiday and time out in your plan for the year. Block these dates out in your diary now, so they don’t slip as you get bookings.

Think about who you want to work

Reconnect with the people you enjoyed working with last year, and make a list of new employers to target this year. Aim high, it’s good to be ambitious and if you don’t ask, you never know.

Find a way you can add value to their business and put together a proposal for how you could work together. And then call them to follow up – it’s more personal than an email, and much harder for people to ignore.

Securing a freelance booking is sometimes just about talking to the right person at the right time and demonstrating what you can bring to their business.   

Book a holiday

Freelancers never take enough time for themselves. The constant fear of work drying up means it’s hard to say no to a booking.

But taking time out is essential to your health and wellbeing. It’s not a luxury and should be scheduled into your annual diary.

Think about how your year will look – when is likely to be busy in your industry, and when less so?

Book a holiday now while you have time to browse the internet for inspiration. Having something to look forward to helps motivate you, and taking some time out clears your head and will make you work better on your return.

And finally… enjoy it!

Take some time for yourself to catch up on all the things you enjoy doing but don’t have time for when you’re busy. Read a book, go to the cinema in the afternoon, or spend a day getting inspiration at a museum or art gallery.

Make the most of the quiet period now, because it won’t be long until you find yourself swamped with work once again.

FreelanceDiary can help you manage your freelance workload and make it easier for people to book you. Sign up today for a faster, smarter way to get hired.

Written by Richard Jeffs
Former freelance shooting producer/director and now founder of Frustration with the freelancer booking model drove me to find a dynamic, new way to hire, manage and engage.

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